Wyler’s Legacy (reprinted) — 11 Comments

  1. Really enjoyed your series of postings over the run of the blogathon, Jim. I'd also struggle to say which Wyler movie is his "apotheosis" – and there are quite a few I have still to see – but at the moment 'Carrie' is my favourite because of the astonishing performance by Olivier, which is testament to how well Wyler worked with actors.

  2. Jim, great reflection here. I am partial to Jezebel and The Letter, but I'm a big fan of just about every Wyler film I've seen. It definitely had "it".

  3. Many thanks, R.D.; the pleasure was mine. And let me add that I was honored by your decision to grant my posts "lead-off batter" status on your list of daily blogathon entries — a high compliment indeed for a group of posts that (let's face it) were already two years old.

    And for those who may pause over my thoughts on Ben-Hur (Kevin D. and I have agreed to disagree), I went into more detail last October with this post, if they care to check it out.

  4. Jim, a great finish to your fine series, thoroughly researched and expertly written. Here you move from the more objective tone of the previous installments to the subjective mode. The Wizard steps out from behind the curtain, so to speak!

    I know that not everyone will agree with your assessment of the films you discuss. And understandably so, since few things are more personal than an individual's reaction to a given movie. Your thoughts on "Ben-Hur" are certain to give some readers pause, and I appreciate "The Little Foxes" and Bette Davis's performance in it more than you. But your evaluation of the pictures you included is well-reasoned, a supported opinion, and as such deserves to be taken seriously and respectfully.

    Thank you so much for providing the lead post for each of the first five days of the blogathon. Your contributions expanded the scope of the blogathon beyond film reviews and were a tremendously important part of the event.

  5. Wyler himself thought his reputation took a beating from the critics in later years because of "Ben-Hur." I love it, though, and think its one of the greatest movies ever made. While I think the silent version is might fine, it always seemed, to me, more like a Classics Illustrated version of the story, while the Wyler version trumps it many times over in terms of characterization and intimate drama.

    I think the themes "The Best Years of Our Lives" are still timely. As long as there are wars, and men and women have to return to a life of normalcy after fighting overseas, "The Best Years of Our Lives" will remain relevant. (I think it well deserved the Oscar in 1946, though I would have picked Lean's "Great Expectations.")

    A most illuminating post, Jim. I've really enjoyed all your entries in this series.