Thursday, November 3, 2011
3 titles, 54th in points with 13,688
Severely underrated on the polls today, all seven of these films should be in the top 1000. America, America is based on his own immigrant uncle’s experience coming to the the U.S.
These are all the films of U.S. director Elia Kazan’s that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.
1. On the Waterfront (1951) bw #42
2. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) bw #158
3. East of Eden (1955) #573
Those just outside the top 1000
4. Splendor in the Grass (1961) #1003
5. America, America (1963) #1264
6. Wild River (1960) #1758
7. A Face in the Crowd (1957) bw #1853
Were all these included, and they should all be ranked in the top 1000, Kazan would still only be ranked 44th, after Peter Jackson, and just ahead of Christopher Nolan.
On the Waterfront is a classic, winner of 8 Oscars®, and deservedly in the top 100. A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the best acted films ever recorded. Three of the four lead actors won Oscars®, only Brando did not - go figure! Vivien Leigh was tremendous, I thought, amazing versatility and vulnerability is on display here.
Of these the most underrated is A Face in the Crowd, a brilliant indictment of the power of mass media to make anyone popular and also manipulate the voters. Andy Griffith was cast against character in a dramatic part and it worked, while a young Patricia Neal turned in one of her best performances. An added bonus is Walter Matthau in an early dramatic role before he switched to comedy exclusively.
Splendor in the Grass is also a puzzling yet mesmerizing romance with some bizarre performances from nearly everyone in the cast – it definitely belongs in the top 1000. So does Wild River. For me, East of Eden could come down a bit, I didn’t like it as much as the rest of these. Still, he’s a genius.