I was given a heads up at the 1,001 Movies wiki that the 2013 Edition (aka the tenth anniversary edition) of the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book is available for pre-order at Amazon. As expected it will be a hardcover edition (the paperback edition is also available for pre-order at Amazon
) that will contain a much larger than usual number of changes, likely because this is the tenth anniversary of the book first being published. UK
When I looked last week Amazon said it was coming September 3, 2013, but this morning it now says October 1, 2013 (consistent with the last couple of years.) The hardcover editions come from an American publisher, so I am unsure if Amazon
will carry it. On a similar note, the paperback editions are published in UK London, so Amazon does not carry it in the , but independent sellers on Amazon will likely offer it when the time comes. I have a link at the bottom of this post to the hardcover edition that is available for pre-order. (I can't link from here to Amazon UK for the paperback edition.) FYI – the cover art is not yet available for either. U.S.
Here is the best news: it looks like our hopes that the tenth edition will make some overhauls to the list are going to at least partially come true. Amazon says that this edition will feature FIFTY (50) new films, as well as 200 new pictures, key quotes from movies, more movie posters, and new facts and trivia.
The reason I wrote “at least partially” is because Amazon does not specify the range of new movies. As I learned from going through each edition to list every single change at the 1,001 Movies wiki, the limiting factor of what films get added and removed every year is how close they are to the end of the book. This is due to the fact that the earlier you make a change, the more pages that follow it that will be affected. This means much more work to change the layouts and order of the films in the book to balance everything out. The earliest change made to this point was for 1988, and that was a simple one-for-one swap where a movie (Drowning By Numbers) was added right into the exact same page and location that was previously occupied by a film (The Accidental Tourist) that was removed. This trick allowed them to not have to change the subsequent pages for it.
My hope is that this latest edition will actually delve back much further, even to the entirety of the list. This is buoyed by the additional changes they mention they are making. 200 pictures is a lot, and would seem to imply much more extensive page changes than anything up to this point.
With this information it’s natural to immediately start thinking about what films will be added. With that in mind I offer my own thoughts. Steve – I know you have done yearly posts on what changes you would make. Please feel free to include those links in a comment on this post so that others can see your thoughts. I know that at least a few things I am going to mention are things that you have also posted on. For everyone, I welcome your thoughts in the comments on what you believe will change, and what you think of my guesses.
Just for the sake of this exercise I will say that half of the 50 new films will come from the usual dozen or so that get added from the most recent year, combined with the return of some films that were removed from earlier editions (just like the fifth edition did.) The other half I will say will come from adding films from the parts of the book that have previously never been altered (mostly pre-1995).
Films I am guessing will be added from 2012 (11):
Amour – the Palme d’Or winner is a given
Argo – The Academy Award winner is a given
The Avengers – a bit of a long shot because only one superhero film has ever been added – The Dark Knight – and it was quickly removed. Batman (1989) remains the only superhero film on the list. The Avengers’ huge box office might earn it a place, though, like some other book entries.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – not one I would pick, but critics went gaga over it, and it is critics who determine the content of the book.
Django Unchained – the book editors like Tarantino
Holy Motors – a strange and interesting film that is the kind that attracts the book editors
The Intouchables – a much loved film by French movie goers, but one that had some American critics discounting it.
Life of Pi – lots of critics like it
Searching for Sugar Man – a well-liked documentary, despite the attempt to blur the sequence of events to pump up the importance of the searchers.
Zero Dark Thirty – the controversial aspects make it one the editors might like
Film from 2011 I am guessing will be added (1):
Melancholia – the editors love Lars von Trier and I’m kind of amazed that this didn’t make it onto the list last year. Since then this film made the critics’ 2012 Sight and Sound poll as one of the best films ever made.
Films that used to be in the book that I am guessing will be re-added (10):
Children of Men
Lost in Translation
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Films that the editors seem to either be fighting over, or that they are having some perverse joke with us on, that I feel will be re-added (3):
Kill Bill Vol. 1 – already added and removed twice
Apocalypto – already added and removed twice
The Passion of the Christ – already added and removed three times
That’s a total of 25. Now for the 25 older films. I won’t refer to this as ones I’m guessing they will re-add. Rather, these are the ones that I’m frankly surprised weren’t already on the list, even adjusting for the fact that this is NOT “1,001 Movies That Are the Best of All Time”, but is “1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”. The distinction is that there are movies that are important, or broke new ground, even if they aren’t very good overall, so those are the ones in the list.
My suggestions for older films that need to be added/eliminated (25):
General book trend number one – A huge focus on relatively few directors
Critics tend to be “director-groupies” when it comes to picking important movies. Once they like a director it seems like he or she can do no wrong when it comes to critics. The result is a heavy weighting towards a handful of them. Take a look at the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They list sometime to see one even more overbalanced towards a relatively few directors.
I looked through the 2003 edition of the book (the first) and found that fully one sixth of the 1,001 films in the book (167) were made by only 22 directors, each of whom had six or more movies. More than one ninth of the 1,001 films in the book (113) were made by only 13 directors, each of whom had seven or more movies. And a full five percent of all the films (49) were made by only four directors, each of whom had ten or more movies. Those are some ridiculous numbers*. And the worst thing is that this crowded out some other, very deserving films that happened to not be made by someone famous.
In my opinion, a half dozen films ought to suffice to display a good range of the work any director did. Hell, in the 2003 book they managed to make do with six for Robert Altman, George Cukor, Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Michael Powell, Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, and Billy freaking Wilder (who had eight Best Director nominations). Robert Bresson and Francois Truffault, among others, only had five movies listed. Dropping all the directors with more than six movies in the book down to six frees up 45 slots right there.
General book trend number two – vampires are important
Do we really need seven separate vampire movies in the list, especially when five of them are all based on the same Bram Stoker novel? Just keep Nosferatu (1922) and Dracula (1931) for their historical significance, Let the Right One In (2008) for a modern take on the vampire story, and jettison the rest. And if you want to keep more than three vampire movies then add in Near Dark (1987), which is also a different take.
General book trend number three – TV movies and mini-series are allowed…but only if the director is famous
The best examples of this are Riget (aka The Kingdom), a four episode TV mini-series directed by Lars von
, and The Decalogue, a ten episode TV mini-series directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Other TV mini-series that ended up eventually being shown in theaters (i.e. The Best of Youth) are also in the list. Trier
Please note that I’m not saying these entries are badly made. I’m simply saying that this is supposed to be the 1,001 MOVIES You Must See Before You Die and that TV mini-series, no matter who directed them, do not belong. Eliminating these (like the 2012 Sight and Sound poll did) opens up slots for true movies.
Here are some replacements I would like to see (8):
Safety Last! (1923) replacing 37. The Kid Brother – how the hell did Harold Lloyd’s most famous and iconic film not make the list in the first place, and how did this much weaker film of his get picked to represent him?
La Bete Humaine (1937) replacing 63. Boudu Saved from Drowning – both are from Jean Renoir. The former anticipates an entire genre of films that would take over in the 1940s and 1950s, while the latter is mostly an excuse to show off the clowning talents of its lead actor.
The Zapruder Film (1963) replacing 461. Report – Report is simply an exercise in editing, playing the TV footage of the Kennedy assassination over and over again. Instead of this, the actual, real Zapruder footage should be on the list. Its impact has been enormous over the last five decades.
Roots (1977) replacing 886. Riget – If TV mini-series are to be allowed, how the hell did the granddaddy of them all, the one that had a massive impact on discussions of race relations, the one that literally changed how people thought about the entire television medium, not make the list? (I know how – it wasn’t directed by von Trier.)
The Day After (1983) replacing 434. The War Game – Again, if TV movies are being allowed (The War Game is one) then how did The Day After not make the list? It has the same theme as The War Game – the aftermath of a nuclear war – but it had a much larger impact. It was shown in one of the two countries that at the time could have precipitated nuclear Armageddon. It was so important that the other TV channels literally just came out and said that people should watch this movie and not the programming on their own channels.
Field of Dreams (1989) replacing 720. The Natural – both are baseball movies. The latter doesn’t really bring anything new to the plate (pun intended), while the former had a large impact. It celebrated all that is good about the sport. More importantly, perhaps, it’s the movie I most often see mentioned when men admit to what movie made them cry – something many men are loathe to reveal.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) replacing 774. A Chinese Ghost Story – both are action comedies. Hustle is from director Stephen Chow who I think doesn’t get enough recognition because his films are in the martial arts/action/comedy genres, so he alienates both the people who only want drama or only serious martial arts films. He places tons of references to older American films in his movies, too. He’s sort of the Tarantino of Hong Kong.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006) replacing 77. Las Hurdes – put in an important documentary that had a wide-ranging effect on the entire global warming debate and take out an obviously fake, badly made “documentary” that just happens to be from a famous director of narrative films.
Here are other entries I feel should be in the book (17):
The Freshman (1925) – Keaton and Chaplin are well-represented, but Harold Lloyd, who was bigger than either in the 1920s only has a single, token entry. Lloyd’s film The Freshman was so good Keaton later copied it to make his own version called College (1927).
The Sheik (1921) or The Son of the Sheik (1926) – many other famous performers made the book by having a representative movie of theirs picked. Somehow, the number one star and male sex symbol of the silent era – Rudolph Valentino – was missed. (Thanks to Steve Honeywell at 1001plus for originally bringing this to my attention.)
La Ronde (1950) or Le Plaisir (1952) – both are good, interesting films from Max Ophuls, who is already well-represented on the list. Perhaps one of them could replace one of his other films already there. Both had a level of sexual permissiveness that was unheard of in the
at that time. U.S.
Inherit the Wind (1960) – a tour de force of acting from not just one, but two eminent actors – Spencer Tracy and Fredric March. It also presents intelligent debates of religion, science, and teaching – any one of which is rare for a film.
Vanishing Point (1971) – this film perhaps introduced the concept that an object, in this case a car, could be the star of a film. The director didn’t like the actor he was forced to cast, so he instead shot the film to de-emphasize the actor and focused on the car.
Deep Throat (1972) – yes, this is an adult film, but it is easily the most famous and had the largest impact of any of them. It became acceptable to go to an adult movie theater to see this film. There were literally lines around the block. It was discussed across all the forms of media. Purportedly, it is the most profitable film ever made, although there is no way to verify that claim. Besides, there are other films in the 1,001 Movies book that have explicit penetration in them, so Deep Throat would not be alone.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) – this was a landmark film in the history of race relations in the
It won every award that could be handed to it, and there was even discussion of whether there was any way that this TV film could somehow be given a special exemption to be eligible for Oscar nominations. U.S.
Risky Business (1983) – this is my generation’s The Graduate. It is the film that made Tom Cruise a star (not Top Gun like some people try to claim).
Heathers (1988) – a dark comedy about murder, teen sex, teen suicide, guns in schools, cutting, bombs in schools, and how picking popular friends is of the utmost importance? There’s no way this kind of movie could ever be made today; it was controversial even back then. This makes it perhaps unique and well-worthy of being included.
The Wrong Trousers (1993) – this isn’t the short that introduced Wallace & Gromit to the world (that was A Grand Day Out), but it is the one that is the most fun and that won the most awards. Its popularity showed that “claymation” was a viable medium for making more than just TV commercials. This is unlikely to get added, though, because the only animated film ever added to the list – WALL-E – was removed the very next year.
Once Were Warriors (1994) or Whale Rider (2002) – both films show the Maori subculture in
. The former is a powerful drama dealing with a modern Maori family at odds with their old culture. The latter is a moving film about a young girl’s attempts to find her way among her people. It garnered the 12 year old lead, Keisha Castle-Hughes, a Best Actress nomination – by far the youngest ever until just this year. New Zealand
La Haine (1995) – this French film from director Mathieu Kassovitz (now better known for his acting – he was the love interest in Amelie) is an angry howl tearing the lid off the state of race relations in modern
. It made Vincent Cassel a star. It angered a lot of people and stirred up a lot of debate. France
Battle Royale (2000) – another controversial film about teens and violence, in this case from
. For years Japan has struggled with trying to remake this and has not succeeded because of the subject matter. Hollywood
Donnie Darko (2001) – a film that actually got young people interested in the fact that movies could have deeper meanings that you had to give thought to in order to figure out. Sure, there have always been a small minority of young people that discover this with other films, but this is the movie that brought it to the mainstream.
Brick (2005) – the best noir film made in many years, and the translation to the high school environment was flawlessly executed and unique at the time. Like all good films do, this inspired other people to explore the same genre and location.
Watchmen (2009) – based on the best graphic novel of all time and the only graphic novel to be named to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century. This film showed that superhero movies were not just for kids. People think The Dark Knight is “dark”? It’s a fuzzy little kitten compared to Watchmen with its more realistic depiction of “heroes” and the huge moral and ethical quandaries it places on its characters and the viewer.
Those are my thoughts on what the fifty new films might consist of. What are your thoughts on these choices, and what would you pick instead?
* List of directors with six or more movies in the 2003 edition, in descending order: Alfred Hitchcock (18), Howard Hawks (11), Ingmar Bergman (10), Stanley Kubrick (10), Luis Bunuel (9), John Ford (9), John Huston (9), Martin Scorcese (9), Steven Spielberg (9), Jean-Luc Godard (8), Woody Allen (7), Federico Fellini (7), William Wyler (7), Robert Altman (6), Michelangelo Antonioni (6), George Cukor (6), Akira Kurosawa (6), David Lean (6), Michael Powell (6), Jean Renoir (6), Orson Welles (6), Billy Wilder (6)