I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

“What would I say to a hamburger? Boy. I’d take Mr. Hamburger by the hand and say, ‘Pal, I haven’t seen you for a long, long time.’” ‘I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang’, directed by Mervyn LeRoy in 1932, is a crime-drama starring Paul Muni as James Allen, a soldier returning from the…

Sholay (1975)

“You have a lot of strength left in your arms, don’t you? Remember what you said to me that day? ‘These aren’t arms, they’re your noose’. Look at you now, the noose has opened! You still have a lot of strength in your arms, don’t you? Give me your arms, Thakur.” ‘Sholay’, directed by Ramesh…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

First published in the British Fantasy Journal. 17 (26-9). ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, directed by David Yates in 2016, is a British and American fantasy movie, and a further instalment in the ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise. Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a British wizard who arrives in New York City with a…

The Servant (1963)

“He may be a servant but he’s still a human being.” ‘The Servant’, directed by Joseph Losey and written by Harold Pinter in 1963, is a British social psychodrama starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox. Fox plays Tony, an affluent Londoner who returns from abroad to a rundown house. He employs a valet called Barrett,…

Russian Ark (2002)

First published in the British Fantasy Journal. 16 (107-12). “I open my eyes and I see nothing. I only remember there was an accident. Everyone ran for safety as best they could. I just can’t remember what happened to me.” Russian Ark, directed by Alexander Sokurov in 2002, is a ghost story, albeit an elliptical…

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

“There’s nothing so different about them. After all, crime in only a left-handed form of human endeavor.”” ‘The Asphalt Jungle’, directed by John Huston in 1950, is an American film noir starring Sterling Hayden, Sam Jaffe and Jean Hagen. Jaffe plays Erwin “Doc” Riedenschneider, a newly released prisoner who builds a gang to steal jewellery….

Time of the Wolf (2003)

“For a director famous for his challenges to and provocations of his audience, this film, which of all Haneke’s work has received the most lukewarm if not negative critical response, is also the easiest for an audience to take — once you’ve looked past its forbidding apocalyptic scenario — for there’s a strong humanist premise…

The Phantom Carriage (1921)

“There is an old, old carriage… It is no ordinary driver who holds the reigns, for he’s in the service of a strict master named Death.” ‘The Phantom Carriage’, directed by Victor Sjöström in 1921, is a Swedish silent horror movie starring the director as David Holm, a drunkard who when knocked unconscious on New…

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

“Never mind, dear. Now if I were you I’d try to get a little sleep. It’ll make you feel quite well again! There’s a most intriguing acrostic in the Needlewoman. I’m going to try to finish it before you wake up.” ‘The Lady Vanishes’, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938, is a British thriller starring…

A Summer’s Tale (1996)

“Some days I’d like to be stupid and ugly. I only meet guys who want to paw me. Never anyone I can just talk to. I think it’s a shame… that nine times out of ten, when a guy talks to a girl… he’s got another thought in mind.” ‘A Summer’s Tale’, directed by Éric…

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

“I was continuing to shrink, to become… what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close – the infinitesimal and…

American Sniper (2014)

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world, and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep.” ‘American Sniper’, directed by Clint Eastwood in 2014, is an American biopic…

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

“I don’t know if you’d be particularly interested in hearing anything about me. My life, I mean… Most of it doesn’t add up to much that I could relate as a way of life that you’d approve of… I’d like to be able to tell you why, but I don’t really… I mean, I move…

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

“That’s just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock. ” ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, directed by Stephan Elliott in 1994, is an Australian road movie and part of a cycle of films that included ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ that made Australian cinema distinctive in the…

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

“Well, there are more ways than one of getting close to your ancestors. Follow the old road, and as you walk, think of them and of the old England. They climbed Chillingbourne Hill, just as you. They sweated and paused for breath just as you did today. And when you see the bluebells in the…

Film (1965)

‘Shh’ ‘Film’, directed by Alan Schneider and written by Samuel Beckett in 1965, is an American short movie, the only film written by the Irish avant-garde playwright. A man, played appropriately silently by Buster Keaton, is followed by a pursuing camera from the streets of New York into an apartment block. His face for the…

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

“Twelve people go off into a room: twelve different minds, twelve different hearts, from twelve different walks of life; twelve sets of eyes, ears, shapes, and sizes. And these twelve people are asked to judge another human being as different from them as they are from each other. And in their judgment, they must become…

Full Moon in Paris (1984)

“He who has two women loses his soul. He who has two houses loses his mind,” ‘Full Moon in Paris’, directed by Éric Rohmer in 1984, is a French romantic drama starring Pascale Ogier as Louise, an affluent young woman who is dating and living with a tennis star called Rémi in the suburbs of…

The Red Shoes (1948)

“Don’t forget, a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit.” ‘The Red Shoes’, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1948, is a British romantic drama starring  Moira Shearer, Marius Goring and Anton Walbrook. Shearer plays Vicky Page, an aspiring ballerina who bewitches two men: Boris…

The Tin Drum (1979)

“There once was a drummer. His name was Oskar. He lost his poor mama, who had eat to much fish. There was once a credulous people… who believed in Santa Claus. But Santa Claus was really… the gas man! There was once a toy merchant. His name was Sigismund Markus… and he sold tin drums…

Harold and Maude (1971)

“Well, if some people get upset because they feel they have a hold on some things, I’m merely acting as a gentle reminder: here today, gone tomorrow, so don’t get attached to things now. With that in mind, I’m not against collecting stuff.” ‘Harold and Maude’, directed by Hal Ashby in 1971, is a dark,…