I am writing this with my eyes half open but I want to get this done and ready for tomorrow. There are so many great films out there it was hard to choose. Wandering Through The Shelves is a great blog where anyone can join in and find 3 films that fit the theme. This week it is about the Best Director and no Alfred Hitchcock in sight this week since he never won an Oscar. Here are my 3...
1. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT-1930-DIRECTOR: LEWIS MILESTONE
I saw this film when I was in my 20s and was taken by the reality of this film. It is based on the famous book, of the same name, by Erich Maria Remarque from the German's viewpoint but it could be any soldier's view to be honest. We see a group of idealistic German students who decide to volunteer for war. As the years pass, we see the youthfulness fade as death and destruction take hold in their eyes. The lead is played by Lew Ayes who became a pacifist because of this film and was labelled a coward when he refused to bear arms in WW2. He did work for the ambulance corp finding himself in very many tough situations but his heroism has gone unnoticed. When we see documentaries about WW1, they often show clips from this film because of its realism. This was Lewis Milestone's baby who created a masterpiece in story telling even though it is in the early days of sound.
2. CASABLANCA-1943-DIRECTOR: MICHAEL CURTIZ
Well, we all know this film even if we have not seen it because it is justifiably famous. There are so many characters in this film that are given airtime, even though it stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, that you are left bummed when the film ends. This whole film is held together by Michael Curtiz, a Hungarian who never quite mastered the English language and could be brutish to work for. This film is about a man(Bogie) who owns a club filled with dissidents, political and otherwise, fleeing the Nazis and stuck at Casablanca because they have no exit visas. Enter Ilse (Bergman) and her husband, Victor(played by Paul Henreid) who are escaping the Nazis because he is wanted by them. He has no clue that his wife and Rick were lovers in Paris before The Nazis stormed in. Their main goal is to get the Letters of Transit that Rick has and everybody wants. This is one of the best films ever made and does not age despite it taking place during WW2. Curtiz kept everything together when no one knew what was truly happening since the writers were writing and re-writing the screenplay during the shoot.
3. THE QUIET MAN-1952-DIRECTOR-JOHN FORD
I love, I repeat, I love this scene where John Wayne's character, Sean Thornton, has had enough of Maureen O'Hara's, Mary-Kate, high minded attitude about her husband, and not getting her dowry which her brother, Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen) has. They think Sean is a coward for not fighting for her not realizing Sean's past as a boxer. This is funny, rip-roaring and great fun with one of the best fights right after this scene. I have to admit, I love it when a man knows how to treat a lady when she deserves a kick in the ass. I am certain this is another movie that many today would squawk at because of this scene not taking in the whole picture and what it means. John Ford is considered one of the best directors ever and has won more than one Oscar. This film was one of his favourites because he loved his native Ireland, grouped his stars that he worked with many times and considered friends. Maureen O'Hara was one of the very few women who would meet with them off screen on their boats since they all loved boating. I think this is a must see film.
OK, I am hoping to relax now