Five Favorite Films and an Interview with Harvey Weinstein

We talk to the super-producer about My Week with Marilyn, what drives him to make films, and how he sees this year's Oscar season.

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Whichever way you look at it, Harvey Weinstein is a legendary figure in the movie world. His original production and distribution company, Miramax, was instrumental in reshaping the landscape of American independent film in the late 1980s and into the '90s, ushering in such landmark movies as Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape and Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. A passionate film lover and formidable Oscar season presence, Weinstein has been involved in all kinds of award-winning films, from Shakespeare In Love to The Lord of the Rings trilogy to last year's Academy champ, The King's Speech, executive produced under latest outfit, The Weinstein Company. This week, Weinstein serves as a producer and distributor on two critically-lauded films: My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as the iconic Miss Monroe, and The Artist, Jean Dujardin's silent movie smash that's now wooing American audiences. The super-producer called in this week for an entertaining chat about his involvement in the projects, what drives him to make films, and how he sees this year's Oscar derby.

Read on for the full interview, but first -- we asked him to pick his five favorite films. "As long as they're not any movie that I made," Weinstein says. "I wanna stipulate that I will not talk about the movies that I've made, but I will do a top five of other movies. Otherwise," he laughs, "they'll be listing all of my movies and that'll be the end of the list. We'd just list movies from Reservoir Dogs on and we'd be done. I'll do the five favorite films, but tomorrow if somebody asks me I'll probably change it. I change my list daily. It's like a diner -- these are the five specials today; tomorrow it'll be something else."


They Were Expendable (John Ford, 1945; 88% Tomatometer)

I'm in a total John Ford mood. I saw The Searchers again on Turner Classic Movies the other night and I just said, "Oh, I gotta go and see John Ford's movies, like all over again." The Searchers is such an obvious choice because everyone knows that one. I'm gonna put down They Were Expendable, which was a John Ford Movie...




How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941; 88% Tomatometer)

...and How Green Was My Valley, another John Ford film. You can put those as number one and number two, for now.




City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931; 100% Tomatometer)

Then, you know, in honor of The Artist, I have to say City Lights, Charlie Chaplin's movie, which I've always, always loved. I love that movie.

I think that was Geoffrey Rush's favorite film.

Oh really? I gotta go and find out what people's choices were.




His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940; 97% Tomatometer)

Then I have to say -- for the pure comedy -- His Girl Friday. I love Cary Grant and the relationship he has with Rosalind Russell. The amount of conniving, you know... [laughs] It's a complete and utter racket. It's romance without a conscience, their relationship -- or at least he doesn't have a conscience. It just shows you that pure charm can win in the end.

And it's one of the most rapid-fire films I've ever seen, in terms of dialog.

Peter Bogdanovich always said about Ten Little Indians -- it's been running in London for 50 years, and it's three hours when you watch it on stage -- he said that if Howard Hawks directed it, it'd be 26 minutes [Laughs] So I love that.




Two for the Road (Stanley Donen, 1967; 83% Tomatometer)
Toute Une Vie (And Now My Love) (Claude Lelouch, 1974; 60% Tomatometer)

I love all of Stanley Donen's movies and I wanna put one of them in there. I'll put Two for the Road, which I love. Audrey Hepburn, Stanley Donen's movie. Those would be my five. Today. [Laughs] Tomorrow I'm gonna pick Claude Lelouch -- And Now My Love. I don't know if you've ever seen that. It is amazing. It's with an actress named Marthe Keller who made Bobby Deerfield with Al Pacino. And Now My Love is the story of two people who never meet until the end of the movie, and the protagonist is a kid who is a thief and gets sent to jail and learns how to use the camera in jail -- and goes from making porno movies to making, you know, great movies, like Truffaut and Godard and Lelouch and the French new Wave. It's really the best love story, and he's an unsung hero of cinema, Claude Lelouch. Actually, that would be tied for Two for the Road -- that way I get a sixth choice, and I'm greedy. [Laughs] Tie it. That's a tie.



Next, we chat with Weinstein about his passion for My Week with Marilyn, what drives him to produce films, and how he sees this year's Oscar season shaping up.

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