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Who are your favorite directors?


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Scott,

Did I read that right? Do you like Bunuel, or do you like that someone else likes him? Come to think of it, I guess I could picture you enjoying a film like Belle de Jour... ;)

 

coastalPNW,

Hi, and welcome to the forums! :)

You picked some awesome directors. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have left Jim Jarmusch off my list. I may not be the biggest Jarmusch fan, but I've certainly enjoyed most of his movies very much. I think Stranger than Paradise has grown on me over the years.

 

stranger.jpg

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*Orson*,

*I really enjoyed reading your list of foreign-language directors. I'm ashamed I'm not more familiar* *with the work of Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez, who is arguably the greatest Mexican director to* *have worked during Mexico's Golden Age*.(HG)

I'm glad you enjoyed it. There are three pillars of the Mexican Golden Age: Fernandez ,who also had an illustrious acting career (you probably remember him as Gen. Mapache in The Wild Bunch), Fernando de Fuentes (his Mexican Revolution trilogy is outstanding!) and the great Luis Bunuel. What their films have in common is that most were lensed by one of the best cinematographers to ever walk this earth: Gabriel Figueroa (he also shot Huston's The Night of the Iguana) . As for Fernandez, he can be difficult to appreciate because only a few of his films are available on dvd and invariably the prints used are in bad condition. His filmography is seriously in need of restoration and reappraisal.

 

*Thanks for your list of foreign-language faves. You got some bangers there. Bunuel*

*and Ozu... me likey. I really need to watch me some Renoir and Ophuls.*

*No Rohmer or Bergman, eh?* (FrankG)

My pleasure. Ophuls' American films are wonderful. I particularly love Letter From An Unknown Woman. I short-shrifted Bergman. He should have been listed in that second group of distinguished directors. My excuse for not listed Rohmer is that I don't think he has retired and I excluded active directors. Then again, Resnais and Godard are not dead yet and might still regale us with more wonderful movies.

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> {quote:title=OrsonLubitsch wrote:}{quote}

> I'm glad you enjoyed it. There are three pillars of the Mexican Golden Age: Fernandez ,who also had an illustrious acting career (you probably remember him as Gen. Mapache in The Wild Bunch), Fernando de Fuentes (his Mexican Revolution trilogy is outstanding!) and the great Luis Bunuel. What their films have in common is that most were lensed by one of the best cinematographers to ever walk this earth: Gabriel Figueroa (he also shot Huston's The Night of the Iguana) . As for Fernandez, he can be difficult to appreciate because only a few of his films are available on dvd and invariably the prints used are in bad condition. His filmography is seriously in need of restoration and reappraisal.

 

It's true that Bu?uel made some of his best movies during his Mexico exile, it is almost sad (well, almost!) that he wound up going back to Spain.

 

Figueroa was without a doubt one of the all-time greatest cinematographers. In addition to The Night of the Iguana, he also shot The Fugitive (1947) for John Ford. (It's not on DVD yet, but TCM shows it every now and then)

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John Ford's The Fugitive is underrated and little seen. Not a great adaptation (by Dudley Nichols) of Graham Greene's excellent novel but Fonda, Figueroa and the Mexican locations make it a must-see. On DVD in the UK and Spain.

 

*By the way, I'm feeling a little guilty about not including George Cukor among my 20 favorite Hollywood directors. I am a huge fan of CAMILLE, SYLVIA SCARLETT, HOLIDAY, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, ADAM'S RIB and GASLIGHT. However, I still believe he benefited from excellent source material, scriptwriters and dream casts (Hepburn,Grant,Bergman, Tracy, Garbo,etc.) In other words, he is not the principal author of his best films. He just managed the production and let the artists do what they do.

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> {quote:title=OrsonLubitsch wrote:}{quote}

> John Ford's The Fugitive is underrated and little seen. Not a great adaptation (by Dudley Nichols) of Graham Greene's excellent novel but Fonda, Figueroa and the Mexican locations make it a must-see. On DVD in the UK and Spain.

 

Gabriel Figueroa was the cameraman.

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> Hi there, Bronxie -- Well, well, well. I never knew! You like Bunuel? Heck, I didn't

> know you liked Welles and Hitch. You're hiding a lot. :)

 

Hitchcock thought Bunuel was the greatest director of them all!

 

We girls don't all sit around watching UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, you know.

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Going back to the beginning of film about 1913 on when Chaplin first started working at Keystone Film Company with Mack Sennett.... where is the TCM tribute to one of the greatest directors of all time and movie genius Charlie Chaplin? Why is he not being honored this month while TCM celebrates many other great directors? Chaplin is in a class by himself, multi-talented actor, composer,script writer, producer, comedian par excellence and one of the greatest directors since 'the flickers' began. He pioneered film from it's earliest, most primitive beginnings making the difficult transition from the silent films to the talkies. I especially loved his "The Great Dictator" released in 1940.

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Hi Roberta109,

You make an excellent point regarding Charlie Chaplin's status as a director. It may have to do with the fact that, if memory serves, he usually gets a pretty big tribute almost every year on his birthday, with all or most of the day's scheduled dedicated to his movies. Since Chaplin's birthday is in April, dedicating another day to his movies in June might be a bit of overkill...

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I agree with Roberta. Chaplin is too much of a genius, too important to the cinema, too central to what the medium is all about, not to be "honored" this month. When it comes to Chaplin (and Ford and Welles), words like "overkill" simply do not apply.

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Orson,

It might also have to do with TCM's ability to play his movies several times a year. Sometimes, when they negotiate the rights to show them, they are limited to a specific number of showings (or at least that is my understanding of how it works). And I apologize if "overkill" seemed to strong a word to describe having a day dedicated to Chaplin two months after his birthday tribute. ;)

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I declare complete ignorance regarding matters such as rights to show movies or negotiations to that effect. It's obviously relevant yet something about which I know nothing.

Certainly no need to apologize. I do hope we disagree from time to time, as logic dictates when opinionated people with a passion for movies converse.

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Thank you, Orson. It would be a very boring world, if everybody always agreed on everything. ;)

 

And in regards to Chaplin, I do think he doesn't get the recognition he deserves as a filmmaker, perhaps because his obvious comic skills in front of the camera were so memorable themselves.

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Right, Cukor was extremely competent. The French have useful terms to differentiate between directors who are the primary authors of their films and directors who excel at presiding over a shoot and managing a large cast and crew. Probably no director fits neatly into either category but certainly Welles, Chaplin and Hitchcock belong near one pole whereas Cukor (and Curtiz for instance) gravitate to the other pole. I want to clarify that by no means I am implying that Cukor and Curtiz didn't direct films that are as good as Hitchcock's or Chaplin's. I am referring to different modes of production depending on the director's level of creative involvement.

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Very few people today give much thought to the dark side of the auteur theory. While it was great for directors like Ford and Hitch and a select group, it delegated an entire generation of their contemporaries to almost ran status and in the last forty years many of them are still trying to overcome the obscurity their careers fell into because they weren't considered auteurs.

 

The good news is that we have TCM to remind us that those directors deserve recognition just as much as the pantheon of designated auteurs.

 

Message was edited by: lzcutter

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*I want to clarify that by no means I am implying that Cukor and Curtiz didn't direct films that are as good as Hitchcock's or Chaplin's. I am referring to different modes of production depending on the director's level of creative involvement.*

 

Orson,

You and Lynn have made a very good point, and I'm glad that there are still some of us who appreciate the artistic accomplishments of the "journeyman" director, such as Cukor, Curtiz, and Fleming.

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Although there probably is one, I cannot think of a single George Cukor film that I like. He would have to be at the bottom of my list of film directors. Not because he doesn't have a unique style (one of the reason's I love Robert Wise, is because he doesn't have a unique signature), but because I don't like his films. I find his films, dull.

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Izcutter, I'm with you a hundred percent on this. The auteurist critics pointed out some very deserving films, but the dark side was that films and directors not anointed by the auteurists got relegated into oblivion. Now perhaps we can begin to do justice to all the filmmakers. The better auteurist critics had a good eye for camera placement and camera movement...but only in films of the fortunate few.

 

Among the films of the 1960s that seem to me to hold up particularly well are THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE TRAIN, THE HILL, HOMBRE, and (ahem) KING RAT, not one of them by an approved director. How can anyone not recognize visual style in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE or THE HILL?

 

There's been a great thread discussing Wyler's THE LETTER, with several people pointing out different aspects of Wyler's accomplishment in that film.

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Your comments can be construed as a refutation of Andrew Sarris' highly influential book "The American Cinema: 1929-1968", which assigned directors to a number of categories beginning with "Pantheon Directors". My problem with Sarris is that he makes the assumption that all films by those directors are superior to any films by lesser directors.Reality is certainly not so neatly categorizable. Even if Mr. Curtiz is not in the same planet, artistically speaking, as Hitch, there's no doubt that Casablanca is a better film than Jamaica Inn, for instance.One cannot make a direct correlation between a film's quality and who directed it, especially when there was a studio system.It's not that every director deserves the same recognition as a Welles or a Hawks. It's that some films directed by less talented directors can be wonderful for many reasons other than who directed them: because of the source material, script, cast,cinematographer, the involvement of a skillful producer, etc. These films shouldn't be neglected or forgotten because they lack the name of a prestige director attached to them.

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