Monday, July 18, 2005

Playing Favorites

100 Movies the Siren Loves

Notice, please, that I do not say these are all-time greats. Some of them are, some of them probably aren't, some definitely aren't. All I am saying is, I could watch any movie on this list again and again. I could watch one of these right now.

Les Enfants du Paradis
Rules of the Game
Fanny and Alexander
Smiles of a Summer Night
The Leopard
Night of the Hunter
My Man Godfrey
The Apartment
Sunset Boulevard
Witness for the Prosecution
One, Two, Three
Singin' in the Rain
The Third Man
The Fallen Idol
Odd Man Out
Citizen Kane
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Crowd
The Searchers
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
My Darling Clementine
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Bonnie and Clyde
Imitation of Life (Sirk version)
All About Eve
A Letter to Three Wives
Red River
Sweet Smell of Success
Paths of Glory
All This, and Heaven Too
Mr. Skeffington
The Red Shoes
Black Narcissus
Thief of Baghdad (Powell-Pressburger version)
I Know Where I'm Going!
The Four Feathers (Korda version)
Footlight Parade
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Duck Soup
A Night at the Opera
Double Indemnity
The Awful Truth
Shadow of a Doubt
The Best Years of Our Lives
Roman Holiday
A Geisha
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Lola Montes
The Earrings of Madame de ...
Le Plaisir
Trouble in Paradise
The Shop Around the Corner
To Be or Not to Be (Lubitsch version)
Sullivan's Travels
The Battle of Algiers
The Wind
La Strada
The Ox-Bow Incident
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
On the Waterfront
Libeled Lady
The Women
Dinner at Eight
A Star is Born (Judy Garland version)
The Manchurian Candidate
The Gay Divorcee
Lawrence of Arabia
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Yi-yi (A One and a Two)
The Blue Kite
The Marriage of Maria Braun
Annie Hall
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Modern Times
Broken Blossoms
The Bad and the Beautiful
The Band Wagon
Jules and Jim
The Last Metro
Atlantic City
Quai des Orfevres
Do the Right Thing
The Godfather, Parts 1 & 2 (is this cheating?)
Portrait of Jennie
Viaggio in Italia
Garden of the Finzi-Continis
The Court Jester
The Adventures of Robin Hood

What the Siren Has Learned From Making This List:

1. She's an old-fashioned gal.
2. She really, really needs to see some more silent movies.
3. She has never seen a Max Ophuls she didn't take to her heart. La Ronde barely missed the list.
4. She is a sucker for romance.
5. She should have made a longer list.

Some Movies That Form Gaping Holes in the Siren's Viewing History, and That She Wanted to Wait to See on a Big Screen, but Then She Had Kids and Moved to Toronto, So DVD It Probably Will Be:
La Dolce Vita (bought, but unviewed)
Day for Night (ditto)
Tokyo Story
Seventh Heaven
The Big Parade
Before the Revolution
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (silent)
Le Cercle Rouge
Touchez Pas au Grisbi
Ashes and Diamonds
Aparajito and The World of Apu
Senso (WHY isn't this on DVD?)
Talk to Her
The Decalogue (saw only the first one)

Six Movies That the Siren Is, in All Honesty, Highly Unlikely to See Anytime Soon Because Lately She Doesn't Want Her Heart Ripped Out of Her Chest:
Au Hasard Balthasar
Umberto D
The Bicycle Thief
City of God
Los Olvidados

Five Movies That the Siren Just Plain Doesn't Want to See, So There:

The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
Fight Club


Victoria said...

Love this list! Given that I really enjoyed your every single recommendation, the list is copied for my next Netflix queue reordering. As for the list of movies you will not see, can I just say that I am dating a man who would list those among his favourites? Yes, I have a lot to put up with! :) On the other hand, he is not imposing them on me, and he is willing to watch my favourites, which he ends up liking.

girish said...

wow what a mama of a list.
our tastes must be awful similar. i love every one of these.
perhaps the siren knows of this temple where movies are seen and adored on the big screen....?
for a while, i used to commute to it (i kid you not) once every coupla weeks from the US to catch films there.

Campaspe said...

I did not!! OMG, come to Toronto so I can buy you a drink. I have been dying for a place like this. LOOK!!! They are showing Tokyo Story Aug. 4!! I have enough time to get a sitter. Scratch the drink, come to Toronto and I will buy you the whole damn bottle.

Campaspe said...

Also, V. darling - my man *loved* The Getaway and told me the scene where Struthers gets it on with Lettieri was the best part because it was so obviously referencing 70s porn, even to the lascivious guitar riff.

OTOH, I am pretty sure that he will want to see Tokyo Story too, so I count my blessings.

girish said...

alas, i can't make it up to t.o. i have a shoulder injury, & can't drive long distances for a little while.
but i'll be there for the film festival (for 10 days), so we can rendezvous and catch a movie or two and chat, if you like.
oh, and you *must*, if you can, see "casque d'or". it's french movie heaven.

Exiled in NJ said...

What a wonderful menu. I have to give or take ten or so, simply because I turn on the Dish and find Thieves Like Us and want it, or even better, the last thirty minutes of Deception. I watch it and then pop in my copy and see the entire flick. God, what scenery chewing from Davis and the great Claude, totally over the top but the film can't be played any other way. To top it off, there is the dummy in the white suit. The war is over, so now he is a cellist. Welcome back to the fight.

My first movie memory enscribed in my brain is Joe Gillis, talking while he is floating in the pool, and the funeral for the monkey and popeye Norma, on a large screen behind a swimming pool at an oil camp in Puerta la Cruz, VZ, in 1950-51. Seven years old and those images stuck with me for life.

Flickhead said...

Siren, you simply must see "Umberto D" -- you simply must!!

Campaspe said...

**moans** But Flickhead, the poor old man, his little dog ... I'll wind up on SSRIs, I know I will.

Exiled: Deception is a treat, I agree. "just your usual monkey-funeral shot ..."

Girish: Sorry about your shoulder, ouch! but I will try to take you up on the Film Festival offer. I have Casque d'Or on DVD but haven't watched yet, so I am debating.

mireille said...

DH is a film fanatic, much like yourself (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) -- sent him this link and he is really enjoying it. thank you. xoxoxo

mireille said...

oh, and he asked me to ask your thoughts on "American Beauty" ...? xoxoxo

Campaspe said...

M: American Beauty ... ambivalent. Gorgeous cinematography, highly enjoyable acting, script undone by a tendency to shoot fish in a barrel.

girish said...

A few more observations in lieu of reluctantly getting back to work.

"Footlight Parade"--the movie I most wish was on DVD. Cagney is electrifying, and Joan Blondell is such a sweetheart.

Ophuls--how scandalously forgotten. I saw a retrospective in your backyard at the Cinematheque a few years back, and every single film (including "Libelei" & "Tender Enemy" and other obscure 30s stuff) was amazing.
And "Le Plaisir"--one of the most beautiful movie titles ever!

btw, did you see all these films on the big screen in NYC? If so, I'm envy-green.

Campaspe said...

I am wending through the list and realizing, yes, I did see most of these on a big screen. Don't get too jealous, though. I used to see a lot of double features at Theatre 80 St. Marks (now a playhouse) and I loved it. Cheap, and two for one! But the rear projection was ghastly, the prints were probably fresh out of someone's basement, and you had to get there early or you wound up on the side looking at the screen over your shoulder. I saw Children of Paradise at the Bleecker St. Cinema; first foreign movie I ever saw projected. That house had two theaters, a big one and a small one. CoP was at the small one. At the big one that night was "Don't Look Back." Dylan's voice would bleed through the walls at times, giving me the unique film experience of "Don't Look at Children of Bob Dylan." I still fell passionately in love with the movie, of course(and saw it again at a better venue years later).

girish said...

Oh, and I haven't seen the elf trilogy or "Fight Club" either. I saw "Audition" at the Rotterdam film festival where it premiered a few years ago. The director said, introducing the film: "Please keep the aisles open, because people may get sick and want to make for the facilities in a hurry." A good call, that.

And "Le Cercle Rouge" was the first foreign film I ever saw as a child. Turned me into a rabid moviehound.

Campaspe said...

I was all set to rent Audition, then a girlfriend warned me that she loathed it. Looked at IMDB, then looked at some spoilers and said ... No. No, no, no. I am more of a one for something like "Onibaba."

Anonymous said...

I saw CHILDREN OF PARADISE for the first time at a movie theater in NY three weeks ago and is it heaven, or what? Best screenplay ever and Barrault is so wonderful. The only flaw is that I think the Othello sections went on too long, but that's such a quibble.

I took a friend to see Black Narcissus a couple of months ago, and when it ended she said, "what's the point?" Ever since this comment, I'm very polite to her, but can't really respect her anymore. Sometimes its dangerous to take friends to movies.

Anonymous said...

Amazing list! I'm going to print it out and keep it next to my movie reference books the next time I'm looking for something good to rent. I heartily concur on the greatness of Ophuls; I haven't seen everything by him yet, but my favorite so far is The Reckless Moment with James Mason and Joan Bennett. Just beautifully shot and wonderful acting. Tilda Swinton recently starred in a remake called The Deep End, but I didn't think it captured the poignancy of the original, and it got bogged down in sentimentality at the end. The original is starker. They're both based on an interesting little book called The Blank Wall.

Thanks again for sharing your movie knowledge!

katiedid said...

What a great list! We have a whole lot of faves in common, too, it seems.

For a silent movie, I recommend seeking out The Last Command with Emil Jannings. The end is overly pat, but it's typical of the time period.

Alex said...

If you can tolerate Onibaba, you can probably handle Audition. It is extremely difficult to watch, though. I found it worthwhile enough.

Alex said...

In addition to seeing Tokyo Story at the Toronto Cine., you should also really try to see Mizoguchi's Sisters of the Gion on August 19th. The Cinematheque is also playing a large number of EXTREMELY difficult to see Japanese classics in the near future, so you may not be able to ever again catch some of them.

Also check out the Cineforum as well.

Atreau said...

What a great list! Why, why did Francis Ford Coppola ever do Godfather 3? I hate that movie!

Hable con ella (Talk to her) is my favorite Almodóvar film which is saying a lot as I love so many of them. That film just played with my emotions like crazy.

chutry said...

I'm with you on the Lord of the Rings movies. I have absolutely no plans to see them.

Great list. Makes me wish I could bring myself to produce one, but I'm guessing that I'm too much of a slacker to sit down and make one.


hernandezpastor said...

I loved "Les enfants du Paradis", "Jules et Jim" and "Le dernier métro". Some french directors I missed when I read the list were René Clair ("Sous les toits de Paris"), Jean Vigo ("Zéro de conduite", "L'atalante), Marcel Pagnol ("La femme du boulanger"), René Clément ("Jeux interdits", "Plein soleil"), Jacques Tati ("Mon oncle", "Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot"), Jacques Demy ("Lola", "Les parapluies de Cherbourg") and Eric Rohmer ("Ma nuit chez Maude"). I also missed some other titles of Renoir ("Le carrosse d'or", "French cancan", "Elena et les hommes") and Carné ("Le quai des brumes"). Any chance of a list of French films?

Duncan said...

Six years later, I wonder . . . might there ever be a write-up on "I Know Where I'm Going?" Or just a general ode to Hiller? I know she had a limited output, but I feel there's enough worthwhile stuff there to justify a post, and I feel you could do special justice to it.

JUAN. said...

No Mitchell Leisen? I think "Midnight" should've made the list.

JUAN. said...

No Mitchell Leisen? I think "Midnight" should've made the list.