TEN OF CIN­EMA’S BEST

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Feature -

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.

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