February 2012

The Vintage cover for Nabokov's Lolita (don't pronounce it like Sting)


  • Author:  Vladimir Nabokov  (1899  –  1977)
  • Rank:  #23
  • Published:  1955
  • Publisher:  Olympia Press
  • Pages:  317
  • First Line:  “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”
  • Last Lines:  “I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art.  And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #4; All-TIME List
  • Film:  1962  (***.5  –  dir. Stanley Kubrick); 1997  (***  –  dir. Adrian Lyne)
  • First Read:  Spring, 1999


On the plus side, we finally got a desk, so I can sit at the computer without ruining my back.

On the negative side, I got some kind of stomach bug and gave it to Veronica, so I have spent most of the last three days in bed, yet not getting any sleep.

So, while I try to finish the next Top 100 Novels post (Lolita), the next Year in Film (1998), finish re-watching Elizabeth, Thin Red Line and Shakespeare in Love and scream at my keyboard as certain keys become almost impossible to press down, I will throw this up (rather than my supper from last night).

It’s a March Madness breakdowns of Classic Actresses.  Don’t get it?  Go here and all can be figured out.  The Silent Era / 30’s bracket is hosted by Mythical Monkey, who has been great supporter of this blog.

Cecil B. De Mille becomes the face of the post because he's so recognizable. Here he is being directed by a much better director on the set of Sunset Blvd..

Here’s the next group.  So why is it that everything is suddenly off by one?  Well, since I did the first group, the Oscars announced their nominations.  While four of the nominated directors had been nominated before, there was one new one: Michel Hazanavicius.  I’m not certain where he will eventually end up, but given the hilariousness of the first OSS film, it’s not gonna be anywhere near this group, so everyone gets bumped down one rank from where they were going to be.

We also have some people who are shifting, even as I have been working on this list.  Jack Cardiff’s films have been hard to find, but TCM played a bunch on one night in January and I went from having seen 61% of his films to 84% and have a better grasp on him.  It didn’t change him much, but it was enough to move up a few spots.  Also, I re-watched The Full Monty, and bumped it up to a **** film and that moved Peter Cattaneo out of this post altogether.  It’s a reminder that this all a work in progress and people constantly move as I see new films.  That’s why I waited until I was past the 80% mark of all the films from all the directors before I began the project, and after I had exhausted Netflix and ILL.

Another reminder, like last time.  The Sarris quotes come from The American Cinema, which was published in 1968, so it has no directors after that.  The Thomson quotes come from the 2002 edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.  The points system is explained here. (more…)

the 1962 Modern Library dust jacket of Winesburg, Ohio

Winesburg, Ohio

  • Author:  Sherwood Anderson  (1876  –  1941)
  • Rank:  #24
  • Published:  1919
  • Publisher:  B. W. Huebsch
  • Pages:  252
  • First Line:  “The writer, an old man with a white moustache, had some difficulty in getting into bed.”
  • Last Line:  “He stayed that way for a long time and when he aroused himself and again looked out of the car window the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood.”
  • ML Edition:  #104  (six dust jackets  –  1923, 1925, 1930, 1939, 1955, 1962); Classics paperback, gold hardcover
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #24
  • Film:  1973 television film
  • First Read:  Spring, 1994 (more…)

Doonesbury from April of 1998 says it all

The 70th annual Academy Awards for the film year 1997.  The nominations were announced on February 10, 1998 and the awards were held on March 23, 1998.

Best Picture:  Titanic

  • L.A. Confidential
  • Good Will Hunting
  • The Full Monty
  • As Good As It Gets

Most Surprising Omission:  Amistad

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  The Sweet Hereafter

Rank (out of 83) Among Best Picture Years:  #27