Coppola manages to turn an expert thriller into a portrayal of the conflict between ritual and responsibility without ever letting the levels of tension subside or the complicated plot get muddled.
The Great Gatsby1974
Director Jack Clayton seems overawed by the opulence of the production as well as by the mythic presence of Fitzgerald -- and the result is a film of shimmering surface brilliance and almost complete lack of focus or substance.
A virtuoso performance by Al Pacino and some expert location work by Sidney Lumet add up to a tour de force genre piece that transcends the supercop conventions to create a moving, engrossing portrait of Frank Serpico.
I Was a Male War Bride1949
Howard Hawks's darkest comedy (1949) -- a loosely constructed, episodic film that traces the progressive humiliations suffered by Free French army captain Cary Grant.
The Lady Vanishes1938
This is vintage Hitchcock, with the pacing and superb editing that marked not only his 30s style but eventually every film that had any aspirations whatever to achieving suspense and rhythm.
As atmospheric and menacing a work as the expressionist movement ever produced.
For my taste the suspenseful set pieces go on much too long, and the message -- that right-wing conspiracy is built into the American political and corporate structure -- is overstated.