Archive for February 11th, 2011


by Allan Fish

As many of you are aware, up until last July I held decade countdowns of the best films of each decade and they proved quite popular among readers.  The pieces themselves, like those in my current Fish Obscuro, are taken from my unpublished book on the great works of film and television.  The entries total around 1,500 in all and cover the greats of the screen from all round the world, from 1895 to the present day. 

My original plan was to finish this work at Christmas with the necessary re-watching of several important works and necessary reviews, but as some of you will be aware, I was laid low with a nasty virus for 8-9 weeks either side of the festive period which meant viewing was hard and writing impossible.  This necessitated an extension until mid March to allow me to catch up, as well as offering me an opportunity to see most of the 2010 films up for award consideration.  Literally, as soon as I get to see one final Region 2 DVD in mid March and decide on its worthiness, I will be handing the book over to my good friend Jamie Uhler, who has kindly agreed to work on its presentation for possible sending to publishers and/or making available as an e-book on amazon.  Begun in September 2003, finished in March 2011, after 7½ years it will be a relief to complete it finally.  Only last night, I was thinking how much time it has taken.  As each review is written immediately after viewing the entire work, taking an average of 2 hours per entry (some are considerably shorter, some considerably longer), that’s 3,000 hours viewing, plus 1,500 reviews at ¾ of an hour a piece (normally around 40 mins but I’ll give myself 5 minutes to eject the DVD and get to the PC), that’s another 1,125 hours.  That’s 4,125 hours work, not counting the hours spent doing the indexes, introduction and final apologies section.  The average Full-Time job allows for four weeks holiday in a year and is about 37½ hours a week.  That’s 1,800 hours per year.  So essentially, it’s taken me as long as a full-time job for 2½ years but done around a full-time job.  I must have been insane to even begin.  At times it’s been like pulling teeth. 

Anyway, as a way of relaxation (!!!) I will be doing a one off post – probably around Easter time – to celebrate my completion.  This post will list my choices for the top 2,500 films ever made in order.  It will take some time to tabulate and deliberate on, but I have had several requests, both on site and in personal emails, to do a complete list.  The placing of films in various decades may not entirely match those at the time of the countdowns as my opinions at this moment may have changed a little, but certainly all films in the countdowns and in my book will be listed. 

After this I will resist any requests for lists, countdowns and anything of the sort.  I’ll be listed out.

As a final plea, if anyone has access to any of these films with English subtitles, I’d much appreciate the chance to have a DVDR to judger its worthiness both for the book and the 2,500.  I know the chances are slim, been after these for some time.

The Miracle of the Wolves (France 1924…Raymond Bernard)

Sylvester (Germany 1924…Lupu Pick)

Drei von der Tankstelle (Germany 1930…William Thiele)

Love and Duty (China 1931…Bu Wancang)

Stolen Death (Finland 1938…Nyrki Tapiovaara)

World of Plenty (UK 1943…Paul Rotha)

Les Dernières Vacances (France 1947…Roger Leenhardt)

Der Apfel ist Ab (West Germany 1948…Helmut Kautner)

Edouard et Caroline (France 1951…Jacques Becker)

Four Chimneys (Japan 1953…Heinosuke Gosho)

Distant Clouds (Japan 1955…Keisuke Kinoshita)

Punishment Room (Japan 1956…Kon Ichikawa)

Susuki Paradise Red Light (Japan 1956…Yuzo Kawashima)

The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa Era (Japan 1957…Yuzo Kawashima)

Viva l’Italia (Italy1960…Roberto Rossellini)

A Wife Confesses (Japan 1961…Yasuzo Masumura)

The Graceful Brute (Japan 1962…Yuzo Kawashima)

The Wife of Seishu Hanaokai (Japan 1967…Yasuzo Masumura)

Rendezvous at Bray (France/Belgium 1971…André Delvaux)

Anatomia Milosci (Poland 1972…Roman Zaluski)

Kaseki (Japan 1975…Masaki Kobayashi)

Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Switzerland 1976…Alain Tanner)

Nobody’s Daughter (Hungary 1976…László Ranódy, Gyula Mészáros)

The Alain Tanner I have seen, but many years ago, the three Kawashimas I was kindly sent by one of our brothers at WitD, but sans subs.  I have also seen an unsubbed version of the William Thiele many years ago.

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by Allan Fish

(France 1958 86m) not on DVD

Aka. One Life; End of Desire

First the hunt…

p  Agnès Delahaie  d  Alexandre Astruc  w  Roland Laudenbach, Alexandre Astruc  novel  Guy de Maupassant  ph  Claude Renoir  ed  Claudine Bouché  m  Roman Vlad  art  Paul Bertrand  cos  Lucille Mussini, Mayo

Marie Schell (Jeanne Dandieu), Christian Marquand (Julien de Lamare), Pascale Petit (Rosalie), Ivan Desny (de Fourcheville), Louis Arbessier (Dandieu), Marie-Hélène Dasté (Mme.Dandieu), Antonella Lualdi (Gilberte de Fourcheville), Andrée Tainsy (Ludivine), Michel de Slubicki (Paul),

That day, as so often, I had decided to go for a walk to the sea shore.  Never had the spring been so beautiful.”  It sounds like the beginning to a novel.  Though based on Maupassant’s 1883 classic, those weren’t the first words to the original.  They seem rather to evoke the immortal opening to Jane Eyre but in a world more akin to Thomas Hardy transferred across the channel from Wessex to Normandy.  Like Hardy, Maupassant has proved somewhat challenging to film-makers, with only Renoir’s Une Partie de Campagne being worthy of the original and then for reasons that had little to do with Maupassant.  Read conventional film histories and that would be it, you’ll find no mention of Une Vie in the majority of film books and its rating on the IMDb is a dismissive 6.3 out of ten as I write.  It’s time to stand back and take a deep breath before exclaiming that Une Vie is quite possibly the most forgotten masterpiece of the French cinema and its maker, Alexandre Astruc, a forgotten master on the basis of this single film.  Wasn’t he a film theoretician, I hear some of you clamour at the back?  Yes, he was, but wasn’t Cocteau a poet?  (more…)

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