Wednesday, 27 August 2008


What's with all this tagging that's going on ? Cerpts, over at the Land of Cerpts and Honey is not content with having named his top hundred films a while back but now he is naming his top ten! And he wants everybody else to to do it. At my former workplace a group of film fans were playing a similar game once and asked my friend John what his favourite film was. Innocently, John said "BORN FREE". Silence followed and slowly everybody moved away from him. This sort of thing can be deeply embarassing when non-film buffs are involved. I was having a fairly informed conversation with some friends about our love of movies and one of the group very kindly tried to include my partner's niece in the conversation by asking her what the best film she has ever seen was. She thought carefully for a minute and then said "COYOTE UGLY!" An embarassed silence followed as everybody tried to think how we could continue the conversation without seeming to rudely ignore what she'd just said.

Anyway, I'll play the game again, although I really do find it difficult to pick just ten titles and I certainly won't be putting them in order of preference as Cerpts did...and anyway, I'll change the list tomorrow. So, without further ado (I'm simply playing for time) here's the ten favourite films for today in no particular order.

1. THE GODFATHER (Francis Ford Coppola) See, I'm cheating already because by THE GODFATHER I really mean all three films in Coppola's mafia saga and I'm claiming all three as one choice. Wonderful intricate plotting, great performances and great direction.

2. VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock) My favourite Hitchcock without a doubt.

3. WINTER LIGHT (Ingmar Bergman) Powerful, chilling and above all personal masterpiece
from the director who reaches the places few others dare to venture.

4. PERSONA (Ingmar Bergman) Bergman's "vampire" movie - another indispensible masterpiece fro the master of angst.

5. MEAN SREETS (Martin Scorsese) Possibly not the very greatest of films by Scorsese but still my personal favourite, full of exciting ideas, terrific performances and a real sense of a director totally in love with his medium.

6. CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles) What can I say that has not been said before ? Each time I see it I fall in love with films all over again and find that the excitement of watching it has not diminished.

7. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (Michael Powell) When it comes to Powell there is so much to choose from and I could have easily chosen A CANTERBURY TALE, PEEPING TOM, THE RED SHOES or A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.

8. SEVEN SAMURAI (Akira Kurosawa) One of the greatest of adventure films.

9. RED BEARD (Akira Kurosawa) This was the wild card. I expected my second Kurosawa to be his other masterpiece IKIRU but RED BEARD jumped in at the last moment.

10. MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (John Ford) Iconic Western from America's great poet of the frontier.
Well, that's it. I can live with telling people that they are my favourite movies...but tomorrow the list might include Marcel Carne's ENFANTS DU PARADISE, Hawk's RIO BRAVO and...damn it!
I'll quit while I'm ahead.


Aaron White said...

What a wonderful list. I am truly in love with Powell's "Life and Death of Colonal Blimp" the vibrant technicolor and only a couple years after Citizen Kane and Casablanca.

Weaverman said...

So many things in this film impress me (as they do in all Powell's films)but I particularly love the gymnasium scene with the wonderful crane shot that disolves through the top of the building, turns into a model shot and then descends down to go into the carriage window. My other favourite is the slow zoom towards Anton Walbrook at the immigration office as he recounts his reasons for leaving Nazi Germany. Walbrook is totally still and his voice is low yet this is acting of the very highest order and supremely moving.
O.K.Aaron, how about me tagging you for your top ten ?

Cerpts said...

I know, don't you hate that?!? My top ten list is completely different today.

No, just kidding. But it probably will be in a week or two. I love all the movies you mentioned (except for the 3 I've never seen) and they might also have a place on my own top ten if I was to do it over in a month or so. Including your also ran RIO BRAVO which I also love. RIO BRAVO has overtaken HIGH NOON in my estimation over the last couple years. I guess that's another victory for Howard Hawks, innit! He must've been right about HIGH NOON (which is still a great movie, though). I just find myself leaning more and more towards RIO BRAVO as the years go by.

OK OK I'll spill it. The 3 films I haven't seen of your top ten are PERSONA, RED BEARD and MEAN STREETS. IKIRU also narrowly missed being in my own top ten. of course, HUNDREDS of films "narrowly" missed. But once again, a fantastic list and thanks once again for introducing me to Ingmar Bergman AND Powell & Pressburger. They made quite an impact on my top ten as you can see.

And don't worry Aaron. You've been Cerpts Free long enough! I'm on my way to visit your blog at my first available opportunity (after being so swamped this week I was forced to neglect the internet. Good on ya, Weaverman, for tagging him or else I woulda hadda! Can't wait to see your top ten as well!