Mute Witness

Don’t say a word.

A mute makeup artist stumbles across a murder late one night on a Russian movie set, then scrambles to stay one step ahead of the killers.

The original Obi-Wan himself, Alec Guinness, appears as the man behind a conspiracy more vast than it first appears, though he shot his scenes in an entirely different country(!) than most of the other actors.

Somehow it works, stitched together like actress Marina Zudina’s lips are on the film’s infamous VHS box cover.

That artwork implied more of a horror film, while the real thing is closer to Hitchcockian suspense.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

For Queen and country.

Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, this remains a true pinnacle of World War II cinema.

Years before he became a Jedi master, Alec Guinness is a British Lieutenant Colonel, kind of a pompous prick, in command of a group of POWs held in a prison camp in Burma.

Eventually he leads the work on construction of a bridge for his Japanese captors, taking pride in the building job.

When said bridge is marked for detonation by a band of outsiders led by William Holden, things get dicey, leading to an explosive, and haunting, finale.

Kafka

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

There’s a secret group of ultra-powerful men running amuck, controlling how society operates, and they’re quick to dispose of anyone who gets in their way.

That’s bad news for Jeremy Irons, portraying a lowly insurance clerk who almost accidentally wanders into their twisted world after the murder of a co-worker.

Working with a cast filled to the brim with A-list supporting actors, director Steven Soderbergh unspools a story of paranoia and privilege, crafting a film begging for rediscovery.

Irons and Soderbergh won Oscars for other films, but this pairing deserved all the awards.