Matthew Asprey Gear


Voted for

Citizen Kane1941Orson Welles
Touch of Evil1958Orson Welles
Shoah1985Claude Lanzmann
Chinatown1974Roman Polanski
Where Is the Friend's House?1987Abbas Kiarostami
La dolce vita1960Federico Fellini
Casablanca1942Michael Curtiz
Céline and Julie Go Boating1974Jacques Rivette
Lawrence of Arabia1962David Lean
Cría cuervos1975Carlos Saura


Touch of Evil

1958 USA

The 1998 reconstruction edited by Walter Murch (from Welles's extensive notes) transformed an enormously entertaining pulpy B-film into a perfectly balanced baroque art film. Perhaps the greatest film noir of all time, 'Touch of Evil' is Welles's most mature dramatisation of fascism in the US context, moving beyond his earlier Nazi infiltration plots (eg. 'The Stranger') to a stunning examination of how the institutions of American power (the police, the border with Mexico) enable fascism to thrive at home. And in Hank Quinlan, Welles creates one of his greatest villains.


1974 USA

'Chinatown' initially suggests another installment in the retro- or nostalgia-noir films popular at the time (venetian blinds, fedoras, etc). It briskly transcends those generic gestures to become greater than even the best private detective movies of the original noir cycle.

Further remarks

An attempt to find a balance between movies which seem a perfect realisation of their type (Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia), those which transcend their type (Chinatown), and experimental movies which exhilaratingly reinvent the form (Citizen Kane, Celine and Julie Go Boating).