Milestone. Lewis Milestone helped legitimize the earlier talkies in the 1930’s- specifically with his big movie- All Quiet on the Western Front (for years held as one of the all-time great films). Milestone is an important figure to this time of transition in cinema’s history (when many, if not most, thought (and still do) that silent cinema was vastly superior). He’s important to the war genre as well with both a strong WWI and a strong WWII entry. For the purposes of this list here, he has a place because of All Quiet—but also the depth of filmography- there are six films here in the archives and that’s nothing to sneeze at. That’s not as many as LeRoy, Wellman, or some others (Martin Ritt)— but they didn’t direct something as lyrical as All Quiet on the Western Front, either.
Best film: All Quiet on the Western Front. A landmark film for the genre, for motion pictures post silent era in general with a spectacular ending.
total archiveable films: 6
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 0
top 100 films of the decade: 1 (All Quiet on the Western Front)
most overrated: Milestone does not have an overrated film. Had to double-check but his only film on the entire TSPDT consensus expanded list (including 2000 films) is All Quiet on the Western Front at #732- and that is not overrated.
most underrated : The Front Page. Nine years before His Girl Friday there was The Front Page. It isn’t quite up there with the Hawks’ classic, but it should be completely eclipsed by it either.
gem I want to spotlight : A Walk in the Sun. I’m guessing many or most have seen All Quiet on the Western Front, but this is Milestone’s poetic WWII ensemble film—a very fine companion piece with his best work.
- work with ensemble actors—Ivers, Ocean’s, the two war movies—sprawling casts and he balances it all very well
- early talking era pioneer
- the soft dissolves in All Quiet on the Western Front are the right choice- and the final scene and poetic imagery is sublime—one of the best endings of the 1930’s in cinema
- elegiac war films
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- The Front Page
- The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
- A Walk in the Sun
- Ocean’s 11
- Of Mice and Men
By year and grades
|1930- All Quiet on the Western Front||MS|
|1931- The Front Page||HR|
|1939- Of Mice and Men||R|
|1945- A Walk In the Sun||R|
|1946- The Strange Love of Martha Ivers||R|
|1960- Ocean’s 11||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