best film: citizen kane. It truly is the year of citizen kane. There are countless shots and sequences that are both so innovative and so well executed. It’s a visual showpiece from beginning to end.
most overrated: the lady eve #136. This is one I hate saying is overate because I love the lady eve and have seen it 8-10X and would watch it again tomorrow. I just have it maybe 100 slots lower than this.
most underrated: #896 the 47 ronin. I’m late to the game (as are many as this is working it’s way up the charts on TSPDT) on this one. I caught it for the first time in 2017 and it’s a stunning film. Still 500 spots or more underrated by the consensus but give it time with the availability of criterion and this film in particular now vs 5-10 years ago.
gem I want to spotlight: the little foxes– “gem” is the perfect word for this film. It will knock you back with its sharp writing and perfect performances. It has an edge and is presented and mounted handsomely by Wyler. Certainly it is an underrated film.
trends and notables: Again, 1941 is owned by boy-genius Orson Welles and his debut film. It’s not just hype. On other fronts, Humphrey Bogart is on absolute fire with maltese falcon and high sierra he has undoubtedly transitioned from B-movie henchmen and fall guy to Cagney to his own powerhouse of an actor. 1941 almost marks the debut film John Huston as a director. It’s pretty remarkable that both 1 and 2 from 1941 are debut films.
best performance male: Tough one- I could easily go with Welles as Kane- he gives the best performance of his career (touch of evil right there, too). Forced to choose though I have to go with Bogey in the maltese falcon. All respect to Huston- but I can’t see this film being as highly regarded as it is with any other actor. The fact that bogey’s performance in high sierra is probably #3 here on the list is a testament to one of the all-time greats.
best performance female: Poor Betty Davis has been the bridesmaid here as she’s my runner up in the little foxes. She’s wonderfully devilish. I’m feel like davis has been so close to my female performance of the year like 3-4 times already. But, I have to go with Barbara Stanwyck in the lady eve. She’s the embodiment of confidence and charm. She and Fonda give one of the great all-time screen comic pairings.
- Citizen Kane
- The Maltese Falcon
- The 47 Ronin
- The Lady Eve
- How Green Was My Valley
- The Little Foxes
- Sergeant York
- The 49th Parallel
- Meet John Doe
Archives, Directors, and Grades
|All Through the Night||R|
|Ball of Fire- Hawks||R|
|Citizen Kane- Welles||MP|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||R|
|High Sierra- Walsh||R|
|How Green Was My Valley- Ford||MS|
|King’s Row- S. Wood|
|Man Hunt- Lang||R|
|Meet John Doe- Capra||R|
|Penny Serenade- Stevens||R|
|Sergeant York- Hawks||HR|
|Shanghai Gesture- Von Sternberg||R|
|Sullivan’s Travels- Sturges||MS|
|That Hamilton Woman- Korda||R|
|The 47 Ronin- Mizoguchi||MS|
|The 49th Parallel- Powell||HR|
|The Black Cat|
|The Great Lie||R|
|The Lady Eve- Sturges||MS|
|The Little Foxes- Wyler||MS/HR|
|The Maltese Falcon- J. Huston||MP|
|The Sea Wolf- Curtiz||R|
|The Wolf Man||R|
|They Died With Their Boots On- Walsh||R|
|Tobacco Road- Ford||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives