Short Cuts: Films From the Vault

Marlene Dietrich in von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress.

It’s Oscar weekend and I don’t really have anything much to say about this year’s films, so I thought I’d just publish a list of what I’ve been watching for the month or so I’ve had access to the Criterion archive. Unlike many of this year’s Oscar contenders (and winners), none of these films felt like a complete waste of my time and a few of the films I’ve seen several times revealed something entirely new. The + symbols indicate my level of captivation by the movie. They’re placed them in the order in which I watched them. Yes, I know the list is weighted toward French films, which probably indicates my own bias, as well as Criterion’s…

Au Hasard Balthazar, Robert Bresson (1966) +++

Le Proces de Jeanne d’Arc, Bresson (1962) +

The Idiot, Akira Kurosawa (1951) ++

Nadja in Paris, Eric Rohmer (1964)

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, Roberto Rossellini (1966) +++

Le Coup de Berger, Jacques Rivette (1956) +

The Nightcomers, Michael Winner (1971)

Masques, Claud Chabrol (1987)

A Well-Spent Life: Mance Lipscomb, Les Blank (1972) ++

Garlic is as Good as 10 Mothers, Blank (1980)

Hotel du Nord, Marcel Carné (1938) ++

Anna Karenina, Jacques Duvivier (1948)

La Collectionneuse, Rohmer (1967) +

Une Histoire d’Eau, Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut (1961) +

La Bête Humaine, Jean Renoir (1938) +++

Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone (2008)

Paris Nous Appartient, Rivette (1957) +++

The Old Dark House, James Whale (1932)

Shanghai Express, Joseph Von Sternberg (1932) +

The Scarlet Empress, Von Sternberg (1934) +++

La Tête d’un Homme, Duvivier (1933)

The Damned, Luchino Visconti (1969)

Reason and Power: an Interview with Salvador Allende, Rossellini (1973) ++

Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, Bresson (1945) +

Socrates, Rossellini (1971) ++

Fear, Rossellini (1954)

Cast a Dark Shadow, Lewis Gilbert (1955)

The Tall Target, Anthony Mann (1951) +

A Hard Day’s Night, Lester (1964) +

The Hour of the Wolf, Ingmar Bergman (1968) ++

Morocco, von Sternberg (1930) +

Gun Crazy, Joseph Lewis (1950) +

The Third Man, Carol Reed (1949) ++

The Age of the Medici, Rossellini (1973)

Pepe le Moko, Duvivier (1937) +

Spirits of the Dead: 3 Tales by Poe, Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini (1968) +

Elena and Her Men, Renoir (1956) +

Coup de Grace, Volker Schlöndorff (1976)

8 ½, Fellini (1963) +++

Wise Blood, John Huston (1979)

Under the Volcano, Huston (1984) +

The Devil and Daniel Webster, William Dieterle (1941) +

The Asphalt Jungle, Huston (1950) +

Rules of the Game, Renoir (1939) +++

Lacombe, Lucien, Malle (1974) +

Le Feu Follet, Malle (1963) +

Eve, Joseph Losey (1962)

Mr. Klein, Losey (1976) +++

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3