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Criterion Collection

On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront

After watching the Criterion print of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954), I was surprised to discover that Kazan made the film as a quasi-mea culpa for having testified against eight supposed Hollywood Communists at Senator McCarthy’s Congressional witch hunt.  Kazan greatly loathed C... Read On



The year is coming to a close faster than I’d like and I still have quite a few movies to see. But I can’t imagine anything else affecting me the way “Weekend” did. If “The Help” and “The Tree of Life” moved me, and they did, then I must have responded... Read On



The Aborigine boy stands like a slim shadow against the sun-baked Outback. He plants his feet firmly in the dirt, rears back a hand, fingers wrapped around a crudely sharpened spear. The first strike tears a hole in the kangaroo’s shoulder. The wounded beast sprints for cover among a density o... Read On

The Vanishing

The Vanishing is a suspenseful, engaging thriller that provides us with interesting characters, a halfway plausible setup, and then destroys everything that has come before in the last ten minutes. The premise: While on vacation in France, Dutch native Saskia goes missing at a rest stop. Three years... Read On

Elevator to the Gallows

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” That quote kept turning over in my mind as I watched the great Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows, a film where every character is guilty of murder, and each of them is unaware they have an iron-clad alibi. It ... Read On


Part Hitchcock, part Gothic thriller, Diabolique is one of the most famous suspense films ever made.  That it carries its suspense consistently through to the shaky ending, is a testament to the talent of director and co-writer Henri-Georges Clouzot, and screenwriter Jerome Geronimi. How is it that ... Read On


What, exactly, happened to Anna? That’s the central question in Michelangelo Antonioni’s haunting masterpiece, L’Avventura, a film uneasy with answers and so much more than a missing persons case.  Like Anonioni’s later film, Blow Up, it builds suspense, not with the shock an... Read On

Wings of Desire

Regarded by some as an inscrutable poetic masterpiece, I can’t help but think that Wings of Desire, despite all its beauty, falls into the category of pretentious arthouse cinema. The film follows two angels, Damiel and Cassiel, through a series of images and setpieces, as they regard the mode... Read On

The Passion of Joan of Arc

For the second time in a week, I have been profoundly moved by this great film.  One of the best I’ve ever seen.  Passion contains the most astonishing performance I’ve ever seen, by Renee Falconetti as Joan of Arc during her heresy trial. Vastly ahead of its time, full of intricate came... Read On

The Virgin Spring

  “God…I don’t understand you!” So Max von Sydow, as an anguished father, cries out in the closing scene of Ingmar Bergman’s great The Virgin Spring (1960).  The moment, when it comes, is inevitable: the end of a path paved by torment and loss of faith. I’ve ... Read On

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