CEO Film London
|The Third Man
|In a Lonely Place
|Francis Ford Coppola
|The Wizard of Oz
|A Matter of Life and Death
|Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Vertigo remains the most audacious, perverse, uncanny and alluring romantic suspense thriller Hitchcock ever made and, indeed, probably ever made inside Hollywood.
Arguably the greatest adaptation of a Dickens novel in cinema, it may also be David Lean’s best and most satisfying movie. From its astonishing haunting beginning, Lean gives us a kaleidoscopic rags to riches story that is part gothic horror, part crime drama, part satire and part painful romance .
The Third Man
One of the greatest British thrillers is also one of the first genuine European noir movies. Everything about and everyone in The Third Man is top notch. It marks the high point of the collaboration between novelist and sometime screenwriter Graham Greene and director Carol Reed. Neither of them would make something so assured and brilliantly realised again.
In a Lonely Place
Still shockingly underrated noir masterpiece, made as a vehicle for Humphrey Bogart under the banner of his own new production company. Loosely drawn from a Dorothy B. Hughes novel, this was one of mercurial and maverick director Nicholas Ray’s finest achievements. It also saw Bogart (playing a scriptwriter with a hair-trigger and potentially murderous temper: one of the best roles of his career) perfectly teamed with the beautifully understated and alluring Gloria Grahame. Moody, ultra romantic and packed with tense drama, this is a genuine classic.
Raw, ragged rock ’n’ roll Vietnam War epic, which remains Coppola’s most ambitious and original work. It doesn’t have the classical poise of The Godfather but instead offers so much more in its impressionistic, wild ride, river road-movie journey into his 1960s version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The set pieces, the music and the performances (and that includes Marlon Brando ) are exemplary, and this is haunting, ravishing cinema on a rare size and scale.
Once again Kurosawa uses Shakespeare as the DNA for a magisterial period drama, this time drawing on King Lear and translating it into a mighty medieval dynastic battle between Japanese warlords. Sumptuous visuals, breathtaking action sequences and an astonishing atmosphere of high tragedy combine to make this the master’s last really great film.
The Wizard of Oz
With this lavish, funny, touching, suspenseful, heartwarming and technologically groundbreaking musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s classic MGM created a blueprint for all subsequent film family entertainment. Notwithstanding that the film has now anachronistic attitudes and problematic areas of representation, it still shines through as a magnificent example of what Hollywood at its very best, as the dream machine, could do. Incredible sequences, lavish Technicolor, mesmerising characters, wonderful songs, and Judy Garland, becoming one of the great stars in the celluloid firmament – what more do you need ?
Brutual, balletic, bravura boxing biopic of middleweight champion Jake LaMotta. Relatively early in Scorsese’s career, it still seems to be his defining masterwork, replete with all his recurrent themes of tortured masculinity, Italian-American life, criminality and corruption and the pitfalls of fame and fortune. It is also the peak of his collaboration with Robert De Niro, who gives a performance of such verisimilitude and intensity it still astonishes, and has never been surpassed in his nonetheless storied subsequent career .
The Hollywood Golden Age classic that should, because of the chaos of its making, have been a critical and commercial disaster. But somehow, some way, a particular sort of alchemy prevailed and we were instead given an enduring, endlessly entertaining romantic thriller. Eighty years on from release, almost every line of dialogue and every scene is burnt into our cinephile collective memory. Bogart and Bergman are one of the ultimate movie star-crossed couples, the supporting cast is peerless and we all want to drink in Rick’s Café Americain.
A Matter of Life and Death
One of the finest, most original and enchanting films in the history of post-war British cinema and definitely the best film Powell and Pressburger ever made. War movie, court-room drama, social commentary, witty romantic fantasy – it has everything, complete with a career-best performance from the charming, debonair and convincing David Niven.