References to

by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's Comments
About Greatest Films (Filmsite) and Its Reviews

The 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert, is best known for his partnership with late critic-colleague Gene Siskel on their long-running 1986-1999 TV show "Siskel & Ebert" (afterwards known as "Roger Ebert at the Movies," and now known as "Ebert & Roeper" with co-host Richard Roeper). They were formerly hosts of PBS's "Sneak Previews" and the syndicated "At the Movies"(1982-1986).



Roger Ebert's Article:
"Top 20 Movie Sites 1997"
"The Greatest Films of All Time represents an astonishing amount of thought and work by Tim Dirks, who is so modest he doesn't even byline his detailed, evocative essays on great films. The site offers many ways of looking at important films, but the centerpiece is his series of 100 long reviews of classics, including downloadable still photos, highly extensive plot summaries, and a lot of quotes (he must have watched the movies with a tape recorder at his side). This site is useful for film students or others seeking an entry point into film history. He has essays on genres, periods and types of movies, and suggested titles in each area, and his sheer love for the movies comes across in his accuracy and energy. His essay on John Ford's My Darling Clementine, for example, clocks in at 6,500 words and includes a postscript on differences between the real gunfight at the OK Corral and the movie version."

JUNE, 1999

Roger Ebert's Article:
"Rule of Thumb" in a section
titled 'The Greatest Greatest Site'

"Tim Dirks's 100 Greatest Films site represents a labor of love. He has viewed his choice of the 100 greatest American films and synopsized them in great detail, including big chunks of dialogue (this is a good place to check an exact quote). Each long essay is adorned by posters from the movies. And Dirks doesn't let his ego get in the way. These aren't reviews or opinions but descriptions. His taste is very mainstream - but, hey, it's his site."

References to Filmsite in Ebert's The Great Movies

Notorious (1946):
"The great erotic moment in Vertigo is the one where the man kisses the woman of his fantasy, while the room whirls around him. There is a parallel scene in Notorious, and it was famous at the time as 'the longest kiss in the history of the movies.' It was not, however, a single kiss, as Tim Dirks points out in his essay on the film ( The production code forbade a kiss lasting longer than three seconds, and so Bergman and Grant alternate kissing with dialogue and eyeplay, while never leaving one another's arms. The sequence begins on a balcony overlooking Rio, encompasses a telephone call and a discussion of the dinner menu, and ends with a parting at the apartment door, taking three minutes in all. The three-second rule led to a better scene; an actual 180-second kiss might look "
(August 17, 1997)

Red River (1948):
"The critic Tim Dirks has pointed out the parallels between their conflict and the standoff between Capt. Bligh and Fletcher Christian in "Mutiny on the Bounty." And indeed, the Borden Chase screenplay makes much of the older man's pride and the younger one's need to prove himself."
(March 1, 1998)

Gone with the Wind (1939):
"...Consider the early scene where they first lay eyes on one another during the barbecue at Twelve Oaks. Rhett "exchanges a cool, challenging stare with Scarlett,'' observes the critic Tim Dirks. "She notices him undressing her with his eyes: 'He looks as if--as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy.' ''
(June 21, 1998)

Trouble in Paradise (1932):
"Dialogue quoted from Tim Dirks' great films site at"
(October 11, 1998)

Patton (1970):
"...Although the role was offered to other actors who were bigger stars (critic Tim Dirks lists Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum and John Wayne), it is unimaginable without Scott."
(March 17, 2002)

Annie Hall (1977):
"Quoted dialogue is from Tim Dirks' invaluable"
(May 12, 2002)

Unforgiven (1992):
"Dialogue source: Tim Dirks'"
(July 21, 2002)

The Thin Man (1934):
"Dialogue above is quoted from Tim Dirks' invaluable"
(December 22, 2002)

The Birth of a Nation (1915):
"In his consideration of the film at, Tim Dirks specifies not only cross-cutting but no less than 16 ways in which Griffith was an innovator, ranging from his night photography to his use of the iris shot and color tinting."
(April 13, 2003 and June 16, 2004)

Alien (1979):
"The first time we get a good look at the alien, as it bursts from the chest of poor Kane (John Hurt). It is unmistakably phallic in shape, and the critic Tim Dirks mentions its "open, dripping vaginal mouth.""
(October 26, 2003)

The Shining (1980):
"...But there is a deleted scene from "The Shining" (1980) that casts Wendy's reliability in a curious light. Near the end of the film, on a frigid night, Jack chases Danny into the labyrinth on the hotel grounds. His son escapes, and Jack, already wounded by a baseball bat, staggers, falls and is seen the next day, dead, his face frozen into a ghastly grin. He is looking up at us from under lowered brows, in an angle Kubrick uses again and again in his work. Here is the deletion, reported by the critic Tim Dirks: "A two-minute explanatory epilogue was cut shortly after the film's premiere. It was a hospital scene with Wendy talking to the hotel manager; she is told that searchers were unable to locate her husband's body."..."
(June 18, 2006)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982):
"... The action follows Deckard, a "blade runner" who is assigned to track down and kill six rebel replicants who have returned illegally from off-worlds to earth, and are thought to be in Los Angeles. (The movie never actually deals with more than five replicants, however, unless, as the critic Tim Dirks speculates, Deckard might be the sixth)..."
(November 3, 2007)

Roger Ebert & Tim Dirks
Thumbs Up: April 18, 2002, in San Francisco,
l. to r.: Roger Ebert, Tim Dirks
Roger Ebert & Tim Dirks
The Great Movies
Autographed by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's The Great Movies Books

Film critic Roger Ebert has penned several books on cinema, including popular video guides and four editions of his writings: The Great Movies,The Great Movies II, The Great Movies III, and The Great Movies IV (see below), based upon his Chicago Sun-Times website articles and other reviews on The Great Movies. See Ebert's Website "The Great Movies."

The Great Movies, by Roger Ebert, 2002
A compilation of 100 mini-essays on "The Great Movies," originally posted (since 1997) on Pulitzer winner Ebert's website. Includes "Citizen Kane," "The Third Man," "Casablanca," "Schindler's List," "The General," "Metropolis," "The Godfather," and many more, with 100 carefully selected illustrations.
The Great Movies II, by Roger Ebert, 2005
Ebert's second collection of 100 essays on great movies, including "12 Angry Men," "West Side Story," "The Grapes of Wrath," "King Kong," "Annie Hall," "Mean Streets," "The Birth of a Nation," "Sunrise," and many more. Again with 100 selected b&w illustrations.
The Great Movies III, by Roger Ebert, 2010
A compilation of 100 mini-essays on "The Great Movies," originally posted (since 1997) on Pulitzer winner Ebert's website. Includes "Top Hat," "The Band Wagon," "The Godfather, Part II," "The Last Picture Show," "Groundhog Day," "Phantom of the Opera," "Last Tango in Paris," "Safety Last," and many more.
The Great Movies IV, by Roger Ebert, 2016
A compilation of 62 brief mini-essays on "The Great Movies," on Pulitzer winner Ebert's website. Includes "The Cabinet of Caligari," "Viridiana," "Superman," "Pink Floyd: The Wall," "The Big Lebowski", "Seven" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and many more.

References to Filmsite in Ebert's Answer Man Column

Answer Man Column: (May 7, 2000)
To Have and Have Not (1944):
Question: "In the movie "To Have and Have Not", why does Lauren Bacall's character call Humphrey Bogart "Steve" when his character's name is Harry Morgan?"
Answer: "According to Tim Dirks (whose web site,, is a trove of information about classic movies), Bogart and Bacall call each other "Slim" and "Steve," which in real life were the pet names of the director, Howard Hawks, and his own wife."

Answer Man Column: (September 10, 2000)
Jaws (1975):
Question: "There is an unfortunate typo in your Great Movie review of "Jaws," when you cite this dialogue: "I pulled a tooth the size of a shot glass out of the rectal of a boat out there, and it was the tooth of a Great White." I believe it was not a "rectal" but a "wrecked hull.""
Answer: "The North Pole is melting and this you're worried about? That's a mistake but not a typo. I thought I heard "rectal" and double-checked with Tim Dirks's invaluable Greatest Films of All Time site ( He also heard Richard Dreyfuss say "rectal." I asked Dirks for his response. He writes: "Here's the quoted line from the revised final draft screenplay, found on the web: 'I just pulled a shark tooth the size of a shot glass out of the hull of a wrecked boat out there.' In playing the laserdisc version myself, I heard 'the rectal of a boat.' Since the final screenplay version does use the words 'hull of a wrecked boat,' I'm assuming that Richard Dreyfuss just reversed the words. However, 'wrecked hull' sure sounds like 'rectal,' doesn't it, especially in Dreyfuss' rapid-fire mouth?"

Answer Man Column: (November 5, 2000)
Singin' in the Rain (1952):
Question: "My aunt in Minneapolis, Dolores DeFore, has a question for you. She is a big fan of "Singin' in the Rain" and recently saw the re-released version at a local theater. But she was aghast to read in a local paper that Debbie Reynolds didn't do her own singing in the movie. If not, why not, since she has a great voice?"
Answer: "Debbie Reynolds has a great voice but was not a seasoned pro when, at 19, she got a lead in the greatest of all musicals. She had her work cut out for her with nonstop dancing lessons to keep up with the gifted hoofers Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. Some but not all of her songs in the movie were dubbed. According to Tim Dirks of the Greatest Films website (, her singing voice was dubbed by Betty Noyes in "Would You?" and "You Are My Lucky Star." And here's a twist. Remember the big scene at the end where Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan) has a speaking voice so raspy that Kathy Selden (Reynolds) stands behind the curtain and dubs it live? Dirks says: "Debbie's speaking voice as Kathy--when impersonating Lina Lamont's lines--was dubbed by Jean Hagen herself!""

Answer Man Column: (December 17, 2000)
Key Largo (1948):
Question: "A friend tells me that in "Key Largo" (1948), Edward G. Robinson makes a speech to Bogart that is timely right now. Here's how he quotes it: "Let me tell you about Florida politicians. I make them. I make them out of whole cloth just like a tailor makes a suit. I get their name in the newspaper, I get them some publicity and get them on the ballot. Then after the election we count the votes, and if they don't turn out right, we recount them and recount them again until they do." Is this on the level?"
Answer: "Your friend's approximation, which has been forwarded widely on the Web and was quoted Dec. 10 in the New York Times, is a shameless rewrite tailored to fit the news. The words "Florida," "recount" and "politician" do not appear in the correct quote. Tim Dirks, whose Web site ( is an invaluable repository of movie descriptions and dialogue, tells me that Robinson (a gangster) is speaking to a roomful of characters (including Bogart), while trying to intimidate and ridicule the local deputy. Robinson says: "Why, you hick, I'll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you ever get a ten buck raise. Yeah. How many of those guys in office owe everything to me? I made them. Yeah, I made 'em, just like a tailor makes a suit of clothes. I take a nobody, see? Teach him what to say, get his name in the papers. I pay for his campaign expenses. Dish out a lotta groceries and coal, get my boys to bring the voters out, and then count the votes over and over again till they added up right, and he was elected. Yeah. And what happens? Did he remember when the going got tough, when the heat was on? No, he didn't wanna. All he wanted was to save his own dirty neck....Yeah. 'Public Enemy' - he calls me! Me, who gave him his 'Public' all wrapped up with a fancy bow on it!"

Answer Man Column: (March 25, 2001)
The Taming of the Shrew (1966):
Question: In your review of "Down to Earth," you make a reference to the old Hollywood joke about the credits in "The Taming of the Shrew" (1929), which supposedly read "screenplay by William Shakespeare, with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor." I've seen the recut 1966 version of the film, and there is no such credit. Is this pure myth, or are there variant prints floating around out there with this credit?
Answer: I've heard the story countless times, and double-checked the credit on the Internet. I'm sure you're right about the version you saw, but for an overall verdict I turned to Tim Dirks, whose is a trove of accurate info about movies. He tells me controversy rages: "The legend is debunked on the Internet Movie Database by James Moffat of Melbourne, Australia, who says the credit line is 'pure myth.' But The IMDb's listing for the film prints the credit information. Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide says, "This is the film with the infamous credit, 'By William Shakespeare, with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor.'" And Baz Luhrmann, director of "Romeo + Juliet," confirms the credit in an interview at"

Answer Man Column: (June 16, 2002)
Network (1976):

Question: In the last Answer Man, you discussed Amanda Peet's chances of an Academy nomination for her small role in "Changing Lanes" by referring to Beatrice Straight's win for "Network." However, you neglected to mention Dame Judi Dench's win for Supporting Actress for "Shakespeare In Love," during which she was on screen for all of 7 or 8 minutes. At the time, this was considered the shortest amount of screen time for any Oscar winner. I'll have to rewatch "Network," but I think Dench wins.
Answer: Who had the shortest Oscar-wining performance? The AM turned to Tim Dirks, proprietor of the Greatest Films website (, which has comprehensive info on hundreds of great American movies. His reply:
"Beatrice Straight as Louise Schumacher in 'Network' (1976) appears in three scenes that equal about 7 1/2 minutes of total screen time, with eight speeches totaling 260 words. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth in 'Shakespeare in Love' (1998) appears in four scenes that equal about 10 minutes of total screen time, with 14 speeches totalling 446 words. Verdict: The Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner with less screen time AND less dialogue is Beatrice Straight in 'Network'."

Answer Man Column: (January 9, 2005)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936):
Question: I was given Frank Capra's "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town" on DVD. I eagerly put the disc in for viewing but was disappointed. There appear to be a number of scenes missing from the original: (1) an altercation during his society/opera gala, (2) the scheme between the lawyer, the nose-twitching Semple and his wife, and (3) possibly another scene leading up to Mr. Deeds giving away plots of land to folks willing to become self sufficient through farming. Am I crazy, or were these scenes lost in the years before many of these old gems were preserved?
Answer: "You may be a victim of the Phantom Scene Phenomenon, in which we "remember" scenes that are described, implied, or happen offscreen. It has been so long since I saw "Mr. Deeds" that I turned for a definitive opinion to Tim Dirks, whose awesome website ( contains detailed descriptions of 300 great American films, along with many other riches. He writes: "There is always the possibility that the original theatrical release of 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' contained some scenes that were edited out, or have since been lost. Secondly, the question raises the bigger question of people's memories after viewing a film. I find that when filmgoers try to recollect various scenes from films, their memories invariably play tricks on them, and they cannot recollect accurately. I believe that this person has falsely remembered what the 'original' film contained. Regarding the three scenes in question: (1) This scene exists in my DVD copy. The 'altercation' is merely an off-screen action, however. There is no on-screen altercation in the screenplay, either. (2) This scene also exists in my DVD copy of the film, although it appears earlier in the film before the 'altercation' scene. (3) This is an unclear description, so I can't tell what scene(s) she is remembering. is currently selling a DVD version with a different cover. Whether it is different or not from my version is something I can't compare."

Answer Man Column: (August 16, 2007)
The Godfather (1972):
Question: "I have a "Godfather" question that NO ONE can answer. In "The Godfather," just before Michael leaves to kill Sollozzo and police Capt. McCluskey, the family is in the Corleone home, trying to determine where Michael will have this meeting. There are six people in the room: Michael, Sonny, Tom, Clemenza, Tessio and an unidentified person wearing a brown suit. He has only seven seconds of screen time and no dialogue. Who is he? Only the top "family" members would be there as they discuss killing a police captain. Why would anyone outside of the elite group be there?"
Answer: "I am reminded of the great movie line, "And there was another man -- a third man." You list all the possible identities for the sixth man, and explain why it couldn't be any of them. I asked Tim Dirks, author-manager of, which supplies countless invaluable plot details, and he replies: "It looks like Phil Giordano is searching for some 'logical' answer. And he has already dismissed guesses that may be correct. I don't think there's going to be a definitive answer to his question, because of the way he has made assumptions about who the person must be.""

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