CLASSIC MOVIE DIRECTORS – A brief look at their most prominent films.

My assessment of prominent directors here is by no means all inclusive. I base my opinion on directors pretty much on whether or not their films provide me with memorable entertainment, since I firmly believe entertainment value should outweigh technical or artistic skill. Henceforth, for a picture to register favorably with me, it must move along at a reasonable clip, be built around a solid storyline and a memorable screenplay, be inhabited by stars and supporting players of talent and, hopefully (but not always essential), a musical score that does not detract from the overall effect. I do not appreciate a plethora of foul language, nor do I enjoy watching excessive blood and mayhem. Sex scenes are acceptable within reason; and special effects are only OK if they do not take over from everything else.

Woody Allen proclaims his innocence over Dylan Farrow claims - BBC News

WOODY ALLEN (1935 – )

The undeniable fact that, for decades, actors and actresses of the highest caliber have been willing to do almost anything to secure a role in a Woody Allen film, indicates to me that his writing and direction must be of the highest quality. That is what the data keeps telling me, yet I simply do not accept it. Almost everything he writes and directs; every character he portrays, are irritating exercises in self-indulgent neuralgia. And that does nothing for me, whatsoever. In fact, I consider Mr. Allen to be the most outrageously over-rated director (and writer) in movies. Oh, with the possible directorial exception of Cecil B. DeMille, whom I shall get to later.

Since winning the Best Director Academy Award (and Best Screenplay) for Annie Hall (1977), he has been unsuccessfully nominated as a director no fewer than six times, and for his screenplays another sixteen times (being twice successful). It is almost as if there is an obligation to nominate any Allen screenplay! I enjoyed Midnight in Paris (2011), primarily because I liked the concept and Woody wasn’t in it. Fortunately, the man is approaching ninety so retirement must surely be in the cards at last. Or is it?

BBC Radio 4 - Radio 4 in Four - Nine important life lessons we can learn from Tim Burton

TIM BURTON (1958 – )

Tim’s movies tend to usually be a little Gothic, dark but colorful. After achieving a major success with Beetlejuice (1988), due mainly to the extraordinarily funny performance by Michael Keaton in the title role, Burton re-cast the same actor as the title character in Batman the following year. The result was even more successful, despite fans and critics alike deeming Keaton to be hopelessly miscast. He surprised them all. This was immediately followed in 1990 by the critically acclaimed Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp, a picture I personally considered quite stupid. On the other, I thought Burton’s Mars Attacks! (1996) was a hoot! Incidentally, Lisa Marie, the actress who played the gum-chewing Martian with the crazy walk, was engaged in real life to Tim from 1992 until 2001. She also appeared in other projects of his – Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Planet of the Apes (2001) – to name but three. I do not like several of Burton films, but he is rarely dull.

James Cameron filmography - Wikipedia


I believe that cinema-goers should place Cameron and Spielberg on a level above most other directors. Why? Because they have each recreated something we thought we would never see again. Spielberg gave us living and breathing dinosaurs with Jurassic Park (1993), and Cameron allowed us to watch the SS Titanic in all her glory, eighty or so years after she had gone to her watery grave at the bottom of the Atlantic. Ah, the magic of movies! Indeed, James Cameron has been responsible for some quite staggering special effects in feature films in recent times. His Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and The Abyss (1989), brought the art of CGI to an altogether new level. Then the Avatar franchise, commenced in 2009, is in the process of enhancing it even more. On a purely entertaining level, his delightful True Lies (1994) ticked all the boxes.

Frank Capra Biography - Facts, Childhood, Family Life & Achievements

FRANK CAPRA (1897-1991)

The man who would go on to be acclaimed as the quintessential ‘American propagandist’ was not even born in the USA. Francesco Capra entered this world via Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy in 1897. His family migrated to the US when he was six years old. In the period between 1934 and 1941 he created the core of his canon with the classics It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can’t Take it With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Meet John Doe (1941). Five years later, he churned out his final classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), the perennial Christmas, feel-good movie that still appears on televisions in December each year. Personally, I am not a fan of this particular film, but that may simply be my aversion to Jimmy Stewart’s style of acting, nothing more. The rest of the world appear to love it unreservedly, so who am I to judge?

Francis Ford Coppola - Turner Classic Movies


The 1973 Academy Awards were a sham. Although The Godfather (1972) won the Oscar for Best Picture, Francis Ford Coppola was unsuccessful in the Best Director category, the award going to Bob Fosse for Cabaret. Why? And there was an even worse example of Academy Award fraudulence when Al Pacino was nominated for a Supporting Oscar for his portrayal of Michael Corleone! Pacino was on-screen for most of the movie and was clearly the lead player, yet he was forced to share votes with two other members of the cast (James Caan and Robert Duvall) in the Supporting Actor category.

As usually happens in such situations, votes are shared by the multiple nominees and the winner comes from elsewhere. In this case the statuette went to Joel Grey for Cabaret. Of course, this whole manipulated scenario paved the way for Marlon Brando to waltz away with the Best Actor Oscar. Many believe that was the overall strategy from day one. When we consider that two of Brando’s fellow nominees were Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine (both from Sleuth), and that the other two nominees – Peter O’Toole for The Ruling Class and Paul Winfield for Sounder – two movies scarcely seen by voters, whereas everybody and his dog had seen The Godfather), the result was hardly a surprise to anyone. No wonder Pacino refused to attend the ceremony!


  1. I enjoy most of Woody’s films, they are laugh out loud funny to me. However, like all filmmakers, he has movies I don’t care for. The highly vaunted Manhattan being one.

    Tim Burton is interesting at times and has his own highly unique style like no one else. Still, he’s a hit and miss filmmaker for me with his productions.

    James Cameron is very technically minded with his features. He always pushes the special effects capabilities and doesn’t settle for merely using the existing visual effects tech. He innovates and creates groundbreaking FX with each movie. I greatly admire him for that as a huge FX fan.
    That said, not every film of his knocks my socks off. Titanic is phenomenal with its visuals, but little else. The love story is trite, it simply doesn’t draw me into it at all.

    I’ve also read that many who’ve worked with Cameron end up hating him. He apparently is absolutely relentless on how hard he drives his cast & crew, almost expecting them to give their lives for a production. One story has it that someone had shirts made during a shoot. The front said “I heard Jim Cameron was a S.O.B.,” on the back it said “Now I Know.”

    I’ve always loved the heartwarming and life affirming movies of Frank Capra. Lost Horizon is one of my favorite films of his.

    Coppola’s Godfather films are masterful, except for the third one.

  2. When Woody Allen first hit the directorial scene, I was a fan. After seeing several early films, I realized his movies were essentially all the same — they were about Me, Me, Me. Self-indulgent puts it mildly and talk about overrated. I wouldn’t walk across the street to watch a Woody Allen movie if you paid me.

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