Total Pageviews

Monday, July 27, 2015


Noticed in the ‘net news that the BBC webpage published a feature on what they thought to be the 100 Best Movies made in America.  Interesting gambit by the Brits because the hit list has generated exactly what BBC wanted: a bit of cheeky controversy at the expense of the Yanks.  And, it heaped attention on BBC’s news website.
Editor’s Note:
At the end of this post, Pillar to Post lists BBC’s Top 100 List of American Made Movies, plus the American Film Institute’s Top 100 and Time Magazine’s 2011 opus to top 100 films worldwide.

As a career long city magazine writer/editor, many of my editorial colleagues will agree with me that conducting readers’ polls and publishing the results is simply a gimmick to attract readership. It’s media making news rather than media reacting to the news events of the day. 

For example, “The City’s Most Eligible Bachelors/Bachelorettes” was a poll feature that generated way too much attention every time we ran with it when I was at the helm of San Francisco Magazine and San Diego Magazine.  In San Diego, when the magazine ran its most eligible article, the local daily newspaper ran an entire full-page feature on the results.  Of course, when one is a brash to a fault, 25-year-old editor in chief, the attention we received was relished, plus our circulation department appreciated the huge increase in copy sales for that issue.

In San Francisco, a month after publishing San Francisco’s “Most Eligible Bachelors,” I was served a subpoena.  It seems one of our bachelors, who posed for our photo next to his Aston-Martin, wasn’t quite single.  Years later, I will confess, our due diligence on determining eligibility to appear in the article was simply asking: “ you want to be in the story?” If they said yes, we took them at their word that they were not married. 
October 1982

Alas, the owner of the exotic imported car had fibbed.  He was in the throes divorce proceedings and wasn’t quite foot loose and fancy free.  His about to be ex-wife had her lawyer press the magazine for information on the sports car. She accused him of hiding assets because he never had an Aston-Martin when they were married. You think?

When I was served the subpoena along with my fried calamari, I was dining with buddies at what was then a popular media restaurant, the Washington Square Bar & Grill.  The legal notice was greeted with mock importance.  By the end of the evening, we were all howling with outrage. 

Because the publication could not afford an attorney to fight (quash) the subpoena on the grounds a journalist is protected by California law from revealing his or her news sources, I was able to convince a lawyer friend to defend us pro bono.  It remains high sport in San Francisco to “stick it to the legal system.”

We immediately called a press conference.  Because our offices at the magazine were small, I asked a friend, who owned Mumms, a popular night club of the day if we could borrow his space to hold the press conference.

We sent our media alerts for our 11 am announcement that we were going to fight the subpoena and not reveal our sources.

Same day, back at the office, I received a call from the local bureau chief of a prestigious East Coast daily newspaper.  He snorted, “The New York Times does not attend press conferences held in a night club.”

Undeterred, the press conference went on as planned.  I delivered the magazine’s plan of action to the room filled with the staff of San Francisco Magazine, and the lawyers of both parties, plus only one other member of the media who bothered to attend: a reporter with the Los Angeles Times.

Our adventure with the subpoena was of interest at the LA Times because at the time one of their reporters, William Farr, was in jail for refusing to divulge his sources.  I was told off the record that the LA Times felt it was compelled to offer coverage to other shield law happenings. 

The Eligible Bachelor press conference drew front page news.   The LA Times, In a small block down at the bottom of the page a small story gave the bare bones of the case and it quoted the newspaper as saying (and I paraphrase from memory) that “this is perhaps the most silly reason to ask for protection of the California Shield Law, but nonetheless the quashing of the subpoena must be granted.”

Within a week, the subpoena was lifted much to the delight of our publisher.  The judge stated that the offended party could obtain the same information by other means outside of the judicial process.

The world was now safe for more most eligible bachelor articles.

(according to:)

In recognition of the astounding influence of the US on what remains the most popular art-form worldwide, BBC Culture has polled 62 international film critics to determine the 100 greatest American films of all time.

100. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)
99. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
98. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)
97. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
96. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
95. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
94. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
93. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
92. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
91. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
90. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
89. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
88. West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)
87. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
86. The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)
85. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
84. Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
83. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
82. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
81. Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)
80. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
79. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
78. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
77. Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)
76. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
75. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
74. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
73. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
72. The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)
71. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)
69. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)
68. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
67. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
66. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)
65. The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983)
64. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
63. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
62. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
61. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
60. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)
58. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
57. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)
56. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
55. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
54. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)
53. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)
52. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
51. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
50. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
49. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)
48. A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951)
47. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)
46. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
45. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
44. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)
43. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)
42. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
41. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
40. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
39. The Birth of a Nation (DW Griffith, 1915)
38. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
37. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
36. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
35. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
34. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
33. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
32. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)
31. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
30. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
29. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
28. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
27. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
26. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)
25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

Back in 2011, Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss, two of Time Magazine’s long-time movie critics compiled a top 100 all-time list.  The two Richard’s compilation (with a nod to the Time webpage staff) put together a fascinating review.  Each movie is given a mini-biography, which makes this list so compelling.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God                Werner Herzog          1972
The Apu Trilogy                                Satyajit Ray                1955
The Awful Truth                                Leo McCarey              1937
Baby Face                                          Alfred E. Green          1933
Bande à part                                       Jean-Luc Godard       1964
Barry Lyndon                                     Stanley Kubrick          1975
Berlin Alexanderplatz                         Rainer Fassbinder       1980
Blade Runner                                      Ridley Scott                1982
Bonnie and Clyde                               Arthur Penn                1967
Brazil                                                  Terry Gilliam              1985
Bride of Frankenstein                          James Whale               1935
Camille                                               George Cukor             1936
Casablanca                                          Michael Curtiz           1942
Charade                                               Stanley Donen           1963
Children of Paradise                            Marcel Carne              1945
Chinatown                                          Roman Polanski          1974
Chungking Express                              Wong Kar Wai            1994
Citizen Kane                                       Orson Welles              1941
City Lights                                          Charles Chaplin          1931
City of God                                        Fernando Meirelles     2002
                                                          Katia Lund
Closely Watched Trains                     Jiri Menzel                  1966
The Crime of Monsieur Lange            Jean Renoir                 1936
The Crowd                                         King Vidor                  1928

D - F

Day for Night                                     Francois Truffaut        1973
The Decalogue                                   Krzysztof Kieslowski  1989
Detour                                                Edgar G. Ulmer          1945
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie     Luis Bunuel                 1972
Dodsworth (1936)                              William Wyler            1936
Double Indemnity                               Billy Wilder                1944
Dr. Strangelove                                   Stanley Kubrick          1964
Drunken Master II                               Chia-Liang Liu            1994
                                                           Jackie Chan
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial                     Steven Spielberg          1982
8 ½                                                     Federico Fellini           1963
The 400 Blows                                   Francois Truffaut          1959
Farewell My Concubine                     Kaige Chen                  1993
Finding Nemo                                    Andrew Stanton           2003
                                                           Lee Unkrich
The Fly                                               David Cronenberg       1986

G - J

The Godfather, Parts I and II                         Francis Ford Coppola             1972, 1974
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly                 Sergio Leone                           1966
Goodfellas (1990)                                          Martin Scorsese                      1990
A Hard Day’s Night                                       Richard Lester                         1964
His Girl Friday                                               Howard Hawks                       1940
Ikiru                                                               Akira Kurosawa                      1952
In A Lonely Place                                           Nicholas Ray                          1950
Invasion of the Body Snatchers                      Don Siegel                              1956
It’s A Gift                                                       Norman Z. McLeod                1934
It’s a Wonderful Life                                      Frank Capra                            1946

K - M

Kandahar                                                        Mohsen Makmalbaf               2001
Kind Hearts and Coronets                               Robert Hamer                        1949
King Kong                                                       Merian C. Cooper                  1933
                                                                       Ernest B. Schoedsack
The Lady Eve                                                  Preston Sturges                       1941
The Last Command                                         Josef Von Sternberg                1928
Lawrence of Arabia                                         David Lean                            1962
Léolo                                                               Jean-Claude Lauzon               1992
The Lord of the Rings                                      Peter Jackson                          2001
The Man with a Movie Camera                       Dziga Vertov                          1929
The Manchurian Candidate                             John Frankenheimer               1962
Meet Me in St. Louis                                       Vincent Minelli                       1944
Metropolis                                                      Fritz Lang                                1927
Miller’s Crossing                                             Coen Brothers                         1990
Mon oncle d’Amérique                                   Alain Resnais                          1980
Mouchette                                                      Robert Bresson                        1967

N - P

Nayakan                                                         Mani Ratnam                          1987
Ninotchka                                                       Ernst Lubitsch                         1939
Notorious                                                        Alfred Hitchcock                    1946
Olympia, Parts 1 and 2                                   Leni Riefenstahl                      1938
On the Waterfront                                          Elia Kazan                               1954
Once Upon a Time in the West                      Sergio Leone                           1968
Out of the Past                                                Jacques Tourneur                    1947
Persona                                                           Ingmar Bergman                      1966
Pinocchio                                                        Hamilton Luske                      1940
                                                                        Ben Sharpsteen
Psycho                                                             Alfred Hitchcock                    1960
Pulp Fiction                                                     Quentin Tarantino                  1994
Purple Rose of Cairo                                        Woody Allen                          1985
Pyaasa                                                             Guru Dutt                               1957

Q - S

Raging Bull                                                     Martin Scorsese                      1980
Schindler’s List                                               Steven Spielberg                      1993
The Searchers                                                 John Ford                                1956
Sherlock, Jr.                                                    Buster Keaton                          1924
The Shop Around the Corner                          Ernst Lubitsch                          1940
Singin’ in the Rain                                          Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly      1952
The Singing Detective                                     Jon Amiel                                1986
Smiles of a Summer Night                               Ingmar Bergman                      1955
Some Like It Hot                                             Billy Wilder                             1959
Star Wars                                                        George Lucas                          1977
A Streetcar Named Desire                               Elia Kazan                               1951
Sunrise                                                            F.W. Murnau                          1927
Sweet Smell of Success                                   Alexander Mackendrick          1957
Swing Time                                                     George Stevens                       1936

T - Z

Taxi Driver                                                     Martin Scorsese                      1976
Tokyo Story                                                   Yasujiro Ozu                           1953
A Touch of Zen                                              King Hu                                  1971
Ugetsu                                                            Kenji Mizoguchi                     1953
Talk to Her                                                     Pedro Almodovar                    2002
Ulysses’ Gaze                                                 Theo Angelopoulos                1985
Umberto D                                                      Vittorio De Sica                      1952
Unforgiven                                                      Clint Eastwood                       1992
White Heat                                                      Raoul Walsh                          1949
Wings of Desire                                              Wim Wenders                         1987
Yojimbo                                                          Akira Kurosawa                      1961

In 2007, the American Film Institute updated its original 1998 compilation of the Greatest American Films of all time. More than 1,500 leaders from across the American film community – screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics were tasked to choose from a list of 400 nominated films compiled by AFI to select the 100 greatest American films.  Here’s the list in order of greatness:

1.   Citizen Kane                     1941
2.   Casablanca                       1942
3.   Godfather 1                      1972
4.   Gone with the Wind         1939
5.   Lawrence of Arabia           1962
6.   The Wizard of Oz             1939
7.    The Graduate                   1967
8.   On the Waterfront            1954
9.   Schindler’s List                 1993
10. Singin’ in the Rain            1952
11. It’s a Wonderful Life         1946
12. Sunset Boulevard              1950
13. The Bridge River Kwai      1957
14. Some Like it Hot               1959
15. Star Wars                          1977
16. All About Eve                   1950
17. The African Queen           1951
18.  Psycho                             1960
19. Chinatown                        1974
20. One Flew/Cuckoo’s Nest  1975
21. Grapes of Wrath               1940
22. 2001: Space Odyssey       1968
23. Maltese Falcon                 1941
24. Raging Bull                        1980
25. E.T.                                   1982
26. Dr. Strangelove                 1964
27. Bonnie and Clyde             1967
28. Apocalypse Now              1979
29. Mr. Smith Wash DC         1939
30. Treasure/Sierra Madre      1948
31. Annie Hall                        1977
32. Godfather 2                      1974
33. High Noon                       1952
34. To Kill a Mockingbird       1962
35. It Happened One Night    1934
36. Midnight Cowboy             1969
37. Best Years of Our Lives     1946
38. Double Indemnity             1944
39. Dr. Zhivago                       1965
40. North By Northwest          1959
41. West Side Story                 1961
42. Rear Window                    1954
43. King Kong                         1933
44. Birth of a Nation               1915
45. Streetcar Named Desire    1951
46. A Clockwork Orange        1971
47. Taxi Driver                        1976
48. Jaws                                  1975
49. Snow White                      1937
50. Butch Cassidy                   1969
51. Philadelphia Story            1940
52. From Here to Eternity       1953
53. Amadeus                          1984
54. All Quiet Western Front   1930
55. Sound of Music                1965
56. MASH                              1970
57. Third Man                        1949
58. Fantasia                            1940
59. Rebel Without a Cause     1955
60. Raiders Lost Ark                1981
61. Vertigo                              1958
62. Tootsie                              1982
63. Stagecoach                       1939
64. Close Encounters              1977
65. Silence of the Lambs         1991
66. Network                            1976
67. Manchurian Candidate      1962
68. American in Paris              1951
69. Shane                                1953
70. French Connection            1971
71. Forrest Gump                    1994
72. Ben-Hur                            1959
73. Wuthering Heights            1939
74. Gold Rush                         1925
75. Dances with Wolves         1990
76. City Lights                         1931
77. American Graffiti              1973
78. Rocky                               1976
79. Deer Hunter                      1978
80. Wild Bunch                       1969
81. Modern Times                   1936
82. Giant                                 1956
83. Platoon                              1986
84. Fargo                                 1996
85. Duck Soup                        1933
86. Mutiny on the Bounty       1935
87. Frankenstein                     1931
88. Easy Rider                         1969
89. Patton                               1970
90. Jazz Singer                        1927
91. My Fair Lady                     1964
92. A Place in the Sun             1951
93. The Apartment                   1960
94. Goodfellas                         1990
95. Pulp Fiction                       1994
96. The Searchers                    1956
97. Bringing up Baby               1938
98. Unforgiven                        1992
99. Guess/Coming to Dinner   1967
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy    1942

No comments:

Post a Comment