The Lists Project

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#676 Post by zedz » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:30 pm

souvenir wrote:Very interesting preliminary list of titles there. I find it bizarre that John Huston's big four that were on the first list (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, The Battle of San Pietro, and Key Largo) are all absent. He wasn't disqualified for bad behavior or anything, right?
Half of those are now on the master list, but, with only single nominations, are not yet eligible for the aggregate. Unless the voting suddenly dries up, I'm sure they'll make it in the long run.

There are actually a lot of big name titles that I'd assumed to be favorites that have yet to really register, including the major film noir I ranked at number 4 but which hasn't made anyone else's list. (My number one is similarly desperate and dateless, but that was always a lost cause).
davidhare wrote:The Reckless Moment remake (or rather the remake of the novel the Blank Wall) is called the Deep End (not to be confused with Skolimowski's Deep End.)
Ah yes, how could I forget such a memorable (and relevant) title? I suspect the gender twist is one of the things that attracted Tilda, who is, as I recall, very good in one of her straighest roles.

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david hare
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#677 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:35 pm

And she lights up in Derek Jarman as well. I also thought the boy in the Deep End was a hunk!

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david hare
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#678 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:54 pm

My copy of Caught is on VHS, though, so I can't vouch for its legit release on a French DVD.
Jonp there's been frequent mention of the French Wildside dics of Caught by both TomPeeping and I, and caps are posted in the screencaps sticky. Not quite as stellar a transfer as Wildside's other Noirs which are sensational and at Warner/Criterion level (Brute Force, Force of Evil, Secret Beyond the Door), but it's extremely fine and the forced French subs can be ripped out.

I would say try a "Search" through the machine but I can frankly never get it to work on titles!

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#679 Post by zedz » Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:46 pm

Latest regurgitation of interesting or un- statistics.

The directors who have accumulated the most points so far are, in order:

1. Ozu Yasujiro
2. Alfred Hitchcock
3. Jacques Tourneur
4. Orson Welles
5. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
6. Raoul Walsh
7. Preston Sturges
8. Jean Gremillon
9. Howard Hawks
10. John Ford

This is not necessarily reflected in the placings for their films. Just about every Hitchcock film from the 40s has made somebody's list (what, no love for Mr and Mrs Smith?), and the highest ranking one is still well outside the top ten.

Powell / Pressburger and Preston Sturges are in the same vote-splitting boat. Walsh's votes, on the other hand, are strongly concentrated on two films and Ford's on one.

A friendly reminder that this weekend will be your last opportunity to catch up on all those Esther Williams movies before the voting deadline!

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#680 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:39 pm

We're nearing the finish line - only a couple of voting days left. 11 lists received so far. Although the inevitable process of calcification is setting in (the more votes come in, the more the list tends to look like every other list of this sort), there is still plenty of room for surprises, as titles leapfrog over one another with every list received. The current number 1 and 2 are significantly ahead of their nearest rivals, but only within a few votes of one another. Number 3 and 4 are in an even tighter death match, and the rest of the top ten is completely up for grabs, with a couple of dozen films all within striking distance of it.

The US domination is overwhelming: 71% of films nominated have been American and they've also accounted for 67% of the votes. Many big name foreign language 'classics' (and a few US ones) have got comparatively short shrift.

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souvenir
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:20 pm

#681 Post by souvenir » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:00 am

If it's not too much of a pain, would you mind posting the voting totals on the final list this time zedz? I always like to see how close the rankings are.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#682 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:14 pm

Steven H wrote:Anyone sitting around with a copy of Walsh's Pursued, that hasn't watched it yet in anticipation of the 40s list, should pop it in the player. I was totally floored by the noir lighting in this film (the whole look of the film reminded me much of New Mexico at night under a full moon.)
Your comment made me look out my old recorded-from-television copy of Pursued that I'd had on my shelf but had not watched for the last twelve years! Thank you for kicking me into touch and giving me the incentive to watch it!

I would agree with you about the look of the film, it is magnificent with the light glinting off the spurs. Unfortunately I wasn't that impressed with the film's flashback structure. I didn't buy that Mitchum would stand there and relate the whole story to his girl who had been there to witness it the first time through anyway!
SpoilerShow
"Hey, do you remember that time I shot your brother and then you vowed to kill me but then couldn't do it because you were just a silly lovestruck girl? You must recall it - it was only the most important and devastating series of events in your life!"

At this point I was imagining Mitchum violently shaking her shouting "Remember! Remember!"

Sadly my imaginings trying to make the flashback work pulled me out of the film, and I also found the ending an anti-climax (it has that quality of a quick resolution and then straight out of the film to the end credits that is very nice to watch. No half hour of resolution after the action has officially ended, but I'm not complaining about the swiftness of the resolution. It just felt to me that we never really got into the head of the mother to understand what she was thinking - what was the turning point for her to side with Mitchum - a bit of a flaw for a 'psychological western', even if she wasn't the main character in the piece).

Not to mention the convenience of Mitchum's character being able to overcome his amnesia at the most convenient point in the film for him to do so! (i.e. after the flashback and five minutes before the end!) I think his character must have been faking not being able to remember anything! :wink:
It was a very well made piece of work though, and certainly an interesting attempt at a more psychological western, even if I didn't think it worked very well.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#683 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:11 pm

souvenir wrote:If it's not too much of a pain, would you mind posting the voting totals on the final list this time zedz? I always like to see how close the rankings are.
No problem. Right now they're very tight indeed. Earlier today, there were only 5 points between number 4 and number 8.

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GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#684 Post by GringoTex » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:31 pm

zedz wrote:(the more votes come in, the more the list tends to look like every other list of this sort)
I hope that means Ford and Hawks are being restored to their proper place above Raoul freaking Walsh!

I'm obviously going to have to check out some Gremillion now.

mikeohhh
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:22 pm

#685 Post by mikeohhh » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:10 am

GringoTex wrote:
zedz wrote:(the more votes come in, the more the list tends to look like every other list of this sort)
I hope that means Ford and Hawks are being restored to their proper place above Raoul freaking Walsh!

I'm obviously going to have to check out some Gremillion now.
I just hope Preston Sturges can have a film place higher than #30 this time around! Motherfucker OWNED this decade in my book (I didn't, and won't submit a list because my overall knowledge of 1940s films is pretty scant by this boards standards... maybe I shouldn't have touted my "book" just now... but Sullivan's Travels is a contender for #1 on the list I've been kicking around in my head, with The Miracle of Morgan's Creek not far behind).

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#686 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:38 am

Nobody owned this decade, man. It was bursting with talent and innovation all over the globe.

And Tex Avery is the comedy king of them all and ahem (cough) owned the decade flat out! RED HOT RIDING HOOD was so funny that the audiences went nuts and were recorded to have gone so crazy with laughter that they yelled and screamed at the projectionist and raised hell until he finally gave in and reran the 'toon.

"FUCK the FEATURE... we want cartoon repeats!" People would sneak into the mgm cartoon studio and steal Preston Blair's cells of Red (who was never rotoscoped, btw... all done from his mind.)

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
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#687 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:49 am

It was an amazing decade to say the least.

While in a sense the big studios were consolidating their power and prestige, and frequently ossifying or "milseading" otherwise fine directors (Hawks, Lubitsch, Hitch, Wyler....) into "prestige" post war material and some of their worst work, the Bs flourished. The Westerns and the Noir cycle alone are fantastic inventive reprisals of earlier cinema within post war zeitgeist. And even the beleagured Brits produce masterpieces like Alboerto Cavalcanti's They Made me a Fugitive, or Hamer's fantasically bleak It Always Rains on Sunday, not to mention the fucking Powell Presburger miracle. And Sturges was definitely ONE of the peaks of the decade. Along with the Freed Unit.

But that's just English speaking cinema.

I'm personally looking forward to the Defend the Pandas thread later. After all, "we've always got Panda.. I mean Paris" (from one of the most overrated movies of the decade.)

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GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#688 Post by GringoTex » Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:30 am

Zedz' top ten directors ranking strikes me as somewhat idiosyncratic, and I was wondering to what degree voters decided it was time to give lesser-known directors their due. I know, for example, that Rosenbaum doesn't include films by such directors as Godard and Welles and Hitchcock on his top lists anymore, because he considers their work and reputation beyond that. Or is the forum consensus really that Walsh's 40s output is better than Hitchcock's?

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david hare
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#689 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:30 am

I for one say YES!

And I'll give you or anyone else an argument why later.

Any list -- "LIST" -- is meaningless if it's not idiosyncratic, i.e. personal and expansive and not canonical. So long as it's not a regime of what anyone HAS TO WATCH. This after all aint Haliwell or Maltin.

Im sure voters are voting with their heads, firmly screwed on, en tous cas.

As for your last point, Walsh's 40s work is wildly superior to a dozen major directors.

Mais plus tard, mon choux.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#690 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:30 am

GringoTex wrote:Zedz' top ten directors ranking strikes me as somewhat idiosyncratic... Or is the forum consensus really that Walsh's 40s output is better than Hitchcock's?
Zedz top ten ranking? I thought it was the forum's.

You are winning friends and poll playmates by the dozen.

Indeed.

I for one have thousands of films but don't own a single Hitchcock, though I've seen them all. None of his films are on my list.

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
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#691 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:35 am

Tex you're dangerously close to trolling kiddo.

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GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#692 Post by GringoTex » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:43 am

davidhare wrote:Tex you're dangerously close to trolling kiddo.
??? Are the walls padded in here or what?

I found Walsh's ranking over some of the major directors surprising. There's nothing really dangerous about my remarks, and I didn't mean for you to feel threatened.

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
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#693 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:49 am

Believe me you didnt.

Why not try some other thread where you can scare the antsies.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#694 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:57 am

I'd say the one who raised the issue & vents at a faceless list ("..Raoul FREAKING Walsh???", and "Is the forum consensus really...??") is the one feeling threatened.

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GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#695 Post by GringoTex » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:58 am

HerrSchreck wrote:You are winning friends and poll playmates by the dozen.
Almost as interesting as your claim that the world didn't discover Ozu and Dreyer until you bought your first dvd player.
davidhare wrote:Believe me you didnt.

Why not try some other thread where you can scare the antsies.
Is this your game- wildly overreact in the hope that I'll no longer participate in the poll?

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david hare
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#696 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:21 am

It wasnt my intention but if you choose to do so, please feel free.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#697 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:31 am

GringoHex wrote:Almost as interesting as your claim that the world didn't discover Ozu and Dreyer until you bought your first dvd player.
Don't hide behind vaguery. Please reprint the actual quote from which you extracted that blue whale, so the world can see the breadth of your specially constructed warm fuzzy world where the blankets are cuddly, the teddy bears are big, and unfriendly facts dissappear in the steam of your hot cocoa mug.

Somebody ban this knucklehead already. He contributes nothing, garbles every thread he wanders into with bad scholarship, and when the surrounding scalps get scratched, he makes Yilmaz Guney look like Neville Chamberlain.

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tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

#698 Post by tryavna » Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:55 pm

davidhare wrote:the big studios were [...] frequently ossifying or "milseading" otherwise fine directors (Hawks, Lubitsch, Hitch, Wyler....) into "prestige" post war material and some of their worst work
The prime example probably being George Stevens!

Sorry, I know I'm not adding anything to this thread, but David's point has just answered a question I've scratching my head over for a couple of weeks, since having recently rewatched The More the Merrier and Gunga Din and wondering where the hell Stevens' talent went after that.

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden

#699 Post by Scharphedin2 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:02 pm

tryavna wrote:Sorry, I know I'm not adding anything to this thread, but David's point has just answered a question I've scratching my head over for a couple of weeks, since having recently rewatched The More the Merrier and Gunga Din and wondering where the hell Stevens' talent went after that.
I think the documentary that his son made about his career answers the question. After the experiences Stevens had in the war, he just could not go back to making light entertainment. But really, if you look at I Remember Mama, I think that film shows that he still had a great sense of timing in the (albeit few) comedic scenes. Personally, I am a big Stevens fan (both his pre- and post- World War II films). I think I see the same humane sensibility shining through in both the light and the heavier films. Seriously, tryavna, you really do not care for Shane, Place In the Sun and Giant?

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#700 Post by zedz » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:22 pm

Just a brief interruption and then you can all go back off-topic.

1) LAST CALL for 40s lists.

2) The great Gun Crazy is a 1950 film according to imdb, and thus ineligible. I've PMed several listmakers who have given me alternative titles, but a few lists have come through recently including Gun Crazy. I'm removing Gun Crazy from those lists and bumping everything up a notch. If you submitted such a list and haven't been contacted by me, feel free to email me your new number 50.

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