Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


Top 50 Directors (Supplemental thoughts)

Posted on March 3, 2011 at 3:09 PM

As I put together my list of favorite directors, I started making observations. As I went along, I wrote them down and I thought I'd post them here:

A lot of directors smoke.


I like French and Italian films...a lot apparently.


There aren’t a lot of pictures of Akira Kurosawa...that is weird. I’ve been seeing the same four or five pictures for ten years. Then again I only found two of Ozu. Maybe it’s Japan....


I don’t care about personal lives, just the work. That’s how it should be, shouldn’t it? I will say a lot of what I love about Lynch is Lynch himself, though. Just his personality is so...unique.


I had difficulty writing stuff for some only because I think the work speaks for contrast some I wrote too much on and had to cut back because I had too much to say.


The three on the list the longest but eventually removed were Tim Burton, Ingmar Bergman and Carol Reed. Burton’s work in the late 80s to mid 90s is strong stuff, with some little added gems here and there (I loved Sleepy Hollow and Big Fish) and Reed lays claim to two of my favorite films of all time (the Third Man and The Fallen Idol) and the same for Bergman. Out of all the ones I had to cut, those three were the hardest. If there was a #51, Bergman would be it.


I am a fan of horror and comedy, hence why there’s a good number of comedy and horror directors on the list. I know some aren’t amazing artists or technically proficient, but this is a completely biased and subjective list of personal favorites. I mean, if I tried to do something more objective, I’m sure Orson Welles wouldn’t be at the bottom.

The list is about the filmmakers that have molded my love and appreciation for film, not a list of the greatest directors of all time.


The more I think of Peter Weir’s films, the more and more I love them.


The more I think of Steven Soderbergh films, the less I like them (except the Solaris remake, I liked that one quite a lot actually).


I’ve never been a big Michelangelo Antonioni fan. Respect, of course. I can’t say I enjoyed his movies, though, other than Blowup.


Not a single female director. Female directors are a rare breed. Maybe in time Bigelow will be on the list, but she’s not made a ton of movies I love, only liked a lot.


In addition to that, I forsee Edgar Wright getting on this list once it’s all said and done with his career. I just need to see a little more from the guy, but where he is at now is damn impressive. He’s incredibly young. Perhaps Jason Reitman as well. They weren’t really in hard consideration, but ask me again in a couple of years, lists like this are always changing (save for my Top Ten, that’s been pretty much the same for a long time).

Christ, another picture of a director with a cigarette. I need to find some new ones.


I’m considering doing a favorite screenwriters list...maybe only 25 there, though. Might be fun though there's probably a lot of overlap in many cases.

A lot of these directors' best movies were adaptations of books. Hitchock with Psycho, Scorsese with Goodfellas, Schindler's List and The Godfather to name a few.

I still can't be certain if I like Jonathan Demme or not. I like some of his movies, but really don't like some others. He did Silence of the Lambs, though, so I can't complain too much on the guy.

James Whale could have done some wonderful movies if he wasn't given the shaft....pun intended.

I miss Jimmy Stewart. He wasn't even making movies when I got around, but he's probably in more of my favorite movies than just about any other actor. I Shot Liberty Vallace, Vertigo, Rear Window, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington etc...

I used to have Ang Lee as a personal favorite. He dropped off, though. Can't really say why, he's made some damn good movies but he was one of the last directors to even pop into my head. So much so he didn't even make the list at the bottom of directors that were in consideration.

Can we stop the "ooh, they just make mainstream crap" arguement on some of the directors out there (like Cameron and Spielberg). There's no phrase that pisses me off more than that...ok there probably are but that's a shitty one off the top of my head.

Zemeckis high on the list seems to surprise some. Let me just say that Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit were two of the earliest movies I remember seeing. So that had something to do with it.

I think not having Peter Jackson on this list will be more surprising for some, though.

Is Clive Barker a poor-man's John Carpenter?

You know who doesn't get enough respect as a damn good director, even if his material choices is spotty sometimes? Michael Mann. He even makes average concepts pretty engaging, like Public Enemies.

Surprised myself in not having more noir and German Expressionist filmmakers on the list. Lang and Huston are there, though.

I feel like watching Beat the Devil for some reason now. That's like a whos-who of noir actors...all kind of playing it up for a bit of satire (written by Capote, I might add). Did Greenstreet have a cameo in that? I can't recall. I think I need to watch it this weekend.

TCM's 31 Days of Oscar is the greatest time for movies during the year. It's in the background now as I write my lists and these notes. What's on? Hmmmm....I don't know this one...well now I have to watch. Damn you, TCM!

They're playing Tootsie later. My TIVO has been working overtime.

Did you ever wake up on a Saturday morning and thing "I feel like watching all the Thin Man movies?"  I just did...and yes I am.

What the hell can I write about Chaplin? Doesn't his name speak for himself? He's on my list to do a tribute to since I did one for Keaton and Laurel and Hardy. Others on the list: Marx Brothers. Bogart. Kurosawa. Bergman. Blake Edwards....I know I had others. Three Amigos? I need to wrap this up.

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Reply Mikal 5
11:33 PM on March 4, 2011 
Whew! I've just read through the entirety of the three posts that make up this director's discussion, so this comment will include my thoughts on everything regarding this.

First of all, thank you for doing this. I suggested it mostly out of curiosity and looking for ideas of who to seek out. This has of course helped out immensely.

To the list itself, I have to admit I'm surprised that Scorsese and Billy Wilder didn't make the top 10. At the same time i'm glad they didn't. I know both are great, I had never really heard of De Sica before this.

I agree with your statement on TCM and 31 days of Oscars. The other day saw "Shall we Dance" and "Grand Hotel" right in a row and it was amazing. Right up there with watching "Inherit the Wind" (with the great Spencer Tracy). I love this time of year (at least when the NFL isn't on the verge of financial suicide.)

I think that doing lists covering some of the major aspects of movie making (cinematography, writing, music, editing) would all be really interesting for those of us who follow movies, but not necessarily those who put the movies together. Just would be interesting.

That's alll the major points. I can nitpick myself later, when I'm not about to pass out for exhaustion.

Thank you again for doing this. I look forward to more of your work.
Reply J. Conrady
8:05 PM on March 6, 2011 
Thanks for the comment, Mikal. :) I'm always open to suggestions and I appreciate the reading.