Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 11.39.57 AMAll of these films except the last one is an 88.  The last one is an 89.  All are low ****.  The introduction is here. (more…)

This is the next batch of 50 in my countdown of the Top 1000 films through 2011 (the first century of film).  Down through Last Year at Marienbad, they all earn an 87, which is the highest ***.5, or just short of being a great film.  From #829 on to the end of this list they all earn an 88 which is the lowest rating which earns **** (and thus gets called a great film).  You should probably look at the introduction first.  Your best bet for finding previous groups of 50 is to click here.

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Romance and fantasy come to life in Cocteau's fairy tale.

Romance and fantasy come to life in Cocteau’s fairy tale.

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.

This is the second year of the reduced number of nominees in the tech categories at the Oscars – Sound and Art Direction (the name finally changed from Interior Decoration) would have three nominees each with Cinematography and Special Effects only having two each.  It’s the fifth year for the Golden Globes, but there are still no nominees and no distinction between Drama and Comedy – the films marked in red in my Globes section won the Globe.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. La Belle et la bête
  2. Great Expectations
  3. Stairway to Heaven  (A Matter of Life and Death)
  4. Ivan the Terrible Part I
  5. Crossfire

Analysis: A big drop-off from 1946, of course.  But an even bigger one if you want to factor in that the top four films aren’t actually from this year.  This was the year that the films from foreign markets finally started flooding in.  Eleven of my Top 20 films weren’t originally released in this year; nor is that fully reflected in the number of foreign language films, as five of my top 14 are British films released in Britain in earlier years.  And, again, there aren’t a great crop of Comedies (my Best Picture – Comedy winner is my #19 film of the year), so here are the films that follow, in order: Out of the Past, Gentleman’s Agreement, Miracle on 34th Street, L’Atalante, I See a Dark Stranger, Brute Force, I Know Where I’m Going, Brighton Rock, This Happy Breed, Boomerang, Torment, Shoeshine and The Devil’s Envoys. (more…)

One of the brilliant scenes in Murnau's Nosferatu that's not in the original source.

One of the brilliant scenes in Murnau’s Nosferatu that’s not in the original source.

My Top 5:

  1. Nosferatu
  2. L’Argent
  3. The Wind
  4. The Docks of New York
  5. Street Angel

Note:  There is only a top 5 for this year.  There were more than enough adapted screenplays to have a Top 10 if the quality of the scripts had merited it.  They do not.  And there wouldn’t even have been 5 if I hadn’t seen L’Argent last week. (more…)

Greed-notes-and-queries-v-007You can read more about this year in film here.  Since this is the pre-Oscar era, clearly there are no Best Picture reviews to link to.  So, without further ado, here are the initial Nighthawk Awards, covering the entire pre-Oscar era.  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.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:
  1. Greed
  2. The Battleship Potemkin
  3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  4. The Gold Rush
  5. The Phantom of the Opera

note:  A good year for films because there are so many.  The next five, in order, are The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Birth of a Nation, Faust, The Last Laugh and Foolish Wives and the **** films go all the way down to #16. (more…)

The luminous Bibi Andersson is remembered by the aging Victor Sjostrom in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957, U.S. release 1959)

My Top 10:

  1. Wild Strawberries
  2. Some Like It Hot
  3. North by Northwest
  4. The 400 Blows
  5. Anatomy of a Murder
  6. The Diary of Anne Frank
  7. Sleeping Beauty
  8. Ben-Hur
  9. The Magician
  10. Ivan the Terrible Part II (more…)

One of the amazing surreal scenes in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

As I have gone through each year in film, both in covering the year, and later, in covering the Oscar nominees for Best Picture, I have included very little of my own nominees.   Partially it’s because I don’t want to throw too much of my own stuff in these and partially because I included all of my own nominees in my History of the Academy Awards series as I covered each category.

But, as I finish each decade, I’d like to take a look back and cover the best of each decade in each category.  So, I’ll go with each current Oscar category (other than documentaries and shorts) and I’ll list my top 5 covering an entire decade (in this case, covering all of film history up until 1929).

Because I’m covering a whole decade at a time, I am doing away with my requirement to keep to Academy eligible years and I just go with the original release date. (more…)

My Top 10:

the menacing shadow in Nosferatu (1922, US release - 1929)

the menacing shadow in Nosferatu (1922, US release - 1929)

  1. Nosferatu
  2. October
  3. Steamboat Bill Jr.
  4. Napoleon
  5. The Fall of the House of Usher
  6. The Wind
  7. The Wedding March
  8. Pandora’s Box
  9. Street Angel
  10. Spite Marriage

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Ingmar Bergman directing Fanny and Alexander, one of his 16 films on the list.

Ingmar Bergman directing Fanny and Alexander, one of his 16 films on the list.

One more genre after this and that’s Drama.  This list is outside the scope of AFI’s lists, of course, because these are Foreign Language Films.  This is the list in fact I said I would do months and months ago.

Since it takes forever to do the links (that’s why the last few lists have taken so long), I’ve just linked the directors, and only on their highest-ranking film.  I’ll eventually do the 100 Best Directors list, but it won’t be until after the Academy Awards because from the nominations to the awards I’ll be doing a daily post on each Oscar category. (more…)

Memorial to 54th Mass Regiment on Beacon Hill - immortalized in Glory (1989)

Memorial to 54th Mass Regiment on Beacon Hill - immortalized in Glory (1989)

While it’s true that a lot of War films fell into the Epic ballot that AFI sent out, it really should have had its own list. In fact, all War films can be broken down into sub-genre, depending on which war they are depicting.

As the title say, I’m putting forth my list of the top 10 War films. The “Doubled” refers to the fact that so many great war films have been Foreign films and since AFI ignores Foreign films, I’m including a separate top 10 list of War films that are non-English language.

For my scope of what constitutes a War film, it means a film that deals mostly with the aspects of a war itself, mostly on the battlefield (so, no Schindler’s List or other films focusing mostly on the Holocaust, or films that focus on the home front).

The interesting thing is that even though over half the War films I have seen are World War II films, the English language list is much more representative of other wars.

The final note is that in spite of having seen over 140 War films, only two of them do I consider to be truly bad: The Patriot and Pearl Harbor. Utter dreck, both of them. But for the most part, War films are usually well made, and if not too harrowing, decent entertainment. (more…)