The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
FORTY-YEAR GAP: In which I still refuse to write a top-ten movie list for 2003. Having already offered picks for
1993, 1983, and 1973 instead, I now turn to 1963:

1. The Birds
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Evan Hunter, from the novel by Daphne Du Maurier

Some people think this is Hitchcock's silliest movie. I think it's his scariest.

2. La Jetée
Written and Directed by Chris Marker

Terry Gilliam later remade/remixed this as Twelve Monkeys. I like that one too, but it can't match the poetic intensity of the original.

3. The Zapruder Film
Directed by Abraham Zapruder

OK, so I'm kidding about this one. Or half-kidding. Give the film some credit: People are still debating it today, which is more than I can say for most relics of the cineaste era.

4. The Great Escape
Directed by John Sturges
Written by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, from the novel by Paul Brickhill

This is what an "action movie" should be.

5. The Servant
Directed by Joseph Losey
Written by Harold Pinter, from the novel by Robin Maugham

A pleasant little mindfuck about power, manipulation, and barely sublimated lust.

6. Hud
Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., from the novel by Larry McMurtry

A modern western starring Paul Newman in one of his best roles. As a morality play it's a bit simple for my tastes, but the stark photography and compelling performances more than make up for that.

7. An Actor's Revenge
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Written by Daisuke Itô, Teinosuke Kinugasa, and Natto Wada, from a story by Otokichi Mikami

Probably the best movie I've ever seen about a Japanese female impersonator.

8. The Haunting
Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Nelson Gidding, from the novel by Shirley Jackson

How I resented this picture the first time I saw it! The campy beginning relaxed my defenses and let me feel superior to the material, and by the time its superbly crafted chills were jolting me in my seat I was too proud to admit I'd been taken in. Forgive me, Haunting: You're a great horror flick, and I regret ever claiming to dislike you.

9. Moth Light
Directed by Stan Brakhage

A film made without a camera.

10. 8 1/2
Directed by Federico Fellini
Written by Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, and Brunello Rondi

Fellini is one of the few directors capable of making self-indulgence interesting. For proof, compare this self-absorbed but compulsively watchable effort to Stardust Memories, the crappy Woody Allen picture it inspired.


posted by Jesse 5:38 PM
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