As I read through this list on Sunday, I couldn’t help comparing it to Dick Lochte’s recent collection of films, which I blogged about here. Of course, Lochte’s had the advantage of specificity – he was only writing about private eye films – and I think that led to some very interesting and unusual choices. It was a list that I learnt from, and I’m looking forward to hunting down some of those obscure gems.
Perhaps that’s the problem I have with The Guardian‘s choice. “Crime” is really too vague a classification, or at least it seems that way to me. Everything’s present and correct (detectives, gangsters, doomed lovers etc.) but at a very superficial level. Most strikingly, these are all either well-remembered or recent films. Perhaps intentionally, this looks less like a “top 25″ and more like a “top 25 available on DVD”.
Here is the list – as before, I’ve linked to the relevant Imdb pages for ease of reference.
7. Get Carter
8. Pulp Fiction
11. Bonnie and Clyde
12. The Conversation
13. The Killing
15. The Big Sleep
16. La Ceremonie
17. Point Blank
18. Hard Boiled
19. A Prophet
21. Scarface (1983, DePalma version)
23. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, Garnett version)
25. Le Jour Se Leve
Of course, there are many fine films here. I’m pleased to see The Killing get a mention, one of the few Kubricks that I can stomach thanks to its wonderful performances and crisp Jim Thompson screenplay. Personally I’ve never been that fond of Bonnie and Clyde or The Postman Always Rings Twice, while the excesses of Hard Boiled and Heat just bore me. Miller’s Crossing is a decent enough pastiche of Hammett but why not go for the real thing? I’m astonished by the absence of The Maltese Falcon and by the selection of the 1983 Scarface over the 1932 version. And where’s Out of the Past?
The biggest omission for me is James Cagney. A star who shaped the progress of the gangster genre through performances in The Public Enemy, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Roaring Twenties and White Heat, Cagney has been somewhat forgotten in modern film culture. His absence here makes me suspicious of the list’s compilers (as does their illustration of The French Connection with a still from its sequel and of The Big Sleep with a photo of Bogie from the 1950s).
Over to you, gang. Which films are you pleased to see here, and what do you think should be on this list?