THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940)

Charlie Chaplin’s skewering of Adolf Hitler was ahead of its time, then stood the test of time.

THE THIRD MAN (1949)

A movie of black and white paranoia that to me is one of the all-time classics, perfectly capturing a very specific time and place.

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)

An extremely stupid movie, but in an enjoyable way. It teams up the famous comedy duo with the most famous Universal monsters, including Bela Lugosi’s last appearance as Dracula.

MONSIEUR VERDOUX (1947)

This “comedy of murders” starring Charlie Chaplin as a serial killer was a scandalous flop in the US but has since been re-evaluated.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943)

A truly amazing movie that takes a negative stereotype and helps us understand him, in beautiful technicolor, with some of the most interesting performances I’ve seen, all made in England during the Blitz.

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942)

Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” follow-up was cut-up by the studio but remains extremely impressive technically. I found myself mostly annoyed at the characters.

LATE SPRING (1949)

An aggressively minimalist postwar Japanese family drama from Yasujiro Ozu, about a daughter who just wants to take care of her aging father, even though everyone else wants her to get married to literally anyone.

GOING MY WAY (1944)

Bing Crosby plays a laid-back, musical priest in this very laid-back musical that was a huge hit in the middle of World War II but mostly forgotten today.

ROMA CITTÁ APERTA (1945)

Perhaps the definitive “neorealist” film, shot in the rubble of Occupied Rome just after the Nazis had left.