Monday, 24 February 2014

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars?

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars? Brilliantly written by Terence Winter ("The Sopranos", "Boardwalk Empire"), along with the usual stylish direction from Martin Scorsese and boasting a career-best performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, 'The Wolf of Wall Street' is superior entertainment and highly recommended.
RATING ****

'12 Years a Slave' - an important film but not a great film

Watched '12 Years a Slave'. Any film that deals openly with the horrors of the US slave trade has to be important but sadly this is simply not the great film that critics claim it to be. I just think there is not enough attention to character and there is too much emphasis on the many torture scenes rather than the drama itself. Another overrated art-house film from the director of 'Hunger' and 'Shame'.
RATING ***

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Harper (1966) - An enjoyable homage to Marlowe

William Goldman's first screenplay is an adaptation of Ross McDonald's novel 'The Moving Target' called Harper. Released in 1966 and stars Paul Newman as private investigator Lew Harper (Lew Archer in the novel) who has problems with his marriage to Susan (Janet Leigh) but one of his few friends is attorney Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) who brings him a case. The wealthy husband of Elaine Sampson (Lauren Bacall) is missing and she thinks that he is with another woman. She just wants to know where he is. It is Harper's job to investigate and report back but the case is on as straight forward as it seems.

Harper is an enjoyable homage to Marlowe (Lauren Bacall starred with Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe in the 1946 film The Big Sleep) with great performances all around especially from Newman. The dialogue is great as you would expect from Goldman, the direction (Jack Smight) and photography (Conrad L. Hall) are top notch too. Recommended. 
RATING ****

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Leslie Halliwell - an inspirational film critic and historian

Leslie Halliwell
Leslie Halliwell (1929 – 1989) was a British film critic and historian. In 1965 Halliwell’s The Filmgoer's Companion was published which proved to be the first one-volume encyclopaedia devoted to all aspects of the cinema. Then he spent years creating the Halliwell's Film Guide, an impressive source for all movie fans. Although a very conservative film critic (Halliwell did not award full marks to any film after 1967) and an apologist for classic Hollywood, Leslie Halliwell created reference books which were so important to many of us during those pre-internet days. I used to enjoy reading the reviews of Leslie Halliwell and I think I read every one of his books when I was young. I am still a fan of classic Hollywood but I now dislike Halliwell’s resentment of more modern and independent films. By the time Halliwell sadly passed away in 1989, I felt I had moved on and thought his reviews were somewhat one-dimensional, unsupported and extremely conservative. Still, if you look at the following list you can see for yourself the high standard that Halliwell compared all films to. These are the few films that received the full FOUR STAR ratings. If you are a serious film fan or student, you MUST watch these films. 


À Nous la Liberté
Year: 1931                   Studio: Tobis
Assessment:
Operetta-style satirical comedy with leftish attitudes and several famous sequences later borrowed by Chaplin for Modern Times.  In terms of sheer film flair, a revelation, though the plot has its tedious turns.
Significant production contributions:
w René Clair  d René Clair  ph Georges Périnal  m Georges Auric  pd Lazare Meerson
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

Ace in the Hole
Year: 1951                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
An incisive, compelling melodrama taking a sour look at the American scene; one of its director's masterworks.
Significant production contributions:
w Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, Walter Newman  d Billy Wilder
Significant performances:
Kirk Douglas, Porter Hall
Notes:
A four-star film in the first two editions only.

The Adventures of Robin Hood
Year: 1938                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
A splendid adventure story, rousingly operatic in treatment, with dashing action highlights, fine comedy balance, and incisive acting all round.  Historically notable for its use of early three-colour Technicolor; also for convincingly recreating Britain in California.
Significant production contributions:
w Seton I. Miller, Norman Reily Raine  d William Keighley, Michael Curtiz  ph Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito, Howard Green  m Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ad Carl Jules Weyl
Significant performances:
Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale, Eugene Pallette, Ian Hunter, Melville Cooper
Notes:
The performances of Alan Hale, Eugene Palette , Ian Hunter and Melville Cooper were italicised in the 5th Edition onwards.

The African Queen
Year: 1951                   Studio: IFD
Assessment:
Despite some unfortunate studio sets mixed in with real African footage achieved through great hardship by all concerned, this is one of those surprising films that really work, a splendidly successful mixture of comedy, character and adventure.
Significant production contributions:
w James Agee  d John Huston  ph Jack Cardiff  m Allan Gray
Significant performances:
Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn
Notes:
Demoted to three stars for the 3rd Edition.

Alexander Nevsky
Year: 1938                   Studio: Mosfilm
Assessment:
A splendid historical pageant which shows the director at his most inventively pictorial and climaxes in a superb battle sequence using music instead of natural sound.
Significant production contributions:
d Sergei Eisenstein  ph Edouard Tissé  m Prokofiev
Significant performances:
Nikolai Cherkassov

All About Eve
Year: 1950                   Studio: TCF
Assessment:
A basically unconvincing story with thin characters is transformed by a screenplay scintillating with savage wit and a couple of waspish performances into a movie experience to treasure.
Significant production contributions:
w Joseph L. Mankiewicz  d Joseph L. Mankiewicz  ph Milton Krasner
Significant performances:
Bette Davis, George Sanders
Notes:
Bette Davis's performance is described as 'supremely bitchy', up until the 5th Edition that is, when the film was demoted to three stars.  She retained her italics, though.

All Quiet on the Western Front
Year: 1930                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
A landmark of American cinema and Universal's biggest and most serious undertaking until the sixties, this highly emotive war film with its occasional outbursts of bravura direction fixed in millions of minds the popular image of what it was like in the trenches, even more so than Journey's End which had shown the Allied viewpoint.  Despite dated moments, it retains its overall power and remains a great pacifist work.
Significant production contributions:
d Lewis Milestone  ph Arthur Edeson
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
No cast members listed at all in the 1st Edition.  This was corrected for the 2nd, with Lewis Milestone's direction being described as 'in a manner reminiscent of Eisenstein and Lang'.  Lew Ayres was originally italicised, but his performance obviously didn't seem as good by the 5th Edition, as he was demoted.

All That Money Can Buy
Year: 1941                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
A brilliant Germanic Faust set in 19th-century New Hampshire and using historical figures, alienation effects, comedy asides and the whole cinematic box of tricks which Hollywood had just learned again through Citizen Kane.  A magic act in more ways than one.
Significant production contributions:
w Dan Totheroh  d William Dieterle  ph Joseph August  m Bernard Herrmann  ad Van Nest Polglase  sp Vernon L. Walker       
Significant performances:
Walter Huston, Edward Arnold
Notes:
Now known - at least by the Criterion Collection - as The Devil and Daniel Webster.

An American in Paris
Year: 1951                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Altogether delightful musical holiday, one of the highspots of the Hollywood genre, with infectious enthusiasm and an unexpected sense of the Paris that was.
Significant production contributions:
p Arthur Freed  w Alan Jay Lerner  d Vincente Minnelli  ph Al Gilks, John Alton  m George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin  ad Cedric Gibbons, Preston Ames  ch Gene Kelly
Significant performances:
Gene Kelly, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch, Leslie Caron, Georges Guetary
Notes:
Everyone listed is italicised, including the producer, for the only time.

And Then There Were None
Year: 1945                   Studio: Popular Pictures
Assessment:
A classic mystery novel is here adapted and directed with the utmost care to provided playful black comedy, stylish puzzlement, and some splendid acting cameos.
Significant production contributions:
w Dudley Nichols  d René Clair  ph Lucien Andriot  m Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Significant performances:
Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald, Louis Hayward, Roland Young, Richard Haydn

Angels With Dirty Faces
Year: 1938                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
A shrewd, slick entertainment package and a seminal movie for all kinds of reasons.  It combined gangster action with fashionable social conscience; it confirmed the Dead End Kids as stars; it provided archetypal roles for its three leading players and catapulted the female lead into stardom.  It also showed the Warner style of film-making, all cheap sets and shadows, at its most effective.
Significant production contributions:
d Michael Curtiz  ph Sol Polito
Significant performances:
James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, The Dead End Kids, Ann Sheridan


Bad Day at Black Rock
Year: 1954                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Seminal suspense thriller - the guilty town motif became a cliché - with a terse script and professional presentation.  The moments of violence, long awaited, are electrifying.
Significant production contributions:
w Millard Kaufman  d John Sturges  ph William C. Mellor
Significant performances:
Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan

Bambi
Year: 1942                   Studio: Walt Disney
Assessment:
Anthropomorphic cartoon feature, one of Disney's most memorable and brilliant achievements, with a great comic character in Thumper the rabbit and a climactic forest fire sequence which is genuinely thrilling.  A triumph of the animator's art.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.

The Band Wagon
Year: 1953                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Simple but sophisticated musical with the bare minimum of plot, told mostly in jokes, and the maximum of music and song.  Numbers include those listed below, as well as a spoof Mickey Spillane ballet finale.  Level of technical accomplishment very high.
Significant production contributions:
w Adolph Green, Betty Comden  d Vincente Minnelli  m Howard Dietz, Arthur Schwarz  ad Cedric Gibbons, Preston Ames
Significant performances:
Fred Astaire, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant
Notes:
A four-star film in the 7th Edition only.

The Battleship Potemkin
Year: 1925                   Studio: Goskino
Assessment:
A textbook cinema classic, and masterpiece of creative editing, especially in the famous Odessa Steps sequence in which innocent civilians are mown down in the bloodshed; the happenings of a minute are drawn into five by frenzied cross-cutting.  The film contains 1,300 separate shots, and was judged the best film ever made in 1948 and 1958 by a panel of international judges.
Significant production contributions:
w Sergei Eisenstein  d Sergei Eisenstein  ph Edouard Tissé, V. Popov
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
Wasn't featured in the 1st Edition of the Guide, and Eisenstein was never given credit for editing.

Begone Dull Care
Year: 1953                   Studio: National Film Board
Assessment:
The central movement is a little too slow, but the first piece is witty and the climax is an irresistable frenzy of sound and image.  Undeniably a classic short, and probably McLaren's best.
Significant production contributions:
d Norman McLaren
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in the 4th Edition.

The Best Years of Our Lives
Year: 1946                   Studio: Samuel Goldwyn
Assessment:
The situations and even some of the characters now seem a little obvious, but this was a superb example of high-quality film-making in the forties, with smiles and tears cunningly spaced, and a film which said what was needed on a vital subject.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Sherwood  d William Wyler  ph Gregg Toland
Significant performances:
Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Russell
Notes:
Frederic March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews all had their performances downgraded for the 2nd Edition.  Harold Russell is referred to as 'a handless veteran whose only film this was', until the 7th Edition when LH found out he had been in Inside Moves in 1980.

Bicycle Thieves
Year: 1948                   Studio: PDS-ENIC
Assessment:
The epitome of Italian neo-realism, the slight human drama is developed so that is has all the force of King Lear, and both the acting and the backgrounds are vividly compelling.
Significant production contributions:
w Cesare Zavattini  d Vittorio de Sica
Significant performances:
Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola
Notes:
First appeared in the 2nd Edition.  Film was demoted to three stars for the 7th.

Big Business
Year: 1929                   Studio: Hal Roach
Assessment:
Classic silent comedy consisting largely of a brilliant tit-for-tat routine of reciprocal destruction, to which scripting, acting and editing equally combine.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
Another L&H four-star with no italicisation; first appeared in 3rd Edition.

The Birth of a Nation
Year: 1915                   Studio: Epoch
Assessment:
The cinema's first and still most famous epic, many sequences of which retain their mastery despite negro villains, Ku Klux Klan heroes, and white actors in blackface.  Originally shown as The Clansman; a shorter version with orchestral track was released in 1931.
Significant production contributions:
d D. W. Griffith  ph G. W. Bitzer
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

The Blue Angel
Year: 1930                   Studio: UFA
Assessment:
A masterwork of late twenties German grotesquerie, and after a slowish beginning an emotional powerhouse, set in a dark nightmare world which could be created only in the studio.  Shot also in English, it was highly popular and influential in Britain and America.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich
Notes:
None of the production staff get italics, despite it being a 'masterwork'.

Bonnie and Clyde
Year: 1967                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Technically brilliant evocation of sleepy mid-America at the time of the public enemies, using every kind of cinematic trick including fake snapshots, farcical interludes, dreamy soft-focus and a jazzy score.  For all kinds of reasons a very influential film which even made extreme violence quite fashionable (and very bloody it is).
Significant production contributions:
p Warren Beatty  w David Newman, Robert Benton  d Arthur Penn  ph Burnett Guffey  m Charles Strouse
Significant performances:
Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard
Notes:
The most recent film to get the four star award is now nearly forty years old.

The Bride of Frankenstein
Year: 1935                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Frankenstein was startlingly good in a primitive way; this sequel is the screen's sophisticated masterpiece of black comedy, with all the talents working deftly to one end.  Every scene has its own delights, and they are woven together into a superb if wilful cinematic narrative which, of its gentle mocking kind, has never been surpassed.
Significant production contributions:
w John L. Balderston, William Hurlbut  d James Whale  ph John Mescall  m Franz Waxman
Significant performances:
Boris Karloff, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive, Elsa Lanchester
Notes:
A crying shame not to acknowledge Charles D. Hall's marvellous sets.

Brief Encounter
Year: 1945                   Studio: Cineguild
Assessment:
An outstanding example of good middle-class cinema turned by sheer professional craft into a masterpiece; even those bored by the theme must be riveted by the treatment, especially the use of a dismal railway station and its trains.
Significant production contributions:
w Noel Coward  d David Lean  ph Robert Krasker
Significant performances:
Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Year: 1919                   Studio: Decla-Bioscop
Assessment:
Faded now, but a film of immense influence on the dramatic art of cinema, with its odd angles, stylised sets and hypnotic acting, not to mention the sting in the tail of its story (added by the producer).
Significant production contributions:
w Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz  d Robert Wiene  ph Willy Hameister  ad Hermann Warm, Walter Röhrig, Walter Reiman
Significant performances:
Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

Casablanca
Year: 1943                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Cinema par excellence: a studio-bound Hollywood melodrama which after various chances just fell together impeccably into one of the outstanding entertainment experiences of cinema history, with romance, intrigue, excitement, suspense and humour cunningly deployed by master technicians and a perfect cast.
Significant production contributions:
p Hal B. Wallis  w Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch  d Michael Curtiz  ph Arthur Edeson  m Max Steiner
Significant performances:
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Dooley Wilson, Marcel Dalio
Notes:
In the first edition everyone listed, including producer, gets italics.  Some performances, including Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet were downgraded in the 5th.

Citizen Kane
Year: 1941                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
A brilliant piece of Hollywood cinema using all the resources of the studio; despite lapses of characterisation and gaps in the narrative, almost every shot and every line is utterly absorbing both as entertainment and as craft.  See The Citizen Kane Book by Pauline Kael, and innumerable other writings.
Significant production contributions:
w Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles  d Orson Welles  ph Gregg Toland  m Bernard Herrmann  ad Van Nest Polglase  sp Vernon L. Walker       
Significant performances:
Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Paul Stewart, Ruth Warrick, Erskine Sanford, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Shannon, George Coulouris, William Alland, Fortunio Bonanova
Notes:
It was his all-time favourite, and still he manages to find things wrong with it.  Everyone italicised but for the producer in the 7th Edition.  Harry Shannon is missing from the cast list in the first edition, and some performances were upgraded in the 5th.

Crossfire
Year: 1947                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
Tense, talky thriller shot entirely at night with pretty full expressionist use of camera technique; notable for style, acting, experimentation, and for being the first Hollywood film to hit out at racial bigotry.
Significant production contributions:
w John Paxton  d Edward Dmytryk  ph J. Roy Hunt
Significant performances:
Robert Young, Robert Ryan, Paul Kelly

The Cure
Year: 1917                   Studio: Mutual
Assessment:
One of the funniest of the Chaplin shorts, with no pathos intervening (nor come to that much plot); it is simply a succession of balletic slapstick scenes of the highest order.
Significant production contributions:
w Charles Chaplin  d Charles Chaplin
Significant performances:
Charles Chaplin
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.


David Copperfield
Year: 1934                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Only slightly faded after forty-five years, this small miracle of compression not only conveys the spirit of Dickens better than the screen has normally managed but is a particularly pleasing example of Hollywood's handling of literature and of the deployment of a great studio's resources.  It also overflows with memorable character cameos, and it was a box office giant.
Significant production contributions:
d George Cukor  ad Cedric Gibbons
Significant performances:
Freddie Bartholomew, Frank Lawton, W. C. Fields, Roland Young, Edna May Oliver, Lennox Pawle, Basil Rathbone, Jessie Ralph, Herbert Mundin

A Day at the Races
Year: 1937                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Fashions in Marxism change, but this top quality production, though lacking their zaniest inspirations, does contain several of their funniest routines and a spectacularly well integrated racecourse climax.  The musical and romantic asides are a matter of taste but delightfully typical of their time.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Pirosh, George Seaton, George Oppenheimer  d Sam Wood  ph Joseph Ruttenberg
Significant performances:
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Douglass Dumbrille, Esther Muir, Sig Rumann

Dead of Night
Year: 1945                   Studio: Ealing
Assessment:
Chillingly successful and influential compendium of the macabre, especially effective in its low-key handling of the linking sequence with its circular ending.
Significant production contributions:
w John Baines, Angus Macphail  d Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden  m Georges Auric  ad Michael Relph
Significant performances:
Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Sally Ann Howes, Frederick Valk, Googie Withers, Michael Redgrave

Desert Victory
Year: 1943                   Studio: Ministry of Information
Assessment:
Classic war documentary.
Significant production contributions:
m William Alwyn
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 6th Edition.  The briefest assessment of any four-star film.

Destry Rides Again
Year: 1939                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Classic western which manages to encompass suspense, comedy, romance, tenderness, vivid characterisation, horseplay, songs and standard western excitements, without moving for more than a moment from a studio main street set.  It starts with a sign reading 'Welcome to Bottleneck' and an outburst of gunfire; it ends with tragedy followed by a running joke.  Hollywood expertise at its very best.
Significant production contributions:
w Felix Jackson, Gertrude Purcell, Henry Myers  d George Marshall  ph Hal Mohr  m Frederick Hollander, Frank Loesser, Frank Skinner
Significant performances:
James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Brian Donlevy, Charles Winninger, Samuel S. Hinds, Mischa Auer, Una Merkel, Billy Gilbert
Notes:
Frank Skinner wasn't listed in the 1st edition.

A Diary for Timothy
Year: 1945                   Studio: Crown Film Unit
Assessment:
Brilliant sentimental documentary, a summing up of the aims and feelings of Britain at the time.
Significant production contributions:
w E. M. Forster; speaker Michael Redgrave; directed by Humphrey Jennings for Basil Wright

Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Year: 1931                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
The most exciting and cinematic version by far of the famous horror story; the make-up is slightly over the top, but the gas-lit London settings, the pace, the performances and clever camera and sound tricks make it a film to enjoy over and over again.  Subjective camera is used at the beginning, and for the first transformation the actor wore various layers of make-up which were sensitive to different colour filters and thus produced instant change.
Significant production contributions:
w Samuel Hoffenstein, Percy Heath  d Rouben Mamoulian  ph Karl Struss  ad Hans Dreier
Significant performances:
Fredric March

Double Indemnity
Year: 1944                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
Archetypal film noir of the forties, brilliantly filmed and incisively written, perfectly capturing the decayed Los Angeles atmosphere of a Chandler novel but using a simpler story and more substantial characters.  The hero/villain was almost a new concept.
Significant production contributions:
w Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler  d Billy Wilder  ph John Seitz  m Miklos Rozsa
Significant performances:
Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

Duck Soup
Year: 1933                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
The satirical aspects of this film are fascinating but appear to have been unintentional.  Never mind, it's also the most satisfying and undiluted Marx Brothers romp, albeit the one without instrumental interludes.  It does include the lemonade stall, the mirror sequence, and an endless array of one-liners and comedy choruses.
Significant production contributions:
w Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Arthur Sheekman, Nat Perrin  d Leo McCarey  m Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby  ad Hans Dreier, Wiard Ihnen
Significant performances:
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont
Notes:
Some would say because it's the one without the musical interludes.

Dumbo
Year: 1941                   Studio: Walt Disney
Assessment:
Delightful cartoon feature notable for set pieces such as the drunken nightmare and the crows' song.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
Upgraded to four-stars in the 7th Edition.


Easy Street
Year: 1917                   Studio: Mutual
Assessment:
Quintessential Chaplin, combining sentimentality and social comment with hilarious slapstick.
Significant production contributions:
w Charles Chaplin  d Charles Chaplin
Significant performances:
Charles Chaplin
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

Les Enfants du Paradis
Year: 1945                   Studio: Pathé
Assessment:
A magnificent evocation of a place and a period, this thoroughly enjoyable epic melodrama is flawed only by its lack of human warmth and of a real theme.  It remains nevertheless one of the cinema's most memorable films.
Significant production contributions:
w Jacques Prévert  d Marcel Carné  ph Roger Hubert  ad Alexandre Trauner, Léon Barsacq, Raymond Gabutti  pd
Significant performances:
Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Marcel Herrand, Maria Casarès
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.


Fantasia
Year: 1940                   Studio: Walt Disney
Assessment:
Brilliantly inventive for the most part, the cartoons having become classics in themselves.  The least part (The Pastoral Symphony) can be forgiven.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.

Foreign Correspondent
Year: 1940                   Studio: Walter Wanger
Assessment:
Thoroughly typical and enjoyable Hitchcock adventure with a rambling script which builds up into brilliantly managed suspense sequences: an assassination, a windmill, an attempted murder in Westminster Cathedral, a plane crash at sea.  The final speech was an attempt to encourage America into the war.
Significant production contributions:
w Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, James Hilton, Robert Benchley  d Alfred Hitchcock  ph Rudolph Maté
Significant performances:
Joel McCrea, Herbert Marshall, Albert Basserman, Edmund Gwenn, George Sanders, Eduardo Ciannelli, Robert Benchley, Harry Davenport

Forty-Second Street
Year: 1933                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Archetypal Hollywood putting-on-a-show musical in which the leading lady is indisposed and a chorus girl is told to get out there and come back a star.  The clichés are written and performed with great zest, the atmosphere is convincing, and the numbers when they come are dazzlers.
Significant production contributions:
w James Seymour, Rian James  d Lloyd Bacon  ph Sol Polito  m Al Dubin, Harry Warren  ch Busby Berkeley
Significant performances:
Warner Baxter, Ruby Keeler, Bebe Daniels, Ginger Rogers, Ned Sparks

The Four Feathers
Year: 1939                   Studio: London Films
Assessment:
The standard version of the above, perfectly cast and presented, with battle scenes which have since turned up in a score of other films from Zarak to Master of the World; also a triumph of early colour.
Significant production contributions:
d Zoltan Korda
Significant performances:
John Clements, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith

Frankenstein
Year: 1931                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Whole books have been written about this film and its sequels.  Apart from being a fascinating if primitive cinematic work in its own right, it set its director and star on interesting paths and established a Hollywood attitude towards horror (mostly borrowed from German silents such as The Golem).  A seminal film indeed, which at each repeated viewing belies its age.
Significant production contributions:
w Garrett Fort, Francis Edward Faragoh, John L. Balderston  d James Whale  ph Arthur Edeson  ad Charles D. Hall
Significant performances:
Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye

The Front Page
Year: 1931                   Studio: Howard Hughes
Assessment:
Brilliant early talkie perfectly transferring into screen terms a stage classic of the twenties.  Superficially a shade primitive now, its essential power remains.
Significant production contributions:
d Lewis Milestone  pd
Significant performances:
Adolphe Menjou, Pat O'Brien
Notes:
Demoted to three stars in the 2nd Edition.


Gaslight
Year: 1939                   Studio: British National
Assessment:
Modest but absolutely effective film version of a superb piece of suspense theatre.
Significant production contributions:
d Thorold Dickinson  m Richard Addinsell
Significant performances:
Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingell
Notes:
Richard Addinsell wasn't credited in the 5th Edition.

The Gay Divorcee
Year: 1934                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
Wildly and hilariously dated comedy musical with splendidly archaic comedy routines supporting Hollywood's great new dance team in their first big success.  Not much dancing, but 'The Continental' is a show-stopper.
Significant production contributions:
d Mark Sandrich  sp Vernon L. Walker       
Significant performances:
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Alice Brady, Erik Rhodes, Eric Blore

The General
Year: 1926                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Slow-starting, then hilarious action comedy, often voted one of the best ever made.  Its sequence of sight gags, each topping the one before, is an incredible joy to behold.
Significant production contributions:
w Al Boasberg, Charles Smith  d Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman  ph J. Devereux Jennings, Bert Haines
Significant performances:
Buster Keaton
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

Genevieve
Year: 1953                   Studio: GFD
Assessment:
One of those happy films in which for no very good or expected reason a number of modest elements merge smoothly to create an aura of high style and memorable moments.  A charmingly witty script, carefully pointed direction, attractive actors and locations, an atmosphere of light-hearted British sex and a lively harmonica theme turned it, after a slowish start, into one of Britain's biggest commercial hits and most fondly remembered comedies.
Significant production contributions:
w William Rose  d Henry Cornelius  m Larry Adler
Significant performances:
Dinah Sheridan, John Gregson, Kay Kendall, Kenneth More, Geoffrey Keen, Joyce Grenfell, Reginald Beckwith, Arthur Wontner

Gilda
Year: 1946                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Archetypal Hollywood film noir, wholly studio-bound and the better for it, with dialogue that would seem risible if it did not happen to be dealt with in this style and with these actors, who keep the mood balanced between suspense and absurdity.
Significant production contributions:
w Marion Parsonnet  d Charles Vidor  ph Rudolph Maté
Significant performances:
Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Steve Geray, Joseph Calleia
Notes:
Demoted in 7th Edition

The Golden Age of Comedy
Year: 1957                   Studio: Robert Youngston
Assessment:
First of the scholarly compilations of silent comedy which saved many negatives from destruction, this is a fast-paced general survey which despite a facetious sound track does provide a laugh a minute.  It particularly brought Laurel and Hardy back into public notice, and includes sections from Two Tars and The Battle of the Century.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Youngson  d Robert Youngson
Significant performances:
None.

Gone with the Wind
Year: 1939                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
The only film in history which could be profitably revived for forty years: 'still pure gold', said the Daily Mirror in 1975.  Whole books have been written about it; its essential appeal is that of a romantic story with strong characters and an impeccable production.  The widescreen version produced in the late sixties ruined its composition and colour, but it is to be hoped that the original negative survives.
Significant production contributions:
p David O. Selznick  d Victor Fleming  ph Ernest Haller, Ray Rennahan  m Max Steiner  ad Lyle Wheeler  pd William Cameron Menzies
Significant performances:
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen

The Grapes of Wrath
Year: 1940                   Studio: TCF
Assessment:
A superb film which could scarcely be improved upon.  Though the ending is softened from the book, there was too much here for filmgoers to chew on.  Acting, photography, direction combine to make this an unforgettable experience, a poem of a film.
Significant production contributions:
w Nunnally Johnson  d John Ford  ph Gregg Toland
Significant performances:
Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine

Great Expectations
Year: 1946                   Studio: Rank
Assessment:
Despite the inevitable simplifications, this is a superbly pictorial rendering of a much-loved novel, with all the famous characters in safe hands and masterly judgement in every department.
Significant production contributions:
d David Lean  ph Guy Green  ad John Bryan
Significant performances:
John Mills, Finlay Currie, Martita Hunt, Jean Simmons
Notes:
Ronald Neame is credited with the photography in the 1st Edition.

Green for Danger
Year: 1946                   Studio: Rank
Assessment:
Classic comedy-thriller, with serious detection balanced by excellent jokes and performances, also by moments of fright.
Significant production contributions:
w Sidney Gilliat, Claude Guerney  d Sidney GilliatAlastair Sim, Sally Gray  ph Wilkie Cooper
Significant performances:
Alastair Sim, Sally Gray, Rosamund John, Trevor Howard, Leo Genn, Megs Jenkins, Judy Campbell
Notes:
Megs Jenkin's and Judy Campbell's performances were upgraded for the 2nd Edition, but the film was deemed unworthy of four stars by the 5th.

The Green Pastures
Year: 1936                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Though recently attacked as setting back the cause of black emancipation, this is a brilliantly sympathetic and humorous film, very cunningly adapted for the screen in a series of dramatic scenes which make the material work even better than it did on the stage.
Significant production contributions:
w Marc Connelly  d William Keighley, Marc Connelly  ph Hal Mohr  m Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Significant performances:
Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk, Eddie Anderson
Notes:
Downgraded in the 7th Edition.



A Hard Day's Night
Year: 1964                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Comic fantasia with music; an enormous commercial success with the director trying every cinematic gag in the book, it led directly to all the kaleidoscopic swinging London spy thrillers and comedies of the later sixties, and so has a lot to answer for; but at the time it was a sweet breath of fresh air, and the Beatles even seemed willing and likeable.
Significant production contributions:
w Alun Owen  d Richard Lester  ph Gilbert Taylor  m The Beatles
Significant performances:
The Beatles, Victor Spinetti

Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy
Year: 1962                   Studio: Harold Lloyd
Assessment:
As Lloyd's work lends itself well to extract, this can hardly fail to be a superb anthology capsuling the appeal of one of America's greatest silent comedians.  The timing is just perfect.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
The 1st Edition assessment read 'Splendidly hilarious compilation of the best short HL sequences, guaranteed to have any audience rolling in the aisles.'

Hell's Angels
Year: 1930                   Studio: Howard Hughes
Assessment:
Celebrated early talkie spectacular, with zeppelin and flying sequences that still thrill.  The dialogue is another matter, but all told this expensive production, first planned as a silent, is a milestone of cinema history.
Significant production contributions:
d Howard Hughes  ph Tony Gaudio, Harry Perry, E. Burton Steene
Significant performances:
None.

Henry V
Year: 1944                   Studio: Rank
Assessment:
Immensely stirring, experimental and almost wholly successful production of Shakespeare on film, sturdy both in its stylisation and its command of more conventional cinematic resources for the battle.
Significant production contributions:
d Laurence Olivier  ph Robert Krasker  m William Walton  ad Paul Sheriff
Significant performances:
Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Esmond Knight, Leo Genn
Notes:
Surprising that Olivier didn't rate italics here.  I think maybe LH preferred his more understated performances, on the whole.

High Noon
Year: 1952                   Studio: Stanley Kramer
Assessment:
A minor western with a soft-pedalled message for the world, this turned out to be a classic simply because it was well done, with every scene and performance clearly worked out.  Cinematically it was pared to the bone, and the theme tune helped.
Significant production contributions:
p Stanley Kramer  w Carl Foreman  d Fred Zinnemann  ph Floyd Crosby  m Dmitri Tiomkin
Significant performances:
Gary Cooper

His Girl Friday
Year: 1940                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Frantic, hilarious black farce with all participants at their best; possibly the fastest comedy ever filmed, and one of the funniest.
Significant production contributions:
w Charles Lederer  d Howard Hawks
Significant performances:
Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Ernest Truex, Clarence Kolb, Roscoe Karns, Frank Jenks, Billy Gilbert

Horse Feathers
Year: 1932                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
Possibly the Marxes' wildest yet most streamlined kaleidoscope of high jinks and irreverence, with at least one bright gag or line to the minute and lively musical interludes to boot.  A classic of zany comedy.
Significant production contributions:
w Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, Will B. Johnstone  d   m Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
Significant performances:
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Thelma Todd
Notes:
Demoted in the 7th Edition.

The House on 92nd Street
Year: 1945                   Studio: TCF
Assessment:
Highly influential documentary-style 'now it can be told' spy drama, which borrowed the feel of its producer's March of Time series and applied them to a fairly true story set on genuine locations though with a modicum of fictional mystery and suspense.  Highly effective in its own right, it looked forward to The Naked City three years later; the later film unaccountably got most of the credit for taking Hollywood out into the open air.
Significant production contributions:
p Louis de Rochemont  w Barre Lyndon, Charles G. Booth, John Monks Jnr 
Significant performances:
Leo G. Carroll
Notes:
Demoted in the 7th Edition.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Year: 1939                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
This superb remake (of the Lon Chaney version) is one of the best examples of Hollywood expertise at work: art direction, set construction, costumes, camera, lighting and above all direction brilliantly support an irresistible story and bravura acting.
Significant production contributions:
w Sonya Levien, Bruno Frank  d William Dieterle  ph Joseph H. August  m Alfred Newman  ad Van Nest Polglase
Significant performances:
Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Maureen O'Hara, Edmond O'Brien, Thomas Mitchell, Harry Davenport


I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Year: 1932                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Horrifying story in the semi-documentary manner; a milestone in Hollywood history and still a fairly compelling piece of shock entertainment.
Significant production contributions:
w Sheridan Gibney, Brown Holmes, Robert E. Burns  d Mervyn Le Roy  ph Sol Polito
Significant performances:
Paul Muni

I Married a Witch
Year: 1942                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Delightful romantic comedy fantasy which shows all concerned at the top of their form.  Hollywood moonshine, impeccably distilled.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Pirosh, Marc Connelly  d René Clair
Significant performances:
Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Cecil Kellaway, Robert Benchley
Notes:
Demoted in the 5th Edition.

In Which We Serve
Year: 1942                   Studio: Rank
Assessment:
Dated but splendid flagwaver; an archetypal British war film of almost limitless propaganda value.
Significant production contributions:
w Noel Coward  d David Lean, Noel Coward
Significant performances:
Noel Coward, John Mills, Celia Johnson

The Informer
Year: 1935                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
A tedious plot is turned into brilliant cinema by full-blooded acting and a highly stylised yet brilliantly effective mise en scène which never attempts reality.
Significant production contributions:
d John Ford  ph Joseph H. August  m Max Steiner  ad Van Nest Polglase
Significant performances:
Victor McLaglen
Notes:
Demoted in the 6th Edition.

Intolerance
Year: 1916                   Studio: D. W. Griffith
Assessment:
A massive enterprise of which audiences at the time and after were quite intolerant.  Hard to take in parts, it rises to a fine climax as all the stories come to a head, including a modern one with a race between a car and train, and has been called 'the only film fugue'.  At the time, by far the most expensive film ever made.
Significant production contributions:
w D. W. Griffith  d D. W. Griffith  ph Billy Bitzer
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 3rd Edition.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Year: 1956                   Studio: Allied Artists
Assessment:
Persuasive, thoroughly satisfying, low-budget science fiction, put across with subtlety and intelligence in every department.
Significant production contributions:
d Don Siegel
Significant performances:
Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, King Donovan

The Invisible Man
Year: 1933                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Superb blend of eccentric character comedy, melodrama and trick photography in a Hollywood English setting; remarkably faithful to the spirit of the book.  It made a star of Claude Rains in his first film, even though he is seen for only a couple of seconds.
Significant production contributions:
w R. C. Sherriff, Philip Wylie  d James Whale  ph Arthur Edeson  sp John P. Fulton      
Significant performances:
Claude Rains, E. E. Clive, Una O'Connor

It Happened One Night
Year: 1934                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Highly successful and influential romantic comedy, the first to use buses and motels as background and still come up sparkling; it remains superlative in patches, but overall has a faded, dated air.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Riskin  d Frank Capra
Significant performances:
Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
Notes:
That 'faded, dated air' finally proved significant, with the removal of a star in 7th Edition.

It's a Wonderful Life
Year: 1946                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
Superbly assembled small-town comedy drama in a fantasy framework; arguably Capra's best and most typical work.
Significant production contributions:
w Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra  d Frank Capra  ph Joseph Walker, Joseph Biroc
Significant performances:
James Stewart, Henry Travers


The Jazz Singer
Year: 1927                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Archetypal Jewish weepie which became of absorbing interest as the first talkie film (songs and a few fragments of speech) and in its way, surprisingly, is not half bad.
Significant production contributions:
d Alan Crosland
Significant performances:
Al Jolson
Notes:
Hardly a glowing assessment, but its place in the history of the movies is assured.

The Jolson Story
Year: 1946                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Whitewashed biopic in impeccable Hollywood style, with everything working shamelessly right, a new star in the leading role, perfect if unambitious production values, and a deluge of the best songs ever written.
Significant production contributions:
w Stephen Longstreet  d Alfred E. Green, Joseph H. Lewis
Significant performances:
Larry Parks, William Demarest, Evelyn Keyes, Ludwig Donath, Tamara Shayne, Scotty Beckett


King Kong
Year: 1933                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
The greatest monster movie of them all, a miracle of trick work and suspense, with some of the most memorable moments in film history.
Significant production contributions:
d Merian C. Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack  m Max Steiner  sp Willis J. O'Brien      
Significant performances:
Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray

King's Row
Year: 1941                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Superb Hollywood melodrama, a Peyton Place with great visual strength, haunting music and a wholly absorbing if incredible plot.
Significant production contributions:
w Casey Robinson  d Sam Wood  ph James Wong Howe  m Erich Wolfgang Korngold  pd William Cameron Menzies
Significant performances:
Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Claude Rains, Maria Ouspenskaya
Notes:
The 1st Edition's assessment was slightly different and didn't include 'great visual strength' and 'haunting music'.


The Lady Vanishes
Year: 1938                   Studio: Gaumont British
Assessment:
The disappearing lady trick brilliantly refurbished by Hitchcock and his screenwriters, who even get away with a horrid model shot at the beginning.  Superb, suspenseful, brilliantly funny, meticulously detailed entertainment.
Significant production contributions:
w Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder  d Alfred Hitchcock
Significant performances:
Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Dame May Whitty, Paul Lukas, Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Catherine Lacey, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers, Mary Clare

The Last Flight
Year: 1931                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Fascinatingly offhand study on post-war cynicism and the faint hope of a better world, beautifully written and directed in a manner more effective than The Sun Also Rises.
Significant production contributions:
w John Monk Saunders  d William Dieterle
Significant performances:
Richard Barthelmess, Helen Chandler, Elliott Nugent
Notes:
Demoted in the 5th Edition.

Laura
Year: 1944                   Studio: TCF
Assessment:
A quiet, streamlined little murder mystery that brought a new adult approach to the genre and heralded the mature film noir of the later forties.  A small cast responds perfectly to a classically spare script, and in Clifton Webb a new star is born.
Significant production contributions:
w Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt  d Otto Preminger  ph Joseph La Shelle  m David Raksin
Significant performances:
Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Notes:
It's definitely a four-star film in the first 4 editions.  However, in 5th, 6th and 7th editions the fourth star is difficult to make out, and may not even be there.

The Lavender Hill Mob
Year: 1951                   Studio: Ealing
Assessment:
Superbly characterised and inventively detailed comedy, one of the best ever made at Ealing or in Britain.
Significant production contributions:
w T. E. B. Clarke  d Charles Crichton  ph Douglas Slocombe
Significant performances:
Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway

Letter From an Unknown Woman
Year: 1948                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Superior 'woman's picture' which gave its director his best chance in America to recreate his beloved Vienna of long ago.  Hollywood production magic at its best.
Significant production contributions:
w Howard Koch  d Max Ophuls  ph Franz Planer  ad Alexander Golitzen
Significant performances:
Joan Fontaine

The Letter
Year: 1940                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Excellent performances and presentation make this the closest approximation on film to reading a Maugham story of the Far East, though censorship forced the addition of an infuriating moral ending.
Significant production contributions:
w Howard Koch  d William Wyler  ph Tony Gaudio  m Max Steiner
Significant performances:
Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Sen Yung

Listen to Britain
Year: 1943                   Studio: Ministry of Information
Assessment:
A brilliant compilation of almost poetic sights and sounds which distil the essence of a year.
Significant production contributions:
d Humphrey Jennings
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 7th Edition.

Little Caesar
Year: 1930                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Its central character clearly modelled on Al Capone, this also has historical interest as vanguard of a spate of noisy gangster films.  The star was forever identified with his role, and the film, though technically dated, moves fast enough to maintain interest over fifty years later.
Significant production contributions:
d Mervyn Le Roy
Significant performances:
Edward G. Robinson

London Can Take It
Year: 1940                   Studio: Ministry of Information
Assessment:
Historically significant short, credited with inclining Americans towards participation.  In its own right, a brilliant job of editing and presentation.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 6th Edition.

Lost Horizon
Year: 1937                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Much re-cut romantic adventure which leaves out some of the emphasis of a favourite Utopian novel but stands up pretty well on its own, at least as a supreme example of Hollywood moonshine, with perfect casting, direction and music.  If the design has a touch of Ziegfeld, that's Hollywood.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Riskin  d Frank Capra  m Dmitri Tiomkin
Significant performances:
Ronald Colman, H. B. Warner, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton, Sam Jaffe

The Lost Weekend
Year: 1945                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
Startlingly original on its release, this stark little drama keeps its power, especially in the scenes on New York streets and in a dipso ward.  It could scarcely have been more effectively filmed.
Significant production contributions:
p Charles Brackett  w Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder  d Billy Wilder  ph John F. Seitz
Significant performances:
Ray Milland, Howard da Silva, Frank Faylen

Love Me Tonight
Year: 1932                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
The most fluently cinematic comedy musical ever made, with sounds and words, lyrics and music, deftly blended into a compulsively and consistently laughable mosaic of sophisticated nonsense; one better than the best of Lubitsch and Clair.
Significant production contributions:
w Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young, George Marion Jnr  d Rouben Mamoulian  ph Victor Milner  m Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart
Significant performances:
Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Butterworth, Charles Ruggles, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith



The Magnificent Ambersons
Year: 1942                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
Fascinating period drama told in brilliant cinematic snippets; owing to studio interference the last reels are weak, but the whole is a treat for connoisseurs, and a delight in its fast-moving control of cinematic narrative.
Significant production contributions:
w Orson Welles  d Orson Welles  ph Stanley Cortez  m Bernard Herrmann  ad Mark-Lee Kirr
Significant performances:
Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Agnes Moorehead, Tim Holt, Anne Baxter, Ray Collins, Richard Bennett

The Maltese Falcon
Year: 1941                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
A remake which shows the difference between excellence and brilliance; here every nuance is subtly stressed, and the cast is perfection.
Significant production contributions:
w John Huston  d John Huston  ph Arthur Edeson  m Adolph Deutsch
Significant performances:
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook Jnr, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan
Notes:
Not quite perfection: poor old Gladys George.

A Man for All Seasons
Year: 1966                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Irreproachable film version of a play which has had its narrative tricks removed but stands up remarkably well.  Acting, direction, sets, locations and costumes all have precisely the right touch.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert Bolt  d Fred Zinnemann  ph Ted Moore  m Georges Delerue  pd John Box
Significant performances:
Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw

The Man in the White Suit
Year: 1951                   Studio: Ealing
Assessment:
Brilliant satirical comedy played as farce and put together with meticulous cinematic counterpoint, so that every moment counts and all concerned give of their very best.
Significant production contributions:
w Roger Macdougall, John Dighton, Alexander Mackendrick  d Alexander Mackendrick  ph Douglas Slocombe  m Benjamin Frankel
Significant performances:
Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Ernest Thesiger, George Benson, Edie Martin

Marty
Year: 1955                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
The first of the filmed teleplays which in the mid-fifties seemed like a breath of spring to Hollywood (they were cheap) and also brought in a new wave of talent.  This is one of the best, its new naturalistic dialogue falling happily on the ear; but it has been so frequently imitated since that its revolutionary appearance is hard to imagine.
Significant production contributions:
w Paddy Chayevsky  d Delbert Mann  ph Joseph La Shelle
Significant performances:
Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Joe Mantell

A Matter of Life and Death
Year: 1946                   Studio: GFD
Assessment:
Outrageous fantasy which seemed more in keeping after the huge death toll of a world war, and in any case learned the Hollywood lesson of eating its cake and still having it, the supernatural elements being capable of explanation.  A mammoth technical job in the heavenly sequences, it deserves full marks for its sheer arrogance, wit, style and film flair.
Significant production contributions:
w Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  d Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  ph Jack Cardiff  m Allan Gray  pd Hein Heckroth
Significant performances:
David Niven, Roger Livesey, Kim Hunter, Marius Goring, Raymond Massey, Abraham Sofaer
Notes:
No art director credited.  Everyone listed, bar the producer, gets italics.

Le Million
Year: 1931                   Studio: Tobis
Assessment:
With its delicate touch, perfect sense of comedy timing and infectious use of recitative and song, this is superb screen entertainment using most of the medium's resources.
Significant production contributions:
w René Clair  d René Clair  m Georges Van Parys, Armand Bernard, Philippe Parès
Significant performances:
Paul Olivier
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
Year: 1943                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
Weird and wonderful one-man assault on the Hays Office and sundry other American institutions such as motherhood and politics; an indescribable, tasteless, roaringly funny mêlée, as unexpected at the time as it was effective, like a kick in the pants to all other film comedies.
Significant production contributions:
w Preston Sturges  d Preston Sturges
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
Release year given as 1944 in 1st Edition.

Les Misérables
Year: 1935                   Studio: Twentieth Century
Assessment:
Solid, telling, intelligent version of a much-filmed classic novel; in adaptation and performance it is hard to see how this film could be bettered.
Significant production contributions:
w W. P. Lipscomb  d Richard Boleslawski  ph Gregg Toland
Significant performances:
Fredric March, Charles Laughton

Mr Smith Goes to Washington
Year: 1939                   Studio: Columbia
Assessment:
Archetypal high-flying Capra vehicle, with the little man coming out top as he seldom does in life.  Supreme gloss hides the corn, helter-skelter direction keeps one watching, and all concerned give memorable performances.  A cinema classic.
Significant production contributions:
w Sidney Buchman  d Frank Capra  ph Joseph Walker  m Dmitri Tiomkin  montage Slavko Vorkapich
Significant performances:
James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Arnold, Harry Carey

The Music Box
Year: 1932                   Studio: Hal Roach
Assessment:
Quintessential Laurel and Hardy, involving almost all their aspects including a slight song and dance.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 3rd Edition, but with no italics at all.

Mystery of the Wax Museum
Year: 1933                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Archetypal horror material is augmented by a sub-plot about drug-running and an authoritative example of the wisecracking reporter school of the early thirties.  The film is also notable for its highly satisfactory use of two-colour Technicolor and for its splendid art direction.  Remade 1953 as House of Wax (qv).
Significant production contributions:
w Don Mullally, Carl Erickson  d Michael Curtiz  ph Ray Rennahan  ad Anton Grot
Significant performances:
Lionel Atwill, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh
Notes:
Michael Curtiz not intalicised in first two editions; the film was demoted to three stars for the 7th Edition.


The Naked City
Year: 1948                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Highly influential documentary thriller which, shot on location in New York's teeming streets, claimed to be giving an impression of city life; actually its real mission was to tell an ordinary murder tale with an impressive accumulation of detail and humour.  The narrator's last words became a cliché: 'There are eight million stories in the naked city.  This has been one of them.'.
Significant production contributions:
w Malvin Wald, Albert Maltz  d Jules Dassin  ph William Daniels
Significant performances:
Barry Fitzgerald, Don Taylor

Napoleon
Year: 1927                   Studio: WESTI
Assessment:
A cinematic epic which, although brilliant in most particulars, owes its greatest interest to its narrative sweep, its flair for composition and its use of triptych screens which at the end combine to show one giant picture, the clear precursor of Cinerama.  In 1934 Gance revised his film and added stereophonic sound.
Significant production contributions:
w Abel Gance  d Abel Gance  ed Abel Gance    
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
An editor finally gets some recognition.  This film wasn't in the 1st Edition, was given two stars in the 2nd and four in the 3rd Edition - a unique event, at least according to my research.

A Night at the Opera
Year: 1935                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Certainly among the best of the Marxian extravaganzas, and the first to give them a big production to play with as well as musical interludes by other than themselves for a change of pace.  The mix plays beautifully.
Significant production contributions:
w George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind  d Sam Wood
Significant performances:
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Sig Rumann

North by Northwest
Year: 1959                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Delightful chase comedy-thriller with a touch of sex, a kind of compendium of its director's best work, with memories of The 39 Steps, Saboteur and Foreign Correspondent among others.
Significant production contributions:
w Ernest Lehman  d Alfred Hitchcock  ph Robert Burks  m Bernard Herrmann
Significant performances:
Cary Grant

Nothing Sacred
Year: 1937                   Studio: David O. Selznick
Assessment:
Hollywood's most bitter and hilarious satire, with crazy comedy elements and superb wisecracks; a joy.
Significant production contributions:
w Ben Hecht
Significant performances:
Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Walter Connolly
Notes:
Demoted to three stars for the 7th Edition, with a slight change to the assessment: '…superb wisecracks; a historical monument of screen comedy, though its freshness at the time can't now be recaptured.'  William Wellman's italics were removed for the 3rd.


October
Year: 1927                   Studio: Sovkino
Assessment:
A propaganda masterpiece whose images have all too often been mistaken and used for genuine newsreel.  Cinematically, an undoubted masterpiece.
Significant production contributions:
d Sergei Eisenstein
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 7th Edition.

Oh Mr Porter
Year: 1937                   Studio: GFD
Assessment:
Marvellous star comedy showing this trio of comedians at their best, and especially Hay as the seedy incompetent.  The plot is borrowed from The Ghost Train, but each line and gag brings its own inventiveness.  A delight of character comedy and cinematic narrative.
Significant production contributions:
w Marriott Edgar, Val Guest, J. O. C. Orton  d Marcel Varnel
Significant performances:
Will Hay, Moore Marriott, Graham Moffatt

The Old Dark House
Year: 1932                   Studio: Universal
Assessment:
Marvellous horror comedy filled with superb grotesques and memorable lines, closely based on a Priestly novel but omitting the more thoughtful moments.  A stylist's and connoisseur's treat.
Significant production contributions:
w Benn W. Levy, R. C. Sherriff  d James Whale  ph Arthur Edeson  ad Charles D. Hall
Significant performances:
Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Boris Karloff, Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore

Oliver Twist
Year: 1948                   Studio: GFD
Assessment:
Simplified, brilliantly cinematic version of a voluminous Victorian novel, beautiful to look at and memorably played, with every scene achieving the perfect maximum impact.
Significant production contributions:
w David Lean, Stanley Haynes  d David Lean  ph Guy Green  m Arnold Bax  pd John Bryan
Significant performances:
Alec Guinness, Robert Newton, Francis L. Sullivan, John Howard Davies, Kay Walsh, Anthony Newley, Henry Stephenson, Mary Clare, Gibb McLaughlin, Diana Dors
Notes:
Everyone bar the producer (Ronald Neame, unlisted in 1st Edition) gets italics.

On The Town
Year: 1949                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Most of this brash location musical counts as among the best things ever to come out of Hollywood; the serious ballet towards the end tends to kill it, but it contains much to be grateful for.
Significant production contributions:
p Arthur Freed  w Betty Comden, Adolph Green  d Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen  ph Harold Rosson  ch Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Significant performances:
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller
Notes:
A producer gets italicised!


Passport to Pimlico
Year: 1949                   Studio: Ealing
Assessment:
A cleverly detailed little comedy which inaugurated the best period of Ealing, its preoccupation with suburban man and his foibles.  Not exactly satire, but great fun, and kindly with it.
Significant production contributions:
w T. E. B. Clarke  d Henry Cornelius  m Georges Auric
Significant performances:
Margaret Rutherford

Paths of Glory
Year: 1957                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Incisive melodrama chiefly depicting the corruption and incompetence of the high command; the plight of the soldiers is less interesting.  The trench scenes are the most vivid ever made, and the rest is shot in genuine castles, with resultant difficulties of lighting and recording; the overall result is an overpowering piece of cinema.
Significant production contributions:
d Stanley Kubrick  ph Georg Krause
Significant performances:
Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready
Notes:
Demoted in 7th Edition

The Philadelphia Story
Year: 1940                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Hollywood's most wise and sparkling comedy, with a script which is even an improvement on the original play.  Cukor's direction is so discreet you can hardly sense it, and all the performances are just perfect.
Significant production contributions:
w Donald Ogden Stewart  d George Cukor  m Franz Waxman
Significant performances:
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, Roland Young, John Halliday, Mary Nash, Virginia Weidler, John Howard, Henry Daniell

Pinocchio
Year: 1940                   Studio: Walt Disney
Assessment:
Charming, fascinating, superbly organised and streamlined cartoon feature without a single second of boredom.
Significant production contributions:
d   m Leigh Harline, Ned Washington, Paul J. Smith
Significant performances:
None.

The Prisoner of Zenda
Year: 1937                   Studio: David O. Selznick
Assessment:
A splendid schoolboy adventure story is perfectly transferred to the screen in this exhilarating swashbuckler, one of the most entertaining films to come out of Hollywood.
Significant production contributions:
w John L. Balderston, Wills Root, Donald Ogden Stewart  d John Cromwell  ph James Wong Howe  m Alfred Newman
Significant performances:
Ronald Colman, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, C. Aubrey Smith

Pygmalion
Year: 1938                   Studio: Gabriel Pascal
Assessment:
Perfectly splendid Shavian comedy of bad manners, extremely well filmed and containing memorable lines and performances; subsequently turned into the musical My Fair Lady (qv).  One of the most heartening and adult British films of the thirties.
Significant production contributions:
d Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard  m Arthur Honegger
Significant performances:
Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Scott Sunderland, Marie Lohr, David Tree, Esmé Percy, Everley Gregg, Jean Cadell



Queen Christina
Year: 1933                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
The star vehicle par excellence, superb to look at and one of its star's most fondly remembered films.  Historically it's nonsense, but put across with great style.
Significant production contributions:
w Salka Viertel, H. M. Harwood, S. N. Behrman  d Rouben Mamoulian  ph William Daniels  m Herbert Stothart
Significant performances:
Greta Garbo
Notes:
Demoted to three stars for the 5th Edition.


Rebecca
Year: 1940                   Studio: David O. Selznick
Assessment:
The supreme Hollywood entertainment package, set in Monte Carlo and Cornwall, with generous helpings of romance, comedy, suspense, melodrama and mystery, all indulged in by strongly-drawn characters, and directed by the new English wizard for the glossiest producer in town, from a novel which sold millions of copies.  It really couldn't miss, and it didn't.
Significant production contributions:
w Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison  d Alfred Hitchcock  ph George Barnes  m Franz Waxman
Significant performances:
Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Gladys Cooper, Florence Bates, Reginald Denny, C. Aubrey Smith

The Red Balloon
Year: 1955                   Studio: Films Montsouris
Assessment:
Absorbing and quite perfectly timed fantasy, one of the great film shorts.
Significant production contributions:
w Albert Lamorisse  d Albert Lamorisse  ph Edmond Sechan  m Maurice Le Roux
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 4th Edition.

The Red Shoes
Year: 1948                   Studio: GFD
Assessment:
Never was a better film made from such a penny plain story so unpersuasively written and performed; the splendour of the production is in the intimate view it gives of life backstage in the ballet world with its larger-than-life characters.  The ballet excerpts are very fine, and the colour discreet; the whole film is charged with excitement.
Significant production contributions:
p Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  w Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  d Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  ph Jack Cardiff  m Brian Easdale  pd Hein Heckroth
Significant performances:
Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer
Notes:
Powell and Pressburger get recognised for production, but if the film is so unpersuasively written and performed why are two of the performances italicised, and P&P also in their capacity as writers?

Rembrandt
Year: 1936                   Studio: London Films
Assessment:
Austerely comic, gently tragic character piece, superbly staged and photographed, with a great performance at its centre.
Significant production contributions:
w Lajos Biro, June Head, Carl Zuckmayer  d Alexander Korda  ph Georges Périnal, Richard Angst
Significant performances:
Charles Laughton
Notes:
No photography credit in 1st Edition.


San Francisco
Year: 1936                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Incisive, star-packed, superbly-handled melodrama which weaves in every kind of appeal and for a finale has some of the best special effects ever conceived.
Significant production contributions:
w Anita Loos  d W. S. Van Dyke  ph Oliver T. Marsh  m Herbert Stothart  montage John Hoffman
Significant performances:
Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Holt, Jessie Ralph

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Year: 1960                   Studio: Bryanston
Assessment:
Startling when it emerged, this raw working-class melodrama, with its sharp detail and strong comedy asides, delighted the mass audience chiefly because of its strong central character thumbing his nose at authority.  Matching the mood of the times, and displaying a new attitude to sex, it transformed British cinema and was much imitated.
Significant production contributions:
w Alan Sillitoe  d Karel Reisz  ph Freddie Francis
Significant performances:
Albert Finney, Rachel Roberts

Scarface
Year: 1932                   Studio: Howard Hughes
Assessment:
Obviously modelled on Al Capone, with an incestuous sister thrown in, this was perhaps the most vivid film of the gangster cycle, and its revelling in its own sins was not obscured by the subtitle, The Shame of a Nation.
Significant production contributions:
d Howard Hawks  ph Lee Garmes, L. W. O'Connell
Significant performances:
Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, George Raft

Singin' in the Rain
Year: 1952                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Brilliant comic musical, the best picture by far of Hollywood in transition, with the catchiest tunes, the liveliest choreography, the most engaging performances and the most hilarious jokes of any musical.
Significant production contributions:
w Adolph Green, Betty Comden  d Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen  ph Harold Rosson  m Nacio Herb Brown, Lennie Hayton, Arthur Freed  ch Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Significant performances:
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Millard Mitchell, Jean Hagen, Douglas Fowley
Notes:
No producer italic.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Year: 1937                   Studio: Walt Disney
Assessment:
Disney's first feature cartoon, a mammoth enterprise which no one in the business thought would work.  The romantic leads were wishy-washy but the splendid songs and the marvellous comic and villainous characters turned the film into a world-wide box office bombshell which is almost as fresh today as when it was made.
Significant production contributions:
d David Hand  m Larry Morey, Frank Churchill
Significant performances:
None.

Sons of the Desert
Year: 1934                   Studio: Hal Roach
Assessment:
Archetypal Laurel and Hardy comedy, unsurpassed for gags, pacing and sympathetic characterisation.
Significant production contributions:
w Frank Craven, Byron Morgan  d William A. Seiter
Significant performances:
Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chase

Stagecoach
Year: 1939                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
What looked like a minor western with a plot borrowed from Maupassant's Boule de suif, became a classic by virtue of the firm characterisation, restrained writing, exciting climax and the scenery of Monument Valley.  Whatever the reasons, it damn well works.
Significant production contributions:
w Dudley Nichols  d John Ford
Significant performances:
Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, George Bancroft, Berton Churchill, John Carradine, Donald Meek
Notes:
Boris Morros was credited (and italicised) for music in the 1st Edition.  Subsquent credit, but not italics, was given to Richard Hageman, W. Frank Harling, John Leopold, Leo Shuken and Louis Gruenberg.  Morros was demoted to musical director.

Sullivan's Travels
Year: 1941                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
Marvellously sustained tragi-comedy which ranges from pratfalls to the chain gang and never loses its grip or balance.
Significant production contributions:
w Preston Sturges  d Preston Sturges  ph John Seitz  m Leo Shuken
Significant performances:
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, Jimmy Conlin


Target For Tonight
Year: 1941                   Studio: Crown Film Unit
Assessment:
Classic RAF semi-documentary, not quite so genuine as it seems since many scenes were re-created in the studio.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 6th Edition.

The Thief of Baghdad
Year: 1940                   Studio: London Films
Assessment:
Marvellous blend of magic, action and music, the only film to catch on celluloid the overpowering atmosphere of the Arabian Nights.
Significant production contributions:
w Miles Malleson, Lajos Biro  d Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan  ph Georges Périnal, Osmond Borradaile  m Miklos Rozsa  sp Lawrence Butler      
Significant performances:
Conrad Veidt, Sabu, Rex Ingram

The Thin Man
Year: 1934                   Studio: MGM
Assessment:
Fast-moving, alternately comic and suspenseful mystery drama developed in brief scenes and fast wipes.  It set a sparkling comedy career for two stars previously known for heavy drama, it was frequently imitated, and it showed a wisecracking, affectionate married relationship almost for the first time.
Significant production contributions:
w Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett  d W. S. Van Dyke
Significant performances:
William Powell, Myrna Loy
Notes:
Demoted in 7th Edition.

Things to Come
Year: 1936                   Studio: London Films
Assessment:
Fascinating, chilling and dynamically well-staged vignettes tracing mankind's future.  Bits of the script and acting may be wobbly, but the sets and music are magnificent, the first part of the prophecy chillingly accurate, and the whole mammoth undertaking almost unique in film history.
Significant production contributions:
w H. G. Wells  d William Cameron Menzies  ph Georges Périnal  m Arthur Bliss  ad Vincent Korda  pd William Cameron Menzies  sp Harry Zech, Ned Mann      
Significant performances:
Raymond Massey

The Third Man
Year: 1949                   Studio: London Films
Assessment:
Totally memorable and irresistible romantic thriller.  Stylish from the first to the last, with inimitable backgrounds of zither music and war-torn buildings pointing up a then-topical black market story full of cynical characters but not without humour.  Hitchcock with feeling, if you like.
Significant production contributions:
w Graham Greene  d Carol Reed  ph Robert Krasker  m Anton Karas
Significant performances:
Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Bernard Lee, Wilfrid Hyde White

The Thirty-Nine Steps
Year: 1935                   Studio: Gaumont British
Assessment:
Marvellous comedy thriller with most of the gimmicks found not only in Hitchcock's later work but in anyone else's who has tried the same vein.  It has little to do with the original novel, and barely sets foot outside the studio, but it makes every second count, and is unparalleled in its use of timing, atmosphere and comedy relief.
Significant production contributions:
w Charles Bennett, Alma Reville  d Alfred Hitchcock  ph Bernard Knowles
Significant performances:
Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Wylie Watson, Helen Haye

To Be or Not to Be
Year: 1942                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Marvellous free-wheeling entertainment which starts as drama and descends through romantic comedy and suspense into farce; accused of bad taste at the time, but now seen as an outstanding example of Hollywood moonshine, kept alight through sheer talent and expertise.
Significant production contributions:
w Edwin Justus Mayer  d Ernst Lubitsch  ph Rudolph Maté  m Werner Heymann  ad Vincent Korda
Significant performances:
Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Stanley Ridges, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Sig Rumann, Tom Dugan

Top Hat
Year: 1935                   Studio: RKO
Assessment:
Marvellous Astaire-Rogers musical, with a more or less realistic London supplanted by a totally artificial Venice, and show stopping numbers in a style which is no more separated by amusing plot complications lightly handled by a team of deft farceurs.
Significant production contributions:
w Dwight Taylor, Allan Scott  d Mark Sandrich  ph David Abel, Vernon L. Walker  m Irving Berlin  ad Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark  ch Hermes Pan
Significant performances:
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes,
Notes:
Everyone, bar the producer, gets italics.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Year: 1945                   Studio: TCF
Assessment:
A superbly-detailed studio production of the type they don't make any more: a family drama with interest for everybody.
Significant production contributions:
w Tess Slesinger, Frank Davis  d Elia Kazan  ph Leon Shamroy
Significant performances:
Peggy Ann Garner, James Dunn, Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, Lloyd Nolan
Notes:
Demoted in 6th Edition.

Triumph of the Will
Year: 1936                   Studio: Leni Riefenstahl
Assessment:
A devastatingly brilliant piece of film-making - right from the opening sequence of Hitler descending from the skies, his plane shadowed against the clouds.  The rally scenes are a terrifying example of the camera's power of propaganda.  After World War II it was banned for many years because of general fears that it might inspire a new Nazi party.
Significant production contributions:
d Leni Riefenstahl  ed Leni Riefenstahl    
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.  An editor finally gets some recognition, although she is also director.

Trouble in Paradise
Year: 1932                   Studio: Paramount
Assessment:
A masterpiece of light comedy, with sparkling dialogue, innuendo, great performances and masterly cinematic narrative.  For connoisseurs, it can't be faulted, and is the masterpiece of American sophisticated cinema.
Significant production contributions:
w Samson Raphaelson, Grover Jones  d Ernst Lubitsch
Significant performances:
Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Edward Everett Horton, Charles Ruggles

The True Glory
Year: 1945                   Studio: Ministry of Information
Assessment:
A magnificent piece of reportage, worth a dozen fiction films in its exhilarating Shakespearean fervour, though the poetic commentary does occasionally go over the top.  One of the finest of all compilations.
Significant production contributions:
w Eric Maschwitz, Arthur Macrae, Jenny Nicholson, Gerald Kersh, Guy Trosper  d Carol Reed, Garson Kanin  m William Alwyn  pd Peter Cusick
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.  The credit for researcher is used for probably the one and only time in the Guide.

Twelve Angry Men
Year: 1957                   Studio: UA
Assessment:
Though unconvincing in detail, this is a brilliantly tight character melodrama which is never less than absorbing to experience.  Acting and direction are superlatively right, and the film was important in helping to establish television talents in Hollywood.
Significant production contributions:
w Reginald Rose  d Sidney Lumet  ph Boris Kaufman
Significant performances:
Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E. G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman, George Voskovec, Robert Webber, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney

Two Tars
Year: 1928                   Studio: Hal Roach
Assessment:
Marvellous elaboration of a tit-for-tat situation, with the stars (L&H) already at their technical best.
Significant production contributions:
None.
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 3rd Edition, and no italics again for a L&H film.


Way Out West
Year: 1937                   Studio: Hal Roach
Assessment:
Seven reels of perfect joy, with the comedians at their very best in brilliantly-timed routines, plus two song numbers as a bonus.
Significant production contributions:
w Jack Jevne, Charles Rogers, James Parrott, Felix Adler  d James Horne
Significant performances:
Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Sharon Lynne

The Way to the Stars
Year: 1945                   Studio: Two Cities
Assessment:
Generally delightful comedy drama suffused with tragic atmosphere but with very few flying shots, one of the few films which instantly bring back the atmosphere of the war in Britain for anyone who was involved.
Significant production contributions:
w Terence Rattigan, Anatole de Grunwald, John Pudney  d Anthony Asquith  m Nicholas Brodszky
Significant performances:
John Mills, Rosamund John, Michael Redgrave, Douglass Montgomery
Notes:
John Pudney wrote the poem recited in the movie.  The music italics arrived in the 3rd Edition.

Whisky Galore
Year: 1948                   Studio: Ealing
Assessment:
Marvellously detailed, fast-moving, well-played and attractively photographed comedy which firmly established the richest Ealing vein.
Significant production contributions:
w Compton Mackenzie, Angus Macphail  d Alexander Mackendrick  ph Gerald Gibbs  m Ernest Irving
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
Exceptional performances seem scarce in Ealing comedies.

Why We Fight
Year: 1942                   Studio: US War Office
Assessment:
A series of feature-length compilations for primary showing to the armed forces, these were superbly vigorous documentaries which later fascinated the public at large.  Editing, music and diagrams were all used to punch home the message.
Significant production contributions:
w Eric Knight, Anthony Veiller, Robert Heller, Anatole Litvak  d Frank Capra, Anthony Veiller, Anatole Litvak  m Dmitri Tiomkin  research William Hornbeck  commentary Walter Huston  
Significant performances:
None.
Notes:
First appeared in 2nd Edition.

Wuthering Heights
Year: 1939                   Studio: Samuel Goldwyn
Assessment:
Despite American script and settings, this wildly romantic film makes a pretty fair stab at capturing the power of at least the first half of a classic Victorian novel, and in all respects it's a superb Hollywood production of its day and a typical one, complete with ghostly finale and a first-rate cast.
Significant production contributions:
w Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur  d William Wyler  ph Gregg Toland  m Alfred Newman
Significant performances:
Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, Miles Mander
Notes:
Demoted in 7th Edition.


Yankee Doodle Dandy
Year: 1942                   Studio: Warner
Assessment:
Outstanding showbiz biopic, with unassuming but effective production, deft patriotic backdrops and a marvellous, strutting, magnetic star performance.
Significant production contributions:
d Michael Curtiz  ph James Wong Howe  m George M. Cohan
Significant performances:
James Cagney, Walter Huston
Notes:
Demoted in 5th Edition.