|The Night of the Hunter
|North by Northwest
|Portrait of Jennie
|Lift to the Scaffold
|The Lavender Hill Mob
|Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred
|The King of Comedy
Known, albeit anecdotally, to have prevented at least one suicide. The mirror scene alone should do it. Or the peanuts. Or Harpo's doghouse tattoo. Or anything flying over Margaret Dumont's head.
The Night of the Hunter
Watching this one home alone at the age of nine made me an apt and instant subject to Bettelheim’s theories on the Uses of Enchantment, as well as a lifelong cinema voyager.
North by Northwest
Cary Grant = The Greatest. The Greatest Cary Grant = this one. Possibly the most entertaining film ever made. Still.
Portrait of Jennie
A ghostly love story and lovely ghost story in sublime black and white with poetic outbursts of colour, a pastoral Manhattan, Claude Debussy via theremin, a proto-Kate Bush/Björk song some 30-40 years avant la lettre and Lillian Gish. One of the ones they don’t make anymore – and hardly even made back then.
Lift to the Scaffold
When someone says that ”it rains like in a French black and white movie of the 50s and I feel like a character in it who’s just lost it all” – this is the one they’re talking about.
The Lavender Hill Mob
For Ealing – with love and squalor. The most exquisite little parcel of British treats, delivered ingeniously and flawlessly at every imperial inch.
Being the physical and literal offspring of Swedish-Danish parentage, I find this most monumental account of the culturally internecine divide between the two territories… utterly and inanely inaccurate. And would never have it any other way.
An ever-present and lovingly tender atmosphere of small-town Americana clashes beautifully with this intricately offbeat fantasy piece of pure Bill Murray, an actor arguably a genre all his own, at his idiosyncratic finest. This one got in at the expense of De Sica, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Wilder and even Capra, a choice made while being of fully sound mind.
The King of Comedy
As for Rupert Pupkin, one will either go into a perpetually painful cringe on his behalf or simply leave him to his own devices without any liability for his actions (including that visit to Langford's country home). Going for the latter opens the doors to a singular experience, enhanced by almost Kubrick-like scenery and a De Niro (just about rid of his excess LaMotta pounds) in truly Geronimo! form.
I almost watch all of Ozu's films (of the last 15 years) as one single entity/family, one that I can watch again and again. The aim is to put each one on this list in the decades to come. As for the eyes of Setsuko Hara, let's just say that Bette Davis makes for second banana here.
Order is impromptu and not particular, implying an operation of a certain amateur status, as in pure intent, open mind and heartfelt passion – as far as it went.