This is the next batch of 50 films counting down my Top 1000 Films of All-Time.  Once again, they all earn an 86, which is high ***.5.  I recommend reading the introduction first.  The first batch of 50 were here. (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…)

ran-1985-1You 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 (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  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. Ran  *
  2. Blood Simple
  3. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  4. The Purple Rose of Cairo  *
  5. Brazil
  6. Witness  *
  7. Back to the Future
  8. The Color Purple  *
  9. After Hours
  10. A Private Function

Analysis:  It’s the fourth time that Kurosawa wins Best Picture at the Nighthawks, although Bergman has won it three times since Kurosawa won it last.
This is the strongest Top 5 in this category in five years, namely because Brazil is the best #5 film in five years.  Witness is the best #6 film in six years.  That strong top 5 means a low Oscar score (54.1 – the lowest since 1977 and second lowest since 1969).  The Oscar itself goes to Out of Africa, the worst choice since the 50’s; it’s the first film since 1974 to win without a single critics award.  But the Consensus Award goes to Prizzi’s Honor, which is my #12. (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…)

I grabbed this banner from altscreen.com.  They deserve credit, because it's awesome.

I grabbed this banner from altscreen.com. They deserve credit, because it’s awesome.

My Top 10 Adapted Screenplays:

  1. Greed  (1925)
  2. The Phantom of the Opera  (1925)
  3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame  (1923)
  4. Faust  (1926)
  5. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse  (1921)
  6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  (1920)
  7. Ingeborg Holm  (1913)
  8. Oliver Twist  (1922)
  9. The Birth of a Nation  (1915)
  10. The Avenging Conscience  (1914) (more…)

the 2nd Edition of the Norton Critical Edition of McTeague (1899)

McTeague

  • Author:  Frank Norris  (1870  –  1902)
  • Rank:  #50
  • Published:  1899
  • Publisher:  Doubleday & McClure
  • Pages:  340
  • First Line:  “It was Sunday, and according to his custom on that day, McTeague took his dinner at two in the afternoon in the car conductors’ coffee joint on Polk Street.”
  • Last Line:  “McTeague remained stupidly looking around him, now at the distant horizon, now at the ground, now at the half-dead canary chittering feebly in its little gilt prison.”
  • ML Edition:  #60  (1918-1923); 1996 gold hardcover
  • Film Version:  1924  (****  –  dir. Erich von Stroheim)
  • First Read:  Spring, 1994 (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:

allquietonthewesternfront

The final poignant moment in All Quiet on the Western Front

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front
  2. City Girl
  3. Arsenal
  4. Hell’s Angels
  5. The General Line
  6. Under the Roofs of Paris
  7. The Great Gabbo
  8. Anna Christie
  9. Blackmail
  10. Diary of a Lost Girl (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

(more…)

My Top 10:

  1. The Battleship Potemkin
    The Battleship Potemkin (1925)

    The Battleship Potemkin (1925)

  2. Greed
  3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  4. The Birth of a Nation
  5. The Gold Rush
  6. The Phantom of the Opera
  7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  8. Foolish Wives
  9. The Last Laugh
  10. The General (more…)