Jane Crowther

The film journalist and editor of Total Film picks Don’t Look NowThe Elephant Man, Death On The Nile, Evil Under The Sun, Far From The Madding Crowd, Ice Cold In Alex and The Wicker Man.

Don’t Look Now – I loved the evocation of Venice and the study of grief – and of course, the terror of the tiny killer. I’d never seen a film use a red motif before and it stuck with me. I always think of this film when I see red used as lexicon in movies.

The Elephant Man – Black & White, gorgeous/horrific and so moving. The scene when Anthony Hopkins sheds a tear gets me every time. Used to do uncanny impression of John Hurt asking for tea as John Merrick but that’s not for this.

Death On The Nile & Evil Under The Sun – my absolute fave Agatha Christie movies. Both because they are so glamorous, star-filled and exotic (I’ve taken holidays since purely to live the lives of those characters on their travels). Also love the mysteries of both and the fact that both are driven by couples and by women seen as mousy twits – who are anything but. Spoiler.

Far From The Madding Crowd – the ultimate love triangle. Who should Bathsheba choose? I LOVE this film for its ability to convey Hardy’s bucolic sensibilities but also make it sexy. And again, because it had a competent woman at the heart of the story, driving the action.

Ice Cold In Alex – I wanted an ice cold beer long before I could ever drink based on watching this film. That famous scene at the bar is amazing. It’s all in John Mills and Sylvia Syms’ eyes as they look at the frosty glasses.

The Wicker Man – horrified me as a child and an adult on different planes. As a kid I was aghast that animals were being burnt (not bothered about the man) and thought the Summer Isle folk were just weird. But as I got older I could recognise real societies and human traits in the characters and that made it substantially more creepy and dreadful. Also a corking twist. And most riffed on since.

Recommended Titles

Guy Hamilton1982
Nic Roeg1973
John Guillermin1978
Robin Hardy1973
David Lynch1980
J. Lee Thompson1958
John Schlesinger1967