William Sleet (McKittrick)Birmingham UK
William's Favorite Movies
Anyone who knows me will know how important Vertigo is to me. Maybe it's not the greatest film ever made - who can possibly say with all confidence (arrogance?) what film THAT is?? But it is my favourite film. I know of no other film - and I have seen many many films in my (ahem!) 41 years - that comes close to matching it in it's cinematic purity. That I can come back to time and time again and still love it! I loath the list mentality where we list the 'the best/greatest films' - listing the Top 10, Top 20, Top 100 of what we or anyone else has the immodesty to presume are the greatest films ever made. All the films in my list are important to me, each means something different to me, affects me in some small or great way. I have always found it difficult to categorically say which film I love more or which I think are greater. Except for one! So when you check out 'my films', please note: it's NOT in order of merit! Except, of course, Vertigo will always be number 1!!
I first saw Brief Encounter when I was very young - pre-teens probably. I remember being very moved by the story, I enjoyed the very Englishness of it and it's rich characterization. I didn't then see it again for many years and when I did I became quite disillusioned by it - thinking it trite, corny and frightfully dated. But over the years I realized that that probably had more to do with how cynical and hard hearted I was at the time (my early 20s)and have now renewed my love of it. Time has been kind to Brief Encounter and the things I felt were trite and corny, now seem poignant, beautiful and deeply moving. It IS very English but that is what makes it all the more wonderful. The depiction of doomed and unrequited love stifled by the repressive attitudes and stiff upper lips of a cold middle England (Coward's homosexuality most certainly would have informed his writing) expertly conveyed by a mixture of restrained but intense acting, Noel Coward's rich characterization, the flawless cinematography of Robert Krasker and the cinematic genius of David Lean. Celia Johnson's performance is amazing and her voice-over is the best you will ever hear in any film ever Also her face is so cinematic (her eyes tell you all you need to know about how Laura is feeling - despite the voice-over!) that you just can't take your eyes off her for a second. Her big close-up when she makes a mad, impulsive attempt at suicide gives me goose-bumps every time. Truly one of the greatest moments in cinema and if you fail to be moved by it then you are quite clearly an emotional cripple and I pity you! haha!