Thursday, November 3, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan
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.


Anonymous said...

He was a great director but I think his work is dismissed because of he named names during the HUAC hearings. I knew a man whose parents were blacklisted and he picketed the Academy for giving Kazan an special Oscar.

Jose Sinclair said...

I'm sure that's the likely reason. I try to look the other way when it comes to personal lives of artists. Even if they are capitalist pig lackeys for the military-industrial system that's ruled by the fascist attitude of the biggest military machine wins worldwide domination. ("The gods favor those who take what they want" - Troy)

I know some women who won't watch any Woody Allen films now, and they've missed Match Point and Vicky Christina Barcelona.

I may like or dislike a film due to its politics, but not the director, and I'll still give their films a chance.