Now that the DC has helped me expand horizontally, I want to start expanding vertically again.
What are some of the great, lesser known titles by the most famous directors? Names like Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa, Fellini, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Welles, Hitchcock, Murnau, Eisenstein, De Sica, Carne, Antonioni, Traffaut, Lang, etc. Most of my exposure to these directors is from their most critically praised films. I need recommendations from their films that aren’t already obsessed over.
Fellini – Satyricon, City of Women, I Vitelloni
All much better films than La Strada and Amarcord and Dolce Vita.
Hitchcock – The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Blackmail
All much better than Vertigo, Psycho and Rear Window.
Eisenstein – Strike, October
My favorites of his.
Just a small list to begin with.
Moreover, when talking about “obscure”, I hope we only mean the masterpieces and not some mambo jumbo Autumn Sonata or Stage Fright or whatever.
Another Fellini title that is little-seen: “The Clowns”.
I posted a thread a couple of days ago about a new Region 1 release of this obscure “staged documentary” that has just been released. I found it on Amazon where it’s selling for $9.99.
Kurosawa: NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH (1946)
For Lang, his only giant canonical films are M and Metropolis, but if you want to expand vertically, I’d go for:
Dr. Mabuse: The GamblerThe Testament of Dr. MabuseThe Big HeatScarlet Street
I hear great things about Spies, and French film critics adore Moonfleet (which is sadly unavailable on Netflix_.
Fellini has been fortunate enough to have all his greats enter the canon, but the (relatively) hidden gem for me is Nights of Cabiria (plus I second Dim’s I Vitelloni).
J. Frankenheimer’s STORY OF A LOVE STORY
D. Hopper’s THE LAST MOVIE
E. Petri’s A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY
“E. Petri’s A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY”
Is Petri that well-known???
“but the (relatively) hidden gem for me is Nights of Cabiria”
A gem it is but hidden? I don’t know, it’s definitely top tier, the devoid masculines, the fragile youths, the brightly lit city. It’s not as popular as 8 1/2 or La Strada but it’s up there in terms of popularity.
Thanks for the Lang too, I need to check more from him, only Big Heat I’ve seen from your list.
Basically I’m looking for recommendations that I couldn’t get just by looking at the TSPDT list. A lot of good ones so far. And a surprising amount that stream instantly on Netflix.
Maybe I should go for the Postwar Kurosawa Eclipse set?
fritz lang – clash by night
truffaut – small change
hitchcock – lifeboat, jamaica inn, sabotage
kurosawa – drunken angel
Fritz Lang — House By the River
Francois truffaut — The Green Room
Jean Renoir — Le Testament du Dr. Cordelier
Federico Fellini — Toby Dammit
Jean-Luc Godard — Soigne ta Droit
Jacques Rivette — Merry Go Round
Jacques Demy — Trois Places Pour le 26th
Yasujiro Ozu — A Hen in the Wind
Akira Kurosawa — Madadayo
Alain Resnais — Je T’aime Je T’aime
Ingma Bergman — All These Women
Alfred Hitchcock — Bon Voyage
Kenji Mizoguchi — Women of the Night
F.W. Murnau — Phantom
Michelangelo Antonioni — Cronica di un Amore
Orson Welles – Filming The Trial
Madadayo is crap, sentimental bullshit. Bon Voyage David? Really?
But thumbs up for the Antonioni pick, a marvelous almost detective like romantic drama. Superior to The Passenger and Red Desert by any sense of the word.
Is Demy that famous? I’ll have to check Merry Go Round. and The House by the River.
Is this about obscure mediocrities or obscure masterpieces and only? Let’s clear things out because let’s be honest, not all Fellini and Ozu and Hitchcock works are worthy of discovery people!!!
I very much beg to differ re Kurosawa. Perchance you hate cats.
Cronica “superior”? I wouldn’t play them off against each other. it’s exceptionally beautiful. The shots FLOW into one another so strikingly. And the piano and saxaphone score by Fusco is really great.
Yes Demy is that famous.
Merry Go Round is hard to find. House By th River pretty easy to come by. It was made for Republic and is all mood. Very Poe.
Yes, Bon Voyage, really.
Nights of Cabiria is far from hidden, though a gem it may certainly be.
Ok here are some of my favourite overlooked films from some of the big names.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Jail Bait
Ingmar Bergman – Life of the Marionettes
Orson Welles – Immortal Story
Francois Truffaut – Mississippi Mermaid
Andrzej Wajda – the Ashes
Luis Bunuel – Death and the Garden
Werner Herzog – Signs of Life
Bernado Bertolucci – Tragedy of A Ridiculous Man
Theo Angelopouls – the Hunters
John Huston Wise Blood
John Cassavettes Love Streams
Pier Paolo Pasolini Medea
Demy might have been famous once but how many people out of 10 know him beyond the two popular musicals of his? Your generation David has known him a lot more than the younger ones.
Merry Go Round is hard to find, well…not when it comes to torrents. The transfer will probably suck but it’s still something than nothing, correct?
Yeah, sorry, I love cats, even more than dogs but Madadayo is one of the worst final works by an acclaimed director. Please watch Ghatak’s and Terayama’s instead. I’m sure you’ve watched Klimov’s already.
“Yes, Bon Voyage, really.”
Have you seen Murder! ? Do you still think Bon Voyage is a “great” choice, greater than Blackmail?
I thought by the term “big names” we only meant the Criterion folks. If not, can someone suggest a de Oliveira obscure masterpiece?
Bravo for the Theo and Wajda picks Cyclo!
For Tarkovsky, I would say “Nostalghia” and to a lesser degree “Ivan’s Childhood.” However, with only seven films to his name, it is very easy for a cinephile to tear through his filmography. But I’ve noticed that these two are usually the last of his films that people watch and “Nostalghia” should really be among the first.
to David Ehrenstein:
Good Murnau choice with “Phantom.” Every silent film fan should pick up MoC’s DVD of it, so they can get “Die Finanzen des Großherzogs” too.
The Sacrifice I thought was the one “forgotten” by people who love Tarkovsky. Yeah Scuba, you’re right anyhow, it’s kind of obvious that Tarkovsky shouldn’t belong in an “obscure” list of filmographies. It’s kind of pointless to discover an obscure masterpiece by a famous director with only 7 features when 4-5 of his are clearly distinguished amongst the cinephile community.
Ghatak and Terayama I mentioned above with the same amount of films in their name deserve equal exposure to Tarkovsky and none of their films is even remotely popular.
None of these are obscure, but I don’t hear about them as much as I should:
Bergman: Smiles of a Summer NIght
John Ford: Sergent Rutledge, The Fugitive
John Huston: Judge Roy Bean
Hiroshi Teshigahara: Man Without A Map
Ingmar Bergman: Music In Darkness
Béla Tarr: Almanac of Fall
Jean Epstein: Finis Terræ
Mikio Naruse: Morning’s Tree-Lined Street
Frederick Wiseman: Juvenile Court
As with others, I don’t know if these films are particularly rare, but they should at least be easier to find!
“Stage Fright” from Alfred Hitchcock with Marlene Dietrich
i actually love it, and there’s one of the most glamorous scenes ever, when Marlene’s character is getting her dress fitted for the funeral of her husband and is being really sarcastic to her assistent while smoking under the musseline veil and worring more about the deepness of the decolté rather than mourning her dead husband.
“One from the Heart” (1982) by Francis Ford Coppola
I think it was his first film but rarelly mentioned.
it’s classified as a musical, set in a highly stylized, studio constructed Las Vegas, where the actors (including Nastassja Kinski) don’t sing but the score by Tom Waits and Teddy Edwards takes a big role.
It’s very kitsch as only the 80’s can be, full of the cliché elements that define the period with its pink neon lights in big bubbly signature type font over the window of a milkshape bar, strippers in giant cocktail glasses, palm trees and a lot of plastic.
I just saw bits of it and i kind of liked it, there’s a trippy, psychedelic feel to it!
but really, it’s very far from being a masterpiece!
I agree with Dimitris,
Fellini’s “Satyricon” is a very underestimated film and i personally consider it one of his best and among my very favourites of all time!
and “Lifeboat” by Hitchcock, i saw it recently and i thought it was greater than many of his praised ones! Rich in content, minimal in style
and hey Dimitris, as for an obscure masterpiece from “de Oliveira”, do you mean Manoel de Oliveira?
i don’t know if you saw his first feature film “ANIKI BÓBÓ” but that is by far his best film ever! In Portugal it’s one of the most emblematic films of all time, a real national classic! everyone from various generations know the film by name (many of them without even having seen it) but i don’t know if the film is well know in the international circuit or had any release or whatsoever.
But you know, I’m portuguese and i must say that apart from “Aniki bóbó” (which is very close in essence to the italian neorealist principles) i’m not a fan of his work at all! i agree he has a very personal and original narrative style, and i sometimes can apreciate the aesthetic quality of some of his work but on the other hand and among other reasons, most of his fetish actors and their acting skills are very questionable, lacking often authenticity, ex. often over-acting when they shouldn’t be, and being dull when they should express intense emotions (and no, it is not a stylistic choice), which overshadows completely the intentional meaning of the content or events.
I don’t know if you speak or understand well portuguese in order to capture the subtleties of the language and its musicality but i garantee you that most of the times it is agonizing to watch Oliveira’s films, specially “Vale Abraão”! It is probably the worst, most tedious film i have ever watched in my life! it’s a bad joke!!! and after all is one of his most praised works internationally!…
Don’t get me wrong i do love slow pace movies, (i’m the biggest fan of Bresson, Tarkovsky, Sokurov,…their work is poetry to my eyes and ears) but manoel de oliveira’s…simply forget about it!
it’s a bit sad to say that, because he is one of the most distinguished personalities in the panteón of portuguese culture and I admire his strengh as a man/artist, (sure, it is very unique to be alive at his age let alone being actively filming with 102 years old), but i cannot empathize one bit with his work at all.
However, there’s a film of his with french production called “je rentre à la maison” (2001) that has not been very talked about and curiously, it is the one i liked the most
also an older one: “‘NON’, ou a vanglória de mandar” (1990)
in any case there’s so many and I haven’t seen most of them
i admit i probably never will
“it’s a bit sad to say that, because he is one of the most distinguished personalities in the panteón of portuguese culture and I admire his strengh as a man/artist, (sure, it is very unique to be alive at his age let alone being actively filming with 102 years old), but i cannot empathize one bit with his work at all.”
Thanks for the recommendations NeverMind and don’t worry…Angelopoulos is a huge thorn to my co-citizens as well, the ones who have seen it. You’re not the first one to be complaining about a native director of yours,I’m fairly certain we’ll find others who don’t like Fassbinder from Germany or Dreyer from Denmark (although it’s weird because those popular directors never receive complaints)
but by the way Dimitris,did you see “Aniki Bóbó”?
Also, talking about native filmmakers, there are 2 portuguese directors that i really like,
There’s JOÃO CESAR MONTEIRO, a controversial visionary author, partly IGNORED BY the big public, parlty KEPT AWAY FROM the big public. He was permanently criticized or misunderstood for his politically incorrect and idiosyncratic body of work while admired by many colleague directors and film critics from all over the world. His work is full of personal symbolism, political and religious critiscism, morbid humour, sarcasm, cynicism and plenty of dualities like virtue V perversion, high culture V popular culture, etc
(see specially “Recordações da casa Amarela”, “A Comédia de Deus”, e “Vai e Vem”(finished few days before he died and in my opinion, his masterpiece and a “swansong” in cinematic terms)
there’s PEDRO COSTA a very acclaimed director of this generation,
(see specially the trilogy “cartas das Fontainhas” that includes: “no quarto da vanda”, “ossos” e “Juventude em Marcha” released recently by criterion collection )
Not yet, I’ve seen more recent by de Oiveira like the Bunuel rendition or I am Coming Home which the latter was pretty intriguing although I’m sure I’ll get attached more to his early stuff. I HAVE watched The Cannibals nevertheless which I absolutely loved but this is probably one of his most famous rather obscure superb films.
“the ones who have seen it.”
Who have seen him I meant, damn editing.
House on the River: Great pick David. Don’t be snobs,guys.
Good call on STAGE FRIGHT, Nevermind.
A lot of real obscure stuff playing at the Cannon film series at Walter Reader this weekend if you’re in New Yorker.
I’m Coming Home is truly teriffic — a film about old age made by an actual old person. Very subtle, elegant and deeply moving.
I’ve decided to replace my choice of Bon Voyage with Under Capricorn.
David, wise choice, I never understood why they liked his late “blonde” collaborations more than the goddess Ingrid. I love Notorious more than any Birds and Marnie types of mysteries.