Fedora (1978): Billy Wilder spent most of his career being ahead of his time. By the 1970s he was out of vogue and looking back. His penultimate film brought him back to Sunset Blvd. territory, not just by examining a former movie star (Marthe Heller), but by casting William Holden, who hadn’t headlined for Wilder since 1954’s Sabrina. For both it would be a last semi-hurrah: Wilder would only make one more film (Buddy Buddy) while Holden proceeded to subpar disaster movies and an alcohol-fueled death.
Ginger and Fred (1986): Federico Fellini spent his autumnal years in a sentimental mood. First, this TV satire co-functioned as a reunion with Chaplinesque gamine Giulietta Masina, whom he hadn’t cast since 1965’s Juliet of the Spirits. Intervista followed, which repaired other filmic main squeeze Marcello Mastroianni (who appeared in G&F, too) with La Dolce Vita babe Anita Ekberg.
The Untouchables (1987): Though most closely associated with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro began his career alongside Brian De Palma, performing in the filmmaker’s early sketch-comedy comedies. After Greetings (1968) and Hi Mom (1970), the two embarked on different career paths, briefly teaming up two decades later to do up Al Capone just right.
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993): Where to after Mia Farrow? Back into the arms of Diane Keaton, his previous (and superior) muse, of course. For one underrated film only, the pair reconvened, getting right back into that neurotic/comfortable groove. Not too late to do it again, guys.
Saraband (2004): In which Liv Ullmann goes once more into the breach with Ingmar Bergman for the first time since 1978’s Autumn Sonata. (For the record, Ullman directed two of Bergman’s scripts— In the Presence of a Clown and Faithless—in the interim.)
The Skin I Live In (2011): You have Pedro Almodovar to thank for Antonio Banderas, but it’s worth noting the director—in Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!—curiously failed to exploit the actor’s gift for honey-glazed ham. The same goes for their first team-up in 21 years, although as usual he’s the calm center of a crazy storm.
2014 Films: The Year’s Most Likely