Don Druker, Chicago Reader

  1. The French Connection II 1975 full review
  2. The Conversation 1974 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. full review
  3. The Great Gatsby 1974 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. full review
  4. The Odessa File 1974 The surprises increasingly fail to surprise. full review
  5. Serpico 1973 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. full review
  6. En Passion (A Passion) (The Passion of Anna) 1969 A tentative, plotless film that pulses with the rhythms of life rather than the rhythms of drama. full review
  7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 Don Siegel's superb little effort, with its matter-of-fact isolation of hero Kevin McCarthy (ironic, no?) from the smarmy complacency of a small town gone to hell -- and way beyond -- points the way to his gripping action films of the 60s and 70s. full review
  8. The Big Knife 1955 full review
  9. Daddy Long Legs 1955 full review
  10. The African Queen 1951 The direction is often questionable, but the screenplay (by James Agee, John Collier, Huston, and Peter Viertel from C.S. Forester's novel) is a model of tight construction. full review
  11. I Was a Male War Bride 1949 Howard Hawks's darkest comedy (1949) -- a loosely constructed, episodic film that traces the progressive humiliations suffered by Free French army captain Cary Grant. full review
  12. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 This is classic Capracorn. full review
  13. The Lady Vanishes 1938 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. full review
  14. Faust 1926 As atmospheric and menacing a work as the expressionist movement ever produced. full review
  15. Go West 1925 full review
  16. /titles/197480 full review