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Friday, April 07, 2006

Casablanca whacks The Godfather on WGA list

Casablanca has been named the best screenplay of all-time by the Writers Guild of America. The Hollywood Reporter says the WGA unveiled its list of 101 greatest screenplays last night at its headquarters in Beverly Hills, and reports that the guild will post the full list later today on its website.

The top ten screenplays as voted by the WGA membership are Casablanca, The Godfather, Chinatown, Citizen Kane, All About Eve, Annie Hall, Sunset Boulevard, Network, Some Like it Hot and The Godfather Part II.

It's hard to quibble with any of those choices, but I am confused as to why John Horn, in his LA Times story, finds it necessary to mention that Brokeback Mountain and Crash didn't make the list. Horn is a top notch entertainment writer who's smart enough to know that neither of those screenplays comes even remotely close to greatness. I sense the tin ear (tin eye?) of an editor at work here.

For the record, I'd bump up Godfather II a bunch of slots and I'm curious to see where on the list The Maltese Falcon and Dr. Strangelove end up. It should also be interesting to see if films such as 2001 and Raging Bull, which routinely place highly on lists of best films, make the cut, given that they're arguably more director-driven than screenplay dependent.

I'd love to see the rapier wit of The Thin Man's rapid fire dialogue earn its screenplay a slot, and my dark horse candidate is Scott Frank's uncommonly intelligent script for Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight.

And last but not least, my pick for screenplay that should make the list but won't is Jim Uhls's adaptation (with the uncredited assistance of Andrew Kevin Walker) of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club.

UPDATE: The Maltese Falcon checks in at number 47 and Dr. Strangelove just misses the top 10, coming in 12th. No joy for Out of Sight or Fight Club. You can download the full list here.

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