We’re back with another list of top 10 films as published in the Film Daily. This lists were created by asking top critics to vote on the best films of the year, though strange release dates sometimes mean that years don’t always match. First, we took a look at 1922 and then on to 1923, then 1924, and 1925, and 1926.
The 1927 list is stranger than usual with a full four titles out of ten (Beau Geste, Ben-Hur, The Big Parade, What Price Glory) appearing on the list for the previous year. So, our top ten will actually be a top six as I already covered those films in my 1926 post.
The films were listed in most votes to fewest and I will follow the magazine’s original order.
The Way of All Flesh
Emil Jannings was considered one of the best actors in the world, a distinction that culminated in his winning the very first Oscar for his lead performances in The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command.
We can’t judge for ourselves as only fragments of this picture survive.
Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor became one of the top romantic pairings in the movies and Gaynor won the first best actress Oscar for this film, plus Sunrise and Street Angel.
Fox has never been the best about releasing its silents and its acquisition by Disney has made a home media re-release highly unlikely. You can look for it in the overpriced and out-of-print Murnau, Borzage and Fox box.
Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Before they made King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack made an ethnographic film about farming in Southeast Asia.
Josef von Sternberg launched his string of successes with this drama of the criminal underworld. Moody cinematography and a plot that played into the gangster film craze, plus a very appealing Evelyn Brent, assured this picture’s popularity.
Rod La Rocque and Dolores Del Rio went Russian with this adaptation of the work by Tolstoy. It’s a lost film, so we will never know how successful they were, but given Hollywood’s track record with Tolstoy, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. However, I still hope that this picture lives up to its title and emerges intact somewhere.
Flesh and the Devil
Another romantic teaming made the list, this time John Gilbert and Greta Garbo with bonus Lars Hanson. It’s a melodrama of the first water with seductions, duels and what-have-you.
I am not really feeling this list at all but I am also not a huge fan of romantic melodramas, so it may be just a me thing. I’d love to have seen The Beloved Rogue, Chicago and The Cat and the Canary somewhere. Maybe in those four slots wasted on already-honored films. Significant omission: The Jazz Singer. Not a good film, really, but…
What do you think? Was the list full of your favorites or did it miss the mark for you as well?
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