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As a film critic, I am not saying that these are indeed the
greatest, but they have been commonly received as such.
Personally, I never found Some Like It Hot all that hilarious.
I like Singin' in the Rain a lot, and I am always happy to
watch it when it is on. But is it the greatest? Of course, the
question is silly in that it is not quantifiable. I have compiled
a list of movies that, for right or wrong, are universally
acknowledged at the greatest of their genre and I have offered
an alternative, just to expand your viewing options and let
you join in the best-film list silliness.
1- Greatest Film Of All Times
Citizen Kane is cited as the greatest film of all times,
often by people who might not like it very much,
often by people who have never seen it. The
wonder of Kane is that it is a great film that is
actually tremendous fun to watch. As an alternative, why not
try The Magnificent Ambersons, the film that Orson Welles
made after Kane? The Magnificent Ambersons doesn't have
the stylistic dazzle of Kane. It is a subtler film. Its story is told
in a linear fashion by an omniscient narrator, as opposed to
the fun-house mirror narrative technique of Kane. The more
traditional story-telling method gives the story and characters
greater appeal than the endlessly fascinating but somewhat
remote characters in Kane. The Magnificent Ambersons was
a victim of RKO studio politics. The final edit was not by
Welles and the final two scenes seem to belong to another
film. Although more muted than Citizen Kane, The
Magnificent Ambersons is still emotionally overwhelming.
Agnes Moorehead's performance alone ensures its
immortality.
2-
Greatest Musical Of All Times
There doesn't seem any room for argument. Singin'
in the Rain is the greatest musical of all times.
Period. End of discussion. Yet..... Doesn't the
Broadway Melody number go on way too long?
Aren't the characters, while endearing, a little cardboard?
Singin' in the Rain is so solidly recognized as the greatest that
it almost seems heresy to propose an alternative. However, I
submit for your consideration Vincente Minnelli's 1944
masterpiece Meet Me In St. Louis. The film has something
that most musicals lack: a great book. It depicts the life of the
somewhat quirky Smith in the year leading up to the opening
of the 1904 World's Fair. The characters are well-rounded.
The film has great period nostalgia and some sentimentality,
but enough vinegar to keep the enterprise from becoming too
cloying. The songs are a mixture of original and period
compositions, and they flow organically from the action.
There is a Hallowe'en scene that is genuinely
creepy. A totally satisfying film experience.
3-
Greatest Historical Romance
Even ignoring the racial insensitivities and the
romanticizing of the Antebellum slave-owning
Dixie, Gone With The Wind is a dull, elephantine
work. As an alternative, try Jezebel from 1937,
starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda. Legend has it that
Warner Brothers Studio created the film as a consolation
prize when Bette Davis did not win the coveted role of
Scarlett O'Hara. Davis' character is certainly as self
centered and headstrong as Scarlett, The MGM 'Tradition
Of Quality' often can over-inflate a film. Here the grittier
Warner Brothers production values make this a more
engaging and satisfying film. The story is tightly told, the
performances are wonderful, and it is all in glorious black
and white.
4-
Greatest Adventure Romance
The favorite in this category must be Casablanca,
a film I believe deserves all the praise and
devotion it has garnered over the years. So, why
not stay in the same mood with an alternative
film? You say you like Humphrey Bogart thwarting Nazi
operatives in the company of beautiful women? Why not try,
To Have And Have Not, based on what Hemingway called
his worst book. The locale in Martinique is gritty in the best
Waner Brothers fashion. The supporting cast is as
wonderful as that of Casablanca, with a
beautiful performance by Walter Brennan.
What makes this stiff competition for
Casablanca is the sexual fireworks
between Bogart and Lauren Bacall in
her film debut. Watching these two
falling in love is a sophisticated pleasure.
5-
Greatest Christmas Movie
Yes. I know. The greatest Christmas
movie is It's A Wonderful Life. It is
interesting to note that this 1946 film
was not very popular when it
premiered. Perhaps such a downbeat film
coming right after the end of World War II
was not what the public wanted.
47
future film directors
movies
to
know
There is a list of 'best' films
that no one seems to argue with.
Best film of all times? Easy. Citizen Kane.
Best musical of all times? Easy. Singin' in the Rain.
Greatest comedy of all times? Some Like It Hot.
Written By: Mitchell Brown
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