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

Sunday, January 15, 2006
I CAN'T DRIVE '55: Another top ten list. So far we've looked at my favorite films of
1995, 1985, 1975, and 1965. Can you guess what year comes next?

1. East of Eden
Directed by Elia Kazan
Written by Paul Osborn, from a novel by John Steinbeck

The best movie James Dean ever made. Kazan's best picture, too.

2. Diabolique
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Written by Clouzot, Jerome Geronimi, Frederic Grendel, and Rene Masson, from a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac

The Hitchcockian thriller that inspired Columbo and, less happily, a terrible remake with Sharon Stone.

3. The Trouble with Harry
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by John Michael Hayes, from a novel by Jack Trevor Story

The most underrated movie in Hitchcock's canon. It's also the most appealing portrait of rural life I've ever seen, which surely says more about me than it says about the picture.

4. Smiles of a Summer Night
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

At first glance the phrase "life-affirming Bergman comedy" looks about as plausible as "Pauly Shore's four-hour Shakespearean drama." But that -- the Bergman comedy, not the Shore epic -- is exactly what this is.

5. The Night of the Hunter
Directed by Charles Laughton
Written by James Agee, from a novel by Davis Grubb

"Ah, little lad, you're staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand?"

6. Pather Panchali
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Written by Ray and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, from a novel by Bandyopadhyay

I saw this one in a film class when I was 18. N.B.: I think I was the only one who liked it.

7. One Froggy Evening
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese

This feels like folklore, doesn't it? The legend of the singing frog?

8. Night and Fog
Directed by Alain Resnais
Written by Jean Cayrol

There's such a glut of Holocaust movies out there, and so many of them are essentially trite, that it's a relief to watch a documentary that really engages what happened and what it means to remember it.

9. The Man from Laramie
Directed by Anthony Mann
Written by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt, from a story by Thomas T. Flynn

Lear in the old west.

10. Ordet
Directed by Carl Dreyer
Written by Kaj Munk

A rarity: a religious movie that emerges from deep faith, not greeting-card sentimentality.

posted by Jesse 11:28 AM
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