Monday, August 11, 2008

It All Begins - 1927

You may be asking why I started with 1927. I looked through several different years and it seemed to be the first year with enough quality movies (available for release) to form a top 10 list. 1927 is considered an extremely strong year for cinema and it was also the first year for the Academy Awards. It is possible that I will go back to earlier years once I complete the project, assuming more films will be released from that era by then.

The list of films I'm watching for 1927 includes the obvious classics (Metropolis, Sunrise, The General), noteworthy films (The Jazz Singer, Wings), films with big stars (Mary Pickford in My Best Girl, Clara Bow in It, Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford in The Unknown, Douglas Fairbanks in The Gaucho), a film from by one of my favorite classic directors (Lubitsch's Student Prince in Old Heidelberg), some rare curiosities (Josef von Sternberg's Underworld, Marion Davies in Quality Street), some notable foreign films (Bed and Sofa, The End of St. Petersburg, The Chess Player), and many more. The full list is on the right.

Almost all of these are available on Netflix. There are three movies I had to purchase. I bought VHS editions of The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg and Wings, and bought a rare DVD version of Underworld from a private collector.

Films are counted for the year of their US premiere, as long as that is within a reasonable amount of time from their international release year (no more than 3 years.) Otherwise, the film is counted for the international release year. This rule pushes Hitchcock's The Lodger, Eisenstein's October, Pudovkin's The End of St. Petersburg, Barnet's The Girl With the Hatbox, and several other films to later years.

The most interesting movie that is not available is Barbed Wire, starring Pola Negri. I'm looking out for it.

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