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Happy Father’s Day from White City Cinema

bestyears

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About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

8 responses to “Happy Father’s Day from White City Cinema

  • Mitchell

    Bless you! I can’t look at that moment without choking up! One of the great scenes in one of the greatest films of all. Who says deep-focus can’t tug at your heartstrings?

  • David smith

    Mike,
    Thank you!! I still get choked up every time I see it .
    Dad

  • drew

    the look on Myrna Loy’s face when she realizes who’s at the door…

  • Mitchell

    I wonder why William Wyler isn’t regarded with the same adulation as, say, Howard Hawks? His output is really impressive. Truly the pinnacle of classic Hollywood Production, no?

    • michaelgloversmith

      Good question. I think Wyler was a great craftsman and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is as great as anything that came out of the studio system era. But I also think his work as a whole lacks the stylistic and thematic unity of an artist like Hawks. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT and RIO BRAVO (to cite the first examples that come to mind) are two movies that take place in the same recognizably Hawksian universe. I’m hard pressed to find a similar continuity between any two Wyler films (good as they might be when looked at individually).

  • Mitchell

    …..and here we see the tyranny of the Auteur Theory. I agree that using the ‘personal vision’ measuring stick has made discussion of film a lot easier. We can talk of a Hitchcock film, a Bresson moment, a Lubitsch touch. But there are many unsuccessful directors whose styles are immediately identifiable but don’t necessarily lead to great films (M. Night Shyamalan, William Castle, Bert I Gordon, and yes, Quentin Tarantino. )

    This all seems to be rooted in the Romantic-era notion of Artist-as-Individual and visionary, something we have not shaked even 200 years latter. Excellent craftsmanship should be as highly regarded as personal vision, but it doesn’t seem to be

    As many detractors of the Auteur theory (among which I am not) have pointed out, many components go into making a finished film. I certainly don’t need to convince you, who have actually directed!

    I have a sneaking suspicion that someone like Wyler is not revered because it is harder to find a unifying theme/ethos/style to his work. But that is only a detraction vis-à-vis Auteurists. You can’t really talk about a Wyler world-view the way you can about a Godard world-view, but does that diminish Wyler’s stature as a superb craftsman and director of actors in whatever pantheon Andrew Sarris and the Cahieristes came up with?

    I love the Auteur Theory, but sometimes I fear it makes talking about films too simplistic

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