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

Friday, January 01, 2016

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1955, it gave its Best Picture award to Marty, a movie that's pleasant but hardly great. I prefer these:

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

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

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

The most appealing portrait of rural life that I've ever seen onscreen, which surely says more about me than it says about the picture.

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

The phrase "life-affirming Bergman comedy" may sound 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.

4. 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?"

5. Kiss Me Deadly
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Written by A.I. Bezzerides, from a novel by Mickey Spillane

Cold War noir.

6. 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.

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

"I'm not my brother's keeper."

8. 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.

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

The standard against which I measure all other Holocaust films.

10. 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.

Honorable mentions:

11. Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray)
12. Ordet (Carl Dreyer)
13. Rififi (Jules Dassin)
14. Mama Don't Allow (Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson)
15. Cellbound (Tex Avery)
16. The Far Country (Anthony Mann)
17. Hare-Brush (Friz Freleng)
18. The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De La Cruz (Luis Buñuel)
19. Gumbasia (Art Clokey)
20. Killer's Kiss (Stanley Kubrick)

Of the films of 1955 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Phenix City Story and The Tall Men.


posted by Jesse 8:45 PM
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