Classic films I’ve seen recently

I’ve been catching up on some classics lately: films that, as an avid film-watcher, I should have seen before this. Better late than never.

Citizen Kane. An exploration of the life of a publishing tycoon and his last utterance. Deserves all the acclaim it’s received since 1941. Many of its elements – the cinematography, the flashbacks – will seem standard to today’s viewers, but they were innovations at the time. But above all that is a well-told story of a life from start to finish, and a superb acting job by Orson Welles.

Once Upon A Time In The West. Mysterious strangers, endangered widows, ruthless assassins, and greedy businessmen: it’s a western. I actually bought this DVD years ago but have not watched it until recently. I think it’s better than The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: it’s less wacky, just as epic, and has better performances. It’s an operatic saga to rugged men doing the right thing.

Papillon. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman try to escape a French penal colony. A pretty good prison movie. It has some incredibly gritty moments; the ’70s were really good with grit, weren’t they? This must be the closest McQueen ever gets to being a real actor, and not just an iconic presence.


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