My Top 10 Films for those long, hot summertime days…….
(In Chronological Order)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Alongside Welles’ Citizen Kane & Magnificent Ambersons, I would nominate Treasure of the Sierra Madre as the greatest film of the ‘40s. Bogart at his best, Huston’s finest film, and one of the best American movies ever made.
Summer Interlude (1951)
Delicate and nostalgic ode to one’s first love is a fleeting and bittersweet gem that shows Bergman at his least talky and cynical, instead opening the viewer’s heart to a “remembrance of things past”. Plus, is there anything else in Bergman’s oeuvre to compare with the animated sequence which unfolds like a classic cartoon upon the record sleeve? Easily Bergman’s most underrated film.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The chiaroscuro cinematography of Stanley Cortez, lingering score of Walter Schumann, menacing performance of Robert Mitchum (his best), and the quintessential children performance(s) create a dark fairy tale unlike any other American film, easily the greatest of its era (the staid 1950s).
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Fellini’s epic whirlwind of delectable moments in the streets of Rome. This classic contains a wealth of memorable scenes—Steiner’s intellectual apartment and his suicide, the mysterious and ghostly mansion Bassano di Sutri and the mass at dawn, the final orgy, Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Awe-inspiring on location desert cinematography, sweeping score from Maurice Jarre, Peter O’Toole’s brilliant performance, and the intelligent script which reads more like an epic novel. This defines the term epic. The CGI-riddled and overwrought so-called “epics” of our time cannot ever hold a candle to this masterpiece.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)
Leone’s epic masterpiece, an ode to the lost frontier of the old West as the railroad changes the landscape, featuring a career-best performance from Henry Fonda as one of the most brutal villains in cinema, Claudia Cardinale (the most beautiful woman in Western history), sweeping cinematography of Monument Valley, stirring and heartbreaking Morricone score. My favorite Leone film.
The Hired Hand (1971)
Quiet, reflective, and sad Western with gorgeous, shimmering landscape cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond and an aching, deeply hypnotic score by Bruce Langhorne which perfectly captures the mournful feeling of the lonesome frontier.
Perhaps the best film noir ever made. The darkest ending in Hollywood history.
The Passenger (1975)
Easily Antonioni’s masterpiece and Nicholson’s most low key and best performance. Maria Schneider says so much without saying nary a word. The quintessential existential film of identity, or the lack thereof.
Paris, Texas (1984)
My favorite American film of all time (easily the greatest film of the cultural wasteland of the ’80s). The beautiful landscape cinematography from Robby Muller, the greatest film score of all time courtesy of the slide guitar of Ry Cooder, and the performances are perfection. The entire experience is emotionally cathartic, stirring something deep within you, and the ending is heartbreaking.Read less