A-Z Film Challenge: Day Three

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’.

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67 thoughts on “A-Z Film Challenge: Day Three

  1. With only having read your picks, Pete, and none of the comments yet, I have to say that my favourite “C” movie, and one of the very best of all movies as far as I’m concerned, is still “Citizen Kane”. You do mention a number of others though that I’ve never heard of before, let alone seen, so a great list for me to explore!

    Two more you did not mention that I will add now: “Cat Ballou” (which I can almost quote all the way through) and a nod to the Australian filmmakers,”Cosi”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Susan. I did give ‘Kane’ a mention in the intro. I do like the film a lot, but it is a disguised biopic of Hearst, so for my money not Welles’ greatest hour.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a powerful film indeed. Based on the life of William Randolph Hearst, the American newspaper publisher. (Patty Hearst was his granddaughter.)
      I like most things touched by Orson Welles, and he did well with that film.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I quite enjoyed ‘The Craft’. After all, it has Neve Campbell and Fairuza Balk in it!
      I was expecting your choices to be more up to date, so not disappointed.
      I have seen ‘Candyman’, but all I remember is the ‘say the name three times’ thing.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I adore The Craft. And speaking of Neve Campbell, I’ve begun watching her in Party of Five. And Candyman, now that’s a movie that still scares me. I’m interested in Caligula though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I very much liked the 1991 version of “Cape Fear,” and consider it a worthy remake, but I might give a slight edge to the 1962 version. I have neither one on DVD, so I’d need to see them again, one after the other, to confirm or change my opinion. I’ve never seen the 1942 version of “Cat People,” but I own the 1982 version starring Malcolm McDowell and Nastassja Kinski. I consider it a very good film. I own both “Citizen Kane” and “Casablanca.” Although I prefer the Orson Welles film, I do think “Casablanca” deserves its status as a classic. I happen to like Ingrid Bergman, but the only other film on my shelf in which she stars is “Notorious.” I must admit that I am not a fan of “Cabaret.” Would you like my copy? Your discussion of “Caligula” was quite unexpected. I have the “complete, unedited, and unrated edition” of this film, and have viewed it a couple of times. It’s not difficult to see why it’s so darn controversial. Malcolm McDowell is terrific, though!

    Speaking of Malcolm McDowell, I’m surprised you didn’t mention “A Clockwork Orange.” I tried to think of “C” titles in my collection, and the first ones that came to mind (other than some of the ones you mentioned) were “Cliffhanger” (implausible, but entertaining), “Crimes of Passion” (though I don’t care for Ken Russell’s strident use of Dvoล™รกk’s “New World Symphony”), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (a visual treat, great music by John Willaims, Franรงois Truffaut, and Devils Tower!), “Clueless” (a highly quotable film that is both hilarious and endearing), “Corpse Bride” (a truly haunting stop-motion animated musical), and “Chicago.”

    Based on how many times I’ve watched these films, I’d have to give the #1 spot to “Chicago.” The direction is both flawless and very creative, the music is obsessively good, and every single character is highly memorable. What’s more, the musical numbers either play out in a real world setting (unlike, say, “My Fair Lady,” a wonderful film where characters just break into music because, hey, it’s a musical!) or else they play out in Roxie Hart’s mind. I’ve watched this film countless times, and, once I’m back in DVD mode again, it will be the first one I take off the shelf.

    Bailiff: Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
    Velma Kelly: And then some.
    Bailiff: Take a seat.

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    1. Thanks, David. I like ‘Chicago’ a lot. I have the film on DVD, and have also seen it (twice) on the West End stage. I wouldn’t rate it above ‘Cabaret’ though, which is a great adaptation of the Isherwood books into a musical, and Liza was amazing, to my eyes. Thanks for the offer of your copy, but I have the ‘Anniversary Edition DVD’.
      I liked ‘Close Encounters’ visually, but as always, Spielberg suffers from sentimentality to excess.
      Thanks as always for your thoughts and comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, okay, I’ll rent ‘Chimes at Midnight’. It is a rare thing indeed when we are diametrically opposed on opinion. Ingrid B. is my favorite actress, therefore, I would certainly add Casablanca. Captain Fantastic is my recent favorite C film. I would add to your list:
    Carrie, Carlito’s Way, The Cell, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(Gene Wilder), Cool Hand Luke, and Chicago (yes, I know you don’t approve).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Over here, it is called ‘Wlliy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’, so I haven’t got to W yet.
      I approve of ‘Cool Hand Luke’, ‘Chicago’, (which I own on DVD) ‘Carlito’s Way’ (DVD also) and ‘Carrie’. If you mean ‘The Cell’ with Jennifer Lopez, then I might consider that one best forgotten.

      As for Bergman, we will have to continue to disagree. I have a similar issue with Julia Roberts. I just don’t get either of them. Perhaps I am missing a gene…
      Thanks for pitching in, Cindy. It is greatly appreciated.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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        1. Gibson was suitably manic in that, and as a conspiracy theorist myself, I quite enjoyed it. But my only notable Roberts performance to date is ‘The Pelican Brief’. A film I enjoyed, but not because she was in it.
          Best wishes, Pete. x

          Liked by 2 people

        2. She is in it, and I like the film. But I still don’t really like her, V. You wont catch me out mate. Those big teeth and large feet just don’t do it for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Oh yes, and that ‘acting’…)
          Cheers, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It was worth a try. And I didn’t know you weren’t the biggest Ingrid Bergman fan. From what I’ve seen, I quite like her subtle delivery and loveliness.

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  4. I see that “Casablanca” didn’t make your list because of Ingrid. However, being female, I loved Bogart. I kind of imagined I was Lauren Bacall despite any evidence whatsoever. Each exam period in Cambridge, there was a Bogart festival, so I saw “Casablanca” many times, always after finishing grueling exams. I will always have a fondness for it.

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    1. I like Dooley Wilson singing ‘As time goes by’, but otherwise, I think it is an overrated film. That doesn’t detract from any personal fondness for it though, Elizabeth. Many thanks for your thoughts.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OK “Citizen Kane” is excellent but I’ve never quite understood the reverence, but not even a mention of “Casablanca”?? You’re a brave man! And “Caddyshack” has a lot of depth and emotional complexities that most people miss, but I still get choked up every time. There’s just something about dancing groundhogs.

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    1. That’s funny, Robert, as I almost included ‘Caddyshack’ as a joke, but was worried that everyone would think I secretly liked it! I am not a fan of Ingrid Bergman, so would never have mentioned ‘Casablanca’. (I know, shoot me now…)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed Crash, but don’t quite share your enthusiasm for Come and See, although I have yet to find a copy with subtitles, which I’m sure add to the atmosphere (mine is dubbed). Still some great mentions for others for me to look up too.
    I did like your opening comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would hate to watch Come and See as a dubbed film. Fair enough if you don’t feel the same way about it. I just have this 1985 memory of being overwhelmed. But nothing lasts forever. After all I used to think that El Cid was a great film, when I was nine! ๐Ÿ™‚ Things may change…

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  7. Pete, I am not sure I’ve ever seen a discussion of cinema that included discourses on Citizen Kane AND Caligula in the same discussion – bravo!

    I must find your final choice and see it!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Pete, I have the same one – I really need to watch it again, but it is equal parts fascinating, wildly entertaining, and disgusting! I also love how the cast was coerced into an “adult” film without knowing just how “adult” it was going to be!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. This looks like fun so I’m going to join in, I hope you don’t mind? I don’t know Come And See but heard it’s good, is that the right word? My choice for C would be Chopper (2000) or City Of Lost Children (1995) so now I better go back and do A and B.

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    1. I am very happy for you to join in, William, and you are very welcome here. I have the Jeunet/Caro film on DVD, and it is indeed a magical experience. Eric Bana is very good in ‘Chopper’, which I have seen and enjoyed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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