There’s a fun little series on NPR, titled “Watch This,” which occasionally takes a look at the favorite films from filmmakers such as William Friedkin, Paul Feig, and Kevin Smith. The latest edition features “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and it’s filled with a lot of interesting choices. It’s always fascinating to learn more about what influences certain filmmakers and Chase’s list definitely reflects that.
His list includes Stanley Kubrick's “Barry Lyndon,” Vittorio De Sica's “Bicycle Thieves,” Laurel and Hardy’s “Saps at Sea,” Powell and Pressburger’s “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” and “A Canterbury Tale” (check out our recent retrospective on the filmmakers), Lindsay Anderson’s “O Lucky Man!,” Luis Bunuel’s “Tristana” and “Viridana,” and Johnathan Demme’s “Something Wild” (the most contemporary picture of the bunch). David Chase cites “Barry Lyndon” as his favorite Kubrick movie, saying “What’s great about it, with all this violence, there’s this overlay of the most civilized conduct” where, for example, highwaymen would exchange pleasantries before robbing the title character blind.
He also expresses his admiration for Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” calling it “the most pure, beautiful, and simple thing,” and wishing that he would be able to “write something so simple and clear and clean.” Meanwhile, Laurel and Hardy’s “Saps at Sea” has been a favorite of his since he was a child. The film is apparently so ingrained in his memory that he even made a reference to the Laurel and Hardy film on “The Sopranos.”
You can look up the entire list on NPR’s website and listen to his comments as well. And if you haven’t seen Chase’s film “Not Fade Away,” it’s currently out on Blu-Ray and DVD.