My Favorite William Wyler Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

2.   Dodsworth (1936)

3.   Hell’s Heroes (1929)

4.   Counselor at Law (1933)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   The Heiress (1949)

2.   The Letter (1940)

3.   The Collector (1965)

4.   The Little Foxes (1941)

5.   Roman Holiday (1953)

6.   Jezebel (1938)

John Charet’s Favorite Horror Films of All-Time

Hey there dear readers 🙂 Before I say anything else, let me say that I am aware that some television episodes of horror items are missing and I intend to periodically update this list to include them when I am not so busy. I put this list together fast that is why. Also, I have been enjoying myself this month by watching nothing but horror films 🙂 So I hope all of you enjoy this list that I composed by each decade in chronological order. Enjoy the list and last, but not least, I would love to wish all of my dear readers a Happy Halloween 🙂

1896-1920

1. The House of the Devil (1896) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(a.k.a. The Haunted Castle)
(a.k.a. The Devil’s Castle)
(Short Cinema)
2. A Nightmare (1896) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(Short Cinema)
3. The Bewitched Inn (1897) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(Short Cinema)
4. The Astronomer’s Dream (1898) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(Short Cinema)
5. The Four Troublesome Heads (1898) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(Short Cinema)
6. Bluebeard (1901) (Dir: Georges Melies)
(Short Cinema)
7. The House of Ghosts (1908) (Dir: Segundo de Chomon)
(Short Cinema)

1920’s

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) (Dir: Robert Wiene)
2. The Haunted Castle (1921) (Dir: F.W. Murnau)
3. The Phantom Carriage (1921) (Dir: Victor Sjostrom)
4. Haxan (1922) (Dir: Benjamin Christensen)
5. Nosferatu (1922) (Dir: F.W. Murnau)
6. Faust (1926) (Dir: F.W. Murnau)
7. The Unknown (1927) (Dir: Tod Browning)
8. Un Chien Andalou (1929) (Dir: Luis Bunuel)
(Short Cinema)

1930’s

1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) (Dir: Rouben Mamoulian)
2. Frankenstein (1931) (Dir: James Whale)
3. Freaks (1932) (Dir: Tod Browning)
4. Island of Lost Souls (1932) (Dir: Eric C. Kenton)
5. The Old Dark House (1932) (Dir: James Whale)
6. Vampyr (1932) (Dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer)
7. The Invisible Man (1933) (Dir: James Whale)
8. King Kong (1933) (Dir: Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
9. The Black Cat (1934) (Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer)
10. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (Dir: James Whale)

1940’s

1. Cat People (1942) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
2. The Ghost Ship (1943) (Dir: Mark Robson)
3. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
4. The Leopard Man (1943) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
5. The Seventh Victim (1943) (Dir: Mark Robson)
6. Bluebeard (1944) (Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer)
7. The Curse of the Cat People (1944) (Dir: Robert Wise)
8. The Uninvited (1944) (Dir: Lewis Allen)
9. The Body Snatcher (1945) (Dir: Robert Wise)
10. Dead of Night (1945) (Dir: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer)
(Anthology Film)
11. Isle of the Dead (1945) (Dir: Mark Robson)
12. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) (Dir: Albert Lewin)
13. Bedlam (1946) (Dir: Mark Robson)
14. The Spiral Staircase (1946) (Dir: Robert Siodmak)
15. Fireworks (1947) (Dir: Kenneth Anger)
(Short Cinema)
16. The Queen of Spades (1949) (Dir: Thoroid Dickinson)

1950’s

1. The Man from Planet X (1951) (Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer)
2. The Thing from Another World (1951) (Dir: Christian Nyby)
3. House of Wax (1953) (Dir: Andre De Toth)
4. Godzilla (1954) (Dir: Ishiro Honda)
5. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) (Dir: Kenneth Anger)
(Short Cinema)
6. Them! (1954) (Dir: Gordon Douglas)
7. Diabolique (1955) (Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot)
8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) (Dir: Don Siegel)
9. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) (Dir: Jack Arnold)
10. Night of the Demon (1957) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
11. Dracula (1958) (Dir: Terence Fisher)
(a.k.a. Horror of Dracula)
12. The Testament of Doctor Cordelier (1959) (Dir: Jean Renoir)
(Television)

1960’s

1. Black Sunday (1960) (Dir: Mario Bava)
2. Eyes Without a Face (1960) (Dir: Georges Franju)
3. The Housemaid (1960) (Dir: Kim Ki-young)
4. Jigoku (1960) (Dir: Nobuo Nakagawa)
5. Peeping Tom (1960) (Dir: Michael Powell)
6. Psycho (1960) (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)
7. Village of the Damned (1960) (Dir: Wolf Rilla)
8. Hercules in the Haunted World (1961) (Dir: Mario Bava)
9. The Innocents (1961) (Dir: Jack Clayton)
10. Carnival of Souls (1962) (Dir: Herk Harvey)
11. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) (Dir: Robert Aldrich)
12. The Birds (1963) (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)
13. Black Sabbath (1963) (Dir: Mario Bava)
(Anthology Film)
14. The Haunting (1963) (Dir: Robert Wise)
15. Matango (1963) (Dir: Ishiro Honda)
16. These Are the Damned (1963) (Dir: Joseph Losey)
(a.k.a. The Damned)
17. The Whip and the Body (1963) (Dir: Mario Bava)
18. Blood and Black Lace (1964) (Dir: Mario Bava)
19. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) (Dir: Robert Aldrich)
20. Kwaidan (1964) (Dir: Masaki Kobayashi)
21. The Masque of the Red Death (1964) (Dir: Roger Corman)
22. Onibaba (1964) (Dir: Kaneto Shindo)
23. Planet of the Vampires (1965) (Dir: Mario Bava)
24. Repulsion (1965) (Dir: Roman Polanski)
25. Kill, Baby… Kill! (1966) (Dir: Mario Bava)
26. Punch and Judy (1966) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
27. The War of the Gargantuas (1966) (Dir: Ishiro Honda)

28. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967) (Dir: Giulio Questi)
(Horror/Western)
29. Viy (1967) (Dir: Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov)
30. The Flat (1968) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
31. Hour of the Wolf (1968) (Dir: Ingmar Bergman)
32. Kuroneko (1968) (Dir: Kaneto Shindo)
33. The Living Skeleton (1968) (Dir: Hiroshi Matsuno)
34. Night of the Living Dead (1968) (Dir: George A. Romero)
35. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (Dir: Roman Polanski)
36. Shogun’s Joys of Torture (1968) (Dir: Teruo Ishii)
(Anthology Film)
37. Spider Baby (1968) (Dir: Jack Hill)
38. Spirits of the Dead (1968) (Dir: Federico Fellini)
(Segment: “Toby Dammit”)
(Anthology Film)
39. Witchfinder General (1968) (Dir: Michael Reeves)
40. Blind Beast (1969) (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura)
41. Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) (Dir: Teruo Ishii)
42. Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) (Dir: Kenneth Anger)
(Short Cinema)

1970’s

1. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) (Dir: Dario Argento)
2. Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970) (Dir: Mario Bava)
3. The Ossuary (1970) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Documentary)
(Short Cinema)
4. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) (Dir: Jaromil Jires)
5. A Bay of Blood (1971) (Dir: Mario Bava)
(a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve)
6. The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) (Dir: Piers Haggard)
7. Daughters of Darkness (1971) (Dir: Harry Kumel)
8. The Devils (1971) (Dir: Ken Russell)
(I watched it online)
9. What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971) (Dir: Curtis Harrington)
10. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971) (Dir: Curtis Harrington)
11. The Devil (1972) (Dir: Andrzej Zulawski)
12. Images (1972) (Dir: Robert Altman)
13. The Last House on the Left (1972) (Dir: Wes Craven)
14. Sisters (1972) (Dir: Brian De Palma)
15. The Baby (1973) (Dir: Ted Post)
16. Blood for Dracula (1973) (Dir: Paul Morrissey)
17. The Crazies (1973) (Dir: George A. Romero)
18. Don’t Look Now (1973) (Dir: Nicolas Roeg)
19. The Exorcist (1973) (Dir: William Friedkin)
20. Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) (Dir: Paul Morrissey)
21. Ganja & Hess (1973) (Dir: Bill Gunn)
22. Lisa and the Devil (1973) (Dir: Mario Bava)
23. Messiah of Evil (1973) (Dir: Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck)
24. Theatre of Blood (1973) (Dir: Douglas Hickox)
25. The Wicker Man (1973) (Dir: Robin Hardy)
26. Black Christmas (1974) (Dir: Bob Clark)
27. It’s Alive (1974) (Dir: Larry Cohen)
28. Phantom of the Paradise (1974) (Dir: Brian De Palma)
29. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (Dir: Tobe Hooper)
30. Young Frankenstein (1974) (Dir: Mel Brooks)
31. Deep Red (1975) (Dir: Dario Argento)
32. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) (Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini)
33. Shivers (1975) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
(a.k.a. They Came from Within)
34. Trilogy of Terror (1975) (Dir: Dan Curtis)
(Segment: “Amelia”)
(Anthology Film)
(Television)
35. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) (Dir: Alfred Sole)
36. Carrie (1976) (Dir: Brian De Palma)
37. God Told Me To (1976) (Dir: Larry Cohen)
38. The Tenant (1976) (Dir: Roman Polanski)
39. Castle of Otranto (1977) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
40. Demon Seed (1977) (Dir: Donald Cammell)
41. Eraserhead (1977) (Dir: David Lynch)
42. Martin (1977) (Dir: George A. Romero)
43. Rabid (1977) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
44. Suspiria (1977) (Dir: Dario Argento)
45. Dawn of the Dead (1978) (Dir: George A. Romero)
46. Empire of Passion (1978) (Dir: Nagisa Oshima)
47. The Fury (1978) (Dir: Brian De Palma)
48. Halloween (1978) (Dir: John Carpenter)
49. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (Dir: Philip Kaufman)
50. Someone’s Watching Me! (1978) (Dir: John Carpenter)
(Television)
51. Alien (1979) (Dir: Ridley Scott)
52. The Brood (1979) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
53. Legend of the Mountain (1979) (Dir: King Hu)
54. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) (Dir: Werner Herzog)
55. Phantasm (1979) (Dir: Don Coscarelli)
56. Salem’s Lot (1979) (Dir: Tobe Hooper)
(Miniseries)
(Television)

1980’s

1. Altered States (1980) (Dir: Ken Russell)
2. The Changeling (1980) (Dir: Peter Medak)
3. The Fall of the House of Usher (1980) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
4. The Fog (1980) (Dir: John Carpenter)
5. Inferno (1980) (Dir: Dario Argento)
6. The Ninth Configuration (1980) (Dir: William Peter Blatty)
7. The Shining (1980) (Dir: Stanley Kubrick)
8. Zigeunerweisen (1980) (Dir: Seijun Suzuki)
9. An American Werewolf in London (1981) (Dir: John Landis)
10. The Beyond (1981) (Dir: Lucio Fulci)
11. The Evil Dead (1981) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
12. Possession (1981) (Dir: Andrzej Zulawski)
13. Scanners (1981) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
14. Basket Case (1982) (Dir: Frank Henenlotter)
15. Creepshow (1982) (Dir: George A. Romero)
(Anthology Film)
16. The Entity (1982) (Dir: Sidney J. Furie)
17. Next of Kin (1982) (Dir: Tony Williams)
18. Poltergeist (1982) (Dir: Tobe Hooper)
19. Q (1982) (Dir: Larry Cohen)
20. Tenebrae (1982) (Dir: Dario Argento)
21. The Thing (1982) (Dir: John Carpenter)
22. Vincent (1982) (Dir: Tim Burton)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
23. The Dead Zone (1983) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
24. Down to the Cellar (1983) (Dir: Jan Svanmajer)
(Animation)

25. The Fourth Man (1983) (Dir: Paul Verhoeven)
(Short Cinema)
26. Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983) (Dir: John Landis)
(Music Video)
(Short Cinema)
27. The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (1983) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
28. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) (Dir: George Miller)
(Segment: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”)
(Anthology Film)
29. Videodrome (1983) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
30. Frankenweenie (1984) (Dir: Tim Burton)
(Short Cinema)
31. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (Dir: Wes Craven)
32. Day of the Dead (1985) (Dir: George A. Romero)
33. Phenomena (1985) (Dir: Dario Argento)
34. Re-Animator (1985) (Dir: Stuart Gordon)
35. The Return of the Living Dead (1985) (Dir: Dan O’Bannon)
36. The Stuff (1985) (Dir: Larry Cohen)
37. The Fly (1986) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
38. From Beyond (1986) (Dir: Stuart Gordon)
39. Gothic (1986) (Dir: Ken Russell)
40. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) (Dir: John McNaughton)
41. Manhunter (1986) (Dir: Michael Mann)
42. Angel Heart (1987) (Dir: Alan Parker)
43. Bad Taste (1987) (Dir: Peter Jackson)
44. A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) (Dir: Ching Siu-tung)
45. Epidemic (1987) (Dir: Lars Von Trier)
46. Evil Dead II (1987) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
47. Hellraiser (1987) (Dir: Clive Barker)
48. Near Dark (1987) (Dir: Kathryn Bigelow)
49. Opera (1987) (Dir: Dario Argento)
50. Prince of Darkness (1987) (Dir: John Carpenter)
51. The Stepfather (1987) (Dir: Joseph Ruben)
52. White of the Eye (1987) (Dir: Donald Cammell)
53. Dead Ringers (1988) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
54. Lair of the White Worm (1988) (Dir: Ken Russell)
55. Manly Games (1988) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
56. Monkey Shines (1988) (Dir: George A. Romero)
57. They Live (1988) (Dir: John Carpenter)
58. Flora (1989) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Animation)
(Short Cinema)
59. Society (1989) (Dir: Brian Yuzna)

1990’s

1. Jacob’s Ladder (1990) (Dir: Adrian Lyne)
2. The Reflecting Skin (1990) (Dir: Philip Ridley)
3. Two Evil Eyes (1990) (Dir: Dario Argento and George A. Romero)
(Anthology Film)
4. Army of Darkness (1992) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
5. Candyman (1992) (Dir: Bernard Rose)
6. Dead Alive (1992) (Dir: Peter Jackson)
(a.k.a. Braindead)
7. Raising Cain (1992) (Dir: Brian De Palma)
8. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) (Dir: David Lynch)
9. Body Bags (1993) (Dir: John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper)
(Anthology Film)
(Cable/Television)
10. Cronos (1993) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
11. The Dark Half (1993) (Dir: George A. Romero)
12. In the Mouth of Madness (1994) (Dir: John Carpenter)
13. Cemetery Man (1994) (Dir: Michele Soavi)
14. The Kingdom (1994-1997) (Dir: Lars Von Trier)
(Miniseries)
(Television)
15. Cure (1997) (Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
16. Mimic (1997) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
17. Perfect Blue (1997) (Dir: Satoshi Kon)
(Anime)
18. Ringu (1998) (Dir: Hideo Nakata)
19. Vampires (1998) (Dir: John Carpenter)
20. Audition (1999) (Dir: Takashi Miike)
21. eXistenZ (1999) (Dir: David Cronenberg)
22. Ravenous (1999) (Dir: Antonia Bird)

2000’s

1. Bruiser (2000) (Dir: George A. Romero)
2. Ginger Snaps (2000) (Dir: John Fawcett)
3. Little Otik (2000) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(a.k.a. Greedy Guts)
(Live-Action/Animation)
4. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
5. Ichi the Killer (2001) (Dir: Takashi Miike)
6. Pulse (2001) (Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
7. Trouble Every Day (2001) (Dir: Claire Denis)
8. Blade II (2002) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
9. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) (Dir: Don Coscarelli)
10. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002) (Dir: Guy Maddin)
11. May (2002) (Dir: Lucky McKee)
12. Shaun of the Dead (2004) (Dir: Edgar Wright)
13. Three… Extremes (2004) (Dir: Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike)
(Anthology Film)
14. The Descent (2005) (Dir: Neil Marshall)
15. Land of the Dead (2005) (Dir: George A. Romero)
16. Lunacy (2005) (Dir: Jan Svankmajer)
(Live-Action/Animation)
17. Masters of Horror (2005) (Dir: John Carpenter)
(Episode: “Cigarette Burns”)
(Cable/Television)
18. Masters of Horror (2005) (Dir: Joe Dante)
(Episode: “Homecoming”)
(Cable/Television)
19. Masters of Horror (2005) (Dir: Don Coscarelli)
(Episode: “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road”)
(Cable/Television)
20. Bug (2006) (Dir: William Friedkin)
21. The Host (2006) (Dir: Bong Joon-ho)
22. Masters of Horror (2006) (Dir: Takashi Miike)
(Episode: “Imprint”)
(Cable/Television)
23. Masters of Horror (2006) (Dir: Larry Cohen)
(Episode: “Pick Me Up”)
(Cable/Television)
24. Masters of Horror (2006) (Dir: Lucky McKee)
(Episode: “Sick Girl”)
(Cable/Television)
25. The Woods (2006) (Dir: Lucky McKee)
26. American Zombie (2007) (Dir: Grace Lee)
(Mockumentary)
27. Diary of the Dead (2007) (Dir: George A. Romero)
28. Inside (2007) (Dir: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo)
29. Rec (2007) (Dir: Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza)
30. Trick ‘r Treat (2007) (Dir: Michael Dougherty)
(Anthology Film)
31. Let the Right One In (2008) (Dir: Tomas Alfredson)
32. Antichrist (2009) (Dir: Lars Von Trier)
33. Coraline (2009) (Dir: Henry Selick)
(Animation)
34. Drag Me to Hell (2009) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
35. Heartless (2009) (Dir: Philip Ridley)
36. Jennifer’s Body (2009) (Dir: Karyn Kusama)
37. The Loved Ones (2009) (Dir: Sean Byrne)
38. Splice (2009) (Dir: Vincenzo Natali)
39. Survival of the Dead (2009) (Dir: George A. Romero)

2010’s

1. Let Me In (2010) (Dir: Matt Reeves)
2. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) (Dir: Eli Craig)
3. The Cabin in the Woods (2011) (Dir: Drew Goddard)
4. The Woman (2011) (Dir: Lucky McKee)
4. The Babadook (2014) (Dir: Jennifer Kent)
5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) (Dir: Ana Lily Amirpour)
6. It Follows (2014) (Dir: David Robert Mitchell)
7. What We Do in the Shadows (2014) (Dir: Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi)
(Mockumentary)
8. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015) (Dir: Sam Raimi)
(Episode: “El Jefe”)
(Cable/Television)
9. Crimson Peak (2015) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
10. The Devil’s Candy (2015) (Dir: Sean Byrne)
11. The Invitation (2015) (Dir: Karyn Kusama)
12. Southbound (2015) (Dir: Chad, Matt & Rob, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner and Patrick Horvath)
(Anthology Film)
13. We Are Still Here (2015) (Dir: Ted Goghegan)
14. The Witch (2015) (Dir: Robert Eggers)
15. The Love Witch (2016) (Dir: Anna Biller)
16. Raw (2016) (Dir: Julia Ducournau)
17. Under the Shadow (2016) (Dir: Babak Anvari)
18. Gerald’s Game (2017) (Dir: Mike Flanagan)
19. Get Out (2017) (Dir: Jordan Peele)
20. Little Evil (2017) (Dir: Eli Craig)
21. Mother! (2017) (Dir: Darren Aronofsky)
22. XX (2017) (Dir: Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin and Karyn Kusama)
(Anthology Film)
23. Annihilation (2018) (Dir: Alex Garland)
24. The Haunting of Hill House (2018-Present) (Dir: Mike Flanagan) (Anthology Series)
(Netflix Streaming Series)
25. Hereditary (2018) (Dir: Ari Aster)
26. Mandy (2018) (Dir: Panos Cosmatos)
27. A Quiet Place (2018) (Dir: John Krasinski)
28. The Dead Don’t Die (2019) (Dir: Jim Jarmusch)
29. Midsommar (2019) (Dir: Ari Aster)
30. The Lighthouse (2019) (Dir: Robert Eggers)
31. Ready or Not (2019) (Dir: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett)
32. Us (2019) (Dir: Jordan Peele)

My Favorite Lucio Fulci Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   The Beyond (1981)

2.   Four of the Apocalypse (1975)

3.   Massacre Time (1966)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

2.   A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)

3.   One on Top of the Other (1969)
(a.k.a. Perversion Story)

My Favorite Milos Forman Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Loves of a Blonde (1965)

2.   Taking Off (1971)

3.   The Firemen’s Ball (1967)

4.   Black Peter (1963)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Man on the Moon (1999)

My Favorite Richard Fleischer Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Mandingo (1975)

2.   The Narrow Margin (1952)

3.   The Boston Strangler (1968)

4.   10 Rillington Place (1971)

5.   The Vikings (1958)

6.   20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Compulsion (1959)

2.   The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955)

3.   Violent Saturday (1955)

4.   So This Is New York (1948)

John Charet’s Take On: Always on Sunday (1965)

Upon reaching new creative heights with his previous Monitor entry The Debussy Film, director Ken Russell decided to end his career there on a quieter note with Always on Sunday, which aired one month later in June of 1965. For those interested, The Debussy Film’s original airdate was 05/18/65, while Always on Sunday’s was 06/29/65. Even so, Always on Sunday remains significant for reportedly being Russell’s first television documentary/docudrama to come off as a pure dramatization of a famous artist’s life (read here). Following broadcaster Huw Wheldon’s departure from the aforementioned programme in 1964, Russell was now free (at least for the most part) to expand upon his creativity as a filmmaker – The Debussy Film’s film-within-a-film format stands out in particular. As with Elgar, Russell tells his story in a similarly straightforward fashion, but unlike that earlier effort, Always on Sunday finds him taking a more laid-back approach to it at the same time.

Whereas Elgar and (in some ways) The Debussy Film centered on the lives of famed composers, Always on Sunday centers on the life of late 19th-century to early 20th-century French post-impressionist painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910). Oliver Reed serves as the film’s narrator (seriously, what a mesmerizing voice), while James Lloyd handles lead acting duties as Rousseau. Annette Robertson (Gaby from The Debussy Film) also lends welcome support as (yes) pint-sized French symbolist writer Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), whose voice is dubbed here by an uncredited male actor. The scenario was concocted by Melvyn Bragg, who previously collaborated with director Ken Russell on The Debussy Film.

If I can name one thing that director Ken Russell does really well in Always on Sunday, it would lie in the sincere simplicity of his storytelling. Prior to his flamboyant later films, Russell had continuously proven himself to be a master of subtlety with his early television work at the BBC (1959-1970). This one, Elgar and Song of Summer (my personal favorite) notably demonstrates this aspect. Always on Sunday’s slow but steady pacing debatably resembles Russell’s way of appreciating the finer things in life. One memorable running gag involves Rousseau hauling around one of his paintings around the countryside back and forth in a wagon of sorts. Another involves Rousseau placing one of his paintings in a museum it the hopes of rivaling the work of some of his contemporaries. The action then cuts to some examples via their individual artwork: Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

As is occasionally typical of his work, Always on Sunday sometimes feels like a semi-autobiographical account of it’s director Ken Russell. An early sequence depicting French elitists ridiculing Rousseau’s paintings foreshadowed the hostile relationship between Russell and his critics. At the same time, he sees a little bit of himself in Alfred Jarry (a reported supporter of Rousseau). One such scene comes in the form of Jarry’s irreverent play Ubu Roi – a scathing satire on the bourgeoisie. Another example occurs when one of Rousseau’s neighbors complains to Jarry that his pistol firing (he carries two of them) is endangering her children. Jarry’s response is delightfully insulting – If that should be the case madam, we’d hope you get some new ones, the bedroom’s over there. For some odd reason, I can’t help but feel that Russell would applaud his response.

Capturing all of Elgar’s simplicity and none of The Debussy Film’s originality, Always on Sunday is like a warmup to director Ken Russell’s subsequent television films. The following year in 1966, he directed an entry for Sunday Night (Don’t Shoot the Composer) and a stand alone (Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World). The others were episodes of OmnibusDante’s Inferno in 1967, Song of Summer in 1968 and Dance of the Seven Veils in 1970. Those last four titles (I have not seen Don’t Shoot the Composer) arguably rank as major works on Russell’s resume. Always on Sunday may seem minor compared to them, but as with all of Russell’s films, it is a great one regardless of ranking.

-(Star Rating)-
* * * * (Out of * * * *)

Here is a link to Part 1 of the film

Here is a link to Part 2 of the film

Here is a link to Part 3 of the film

John Charet’s Take On: The Debussy Film (1965)

According to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline (read here), The Debussy Film was originally intended to be director Ken Russell’s second feature film. Unfortunately, after the critical and commercial failure of his cinematic directorial debut French Dressing from a year earlier, Russell had to abandon this option. Left with no other alternative, he ended up selling it as a film for the BBC arts programme Monitor and the rest was history. Restricted to this period alone (1959-1965), The Debussy Film finishes up as the greatest of all his television films.

As with Elgar, The Debussy Film has director Ken Russell pushing the envelope on what could be allowed within the format of a television program. Unlike that earlier entry though, The Debussy Film is a completely different undertaking altogether. If Elgar played as something akin to a documentary on a beloved artist, then The Debussy Film plays out more like a film-within-a-film about one.

The Debussy Film opens with a filmmaker (Vladek Sheybal) giving directions to a child actor about his subject – He’s known hundreds of people in his life but because of quarrels and because a war was going on, there’s hardly anyone at the funeral. Furthermore, he states that France is about to collapse, and hardly anybody notices the death of a man who has now taken to signing himself “Musician of France”. His wife is there, of course, and Chouchou, his daughter, but hardly anyone else. Now, when the carriage gets there, to the end, I want you to run out into the road, look at the wreaths for the name, run back, and say to your mother, “it seems he was a musician”. Not too long afterwards, we cut to a background artwork painting of the Monitor episode’s subject with the title – The Debussy Film – and it’s subtitle – Impressions of the French Composer. Next, we get photographic stills in the background with voiceover/narration provided by it’s unseen British presenter. Here is what he says in his own words – Claude Debussy, born in poverty in 1862, died friendless in 1918. A film based on incidents in his life, his own words and his relationships – with Gabrielle Dupont, attempted suicide, Lilly Rosalie Texier, attempted suicide, Chouchou, died at the age of 13, Madame Bardac, wife of a wealthy banker, and the man who took most of these pictures, Pierre Louys, pornographer, novelist, photographer.

Beside casting himself in the role of Pierre Louys, the plot’s unnamed film director of this project casts four actors, who either go by the exact names of the characters that they are portraying – Claude Debussy (Oliver Reed) and Madame Bardac (Izabella Telezynska/Isa Taylor) – or at the very least, their nicknames – Gaby (Annette Robertson) and Lily/Lilly (Penny Service). Inevitably, throughout the production, reality (subtly or not so subtly) intertwines with fantasy, as Debussy – the actor – suddenly finds himself immersed in his subject of Debussy – the composer. This becomes clear in his relationships with Gaby, Lily/Lilly and Madame Bardac – the actresses – versus that of Gaby, Lily/Lilly and Madame Bardac – the lovers.

As to be expected from all (or at least some) of director Ken Russell’s shoestring works, The Debussy Film effortlessly overcomes every single limitation of it’s low-budget. A good portion of this arises from both Russell and his screenwriting partner Melvin Bragg’s decision to execute the scenario as a film-within-a-film. In addition, the two cleverly (If discreetly) reference Monitor’s use of voiceovers (think of Huw Wheldon’s narration in Russell’s Elgar) by using Vladek Sheybal’s filmmaker character as the occasional narrator of his very own subject.

To some extent, The Debussy Film comes off as an autobiographical/semi-autobiographical account of it’s filmmaker Ken Russell. If my argument is credible, then the plot’s nameless director could possibly serve as Russell’s fictionalized alter ego. Similar to him, Russell has always been fascinated by the lives of famous composers. Although the fictionalized character’s religious affiliation is never made clear, Russell (a converted Roman Catholic himself) is throughly fascinated with Catholicism like he is. Two notable sequences here include the filming of a woman being shot with arrows (a la Saint Sebastian) and another filmed one involving a mob of priests and nuns holding a life-size statue of both Mother Mary and Baby Jesus. Aside from statues, other examples come in the form of artwork throughout.

When it comes to individual set pieces, The Debussy Film features some of the most imaginative sequences that director Ken Russell ever conceived for television. Some of them are elegantly staged like the previously mentioned ones between Claude Debussy and his women (Gaby, Lily/Lilly and Madame Bardac); both within-and-out of the film-within-the-film. On the contrary, the climactic scene plays out like something from a German Expressionist horror film. Last, but not least, we get an inspired montage sequence set to Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. In it, two people swing dance to Valkyries amid a mock duel between two actors. A push broom, a cane, toy dart guns and even hand-to-hand combat via (rather humorously) slapping are the weapons of choice. The action frequently cuts back-and-forth; from the aforementioned staged fight to two women playing with bumper cars at a carnival and then back again. The image of a cat quickly, albeit cartoonishly, jumping up and down – complete with sound effects – gives it an absurdist touch. With the exception of that last one, all of these scenes (as in Elgar) are accompanied by Debussy’s (the composer that is) musical compositions.

Elgar might have established Ken Russell as a fully fledged director, but The Debussy Film elevated him to that of a master filmmaker. The Debussy Film may not be my personal favorite of his television work (that honor goes to Song of Summer), but for his penultimate Monitor entry, Russell could not have delivered a better climax.

-(Star Rating)-
* * * * (Out of * * * *)

P.S. since I could not find part 1 of this film on youtube, I had to go to dailymotion.com to find it. Here is a link below to part 1

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x319p25

 

Here is a youtube link to part 2

 

Here is a youtube link to part 3

 

Here is a youtube link to part 4

 

Here is a youtube link to part 5

 

Here is a youtube link to part 6

John Charet’s Take On: Elgar (1962)

Along with Always on Sunday, Elgar may be the most accessible of director Ken Russell’s television documentaries/docudramas on famous historical artists during his years at the BBC (1959-1970). Far from damning it with faint praise though, I am actually lauding Elgar as the perfect one for viewers to start with.

On the surface, Elgar plays out as a conventional television documentary on a celebrated artist. In this case, it would be that of British composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). Throughout it’s 56 minute running time, we get all of the interesting details about him; courtesy of BBC broadcaster Huw Wheldon (1916-1986), who serves as the program’s narrator. Basically, the viewer is treated to everything from his upbringing to the last years of his life.

Like all of director Ken Russell’s television films, Elgar is a masterpiece of both form and content. Unlike a majority of his later work, Elgar sticks merely to the facts. At first glance, this approach may seem shockingly reverential for diehard Russell fans like myself. Fortunately, this fear is more than overshadowed by Russell’s visual approach to storytelling.

Aside from partly dramatizing British composer Edward Elgar’s life through a re-enactment (though with no dialogue whatsoever), director Ken Russell further celebrates it by employing his compositions as background music throughout. Russell’s use of dissolves and voiceovers evokes legendary American filmmaker Orson Welles back-to-back masterpieces of Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). In fact, some of the techniques displayed in those last two titles, were borrowed from filmmakers associated with the French New Wave movement. One perfect example comes from esteemed French filmmaker Francois Truffaut in his 1962 classic Jules and Jim. Similar to Elgar, Truffaut employed newsreel footage, photographic stills and voiceovers to visually tell part of the story. Nevertheless, this is where Elgar’s similarities to Jules and Jim end.

Not unlike most of director Ken Russell’s work, Elgar (in some ways) unofficially feels like a semi-autobiographical account of Russell himself. While he may not have been born and raised as one, like British composer Edward Elgar was, Russell did convert to Roman Catholicism during the 1950’s (read here). Even with all of the cinematic influences he carried around with him (Die Nibelungen and The Secret of the Loch), Russell (like Elgar) was professionally self-taught. Even though this can’t be confirmed with any kind of authenticity, Russell (as with Elgar) may have detested large-scale wars as well; or at least war for war’s sake. Though still horrified by the prospect of World War I (1914-1918) itself, Elgar did compose a few patriotic pieces for the effort (read here) and joined the Volunteer Reserves on the side. Though, as the war went on, Elgar became disillusioned with it. During this time, he had also hoped that A.C. Benson’s nationalistic lyrics for his composition of Land of Hope and Glory would get axed (read here). Russell, on the other hand, joined the Royal Air Force and was a merchant marine during his teenage years (read here). Neither of these stints lasted very long though. A perfect example of Russell’s unconfirmed anti-war position comes during a battlefield sequence. Here, a large number of soldiers are getting killed and wounded set to the music of Elgar’s well-known Pomp and Circumstance Marches. The uplifting tone of the composition is intended to sharply contrast with the horrors of war being presented to the viewer. This may be Russell’s way of thumbing his nose at imperialism. Russell’s view can also apply to that of both America’s involvement in both Vietnam and Iraq. Even though both Elgar and Russell were more or less appreciated in their time, this is only to an extent. Germany may have been the first country to recognize Elgar’s genius, but the British press did finally catch up; even If it seemed more muted when he was alive (read here and here). Nevertheless, while Elgar was at least knighted during his lifetime, neither of Russell’s films have ever been truly appreciated by the majority of critics. As of 2019, Women in Love serves as the only film of his to have earned a spot on the BFI’s Top 100 British Films list. While far from completely alike, Elgar and Russell both came off as reclusive (or semi-reclusive) artists, who were actually gentle at heart. Despite the way he is often portrayed in the press (read here), which include, but not limited to, his appearance on Big Brother, Russell actually comes off as a very articulate and intelligent man based on his interviews alone.

Director Ken Russell may have gone on to make even better films within and out of television, but If you are looking for a rather fitting introduction to his cinematic resume, Elgar is not a bad place to start at all. Visually, we are treated to only one of many important aspects of his style, while at the same time, witnessing how one important artist of the past century personally connect to that of another.

-(Star Rating)-
* * * * (Out of * * * *)

P.S. If you are interested in watching the whole film, here are four links to it below:

The link to the first part

The link to the second part

The link to the third part

The link to the fourth part

John Charet’s Take On: Ken Russell at the BBC (1959-1970) – An Introduction

Originally, I was going to post a review on another film, but I am currently suffering from a case of writer’s block on that right now. In the meantime and in an attempt to get my mojo back (so I can finish that review), I am going to post reviews on something a little more simpler, but no less complex. In this case, a series of TV bios on famous composers (among other types of giants).  

 

When anybody hears the name Ken Russell (1927-2011), the first words that come to mind are either flamboyant or controversial. A majority of the time, one could say that both terms can apply to him all at once. According to wikipedia’s entry on legendary British filmmaker Ken Russell (read here), these are at least two proper descriptions that can be applied to him. Nevertheless, let us rewind the clocks back to 1959 – 10 years prior to his 1969 breakthrough film Women in Love – a critically acclaimed adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s equally controversial 1920 novel of the same name. From 1959 to 1970, Russell made documentaries/docudramas on celebrated composers (among other figures) for the British Broadcasting Corporation (a.k.a. the BBC – read here). He directed at least 22 of them for Monitor (1959-1965) and 3 of them for it’s official/unofficial successor Omnibus (1967-1970). In between his last for Monitor (Always on Sunday) and his first for Omnibus (Dante’s Inferno), Russell contributed one for BBC’s Sunday Night (Don’t Shoot the Composer) and another as a stand-alone TV film (Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World) in 1966. The following year, he would helm his second feature film (his first was the 1964 comedy French Dressing) entitled Billion Dollar Brain – a British Spy thriller for the American-based studio United Artists. Two days after Billion Dollar Brain’s American premiere (December 20, 1967 – read here), Dante’s Inferno (Russell’s first for Omnibus) premiered for UK television viewers on December 22 of that same year. Based on my calculations alone (read here), Russell directed at least 27 television bios for the BBC. Out of the 27, only 6 of them (at least to my knowledge) are available for home viewing in North America. They are in a 2008 DVD collection entitled Ken Russell at the BBC (read here). The available titles are: Elgar (1962), The Debussy Film (1965), Always on Sunday (1965), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1966), Dante’s Inferno (1967) and Song of Summer (1968). The first three were for Monitor and the last two were for Omnibus. As I mentioned earlier, Isadora Duncan was a stand-alone TV film for the BBC. Russell’s last work for Omnibus during this period entitled Dance of the Seven Veils is not included in the box set. That last title incited a huge ton of controversy due to it’s portrayal of famed German composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949) as either a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer (read here). This angered the Strauss family so much that they withdrew the music rights for it. Apparently, the ban expires sometime this year in 2019 (read here).  Currently, the only way one can watch it is on a faded print posted on youtube.

Famed U.S. film critic Pauline Kael (1919-2001) once said of late master filmmaker Robert Altman, that he could make film fireworks out of next to nothing (read here). This sentiment can also be applied to that of director Ken Russell. Compared to Russell’s more outrageous later work (The Music Lovers, The Devils and Lisztomania to name just a few), the style of his early television films may initially come off as subdued on the surface. Deep down though, each of the available six films prove to be every bit as radical (albeit different) to those previously mentioned titles. Even with their low-budgets, Russell amazingly managed to break the rules on what was widely accepted within the documentary format. Instead of traditionally relying on still photographs and old film footage alone to tell his story, Russell would not only dramatize it through a re-enactment, but he would also (in the case of Elgar) use different actors to portray the lead character as he/she ages (read here and here). And this only marks just one of Russell’s many talents at successfully making the most out of very little.

My full review of Elgar – the first of director Ken Russell’s six films in the aforementioned 2008 DVD collection  – should be up sometime by tomorrow.