DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #45 – #41
An American director, an Italian director, a British director and two German directors go into a bar…
My 50 favourite directors #45 – #41
*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*
#45. Brian De Palma
What I’ve Seen: Sisters (1973), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Obsession (1976), Carrie (1976), The Fury (1978), Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Scarface (1983), Body Double (1984), Wise Guys (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Casualties of War (1989), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Raising Cain (1992), Carlito’s Way (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), Snake Eyes (1998), Mission to Mars (2000), The Black Dahlia (2006)
Brian De Palma is the first American director to make the list. I’ve seen 19 of De Palma’s 28 full length feature films. I must admit, I’ve been pretty disappointed in De Palma’s last few films, although I have not yet seen Redacted. While De Palma doesn’t always get it right, when he does it definitely leaves an impression. Sisters and Carrie feature two of my very favourite female killers and Carrie has long sat on my list of top 100 horror films of all-time. De Palma has covered a variety of genres but I must admit it is his horror titles I most covet. Although Blow Out, Scarface, Body Double and The Untouchables also rather kick some ass. De Palma includes all manner of little flourishes like split screens and mirrors throughout his films; viewers seem to have mixed feelings about this practice, I think it works more often than not. A talented director who has contributed some of film’s most intriguing characters. Strong stories, great performances and a style all his own; Brian De Palma has left an indelible mark on movie making and my black heart.
#44. F.W. Murnau
What I’ve Seen: Nosferatu (1922), Phantom (1922), The Last Laugh (1924), Faust: A German Folk Legend (1926), Sunrise (1927)
German director F.W. Murnau directed 20 films of which I have seen a slim 5; nonetheless 4 of the 5 films were so bloody impressive they qualified Murnau for this list. Nosferatu completely envelopes me after multiple watches. I also gave The Last Laugh and Sunrise perfect scores and gave Faust: A German Folk Legend a 4.5/5! I am still being schooled on silent films but I have scratched multiple titles off the ‘to see’ list since starting this blog. There are plenty of films that could benefit from no speaking! Murnau’s films however benefit from many things. In a silent film visuals are particularly important and Murnau’s are extremely impressive. Intriguing stories and fascinating characters laid out on Murnau’s perfect palette. Yep, this dude has blown my mind. Sadly Murnau died March 11, 1931 at the young age of 42.
#43. Federico Fellini
What I’ve Seen: La strada (1954), Nights of Cabiria (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8½ (1963), Fellini – Satyricon (1969), Amarcord (1973)
Italian director Federico Fellini made 19 full length feature films of which I’ve seen 6. All six films are absolutely superb. Fellini worked in the film industry until his death October 31, 1993 at the age of 73. The sad and beautiful La Strada was my first Fellini film and I gave it perfect marks. La Strada would be hard to top, but top it he did with Nights of Caliria and La Dolce Vita. Funny, cruel, touching, quirky, dreamy, sexy and downright trippy; Fellini’s work influenced three other directors who will be making an appearance on this list. To say he made an important impact on filmmaking seems like a grand understatement. I intend to see every last one of Fellini’s films. I look forward to experiencing more of Fellini’s dreams and desires.
#42. Werner Herzog
What I’ve Seen: Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), Fata Morgana (1971), Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Invincible (2001), Grizzly Man (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006), Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
German filmmaker Werner Herzog has 33 full length feature films of which I have seen 11. I love all of Herzog’s 70s films particularly Even Dwarfs Started Small, The Enigma of Kasper Hauser and Nosferatu. The talented Herzog has also directed several documentaries including the outstanding Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Genre jumping Herzog brings his magic touch to everything from horror, to drama, sci-fi, fantasies, biographies and documentaries. Actor Klaus Kinski and director Werner Herzog are one of cinema’s great pairings. Kinski always gave Herzog an outstanding performance and Herzog in return gave Kinski a well-written character and a compelling story in which his character could dwell. I have many more Herzog films still to see and that is a very good thing.
#41. Terence Fisher
What I’ve Seen: Spaceways (1953), Face the Music (1954), Murder by Proxy (1954), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Gorgon (1964), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
It’s Hammer time…again! Terence Fisher is the second British director who worked for Hammer Studios to make my 50 favourite list. I’ve seen 17 of Fisher’s films which I thought was a significant number but it is just a drop in the bucket of his 50 full length feature films listed on IMDB. Fisher died June 18, 1980 at the age of 76 and left behind a damn fine legacy of fabulousness! I enjoyed all 12 films I have seen directed by Fisher. I don’t even know where to begin. I love so many films on this list! Dracula, The Mummy, The Devil Rides Out, The Gorgon, The Curse of Frankenstein, and The Curse of the Werewolf to name a few. Maestro Fisher makes Hammer’s wonderful sets and costumes come alive with engrossing stories and brings out Christopher Lee’s and Peter Cushing’s best performances; among an impressive list of others including Oliver Reed, Barbara Shelley, Anton Diffring, Hazel Court and Charles Gray. Fisher’s films make me incredibly happy. I don’t know if I will ever see all fifty on his list, but I will try diligently.