Jonathan Lynn is a director who likes to fly under the radar. He’s made some of my favourite comedies, many of which you may not have realised Lynn directed. He’s a director who likes to allow the actors, and consequently, the characters to take centre stage. His camera is restrained, his visual style conservative. The story and the characters dictate the action, not the camera. He doesn’t politicise his films, nor does he focus on any one social condition. He chooses an array of different stories, generally focusing on family and/or friendship as a central conceit, that don’t otherwise follow a set pattern in character or plot. He is perhaps more a director-for-hire than a visionary in the same league as Scorsese, but his films rarely disappoint on delivering on their promises.
What you get from Lynn is straight-forward, character-driven comedy with universal appeal. The best way to tell you’re watching a Jonathan Lynn film is to check if you’re smiling by the time the credits roll.
“Clue” also features prominently in our Top 10 Single Location Films.
Lynn chooses Billy Wilder’s brilliant “The Apartment” as his number one film of all time, commenting that it’s ‘a great romantic comedy with a satirical edge’. He says “Casablanca” is ‘the ultimate Hollywood melodrama’ while he singles Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” for special praise: ‘The greatest last scene I’ve ever seen. It makes you laugh and cry simultaneously’, says Lynn. You can read more about Charlie Chaplin and see our selection of his ten best HERE.
He interesting chooses “Strangers on a Train” as his favourite Hitchcock film, commenting that it shows ‘Hitchcock at his most brilliant’, and adding that he feels it is ‘under-rated’.
1. The Apartment (Wilder)
2. Casablanca (Curtiz)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles)
4. City Lights (Chaplin)
5. Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick)
6. The Godfather Part II (Coppola)
7. Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
8. La strada (Fellini)
9. Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock)
10. The Third Man (Reed)