The Pendragon Society

The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2018) 580-561


580. Spies (1928) Dir. Fritz Lang, 178 mins.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays a master criminal aiming for world domination.

579. The Reckless Moment (1949) Dir. Max Ophuls, 82 mins.

Living in upper-middle-class luxury, Joan Bennett discovers that her daughter has been seeing an unscrupulous older man. The man attempts to blackmail Bennett with the packet of letters written by her daughter.

578. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) Dir. Elio Petri, 110 mins.

It is a dramatic, psychological, black-humoured satire on corruption in high office, telling the story of a top police officer (the magnificent Gian Maria Volonte) who kills his mistress, and then tests whether the police would charge him for this crime. He begins manipulating the investigation by planting obvious clues while the other police officers ignore them, either intentionally or not.

577. The Sword of Doom (1966) Dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 119 mins.

A bloodthirsty young fighter (Tatsuya Nakadai) kills a man in competition and is pursued by the slain warrior’s brother.

576. Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Dir. Billy Wilder, 116 mins.

Set in the Old Bailey in London, the picture is based on the play of the same name by Agatha Christie and deals with the trial of a man accused of murder.

575. Hard Boiled (1992) Dir. John Woo, 126 mins.

Woo’s stylised and ultra-violent crime thriller features Tequila (Chow Yun-fat), whose partner (Bowie Lam) is killed in a tea house gunfight with a small army of gangsters. One of the mob’s high-ranking assassins is the undercover cop Alan (Tony Leung), who must team up with Tequila for their common pursuit of taking down the crime syndicate responsible. Combining the talents of Woo, art directors James Leung and John Chong, and cinematographer Wong Wing-heng, produces one of the great examples of placing martial arts choreography into the design of gun fights, explosions and other action stunts to create a spectacle of quite dizzying proportions.

574. All That Heaven Allows (1955) Dir. Douglas Sirk, 89 mins.

One of a series of 1950s melodramas directed by Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter, All That Heaven Allows stars Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in a tale about a well-to-do widow and a younger landscape designer falling in love.

573. Moolaade (2004) Dir. Ousmane Sembene, 124 mins.

Centring on the issue of female genital mutilation, the film depicts a village woman, Collé, who uses moolaadé (magical protection) to protect a group of girls from the practise. She is opposed by the villagers who believe the cutting is a necessity in bringing about what they call “purification”.

572. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) Dir. Agnes Varda, 90 mins.

Shot in real time, the story starts with a young singer, Florence “Cléo” Victoire (Corinne Marchand), at 5pm on June 21, as she waits until 6:30pm to hear the results of a medical test that will possibly confirm a diagnosis of cancer. A stark drama which addresses feminist issues in a curiously oblique fashion.

571. Sans Soleil (1983) Dir. Chris Marker, 100 mins.

Recognised as one of the major films of the 1980s, Chris Marker’s documentary, with a narrative concerning time travel, is a meditation on the nature of human memory, showing the inability to recall the context and nuances of memory, and how, as a result, the perception of personal and global histories is affected. With haunting images from Tokyo and Guinea Bissau, Sans Soleil is an eloquent melancholic take on the perishable ideological certainties of the 1960s.

570. Anomalisa (2015) Dir. Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, 90 mins.

The film follows a lonely customer service expert (voiced by David Thewlis) who perceives everyone (all voiced by Tom Noonan) as identical until he meets a unique woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a Cincinnati hotel.

569. Night and the City (1950) Dir. Jules Dassin, 96 mins.

Shot on location in London and at Shepperton Studios, the plot revolves around an ambitious hustler whose plans keep going wrong.

568. To Have and Have Not (1944) Dir. Howard Hawks, 100 mins.

Humphrey Bogart plays Harry Morgan, owner-operator of charter boat in wartime Martinique. While in port, Harry is approached by Free French activist Gerard (Marcel Dalio), who wants to charter Harry’s boat to smuggle in an important underground leader. Not wanting to stick his neck out, Morgan refuses. Later on, he starts up a dalliance with Marie Browning (screen newcomer Lauren Bacall), an attractive pickpocket. Atmospheric.

567. Before Sunset (2004) Dir. Richard Linklater, 77 mins.

A sequel to ‘Before Sunrise’ where a couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy) meet up after 9 years and spend one afternoon in Paris.

566. The Promised Land (1975) Dir. Andrzej Wajda, 179 mins.

Set in the industrial city of Łódź, The Promised Land tells the story of a Pole, a German, and a Jew struggling to build a factory in the raw world of 19th-century capitalism.

565. District 9 (2009) Dir. Neill Blomkamp, 112 mins.

Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an Afrikaner bureaucrat is assigned to relocate a race of extraterrestrial creatures unexpectedly stranded on Earth, from District 9, a military-guarded slum in Johannesburg.

564. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 117 mins.

aking place in a future post-apocalyptic world, the film tells the story of Nausicaä (Shimamoto), the young princess of the Valley of the Wind. She becomes embroiled in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle of mutant giant insects. Stunningly animated dystopian drama that will charm both adults and children.

563. Stroszek (1977) Dir. Werner Herzog, 115 mins.

Bruno S.. stars as an ex-mental patient who dreams of the so-called promised land of America. He aligns himself with two other outcasts, the like minded prostitute Eva Mattes and a whimsical, near-senile neighbour, Clemens Scheitz. Arriving for a new start in Wisconsin, they find that they’re just as trapped in Dairy Country as they’d been in Germany, if not more so.

562. Beauty and the Beast (1991) Dir. Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 84 mins.

With music and songs by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (voice of Robby Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a monster and his servants into household objects as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), a young woman whom he imprisons in his castle. To become a prince again, Beast must learn to love Belle and earn her love in return before the last petal from the enchanted rose that the enchantress who cursed the Beast had offered falls, or else the Beast will remain a monster forever. Beautifully crafted animation fairy-tale that was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

561. The Phantom of Liberty (1974) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 104 mins.

Remaining ever faithful to Surrealism’s revolutionary convictions, Bunuel, provides a nonsensical and logically impossible narrative that consists of various otherwise unrelated episodes linked only by the movement of certain characters from one situation to another and exhibits Buñuel’s typical ribald satirical humour combined with a series of increasingly outlandish and far-fetched incidents intended to challenge the viewer’s pre-conceived notions about the stability of social mores and reality.