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The sheer volume of "top" and "best" lists should never be viewed as indicative that an inordinate amount of so-called "objective" research has been done to arrive at a logical hierarchy that will effectively squelch debate on any given topic. Released earlier this week, the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotes (as voted on by 1,500 persons in the entertainment industry) will no doubt generate much haranguing among the general movie-going populace and film critics and pundits everywhere. In fact, director and CEO of the American Film Institute, Jean Picker Firstenberg, remarked "We expect nothing less than a war of words as we reignite interest in classic American movies". The quote at the top of the list was the famous retort to Gone With the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara (as played by Vivien Leigh) offered by Rhett Butler (as played by Clark Gable), where he opines, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Overall, Humphrey Bogart has ten quotes on the ballot, and Al Pacino and the Marx Brothers each follow with six quotes each.The first link will take visitors to a news story from the Boston Globe on the release of the AFI list this past Tuesday. The second link will take users to a webpage created by the AFI that features the entire list and a short clip from the film Mrs. Miniver. The third link leads to a trenchant opinion piece from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (authored by film critic Ed Blank) that offers some informed commentary on the current state of writing for films and the problems of increasingly short attention spans. The fourth link leads to a very fine audio feature from NPR's All Things Considered which discusses the very phenomenon of the "top 100"-styled lists that seem to be everywhere in the world of pop culture. The fifth link leads to a very nice selection of trivia about the film Gone with the Wind, as offered by the Internet Movie Database site. While Orson Welles's immortal line "Rosebud" from the film Citizen Kane only made it to number seventeen on the AFI's recent list, the sixth site offers a very different perspective on this auteur. On this site, visitors can watch Welles attempt to make it through one of his legendary (or more accurately, infamous) television advertisements for Paul Masson wine.
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