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This is the 8th part and the introduction can be found here.  All 50 films in this section earn a 90 which is a lower range **** film. (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…)

This is the next batch of 50 films counting down my Top 1000 Films of All-Time.  The films down through Footlight Parade all earn an 86 while the rest of them earn an 87, which is high ***.5.  I recommend reading the introduction first.  For the previous installments, click on the Top 1000 among the tags at the top of the post.

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This is the start of my Top 1000 Countdown, the 1000 best films made in the first Century of Film (1912-2011).  A reminder that the introduction should probably be looked at first and will answer any questions about abbreviations.

Every film in this group of 50 earns an 86, which is high ***.5. (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…)

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


Orion


The Studio

In 1978, the United Artists heads were tired of being told what to do by parent company Transamerica and the head of Transamerica, Jack Beckett, said “if the people at United Artists don’t like it, they can quit and go off on their own.”  Which is what they did, leaving the next day and forming Orion Pictures, with a financing and distributing affiliation with Warner Brothers. (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…)

“Kay could see how Michael stood to receive their homage.  He reminded her of statues in Rome, statues of those Roman emperors of antiquity, who, by divine right, held the power of life and death over their fellow men.  One hand was on his hip, the profile of his face showed a cold proud power, his body was carelessly, arrogantly at ease, weight resting on one foot slightly behind the other.  The caporegimes stood before him.  In that moment Kay knew that everything Connie had accused Michael of was true.” (p 419)

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather
  2. Sleuth
  3. Play It Again Sam
  4. Cabaret
  5. Deliverance
  6. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
  7. The Heartbreak Kid
  8. Fat City
  9. Travels with My Aunt
  10. Avanti

Note:  My full list is fourteen films long but three of the of the other four are reviewed below because of award nominations (The Emigrants, Sounder, Frenzy) leaving just one for the list down at the bottom. (more…)

And Marty tallies yet another Nighthawk Award.

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 (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 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Hugo  *
  2. The Artist  **
  3. Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
  4. Midnight in Paris  *
  5. The Descendants  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  7. A Separation
  8. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  9. The Tree of Life
  10. My Week with Marilyn
  11. The Ides of March
  12. Contagion
  13. Beginners
  14. Incendies
  15. Jane Eyre
  16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  17. Rango
  18. Margin Call
  19. As If I Am Not There
  20. Moneyball  *

Analysis:  The first 15 films are ****.  The rest are ***.5.  In spite of an overall weak year (see various categories below), the Top 5 tracks almost exactly along with 2009.  In fact, the first four films here all earn the exact same ratings as the first four in 2009 and The Descendants is one point better than Broken Embraces in the #5 spot, so this year’s Top 5 is actually one point better.  That said, it’s still the second weakest Top 5 since 1998 (and the same goes for the Top 10 and Top 20).
The Help was actually 4th in the Consensus.  There are 5 films because Midnight in Paris and Moneyball tied for 5th (as did War Horse). (more…)