Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Movies I'm Watching: The Best Movies I've Never Seen

I've been thinking further about the idea of little-known and forgotten cinematic gems (see my recent post on the subject). A few come to mind immediately: Here are 20 of my favorite movies that people I talk with don't seem to know very well (in no particular order). These, of course, are movies I have seen:

Badlands (1973)
Tom Jones (1963)
Tiger Bay (1959)
Walkabout (1970)
Doro no Kawa (1981)--also known as Muddy River
The Conversation (1974)
Hobson's Choice (1953)
The Dresser (1983)
Odd Man Out (1947)
Five Fingers (1952)--also known as Operation Cicero
The Duellists (1977)
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)
Fail Safe (1964)
The 49th Parallel (1941)
The League of Gentleman (1960)
Orphée (1949)
The Train (1965)
Topsy Turvy (1999)
I'm All Right Jack (1959)
Room at the Top (1958)

Some of these will be well known to cinephiles, but none seems to be part of mainstream consciousness--at least not in the US. Some of these have a higher profile in Britain. Among them, Tiger Bay, Walkabout, Hobson's Choice, and Five Fingers, are special favorites of mine. All highly recommended. For trivia buffs, Hobson's Choice includes one of the first film performances of Prunella Scales, later better known as Sybil Fawlty, wife of Basil Fawlty, John Cleese's character in Fawlty Towers.

Not to mention the incomplete 1937 I, Claudius, with Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon.... The surviving footage, unfinished as it is, will send shivers down your spine. Few people I know have ever heard of it.

I wonder what your favorite little-known films are? Send me your list. Don't exclude films because they are on this or other similar lists. I'm interested to see where the overlap is.

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