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This is the 9th part of the Top 1000 list.  The introduction can be found here.  Films #600-571 are a 90 and the rest are a 91 which are both low level ****. (more…)

A Century of FilmScreen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.28.05 PM

Film History

1940-1949

Filmmaking had supposedly peaked in 1939 just as the war arrived to greatly limit (outside of America, film production was massively down) and influence it (in America, War films took the forefront).  After the war concluded, came the two lawsuits that changed the way of films in America.  First came de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures which altered the notion of what a studio could put in a contract.  Second came United States vs. Paramount Pictures which meant that production studios would have to sell off their theater chains.  The first hastened the end of the way films were made in the Studio Era while the second altered how they were distributed and brought an to the end to the concept of the “majors” as they had been known. (more…)

A Century of Film


RKO


The Studio

A first note that the picture of the logo above, as always, comes from here and again there is an excellent piece on the history of the logo.

“[David] Sarnoff and Boston financier Joseph Kennedy created RKO back in 1928.  They merged several film companies into a fully integrated major, RKO-Radio Pictures, with RCA providing the sound, and the new studio immediately took off.  In 1930, its second full year of operation RKO pulled in profits of nearly $3.5 million.  But business had been so good during the talkie boom that it was impossible for a major studio not to make money.  Only when the Depression hit in 1931 did Sarnoff realize how inefficiently the studio was being run.  He was impressed when Selznick looked him up in New York to pitch his unit-production scheme. … David Selznick, at age twenty-nine, became RKO’s ‘vice president in charge of production’.”  (The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era, Thomas Schatz, p 127-28) (more…)

In some ways, they couldn’t appear more different.  The Other Side of the Wind was filmed in the the 1970’s (some in the early part of the decade, some in the middle), considerable portions are in black and white, it’s filmed mostly within a house, uses many people whose primary profession wasn’t acting and is clearly a film that was only fully constructed in the editing room, over four decades after filming was completed.  The Man Who Killed don Quixote was filmed just two years ago with one of the great British actors currently at work and a rising star who is the current villain in a massive franchise and a recent Oscar nominee.  Indeed, while few of the actors in the former have much on their acting resumes, four of the main actors in the latter film combine four of the biggest films franchises in history (Star Wars, Pirates, Marvel Cinematic Universe, James Bond).  It clearly had more of a budget, is shot on incredible natural scenery in Europe and started filming just over two years ago.  Yet, the films are also so much alike and their stories are so painfully similar that it makes you weep to see the shit that inhabits so many movie theaters every week given how long it took these two fantastic films to even be seen. (more…)


A Century of Film


Mysteries


The Genre

 

“What about Film Noir?” Veronica asked me as I was talking about this category.  But, as I explained to her, Film Noir itself isn’t a genre, but a style that moves across multiple genres, usually Crime, Mystery and Suspense.  Crime films are easier to pull out because, as I explained in the Crime post, they are films in which the main character is a criminal.  It is a lot more difficult to draw a line between Crime films and Suspense films and you could easily take all of Mystery and make it a sub-section of Suspense films.  But I will try. (more…)

FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

"Your future's all used up." The line doesn't go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

“Your future’s all used up.” The line doesn’t go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

My Top 10:

  1. Touch of Evil
  2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  3. Separate Tables
  4. The Horse’s Mouth
  5. Vertigo
  6. Therese Raquin
  7. The Last Hurrah
  8. The Bravados
  9. The Horror of Dracula
  10. The Brothers Karamazov

Note:  There are 13 films on my list.  Me and the Colonel is reviewed because its was a WGA nominee and the other two are listed down below. (more…)

wild-bunch-2You 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 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Wild Bunch
  2. Chimes at Midnight
  3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid  *
  4. Z  **
  5. Once Upon a Time in the West
  6. Oh! What a Lovely War!
  7. Midnight Cowboy  *
  8. Stolen Kisses
  9. They Shoot Horses Don’t They  *
  10. Shame

Analysis:  A truly great top 5, including three of the greatest Westerns ever made.  This is the best Top 5 since 1946 and the second best to date.  The Top 10 is strong as well – the best since 1962 and tied for the third best to date.  They are all **** films, but there is a four point drop from #6 to #7. (more…)

"This house was the pride of the town.  Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town."  (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

“This house was the pride of the town. Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town.” (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

My Top 10:

  1. The Magnificent Ambersons
  2. Bambi
  3. Random Harvest
  4. Now Voyager
  5. The Glass Key
  6. Kings Row
  7. This Gun for Hire
  8. The Man Who Came to Dinner
  9. Mrs. Miniver
  10. The Pride of the Yankees

note:  Like in 1941, I have a Top 10 but no more. (more…)

Part of the brilliant opening shot of Touch of Evil.

Part of the brilliant opening shot of Touch of Evil.

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.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Touch of Evil
  2. Smiles of a Summer Night
  3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  *
  4. Nights of Cabiria
  5. The Defiant Ones  **
  6. Vertigo
  7. Death of a Cyclist
  8. Mon Oncle

(more…)