Pollack. Not a style-plus director but the filmography is just too good to ignore at this point on the list. He’s one of the few directors remaining with two films that land in the top 100 of their respective decade. And it’s more than just the films at the top- Absence of Malice is a very fine film and I have it as his sixth best- so there is strong depth here, too. Pollack started as an actor. Of course, he continued to act and is in (and is good in) films like Woody’s Husbands and Wives, Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and Michael Clayton. That may be Pollack’s greatest trait as a director- working with actors. He worked with some powerhouse movie stars and actors. Clearly they respected him and he elicited some great performances.

Best film: Out of Africa. Some will object to the Merchant/Ivory-ness or novelistic nature of this film, but it is, undeniably, gorgeous to look at. The airplane aerial shots are stunning, strong exterior photography, costume work. Streep is sublime—but so is John Barry’s score musical score (if you think you’ve heard it before, he did it again in another best picture winner Dances With Wolves five years later in 1990) and David Watkin’s cinematography.

The airplane aerial shots are stunning, strong exterior photography

total archiveable films: 7

top 100 films:  0

top 500 films:  0

top 100 films of the decade:  2 (Three Days of the Condor, Out of Africa)

most overrated: Tootsie. It is at #484 on the TSPDT list. I don’t understand this one being there at all.

most underrated :  Not much here- I’d have to go Out of Africa here as well.  It is one of those best picture winners that is now underrated because for decades now everyone says it didn’t deserve to win best picture and it isn’t the best film of 1985 (and it isn’t- that is Brazil). But still, it is a damn fine film—very far from being the worst best picture winner. Jeremiah Johnson, Three Days of the Condor and Out of Africa all land between 1001 and 2000 on the TSPDT consensus list.

It is one of those best picture winners that is now underrated because for decades now everyone says it didn’t deserve to win best picture and it isn’t the best film of 1985 (and it isn’t- that is Brazil). But still, it is a damn fine film

gem I want to spotlight :  Three Days of the Condor. Even those that love the New Hollywood 1970’s cinema, Redford, Dunaway, and Max von Sydow individually– seem to never talk about this one. Maybe because it is nobody’s best film? It is a nice add to the resume for all of the above though. It is an excellent thriller—just a hint behind the work of Pakula in the paranoia trilogy.

remarkable shot from Three Days of the Condor– paranoia and surveillance through obstruction of the frame

stylistic innovations/traits:                             

  • Often featuring the plight of renegade individualists (mavericks or loners) lost in society’s changes or a corruption
  • A great use of the telephoto lens in Tootsie as Hoffman walks down New York just like Voight did in Midnight Cowboy in the sea of people or how Hoffman himself ran in place in The Graduate

A great use of the telephoto lens in Tootsie as Hoffman walks down New York

  • Redford is a partner here of course- he’s in four of the seven films in the archives below

 

top 10

  1. Out of Africa
  2. Three Days of the Condor
  3. Tootsie
  4. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  5. Jeremiah Johnson
  6. Absence of Malice
  7. The Way We Were

 

By year and grades

1969- They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? R
1972- Jeremiah Johnson R
1973- The Way We Were R
1975- Three Days of the Condor HR
1981- Absence of Malice R
1982- Tootsie R/HR
1985- Out of Africa MS

 

*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