TEN OF CINEMA’S BEST
I could easily find another 10, or 100, titles, which would include films by Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Peter Weir, Charles Chaplin, Clint Eastwood, but this is my list of 10 key films today. ■ Greed ( Erich von Stroheim, 1924): A savagely realistic film of a confronting novel, which became a cause celebre when the studio cut it drastically against the director’s wishes; but still a masterpiece. ■ The General ( Buster Keaton, 1927): Keaton was not only a brilliant comedian and acrobat but a great director; this Civil War comedy is not only funny but also beautiful and suspenseful. ■ La Regle du Jeu ( Jean Renoir, 1939): On the brink of a catastrophic war, one of cinema’s most poetic directors made this elegant, witty, ironic examination of class differences. ■ The Grapes of Wrath ( John Ford, 1940): Conservative Ford made a heartfelt, poetic film from John Steinbeck’s riveting novel about the impoverished victims of the Depression and the Dust Bowl. ■ Citizen Kane ( Orson Welles, 1941): The greatest debut in cinema history, a brilliant, savage, caustic portrait of a man who became drunk with his own power. ■ Letter from an Unknown Woman ( Max Ophuls, 1948): The greatest screen romance, this richly textured adaptation of a Stefan Zweig story, set in turn- of- the- century Vienna, is one of the most moving films ever made. ■ Singin’ in the Rain ( Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen, 1952): My personal favourite, the brightest, bounciest, funniest, most beautifully directed of all the movie musicals, with a fascinating plot set in a Hollywood lurching from silents to talkies. ■ Seven Samurai ( Akira Kurosawa, 1954): One of the finest of all action films and a brooding contemplation on the nature of heroism. ■ A Bout de Souffle ( Breathless) ( Jean- Luc Godard, 1960): Originally banned in Australia, this free- wheeling film is the key to the French new wave, which revolutionised cinema across the world. ■ Nashville ( Robert Altman, 1975): Altman’s sprawling epic is a microcosm of America in the mid-’ 70s.