Saturday, December 1, 2018

Preserving Hollywood

Obviously, in Medieval America, there are no movies. But literature, theater, and of course, oral tradition would still persist. Theater is one of those things that would be more prevalent than the historical medieval world, as it's one of those low tech things where you can't "unring the bell". The artform does exist. The major obstacle would be religious authorities and that agrarian society might not be able sustain to much theater going. But determining which films inspired stories people will keep wanting to tell for a thousand years can be tough. Mostly Halloween and Christmas movies? The subordinating big three of Braveheart, Gladiator, and 300? Who knows, but I decided to give us a ballpark.

In 2008 Americans were asked their favorite movies by Harris Poll, the results were:

1. Gone With the Wind
2. Star Wars
4. Lord of the Rings
5. The Sound of Music
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. The Notebook
8. Forrest Gump
9. The Godfather
10. The Princess Bride

When reevaluated in 2014, the results were

1. Gone With the Wind
2. Star Wars
3. Titanic
4. The Godfather
5. The Lord of the Rings
6. Sound of Music
7. Dirty Dancing
8. The Wizard of Oz
9. It's a Wonderful Life
10. E.T.

Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings (counted as one movie, it seems), Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz would be the constants. Here's the top ten highest grossing movies of all time, when adjusted for inflation.

1. Gone With the Wind
2. Star Wars
3. Sound of Music
4. E.T.
5. Titanic
6. Ten Commandments
7. Jaws
8. Doctor Zhivago
9. The Exorcist
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Also, the following movies have all been the highest grossing movie ever at one point in their release.

1. Birth of Nation
2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
3. Gone With the Wind
4. 10 Commandments (possibly)
5. Ben-Hur (possibly)
6. The Sound of Music
7. The Godfather
8. The Sting
9. Jaws
10. Star Wars
11. E.T.
12. Titanic
13. Avatar
14. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Another thing to look at is the American Film Institute's Top 10 movies, of all time which are

1. Citizen Kane
2. Casablanca
3. The Godfather
4. Gone With the Wind
5. Lawrence of Arabia
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. The Graduate
8. On the Waterfront
9. Schindler's List
10. Singin' in the Rain

So that's another, two points for The Godfather, the Wizard of Oz, and Gone With the Wind. With the exception of The Exorcist, all of the top 10 adjusted films rank in the AFI top 100. (Ben-Hur would be the 10th highest grosser).

There's also the Academy Awards, considered the most prestigious of recognition in the movies.  The films to have wont the most awards have been, well, there's more than 10 so let's winnow it down a little. The highest grossing movies to have won Best Picture are

1. Gone With the Wind
2. The Sound of Music
3. Titanic
4. Ben-Hur
5. The Sting
6. The Godfather
7. Forrest Gump
8. Around the World in 80 Days
9. Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King
10. Greatest Show Show on Earth/My Fair Lady (They sold pretty much the same amount of tickets!)

Now if we look the films that have won the most Academy Awards you have

1. Ben-Hur
2. Titanic
3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kin
4. West Side Story
5.  The English Patient
6.  Gigi
7. The Last Emperor

And there are several films to have won 8, but three films that have shown up elsewhere are

8. Gone With the Wind
9. On the Waterfront
10.  My Fair Lady

And for good measure here's the Top 10 on imdb, if you consolidate The Godfather and Lord of the Rings movies you get

1. Shawshank Redemption
2. The Godfather
3. The Dark Knight
4. 12 Angry Men
5. Schindler's List
6. Lord of the Rings
7. Pulp Fiction
8. The Good The Bad and the Ugly
9. Fight Club
10.  Forrest Gump

So tabulating every time a movie has appeared on one of these top ten lists, you have

7 Times: Gone With the Wind
5 Times: Titanic, Lord of the Rings, The Sound of Music
4 Times: The Godfather, Star Wars, Ben-Hur
3 Times: Wizard of Oz, Forrest Gump, E.T. (possibly) 10 Commandments

So close to a top 10--11 if you include 10 Commandments, and that story would be well known through the Bible anyways. It's a pretty good list, in terms of translating it to Medieval American audiences; Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and The Godfather are quintessentially American, but have very old-fashioned themes.  Star Wars is of course, space age but Campbellian fantasy. Titanic has that tragic love/Atlantis morality tale going on. Perhaps the most questionable would be E.T., which is very science fiction, and has a lot of iconography and catch phrases that might be too modern. Also, has very little in terms of media that can be consumed on a low tech level (i.e. books for plays) Ben-Hur was regarded as a classic for years, is a period piece, was written by an American, and has  a lot to offer the faith crowd. But its overall popularity has seemed to be dwindling.

No comments:

Post a Comment