TESS
1979, Janus Films, 186 min, France, UK, Dir: Roman Polanski

Dedicated to his late wife, director Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles is both luminous and tinted with sorrow. Nastassja Kinski stars in the title role as a Victorian-era farm girl, tragically caught between a lustful aristocrat (Leigh Lawson) and the man who really loves her (Peter Firth). Nominated for six Academy Awards, the film won Oscars for Best Art Direction, Costume Design and Cinematography.


FRANTIC
1988, Warner Bros., 120 min, France/USA, Dir: Roman Polanski

Harrison Ford, in one of his best performances, plays an American surgeon visiting Paris for a medical conference when his wife vanishes from their hotel room. Receiving no help from local authorities, he follows his only clue - a piece of errant luggage - to a streetwise young woman (Emmanuelle Seigner) who also lost her bag at the airport. Featuring a tense Ennio Morricone score, this is a thriller worthy of Alfred Hitchcock, and one of Polanski’s most underrated films.


The Fearless Vampire Killers
1967, Warner Brothers, 108 min, Dir: Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s expertly balanced blend of humor and horror looks even better today than when it was released nearly 40 years ago. Phenomenal character actor Jack McGowran is perfectly cast as the ancient, screw-loose Professor Abronsius who, with his harebrained sidekick, Alfred (Polanski, doing double duty) is on the hunt for vampires in the snowy Carpathian mountains. Their pursuit shifts into high gear once Alfred’s admired-from-afar love interest, the inn-keeper’s daughter (Sharon Tate), is kidnapped by the undead Count von Krolock (Ferdy Mayne). With the beautiful, deeply rich color cinematography of Douglas Slocombe and a memorable score by brilliant Krzysztof Komeda.


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