Say kids, have you heard the one about the girl tuba player who was stranded on a desert island with a one-legged jockey?

Imagine yourself stranded on a desert island. With a working DVD player. And the foresight to pack 8 DVDs you could watch over and over again. (Stay with me.) What movies would you pick?

This is the question posed by the Fandango Groovers Movie Blog multi-blog event, Desert Island DVDs. I've decided to play along, albeit with my own spin on things. This event happens to give me a push to write about a similar discussion my father and I have had about picking movies for a desert island stay, but with the additional proviso of choosing the work of only one director.

In a way, I actually find this easier than picking out any 8 DVDs. The field there is too wide. Trying to narrow down my favorite movies to just 8 is pretty painful. Even thinking about what movies I'm happy to watch over and over again, it seems impossible to choose just 8. However, narrowing things down to director, well, now we're getting somewhere.

It would have to be a director whose work as a whole I enjoy and can watch over and over again. Who did I seriously consider?

Vincente Minelli or Stanley Donen - I figure if I were really stuck on an island for the rest of my life, I'd be a bit depressed. Some light movies and musicals might be just the thing to cheer me up.

John Huston - Made some of my all time favorites, yet I'm not sure I'd be happy with his catalog of films as a whole. (Similar story with Orson Welles, Preston Sturges, Howard Hawks and Frank Capra: moments of brilliance but not enough there to sustain me on an island.)

Charlie Chaplin - To be honest, it would be more of a film school island for me if I chose Chaplin's work. I confess I have not seen all of his movies, and being stranded would probably finally provide the push I need. (Although I'm sure I would miss hearing people talk.)

Steven Spielberg - If I had to choose from only modern directors, I might end up picking him, although it would mean I'd end up with movies I like but don't really love.

George Cukor - Would provide a good variety of films with wonderful performances by some great actresses.

Alfred Hitchcock - A definite master with plenty of great films to choose from. But I think his paranoia and suspense would not help my stranded-on-a-desert-island mental state.

In the end, there's really only one choice for me (and my dad). Billy Wilder.

His body of work provides a wonderful variety that I'm sure I would need on a desert island to prevent boredom. (Feel like comedy? Drama? Romance? Noir? Check, check, check, and check.) Mix together some talented actors, witty dialogue, a slightly cynical perspective on people tempered by compassion and a good dose of humor and you've got the Wilder formula for a great movie. If I had to narrow it down to 8 by him, these would be my picks:

That's The Apartment, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, The Major and the Minor, Sabrina, Some Like it Hot, Stalag 17, and Sunset Boulevard. (If you prefer, you could swap in Ace in the Hole, The Fortune Cookie, or Witness for the Prosecution.)

But I'm not the only one getting hypothetically stranded. See what movies everyone else would take.

Who would be your Desert Island Director?


Anonymous said...

Well you really did it, one director. But if you are going to pick just one director you could have done a lot worse! We even have movie in common on our lists.

I am however having bit of trouble with your link. I will try and get it fixed.

SassyGinger said...

Hmmm I dont think mine could be one director it would be one actress since I'm kind of all about Ginger Rogers right now. Lets see

1) Swing Time
2) The Major and the Minor
3) Stage Door
4) Kitty Foyle
5) The Barkleys of Broadway

Im only at 5? Cool!

okay lets see

5) Easter Parade
6) Meet Me In St. Louis
7) Mary Poppins
8) The King and I (I had trouble coming up with one last one but today this is a movie I REALLY feel like watching!)

Castor said...

Wow at last someone who went off the beaten track of "my eight most watchable movies". Good on you Wendy!

Meredith said...

fantastic choice! i would happily watch ball of fire over and over and over again (alright so he only wrote the script but still!) and many of your other picks.

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

Hey, MVG, this is my first time at your blog. But know that I plan to make a habit of stopping back by...

I confess my knowledge of classic/old films is scanty, but you've given me somewhere to start. I almost included "Some Like It Hot" on my list but then forgot. Oops! A comedic gem that took big risks back in a time when those kinds of risks were frowned upon.

Anonymous said...

Oh, a desert island director? That's tough. I'd have to give it some more though, esp. if I was going to narrow it down to the movies I'd take a long, but Woody Allen, Luc Besson, and Alfred Hitchcock jump immediately to mind. Billy Wilder's a very solid choice, too, of course. Nice pick, and great food for thought!

Sally said...

This post had me laughing out loud! I love all of your reasoning and discussion. As for my own favorite director? I'm currently in the middle of an Errol Flynn obsession, so I think I'll go with Michael Curtiz. Like Billy Wilder, his work spans several genres (including ones I avoid), so I'd get a nice variety on my little island. The movies I'd pick: Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Four's A Crowd, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, The Sea Hawk, Life with Father, and White Christmas.

This is a great question! Although, it makes me a little depressed to think of any version of life where I didn't have my movies.

Anonymous said...

One director - Very good idea! What a bunch of classics in your final selection - I'd definitely be happy to take those eight with me!

I have a feeling that I'm going to spend most of tomorrow trying to decide which director I would choose :)

Wendymoon said...

Thanks all for commenting! It was great getting your feedback and hearing your thoughts. (Welcome new visitors, too!)

Andy, thanks for arranging this event.

SassyGinger, I think you're onto something with your one actress idea.

Meredith, would you believe I've only just seen Ball of Fire? Great fun, with that Wilder touch!

Sally, that's some great variety in your choices for sure. :-)

Sundryandco, would love to hear who you pick.

Vanessa said...

I have tagged you for the movie meme thats going around at the moment :)

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