Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The 100 Project: Top 25 Movies of the 1950s

And The 100 Project rolls on. This time we're tackling the decade that immediately comes to mind when I think of the iconic combination of mom and apple pie. However, as this batch of films tells us, things weren't all hunky-dory. In fact, many of them share a general sense of paranoia. Or, is it just that I tend to like those sorts of films more? Those of you who are far more versed in the films of this era than I can let me know. Anyhoo, here they are...

My Top 25 Movies of the 1950s
  • The number of films, I've watched for this decade is more than double the number I watched for the 1940s, hence the reason this list includes 25 movies instead of 10.
  • This is the first decade to include a film with a black protagonist and a predominantly black cast.
  • There are four musicals on this list and two more as honorable mentions. I'm fairly certain no other decade will boast as many.
  • Six of the films on this list, plus three of the honorable mentions, have received a remake during my lifetime.

25. The Day the Earth Stood Still
(1951, Robert Wise)
This is a slow burning sci-fi allegory warning us of our own self-destructive ways. The film makes no bones about letting us know that the rate at which we will destroy ourselves has increased exponentially since the dawn of The Atomic Age. Sadly, this is still a very relevant issue which makes it all the more disappointing that the 2008 remake sucked so badly.

24. Ben-Hur
(1959, William Wyler)
This one is an epic is every sense of the word. It’s a redemption story told on a grand scale, sparing no expense. However, the story drags a bit and becomes a chore to get through. After all, it stretches out for three-and-a-half hours. So why is it here? Two words: chariot race.

23. Lady and the Tramp
(1955, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson, and Clyde Geronimi)
An uppity lady from a wealthy family, meets a rough-around-the-edges guy from the wrong side of town. Romance ensues. Of course, these are dogs, not people. The story still works as good as it ever did. And there has never been a more romantic movie moment than the spaghetti kiss.

22. High Noon
(1952, Fred Zinnemann)
The story is simple. A bad guy and his gang are headed to a small town so he can take revenge on the man who locked him up. The magic is in its telling. The plot plays out in real-time, the oldest of the movies that I’ve seen that use this technique, and builds beautifully until we inevitably get to the point when the clock strikes high noon.

21. The Fly
(1958, Kurt Neumann)
What happens when man tries to play God? This film warns us that nothing good can come of it. A man who has built a matter transportation device is the unlucky genius, in this case. The problem is a fly got into the machine while he was using it and things got all screwy. It has an odd place in my own viewership because it was followed by an inferior sequel, then thirty years later, got a superior remake.

20. A Streetcar Named Desire
(1951, Elia Kazan)
I was introduced to this through the play which I read in high school. After the class finished it, the teacher let us watch this smoldering inferno. At first, I thought Marlon Brando’s voice was just too silly sounding, and too much of a mismatch with the person I was seeing, to be anything other than funny. By the end, he was a terrifying figure I couldn’t stand the sight of. That’s a great performance.

19. Godzilla
(1954, Ishirô Honda)
Often, the best horror flicks are allegories addressing our real-world fears. Such is the case with Godzilla. In a similar fashion to The Day the Earth Stood Still, it tackles nuclear war. It does so in a more entertaining fashion using a giant, destructive monster in place of magnanimous aliens. Inadvertently, it spawned a franchise that’s continued to entertain the world for the next sixty-plus years.

18. The Seventh Seal
(1957, Ingmar Bergman)
A man, a knight who fought in the Crusades no less, plays Death in a game of chess. It sounds too goofy to work when you say it out load. Somehow, director Ingmar Berman makes it work. Admittedly, this is probably the most polarizing film here because it’s a deep, ponderous piece of art. It’s the type of film I can imagine causes Terrence Malick masturbate furiously. Still, against my normal tendencies, I enjoyed it. A lot.

17. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
(1953, Howard Hawks)
A pair of besties, played by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, leave their small hometown and head to the big city in search of the men of their dreams. It’s an extremely fun musical that showcases what made each of these ladies the icons they would become. (My Full Review)

16. Animal Farm
(1954, Joy Batchelor, John Halas)
The animals take over the farm from their abusive owner. Then the real trouble begins. It’s a propaganda film, financed by the CIA no less, warning against the rise of the Soviet Union during the early days of The Cold War. I tend to stay away from such movies, but this one is clever enough to work even if you have no knowledge of its history or intentions.

15. Paths of Glory
(1957, Stanley Kubrick)
War is tricky business. It’s especially tricky when those in charge try to blame their subordinates for their own failures. That’s what we have here. It’s part battlefield movie, part courtroom drama, and all Kirk Douglas.

14. Rashomon
(1950, Akira Kurosawa)
A man is killed and his wife raped. The film tries to piece together what happened as each of three travelers relays the story from their own recollection. Every plot unfolds. Kurosawa unfolds his in brilliant fashion.

13. All About Eve
(1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Eve meets her idol, aging star Margo Channing, and immediately sets about trying to replace her in every way possible while being conspicuous as possible. One of several movies on this list to concentrate on a fading icon, this one takes back-biting to a whole new level.

12. Singin’ in the Rain
(1952, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly)
I knew this was a highly regarded musical when I first sat down to watch it a few years ago. I had even seen the magical title number several times. What I didn’t know what was that it’s a love-letter to and examination of the Hollywood of the time when silent movies were on their way out and talkies on their way in. It’s about embracing change. And love, of course.

11. Imitation of Life
(1959, Douglas Sirk)
There’s a lot going on here. All the relationships jostle for position, threatening to take down the people having them. Most known for depicting the struggles of an interracial child, it also shows the difficulties of mother-daughter relationships, a friendship between a white woman and a black, and the emotional toll taken by the chase for fame, money, and romance. (My Full Review)

10. Seven Samurai
(1954, Akira Kurosawa)
This film is about a group of samurais who take on the task of protecting the population of a small village from a pack of ruthless bandits. As actiony as that sounds, this is really about its brilliant character development. Take away the swords and add some six shooters and you get what it really is, a western…a magnificent one, at that.

9. Some Like it Hot
(1959, Billy Wilder)
This is considered one of the greatest comedies of all-time, and for good reason. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are marvelous as a pair of friends who go on the run after witnessing a mob hit. They disguise themselves as women and things get even more complicated when Marilyn Monroe wanders into their sphere. We wind up with an excellent movie as progressive as it is funny.

8. Rear Window
(1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
On the surface, this is a movie about a guy whose stuck in his apartment with a broken leg and thinks he witnessed a murder in the apartment across from his. It’s really a dissertation on voyeurism, pointing its accusatory finger right at us in the viewing audience.

7. Carmen Jones
(1954, Otto Preminger)
Let’s take the classic opera “Carmen,” and flip it on its ear. We’ll set it during World War II and give it an all-black cast. You know what? That’s just crazy enough to work. And it does thanks to the insane talent and chemistry of stars Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. For her efforts, Dandridge became the first African-American woman to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

6. North By Northwest
(1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
At its core, this is just a case of mistaken identity. Hitchcock elevates it by injecting it with his trademark suspense, widening his scope to include a wider playing field than he ever has, and stepping out of his comfort zone a bit to make an all-out action flick.

5. Sunset Boulevard
(1950, Billy Wilder)
Once again, we look at a star past her prime. Like Singin’ in the Rain this one is about a silent star trying to make the transition to talkies. Unlike that movie, this one goes dark as we witness a woman having a breakdown, brilliantly played by Gloria Swanson.

4. The 400 Blows
(1959, Francois Truffaut)
We get to pal around with a little boy often left to his own devices. As you might imagine, he imagines to get himself into some trouble. This is the directorial debut of Truffaut and it is nothing short of riveting. (My Full Review)

3. The Searchers
(1956, John Ford)
After most of his brother’s family has been killed, a Civil War vet goes looking for his niece who was abducted by “Injuns.” What follows is a surprisingly thoughtful examination of prejudice. The legendary John Wayne may never have been better.

2. Vertigo
(1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
This is stunt casting at its very best. We take Jimmy Stewart, the ultimate gee-willikers, golly gee personality and makes him a dude with a pretty creepy obsession. Worse, he acts on it. It’s an endlessly compelling movie that many think is the director dealing with his own sexual issues in a most open fashion.

1. 12 Angry Men
(1957, Sidney Lumet)
Lumet takes a film built on men talking in a room they never leave and somehow makes it the most intriguing thing you’ve ever seen. While the actors act, delivering some fantastic performances, he subtly shrinks the wall of this room and induces claustrophobia in the viewer. It’s a master class in how to be an unobtrusive, yet supremely effective director.

Honorable Mentions: The Caine Mutiny, Cinderella, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Killing, Sleeping Beauty, The Ten Commandments

Click Below for More From the 100 Project


  1. I've only seen 4 movies from the list but I am in agreement with your #1. 12 Angry Men is a fantastic film.

  2. This is an awesome list. I've seen most of these and one of them is a Blind Spot that I'm gonna do in October. I'm glad to see a couple of films by Kurosawa and a Kubrick film in the list. Making something like this would be tough as I would have to figure out which films by Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi to put in as well as all of those films by Hitchcock.

    1. Thanks! Don't think I've seen any movies by either of the Japanese directors you mentioned. Thanks for making me aware of them.

  3. "It’s the type of film I can imagine causes Terrence Malick masturbate furiously" lmao. I have this film on my Blind Spot list for next year.

    You have a few of my favorites on here. 12 Angry Men, Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot. Excellent films!

    1. I'm looking forward to your take on The Seventh Seal. It seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing.

  4. I love your picks and have seen most of these thankfully. I have to add, Strangers on a Train, The Quiet Man, The Bandwagon, Silk Stockings, The Defiant Ones, Witness for the Prosecution, Operation Petticoat, War of the Worlds, Bad Day at Black Rock and there are more but you chose some great ones

    1. Strangers on a Train is definitely on my shortlist. I've seen parts, but not all of The Defiant Ones. I need to go back to it. Thanks!

  5. UGH the movies on this list that I've seen I LOVE. Singin' in the Rain is my #1 of all time, so obviously it would be my #1 for the decade, but I can't argue with just about any of these.

    Others I would consider for my own list of Best of the 50s include: Father of the Bride, Orpheus, In A Lonely Place, Summer Stock, Born Yesterday, An American in Paris, The African Queen, The Quiet Man, The Bad and the Beautiful, M. Hulot's Holiday, Ugetsu, La Strada, The Earrings of Madame de..., Senso, Sabrina, A Star is Born, Diabolique, Marty, Summertime, Rebel Without a Cause, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Nights of Cabiria, Mon Oncle, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Auntie Mame, Floating Weeds, and The Red Balloon. And The Ten Commandments would be in my top five, above Ben-Hur.

    In case it wasn't obvious, I LOVE this decade of film.

    1. Singin' in the Rain is a wonderful film. No argument from me if that's your number 1.

      The African Queen, Marty, A Star is Born, and Rebel Without a Cause are all films I plan on seeing sooner rather than later.

      There's a lot to love about it.

  6. Super list Dell. I’m shamed to say that I’ve yet to see Rashomon but all the others are highly worthy of inclusion. Well I have to agree on Ben-Hur which outside of the chariot race and Stephen Boyd I found mostly a crashing bore…and I LOVE Biblical pictures. I respect the artistry of Vertigo without really feeling much affection for it. While there are other musicals I prefer to Singin’ in the Rain it is a joyful film and Jean Hagen is without peer as Lina Lamont.

    Well here we go again! Knowing that this was coming and loving this decade almost as much as the 40’s I prepared in advance so sorry if I do go on! The fifties are almost as loaded as the 40’s were though with the studio system starting to fray at the edges it was a bit more variable. Still a massive amount of fine films. Again my pick for best of each year is marked with an *.

    1. Thanks! Rashomon is fantastic. I hope you get to see it soon. Let's do it!

  7. 1950-One of the richest years for film all around and particularly film noir and I have a tie for number one.
    All About Eve-A great stage star (Bette Davis) unknowingly takes a female Uriah Heep (Anne Baxter) under her wing. Much backstabbing and wonderful dialogue follow.

    The Breaking Point-Superior to the 1944 version of Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not contains John Garfield’s finest performance.

    The Damned Don't Cry-Joan Crawford vehicle of a poor ambitious girl who manipulates her way to a plush life amongst gangster then finds herself in too deep but “The Damned Don’t Cry!”

    The Great Manhunt aka State Secret-Involving political thriller with some nice twists along the way.

    In a Lonely Place*-Perhaps the darkest noir out there. A writer (Humphrey Bogart) is cleared by his neighbor (Gloria Grahame) when he’s suspected in the murder of a young waitress. They become involved but his erratic behavior makes her start to wonder. Brooding, nihilistic and great.

    No Man of Her Own-The origin story was titled “I Married a Dead Man” so that should give you some idea of what’s in store.

    No Way Out-Sidney Poitier’s film debut is a harsh drama of severe racial tension. He’s good but outshone by two brilliant performances from Richard Widmark (deeply unsettling) and Linda Darnell who is Oscar worthy.

    Sunset Blvd.-Tragedy of a once great star (Gloria Swanson) who has become lost in a fantasy world of her former glory and the young writer who becomes enmeshed in her web overseen by her faithful butler Max. Powerful and sad.

    Three Came Home-True story of an American woman’s imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.

    Under My Skin-Garfield’s second Hemingway fable this year is an unjustly obscure story of a boy’s adulation of his troubled jockey father.

    Special Mentions:
    The Lawless-Decent film of racial prejudice and mob rule in a small town would have benefited from a stronger leading man but still a good film with a super supporting turn by Lee Patrick.

    La Ronde-I’m not the biggest fan of this film but it is considered a masterwork and hugely influential.

    So Long at the Fair-At the turn of the last century a brother and sister go to Paris for an exhibition, they check in to a hotel and in the morning the brother has vanished and everyone insists to the sister he never was there.

    Summer Stock-Judy Garland’s final MGM film was a troubled production to put it mildly, it took six weeks to film a number that had originally been schedule to take six days! You can visibly notice Judy’s weight fluctuate not only scene to scene but sometimes within the same one, but it contains her famous Get Happy number and Gene Kelly’s intricate dance with a newspaper.

    Annie Get Your Gun, The Asphalt Jungle, The Baron of Arizona, Born Yesterday, Cage of Gold , Caged, The Clouded Yellow, D.O.A., Dark City, Father of the Bride, For Heaven's Sake, The Furies, The Glass Menagerie, Gun Crazy, Harriet Craig, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, Louisa, The Men, Morning Departure, Night and the City, One Way Street, Paid in Full, Panic in the Streets, The Second Face, Seven Days to Noon, The Sun Sets at Dawn, Three Secrets, Trio, The Underworld Story, Union Station, Variety Lights, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Winchester ’73, Woman on the Run, Young Man with a Horn

    1. A few of these are on my growing "I've been meaning to watchlist." You've made me interested in some others, too, like In a Lonely Place, No Man of Her Own, No Way Out, and Three Came Home.

    2. No Way Out was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and since this was also the year he helmed All About Eve it kind of got lost in the massive accolades heaped on that film. Plus it was quite provocative in its look at racial tensions so its reputation hasn't built over the years as Eve's has but it is completely worth your time.

      So are the other three you mentioned but In a Lonely Place is really just a knockout of a film.

  8. I've seen all of these but one--I haven't seen this version of Imitation of Life (I've seen the one from the '30s with Claudette Colbert).

    Here are a few others, roughly by year:

    Winchester '73
    The Asphalt Jungle
    Ace in the Hole
    Born Yesterday
    No Way Out
    A Place in the Sun
    The Lavender Hill Mob
    Forbidden Games
    From Here to Eternity
    Roman Holiday
    Stalag 17
    Pickup on South Street
    M. Hulot's Holiday
    The Wages of Fear
    The Bigamist
    On the Waterfront
    Les Diaboliques
    A Star is Born
    The Country Girl
    Bad Day at Black Rock
    The Man with the Golden Arm
    Night and Fog
    Night of the Hunter
    All that Heaven Allows
    The King and I
    Baby Doll
    Forbidden Planet
    Bigger than Life
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers
    Throne of Blood (my favorite Kurosawa)
    The Incredible Shrinking Man
    Wild Strawberries
    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    Sweet Smell of Success
    Witness for the Prosecution
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    The Defiant Ones
    Touch of Evil
    Ashes and Diamonds
    The Horror of Dracula
    Black Orpheus
    Anatomy of a Murder
    Eyes Without a Face
    A Room at the Top

    Let me also say how happy I am to see North by Northwest, the greatest movie ever made, landing in your top-10. Also, we'll disagree on Carmen Jones. I object so strongly to the idea that we have a movie starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge and their singing voices were dubbed. Oh, that burns me up!

    1. I have seen a few of the movies you list. The one I have seen that I'll disagree with is From Here to Eternity. That movie just didn't do it for me. Fair point about Carmen Jones.

  9. 1951:
    Ace in the Hole*-Incredibly prescient drama of an opportunistic reporter exploiting a situation to tragic effect.

    Goodbye, My Fancy-Congresswoman (Joan Crawford) returns to accept an honorary degree from the college from which she was expelled and meets an old flame. Sharp observations about nostalgia’s effect on perception vs. reality.

    The Mating Season-Appealing comedy with a fantastic Thelma Ritter as a mother who pretends to be the maid to help her newlywed son unbeknownst to her new daughter-in-law.

    Quo Vadis-One of the better Biblical pageants so popular in the 50’s. A cast of thousands and superior production design.

    A Place in the Sun-Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters captivate in a tale of ambition and murder.

    Rawhide-Tense Western of a waystation and the people in it being taken hostage by escaped killers.

    Showboat-Great music, colorful production, super cast and a heartbreaking Ava Gardner riding the Ol’ Man River.

    Strangers on a Train-One of Hitchcock’s best with a great disturbing turn by Robert Walker in his last completed performance.

    A Streetcar Named Desire-Anger, madness and brutality in the New Orleans heat.

    Westward the Women-Rugged, sparse tale of a wagon train made up exclusively of women save for the wagon master and the hardships they endure.

    Special Mentions:
    M-American remake of the Peter Lorre classic isn’t in the same class but David Wayne gives a good performance and for contrast it’s worth a view.
    Hard, Fast and Beautiful-Solid Ida Lupino directed drama of the tennis circuit and a player driven by an ambitious mother (Claire Trevor).
    The Lemon Drop Kid-I’m not the biggest Bob Hope fan by any stretch but this is an amiable comedy best watched around Christmas that introduced the standard “Silver Bells”
    The Desert Fox, Detective Story, 14 Hours, He Ran All the Way, Here Comes the Groom, His Kind of Woman, I’d Climb the Highest Mountain, Lightning Strikes Twice, The Model and the Marriage Broker, Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell, On Dangerous Ground, The Prowler, The Scarf, Scrooge

    1. I definitely need to see more Joan Crawford films. I did not know there was a remake of M. I might have to check that out. Bob Hope is in one of those odd slots of memory for me. I saw a ton of his TV specials as a kid, and I think, a handful of his movies. I just can't remember which ones those were or much about any of them other. They all gel together in my mind. In other words, I may have seen The Lemon Drop Kid, but couldn't say for sure.

    2. I'm not much of a Bob Hope fan myself finding him arch and strained as a rule and his films have a tendency to run together that's why I was surprised a bit by Lemon Drop Kid. It's not a great lost work of art but it is amiable and I'm a sucker for the Silver Bells sequence.

      Crawford like all great stars, and especially for someone whose career stretched from silents to the seventies, made more than her fair share of dogs but mixed in there are some really fine pictures. I'd recommend Grand Hotel, A Woman's Face, The Women, Strange Cargo, Humoresque, Possessed, Flamingo Road, The Damned Don't Cry, Harriet Craig, Sudden Fear, Johnny Guitar, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and of course Mildred Pierce. Goodbye, My Fancy was actually tailored for Rosalind Russell who had to bow out at the last minute and Crawford stepped in so the role is somewhat atypical for her offering her a change of pace.

      While we're at it here's some Crawford films to avoid: The Gorgeous Hussy-Details the Petticoat Affair that ripped Andrew Jackson's cabinet apart-Joan in hoop skirts is a big NO!, Montana Moon-a transitional sound film and it feels like it-just terrible, Trog-about the discovery of a prehistoric man in a cave in England! Her last film and what a sorry send off. Ice Follies of 1939-The title should be all the explanation necessary. Poor Jimmy Stewart is in this too and I don't know who the pair pissed off to be punished so but this one is just the pits.

    3. I should probably thank you for the tips on which Crawford films to see, but I'm going to thank you for the tips on which ones not to see. No sense wasting anymore time than I have to.

  10. 1952:
    The Bad and the Beautiful-The rise and fall of a Hollywood hustler and those he takes along for the ride.

    Clash by Night-A wayward woman tries to settle down back in her hometown with a husband and baby but finds her restlessness aroused by everyday life.

    Five Fingers-Suspenseful British spy thriller.

    Flesh and Fury-Sensitive handling of the story of a deaf boxer at a time when that was seen as a form of mental retardation.

    High Noon-Allegorical film of a righteous man’s lone stand against a villain when the town where he’s sheriff turn their backs on him.

    Limelight-Gentle film of an older performer who takes a suicidal girl under his wing. One of Charlie Chaplin’s very best films.

    The Lusty Men*-Spare Nicolas Ray directed rodeo drama of hopes and dreams some hopeful and some crushed with perhaps Robert Mitchum’s best performance matched by Susan Hayward every step of the way.

    The Marrying Kind-Bittersweet portrait of a marriage with a great Judy Holliday performance.

    Scaramouche-Spirited swashbuckler of a man seeking vengeance for a friend’s murder.

    The Turning Point-Edgy under-known crime drama with an exception cast.

    Special Mentions:
    Diplomatic Courier-Cold War thriller of the title character (Tyrone Power) mixing it up with spies in Europe and a mysterious woman (Patricia Neal) after the end of WWII.

    Don’t Bother to Knock-A man (Richard Widmark) strikes up an acquaintance with a girl (Marilyn Monroe) he sees babysitting in the hotel where he’s staying after fighting with his girlfriend (Anne Bancroft) only to slowly realize she is mentally disturbed.

    Monkey Business-Daffy comedy of bespectacled professor Cary Grant test out his youth serum on himself at which point he reverts to boyhood. With Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.

    Angel Face, Bend of the River, The Card, Casque d'Or, Come Back, Little Sheba, Deadline U.S.A., The Importance of Being Earnest, Ivanhoe, My Cousin Rachel, The Narrow Margin, Night Without Sleep, O. Henry's Full House, Rancho Notorious, Singin' in the Rain, Somebody Loves Me, Something for the Birds, Stars and Stripes Forever, Stop, You’re Killing Me, Sudden Fear, Umberto D, Washington Story, With a Song in My Heart

    1. Never heard of The Lusty Men, but it does sound interesting. Scaramouche is the one I'm least likely to see just because the title is too much of a reminder of recent news events, lol.

    2. Yes, hunt The Lusty Men down! Nicholas Ray directed it as he did Rebel Without a Cause, In a Lonely Place and Johnny Guitar, he could be variable, he had to put it mildly a messy off-screen life which affected his work, but when he was on his game he turned out really great films. This one is my favorite.

    3. I know nothing of Ray's personal life, but I'll spend part of my evening looking him up, lol.

  11. 1953:
    The Big Heat-Honest cop stumbles across corruption and pays a big price which turns him into a dogged pursuer of the men responsible helped along by a gangster’s moll (a brilliant Gloria Grahame)

    The Earrings of Madame de…-A French aristocrat’s wife sells a pair of earrings he gave her to cover gambling debts unknowingly setting off a chain of events that lead to tragedy.

    From Here to Eternity*-Intersecting lives in Pearl Harbor just before December 7th, 1941. Wonderfully complex without seeming so.

    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes-They’re just two little girls from Little Rock and you know the rest!

    The Hitch-Hiker-Low budget suspenser of a couple of fisherman held hostage on the road by an escaped maniac. Director Ida Lupino does wonders with virtually nothing.

    Kiss Me, Kate-Boisterous film of the production of a musical version of the Taming of the Shrew with the lead actor’s relationship mirroring Kate & Petruchio’s.

    Pick-up on South Street-Espionage thriller run through the noir cycle with award level work by Richard Widmark & Thelma Ritter.

    The President's Lady-Biographical film of Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel and the years of verbal abuse and slights they endured due to a misunderstanding that rendered their marriage invalid initially.

    Titanic-The Cameron film has the technical expertise but this Barbara Stanwyck/Clifton Webb version is emotionally truer.

    The Wages of Fear-Such a simple concept, four men in need of cash hire on to transport nitroglycerin to a remote fire in the jungle, becomes an incredibly taut experience.

    Special Mentions:
    Bright Road-The film is loaded with good intentions but only average but it does provide one of the few starring roles Dorothy Dandridge had.

    The Kid from Left Field-If you’re a baseball fan this provides a nostalgic look at the game in the 50’s with the bonus of an early role for Anne Bancroft.

    Mr. Hulot’s Holiday-Though I wasn’t overly thrilled with it this is a venerated comedy that others find enchanting.

    Second Chance-Colorful adventure with a good cast-Robert Mitchum, Linda Darnell & Jack Palance-that was originally shot in 3-D and has a tense climax on a stuck cable car high in the mountains.

    The Actress, The Blue Gardenia, The Captain's Paradise, Genevieve, Hondo, Houdini, House of Wax, Jeopardy, Man on a Tightrope, Mr. Scoutmaster, The Naked Spur, Peter Pan, Roman Holiday, Sawdust and Tinsel, Shane, Split Second

    1. I have seen From Here to Eternity and I'm sorry to say I didn't like it all that much. It wasn't bad, just didn't blow me away. Haven't heard of The President's Lady, but that is an intriguing subject. Shane...one of those westerns I "might" have seen as a kid, but definitely need to watch now.

    2. Well not every film is for everybody. For me I've found that From Here to Eternity improved with each viewing since I notice different things when I watch but then I could say the same about Vertigo, which I've given multiple chances, and there is much to admire in it but the repellence of the lead always keeps me at bay. But that's what makes movie watching a fascinating experience and leads to discussion.

      The President's Lady is a star vehicle tilted Susan Hayward's way (fine by me she's one of my top 5 favorites) though she pairs well with Heston but it does stay pretty close to the facts of the Jackson's romance and marriage and the scandal and injustice that enveloped them.

    3. One of these days I may go back to From Here to Eternity. I'm just not in a hurry to do so.

  12. 1954-Another really strong year with a surfeit of quality films:

    About Mrs. Leslie-Lovely adult romance between Shirley Booth & Robert Ryan told in remembrance.

    Executive Suite-All-star tale of the corporate struggle that ensues when the president of a large company drops dead and his VP’s jockey to take over his spot.

    Fear-Blackmail drama elevated by a wonderful Ingrid Bergman performance, her last film with soon to be ex-husband Roberto Rossellini.

    The Glenn Miller Story-How much is true is questionable but this is stuffed with great music and the ideal team of Jimmy Stewart & June Allyson.

    Hobson's Choice-A stingy shopkeeper (Charles Laughton) refuses permission for this daughters to marry because he doesn’t want to pay dowries. How they work around that and his obstinacy is the basis of this fun comedy directed by David Lean.

    It Should Happen to You-Young New Yorker Gladys Glover (Judy Holliday) wants to be somebody and goes about it by putting her name on billboards around the city! Judy Holliday finds every layer possible in the comic/sad Gladys making someone enormously appealing out of a character that could have been merely an attention hungry clown if played by someone less skillful. This was Jack Lemmon’s screen bow as the friend who tries to save her from herself.

    Rear Window-Perhaps Hitchcock’s best film looks at voyeurism and murder with three top performers, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter.

    A Star is Born-Musical remake of the ’37 film of a young singer discovered and loved by a once great star, as she rises he falls. Titanic performance by Judy Garland, matched by James Mason.

    White Christmas-Schmaltzy? Sure but I LOVE it and wouldn’t make it through the holidays without watching it at least twice.

    Woman's World-Frothy drama of three couples vying for the general manager’s position at a prominent car company with the owner (Clifton Webb) playing one against the other. Sumptuous and star filled leavened with humor.

    Special Mentions:
    Johnny Guitar-Wild female centered western in lurid Technicolor with Joan Crawford & Mercedes McCambridge giving it all they’ve got as fierce rivals. I’m not as wild about it as some but it is something that must be seen.

    Black Tuesday-Tidy B tells the tale of killer Edward G. Robinson escaping from Death Row with another villain, taking hostages and trying to retrieve the stash from a bank robbery.

    The Sleeping Tiger-A shrink and his wife try to rehabilitate a criminal at his country home leading to tragedy. Superior acting all around with Alexis Smith a particular standout.

    This is My Love-Based on the novel “Fear Has Black Wings” this Technicolor noir presents jealously in the darkest shades of black. Brilliant performances by Linda Darnell and Dan Duryea.

    Broken Lance, The Caine Mutiny, Carmen Jones, Dial M for Murder, The Divided Heart, Down Three Dark Streets, Elephant Walk, La Strada, Make Haste to Live, On the Waterfront, Private Hell 36, River of No Return, Royal Affairs in Versailles, Sabrina, Senso, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Seven Samurai, Suddenly, Tennessee Champ, Them!, The Weak and the Wicked

    1. Due to the novelty of female centered westerns, I'm most intrigued by Johnny Guitar. I really do need to watch A Star is Born, already. Dial M for Murder doesn't sizzle for me the way other Hitchcock movies do. The story it tells is great, but the way the film tells it feels flat.

    2. I see your point on Dial M for Murder. It does for the most part have the feeling of a filmed stage play, it's one of his films that I watch infrequently and don't go out of my way for.

      Too restate your words...Watch A Star is Born already!! Just be prepared for the sequence where part of the story is told with stills over the soundtrack (it's not super long but when they went to restore the film they found that that segment was lost) the film and Judy are knockouts.

    3. Yes, a stage play. That's exactly what Dial M feels like. It lacks most of Hitchcock's usual panache and just kinda drones on for much of its runtime.

      And yes to A Star is Born.

  13. 1955:
    All That Heaven Allows-Douglas Sirk’s quietly subversive dissection of small town America in the 50’s.

    Bad Day at Black Rock-A man gets off a train in the fly speck town of Black Rock and instantly finds himself in peril.

    The Court Jester-Jolly comedy with Danny Kaye impersonating the title character to prevent the king’s assassination with the help of comely Glynis Johns and witchy Mildred Natwick all the while pursued by Princess Angela Lansbury.

    Diabolique-A wife and mistress of a cruel man team up to kill him which they do and then the body disappears which is just the start of this tension filled classic.

    East of Eden*-Beautiful realization of the second half of the Steinbeck novel contains James Dean’s best performance in his short career.

    Love Me or Leave Me-Surprisingly frank examination of singer Ruth Etting’s ruthless climb to fame and her disastrous first marriage.

    The Night of the Hunter-Riveting drama of a “preacher” who takes in a gullible widow and then dogs her children to find out where a cache of stolen money is. Great Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish performances.

    Oklahoma!-Where the wind goes whistlin’ down the plain! Expansive and lively with some unexpectledly dark turns.

    One Desire-Melodrama of dance hall queen Tacey (Anne Baxter) trying to go straight along with her beau Clint (Rock Hudson), his brother Nugget and the young orphan (Natalie Wood) they take in but the town and a seemingly good woman (Julie Adams) won’t let her. Anne suffers in spangles and feathers while Julie gets a chance to be a total bitch. Good fun!

    We’re No Angels-Delightful twist on the story of the Three Wise Men with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov and Aldo Ray as Devil’s Island escapees who take a family under their wing without the family actually being aware of it. Perfect Christmas fare.

    Special Mentions:
    The Cobweb-This is in no way meant to be a recommendation but this is one cockamamie movie set in a nut house with a top flight cast spending almost two hours fighting over “the drapes!”

    Rififi & Smiles on a Summer Night-I liked but didn’t love both of these films but they are considered seminal works.

    Simon & Laura-Kay Kendall & Peter Finch portray the title couple who have a television show where they are presented as the happiest married couple in the world but behind the scenes they bicker incessantly. The chemistry between the two make this a highly enjoyable comedy.

    The Deep Blue Sea, The Desperate Hours, Finger Man, Il Bidone, I'll Cry Tomorrow, It Happens in Roma, Josephine and Men, Kiss Me Deadly, Lola Montes, Marty, Mister Roberts, New York Confidential, Prince of Players, Rebel without a Cause, The Rose Tattoo

    1. The Night of the Hunter and Rebel Without a Cause are two that I'm certainly going to see sooner, rather than later. They've been on my radar for quite some time. I even own Rebel. Sad I haven't watched it, yet. I'm also planning on All That Heaven Allows and Diabolique, fairly soon.

    2. Rebel is one of those films where I walked in with sky high expectations and was mildly let down. It's not bad at all it just wasn't the earth and stars I was expecting.

      Night of the Hunter is unsettling but brilliantly so. Mitchum is so underrated.

      I'll be very interested to hear your take on All That Heaven Allows, Sirk's direction is so expert in it.

      Diabolique is just an awesome view. If you like it there was a very accomplished made for TV redo in the 70's with Joan Hackett and Tuesday Weld called Reflections of Murder which is well worth seeking out. The Sharon Stone remake in the 90's is a misfire.

    3. If I don't get to Rebel and Night of the Hunter sometime soon, there's a decent chance they'll both be on next year's Blind Spot list. Since I own a copy of Rebel, I can pretty much guarantee that will make the cut.

  14. 1956:
    Carousel-Small town girl falls for reprobate carnival barker. Some joy and much heartache follow. A big gorgeous production with some of their best songs sung by two of the finest voices around, Shirley Jones & Gordon MacRae, but this is the darkest of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals.

    Come Next Spring-Lovely, understated film of a rambler (Steve Cochran) returned home to the family he left a dozen years before. He and his wife (Ann Sheridan) do a guarded dance of reconciliation. Extremely well-acted.

    Giant-In settings as cavernous as its title this adaptation of Edna Ferber’s novel looks at a cattle rancher (Rock Hudson) his strong minded wife (Elizabeth Taylor) and those around them as Texas goes through changing times. James Dean’s last film.

    High Society-Sprightly musical redo of The Philadelphia Story was Princess Grace’s last film. Good songs and great cast, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra & Celeste Holm among them.

    The Killing-Terrific Stanley Kubrick noir about a race track robbery.

    The Man Who Knew Too Much-A doctor (Jimmy Stewart), his wife (Doris Day) and son witness a killing while on vacation in Marrakesh that turns out to have political ramifications and the boy is taken to insure their silence. The parents set out in pursuit. Excellent Hitchcock.

    The Searchers*-John Ford’s expansive Western about revenge, isolation and a dogged search contains what is probably John Wayne’s best work.

    The Solid Gold Cadillac-When the head of a major corporation takes a job in Washington his board of directors attempt to loot the company in his absence but they didn’t count on inquisitive minority stockholder Laura Partridge to be a fly in the ointment. Amiable comedy with a splendid Judy Holliday.

    The Ten Commandments-Moses heads to the mountains for a message and does some ocean redecorating along the way.

    Written on the Wind-Douglas Sirk’s wild ride of visual splendor and moral abasement. Dorothy Malone won a well-deserved Oscar as the she cat Merilee.

    Special Mentions:
    The Bottom of the Bottle-Solid drama, with a misleading title, of sibling rivalry and resentments that takes advantage of both its Arizona setting and the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house one couple lives in. Ruth Roman is a standout.

    The Catered Affair-A long married cabbie and his wife (Ernest Borgnine & Bette Davis) feud over the fancy wedding the mother wants to give their daughter (Debbie Reynolds) which they can’t really afford. Indicative of the sort of kitchen sink drama that became popular mid-50’s with top flight work from the cast.

    Joe Macbeth-The Scottish play gets a gangland spin. While not wholly successful it’s an intriguing take on the material.

    The King and I-Splashy, pretty and at times touching but a softening of the source material which was better served in the original Anna and the King of Siam.

    The Leather Saint-This could have been called “Boxing for God”. A young priest takes to the ring with the help of a promoter to raise much needed cash for his parish. Not as silly as it sounds.

    The Price of Fear-Twisty crime drama that goes in some unexpected directions.

    Anastasia, Autumn Leaves, The Bad Seed, Death of a Scoundrel, Finger of Guilt, Full of Life, The Harder They Fall, Hilda Crane, Jubal, Loser Take All, Lust for Life, The Opposite Sex, Patterns, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Seven Men from Now, There’s Always Tomorrow, A Town Like Alice, While the City Sleeps

    1. The King and I is the one from this set I've been meaning to see. Curious about Joe Macbeth. It sounds pretty ambitious.

    2. Joe MacBeth isn't perfect but it is a solid experiment with the material and benefits from being properly cast with Paul Douglas and Ruth Roman bringing the proper degree of toughness to their characters. It might be a bit of a challenge to find, try YouTube, but a decent view.

    3. I can be very forgiving of a movie that's not perfect if it's at least trying something risky.

  15. 1957: A very rich year for film.
    All Mine to Give-A young couple immigrate to the Wisconsin logging community in the 1850’s and start a family, they are happy and prosperous until a series of tragedies strike. Effective but heavy going.

    Desk Set-To my eye the best of the Tracy/Hepburn films. The head of the research department of a large TV corporation (Kate) and her crew are thrown into a tizzy when an engineer (Tracy) is brought in with his computer-a new concept at the time.

    A Face in the Crowd*-A reporter (Patricia Neal) discovers a laconic and homey guitar player and promotes him into a homespun celebrity on the national stage. As he becomes both more powerful and power mad he proceeds to trample on everyone in his path while maintaining his amiable public face. Prescient and engrossing.

    The Joker is Wild-Joe E. Lewis is a rising young singer playing mob controlled speakeasies. When he tries to leave one club for another the owner of the first has his throat slashed destroying his voice. After years of struggle he reestablishes himself as a stand-up comic. One of Frank Sinatra’s better performances.

    Man in the Shadow-An honest sheriff (Jeff Chandler) goes up against the boss of the town (Orson Welles) when his henchmen go too far and kill a man. Tension filled sleeper deserves to be better known.

    The Tarnished Angels-Austere drama of daredevil barnstorming pilots and the reporter who enters their sphere.

    3:10 to Yuma-Hard up for cash a rancher agrees to transport an outlaw leader to the 3:10 train but his gang has other plans.

    Three Violent People-A rancher (Charlton Heston) fresh back from the Civil War marries Lorna, a woman with an unknown to him shady past (Anne Baxter) and takes her back to his Texas spread where he is quickly enveloped in sibling rivalry with his one armed brother (Tom Tryon), rumors circling his wife and a range war.

    Wild Strawberries-Ingmar Bergman’s film of remembrance and reverie as a distant professor takes a road trip to receive an award and thinks back on his life as he goes. Exquisitely acted.

    Witness for the Prosecution-Great adaptation of an Agatha Christie story of a barrister fresh from hospital who takes on a murder case which proves to be far more complex than it at first appears. Tremendous cast with Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester and especially Marlene Dietrich being stand outs.

    1. I've seen the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, which I enjoyed. I should give the original a go. Wild Strawberries, A Face in the Crowd, Wild Strawberries - all I plan on watching soo. Three Violent People sounds really interesting.

    2. I just have to say: Desk Set, while far from my favorite of the Hepburn/Tracy pairings, is a HILARIOUS time capsule of an office and culture on the brink of the computer generation. It's kind of amazing how far we've come!

    3. I meant to mention that one as I've heard good things about it. I'm game.

    4. Three Violent People is a decent Western with the added bonus of seeing Heston and Anne Baxter paired relatively close to The Ten Commandments but in different attitudes. It's also chock-a-block with familiar faces, Forrest Tucker, Jamie Farr, Robert Blake and a young Elaine Stritch.

      I love Desk Set so glad you are leaning towards that one. It is a real throw back to pre-computer office culture.

    5. Yeah, I'm going to be spending a lot of time searching my Roku, and YouTube, to see what I can find.

  16. Special Mentions:
    Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison-What reads as a preposterous situation, a soldier and a nun are shipwrecked on an island during the war and then must evade the Japanese when they land is surprisingly entertaining due to Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in the leads.

    Sweet Smell of Success-A ruthless and powerful Broadway columnist (Burt Lancaster) will go to any lengths to prevent his sister from marrying a man he detests and enlists a reptilian press agent (Tony Curtis) to make it happen. Acid filled portrait of a couple of bottom feeders.

    Zero Hour!-IF you can watch this as a stand-alone film it’s an okay suspenser of a former pilot facing a crisis when called upon to step in when the flight crew of the plane he’s a passenger on is felled by food poisoning…but if you’ve ever seen Airplane! on which this film was based that’s an impossibility.

    Special Warning!!!
    The Pride and the Passion-This one is included as a caution against watching it! One of the most misguided, ludicrous big budget productions EVER! Some nonsense about getting a cannon from one point to the other during the Napoleonic Wars has a stiff as a board Cary Grant done up in regalia, Sophia Loren as a French (?!) peasant and worst of all Frank Sinatra stinking up the joint as a freedom fighter with both a terrible accent and wig. Grant heaped scorn on it for the rest of his life and he was right.

    An Affair to Remember, Bitter Victory, Boy on a Dolphin, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Brothers Rico, The Cranes are Flying, Designing Woman, Fear Strikes Out, 5 Steps to Danger, Four Girls in Town, The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, A Hatful of Rain, Il Grido, La Parisenne, Le Notti Bianche, Les Girls, The Lonely Man, Man of a 1,000 Faces, The Midnight Story, Mister Cory, Monkey on My Back, Nightfall, Nights of Cabiria, Old Yeller, Paths of Glory, Peyton Place, The Seventh Seal, The Seventh Sin, The Shiralee, Slander, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, The Strange One, Tammy and the Bachelor, The Tattered Dress, This Could Be the Night, The Three Faces of Eve, Tip on a Dead Jockey, The Truth about Women, 12 Angry Men, Until They Sail, The Wayward Bus, The Weapon, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

    1. I've seen Airplane! lots of times, so I'm not sure if I should try Zero Hour. I am curious about it, though. Funny story about The Bridge on the River Kwai. I thought I purchased it once in the days before smartphones so I couldn't double-check myself. I just bought a movie with the word "bridge" in the title. Turns out I bought A Bridge Too Far, an excellent film in its own right. I still haven't seen The Bridge on the River Kwai, though.

    2. Having seen Airplane! multiple times will add quite a little zip to Zero Hour!

      Ha! It's easy to confuse the two. I don't hold River Kwai in as high esteem as many but it is a worthwhile film to see. A Bridge Too Far is overlong but I agree it's a good picture.

    3. Airplane! is definitely a candidate to make that final Top 100. I'm positive it will come up again.

  17. 1958:
    Auntie Mame-Delightful film of a young boy’s life with his life loving aunt. Is she a traditional parent? Hell no, but she loves young Patrick absolutely and the crazy situations she creates are great fun. Rosalind Russell drives the film with enough energy to fuel five movies.

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof-For something that had to be watered down from its original source material this is still a provocative drama of marital and familial conflict. Great performances by Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives and Jack Carson.

    Chase a Crooked Shadow-A woman begins to question her sanity when a man appears at her villa one day and claims to be her brother who was died in a car wreck the previous year and everyone but she accepts him. Nifty mystery.

    Elevator to the Gallows-An unfaithful wife and her lover plot to dispose of her husband but a single mistake leads to a chain of ever escalating problems.

    Indiscreet-Deft comedy of bachelor Cary Grant pretending to be married to avoid entanglements then falling for glamorous Ingrid Bergman and finding himself in a predicament. The lead pair exude tons of star quality ably supported by a hysterical Cecil Parker & Phyllis Calvert as her sister and brother-in-law.

    A Night to Remember-Almost documentary like reenactment of the Titanic disaster. Very gripping through its lack of sensationalism.

    The Reluctant Debutante-Light as the air confection of a barrister and his second wife (real life marrieds Rex Harrison & Kay Kendall) introducing his American daughter (Sandra Dee) from his first marriage into London society despite her disinterest in doing so.

    Some Came Running-Dave Hirsch (Frank Sinatra) a wandering black sheep returns to his home town with a kind hearted floozy (Shirley MacLaine) in tow much to the displeasure of his successful brother and his harridan sister-in-law. He takes up with a gambler (Dean Martin) who’s also traveling through town and tries to make some sense of his life.

    This Happy Feeling-Good cast punches across this breezy Blake Edwards directed comedy of a young girl (Debbie Reynolds) who becomes secretary to a retired stage star in the Connecticut countryside and is pursued by his young neighbor while others misconstrue the situation.

    Touch of Evil-Corruption, vice and Orson Welles south of the border. Hard to describe film is fascinating in its strange way with an eclectic cast including Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

    Special Mentions:
    Carve Her Name with Pride-Superior drama of an ordinary English girl during WWII who through circumstances is recruited into a spy network.

    Home Before Dark-Jean Simmons gives an exemplary performance as a woman recently returned from a mental institution facing the same problems that sent her there in the first place.

    King Creole-Elvis Presley’s best movie heavy with noirish elements. He’s a young singer (surprise) in a New Orleans nightclub who becomes enmeshed with a crime boss (Walter Matthau) and his moll (Carolyn Jones)

    Vertigo-I know it’s beloved and widely considered now the greatest of all films and it’s certainly masterfully done but I hold this film in no special regard. Kim Novak is terrific & Jimmy Stewart excellent as well but his character is at root a detestable creep and that’s hard to hang a film on.

    Bell, Book and Candle, Cowboy, Cry Terror!, The Defiant Ones, Handle with Care, Houseboat, I Want to Live!, Inn of the 6th Happiness, Innocent Sinners, The Last Hurrah, Lonelyhearts, The Long, Hot Summer, The Lovers, Marjorie Morningstar, The Matchmaker, Me and the Colonel, The Naked and the Dead, Separate Tables, The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, Teacher’s Pet, Too Much, Too Soon

    1. I've seen parts of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I think, but certainly not the whole thing. I want to change that. We'll just have to agree to disagree on Vertigo as I think having "a detestable creep" for a protagonist is what makes it so unnerving and work so well.

    2. I spent years saying the same thing about North by Northwest. I'd catch a snippet here and there and wanted to see the whole thing but was never able to either watch from the beginning to the end or I'd come in the middle and stop since I didn't want to spoil the whole resolution. When I finally got around to seeing it through it turned out I'd seen all but about 5 minutes! But it made so much more sense this way. Cat benefits the same way.

    3. That's precisely the dance I've done with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I don't doubt it will benefit from a proper viewing.

  18. 1959:
    Anatomy of a Murder-A lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) stands trial for killing the man he claims raped his wife (Lee Remick). As the small town lawyer (Jimmy Stewart) investigates he finds things aren’t as clear cut as they first appear. Considered quite provocative in its day.

    The Devil's Disciple-Clever black comedy based on a Shaw play of a war of words between three men (Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier) during the Revolutionary War.

    A Hole in the Head-A young boy stands by his widowed ne’er-do-well dreamer of a father at their rundown Florida hotel as forces try and pull them apart. Sweet comedy/drama has an extremely good cast, Frank Sinatra (who introduced the song High Hopes in this picture), Edward G. Robinson, Thelma Ritter and Eleanor Parker.

    Imitation of Life-The ultimate mother love tearjerker with a great deal of subtext about prejudice and friendship thrown in. High class production values, excellent acting and smart direction make this special.

    Look Back in Anger-One of the first and best of the “Angry Young Men” films that came out of England in the late 50’s/early 60’s with an exceptional Richard Burton performance.

    North by Northwest-One of Hitchcock’s cleverest, breeziest but most convoluted mysteries. A man (Cary Grant) is mistaken for another and after his abduction a merry chase across the continent begins with a memorable climax.

    Pillow Talk-A designer (Doris Day) shares a party line with a playboy (Rock Hudson) much to her chagrin. He gets a look at her and sets off in pursuit. Enormously successful comedy made Day the queen of the box office for the better part of the next decade.

    Room at the Top-Poignant drama of a climber who marries for advantage but loves a wistful older woman (Simone Signoret who won an Oscar for her knockout work).

    Some Like It Hot*-Gender bender wild ride of hunted musicians Joe & Jerry (Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon) hiding out as Josephine & Daphne in Sweet Sue’s all girl orchestra and mixing it up with singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) and wacky multi-millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).

    This Earth is Mine-Melodrama of the lives of a wine making family disrupted when their English cousin (Jean Simmons) arrives to stay causing long buried secrets to be unearthed.

    Special Mentions:
    Compulsion-Disquieting version of the Loeb/Leopold thrill killers.

    Face of Fire-In a small town near the turn of the last century a popular member of the community suffers facial burns which turn him into a hunted pariah spurned by the very people who had admired him before.

    Never Steal Anything Small-Jaunty semi musical comedy gangster flick hybrid from the latter part of James Cagney’s career. Not a masterpiece but worth a view.

    The World, the Flesh and the Devil-A miner (Harry Belafonte) trapped in a cave-in discovers when he emerges that mankind seems to have been wiped out in a nuclear holocaust. As he wonders a deserted Manhattan he encounters first a woman (Inger Stevens) and then a man (Mel Ferrer) who have survived. Conflict ensues.

    -30-, 400 Blows, The Bridal Path, But Not for Me, Career, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Great St. Louis Robbery, I, Mobster, It Happened to Jane, The Last Angry Man, The Nun's Story, On the Beach, The Rabbit Trap, Rio Bravo, Sleeping Beauty, The Story on Page One, A Summer Place, Take a Giant Step, The Tingler, The Train from Gun Hill, Warlock, Young Philadelphians

    1. I, Mobster and Rio Bravo are the two I'm likely to see soonest. With A Hole in the Head and Never Steal Anything Small you had ne at Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney.

    2. Every EGR film is worth seeing just for his involvement, well the unfortunate Hatchet Man where he plays an Oriental is missable, but like Crawford he made his share of weak movies, as did Cagney. Some to check out from the period where he was blacklisted and doing minor low budgets to get by are the aforementioned Black Tuesday, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, The Glass Web and Illegal. He was also able to play comedy by adjusting his tough guy persona just a bit check out Larceny, Inc. (Woody Allen borrowed from it heavily for Small Time Crooks) and Brother Orchid.

      Cagney didn't go through that fallow period but some of his lesser knowns that are worth seeing are Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, The Time of Your Life and Johnny Come Lately.

    3. Every actor who managed a lengthy career has made their fair share of stinkers. So that doesn't lessen my opinion of them any.

    4. Cagney's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye has the bonus of costarring the infamous Barbara Payton a starlet who was given the big push in the early 50's but who ultimately fell as far and low as it's possible to go.

      Here's a link to her very sad story:


  19. Just realized I didn't mark my choices for top film of '54 and '58. They would be Rear Window and Touch of Evil respectively. Don't think I'll get as carried away by the 60's onward but you never know! Loving this series Dell!

    1. No worries. I love all the feedback I'm getting.

  20. Enjoyed reading your post Dell! It's so difficult to narrow down, the films we leave off could be masterpieces. Anyway, I'll play along, top 25 of the 50s (unranked):

    Imitation of Life
    On the Waterfront
    The Naked Spur
    The Wages of Fear
    North by Northwest
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    A Place in the Sun
    Ace in the Hole
    The Day the Earth Stood Still
    12 Angry Men
    Mr. Hulot's Holiday
    Ordet (The Word)
    Magnificent Obsession
    Ben Hur
    Café Paradis
    The Defiant Ones
    Touch of Evil
    Wild Strawberries
    Some Like It Hot
    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    Rebel Without A Cause

    I'll make a point of watching The Fly in October :) I've seen Cronenberg's excellent remake. You've also got me curious to track down Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as well.

    1. Can't go wrong with Vertigo. All of the ones I've seen made my list. Curious to see what you'll think of The Fly. It's a far cry from the remake and certainly on the campier side of things.

  21. This list is stacked! Streetcar, Bergman, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Hitch, Sunset Blvd., 12 Angry Men - what’s not to love? Great work.

  22. So many great ones. I'd add Bridge on the River Kwai in there.