The film at Number 11 on the Internet Archive Top 100 that I finished a few months ago was My Darling Clementine (see trailer above). When it came time to embed the movie in this post, I discovered that it has been removed from the Archive, probably because it isn’t in the public domain. I can’t find a good substitute for so lofty a spot, so let me tell you a story.
When I first began compiling this list from the Archive’s Feature Films collection, I saw that the set included a treasure trove of great English-language movies with Portuguese subtitles. The trouble was that many of them, though hidden by their translated Portuguese titles, were clearly not in the public domain; any spotlight on them would probably get them noticed and removed. I disqualified them from consideration.
Movies can leave the public domain. I’ve still got a copy of And Then There Were None (1945) that was PD when I downloaded it from the Archive but was later withdrawn from the PD. I’m using this spot in the list to commemorate and suggest the many feature films that come and go. So you can still watch a full movie, I’ve embedded one of those Portuguese specials. Please excuse me if I don’t mention its title. Enjoy it, if that’s legal, while you can.
Charles Laughton won an Oscar for his work in this sweeping historical drama of the infamous English monarch and his many queens. Elsa Lanchester, Laughton’s real-life wife, was especially strong as Anne of Cleves. The Private Life of Henry VIII was also nominated for best picture (they called it Outstanding Production back then) but lost to Cavalcade.
This was the first non-American film to win an Academy Award in any category, and the first to be nominated for best picture. Leonard Maltin gave this movie a perfect 4 stars, That plus strong support from IMDb users pushed it near the top of the Internet Archive Top 100.
A year before beginning his most famous role as Nick Charles in The Thin Man movies, William Powell finished another film series in which he starred another sophisticated detective, Philo Vance. The Kennel Murder Case, the series’ fifth entry, also starred Mary Astor, who would later turn in a memorable performance opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon.
This Internet Archive Top 100 movie was directed by Michael Curtiz, who won an Oscar in 1942 for Casablanca. The Kennel Murder Case is a prime example of a well-done 1930s murder mystery. Enjoy!
José Ferrer won a Tony Award in 1947 for his Broadway performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. Three years later, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in Cyrano de Bergerac, a fairly faithful adaptation of that play. Ferrer was the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar, and I wonder how many more Tony-Oscar winners there are of the same role.
The supporting players are nothing special, and the film was made in a hurry with limited sets, reflecting the accurate notion that a 1950 American audience would not be drawn to a title it couldn’t pronounce. Ferrer’s amazing work lifts this movie above all that to its high position in the Internet Archive Top 100.
Imagine Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and David Niven working together – can you imagine any three more dashing British* heroes? The Dawn Patrol was the only movie where they portrayed comrades, in this case Royal Flying Corps fighter pilots in World War I.
This was a remake of a 1930 film of the same name, and was co-written by Seton Miller, the original’s screenwriter. It also reused some of the aerial footage of the first movie. But its better-developed characters, action and star power make this version the one that landed on the Internet Archive Top 100.
*Flynn was born in Australia, but he was educated in England and seems pretty darned British to me.