Welles. I love Welles and his films. He’s undoubtedly a better director than the resulting filmography if that makes sense. TSPDT has him 2nd (behind Hitchcock) on the all-time director list based on a composite list. I have good reasons for Welles to be behind my previous 8 mentions here and I’ll try to explain. I get why people want to pick Welles. The first reason is that many consider citizen kane the very best film of all-time and therefore Welles is their greatest film artist. I don’t and I don’t– not that complicated. I had kane 4th on my top 100 in 2012. Welles, also, was clearly a genius (for the bulk of their careers, Hitchcock and Ford, for instance, were considered great studio directors by many and master genre filmmakers but not artists). Maybe Welles was as much of a “genius” as anyone who has ever directed a film- but he was also his own worst enemy in a lot of ways (failing to realize that cinema is not poetry or painting and you need money to make films). Welles viewed things differently and shot things differently (in a time when few did). Also, I think critics and fans alike love the Hollywood vs artist narrative where Welles’ career was sidetracked by greedy meddlesome producers and if it weren’t for intervention he would’ve made 10 films like citizen kane instead of one. When compiling this ranking of great directors, I can’t try to factor in what welles career would have looked like no more than I try to project what the careers of Fassbinder, Murnau or Truffaut’s would’ve been if they hadn’t died so young or if Malick had worked more (yikes maybe we’re seeing that now) or if Godard hadn’t lost interest in making the sort of art I’m interested in. I mean I’ve read at least 4-5 books (from others and Welles himself) about how this film or that film would’ve been the greatest ever if it weren’t butchered by the producers. It’s like von Stroheim’s greed (large chunks of it are lost forever), I mean we have to analyze the film we have left…not the film that is no longer available that was seen in 1924 that everyone back then says is one of the best 10 films of all-time. There are other reasons for Welles falling to #9 on my list. F for Fake is the #5 welles film on TSPDT and it’s more of an essay/documentary film and not in a category I count or archive. Also, and this is a very tiny beef- but I wish Welles had used better actors. He’s good himself as an actor in kane and evil but if you look at the other top 8 directors look at who they worked with: mifune, stewart, de niro, dicaprio, cary grant, Nicholson, fonda, von sydow, etc- I think Welles work could’ve been elevated (even slightly) with better actors.

Best film:  citizen kane. I love parts of touch of evil and ambersons but I think anyone picking something else besides kane is just trying to be contrarian. It’s his best film beginning to end and every shot is flush with layered bravura sequences in front of and behind the camera.

Most overrated:  chimes at midnight. There should be an asterisk here since I’ve only just seen it for the first time (I have it on DVR and will see it again). I have a hard time picking up on shakespeare’s prose/work on first blush and until this first viewing I’ve never seen or read Falstaff. I wasn’t familiar with the story. That said, it didn’t seem like a possible #153 (TSPDT ranking) of all-time film whether I was following the story or not.

most underrated:  Othello. Definitely worth the plunge and I thought it was far stronger than chimes. TSPDT has it as #853 and I’ve got it as a MS film.

gem I want to spotlight:  lady from shanghai. Just a fun, messy, weird, mesmerizing, convoluted, and filled with some of the best set pieces (including the justifiably famous mirror sequence) of welles career– which put it up there all-time.

stylistic innovations/traits: The deep focus stuff has been discussed ad nauseam.  It’s amazing and it’s worthy of praise but it’s always the first thing to be praised and admired about Welles from critics. I’m probably more in love with Welles’ use of angles- especially from shooting from below. It’s gorgeous stuff and the framing goes hand in hand.  Narratively, his stories have great yet severely (often fatally) flawed men often done in by their vices (sound familiar?).

top 10

  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Touch of Evil
  3. The Magnificent Ambersons
  4. The Lady from Shanghai
  5. Othello
  6. Chimes at Midnight
  7. The Trial
  8. Mr. Akardin
  9. The Stranger
  10. Macbeth

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

68) Jarmusch– 2 masterpieces, 2 MS, 1 HR 9 archiveable

67) Michael Mann– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR 8 archiveable

66) Visconti- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR 10 archiveable

65) Haneke- 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 9 archiveable

64) Linklater– 3 masterpieces, 5 HR, 12 archiveable

63) Satyajit Ray– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

62) Cuaron- 3 masterpieces, 6 archiveable

61) Cassavetes– 2 masterpieces, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

60) Cameron– 5 must-see, 7 archiveable

59) Huston- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 5 HR, 17 archiveable

58) Bertolucci- 1 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

57) Eastwood– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 15 archiveable

56) Fincher- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 9 archiveable

55) Ozu- 1 masterpiece, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

54) Capra- 3 masterpieces, 4 HR, 11 archiveable

53) Keaton– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

52) Peckinpah– 2 masterpieces, 2 HR, 8 archiveable

51) Chaplin– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 10 archiveable

50) Spike Lee– 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

49) Kiewslowski– 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

48) Dreyer– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 5 archiveable

47) Von Sternberg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

46) Fassbinder- 5 must-see, 4 HR 11 archiveable

45) Nolan- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archivable

44) WKW- 2 masterpieces, 1-2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archiveable

43) Herzog– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 9 archiveable

42) Ridley Scott– 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

41) Wes Anderson- 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

40) Lumet- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 4 HR, 17 archiveable

39) Polanski- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

38) Griffith- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 6 archiveable

37) Von Trier- 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

36) Bresson- 2 masterpieces, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

35) Wilder -4 masterpieces, 4-5 HR, 20 archiveable

34) Powell- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 10 archiveable

33) Rossellini- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

32) Spielberg- 4 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 18 archiveable

31) Cronenberg- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 14 archiveable

30) De Sica- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

29) Altman- 3 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 2 HR, 16 archiveable

28) Lean 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

27) Antonioni– 1 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 9 archiveable

26) PT Anderson- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable

25) Coen- 4 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 1 HR, 16 archiveable

24) Eisenstein- 1 masterpiece, 4 must-see, 5 archiveable

23) Allen– 4 masterpieces, 5-6 must-see, 4-5 HR, 29 archiveable

22) Tarantino– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

21) Murnau– 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable.

20) Leone– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 6 archiveable

19) Bunuel– 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

18) Ophüls- 5 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archivaeble

17) Malick– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 6 archivaeble

16) Lynch– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 9 archiveable

15) Renoir- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 3 HR’s, 14 archiveable

14) Hawks- 5 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3.5 HR’s, 19 archiveable

13) Godard- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR’s, 12 archiveable

12) Lang- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 4 HR’s, 22 archiveable

11) Truffaut- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR’s, 19 archiveable

10) Tarkovsky– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 7 archiveable

9) Welles- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR’s, 10 archiveable