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?
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