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April 24, 2016





Two Olcott among the fifty favorite movies of David W. Griffith

When asked by The New York Evening Post, David Wark Griffith, the great American filmmaker, book a list of 50 best films ever made in his eyes. I have taken from an article in the local newspaper of the State of New York Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, dated August 24, 1930.

First, the big man has included in his list some of his works. He explains: "Modesty, under ordinary circumstances, would dictate that one should not include bis own works in such a list as this, but I have included those of my own which I think rightfully belong, not because I think they are great but because the public and press have generally acclaimed them to be such." They are: The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Avenging Conscience, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, and Orphans of the Storm.

Of the 50 films in his list, Griffith selected four speaking films : The Valiant, Disraeli, All Quiet on the West Front and Hallelujah.

Little primitive films. The oldest dates from 1912 : Quo Vadis? An epic film, one of the first feature film produced by an Italian company. Few either foreign films: in addition Quo Vadis? Murnau's The Last Laugh and Ewald André Dupont's Variety from Germany and Dreyer's Passion from France. That's all. And only one Chaplin: The Kid.

Griffith distinguishes the two best films with Douglas Fairbanks : The Mark of Zorro and Robin Hood. And Rudolph Valentino: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Monsieur Beaucaire.

Finally we note that he cites three films of King Vidor, King Henry, Ernst Lubitsch; two films of Erich von Stroheim, Fred Niblo, Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Lloyd, Herbert Brenon and Sidney Olcott : Little Old New York and Monsieur Beaucaire.

The list in the order given by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (the generic elements are added by me) :

•  Stella Maris (1918) by Marshall Neilan with Mary Pickford

•  The Birth of a Nation (1915) by David W. Griffith

•  War Brides (1916) by Herbert Brennon with Nazimova, Richard Barthelmess

•  Intolerance (1916) by David W. Griffith

•  Quo Vadis? (1912) by Enrico Guazzoni

•  Avenging Conscience (1914) by David W. Griffith with Blanche Sweet

•  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) by Rex Ingram with Rudolph Valentino

•  The Miracle Man (1919) by George Loane Tucker with Lon Chaney

•  Broken Blossoms (1919) by David W. Griffith with Richard Bathelmess, Lilian Gish

•  Passion (1929) by Carl Th Dreyer with Falconetti

•  The Mark of Zorro (1920) by Fred Niblo with Douglas Fairbanks

•  The Dark Angel (1925) by George Fitzmaurice with Ronald Colman

•  Driven (1923) by Charles Brabin with Emily Fitzroy

•  The White Sister (1923) by Henry King with Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman

•  Greed (1924) by Eric Von Stroheim with Zazu Pitts, Jean Hersholt

•  Way Down East (1920) by David W. Griffith with Richard Bathelmess, Lilian Gish

•  Smilin' Through (1922) by Sidney Franklin with Norma Talmadge, Harrison Ford

•  Tol'able David (1921) by Henry King with Richard Barthelmess

•  Robin Hood (1922) by Allan Dwan with Douglas Fairbanks

•  Orphans of the Storm (1921) by David W. Griffith

•  The Covered Wagon (1923) by James Cruze

•  Merry-Go-Round (1923) by Rupert Julian with Norman Kerry, Cesare Gravina

•  The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) by Wallace Worsley with Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry

•  Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) d'Elmer Clifton with Marguerite Courtot, Clara Bow

•  Little Old New York (1923) by Sidney Olcott with Marion Davies

•  The Sea Hawk (1924) by Frank Lloyd with Milton Sills, Enid Bennett, Wallace Berry

•  Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) by Sidney Olcott with Rudoph Valentino, Bebe Daniels

•  The Marriage Circle (1924) by Ernst Lubitsch with Florence Vidor, Monte Blue

•  The Ten Commandments (1923) by Cecil B. de Mille with Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort

•  The Kid  (1921) by Charlie Chaplin with Jackie Coogan

•  The Merry Widow (1925) by Eric Von Stroheim with Mae Murray, John Gilbert

•  The Last Laugh (1924) by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau with Emil Jannings

•  The Big Parade (1925) by King Vidor with John Gilbert, Renée Adorée

•  The Valiant (1929) by William K. Howard with Tom Barry, John Hunter Booth

•  Wings (1927) by William A. Wellman with Clara Bow, Charles ‘Buddy' Rogers

•  Variety (1925) by Ewald André Dupont with Emil Jannings, Lya de Putti

•  Beau Geste (1926) by Herbert Brenon with Ronald Colman, Alice Joyce

•  Stella Dallas (1925) by Henry King with Ronald Colman, Alice Joyce

•  What Price Glory (1926) by Raoul Walsh with Victor McLaglen

•  The Way of All Flesh (1927) by Victor Fleming with Emil Jannings

•  Ben-Hur (1925) by Fred Niblo, Charles Brabin with Ramon Novarro

•  Seventh Heaven (1927) by Frank Borzage with Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell

•  The Patriot (1928) by Ernst Lubitsch with Emil Jannings, Florence Vidor

•  Sunrise (1927) by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau with George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor

•  The Crowd (1928) by King Vidor with Eleanor Boardman, James Murray

•  The King of Kings (1927) by Cecil B. DeMille with HB Warner, Jacqueline Logan

•  Disraeli (1929) by Alfred E. Green with George Arliss, Doris Lloyd

•  Hallelujah (1929) by King Vidor with Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney

•  Grass (1925) documentary by Mirian C. Cooper et Ernest B. Schoedsack

•  All Quiet On the Western Front (1930) by Lewis Milestone with Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres

80 % of American silent films are considered lost. The vast majority of movies selected by Griffith however survived.

Sorry for my English

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©2009 Michel Derrien