Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vertigo up - Kane Down

Citizen Kane has lost another election. Rosebud is thrown in the fire again. Vertigo doesn’t fall down, it rises up. The Sight and Sound poll is out and after fifty years as the number one film on the poll, Citizen Kane has been topped by Vertigo.

Sight and Sound is a monthly magazine published by the British Film Institute. Each month it reviews EVERY film released that month and each decade it surveys an international group of film professionals (critics, academics, directors, etc.). They are asked to list their top 10 films. This year there were 886 individuals surveyed. From those surveys is compiled the top 50 greatest films of all time. The Sight and Sound poll is considered by many to be the most important poll of its kind.

Vertigo over Citizen Kane? I’m not certain I would rank them that way. Certainly Vertigo is an excellent film. I have had occasion to see it a lot lately (seems to be running almost constantly on HBO) and while each viewing has increased my admiration for the film, I wouldn’t rank it above Citizen Kane. The richness and texture of Kane is so strong and the performances uniformly great. I like Kim Novak, but I’ve often wondered what Grace Kelly would have been like in that role.
The top 10 of the 50 also includes The Searchers – John Ford’s greatest western and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

2001 is not only a great film but one that had real impact on filmmaking. I remember seeing it at the Warner 70 theatre on Hollywood Blvd in June of 1968. I was knocked out.

This year’s poll is the magazines 70th, it began publishing in 1932.
I am listing the top 10 from Sight and Sound. Can you agree with the list? Is your favorite there or is it missing?

1. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock, 1958
2. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles, 1941
3. Tokyo Story – Ozu Yasujiro, 1953
4. La Regle Du jeu (The Rules of the Game) – Jean Renoir, 1939
5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans – FW Mumau, 1927
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968
7. The Searchers – John Ford, 1956
8. Man with a Movie Camera – Dziga Vertov, 1929
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Dreyer, 1927
10. 8 ½ - Federico Fellini, 1963

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