AFI list takes down auteurs

Revised ranking downplays lone-helmer theory

“The African Queen” had a huge drop and “Dr. Zhivago” disappeared, but the biggest victim in the new rankings of the American Film Institute is the auteur theory.

On June 20, the org released its list of “The 100 Greatest Films of All Time” — the results of polling 1,500 industry workers, critics and educators — which updated a similar poll released in 1998.

Yes, all the greats are there: Steven Spielberg has five pics on the roster, beating Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Billy Wilder, with four each.

But top honors go to — drumroll, please — Victor Fleming, a talented director who is considered the quintessential studio-contract helmer rather than an auteur. He is the only person with two films in the top 10 (“Gone With the Wind” at No. 6 and “The Wizard of Oz” at No. 10).

The lone-helmer theory also took a hit with the inclusion of three films that had dual directors — “King Kong,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “West Side Story” — and one pic, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (No. 34), that has six directors credited onscreen.

Otherwise, the list is filled with mysteries. Why was “The Godfather” ranked No. 2 (behind only “Citizen Kane”) but “Godfather Part II” at No. 32? Why did “The Searchers” soar to No. 12 this year from No. 96 a decade ago, when its director John Ford only had two films on the list (what, nobody likes “Stagecoach” anymore?). With three titles, John Huston has more films than Ford but his “The African Queen” fell to No. 65 this year from No. 17 in ’98.

George Cukor, Howard Hawks, D.W. Griffith, Buster Keaton, Sam Peckinpah and Preston Sturges had one apiece. And, for the record, no film directed by a woman made the top 100.

Better luck next decade, guys ‘n gals!

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More News from Variety

Loading