• Circle of Deceit

    Circle of Deceit

    A distressingly slick 1981 feature by Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum), filmed in the smoking rubble of the Lebanese civil war with an attention to elegant composition and camera movement that seems more appropriate to a big studio musical. The irrational conflict then shattering Beirut registers with a texture and immediacy far beyond the power of the television images we're accustomed to, yet Schlöndorff uses the war as an abstracting, metaphorical device—as a projection of the inner turmoil of his…

  • The Cimarron Kid

    The Cimarron Kid

    Budd Boetticher's first western (1951) is efficiently made, with Audie Murphy as the perennial outlaw trying to go straight, but it's a long way from the insightfulness and superb storytelling of his later Randolph Scott cycle. With Beverly Tyler and James Best.

  • The Woman Who Dared

    The Woman Who Dared

    Made near the end of the German occupation of France, Jean Gremillon's 1944 film is one of his most respected efforts, a simple story of a lower-middle-class couple who sacrifice everything to support the wife's bid to break the women's record for long-distance flying. Gremillon's training as a musician shows in the film's organization into several distinct movements—a technique he employed in Lumiere d'Ete, which here reaches perfection. With Madeleine Renaud and Charles Vanel. In French with subtitles. 105 min.

  • The Cider House Rules

    The Cider House Rules

    Impeccably crafted and utterly impersonal, Lasse Hallstrom's adaptation of John Irving's novel has many of the qualities Oscar is known to appreciate: It's a coming-of-age tale, about an orphan (Tobey Maguire) raised by a kindly doctor (Michael Caine) to become a gifted, if unlicensed, obstetrician; he has a love affair with an engaged older woman (Charlize Theron) and discovers the joys and perfidies of adult sexuality. The 1940s production design by David Gropman is perfect, and Oliver Stapleton's photography of…

  • Ciao! Manhattan

    Ciao! Manhattan

    More genuinely ghoulish than the entire oeuvre of George Romero, this creepy 1972 feature combines the remains of an unfinished 60s underground film starring Edie Sedgwick with color footage, shot shortly before Sedgwick's death, meant to fill out the holes in the story. None of it makes the dimmest sense, but the spectacle of Sedgwick's burnout (she is nearly comatose in most of the new footage) combined with her pathetic eagerness to let herself be exploited adds up to a…

  • Chuquiago

    Chuquiago

    A Bolivian film (1977) made by members of the progressive Ukamau group. Its episodic four-part structure moves through the suburbs and class lines of La Paz, beginning with the Indian settlements on the edges of the city and ending in the valley enclave of the rich. The politics are impeccable, but the concept falls short—its flat contrivances suggest a 40s omnibus film like Tales of Manhattan, and the characters exist only to illustrate the thesis.

  • A Chump at Oxford

    A Chump at Oxford

    One of the last of the first-class Laurel and Hardy features (1939), this is an amiably sloppy affair about two street cleaners who win scholarships to Oxford. Stan has a chance to stretch out a little in a double role, and there is a recap of the classic butler-maid routine from the 1928 From Soup to Nuts. With James Finlayson, Wilfrid Lucas, and Peter Cushing in his punk days; directed by Alf Goulding.

  • Chronicle of a Summer

    Chronicle of a Summer

    Jean Rouch's seminal 1961 film, for which he coined the term "cinema verite," made in collaboration with sociologist Edgar Morin. Rouch, an ethnologist, applies the techniques of his anthropological films in an attempt to document the state of the Parisian mind in the summer of 1960. Wandering the streets with their camera crew, Rouch and Morin stop passersby to ask, "Are you happy?" Some are, some aren't, which makes for a fascinating experiment.

  • Christopher Strong

    Christopher Strong

    Tiresome, conventional 30s melodrama about a stiff Britisher (Colin Clive) torn between his wife (Billie Burke) and an aristocratic aviatrix (Katharine Hepburn). Dorothy Arzner's direction encourages feminist sympathies, only to dash them with a punitive finale that seems harsh even for the period. As Molly Haskell has noted, the costume design carries the brunt of the politics—Hepburn's jumpsuit is a revolution in itself (1933).

  • Christmas Holiday

    Christmas Holiday

    A demented melodrama from 1944, starring the most unlikely film noir couple of all time, Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin. Kelly is a murderous Creole; Durbin is a sweet young thing from Vermont who supports him through thick but mostly thin. This bizarre film was the product of a collaboration between Germanic stylist Robert Siodmak (Phantom Lady) and scenarist Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane). Somewhere in the background lurks a Somerset Maugham story. Highly peculiar, and a must for anyone who has suffered through One Hundred Men and a Girl.

  • Scrooge

    Scrooge

    A sturdy 1951 British mounting of the Dickens tale, with Alastair Sim contributing a definitive Scrooge. Brian Hurst directed; the nominal stars are Kathleen Harrison and Jack Warner, though the best work comes from further down in the cast—Michael Hordern, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley.

  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    Dickens gets the high-gloss MGM treatment (1938), presumably with sets left over from David Copperfield. Edwin L. Marin directed; with Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, and Kathleen Lockhart. 69 min.