1. I Know Where I'm Going! Written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
A romantic comedy with something pagan simmering beneath it.
2. Ivan the Terrible, Part One Written and directed by Sergei Eisenstein
Stalin had an infamously ambivalent attitude towards this film and its sequel: He endorsed the first installment but suppressed the second, after he realized the parallels to his career weren't so flattering after all. Both pictures are deliberately, grandly overstylized, like an opera or a superhero comic.
3. Scarlet Street Directed by Fritz Lang Written by Dudley Nichols, from a play by Andre Mouezy-Eon and a novel by Georges De La Fouchardiere
A noir remake of Renoir's La Chienne.
4. Open City Directed by Roberto Rossellini Written by Sergio Amidei and Federico Fellini
A ground-eye view of the resistance in World War II.
5. Isle of the Dead Directed by Mark Robson Written by Josef Mischel and Ardel Wray
One of several excellent horror movies produced by Val Lewton in the 1940s, each one drenched in archetypes and atmosphere. This one illustrates the so-called Thomas Theorem: "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
6. The Picture of Dorian Gray Directed by Albert Lewin Written by Lewin, from a novel by Oscar Wilde
Wilde inspired so many bad movies -- delicate, middlebrow piles of reverence whose creators never forgot they were adapting a canonized Great Author -- that it's a special pleasure when someone does justice to one of his tales.
7. The Body Snatcher Directed by Robert Wise Written by Philip MacDonald and Val Lewton, from a story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another Lewton production. You just can't go wrong with him.
8. Le Vampire Directed by Jean Painleve
Painleve got his start in the surrealist movement, then moved into making more subtly surreal science films. This documentary is one of his best: It explores not just the behavior of the vampire bat but the legend of the creature that gave it its name. It even wanders into potentially dangerous waters, considering where and when it was made, by showing the animal stretching its wing in a way that looks a lot like a Nazi salute.
9. Children of Paradise Directed by Marcel Carne Written by Jacques Prevert
"Novelty is as old as the hills."
10. Detour Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer Written by Martin Goldsmith, from his novel
A classic B-movie about a loser, a woman, and a couple of corpses. I like the theory that the whole tale is one man's dubious alibi for crimes he really did commit, and that the film's inconsistencies and glitches are actually just the holes in his story.