Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 8.17.16 AMThis is the final grouping of 50 to count down the 1000 Greatest Films of the first Century of Film (1912-2011).

The original introduction can be found here.  Other parts can be found here.

The films in this portion rate at a 98 down through Modern Times and a 99 after that.

After some other posts, there will be an update that covers the years 2012-2016.  Then after some other posts, there will be another update that will cover the years 2017-2021.

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Screen Shot 2022-05-08 at 3.34.23 PMThe penultimate grouping of 50 has films that earn a 97 down through 2001.  After that, they are a 98.  The intro is here.  Other parts can be found here. (more…)

Screen Shot 2022-03-06 at 7.31.14 AMGetting close to the (initial) end of the Top 1000 list.  The introduction is here and the rest of the list can be found by going here.  Films through Inglourious Basterds (#174) are a 95 which is high ****.  The rest are a 96.  A 96 is, to me, worthy of a Best Picture win.  That means any Oscar winners from that point on, even if they don’t win the Nighthawk, earn no complaints from me.  Ironically, one of those films doesn’t even earn a Nighthawk nomination (The Hours) because 2002 is just that tough.  There are also a few films that come 5th in their years while the only actual Nighthawk winners in this post are all 95 films.  Things are so even across genres and major studios that only one film in this group of 50 is in the Top 5 all-time for its genre or major studio. (more…)

Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 12.02.51 PMAll 50 films in this post earn an 89 which is low ****.  The introduction to the entire list can be found here. (more…)

A Century of Film

Original Screenplay

It’s a bit difficult to write the history of original screenplays on film.  First of all, it’s been hard to determine, a lot of times, over the years, if a film truly is original or not.  When the old oscars.org site existed they listed films by a source author which was really helpful for determining if something was adapted or not but not perfect as sometimes the “source” was just a screen story or an idea.  There were also occasions where they didn’t list anything, the same way that sometimes the IMDb or Wikipedia don’t list a source material and I end up considering something original until someone points out that it’s not. (more…)

A Century of Film


Film History Through 1929

I’m certainly not going to discuss all of film history through 1929.  That has been done in numerous books in far more detail than I could ever discuss here.  There are some important dates that should not be ignored like 1912 (the release of Richard III, the oldest surviving feature-length film), 1915 (the release of The Birth of a Nation), the formation of the major studios (remember that what you think of as major may not meet that definition – it’s the five studios that both distributed films and owned theaters to which they could distribute the films and those were Fox, MGM, Warners, Paramount and RKO Radio, the last of which began releasing films in 1929, thus cementing the status of the five majors) and the double whammy of the introduction of sound with The Jazz Singer and the inception of the Academy Awards. (more…)

If you don’t know what is being said in this scene you are sadly deficient when it comes to the greatest Comedy film ever made.

A Century of Film


Comedies


The Genre

“As America’s principal purveyor of entertainment, Hollywood packaged comedy in many forms.  In 1929, Variety surveyed the major studios and classified production trends into seven categories.  Comedy was divided into two – comedy drama and comedy.  The types subsumed under comedy drama consisted of society, rural, city, mystery, college, and domestic, and the types under comedy consisted of farce and action-adventure.  A quarter of all the films produced by the majors in 1929 could be classified as comedies of one sort or another.  Although comic types metamorphosed into the sophisticated, low-life, anarchistic, sentimental, folksy, screwball, populist, or romantic, the production trend remained a key component of every studio’s roster.”  (Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939, Tino Balio, p 256) (more…)

A Century of Film


United Artists


The Studio

It’s a famous story by now, one of the most famous in film history.  Four artists were tired of the offers they were getting from their studios and so they left their studios and formed their own.  There was a director (D.W. Griffith), a couple of stars (Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, not yet married because of her pending divorce) and the man who could do it all (Charlie Chaplin).

“There is an antique strip of silent film barely two minutes long that is perhaps unique in motion-picture and business history.  It is in two parts, two simple cuts.  The first records the ritual signing of incorporation papers, and there is an appropriate solemnity as signatures are affixed to documents dated February 5, 1919.  The scene is artlessly composed and shot and would be of no visual interest whatever were it not that the four signatories, the founding partners of the newly formed United Artists Corporation, were perhaps the four most famous people on earth.”  (Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, Steven Bach, p 28) (more…)

Michael's descent into darkness is captured in this amazing shot by Gordon Willis.

Michael’s descent into darkness is captured in this amazing shot by Gordon Willis.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 8 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’ve dropped it from 10 because in a lot of categories I only have 8 or fewer listed.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Godfather  *
  2. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie  *
  3. Sleuth
  4. Cabaret  **
  5. Deliverance  *
  6. Play It Again, Sam
  7. Murmur of the Heart
  8. The Emigrants  *

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Joad got out and stood beside the cab window.  The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke.  Joad leaned toward the driver.  'Homicide,' he said quickly."

“Joad got out and stood beside the cab window. The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke. Joad leaned toward the driver. ‘Homicide,’ he said quickly.”

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  The Academy added two categories this year.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Grapes of Wrath
  2. Rebecca
  3. The Philadelphia Story
  4. The Great Dictator
  5. His Girl Friday

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