John Burt's Top 10

by John Burt

Created 07/07/12

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I've been a loyal supporter of Criterion since the beginning of dvds. My first Criterion was Peeping Tom.

  • Painting with light. How they were able to make a movie about nuns in the Himalaya's in the middle of England is beyond me. This is one of those movies that I return to every couple months. Inspiring.

  • My favorite Orson Welles film. Yes, I love Citizen Kane, but the character (Harry Lime) is delicious. And he's only in the movie for a couple scenes. Talk about a scene stealer... Dutch angles, stark black & white, decayed interior designs. Carol Reed wasn't given the credit that he deserves. This is the greatest British Film ever made.

  • Hitchcock movie that defined what it meant to be a Hitchcock movie. The innocent man. The Macguffin. Squabbling couple. A debonair bad man.

  • The use of space within the composition. How the characters relate to the space. Their alienation. Lighting. And most of all Monica Vitti.

  • Crackling dialogue by Odets and Lehman. The underbelly of entertainment publicity. B&W photography that's as stark at the dialogue is hard. And a greek tragedy at the heart of the story. I could hear Landcaster and Curtis rap all day long. Love this film.

  • First introduction to Ozu. It was a stunning revelation. His films seem to leave me in a zen-ful state. I always relate to Ozu films as having just a fullfilling meal. No junkfood here. Just great human characters set against a backdrop of tatami mats, bottles of saki, and distinctive spots of red.

  • I know alot of people would put Breathless ahead of this, but this film has inspired me ever since I saw it for the first time on a lousy vhs bootleg. Thank god Criterion released this. Love this film. Godard. Karina. The dance around the pool table.

  • Melville knew how to shoot cool. Fedora. Trench coats. Heist. I know Melville was influenced by Asphalt Jungle but, my god, how this and his other films have influenced today's filmmakers. When I think of crime features I start with this, Bob Le Flambeur, Le Doulos, Le Samurai.

  • British Cinema got gritty and angry. This is my favorite example of that period in British films. The editing is to be studied and admired. I'm still learning from this movie.

  • I lesson in modern editing. The first great essay film. Michael Moore and Oliver Stone owe alot to this film. Welles took a kernel of a story and strung it out through juxtaposition and creative editing to make one of the greatest documentaries ever.

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