In August, Sight & Sound released the results of its latest poll of international critics and other experts. What is the greatest film of all time? In this poll Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo holds first place. This is first time in fifty years — the poll is taken every decade — that Citizen Kane lost its hold on that first slot. Also for the first time the magazine did a separate poll of filmmakers who chose Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story as number 1. Vertigo ranks 7 in the filmmakers’ poll (in a tie with The Godfather) and the general poll has Tokyo Story as number 3.
Look for a future blog here about this poll and past Sight & Sound tallies.
Note from Rick’s Journal: My Film Career. My own poll for fifteen years has had Vertigo as number 1, followed by Citizen Kane and The General vying for second spot. I feel excited about having been ahead of this game.
1) Silent film enthusiasts and especially John Gilbert fans will want to check out http://johngilbertandme.wordpress.com. The site is very knowledgeable in the details of the life and career of one of the screen’s great romantic leads and Greta Garbo’s favorite leading man.
2) Students and fans of American film history should enjoy http://inafferrabileleslie.wordpress.com, a site devoted to actor Leslie Howard who in a single decade may have made more memorable movies than any other performer within a comparable time span.
RECOMMENDED READING; an article and a book
If you can access the New York Times you will want to look at an article from July 1 with contributions by Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott. The title makes the subject matter clear: “Super- Dreams of an Alternate World Order…The modern comic book movie has become a Hollywood staple. But exactly what is it selling?”
The Great Moviemakers by George Stevens, Jr. (Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers, the next generation, from the 1950s to Hollywood today), Knopf, 2012.
This is a rewarding collection of interviews with directors, writers, composers and performers. I was especially intrigued by the talks with John Sayles and Paul Schrader. Sayles’ analysis of his Lone Star is helpful, and his description of working with a studio (Baby It’s You) is illuminating if not surprising. Sayles is also interesting as he discusses his own genre writing, done for other directors’ films.
The interview with Paul Schrader is as interesting as any other piece in the book. Schrader’s remarks are apparently a composite from two different seminars. It is not clear which questions arose when, but many of the queries put to Schrader come from an angry questioner who feels that the writer did not deliver a sufficiently clear racial message in Taxi Driver. The more immature the question, the profounder and more revealing is the Schrader response.
My collaborator BKG found this splendid compendium at our local library, but this is a worthwhile purchase.
NEXT FRIDAY POST September 14
Until then, see you at the movies,