This Is Spinal Tap is one of my favorite films, but I by no means consider Rob Reiner a canonical director. Anyone think of any other films that deserve to be canonized but their directors don’t?
That is a very interesting question; it supposes that a significant film work is the sole property of the director (the old auteur theory) that seems to be universally accepted as the only way to look at that work. I think ‘Goldfinger’ is a canonical work that fits your description as not being directed by a canonical director (Guy Hamilton); but I suggest part of it’s importance is due to the score which is by a canonical composer – John Barry.
But to add to the list by your criteria: STAR WARS (please don’t say Lucas id a canonical director!)
PLANET OF THE APES
CAPE FEAR (the original)
Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde is really canonical in a way none of his other films are (Night Moves would be the closest of his others)
How about Charles Laughton? He directed only one feature, but the film’s canonical…
Morris Engel (The Little Fugitive)…Albert Lamorisse (The Red Balloon)…
Albert Brooks’ Lost In America is I think a canonical comedy; but he hasn’t otherwise made another film as strong as that.
The Shawshank Redemption
The Deer Hunter
Casablanca by Michael Curtiz. Curtiz is an interesting case for this particular topic. Although he made a huge number of films, from early silents right through to late ’50’s, early ’60’s, few of his films would ever be considered more than just typical well-made films. Perhaps the only other films of his that immediately come to mind, after the classic Casablanca, would be Adventures of Robin Hood, Sea Wolf, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Mildred Pierce. Curtiz worked well within the studio system – so well, in fact, that it would be difficult to place him as any kind of ‘auteur’. What is Curtiz’s style or signature? Basically, there isn’t any, except well-crafted, well-acted productions that most anyone in the studio system could have done. Directors like Howard Hawkes, Raoul Walsh, John Ford, even Victor Fleming had a definite style that one can discern in film after film. Curtiz could uncharitably be described as a kind of studio hack – give him anything, any hokey screen play or set of actors, and he will direct it. Sometimes it could be good, often it could be indifferent. Just after making Casablanca, he made Mission to Moscow – a laughable propaganda farce where Joe Stalin is portrayed as a good guy!
Yet, in spite of this, Casablanca stands as one of the greatest, most powerful, best acted, best scripted films of all time. It is not ‘artistic’ or particularly stylish, but it is a damn powerful film, even if most of us astute ‘cinephiles’ did not put it on our own top ten in the auteurs poll (bully for you if you did). Is it too entertaining and not arty enough for us? I can’t answer the question, but if ever a film belonged in this category, it is this one.
haha. just kidding.
The Third Man for sure. Carol Reed was a solid director but nowhere else does he approach the brilliance of that film. Also Seven Samurai. Great film but I can’t even remember who directed it. That guy must have been a one hit wonder.
Battle of Algiers.
I fail to see how The Shawshank Redemption, or the Deer Hunter are canonical, other than the fact that they are popular.
Dances With Wolves
“Also Seven Samurai. Great film but I can’t even remember who directed it. That guy must have been a one hit wonder.”
Doesn´t work as a joke, either.
I would agree about Night of the Hunter as the canonical film by a non canonical director, but then, the Michael Curtiz explanation by Bob is gives an interesting contrast… if Night of the Hunter is the only film by Nauthon, then ALL of his opus is canonical, so should he.
In that regard, Irwin Kesnher has only one canonical film among mediocre crap; The Empire Strikes Back (it´s a pretty perfection of filmamking that goes beyond the Star Wars thing). Wolfgang Petersen´s Das Boot.
Das Boot is a masterpiece, among a string of not so masterful films.
Also, I would add:
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Song of Bernadette
Children of Paradise
The Bicycle Thief
On the Water Front
Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island
The Ten Commandments
Lawrence of Arabia
Lillies of the Field
War and Peace
The Lion in Winter
The Elephant Man
Mobile Suit Gundam
Wings of Honeamise
Field of Dreams
Dances With Wolves
Farewell, My Concubine
The English Patient
End of Evangelion
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
The Bourne Identity
Master and Commander
Man on Fire
Passion of the CHRIST
What are you saying about : The Elephant Man, Chinatown, Farewell, my concubine, Master and Commander, The Bicycle Thief…..? I am not sure what kind of thing you are trying to define. This all seems a little Aspergers to me. Who is the authority on this so called CANON of CANONICAL directors? MOMA? Theauteurs.com…? Sense of Cinema? This all seems a bit wanky and I would stick to top 10 lists if I were you.
I disagree about Aurthur Penn
He also directed Mickey One, The Missouri Breaks, Little Big Man and Alice’s Resturant, a terrific director.
I would add Nicholson, he only did three films as director Drive He Said, Goin South and The Two Jakes but they are great films
Who cares about 90 % of the threads?
If the 90% includes STL!, I do. ):
No, but it includes “Avatar Depression”… ):
There is no cinema god who decides what is CANONICAL and WHAT IS NOT. This is a waste of time. Cinema is subjective. End of story.