"I've seen everything and I've the ticket stubs to prove it," says Don Draper in Mad Men, which would be reasonable enough for an executive in an industry that constantly borrows from the movies, but it could also represent series creator and film buff, Matthew Weiner, who peppers his series with movie references from the era. Mad Men doesn't attempt to imitate the cinema of early sixties so much as evoke an idealized version of it. The TV aspect ratio is more confined than the movies of the time, the muted colour scheme feels more early seventies (suggesting the series' retrospective gaze) and the TV cable budget means the show is largely confined to studio sets. (For a striking contrast, see Alexander Mackendrick's 1957's New York noir of the PR industry, The Sweet Smell of Success). But the use the clean lines of sixties' furniture and architecture, and the frequent use of cameras on tracks (as opposed to handheld or Steadicam) suggest the era, along with plenty of specific visual quotes that includes both the office comedies (Lover Come Back, The Apartment) and melodramas (The Best of Everything, Imitation of Life) of the period. Here are five films that are particularly key to the Mad Men cinematic context.
The Apartment (1960)
Lover Come Back (1961)
North by Northwest (1959)
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)
The Swimmer (1968)
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