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As a film critic, I am not saying that these are indeed the greatest, but they have been commonly received as such. Personally, I never found Some Like It Hot all that hilarious. I like Singin' in the Rain a lot, and I am always happy to watch it when it is on. But is it the greatest? Of course, the question is silly in that it is not quantifiable. I have compiled a list of movies that, for right or wrong, are universally acknowledged at the greatest of their genre and I have offered an alternative, just to expand your viewing options and let you join in the best-film list silliness.

1- Greatest Film Of All Times

Citizen Kane is cited as the greatest film of all times, often by people who might not like it very much, often by people who have never seen it. The wonder of Kane is that it is a great film that is actually tremendous fun to watch. As an alternative, why not try The Magnificent Ambersons, the film that Orson Welles made after Kane? The Magnificent Ambersons doesn't have the stylistic dazzle of Kane. It is a subtler film. Its story is told in a linear fashion by an omniscient narrator, as opposed to the fun-house mirror narrative technique of Kane. The more traditional story-telling method gives the story and characters greater appeal than the endlessly fascinating but somewhat remote characters in Kane. The Magnificent Ambersons was a victim of RKO studio politics. The final edit was not by Welles and the final two scenes seem to belong to another film. Although more muted than Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons is still emotionally overwhelming. Agnes Moorehead's performance alone ensures its immortality.

2- Greatest Musical Of All Times

There doesn't seem any room for argument. Singin' in the Rain is the greatest musical of all times. Period. End of discussion. Yet..... Doesn't the Broadway Melody number go on way too long? Aren't the characters, while endearing, a little cardboard? Singin' in the Rain is so solidly recognized as the greatest that it almost seems heresy to propose an alternative. However, I submit for your consideration Vincente Minnelli's 1944 masterpiece Meet Me In St. Louis. The film has something that most musicals lack: a great book. It depicts the life of the somewhat quirky Smith in the year leading up to the opening of the 1904 World's Fair. The characters are well-rounded. The film has great period nostalgia and some sentimentality, but enough vinegar to keep the enterprise from becoming too cloying. The songs are a mixture of original and period compositions, and they flow organically from the action.

There is a Halloween scene that is genuinely creepy. A totally satisfying film experience.

3- Greatest Historical Romance

Even ignoring the racial insensitivities and the romanticizing of the Antebellum slave-owning Dixie, Gone With The Wind is a dull, elephantine work. As an alternative, try Jezebel from 1937, starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda. Legend has it that Warner Brothers Studio created the film as a consolation prize when Bette Davis did not win the coveted role of Scarlett O'Hara. Davis' character is certainly as self centered and headstrong as Scarlett, The MGM 'Tradition Of Quality' often can over-inflate a film. Here the grittier Warner Brothers production values make this a more engaging and satisfying film. The story is tightly told, the performances are wonderful, and it is all in glorious black and white.

4- Greatest Adventure Romance

The favorite in this category must be Casablanca, a film I believe deserves all the praise and devotion it has garnered over the years. So, why not stay in the same mood with an alternative film? You say you like Humphrey Bogart thwarting Nazi operatives in the company of beautiful women? Why not try, To Have And Have Not, based on what Hemingway called his worst book. The locale in Martinique is gritty in the best Warner Brothers fashion. The supporting cast is as wonderful as that of Casablanca, with a beautiful performance by Walter Brennan. What makes this stiff competition for Casablanca is the sexual fireworks between Bogart and Lauren Bacall in her film debut. Watching these two falling in love is a sophisticated pleasure.

5- Greatest Christmas Movie

Yes. I know. The greatest Christmas movie is It's AWonderful Life. It is interesting to note that this 1946 film was not very popular when it premiered. Perhaps such a downbeat film coming right after the end of World War II was not what the public wanted.


There is a list of 'best' films

that no one seems to argue with.

Best film of all times? Easy. Citizen Kane.

Best musical of all times? Easy. Singin' in the Rain. Greatest comedy of all times? Some Like It Hot.

Written By: Mitchell Brown

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