Sweet Smell of Success
This film, along with Expresso Bongo, for good or bad, helped shape my life into what it became. At the time I had no idea of the significance of it being filmed in the Brill Building. Suddenly, thanks to Sidney Falco, it was okay to hustle, it was okay to try and find a way out.
Army of Shadows
Our parents never explain the war. We are asked without words to pay lip service to their sacrifice. Army of Shadows puts a face on the story. Never mind the long tracking shots; Melville takes you there.
We should all be this alone. Alone as a way of life, a forecaster of how life finally works out. Delon is the practice run. Pay attention!
Another life changer. I first saw this at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead, London, when I was sixteen. Jean-Claude Brialy had verve, and an English sports car. I wanted both!
A great example of cinema-to-be. The nonchalance, the free form. So much cinema from so many decades owes a nod to the tricks in this one.
Touchez pas au grisbi
I just like the night, the mood, Sami Frey, the cars, Gabin, the double-breasted suits, the quiet urgency and . . . the night.
Le cercle rouge
Classic noir droll flick.
The Battle of Algiers
I was watching a geezer on Charlie Rose last night. John something, lectures in universities on war, uprisings, terrorism, torture, how governments become the terrorists, the pendulum of life and death. John something still uses this film to explain all before they discuss waterboarding. This film is the guv’ner.
A more realistic now Clockwork Orange.
The wonderful fragility of civility and feelings.
Megan Abbott’s Top 10
Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of seven novels, including Dare Me and The Fever. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.
Monte Hellman’s Top 10
I’ve fulfilled a dream to become a part of the Criterion family. Criterion has helped to preserve not only the films I grew up with but also the ones I’m now trying to keep up with. Picking ten is worse than trying to choose between my wives, my…