My Gleanings

Friday, January 04, 2008

Filmmakers 10 Best films lists from 1952 as published in Sight and Sound

In early October, I published some ten best lists from a poll made of filmmakers by Le Comité du Festival Mondial du film et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in 1952. Here are some additional lists which I found in Sight and Sound v.22 no.1 July-Sept 1952 pages 18-19.

Claude Autant-Lara
1.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
2.....The Strong Man (Frank Capra)
3.....The Wedding March (Erich von Stroheim)
4.....The Threepenny Opera (G W Pabst)
5.....The Man I Killed (Ernst Lubitsch)
6.....Peter Ibbetson (Henry Hathaway)
7.....Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder)
8.....Odd Man Out (Carol Reed)
9.....Senza pietà (Alberto Lattuada)
10...Le Diable au corps (Claude Autant-Lara)

Jacques Becker
1.....The Pilgrim (Charles Chaplin)
2.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin)
3.....Modern Times (Charles Chaplin)
4.....Foolish Wives (Erich von Stroheim)
5.....Greed (Erich von Stroheim)
6.....The Wedding March (Erich von Stroheim)
7.....Lonesome (Pál Fejös)
8.....The Crowd (King Vidor)
9.....M (Fritz Lang)

Alberto Cavalcanti
1.....The Girl I Loved (Joseph De Grasse)
2.....L'Atalante (Jean Vigo)
3.....Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica)
4.....Gösta Berlings Saga (Mauritz Stiller)
5.....Brief Encounter (David Lean)
6.....The Pilgrim (Charles Chaplin)
7.....Broken Blossoms (D W Griffith)
8.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
9.....Moana (Robert Flaherty)
10...The Threepenny Opera (G W Pabst)

Carl Theodore Dreyer
1.....The Birth of a Nation (D W Griffith)
2.....Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller)
3.....Potemkin (Sergei Potemkin)
4.....The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin)
5.....Sous les toits de Paris (René Clair)
6.....Quai des brumes (Marcel Carné)
7.....Brief Encounter (David Lean)
8.....Henry V (Laurence Olivier)
9.....The Petrified Forest (Archie Mayo)
10...Open City (Roberto Rossellini)

Elia Kazan
1.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
2.....Aerograd (Alexander Dovchenko)
3.....The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin)
4.....Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown)
5.....Open City (Roberto Rossellini)
6.....Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica)
7.....Shoulder Arms (Charles Chaplin)
8.....Target for Tonight (Harry Watt)
9.....La Femme de boulanger (Marcel Pagnol)
10...The Fanny trilogy (Marcel Pagnol)

David Lean
1.....Intolerance (D W Griffith)
2.....Varieté (E A Dupont)
3.....The Crowd (King Vidor)
4.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin)
5.....White Shadows (W S Van Dyke/Robert Flaherty)
6.....À nous la liberté (René Clair)
7.....The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir)
8.....Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné)
9.....Le Jour se lève (Marcel Carné)
10...Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

Carol Reed
1.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin)
2.....Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch)
3.....Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné)
4.....Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming)
5.....La Ronde (Max Ophuls)
6.....All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone)
7.....Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder)
8.....Variety (E A Dupont)
9.....La Femme du boulanger (Marcel Pagnol)
10...Pygmalion (Anthony Asquith/Leslie Howard)

King Vidor
1.....Intolerance (D W Griffith)
2.....Sunrise (F W Murnau)
3.....The Last Laugh (F W Murnau)
4.....The Big Parade (King Vidor)
5.....Brief Encounter (David Lean)
6.....The Red Shoes (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger)
7.....Open City (Roberto Rossellini)
8.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin)
9.....Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
10...The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler)

Luchino Visconti
1.....The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir)
2.....Greed (Erich von Stroheim)
3.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
4.....¡Que viva Mexico! (Sergei Eisenstein)
5.....Hallelujah (King Vidor)
6.....Stagecoach (John Ford)
7.....Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin)
8.....Tabu (F W Murnau)
9.....The Lost Weekend (Billy Wilder)
10...Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné)

Billy Wilder
1.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
2.....Greed (Erich von Stroheim)
3.....Variety (E A Dupont)
4.....The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin)
5.....The Crowd (King Vidor)
6.....The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir)
7.....The Informer (John Ford)
8.....Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch)
9.....The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler)
10...Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica)

Basil Wright
1.....Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
2.....Earth (Alexander Dovchenko)
3.....Greed (Erich von Stroheim)
4.....Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty)
5.....Zéro de conduite (Jean Vigo)
6.....The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford)
8.....Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin)
9.....La Femme du Boulanger (Marcel Pagnol)

10...The Student of Prague (Henrik Galeen)

Sight and Sound also published the lists of Vittorio De Sica, Edward Dmytrk, Robert Hamer, and Orson Welles which I have previously posted in my October Cahiers post.

Some informatiom and observations from Gavin Lambert's commentary:

"The Committee makes the following observations on the results: first, that almost all the films chosen are 'dedicated to the great cause of humanism, human values are well to the fore': second, that no replies were recieved from the USSR, India, China or Japan: thirdly, that several distinguished filmmakers could not or would not reply, among them, Chaplin, Stroheim, Clair, Cocteau, Hitchcock and Olivier. Other names of which there is no mention (One doesn't know whether they were questioned or not.) include Ford, Renoir, Pabst, Carné, Prévert, Ophuls, Castellani, Milestone and Lang."

"Who would have thought Buñuel to be so taken with, of all things, Portrait of Jennie and Cavalcade, or Dreyer with The Petrified Forest, or Reed with Gone With the Wind, or Kazan with Target for Tonight, or Visconti with The Lost Weekend? Other surprises of this nature are that Michael Powell included The Wizard of Oz; Delannoy, On Borrowed Time and Mine Own Executioner; Asquith, The 39 Steps; Noel Coward, The GuardsmanAll About Eve and Dmytryk, The Patriot."

"One notices how brilliant technicians (Kazan, Reed, Welles, Dmytryk) admire Pagnol's films, perhaps, the attraction of compensating opposites. One is struck throughout by the relative indifference to Vigo, Ford (and then, only the odd mention of Stagecoach and The Informer), Dovchenko, Donskoi, Jennings. To Le Jour se léve (Les Enfants du paradis much preferred). To any Renoir, except La Grande illusion. any Clair, except Le Million, any Eisenstein, except Potemkin."

"There is reason to ponder, too, why the following films received no more than a single vote each, or none at all; (none), The Childhood of Maxim Gorki (none), Zéro de conduite (Wright), Earth (Wright), Arsenal (none), The Road to Life (none), October (none), Young Mr. Lincoln (none), They Were Expendable (none), Sciuscià (Welles), Fires Were Started (none), Louisiana Story (Bresson), La Règle du jeu (Hamer), and Le Jour se léve (Lean)."

"And the last word must be left to Cocteau, 'Il faudrait bavarder ensemble et dresser la liste sur un coin de table'."

(translation: "We'll have to chat this over together and write a list down on a napkin.")

a little commentary from me:
Sight and Sound
included the lists of Jacques Becker and Carl Theodore Dreyer neither of whom Cahiers du Cinema had included. One would have to beleive that had this been after January 1954, Cahiers would have printed the lists of both directors. Both being highly regarded by the "young turks".

The four British directors (David Lean, Carol Reed, Basil Wright, and Robert Hamer. Hamer's list was published by Cahiers also and can be found here ) whose lists Sight and Sound chose to publish cited a total of one English film -- Carol Reed, Pygmalion. However, in his commentary, Gavin Lambert cited at least two instances where British directors whose lists were not included had cited a British film -- Michael Powell and Noel Coward both cited Brief Encounter. The Brazilian director, Alberto Cavalcanti, who had worked in England from the early 1930s until 1950, also cited Brief Encounter. Additionally, the American director, Edward Dmytyrk, Give Us this Day (Christ in Concrete) which he made in England for an British company.

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