Sunset Boulevard. 1950 Billy Wilder
This Billy Wilder classic is as perceptive look at films as it gets. That old fraud Eric von Stroheim ( there was nothing aristocratic about him) was superb as the white gloved chauffeur of Norma Desmond but William Holden , and Gloria Swanson deliver fine performances too. Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper and Cecil de Mille appear as themselves.
The Last Picture Show 1971 Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich who had a commercial success with What”s Up Doc is a brilliant film maker and historian. Tim Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd are excellent in this rite of passage film set in a dying Texan town whose social hub is the cinema .
All About Eve 1952 Joseph Mankiewicz
There are some movies that come and go but every time I watch this one I am absorbed and impressed. Bette Davis and George Sanders are in the lead but Anne Baxter the ambitious young actress steals the show in every sense. Watch out for an early performance of Marilyn Monroe. I know that someone will say its about Broadway not Hollywood but no film depicts the ruthlessness of the aspirant star said to be Tallulah Bankhead
Cinema Paradiso 1986 Guiseppe Tornatore
A wonderfully touching film featuring one of the best continental actors Philiipe Noiret . A film maker returns to his native Sicily, his first love and the projectionist that inspired him
Mephisto 1981 Istvan Svabo
This film is based on the actor in Fritz Lang’s M played by Klaus Maria Brandauer who compromised himself to the Nazis
Singin in the Rain 1952 Stanley Donen
It took 6 days to film h rain sequence during which Gene Kelly had a heavy cold. Debbie Reynolds was only 19 and ironically her voice was dubbed as the fim’s theme is the inability of the silent star to develop an acting voice
Mepris 1963 Jean Luc Godard
I’m not a huge fan of Godard whom I find an indulgent bore nor his often tedious filmmaking . However this film based on a Alberto Moravia novel about a movie of Ulysses filmed In Capri features the lovely Brigitte Bardot married to a scriptwriter but seduced by venal producer Jack Palance. Fritz Lang’s appears in the film he is directing
Day for Night 1973 Francois Truffaut
A particular favourite of mine. Truffaut has to maintain control when all crashes around the film he is directing. Watch out for Graham Greene appearing as a insurance broker. I love Truffaut’s line
“A film is like a journey by stagecoach. You start with the excitement of travel but in the end you are just pleased to arrive in one piece. “
Sabotage. 1936 Alfred Hitchcock
Based on the Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad the saboteur Oscar Homolka operates from this cinema . Alfred Hitchcock add suspense to a great story.
L’Artiste 2012 Michel Hazanivicius
A modern treatement of the transition from silent to talkie. A feature you once saw in films but less now is the appearance of pets. Here the pooch almost steals the show.