Video clips and history of world cinema: 1918-1927

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of cinema history. This is Part IV of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1918-1927

As “the war to end all wars” came to a close in 1918, the destruction in Europe shifted the center of the film world to Hollywood. By 1928, the “Big Five” studios had been established and they dominated the artistic and economic production of films in the United States.[1] This was particularly stifling for women directors as alpha males created a toxic environment on set.[2]

Despite – or perhaps because of – their lack of resources, German filmmakers in particular were especially creative during this time. Foreign language films were rarely exhibited in the States, but as the political situation worsened, several directors from Europe and Russia were recruited to Hollywood.

This is an era that continues to be revered today, with frequent exhibitions of classics like Metropolis, Within Our Gates, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, The Gold Rush, Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu, and The Mark of Zorro to name a few. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1918-1927

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1908-1917

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of cinema history. This is Part III of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1908-1917

1908 to 1917 was a decade of major change in the film business. Here are a few highlights:

American cinema saw an expansion out of New Jersey and New York, into Jacksonville, Florida, for warmer weather; it then took hold in Hollywood, California, between 1909 and 1915. “One-reeler” films (1000ft in length, or about 10 to 12 minutes of runtime) gave way to feature-length epics, tinted with different colors to match the mood of each scene. Intertitles containing lines of dialogue began to be used consistently from 1908 onward. Studio cameras became more portable, and 35mm film was accepted as an industry standard.

The “star system” began in 1909, emphasizing actors over plot lines to promote films. African-American movie makers entered the market, as well as more women directors. Film-making also began to take hold in Russia, India, and Latin America. 1917 marks the beginning of the Classical Hollywood era with films characterized by a formulaic narrative and style, particularly through major film studios like Universal and Paramount. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1908-1917

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1898-1907

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of early cinema. This is Part II of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1898-1907

The ten years here in Part II continue what Tom Gunning referred to as a “cinema of attractions”[1], where directors were focused on providing a spectacle (of effects or places around the world) for the viewer, in contrast to telling a unique story with character development and cultural criticism (which became more common as film length increased, around 1906). The merging of vaudeville theaters and Nickelodeons from 1905 to around 1912 brought movies to the masses – in Part III, we’ll see the adoption of the movie “star system,” the feature film business, African American movie makers, and more women directors. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1898-1907

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of world cinema. This is part one of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1888-1897

1888 is a somewhat arbitrary year to begin this series, but it evens out the decades to finish up 130 years later. Since there was no reliable way to project movies until 1896, most of this post is considered “pre-cinema.” 1896 was also the year that movies were shown outside of Europe and the United States, so as more people used the new medium, it developed (no pun intended) more quickly. Perhaps too quickly, as filmmakers didn’t take the time to preserve what they had created; Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation has estimated that half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost. The ones that remain are a gift that allows us to go back in time. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

Top 100 Movies of All Time

My 100 favorite movies – not necessarily ones I would pick as the “best” of all time. This was precipitated by a group vote on the Blu-ray.com Forum – results were posted on Oct. 29, 2017. I have underlined the titles that made the top 100 on Blu-ray.com and placed a mark at the end of the entries in superscript.e.g. 50. Four from my list made the top ten, marked in green. 50 runner-up results have also been posted on the forum. The discussion thread was a great online community experience.

This list is also available on Letterboxd.

(Image courtesy of Esteban2)

  1. Cloud Atlas (2012) – Connects the human experience across the entire globe in six different eras (from 1849 to 2321). The use of yellowface is a problem for some viewers, but otherwise, I consider this to be the Wachowskis’ masterpiece.(122)
  2. Rain Man (1988) – One of those movies I grew up watching repeatedly on VHS. This made autism relatable to the world with Dustin Hoffman in the titular role and Tom Cruise as his brother. This was Hans Zimmer’s first Oscar-nominated score. Directed by Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam; Sleepers; The Natural).
  3. The Princess Bride (1987) – Written by William Goldman and adapted from his hilarious and bizarre book. Rob Reiner made it even more popular on the big screen. Every element of this film is fantastic – it remains my family’s favorite.100
  4. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The second film in George Lucas’s epic, this one directed by Irvin Kershner. It’s hard to pick a favorite in the Star Wars saga, but I’ll go with this, the fan favorite. Look for the “Despecialized Edition.”1
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick’s outer space special effects still hold up. Check out the 1996 version of the soundtrack, too, with the proper versions of both Strauss’s (unrelated) Also Sprach Zarathustra and The Blue Danube.12
  6. Rocky IV (1985) – At the top of my guilty pleasure list, this was the most financially successful entry in Sylvester Stallone’s series. Features Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago, the steroid-pumping, undefeated Soviet boxer.
  7. There Will Be Blood (2007) – Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, music by Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead). Need I say more?17
  8. A Trip to the Moon (1902) – The most well known movie from the innovative French film-maker Georges Méliès. There is no official score for the film, but I recommend the version recorded by Air in the 2011 restored release.
  9. Alien (1979) – Ridley Scott makes consistently top-knotch films, like Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and Blade Runner to name a few, but none match the frightening saga of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) vs. the H.R. Giger-designed alien world.5
  10. The Babadook (2014) – All the pieces fit together to make this creepy children’s book character come to life. From Australian first-time director, Jennifer Kent.

Read more Top 100 Movies of All Time