Wyler. I love wyler. He only has 3 films in the TSPDT top 1000. I’ve got as many as 10-12 films in their respective year’s top 10 which is a rough way for me to say it’s in my top 1000 (I figure you got 100 years of cinema so if each year is relatively equal then each year’s top 10 should be in my top 1000). Wyler’s strength is his depth because I’ve never thought of including one of his films in my top 100 or even top 200. So, it may seem odd that he’s on this list at #69 but there is a ton of depth here and Wyler is really married to mise-en-scene. He made a few early films with DP Gregg Toland (little foxes, the westerner) who did famous deep focus work with Welles of course. Even after that his films like best years and detective story have a wonderful deep focus and then of course ben hur is known for the staging and framing of the entire film including the legendary chariot race scene which is, of course, magnificently directed.  Since the 1970’s his reputation has diminished. Many critics find his films overproduced, impersonal, and simple Hollywood prestige pictures (many, it seems like most, of his films were nominated for best picture, and a ton of his actors and actresses won or were nominated for Oscars). However, I feel like his 30+ year marriage to mise-en-scene is enough to give him more than caretaker status to a lot of great films—even if he’s not a style-plus director.


best film:   detective story. It might be kirk douglas’ best performance (douglas and Lancaster where like the Clooney and Pitt pair back in the two and somehow history seems to overlook these two exceptional actors) and the crisp black and white deep focus is really something to behold.

most overrated:   at #185 on TSPDT is the best years of our lives. It’s probably best known now as the film that incorrectly beat out it’s a wonderful life for best picture. It’s a good film but not in the top 200-300- overrated.

most underrateddetective story. I only have it a Must-See but I can’t fathom how this film isn’t in the top 1000.

gem I want to spotlightlittle foxes. Starring bette davis and shot by toland. Gorgeous black and white deep focus action is on display on many depth layers and the sorkin-like dialogue is on fire while davis does great work per usual in this era.

stylistic innovations/traits: Again I think here he’s married to mise-en-scene and because it comes out in various ways (deep focus black and white with toland, on his own with deep focus in late 40’s and early 50’s, Ultra Panavision 70mm with ben hur) I think it goes beyond being a product of toland’s work as his dp or a collaboration of efforts in ben hur. If you combine that stylistic visual consistency with the performances and the filmography I think you have a great Hollywood auteur worthy of examination, study and praise.


Top 10

  1. detective story
  2. ben hur
  3. the best years of our lives
  4. little foxes
  5. dodsworth
  6. wuthering heights
  7. the letter
  8. roman holiday
  9. funny girl
  10. jezebel/the heiress


Top 100 directors running list

100) Fuller– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 12 archiveable films

99) Cukor– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 18 archiveable

98) Demy- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

97) Jackson– 1 masterpiece, 1 HR, 3 archiveable

96) Miller– 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

95) Kazan- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

94) Sofia Coppola- 1 masterpiece, 3 HR, 5 archiveable

93) Zemeckis- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

92) Preminger– 4 must-see, 15 archiveable

91) Miyazaki– 2 must-see, 4 HR, 10 archiveable

90) Lubitsch- 4 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

89) Tati- 3 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

88) von Stroheim- 1 masterpiece, 1 MS, 2 HR, 6 archiveable

87) Dardenne- 3 must-see, 3HR, 7 archiveable

86) Nicholas Ray- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

85) Iñárritu- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 4 archiveable

84) De Palma- 3 must-see, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

83) Minnelli- 2 must-see, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

82) Curitz- 1 masterpiece, 6 HR, 17 archiveable

81) Aronofsky- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1.5 HR, 5 archiveable

80) Preston Sturges- 4 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

79) Walsh- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

78) Gilliam- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 6 archiveable

77) Tarr- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 archiveable

76) Nichols- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 12 archiveable

75) Melville- 3 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

74) Sirk- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

73) Stone- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR, 9 archiveable

72)  Almodóvar- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see 4 HR, 12 archiveable

71) Roeg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR 5 archiveable

70) Mizoguchi- 5 must-see,, 3 HR, 8 archiveable

69) Wyler- 4 must-see, 8 HR, 18 archiveable