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novel

The Little Princess

Director: Walter Lang
Country/ Year: USA 1939



The patriotically refurbished revisitation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic owns the perfect personification for its faultless heroine Sara Crewe. Smart-alecky Shirley Temple dazzles as the pretty little prism of the treacly teaching play’s moralism.

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Rain

Director: Lewis Milestone
Country/ Year: USA 1932



Joan Crawford as the eponymous prostitute of W. Somerset Maugham’s “Sadie Thompson” gives this slated stage-to-screen flick the sultriness both tropical heat and moral putridity lack.

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The Last Man on Earth (L’ultimo uomo della Terra)

Director: Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow
Country/ Year: Italy 1964



To date the most accurate picturization of Richard Matheson’s stark parable, putting Vincent Price in an end-time-scenery haunted by worse horrors than vampire mutants: loneliness, isolation and the specters of his own fanatic fears.

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Greed

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Country/ Year: USA 1924



Manic, ruinous and ultimately fatal as the passions in Frank Norris similizing “McTeague” was von Stroheim’s directorial reign over the bleak tale of human wretchedness. Only about half of the nearly eight hours long original remain but those are nevertheless monolithic.

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A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune)

Director: Georges Melies
Country/ Year: France 1902



The iconographic image of the man on the moon with a rocket in his eye presides over more than the birth of screen science fiction. Director Melies started out as a magician. His visual enchanting of Jules Vernes novel might be his greatest act.

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Jane Eyre (1943)

Director: Robert Stevenson
Country/ Year: USA 1944



Orson Welles dominates the gloomy melodrama by Robert Stevenso (no relation to the writer) with a defiant interpretation as Rochester, ambiguous love interest of Charlotte Brontes eponymous assertive heroine.

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The Lost World (1925)

Director: Henry O. Hoyt
Country/ Year: USA 1925



Before moving on to the isle of “King Kong”, stop-motion specialist Willis O’Brien took audiences to the jurassic plateau of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel. The names of the dinos may sometimes be faulty but never their animation.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Director: Wallace Worsley
Country/ Year: USA 1923



Stunning sets and dizzying crowd scenes made the first cinematization of Victor Hugo’s classic the proper frame for the pain-inducing performance that boost Lon Chaney to stardom.

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Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens

Director: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Country/ Year: Germany 1922



Max Schreck acts the frightening role his real-life name (meaning “scare” in German) predestines him for. Nearly lost because director Murnau cared little for copyright laws, the ghostly masterpiece of Weimarian Cinema keeps its cold grip one anyone who watches it.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Director: John S. Robertson
Country/ Year: USA 1920



John Barrymore realizes that “The only way to get rid of a temptation ist too yield to it”, to quote Oscar Wilde, who’s work has equal parts in the edifying picturization as that of R. L. Stevenson.

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