Movie fan Rick Joyce writes: “I thought last week’s list provided by readers of IMDb was a little lacking and thought I’d to put my two cents in. While I think both “M” & “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” should be somewhere in the conversation, I’ll stick within the flavor of the IMDb list.”
Here’s Rick’s list:
10) “Bride of Frankenstein”/ “Frankenstein” — James Whale’s original gave our consciousness most of what we think of about monster movies, from thunderstorms and lightning at the perfect moment, to castles with levers and arcing electricity. But it was the “Bride,” with its eccentric lighting and angular shots, that will always define the genre.
9) “Fistful of Dollars,” et al. — Sergio Leone’s trio of “spaghetti westerns” may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny that the look of these films changed the way we looked at the genre from that point.
8) “Chinatown” — Roman Polanski’s films all have a “style” and I almost went for “Rosemary’s Baby,” but I think this film was just too perfect in every sense and creates the atmosphere of being in the middle of a haze, completely lost.
7) “Touch of Evil” — Every Orson Welles film inhabits its own world, but this piece of nastiness takes the cake. From its dark lighting and sometimes almost forced dialogue, this film makes you feel plain creepy.
6) “Nashville” — It was tough to pass on “MASH” but I think Robert Altman made the perfect film “about nothing” that’s both loved and loathed at the same time. Ostensibly, a look at country music and its hometown, it has little to do with either. Instead, it makes not-so-subtle commentary on the state of America in 1975, but with plenty of panache.
5) “The Gay Divorcee” — All the Astaire-Rogers films may blend together as one now, but there had to be a first; not counting “Flying Down to Rio,” this was it. Not so much for its direction by Mark Sandrich, but for its Oscar-nominated art direction by Van Nest Polgase and Carroll Clark, who put the Art Deco look on par with the actors and music. In 1934 America, this was escapism at its finest.
4) “Notorious” — Hard to argue with “North by Northwest,” but for my money this slinky noir from Alfred Hitchcock has everything; treachery, sex, smooth-talking players and almost effortless direction. For a director who was known for using actors like props, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman are superb.
3) “The Shining” — Stanley Kubrick’s film of Stephen King’s novel may have disappointed many when first released, but age has been kind to this movie. While King may have hated this adaptation, repeated viewings bear out Kubrick’s sinister telling. And the blood in the hallway. ...
2) “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” — I know the article is all about Wes Anderson, but you can’t leave his films off the list. I just picked this one — no real reason, it just tickles my rib.
1) “Mickey One” — Arthur Penn made this with Warren Beatty a couple of years before they teamed for “Bonnie & Clyde” and if there ever was more style than substance in a movie this may be it. Beautifully crafted, the “plot” takes a backseat to the visual effect it provides. Long a “Film 101” class assignment, watch this little-seen gem if you get the chance.
Rick says, “Well there’s my list — hope you agree with a couple.” I say, not a bad list.