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100 Essential Films

100 Essential Films: 6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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100 Essential Films: 6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This is the next entry in my ongoing 100 Essential Films series. If you missed the first one, you can find the explanation for what I’m doing here. Film number six is the first feature-length animated film ever produced: Walt Disney’s (with the help of dozens of artists) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I had the experience that probably most people would have upon sitting down to watch it: I know the basic story, the songs, and the characters (including all of the dwarfs), but I don’t know that I had ever actually watched the whole thing from beginning to end, aside from maybe when I was three years old. The movie is just so ingrained in our cultural memory, it’s easy to assume you’ve actually seen it, even if you haven’t. Just like the other films in the series, I borrowed a Blu-ray through intralibrary loan. It was the 2016 Disney Blu-ray release, and the film looks fantastic.

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100 Essential Films: 5. It Happened One Night

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100 Essential Films: 5. It Happened One Night

This is the next entry in my ongoing 100 Essential Films series. If you missed the first one, you can find the explanation for what I’m doing here. Film number five is the romantic comedy It Happened One Night from 1934. Many hail the picture as the first screwball comedy ever made – although 1933’s Bombshell might have a little something to say about that. Class commentary and romance are the chief preoccupations of both the genre and It Happened One Night. I first saw the movie in college, about 800 years ago, so it’s technically a revisit, but this go-round was almost like seeing it for the first time. In fact, I might have slept through part of it in college; those 8 am classes were a killer… Just like the other films in the series, I borrowed a Blu-ray through intralibrary loan. The disc was produced in 2014 by the Criterion Collection, and although the majority of the film looks sparkling, there are a few shots that show how challenging the 4K restoration must have been.

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100 Essential Films: 4. King Kong

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100 Essential Films: 4. King Kong

This is the next entry in my ongoing 100 Essential Films series. If you missed the first one, you can find the explanation for what I’m doing here. Film number four is 1933’s King Kong. This is the first talkie of the series, as well as the first straight genre picture. The stop-motion animation in King Kong forever changed the industry. It was a watershed film for special effects. Just like the first two films in the series, I borrowed a Blu-ray through intralibrary loan. It’s a lovingly produced transfer from 2010 by Warner Bros. which features a two+ hour documentary. Director Peter Jackson, who made his own mega-budget remake of King Kong in 2005, played a role in the making of the documentary.

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100 Essential Films: 3. City Lights

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100 Essential Films: 3. City Lights

Here’s the third entry in my 100 Essential Films series. If you missed the first one, you can find the explanation for what I’m doing here. Film number three is Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. This is what many consider to be his best film, which means a lot considering Chaplin was a masterpiece machine. Just like the first two films in the series, I borrowed a Blu-ray through intralibrary loan. This edition was produced by Criterion Collection in 2013, and it looks and sounds great.

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100 Essential Films: 2. The General

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100 Essential Films: 2. The General

Here’s the second entry in my 100 Essential Films series. If you missed the first one, you can find the explanation for what I’m doing here. Film number two is The General from 1926. Directed by Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, and starring Keaton in arguably his most iconic role, The General is based on an actual train heist that took place during the Civil War. Just like Intolerance, I borrowed a Blu-ray edition from my local library. The disc is a 2009 edition produced by Kino. Just like with Intolerance, the restoration work here is gorgeous.

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100 Essential Films: 1. Intolerance

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100 Essential Films: 1. Intolerance

This is a new series I’m dubbing 100 Essential Films. Last year a friend gave me a really cool gift. It’s a scratch-off poster featuring 100 movies that someone (whoever put the poster together) considers essential viewing. We all know how these kinds of lists work: they’re extremely subjective. But, I have the poster, and it’s a good set of films. I figured, why not write a little about each one as I watch them and (literally) scratch them off the list? There are a lot I’ve never seen, and a fair amount that I have. This will be a great way to catch up with the former, as well as a good way to revisit and get on record with the latter.

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