Tag Archives: Ben-Hur

The Best Picture Project — The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

The Life of Emile Zola poster.jpg

Directed by William Dieterle

Screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine; Story and Screenplay by Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg; based upon the book by Matthew Josephson

Starring Paul Muni, Gloria Holden, Gale Sondergaard and Joseph Schildkraut

The Life of Emile Zola is really two movies in one.

The first is a 25 minute seminar of a film, focusing on the professional life of writer Emile Zola.  It begins with him dirt poor in Paris, proceeds through a whirlwind medley of his greatest hits – books are published, a wife is married, fame is gotten – then settles with him into state of retirement and living off his wealth. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)

Greatest.gifDirected by Cecil B. DeMille

Screenplay by Fredric M. Frank &  Barré Lyndon   &  Theodore St. John, story by Fredric M. Frank   &  Theodore St. John   & Frank Cavett

Starring Charlton Heston,

It’s a fact: sit around and talk to anybody about the Oscars long enough and eventually you’ll get around to arguing over which was the worst Best Picture Winner – that I s, which was the worst film to win in a given year.  Inevitably, people in my generation, or at least those with no sense of history, will make strong arguments for Crash, Shakespeare in Love or maybe Titanic being the worst choices in recent memory.  Those with any real sense of history will instead bandy about two other choices:

  1. Citizen Kane, one of which is arguably the greatest film of all time,  being bested by How Green Was My Valley, a film that isn’t even one of the five best films by its own director – for John Ford, his best films obviously include The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, and one of about ten other films not named How Green Was My Valley.
  2. The Greatest Show On Earth winning Best Picture over Ford’s own The Quiet Man and a little Gary Cooper movie called High Noon.

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The Best of the Best Of’s: Must See Compilation Films

Film lovers like me, by definition, love film.  They go nuts over the latest Criterion releases, go through the viewing guide on TCM and the other stations so they can set their DVR, and sometimes arrange their whole life around the experience of watching a movie.

It stands to reason that if film-lovers love films, then the hardcore film-lovers love films about films – especially documentaries about films.  What follows is 10 films about films, in no particular order.  The only way to get on the list: 1) I had to like the film.  2) It couldn’t be a retrospective of the work of just one filmmakers because if it were, it would be a film about a filmmaker, not a film about films. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – All The King’s Men (1949)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge and John Ireland

Screenplay by Robert Rossen, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren

Down the years there have been a number of Best Picture winners that look like they were mistakes.  In another post, somewhere else on this blog – but not necessarily as part of The Best Picture Project – I outlined “The Little Best Pictures”, or, those films to win Best Picture while still winning three or less Oscars.  In every case the film that won Best Picture was not the winner of the most awards that year and won in so few of the important categories that their victories as Best Picture seems to be something of a mistake.  All The King’s Men was one of those films. Continue reading

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