I do love lists, at least lists of films, ranked this way and that. Besides it being fun to make and read them, they can be useful, making others aware of films they may have missed, but shouldn’t have. This is particularly true with classic films, that I’m afraid more and more of the newer generations are failing to see. And there are so many films that someone who isn’t a fanatic (like me) may not know where to start. There’s a lot of sand to filter to find the gems.
The great actors of the golden age–and the few decades after–are known by name and image, but it is surprising how many people do not know their films. Everyone knows what Marilyn Monroe looks like, but how many people have seen even one of her pictures? OK, if you are reading this, you have, but more have not. And the greatest films tend to have the great actors in them. So what films must be seen? These lists will say.
Not that I started doing this for great educational means. One night I put on the movie Hopscotch, staring Walter Matthau, a fine film I hadn’t seen in years. After watching, my mind wandered to Matthau’s filmography and the first list was born. Making these lists gives me an excuse to watch some of my favorite films, and nowadays I need an excuse.
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