films seen
average score
Germany - 79 years old
R.I.P. (1902 - 1981)
more info

William Wyler is the epitome of classic Hollywood. He couldn't be tied down to a single style or genre but he also didn't have a strong personal signature. Once you submerge yourself into cinema, his work is almost impossible to miss.


Funny Girl

1968 / 151m - USA
Drama, Romance, Musical
Funny Girl poster

Not a big Wyler fan, Funny Girl is no exception. Simple rise and fall story about a young, aspiring actress who wants to make it as a Ziegfeld girl. The show element of the film is lacking and the romance felt rather flat. The fact that it's stretched to 150 minutes only made it worse.

Wuthering Heights

1939 / 104m - USA
Drama, Romance
Wuthering Heights poster

Not the first adaptation of the novel, but certainly the most famous of the classic ones. The story should be familiar to most (certainly the people seeking out films like this), and Wyler's adaptation is pretty straightforward and to the point. It's all a bit too melodramatic for my taste, but it wasn't quite as bad as I'd feared.

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A stranger gets lost in the swamps during a pretty hefty storm and ends up at Wuthering Heights. It's the house of Heathcliff, a man torn apart by unrequited love. Heathcliff arrived at the house when he was an orphaned child. He immediately fell in love with Cathy, the daughter of the household.

It's a pretty dramatic tale with some less-than-desirable characters, and Wyler doesn't mind driving the drama straight into sentimentality. The setting and cinematography are quite moody though, more so than other films of its time. The film is also relatively short, certainly when comparing it to the other romantic powerhouse of that time (Gone with the Wind).


1959 / 212m - USA
Ben-Hur poster

The Heiress

1949 / 115m - USA
Drama, Romance
The Heiress poster

A romantic costume drama from the hand of William Wyler. He's a lauded director with quite a few epic films under his belt, but I can't say I've really enjoyed any of them. Classic American cinema really isn't my cup of tea and The Heiress is a perfect illustration of the things I don't like about it.

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Catherine is a young, naive girl, looking for a suitable man. When she meets Morris she is smitten with him, but her father is suspicious. Catherine's family is wealthy and he suspects that Morris is more interested in his daughter's money. On the other hand, he can't risk being wrong, ruining his daughter's relationship.

The film is very much dialogue-driven, the romance is cheesy and predictable and the film is at least 30 minutes too long. I will say that I'm not big on costume dramas to begin with, so Wyler was fighting an uphill battle from the start, but even then this was way too clammy and sentimental for my taste.

The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress poster

Part of a series of infotainment documentaries about the war, directed by a couple of very big names. That said, none of these docs are very good. Some of the footage is sure to have historic value, but the films itself are low on content and are little more that cheap propaganda. If war isn't your thing, just skip them.

Mrs. Miniver

1942 / 134m - USA
Drama, War
Mrs. Miniver poster

Old-fashioned, prim and proper. This could've been a prime British classic, only it was directed by a German native and funded with US money. I can't say these film do much for me, certainly not when they're stretched to 2+ hours and try to make a story out of a flower growing competition.

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Mrs. Miniver is a respected young woman in a small British village. She lives there with her husband and three kids, but her life takes a nasty turn when the war starts. Her husband and oldest son join the army, while Mrs. Miniver stays behind. She does her best to contribute to the war effort in her own way.

This is the type of film that relies on the audience liking its characters, otherwise it all falls to pieces. Drama becomes cheap sentiment and the runtime turns into a real hurdle. I didn't care for any of the characters and was bored out of my wits. Then again, it was nominated for plenty of Oscars (and won one too), so I'm not that surprised.

The Letter

1940 / 95m - USA
Thriller, Crime
The Letter poster

Bette Davis, an acquired taste. She often acts as if she's doing a silent, which isn't all that fitting for a film like this. Especially as the film leans heavily on the dialogue. Add to that the fact that I'm not a big noir fan, and The Letter was quite an ordeal to get through. Many classic noirs are like that for me.

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Leslie Crosbie is the wife of a wealthy plantation owner. One night, she shoes a man. Once in her house, the second time when he tries to escape. The man dies on the spot and Leslie is the prime suspect. She claims he tries to assault her, but there's a letter that seems to suggest something else.

I'm not a Davis fan, the rest of the cast isn't all that great either. There's a little excitement at the very start, from there on the film is mostly carried by endless dialogues. I didn't care much for the plot, and with that, there's not a lot left to enjoy. Another poor (classic) noir, which seems to be par for the course at this point.


1938 / 104m - USA
Drama, Romance
Jezebel poster

An old Bette Davis classic. It's another one of these overly talkative 30s drama/romances, where people just drone on forever about the most inconsequential things. The levels of sentimentality and the lack of anything visceral make this a very tough sell for me, but I can't say I was really surprised.

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Julie is a headstrong woman who doesn't really care about people's expectations and opinions. When she arrives at a ball in a bright red dress, she shocks everyone there, including her fiancé. He wants nothing to do with Julie after this, but she's very determined to win him back.

Davis' performance is decent, but her character isn't all that interesting, and neither are the challenges she faces. There's not much depth to the film, the dialogue is predominant and the sentimentality takes away from the dramatic impact. The 30s are one of the weakest film decades out there, not my kind of cinema.


1936 / 101m - USA
Dodsworth poster

Classic romance is never all that romantic. People in these films tended to be rather practical, they had little trouble flirting and cheating, and they could change partners in a matter of seconds. I always find it hard to root for them, or really care who ends up with who at the end, which is kind of the point.

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When Sam Dodsworth finally retires from the automobile industry, he plans to go on a trip to Europe with his wife, and see something of the world. It doesn't take long for the two to figure out that they don't fit well together after all, and they start seeing other people during their vacation.

The characters are rather annoying, there's tons of dialogue to wade through and the cinematography is mostly functional. We're not really seeing all that much of Europe either, so in the end, there wasn't much that appealed to me. I've said it before, but the transition from silent cinema to talkies was pretty damn rough, Dodsworth is just more proof of that.

Roman Holiday

1953 / 118m - USA
Comedy, Romance
Roman Holiday poster

The Best Years of Our Lives

1946 / 170m - USA
Drama, Romance, War
The Best Years of Our Lives poster