The Guest List: Cindy Bruchman

The Guest List is back! Yes, you read that correctly. After a long hiatus, the first ever segment created here at The Cinema Monster has returned and it’s better than ever! Today we have Cindy Bruchman offering up her entry to The Guest List gods in hopes of bringing the segment back from the dead! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to Cindy’s outstanding site, you are seriously missing out. Honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more in depth, excellently written blog, and I’m sure this article will further cement that notion. The link to her site is above, so be sure to click on that and head on over!

Additionally, if you’re looking to submit your very own list to the segment, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail ( with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

Next week, we have Tom from Digital Shortbread featured on The Guest List, so look forward to that! Now, without further delay, I will now hand things over to Cindy!

Best Production Design in Film:

Production Design in film is the place to where the audience escapes. Creating the visual backdrop and supplying the context that moves the narrative forward, it’s the art behind the film.

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Thanks to Joseph at for accepting my “Top 10″ list about the history of Production Design in film. Shouldn’t a cardinal rule in films be to offer great artistic design? After all, film is a visual experience that clings to your consciousness; the chance to create an alternate reality is a powerful medium. When I think of beautiful films, the ones that pop into my head are settings which showcase the grandeur of nature. Flawed films are elevated when breathtaking natural settings such as Legends of the Fall or The Last Samurai surround mediocre scripts. Take a strong script and watch the film catapult to near-perfection like Last of the Mohicans. Some criticize directors for providing style over substance like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, but they get away with it because they create artistic wonderlands.

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Originally called “Best Art Design” the category was renamed in 2012. Since 1947, it has shared the award with “Set Decorator”. Looking at the Academy Award winners, I’ve tried to narrow down the ‘Best of the Decade’ from 1920s to the present. Since it’s my list, feel free to disagree. I’m just sticking with Oscar winners. Your favorite film might never have been nominated and unjustly so. Here’s my Top 10 by decade:

One: 1920s

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There were only two years to choose from, 1927/28 and 1928/29. I picked The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It’s a remake of the Thorton Wilder Pulitzer winning book. A great read. Have you seen the 2004 version starring Robert DeNiro?

Two: 1930s


In 1938, Warner Brothers released this swashbuckling classic starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and Basil Rothbone (What a name!) Filmed in Technicolor, the original men in green tights never looked so good.

Three: 1940s

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Now it gets harder. Citizen Kane and Rebecca were nominated but did not win. Those that did win, Gaslight, Anna and the King of Siam, and The Yearling had memorable art design. But, I’m going to pick my favorite ballet film, The Red Shoes (1948).

Four: 1950s

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Oh, boy. Look at these mighty contenders: Ben-Hur. On the Waterfront. Gigi. A Streetcar Named Desire. Sunset Boulevard. An American in Paris. How can I pick only one?

I’m going to go for my personal favorite. Dr. Nemo’s underwater world mesmerized me. That organ! Remember Bach’s Taccata in D? How perfect for the mysterious journey. My bet goes to the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre.

Five: 1960s

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Anthony Masters is the man. 2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated but did not win in 1968. Other winners throughout the decade included Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, and Camelot, but I have to go with my heart and proclaim West Side Story the winner of the decade.

Six: 1970s

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With grand choices like Cabaret, The Sting, and Patton to choose from, I opted for my film favorite, Star Wars.

Seven: 1980s

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This decade was easy to pick. Dangerous Liaisons was a perfect period piece.

Eight: 1990s

Schindler's List, Oliwia Dabrowska imagestiu

A fabulous decade for film, I suggest a tie for 1993, Schindler’s List and 1997, Titanic.

Nine: 2000s

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Okay, I know I’m supposed to pick Avatar, but I don’t want to. I’m not really a fan of the film. With CGI in full swing, worlds are magical places. It makes it harder to pick from Memoirs of a Geisha, Moulin Rouge! Chicago, Lord of the Rings I – 3, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I vote for the stunning world of the 1920s and classic Hollywood, The Aviator.

Ten: 2010s

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This should be easy, right? There’s only four choices: Alice in Wonderland, Hugo, Lincoln, and The Great Gatsby. Since I just picked Leo and the 1920s, I’ll skip it. Though I can do without Johnny Depp in make up, wonderland was a magical place and worthy of the award.

Would you dare to pick an overall winner from the 1920s to the present? CGI seems like cheating to me. It was harder to create colorful, magical places that were believable back in Hollywood’s classic era. That’s why The Red Shoes wins for me.

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on June 13, 2014, in The Guest List and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Great idea for a Top 10 list and terrific picks that take us through the many decades of films. 🙂

  2. Wonderful post by Cindy. I’m a follower of her blog and she produces marvelous content. Great guest post. Thanks for returning this series, Joseph 🙂

  3. Great post, Cindy! Now I’m looking forward to Tom’s contribution.

  4. Apart from Alice in Wonderland, which is terrible, this is a great list Cindy and a great read. Joseph, glad to see the guest list is back!

  5. Victor De Leon

    Fantastic picks! These films are all great examples of the wonderful detail and hard work that goes into the art of production design. Excellent post, Cindy and Joseph. I love these! 🙂

    • Thanks, Victor. I have more respect for “older” films before CGI–to create a world that’s breathtaking or fascinating is hard to do. Hardly anyone talks about production design; it’s the world look, as you know.

  6. AMAZING list, Cindy. Love this idea, and it looks like I have one or two to check out now too as a result. 😀

  7. Ooooh very cool idea, CIndy! Nicely done! And yaaayyyy the triumphant return of The Guest List!!! 😀

  8. Great list Ruth, The Aviator is an interesting and inspired choice! 🙂

    Great to see the Guest List back in action Joseph.

  9. Superb list Cindy! Some really great choices in there and good to see some love for Barry Lyndon 🙂

  10. Awesome list! Great job Cindy!

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