I have decided to name my choice for Best Picture for the year of the first Academy Award (1927) My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). I'll see if I want to continue doing it for other years.
And the nominees from all the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die released in 1927 are...
The Jazz Singer
The Kid Brother
And the winner for the Best Picture of 1927 is…The General
I'm a big Buster Keaton fan so I'd feel a little bad not going with The General for this one. It may be the best comedy feature film of silent cinema. Funny, poignant, exciting and crafted by a genius at the top of his game, I'd be hard pressed not to go with this film despite some other great films from this year.
And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1927 is...Napoleon
This was a difficult choice. I'm still not sure I'm doing the right thing in taking the more consistent film Sunrise out of the slot it won in the first place! Fritz Lang's Metropolis might have snagged this award for me if the field had been weaker. No...no...I'm sticking with Napoleon. There is so much greatness in this film with it's epic storytelling, editing and the way Gance used a cast of thousands so effectively...maybe even more so than D. W. Griffith before him. The way the story is presented could only have been done as a silent. The film would have had to have been too slowed down to accommodate dialogue. I guess this was one less hurrah for silent epic cinema. The version I saw was enhanced greatly by the score from Carmine Coppola.
There are frustrations in that there are certain parts that could have been edited in the middle...Napoleon appears too noble and Godlike throughout and we see the rise of Napoleon...but wouldn't it have been nice to see the fall? I know Gance had planned to make subsequent Napoleon movies that never came to be...but it's still frustrating. Napoleon gets my award anyway.