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Ooh! I joined Netfilx last night, and seeing this goal reminds me that I should put some classics in my queue. Anyone have some recommendations?


Sep. 15th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Some excellent suggestions above, but I'd concentrate on Hitchcock, if I were you. It is the best way to learn to appreciate the true genius of classic movies.

Forget the real famous stuff he did in the 60s. It's ok, but strictly 2nd tier -- scary thrillers made for the mass market. His best stuff was all made earlier. These are my favorites:

North by Northwest, To Catch A Thief, Notorious (all w/ Cary Grant at his suave best), Vertigo, Rear Window (the Jimmy Stewart classics), Dial M for Murder, Strangers On A Train, Spellbound (watch for the dream sequence w/ sets by Salvador Dali), Rebecca, The 39 Steps, and The Lady Vanishes

I also like these, which include some of his 60s work, but they are definitely not as good as the ones above: Psycho, The Wrong Man, The Trouble With Harry (a comedy about a dead body), Frenzy, Lifeboat, Suspicion (which would have been a great film but the studio made Hitchcock change the ending), The Man Who Knew Too Much (which would also have been a great film except that Doris Day breaks out into song every 5 minutes, so you have to keep your finger on the mute button. Oh, and note that there's an earlier version of this), The Birds, Shadow Of A Doubt, Saboteur, Foreign Correspondent, Sabotage.

The only other director who approaches Hitchcock in the sheer power and brillance of his movies, IMO, is Stanley Kubrick, although I'm not sure you'd consider them "classics," as the earliest ones were made in the late 1950s and his last movie just a few years ago. Dr. Strangelove is probably the best movie ever made. 2001 is amazing but the last 20 minutes are indeed incomprehensible, although fun to watch especially on drugs. A Clockwork Orange is incredible and fascinating and visually stunning, although very violent and disturbing. The Shining is nothing if not the gold standard of scary movies. Lolita is a brilliant interpretation of a brilliant book, with Peter Sellers and James Mason doing their thing beautifully. Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket are both excellent "anti-war war movies." Eyes Wide Shut is not as good as his earlier films, but still disturbing and fascinating. I liked Barry Lyndon, but I think I'm the only one, so you might want to skip it. The Killing, if you can get a hold of it, is excellent, too.
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