- The Big City
- 8 1/2
- The Leopard
- High And Low
- America America
- The Organizer
- The Servant
One of the greatest careers in British cinema was lived by the marvelous Dirk Bogarde, a terrific combination of gentlemanly deportment and sexual menace, at once gruffly masculine and deviously feline. One of his very best ever performances is one of Joseph Losey’s most enjoyable films, The Servant, as the valet to James Fox who ends up taking on a whole hell of a lot more of the man’s life than just setting out his clothes.
The performance I find the most exciting and charismatic comes from the legendary Sophia Loren and her three personas in that rarity of rarities, a Vittorio de Sica comedy, Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow. The first of the three stories it tells is the best, with Loren as a cigarette seller who thrills everyone with her earthy charms (it provided part of the basis for Penelope Cruz’s Raimunda in Volver forty years later).
The greatest of the cinema’s character actors, Melvyn Douglas, won his first of two very well deserved Oscars for his performance as Paul Newman’s overdrawn father in Hud. The man was so talented, he could make a death scene a fascinating study in active performance.
There is no shortage of tortured souls wandering Ingmar Bergman’s landscapes, often obsessed with their ideas of God and death. Among the best of the very wonderful roles he wrote for women is Ingrid Thulin in one of Bergman’s most challenging and probing films, Winter Light. The passion and sympathy she brings to all of her screen roles always keeps Thulin far above being a penitent bore, and is one the reasons why Bergman’s films have a good, healthy dose of sex mixed in with all that church talk.
Stanley Donen made what was probably the best Hitchcock movie never made by Hitchcock, the comedy thriller Charade. It has all the elements of a perfect movie: humour, suspense, strong dialogue, sex appeal, perfect performances and gorgeous cinematography and, lo and behold, the masterful filmmaker behind it all balances every single element without breaking a bead of sweat. It’s Audrey Hepburn’s best film in her career, and one of the most enjoyable ever made, employing a lightness of touch which even the great Master Of Suspense wouldn’t have pulled off quite so easily.