One of the joys of reviewing movies is the chance, every so often, to see a restored classic on the big screen. In 2006, I had the opportunity to see the restored cut of Alfred E. Green's nasty pre-code classic Baby Face (1933), with Barbara Stanwyck in all her glory. Better still, I saw Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist (1970) for the first time (both films screened at San Francisco's Balboa Theater). The Balboa also showed a recently uncovered war film, Stuart Cooper's Overlord (1975), a film with a simplicity and power lacking in most of the year's new pictures.

The great Rialto Pictures, the leading distributor of restored classics, gave us Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece Army of Shadows (1969); since it had never before opened in the United States, it has turned up on several critics' ten best lists for 2006. Also from Rialto we got Carol Reed and Graham Greene's The Fallen Idol (1948) and Christian-Jaque's silly swashbuckler Fanfan la Tulipe (1952). And to far greater publicity, Sony Pictures Classics re-released a bundle of Pedro Almodovar films, including Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), The Flower of My Secret (1995), Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002) and Bad Education (2004); I took advantage of the chance to see a few of these on the big screen. And each of them played on 400 screens or less.

Not always, but often, a re-release comes timed for a film's anniversary, and so I've made up a fantasy list of re-releases I'd like to see in 2007.

categories Columns, Cinematical