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Greatest Classic Movie Directors: 3 Directors Who Shaped Hollywood's Early Years

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 08:13 PM

Ask today's filmmakers, and they'll likely tell you their work was influenced by any number of classic movie directors.

Here is a look at three directors who helped shape Hollywood's early years.

1. Alfred Hitchcock

While "Psycho" (1960) and "The Birds" (1963) are listed among his most famous works, Hitchcock's work as a director actually dates back to the 1920s.

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Dubbed "The Master of Suspense," his career started to take off in the mid-1930s with such films as "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934), "The 39 Steps" (1935), and in 1941, his classic mystery thriller "Rebecca"(1940) — starring Laurence Oliver and Joan Fontaine — which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Both Entertainment Weekly and AMC TV rank Hitchcock No. 1 on their lists of "The 50 Greatest Directors of All Time." If you need more convincing that Hitchcock is indeed the greatest director of all time, consider that he also helmed "Rear Window," "Dial M for Murder," "North by Northwest," "Torn Curtain," and "Strangers on a Train."

2. Orson Welles

Three slots behind Hitchcock on AMC TV's "50 Greatest Directors" list is Orson Welles, known for making what many consider the greatest film of all time, "Citizen Kane" (1941). Wells wrote, directed, and starred in the epic drama about Charles Foster Kane, a publishing tycoon based on William Randolph Hearst. As acclaimed as the film was, it only earned one Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

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The film certainly captured the attention of Hearst, however. Reportedly, Hearst was so furious over the movie that he insisted all of his newspapers stop running "Citizen Kane" ads.

While "Citizen Kane" is Welles' most heralded work, the director is also responsible for such classics as the 1942 drama "The Magnificent Ambersons" and the crime thriller "Touch of Evil" (1958), and he delved into the world of William Shakespeare with compelling adaptations of "Macbeth" (1948) and "Othello" (1952).

3. Charles Chaplin

Before Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles hit their strides, Charles Chaplin had established himself as a Hollywood giant in front of and behind the camera.

Chaplin's first stint as a director came in 1914 with two silent movie shorts, and he went on to make 36 more shorts in the next nine years before launching into feature-length films.

Among Chaplin's most acclaimed features as a director are "City Lights" (1931), "Modern Times" (1936), and "The Great Director" (1940).

Turner Classic Movies cited the particular importance of Chaplin's "City Lights," a silent movie that held up with audiences despite the burgeoning popularity of talkies.

AMC TV ranks Chaplin No. 2 on its list of "The 50 Greatest Directors of All Time."

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Ask today's filmmakers, and they'll likely tell you their work was influenced by any number of classic movie directors. Here is a look at three directors who helped shape Hollywood's early years.
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2015-13-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 08:13 PM
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