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Who are your favorite directors?

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Exactly, Orson. One of the Cahiers du Cinema critics wrote that "The worst film of Jean Renoir is better than the best film of Jean Delannoy." This was the general posture of the auteurists. The in group was to be praised under all circumstances, the out group to be denigrated. Yep, just like junior high. It meant gallons of ink spilled defending the lesser works of Hitchcock, for instance. Hitchcock a better director than Donen, Neame, or Dmytryk? Certainly, but MARNIE is grossly inferior to such contemporary thrillers as CHARADE, GAMBIT, or especially MIRAGE.

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I consider Marnie as one of the best Hitchcock films. Its really a matter of opinion. For Example, French Critics consider Under Capricorn as one of Hitchcock's finest films. I consider Under Capricorn among Hitchcock's best. But in America, Many Critics considers Under Capricorn as one of Hitchcock's worst.


Many French Critics praise Rules of the Game. I don't know why Renoir's Rules of the game is so great. I thought it was just ok. I think Grande Illusion is far better than Rules of the Game. )

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To me trying to pick favorites is difficult because each director has their own thing to say and teach. I was taught you can learn more from what you don't like than what you do. It gives you the ability to be more objective. In turn you may even learn to respect what you once dismissed. To me it would come down to four directors that deserve mention. They are Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, Akira Kurosawa and Alfred Hitchcock. My reasoning is different for each but one thread binds them all which is that they write and direct most of their films. I think that makes the film pure and gives them the opportunity to stray from the script and find those golden moments without losing the integrity of the original work. Individually, Chaplin has a mastery of physical movement and expression which is seen in his directions from camera movement to the other actors and actresses in his films. Wilder is able to blend Drama, Comedy and Charisma perfectly. This makes his characters unique and entertaining yet real and accessible. Everyone can relate though know one has actually gone through the majority of the situations his characters have. One last thing about Wilder is his ability to find a simple idea and make it complex like The Apartment, Irma La Douce and Some Like it Hot. Kurosawa has the ability to make silence scream. His characters can say nothing, but mean everything. This is a credit to his choice of shots. The composition speaks for the character. Hitchcock... Well Hitchcock should have been a painter. Every frame is a portrait. His characters are commendable and his stories legendary but I love the visual aspects of his films over all. There are more favorites, but I'll leave it at that for now.

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Ezzo, Your post is really interesting. I have a question. Can you explain much more about the characters in Hitchcock films? When I watched Hitchcock films for the first time, I thought he was just an entertainment director. But I didn't realize that many of his ideas and characters in films are much more deeper than I thought.

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Hey, thanks for reading my opinion. As far as I'm concerned Hitchcock was better visually than anything else. His characters were for the most part simple and worked to develop change in the story. This is a complete contrast to a director like Wilder who uses the story to develop change in his characters. You can't really say one approach or the other is right or wrong. It's just their individual voice. Of coarse nothing is so black and white and both directors have made films that don't apply to this opinion. It's just what I respect about the two Film makers. If you want I can try to talk about individual characters. I just don't want to write too much at once.


Message was edited by: Ezzo

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You wrote lots of great points. Both are great directors. I also felt that Wilder/Charles Brackett was a great team. The Lost Weekend and Sunset Blvd are great examples. But Wilder's later films like Some Like it Hot and The Apartment are great to watch. But I felt that something is missing in Wilder's later films.


With Hitchcock, it is totally different. Like you said, his visual touch is absolutely brilliant. Hitchcock and Wilder respected each other. But Wilder disliked long take technique. And Hitchcock loved using long takes.


Hitchcock felt much more comfortable working with Playwrights. Hitchcock preferred working with Playwrights. And Wilder felt much more comfortable with novelists and screenwriters. Wilder didn't enjoy working with Playwright Samuel Taylor. But Hitchcock enjoyed working with Playwright Samuel Taylor.


I am also interested in reading about what you think about individual characters. I like Hitchcock more, because he made different kinds of visual masterpieces. He made great black and white films and great color films. I think Wilder was a genius in making black and white films. But I felt that he wasn't able to create the strong effect in his color films. But its just an opinion.

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1931 - "M"


1936 - "Fury"


1945 - "Scarlett Street"


1952 - "Rancho Notorious" (Greatest review I ever read of any film...reviewer (now I can't remember who) simply wrote: "Delirious.")


1956 - "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" Joan Fontaine had a look in this movie that HAUNTS ME!

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I like M better than Metropolis, because it is a situation that happens in the world today. Peter Lorre plays the character in a very interesting way. We don't know what to feel for his character. We feel compassion to his character and the same time we don't know if he is lying or not. Its a question left open to all of us.

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*M. Night Shyamalan*??? You respect Wise for not being burdened by a predictable style but mention Shyamalan who has one of the most predictable styles. Every film of Shyamalan's is the same. On the other hand I guess Shakespeare was also formulaic.

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I've only seen Stanley Kubrick mentioned on a couple lists here. He is easily my favorite director, although I admit he doesn't necessarily have a broad appeal.


One of my fondest memories of childhood was going with my now late father to see "2001: A Space Odyssey" in the theater...at 10 years old who directed a movie was the farthest thing from my mind of course, and I certainly didn't "get" the movie on all but the most basic level, but still a good memory.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I understand that seeing 2001 as a child must have been remarkable. He was able to capture something that no one ever had before, but to say that he is the best? With classics such as Clockwork Orange and The Shining it is easy to see that he definitely had some talent, but he lacked something very important: decency. Although Kubrick did certainly revolutionize the film industry, I am not sure that it was for the best.

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Late to the party again.



2. Carl Th. Dreyer

3. Jacques Tourneur


Then (to round out the Top 20) in an ever-shifting order:


Samuel Fuller

John Cassavetes

Michael Powell (with and without Emeric Pressburger)

Max Ophuls

Robert Bresson

Yasujiro Ozu

Anthony Mann

Nicholas Ray

Charles Chaplin

Jean Renoir

F.W. Murnau

Edgar G. Ulmer

Stanley Kubrick

Fritz Lang

Werner Herzog

Joseph H. Lewis

Howard Hawks

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Without question, my favorite director was "One-Take Woody", Woodbridge (Woody) Strong Van Dyke. He was my uncle, and I was named after him. No other director can make that claim. I never met him, but his wife (Zina Van Dyke) would send us a gift box of candied fruit from California every Christmas.


He was best known for his films from 1928 through 1942, when he committed suicide, but he also directed over 40 silents between 1917 and 1928, many if which were westerns. I have recorded about 25 of his films from TCM, and am gradually trying to get them all onto DVDs. I especially enjoy the Thin Man movies and the Nelson Eddy/Jeannette MacDonald matchups.


It really surprises me a bit to see so many people keeping up with his work, and I shall look forward to reading future comments on this message board. I'm quite new to this message board stuff, so I will apologize in advance if I'm a bit lacking on the accepted protocol.


I usually go simply by Woody, but I thought the UncleWoody would be a good moniker.

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Welcome to the forum, UncleWoody! How *marvelous* that you have such

a connection to a man who has entertained so many with his fantastic films.

*The Thin Man* films, esepcially, have been HUGE favorites ever since I started

getting into the classics as a kid. I understand it was thanks largely to

your Uncle's perception and willingness to help a young actress stuck in a

string of vampish roles that *Myrna Loy* was able to move up the ladder to

become a beloved star and, eventually, the "queen of Hollywood" (when Gable

was crowned "king").


Do you have one film in particular that is your favorite?


These are my W.S. Van Dyke favorites, in order of preference:


The Thin Man

Manhattan Melodrama


After the Thin Man

Forsaking All Others

They Gave Him a Gun

San Francisco

Another Thin Man


I really want to see *Eskimo* and *Trader Horn* --- two adventure

classics I've heard about but never seen.

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MissGoddess: Glad to be aboard. Both "Eskimo" and "Trader Horn" have been shown on TCM within the past couple of years. With luck, they will be played again. Perhaps if you 'suggest a movie', your input might achieve positive results. In addition to directing, Uncle Woody also played the part of Inspector White in "Eskimo"..


Of Uncle Woody's films, I think "Rose Marie", "San Francisco", "The Thin Man", and "Tarzan the Ape Man", with "Rose Marie" holding a slight lead, are my favorites. I remember seeing all of these as a child (born 1929), Don't tell Uncle Woody this, but I think my one, favorite, all-time movie (not one of his, and apparently not in TCM's vaiult) is "The Man Who Never Was". It was about a British ruse to mislead Hitler into believing Churchill had died in a plane crash near Gibraltar. From my recollection of WW-II, it never really happened, but I like the premise.

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