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5 Most Important Films


MissGoddess
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Below are director *Peter Bogdanovich's* responses when Newsweek asked him to list what he considered The Five Most Important Films, as well as to a couple of other questions. I thought we might open it up to our own enlightened members as well, so join in!

 

 

My Five Most Important Movies:

by Peter Bogdanovich

 

1. "How Green Was My Valley." Director John Ford can make you cry and laugh faster than anybody.

 

2. "To Have and Have Not." Howard Hawks is probably the most consistently engaging director in all genres.

 

3. "The Shop Around the Corner." Ernst Lubitsch is a master of the oblique, with the lightest touch in movies.

 

4. "Grand Illusion." Jean Renoir is simply the best director in the Western world.

 

5. "Touch of Evil." Orson Welles: still the touchstone for most of today's directors.

 

 

A truly classic movie that you're embarrassed you haven't seen: I'm embarrassed to admit I've seen all of them.

 

The movie you have watched the most times in your life: " Citizen Kane ," because it's so consistently surprising, and "Rio Bravo," because it's so relentlessly entertaining.

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I'm just curious why you consider them the most important? Bogdanovich seemed to lean toward choosing representative films according to who directed them, which I never would have thought about. And how would you answer the last two questions?

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That's a good point, MissG. What makes a film important will depend upon what you consider as its important contribution. For instance, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY might be considered an important film because of its special effects (which, at the time, were pretty good). THE GRADUATE might be considered important because the soundtrack consisted of Simon & Garfunkel songs; hence, the soundtrack could be marketed as well as the film.

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Then there is BROKEN ARROW, which was probably the first movie to show Apaches as human beings and not savages.

 

And in SPELLBOUND, composer Mikloz Rozsa introduced the musical instrument known as the "theremin" to suggest psychological disturbances.

 

And BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, dealing with juvenile delinquency, sexual assault, racism, which still continues in our schools today ... I should really make my prospective student teachers watch that!

 

Interesting topic ... I am curious to see what others come up with.

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Suspicion (1941) - Its a brilliant Hitchcock film that asks the audience question "Who is Johnnie?" We see him in different levels. We see him as a playboy, a romantic character, immature husband, a liar, a thief, a wonderful friend to Beaky, a mysterious husband, a murderer, and a loving husband. Hitchcock directed brilliant scenes in Suspicion (1941) like Anagram Scene, 180 degree kissing scene, Cary Grant bringing the milk, and a fast open ending.

 

Shadow of A Doubt (1943) - This was Hitchcock's personal favorite film and he connects himself to many of the characters in the film. Here are some examples - Charlie's mother is named Emma, like Hitch's mother; Uncle Charlie's childhood bike accident happened to Hitch; Herbie is mother-dominated and obsessed with murder, like Hitch; Ann resembles his daughter Patricia, and reads Ivanhoe, a book Hitch knew by heart as a child; Joseph (Hitchcock's second name) refuses to drive a car, like Hitch. Roger is the youngest in the family. And Hitchcock was also the youngest in the family. Young Charlie drives the car in the family. Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville drives the car in the family. And there are symbolisms like Vampire References. If I write those symbolisms, then it will be too long.

 

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) - Ernst Lubitsch and his favorite screenwriter Samson Raphaelson wrote a brilliant screenplay. Mr. Matuschek's shop is more like a true family. Somebody wrote a beautiful comment about The shop around the corner long time ago. I believe the comment was like this. "The shop is the place where everyone can feel he is part of a family, a family sometimes truer than the real one (see Mr. Matuschek's wife)." Lubitsch and Samson Raphaelson makes this happen by making the real family more like unreal. For Example, we don't see Hugo Matuschek's wife or Pirovitch's family. We only see Pirovitch talking to his Mama through phone and Pirovitch talking about his family. But we don't actually see them. Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) says this quote to Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) in the film "You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth." It's not the person outside that truly matters. But the person inside that truly matters.

 

Harvey (1950) - Here Director Henry Koster uses symbolic subjects. He hired William H. Daniels to do the cinematography. Harvey is a free spirit who wants to make other people happy. Cinematography in the film makes people feel like they are directly talking to Elwood. Harvey finally shows what a free spirit is and he finally makes Elwood a completely free character. And there are chessboard patterns.

 

Under Capricorn (1949) - Alfred Hitchcock's direction is great as usual. Jack Cardiff's cinematography has a nightmarish effect. Alfred Hitchcock, James Bridie, and Hume Cronyn connects the character together in many ways. For Example, Charles Adare connects to Lady Henrietta through Shame. If you want to see my explanations about Under Capricorn, then its available here in this link.

 

http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/hitchcock/forums/viewtopic.php?t=413&start=20

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Many people consider Under Capricorn as one of Hitchcock's worst films. But French Critics considers it as one of Hitchcock's finest films. The truth is Under Capricorn isn't a thriller. But that doesn't mean that it is a bad film. For Example, Here is another example. Lady Henrietta is called Hattie. Everyone thinks she is mad. That connects to "Mad Hattie" to Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. And there is also a Mad Breakfast Party in the middle of the film.

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What the critics say seldom matters to me. I'm just as interested in the atypical films of my favorites as I am of their most lauded efforts. *Mr and Mrs Smith* is one of my favorite Hitchcock films and yet most critics disdain to speak of it.

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I see Petey's value just went up even more with you, Missy G. I thought it was your list after reading the top three films. Well, except it would have been four for you with a certain film at number one. Pete even listed How Green Was My Valley at number one, the film that topped Citizen Kane for Best Picture. As you can see, some Kane fans can think straight.

 

Since I'm nowhere near enlightened enough to answer the question justly, I'm going to choose five films that I have seen that I believe to have been highly influential to filmmakers who followed.

 

1. Citizen Kane

2. Sunrise

3. Psycho

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey

5. The Searchers

 

A truly classic movie that you're embarrassed you haven't seen:

 

Gone with the Wind ;)

 

The movie you have watched the most times in your life:

 

I'm going to stick with classic with this question. 12 Angry Men.

 

What the critics say seldom matters to me. I'm just as interested in the atypical films of my favorites as I am of their most lauded efforts. Mr and Mrs Smith is one of my favorite Hitchcock films and yet most critics disdain to speak of it.

 

That's why you have some taste. ;)

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I thought maybe "Petey" was copy-catting me. ;) It's funny he chose *To Have and Have Not* when *Rio Bravo* is the HH movie he watches the most.

 

So do you watch *12 Angry Men* that often because it has 12 crazies instead of just one? ;)

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Hola, Miss G -- I thought maybe "Petey" was copy-catting me. It's funny he chose To Have and Have Not when Rio Bravo is the HH movie he watches the most.

 

I'm guessing Rio Bravo equals pure personal entertainment for Peter but he considers To Have and Have Not to be more important. It's the same thing with me with Hitch and Lang. Psycho and M are my favorite films from them but I watch Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, and Scarlet Street the most.

 

I was stunned to see that Citizen Kane did not make Peter's top five. Maybe he was trying to come up with something fresh, I'm not sure.

 

So do you watch 12 Angry Men that often because it has 12 crazies instead of just one?

 

Oooooohhh, Kitty's got her claws out. :P

 

Yes, I love those psycho jurors. I just wish there were a million gallons of blood spilled in that jury room and maybe a decapitation or three. That would have made the film the greatest ever made then. :)

 

When I first got into buying DVDs, 12 Angry Men was one of the first I got. Since it was early in my DVD-watching days, I had less options to choose from, so I ended up watching it A LOT. Since those days, I'd have to say I've watched Fallen Angel, Cape Fear, Scarlet Street, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People, The Seventh Victim, The Set-Up, and Out of the Past the most.

 

Thanks for posting Bogdanovich's list and starting this thread. I'm always interested in hearing what Peter has to say about film.

 

6. M

7. Casablanca

8. Metropolis

9. Nosferatu

10. Touch of Evil

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What's up, Ken! -- It's been a little while since I've run into you. Too long, in fact.

 

Boy you sure have alot of RKO films in your DVD collection.

 

I love my noir and Lewton, so you know RKO is going rank high for me. RKO is definitely my favorite classic film studio.

 

Well like I've always said " great minds think alike '.

 

So where does that leave you and me? :)

 

Just so you know, I've got my foot in the Ford water. Maureen O'Hara is starting to grab this noir guy's heart. She's a fiery lass with lots o' heart. My kinda girl.

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Hi Konway!

 

What are your Top 5 Film Directors, Everyone?

 

1. John Ford

2. Ernst Lubitsch

3. Alfred Hitchcock

4. Frank Capra

5. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

 

*edited to include Frank Capra (at the expense of Howard Hawks).

 

Message was edited by: MissGoddess

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When I read the title of this thread I was thinking of "important" as something other than "best" or "favorite". Bogdanovich's answer is along those lines. What I had in mind: Imagine the human race completely wiped out and five films remaining to be discovered by the next intelligent life form to inhabit or visit the planet. Would those five films be documentaries? Which ones? Are fictional films a better representation of who we are as a species or what humans once could accomplish? Perhaps you think it's odd to steer the thread in that direction but I've posted lists of favorites or "best" elsewhere and it gets redundant.

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What's up, OrsonLubitsch -- It's been a long, long time. It's great to see around again. Always a pleasure.

 

When I read the title of this thread I was thinking of "important" as something other than "best" or "favorite". Bogdanovich's answer is along those lines.

 

I thought Peter answered in regards to "important."

 

What I had in mind: Imagine the human race completely wiped out and five films remaining to be discovered by the next intelligent life form to inhabit or visit the planet. Would those five films be documentaries?

 

I would have to say yes to docs and newsreels being more important to the next intelligent life form.

 

Which ones?

 

Ohhh, I have no idea on this one. I haven't watched nearly enough docs to give any kind of "enlightened" reply. I'm not sure if there is a good doc on the human race or not.

 

Are fictional films a better representation of who we are as a species or what humans once could accomplish?

 

A better representation? No. A representation? Yes. I think fictional films do capture human feelings and emotions quite well, though.

 

Perhaps you think it's odd to steer the thread in that direction but I've posted lists of favorites or "best" elsewhere and it gets redundant.

 

What are the five films you believe have been the most important to the medium? I'm speaking in regards to the advancement of film. What films have influenced the filmmakers of its time and, more importantly, those who came after? What five films would you recommend an aspiring filmmaker to watch the most?

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