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Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

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fxreyman
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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby fxreyman » April 29th, 2013, 10:10 am

JackFavell wrote:I wish Frank would come over too! Maybe we Texan ladies could get our ropes around his neck over here where it's closer quarters... That's probably why he's staying away... :D :D :D

They just plain move too fast for me in the torture thread! By the time I've come up with something to write, they are long gone and done with that subject. But I do love the genuineness over there, I read it religiously even when I don't post. It's fun too to have someone like Frank to experiment on, movie-wise wise.


Very nice thoughts about the message boards. Especially about Frank. I agree about how fast they move about. Maybe that is one of the reasons I don't post there often. You are correct. About the time I have put together any thoughts they are long gone. Frank is very knowledgeable about films. Although he does seem to go on these so-called movie benders where he will watch twenty or so movies and then expect all of us to comment on the ones he has seen. I can sit for hours watching movies. But not the way he goes about it. But to each his own!

You are right about getting him over here. Maybe you, April, Theresa, and Chris could convince him to come over. It is worth a try.

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby JackFavell » April 29th, 2013, 10:56 am

It's always worth another shot.

Alright, you are getting Wendy's Essentials List! Here it is. In no particular order:

My Man Godfrey
Harold and Maude
The Man Who Would Be King
Pygmalion
Gun Crazy
The Fanny Trilogy or The Marseilles Treilogy as it's sometimes known
Le Million
Throne of Blood
La Strada
M
A Hard Day's Night
The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna
The Cranes are Flying
The Third Man
The Man in the White Suit
Odd Man Out
Midnight
Detour
Fort Apache
Prisoner of Shark Island
His Girl Friday
Phantom Lady
The Uninvited
A Streetcar Named Desire
They Were Expendable
Sunset Boulevard
Act of Violence
The Trial (Welles)
The Earrings of Madame de...
Singing in the Rain
Gone With the Wind
The 400 Blows
The Matchmaker
Regeneration (1915)
Psycho
The Wild Bunch
The Reckless Moment


I tried to narrow it down as much as possible, while including films from every decade up to the 1970's. I did not limit myself to 25.

In picking my list, I chose favorites of mine that I thought would delineate the era they were made in - for instance, I believe that The Uninvited is as 1940's as you can possibly get. it simply couldn't have been made in any other decade. I also chose films that had a deep bearing on the psychology of the time - you really can't talk about the 60's without mentioning either Psycho or The Wild Bunch. They are of their time and yet incredibly deeply innovative. They broke huge boundaries.

Some of the films I chose were just a bit more obscure, not all of them. I wanted a mix of films that would be good introductions to classic film and I think there are a few here that still fit the first two criteria (being illustrative of their time while also being an examination of the way people thought at that time) without being done to death. The more obscure films are there because I think they might be of particular interest as conversation starters... An example would be The Prisoner of Shark Island. It's a John Ford drama from 1936, and it includes some scenes that are questionable, as far as race is concerned, and yet at the end, the hero of the story, it seems to me, is not the main white character, but his black manservant. This is why I've included it on my Essentials list, instead of the more popular or fully realized Ford works such as The Searchers or The Grapes of Wrath or How Green Was My Valley. I think it's important to see the groping for meaning in film just as much as the fully realized movies we label as "the greats".

The hardest part was trying to fit in as many genres and foreign films as possible. I tried to list at least 1 film from countries that have been influential in cinema history. I tried to include a musical, a silent, noir, romance, screwball, straight dramas and epics.

This was just off the fly, so I imagine I've made some glaring errors.

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fxreyman
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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby fxreyman » April 29th, 2013, 12:22 pm

Wow Wendy, I would have never thought you would actually make any type of list. Nice going!!!

I understand how difficult making such a list for you was. I am sorry if I may have caused you to prepare such a list with my continuing to goad you into making such a list especially if you were not ready to do so in the first place.

Now that you have created this list, how do you feel? Exhausted? Worried? I write worried because once you create one list you might want to create another list. I should know. Or a day or so or maybe a week or so from now you might feel the need to update your list or change it altogether. Heavens forbid!

So I have seen 18 of the 37 movies you have listed. I love the fact that you avoided the conventional wisdom of selecting films that might have appeared on so-called critic lists that are published annually. There is nothing wrong with those lists but some lack independent thinking like your list.

I tried to narrow it down as much as possible, while including films from every decade up to the 1970's. I did not limit myself to 25.


The purpose of me naming 25 films was just a beginning stab at an essentials list that included as many genres as I could. Since I love making lists, I could have easily created a list containing 100 essentials. I chose to limit myself to 25. And as I indicated, all of the films I included were pre-1960.

In picking my list, I chose favorites of mine that I thought would delineate the era they were made in - for instance, I believe that The Uninvited is as 1940's as you can possibly get. it simply couldn't have been made in any other decade. I also chose films that had a deep bearing on the psychology of the time - you really can't talk about the 60's without mentioning either Psycho or The Wild Bunch. They are of their time and yet incredibly deeply innovative. They broke huge boundaries.


The selection of films is a very personal thing to do. No one person can tell another person how they should go about selecting films. Anyone can have whatever criteria they want to use when selecting films. Like my Essential list of 25 films, they were all favorites of mine to begin with. I am of the belief that one should only include films on an Essential list that you have seen or more importantly like. It is also important to include reasons why one film was chosen over another. Or at least give an idea of why you made the selection in the first place, which you have done with Psycho and The Wild Bunch.

Some of the films I chose were just a bit more obscure, not all of them. I wanted a mix of films that would be good introductions to classic film and I think there are a few here that still fit the first two criteria (being illustrative of their time while also being an examination of the way people thought at that time) without being done to death. The more obscure films are there because I think they might be of particular interest as conversation starters... An example would be The Prisoner of Shark Island. It's a John Ford drama from 1936, and it includes some scenes that are questionable, as far as race is concerned, and yet at the end, the hero of the story, it seems to me, is not the main white character, but his black manservant. This is why I've included it on my Essentials list, instead of the more popular or fully realized Ford works such as The Searchers or The Grapes of Wrath or How Green Was My Valley. I think it's important to see the groping for meaning in film just as much as the fully realized movies we label as "the greats".


Obscure is fine. Nothing wrong with that. Just as there is nothing wrong with the list of 25 films I chose. My list might come across as more white bread than yours as FrankGrimes might say, but both lists are fine as far as I am concerned. As I wrote earlier, it does not really matter what criteria one uses, it is important to know that you like how you select films, not based on what some other person may feel is the best way to make a selection.

The hardest part was trying to fit in as many genres and foreign films as possible. I tried to list at least 1 film from countries that have been influential in cinema history. I tried to include a musical, a silent, noir, romance, screwball, straight dramas and epics.


This is where it gets to be really hard. The choices one must make to start a list like these. One must be willing to leave off a list personal favorites or other more important films through the ages than the ones you selected at the outset. But in the end, it does not really matter. All that is important is that you are happy with what you have come up with. The only problem with that is that in many cases one is never happy or satisfied with the selections they have made. There is always some doubt as to why one film was selected over another film. I may want to include five John Ford films or three John Frankenheimer films. You just never know that what you are selecting is really good enough to be included or not.

This was just off the fly, so I imagine I've made some glaring errors.


Errors? No errors. Just your opinion, thats all.

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby JackFavell » April 29th, 2013, 2:58 pm

I feel fine! :D I think the secret is to never go back and reread your list after you have made it. That way you remain convinced of how wonderful your list is and don't see the omissions or mistakes you have made. :D

This is where it gets to be really hard. The choices one must make to start a list like these. One must be willing to leave off a list personal favorites or other more important films through the ages than the ones you selected at the outset. But in the end, it does not really matter. All that is important is that you are happy with what you have come up with. The only problem with that is that in many cases one is never happy or satisfied with the selections they have made. There is always some doubt as to why one film was selected over another film. I may want to include five John Ford films or three John Frankenheimer films. You just never know that what you are selecting is really good enough to be included or not.


I had trouble with westerns. I could have put down at least 5 John Ford westerns alone. I believe I only put one western on the list, and I chose Fort Apache, partly because I think it marks the beginning of new thought about our history and our relationships to native Americans. I could have easily chosen The Searchers or The Man Who Shot LV, for obvious reasons, or My Darling Clementine because it's breathtaking, Stagecoach because it's the first real expressionistic western, Wagon Master because it is representative of the exact time it was made, Three Bad Men for it's humanity and the story which has been retold so many times. Fort Apache just struck me as terribly important in our growth as a nation, and in coming to grips with our past mistakes. It probably doesn't hurt that MissG just posted about it the other night and it's fresh in my mind. :D

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby movieman1957 » April 29th, 2013, 3:14 pm

Interesting discussion all. I guess the "Essentials" list may be where they are being directed. I can see a list for beginners, a personal list and maybe one to share with another fan. You and Rey and Carrie, I think, have given examples of those films.

Wendy, yours was really interesting to see. There were several films that I don't know. For me that is an invitation to watch them. I think April is quite right too in that lists change. We change as we get older, or at least our experiences affect us so why wouldn't our thoughts on film change?

Interesting lists everyone.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby JackFavell » April 29th, 2013, 3:35 pm

Mine change every week! Ha! :D

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby fxreyman » June 28th, 2013, 11:16 am

There have been some very fine lists of films being included in an Essentials List. But I have looked at it again and have felt that more different films could be recommended for inclusion. So what I have done is to make a list that has 100 films on it. I mean if you are really into list making this exercise is not really all that difficult to come up with. The list should include silents as well as almost every category of film available. I have tried to include historic, well-made films that for many would appear on their own lists as well as other films that might have appeared on other well-respected film historian lists.

Overall the list has favorites of mine on it, but more importantly show a much wider selection of films across a more varied type of film.

There have been some very fine lists of films being included in an Essentials List. But I have looked at it again and have felt that more different films could be recommended for inclusion. For those looking for a particular film like say Birth of a Nation or Intolerance, well all I can say is that some epics and possibly "important" films just did not make the cut.


Greed 1924
The Gold Rush 1925
The General 1927
Sunrise 1927
All Quiet on the Western Front 1930
City Lights 1931
Grand Hotel 1932
Trouble in Paradise 1932
King Kong 1933
Queen Christina 1933
It Happened One Night 1934
Bride of Frankenstein 1935
Mutiny on the Bounty 1935
Top Hat 1935
Dodsworth 1936
My Man Godfrey 1936
The Awful Truth 1937
Lost Horizon 1937
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938
Bringing Up Baby 1938
Gone With the Wind 1939
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939
Ninotchka 1939
Stagecoach 1939
The Wizard of Oz 1939
Fantasia 1940
Foreign Correspondent 1940
The Grapes of Wrath 1940
His Girl Friday 1940
The Philadelphia Story 1940
Citizen Kane 1941
How Green Was My Valley 1941
The Lady Eve 1941
The Maltese Falcon 1941
Sergeant York 1941
Sullivan's Travels 1941
Casablanca 1942
Random Harvest 1942
Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942
The Oxbow Incident 1943
Shadow of a Doubt 1943
Double Indemnity 1944
They Were Expendable 1945
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
The Big Sleep 1946
It's a Wonderful Life 1946
My Darling Clementine 1946
Notorious 1946
Stairway to Heaven 1946
Out of the Past 1947
Fort Apache 1948
Red River 1948
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948
All the King's Men 1949
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 1949
The Third Man 1949
All About Eve 1950
The Asphalt Jungle 1950
In a Lonely Place 1950
Sunset Boulevard 1950
The African Queen 1951
An American in Paris 1951
The Thing From Another World 1951
The Quiet Man 1952
Singin' in the Rain 1952
From Here to Eternity 1953
Roman Holiday 1953
On the Waterfront 1954
Rear Window 1954
A Star is Born 1954
Bad Day at Black Rock 1955
The Searchers 1956
The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957
12 Angry Men 1957
Touch of Evil 1958
Ben Hur 1959
North By Northwest 1959
Spartacus 1960
West Side Story 1961
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
The Longest Day 1962
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962
Ride the High Country 1962
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
Dr. Strangelove 1964
The Sound of Music 1965
In the Heat of the Night 1967
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
Patton 1970
The Last Picture Show 1971
The Godfather 1972
The Godfather, Part II 1974
Jaws 1975
Network 1976
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
Henry V 1989
Schindler's List 1993
Fargo 1996
L.A. Confidential 1997

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » September 3rd, 2013, 8:46 pm

I have so thoroughly enjoyed reading your lists, fxreyman and Jackie! I would like to add Dear Ruth, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and Charade to recommended Essentials that haven't been mentioned yet. Wonderful choices!
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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby JackFavell » September 5th, 2013, 6:52 am

That's a great Essentials list, Masha! This is a list that includes some favorites of mine, like The Ladykillers and Diabolique (not to mention Cranes are Flying), but has enough movies for me to chew on in the next few months.

I am dying to see Sumurun, just have to shell out some money for the Lubitsch in Germany set, which I should have gotten long ago. I've seen 3 of the others out of that set, and loved 2 of them.

I really need to get cracking on my Russian and Japanese films. I am sadly lacking in those films, I don't know why. I've seen quite a few of Kurosawa's and 4 of Eisentein's films, but precious little else, so this gives me a leaping off point.

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby Professional Tourist » September 5th, 2013, 9:41 am

srowley75 wrote:I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone, whether out of curiosity or sheer boredom, created a thread asking for members to contribute their own lists of "essential" films.

So, with a nod to Ralph Wiggum, I lead the way toward inevitability. Enlighten me, fellow movie-lovers:

If you were given the task to compile a list of, oh, let's say 25 essentials for TCM's weekly series, which films would you select?

There's just one catch: that lovable rapscallion Bob Osborne has already insisted that the following films be scheduled:

Citizen Kane (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
The Godfather (1972)
Psycho (1960)


Your task, then, will be to add 25 to these that have already been chosen.
(And no, you may not remove any of these titles to add your own, but you may complain loudly about having to tack any or all of them onto your own immaculate schedule. I do this to give you the sense of what it must feel like to be a peon at one of the major studios.)

As far as I'm concerned, the films you list may stem from any time period, from any part of the globe. If you've got the time and the stamina, brief explanations for each title are more than welcome.

My list of twenty-five, in no particular order. Although I'm not familiar with TCM's policies I tried to keep my films to pre-1980, though a few from the 80s couldn't be excluded.

1. Magnificent Obsession (1954)
2. How the West Was Won (1962)
3. The Swan (1956)
4. Babette's Feast (1987)
5. El Amor, Brujo (1986)
6. Dodsworth (1936)
7. Deception (1946)
8. Barefoot in the Park (1967)
9. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
10. Carmen (1984, the opera)
11. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
12. Viridiana (1961)
13. Cousin Cousine (1975)
14. The Last Metro (1980)
15. The Heiress (1949)
16. Buffet Froid (1979)
17. Now, Voyager (1942)
18. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
19. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
20. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
21. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
22. A Man for All Seasons (1966)
23. The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
24. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
25. Mildred Pierce (1945)

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby kingrat » September 6th, 2013, 2:59 pm

I'm really enjoying all the lists. Masha, Casque d'Or has been on my must-see list for a long time; at least it's available on Criterion. The Cranes Are Flying was great; The Seventh Seal on the big screen was even better than I remembered; and Rififi is one I could watch over and over.

PT, films like Dodsworth, Viridiana, The Heiress, Now Voyager, and Pandora and the Flying Dutchman are among my favorites, too. Recently saw Deception again and was surprised at how well directed it is. The first half hour, especially, looks like Douglas Sirk rather than Irving Rapper.

My first set of Essentials tried to take an Intro to Film syllabus approach. The second season will be much more personal and eccentric. Picking and choosing between so many favorites is tough.

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby kingrat » September 9th, 2013, 6:55 pm

Masha and Professional Tourist have made me eager to gather another year of Essentials, 26 programs to be repeated during the year. The first time I had concentrated on an Intro to Hollywood in 26 films. This time, with only a few titles repeated, I decided to go for films which speak personally to me and which I have seen in the last five years.

Sherlock Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton) and The Cameraman (1928, Edward Sedgwick)
Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey) and A Night at the Opera (1935, Norman Z. McLeod)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933, Frank Capra)
Busby Berkeley compilation disc of all his musical numbers (from The Busby Berkeley Collection)
Port of Shadows (1938, Marcel Carne)

Black Narcissus (1947, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
Deep Valley (1947, Jean Negulesco)
The Long Night (1947, Anatole Litvak)
High Barbaree (1947, Jack Conway)
Act of Violence (1948, Fred Zinnemann)

Stray Dog (1949, Akira Kurosawa)
The Furies (1950, Anthony Mann)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
The Wages of Fear (1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
La Strada (1954, Federico Fellini)

Ashes and Diamonds (1958, Andrzej Wajda)
Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
Bonjour Tristesse (1958, Otto Preminger)
The Key (1958, Carol Reed)
The Nun’s Story (1959, Fred Zinnemann)

Wild River (1960, Elia Kazan)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
Whistle Down the Wind (1961, Bryan Forbes)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962, John Frankenheimer)
Zorba the Greek (1964, Michael Cacoyannis)
King Rat (1965, Bryan Forbes)

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Re: Choo-choo-choose Your Own Essentials!

Postby JackFavell » September 10th, 2013, 7:48 am

What a great list, kingrat! Though we have a lot of favorite movies (and directors) in common, This list seems very personal, and representative of YOU. I like the eclectic nature of it.


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