I wanted to highlight what I consider curious omissions from the American Film Institute's top 100 list. Considering films like The Sixth Sense, Toy Story, and Titanic(!!!) made the list I wonder who votes on these things. Anyway the following are American classics that are certainly in the top twenty, if not top ten, American films. Trust me, I've seen every movie in AFI's top twenty.
The Magnificent Ambersons
After Citizen Kane this is Orson Welles best film. It is impossible for me to NOT watch it if I see even one scene. Every acting performance is brilliant, particularly Joseph Cotten and Tim Holt. This has yet to be released (officially) onto DVD and sadly that may be why it was snubbed by AFI. Leaving this one out is not just wrong according to my opinion, it is a total joke, and makes AFI look curiously uninformed!
Actually if you compare their list from 1998 and the recent one from this past year it is amazing how films like Raging Bull and Vertigo (which I have shown are considered top ten internationally) suddenly jumped 20 and 52 spots respectively between the two polls. The Searchers which barely made the list in 98 (at #96) jumped a whopping 84 spots! I wouldn't be surprised when their next list comes out, if Ambersons is in the top twenty or something...when it is re-released onto DVD. Idiots.
The Manchurian Candidate
John Frankenheimer's best work is also the best non-Hitchcock, Hitchcock type thriller ever made (besides Carol Reed's The Third Man). The fact that it was remade is movie sacrilege almost on par with Gus Van Sant's remake of Pyscho. Where do these ideas come from? Idiots.
Although I was extremely happy AFI finally recognized Buster Keaton's other masterpiece The General on their latest poll, sadly Sherlock Jr. still goes unnoticed for the groundbreaking work that it is. Perhaps it's short running time causes it to be overlooked or maybe they can only fit a certain number of silent classics on their list. Anyway, at least they removed Al Jolson's Jazz Singer this time around.
The Night Of The Hunter
I have already listed this one in my personal top ten and the fact that the American Film Institute doesn't have this film listed is criminal to me. Along with The Magnificent Ambersons I think this is the biggest mistake they have made. This was Charles Laughton's one and only directed film and what a film to be remembered for. Many people probably only think of this as a very dark, noir classic (ok, that was redundant) with Robert Mitchum as a homocidal, phony preacher. It is his best role by the way. But I love it for many other reasons. Lillian Gish plays probably the last true Christian in American cinema. Her character is excellent and excellently written. I still need to buy this one on DVD myself. And by the way, I did receive Band Of Brothers on DVD for Christmas! Thanks, honey!
Anyway, these films need to be watched and spoken for the next time any "Greatest" list comes around.
Oh yeah, and Happy New Year everyone!