101. Psycho (US 1960)
Hitchcock had his nose put out of joint (not literally) by the work of Henri Georges Clouzot (see Les Diaboliques and The Wages of Fear) who had out Hitchcocked him in the suspense stakes.
Hichcock's response was Psycho, a profoundly shocking work for its time. Much has been said about killing off a main character in the opening quarter of the film, but Psycho has pre marital sex, women in underwear (much was made of the bra clad Marian Crane in the publicity pictures), voyeurism, suggested incestuous necrophilia and the most explicit violence and (almost) nudity seen in a Hollywood film up to that point.
It's probably the first film to show a toilet as well.
A great film to see in a cinema, and one that understands that true horror involves a sense of dread as well as things being not what they seem.
102. The Long Day Closes (GB 1984)
Terrence Davies's work resembles that of Terence Malick: mood, atmosphere and slowly evolving micro narratives are more important than anything else.
Little of consequence happens in this film (it's not one for the DVD scene selection afficionados), but as an evocation of a particular example of the human condition, it's worth seeing at least once in your life. But maybe not twice.
One of two films set in Liverpool that doesn't induce a sense of shame. Davies did the other one as well.
103. Au Revoir Les Enfants (France 1987)
The friendship between a Catholic and a Jewish schoolboy in occupied France.
A simple, natural portrayal of childhood and adolescence which the French seem to do so well. The film is a semi autobiographical account of Malle's experiences in an austere but genuinely Christian minor boarding school.
Naturalistic acting and sparse, economical dialogue. A work of quality and the antithesis of Hollywood mawkishness.
104. White Palace (US 1988)
Bereaved yuppie James Spader finds solace and spiritual fulfilment in the company of elusive white trash waitress Susan Sarandon.
"Cor!!! Boobies!!!" Spader's immaturity almost costs him his relationship with Sarandon.
I shouldn't really like this. I could be all laddish and say that I like it because Susan gets them out for the chaps, but good acting and a number of quixotic, if unlikely scenes give the film a certain memorable quality.
The best 'giant coffee stirrer' sniffing scene in recent Hollywood history.
105. Midnight Cowboy (US 1969)
Country bumpkin seeks out a living as a gigolo in late 60s New York, but only finds poverty, degradation and friendship instead.
An adult film. Adult films ain't about tits and fighting and swearing; they're about matters that are unsuitable or beyond the comprehension of children,
Excellent performances from Jon Voight and particularly from the usually terrible and mannered Dustin Hoffman.
A pity they used some of John Barry's poignant incidental music for one of Terry Nutkin's animal programmes. Or maybe not.
106. Lost Highway (US 1997)
A film that is even more impenetrable than Eraserhead or Mulholland Drive.
107. Witness For The Prosecution (US 1958)
Ageing QC takes on one final, but very tricky case.
The Verdict is the best courtroom film for many reasons (although, paradoxically, the court scenes are not its strongest feature) and 12 Angry Men has its moments (though not as good as Leon Griffith's 'Minder' pastiche), but sandwiched somewhere in between is 'Witness' (and not the terrible Harrison Ford film).
This is a very showy Billy Wilder film with great, grande guignol acting from Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power.
Enjoyable tosh in the same vein as Sleuth and probably worth just one viewing. (Pauline Kael watches a film only once; fair enough, but how could you savour the Adidas jackets and authentic WW2 feather cuts in 'Escape To Victory without recourse to numerous viewings and a video* with state of the art freeze frame facilities?
You're not seriously suggesting that anyone would have 'Escape To Victory' on DVD, are you?
108. Suspiria (Italy 1976)
Drama/dance student's sojourn at an Italian arts academy is punctuated with violent, supernatural murders.
It's so long since I saw this that there's a real danger that I'm looking back with rose (or vivid scarlet) tinted spectacles, but I do remember being impressed by some top notch scenes of cleverly orchestrated violence perpetrated against some very poor quality actors.
And I might have put the light on. Because it was dark.
109. They Live (US 1988)
A construction worker discovers that aliens are subjugating the human population in a depressed near future USA.
Like nearly all John Carpenter films, there's a germ of a good idea (coupled with some memorable images) spoilt by the lack of somebody to stand next to the director and say:
"I wouldn't include that bit, John, it's terrible/sexist/not funny/not the work of a grown man."
Ray Nelson's short story 'Eight O'Clock in the Morning' has elements of the class struggle metaphor of Carpenter's film, but none of the embarrassing gung ho 'street fighting' (for the benefit of WWF fans) or the misogyny of Carpenter's film.
Keith David: the world's most aggressive man.
Carpenter scores points for creating an anti-yuppie, anti-materialist film at a time when it was deeply unfashionable to do so, and for the black and white/50s B Movie/ 'Mars Attacks!' vision of the alien invaders.
110. This is Spinal Tap (US 1984)
An outstanding film which works on many levels. Every joke in this film has been analysed to death, but its genius lies in the way the writers/performers capture the nuances of language and particular esoteric details without telegraphing their source or context.
A pair of monogrammed (with my own special rubbed off birthmark) nylon Saint Vespaluus y fronts for the first e mail with the two word review of 'Shark Sandwich'.