CITIZEN KANE : This is the labyrinthine study of the life of a newspaper tycoon.
CASABLANCA : One of the most beloved American films, this captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue from director Michael Curtiz defies standard categorization. Simply put, it is the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a world-weary ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, notably the crafty Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick"s cafĂ (C) has become a haven for refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them to escape to America. One day, to Rick"s great surprise, he is approached by the famed rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) and his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick"s true love who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris. She still wants Victor to escape to America, but now that she"s renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in Casablanca. "You must do the thinking for both of us," she says to Rick. He does, and his plan brings the story to its satisfyingly logical, if not entirely happy, conclusion.
BICYCLE THIEVES : This movie had tremendous influence on the development of Italian neorealist cinema and is considered one of the best films ever made. The simple but riveting story centers on the desperate search of an impoverished Roman bill poster for the man who stole his much-needed bicycle.
JOUR DE FETE: In Jacques Tati"s charming -- and essentially plotless -- pre-Hulot first feature, Tati is Francois, a contented and happy postman in a small, unhurried French village. Francois is at ease with his job and leisurely performs his duties, peddling away on his rounds upon his beloved bicycle. Things perk up when a traveling carnival arrives in town. One of the attractions at the carnival is a film depicting the United States Postal Service"s fast and efficient postal delivery system. The narrator in the film exhorts, "Rapidite, rapidite." Francois takes up the call, and attempts to Americanize his work style. Intriguingly, Tati originally shot this film in two simultaneous processes - a black-and-white one and an experimental color one called "Thomson-Color" - but was forced to release the black-and-white when he ran into problems printing the color film; he subsequently tinted select sequences, then in the late 1990s his daughter (a film editor) prepared and released a color version of the entire movie.
CLASSIC FILM SEASON - 1950s