Why did I ever start this?
Despite always knowing which film would come out on top for the letter C, once I started to think of the possibilities, it left me in a spin. World Cinema options arrived thick and fast, but I managed to whittle those down to the visual feast of ‘City of God’ (2002), and the marvellous historical epic, ‘Captain Alatriste’ (2006), with a riveting performance from Viggo Mortensen in the lead role. Looking back in time for a classic obviously provided me with ‘Cat People’ (1942), still an atmospheric experience in the 21st century. And how could I omit the cracklingly-good ‘Cincinnati Kid’ (1965), with Edward G. Robinson, the gorgeous Ann-Margaret, and a young Steve McQueen? Then there is ‘Cape Fear’. But which version? A rare example where both are excellent, so take your pick from the 1962 film with Robert Mitchum as Max Cady, or the 1991 remake, with De Niro on top form.
One of the few musicals I adore, ‘Cabaret’ (1972), almost took the top spot, for Liza Minnelli’s heartbreaking performance as Sally Bowles, as well as the authentic atmosphere, and some great songs. ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941) has to have a mention, as many believe this to be the best film ever made. I don’t happen to agree with that, but Orson Welles is undoubtedly one of my favourite actors. ‘Crash’ (2004) amazed me with its entwined story, perfectly acted out by the impressive ensemble cast.
Then there is ‘Caligula’ (1979). This eye-popping historical contrivance from Tinto Brass almost defies description. The debauched life of the crazed Roman emperor (captured perfectly by Malcolm McDowell) was brought to the screen in a no-holds-barred violent and sexual epic that had film censors running for their scissors. Rarely has the idea of Roman life been brought to the screen in such an uncompromising fashion. The later release of the uncut version (the only way to see it) showed just how far they were prepared to go. For many reasons, I love this film. And for just as many, I think it is awful too. But it holds an undeniable fascination for me, I confess.
Close to my heart, and vying for my C choice, is the incomparable ‘Chimes At Midnight’ (1965). This Shakespearean historical epic may feel ‘stagey’, and could even be called set-bound in parts. But Orson Welles gives a career-best performance as Falstaff, that I could watch over and over and never tire of.
I will leave you with a film that I have mentioned so many times. If I had the funds, I would buy all the copies available, and send them to you, free of charge. War films are not for everyone though, so I understand the reluctance of many of my readers to watch this film. But this is a war film like no other. In many respects, it is a film like no other. Haunting, surreal, and unforgettable, this Russian film about partisans fighting the SS during WW2 is so much more than that. It is a complete experience, and not a comfortable one. ‘Come and See’ (1985) is my second favourite film of all time.
And it almost beat ‘Blade Runner’.