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The Essential Movie Library #60: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Driven by career-high performances from Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, "Success" is distinguished less by story-telling than by its atmosphere.

The Essential Movie Library #59: Melancholia (2011)

"Melancholia" isn’t just the deepest and most compassionate movie Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has made but the most haunting in recent years by anyone.

The Essential Movie Library #58: La Dolce Vita (1960)

The impossibly ripe and glowing Anita Ekberg splashing in the Trevi Fountain in her shimmery black dress has become an image for the time capsules.

The Essential Movie Library #57: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

The Western always attracted renegades, and with the possible exception of Clint Eastwood, Sam Peckinpah was the genre’s last great American director.

The Essential Movie Library #56: Contempt (1963)

It’s not clear for whom or what is the contempt of the movie’s title; that it might be directed at the movie itself, or at filmmaker Godard himself, isn’t out of the question.

The Essential Movie Library #55: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

For all of Gloria Swanson's sturm und drang the movie's secret weapon is William Holden.

The Essential Movie Library #54: Metropolis (1927)

Over the years, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" would prove a blueprint for black reichs and blade runners alike.

The Essential Movie Library #53: In a Lonely Place (1950)

"I was born when you kissed me, I died when you left me, I lived a few weeks while you loved me."

The Essential Movie Library #52: Talk to Her (2002)

Pedro Almodóvar is always redeemed by a generosity of spirit—one is hard-pressed to remember a truly mean moment in any of his pictures—and Talk to Her, which is no mess and all great, is his masterpiece.

The Essential Movie Library #51: To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Steve Erickson on filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch's "perfect picture in which every interaction hinges exquisitely on the human heart at its most complicated."