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This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen.
A mix of the witty and the utterly absurd, The Palm Beach Story is a high watermark of Sturges’s brand of physical comedy and verbal repartee, featuring sparkling performances.
It Happened One Night is among the most gracefully constructed and edited films of the early sound era, packed with clever situations and gags that have entered the Hollywood comedy pantheon.
Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the Bengal river around which their daily lives unfold.
A young man embarks on an obsessive search for the girlfriend who mysteriously disappeared while the couple were taking a sunny vacation trip, and his three-year investigation draws the attention of her abductor, a mild-mannered professor with a clinically diabolical mind.
The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral.
In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong.
With its relentless pace, expressive cinematography by the great Russell Metty, and punchy, clever script by Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht, this is an overlooked treasure from the heyday of 1940s film noir.
Make Way for Tomorrow, by Leo McCarey, is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap.
During his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, Ozu put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films
Sacha Guitry was once a household name. Something of a Gallic Noël Coward, this disarming, multitalented artist served up some of 1930s French cinema’s tastiest dishes.
The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events. Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age.
Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork.
John Ford takes on the legend of the O.K. Corral shoot-out in this multilayered, exceptionally well-constructed western, one of the director’s very best films.
In this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Tetsu’s attempt to go straight is thwarted when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang.
A husband, a wife, a stranger, a knife: Roman Polanski sets them all adrift on a weekend filled with simmering resentments and gut-churning suspense in his seminal psychological thriller, still one of the greatest feature debuts in film history.
Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director’s golden 1960s period.
In his late, color masterpiece, Akira Kurosawa returns to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a meditation on the nature of power.
Set amid the tumult of World War II, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, Powell and Pressburger’s classic follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town of Canterbury and forced to solve a bizarre village crime.
The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring the inimitable Toshiro Mifune, was one of Japan’s most successful exports of the 1950s, a rousing, emotionally gripping tale of combat and self-discovery.
This captivating, long-overlooked adventure—with a clever screenplay by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, best known for writing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes—is a deftly concocted spy game that could give the master of suspense a run for his money.