Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur les Pianiste, 1960)

Director/Coscreenwriter: François Truffaut By Roderick Heath The evergreen lustre the early films of the French New Wave still retain stems in part from a tangible quality inseparable from the moment and place of their making. That sense of fleet-footed adventure encoded in their frames, captured by a bunch of ragged young men and women spilling …

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Director: John Frankenheimer By Roderick Heath Almost since the day it was released, The Manchurian Candidate has known an aura of perceptiveness bordering on the prophetic. This quality extends from its alarming anticipations of the spate of assassinations of high-profile American political figures in the 1960s, to the dogging accusations of conspiracy and corrupting influence …

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Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director/Co-screenwriter: George A. Romero It began when a short filmmaker and production aide working for host Fred ‘Mr’ Rogers’ Pittsburgh-based children’s TV show decided to make a horror movie. 27-year-old George A. Romero and his friends, bored with making anodyne entertainment and looking to make a splash, pooled resources financial and technical and formed a …

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Viy (1967)

Directors/Co-screenwriters: Konstantin Ershov, Georgi Kropachyov By Roderick Heath Nikolai Gogol’s story “Viy” was included in a volume of his story collection Tales of Mirgorod. Like his most famous tale, the historical novella “Tara Bulba” included in the same collection, “Viy” was a tribute to the wealth of history and traditions of rural Ukraine and southern …

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Hercules in the Centre of the Earth (Ercole al Centro della Terra, 1961)

aka Hercules in the Haunted World Director: Mario Bava By Roderick Heath Mario Bava is beloved by cineastes as the filmmaker who helped define the modern concept of horror and thriller cinema, as well as the founder of the giallo style that would shape both. But like most Italian directorial talents of the time, including …

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Yellow Submarine (1968)

Director: George Dunning By Roderick Heath Amidst the relics of the high psychedelic era, Yellow Submarine is one of the most instantly recognisable, a jokey and absurdist adventure tale built around one of pop culture’s singular creative wellsprings, the music and artistic personae of The Beatles. The film has become an iconic work encapsulating the …

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Blowup (1966)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Michelangelo Antonioni By Roderick Heath Michelangelo Antonioni was a relatively minor figure in the European film scene until 1960. The former economics student and journalist entered that scene in the days of Mussolini’s regime, and started his directing career making documentaries. His early labours offered hues of the oncoming neorealist movement, depicting the lives …

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Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula, 1958) / Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Director: Terence Fisher By Roderick Heath Christopher Lee, son of an English soldier and an Anglo-Italian countess who had been an artist’s model, had aristocratic roots that could be traced back to Charlemagne. Born in London, he grew with a diverse education and a swathe of languages at his command, a scion both of imperial …

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