NOTORIOUS (1946)

Alfred Hitchcock takes some very standard materials and somehow makes an amazing movie out of them… a great performance by Ingrid Bergman at the center helps, too.

CAT PEOPLE (1942)

Definitely the best movie ever made about were-panthers, it is remarkably effective at building tension using mostly shadows, sound design, and weird sexual undertones.

LADRI DI BICICLETTA (1948)

The prototype of the postwar European realism, it is a very simple movie about the cycle of poverty that worked way better for me than I would have thought.

FANTASIA (1940)

Disney’s early foray into “high culture” is probably weirder to than you remember and also includes a satisfying amount of dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence.

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.