1950's Films. Continuing the series

Plenty of great films were made before the 1960’s, some of them l grew up, and they made an unforgettable impression on me. So here are my nominations for the best films of that decade. As before, my personal choices are the # 1 for each year shown.


  1. All About Eve. Written & directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Marrilyn Monroe, Barbara Bates & Thelma Ritter.

  2. Rashomon. Written by Ryûnosuke Akutagawa (stories) & Akira Kurosawa (screenplay). Directed by Akira Kurosawa with Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô & Masayuki Mori.

  3. Harvey. Directed by Henry Koster with James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway, Jesse White, Victoria Horne, William Lynn, Wallace Ford, Nana Bryant, Grace Mills & Clem Bevans.

  4. Sunset Boulevard. Directed by William Wyler with William Holden & Gloria Swanson.

Night and the City. Written by Jo Eisinger & Gerald Kersh. Directed by Jules Dasin with Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlow, Herbert Lom & Mike Mazurki. Another movie from my childhood, that was very scary at the time.

Scandal. Directed by Akira Kurosawa with Toshiro Mifune, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, Yoko Kaysuragi, Noriko Sengoku, Sakaw Ozawa & Takashi Shimura.


  1. The African Queen. Directed by John Houston with Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn & Robert Morley.

  2. Ace in the Hole. Produced and directed by Billy Wilder with Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Bob Arthur, Porter Hall, Frank Cady, Richard Benedict & Ray Teal.

  3. The Desert Fox. Directed by Henry Hathaway with James Mason.


  1. Ikuru. Written by Akira Kurosawa & Shinobu Hashimoto. Directed by Akira Kurosawa with Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko & Shin’ichi Himori.

  2. High Noon. Directed by Fed Zinneman with Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Lon Chaney Jr. Lee Van Cleff, Harry Morgan, Katy Jurado, Robert. J. Wilke & Sheb Wooley. Another l remember seeing at Highett picture theatre.

  3. Umberto D. Directed by Vittorio De Sica.

  4. Operation Secret. Directed by Lewis Seller with Cornel Wilde, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Karl Malden, Paul Picerni & Dan O’Herlihy. One l remembered from my childhood, but couldn’t recall the name, only tracked this one down recently.


  1. Wages of Fear. Written & directed by Henri Georges – Clouzot, with Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter Van Eyck, Vera Clouzot, Folco Lulli & William Tubbs.

  2. Shane. Written by A.B. Guthrie Jr. Directed by George Stevens with Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Elisha Cook Jr. & Jack Palance.

  3. 12 Angry Men. Written by Robert Rose, directed by Sidney Lumet, with Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Ed Begley, Edward Binney, George Vosko, Robert Webber & Joseph Sweeney.

  4. Stalag 17. Directed by Billy Wilder with William Holden & Peter Cobb.

From Here to Eternity. Directed by Fred Zinnemann with Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra & Ernest Borgnine.

Sailor of the King (aka Single–Handed). Directed by Ray Boulting with Jeffrey Hunter, Michael Rennie, Wendy Hiller, Bernard Miles & Peter van Eyck.

Peter Pan. Animation by Walt Disney.


  1. Seven Samurai. Directed by Akira Kurosawa with Toshiro Mifune & Takashi Shimura.

  2. Rear Window. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock with James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter & Raymond Burr.

Johnny Guitar. Directed by Nicholas Ray, with Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ward Bond, Ben Cooper, Ernest Borgnine, John Carradine, Royal Dano, Paul Fix & Sheb Wooley.


Although these 3 parts were released in different years, l am going to treat them as one title.

The Apu trilogy. Music by Ravi Shankar. Directed by Satyajit Ray with Kamala Adhikari, Lalchand Banerjee, Kali Bannerjee, Kanu Bannerjee & Karuna Bannerjee.

Part 1. Pather Panchali.

Part 2. Aparatjito (The Unvanquished).

Part 3. Apur Sansar.

Rebel without a Cause. Directed by Nicholas Ray with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Edward Platt & Dennis Hopper. The film that created youth culture, and the legend of James Dean, the first teen hero. l still remember my brother coming home and raving about this film, he was so excited by it. It was either this or the fantasy of Disneyland and the Mousketeers.

The Court Jester. Written & directed by Norman Panama & Melvin Frank with Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone & Michael Pate. Contains the famous tongue-twisting `The vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true’ scene. Although Bob Hope does something similar 7 years earlier in Paleface.

Marty. Written by Paddy Chayefsky. Directed by Delbert Mann with Ernest Borgnine, Karen Steele, Betsy Blair, Jerry Paris & Frank Sutton.

Lady and The Tramp. Animation. Directed by Clyde Geronimi.


  1. Forbidden Planet. Directed by Fred M. Wilcox with Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, & Earl Holliman.

  2. Moby ■■■■. Directed by John Huston with Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, James Robertson Justice & Royal Dano.

  3. The Searchers. Directed by John Ford with John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Ken Curtis & Natalie Wood.

  4. The Killing. Directed by Stanley Kubrick with Sterling Hayden, Colleen Grey, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Ted DeCorsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook, Joes Sawyer, James Edwards, Timothy Carey & Jay Adler.

Old Yeller. Written by Fred Gipson & William Tunberg (screenplay). Directed by Robert Stevenson with Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Chuck Connors & Tommy Kirk. Many people of my vintage will recall this movie as the first one that ever made them cry.

Pardners. Written by Sidney Sheldon & Jerry Davis. Directed by Norman Taurog with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Lon Chaney Jr. Bob Steele, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam, Agnes Moorehead & Lori Nelson. l remember going to see this one in the 1950’s at the old Highett picture theatre, back when almost every suburb had its own cinema, and TVs were still coming in.


  1. The Ten Commandments. Directed by Cecil B. De Mille with Charlton Heston, Yul Bryner, Anne Bancroft, Edward G. Robinson, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, John Carradine & Olive Deering.

  2. The Bridge on The River Kwai. Directed by David Lean with Alec Guiness, William Holden, & Jack Hawkins.

  3. Paths of Glory. Directed by Stanley Kubrick with Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou & George McReady.

  4. The Cranes Are Flying. Russian production. Written by Viktor Rozov, directed by Mikhail Kalatozov with Tatyana Samoilova, Aleksey Batalov, Vassily Merkuryev, Aleksander Shvorin, Svetlana Kharltonova, Valentin Zubkov, Boris Kokovkin, Antonina Bogdanova & Ekaterina Kupriyanova.

Throne of Blood. Written by Hideo Oguni & Shinobu Hashimoto/ Directed by Akira Kurosawa with Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki & Isuzu Yamada. |

The Seventh Seal. Swedish production. Direction by Ingmar Bergman with Max Von Sydow.

Wild Strawberries. Swedish production. Direction by Ingmar Bergman with Victor S. Lostrom.

The Incredible Shrinking Man. Written by Richard Matheson. Directed by Jack Arnold with Grant Williams, Randy Stuart & April Kent. |

The Enemy Below. ■■■■ Powell with Robert Mitchum and Kurt Jurgens.

Robbery Under Arms. Directed by Jack Lee with Peter Finch, Ronald Lewis & David McCallum.

Quatermass 2. Written by Nigel Kneale. Directed by Val Guest with Brian Donlevy, John Longden & Sidney James. l saw this one on TV when l was a kid and it scared the daylights out of me.


  1. Ben Hur. Directed by William Wyler with Charlton Heston, Steven Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith, Frank Thring & Haya Harareet.

  2. The Big Country. Directed by William Wyler with Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives & Chuck Connors.

  3. Pardners. with Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis.


  1. The Human Condition. Japanese production.

Parts 1 & 2. No Greater Love.

Parts 3 & 4. Road to Eternity.

Parts 5 & 6. A Soldier’s Prayer.

Written by Junpei Gomikawa (novel), Zenzo Matsuyama & Masaki Kobayashi (screenplay). Directed by Masaki Kobayashi with Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima, Keiji Sada, So Yamamura, Akira Ishihama (Chen). A masterpiece, over 8 and half hours long.

  1. Some Like It Hot. Romantic Comedy, directed by Billy Wilder with Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, George Raft & Joe. E. Brown.

  2. North by Northwest. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Eva Marie Saint & James Mason.

  3. Rio Bravo. Directed by Howard Hawks with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Ward Bond & Walter Brennan.

Fires on the Plain. Japanese production. Kon Ichikawa.


Some classic movies in there.

Just out of your selections, and given that I have zero affinity with Asian cinema (and I don’t care what others think about that).

1950 Harvey, then All About Eve
1951 The African Queeen, The Lavender Hill Mob
1952 High Noon
1953 Wages of Fear (one of the most suspenseful scenes ever filmed), Shane, From Here to Eternity, 12 Angry Men, Genevieve
1954 Rear Window (classic)
1955 To Catch a Thief, Marty, The Ladykillers (the original and the best), Simon and Laura, Danny Kaye was funny at the time but the stories I heard about him made Spacey and Singer seem like toffs.
1956 Searchers, The Killing, The Man who Knew Too Much (que sera, sera)
1957 Paths of Glory and Bridge on the River Kwai tied
1958 Vertigo (Hitchy’s best), The Left Handed Gun, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (no-one smouldered down south like Newman)
1959 Some Like It Hot, North by Northwest, Rio Bravo, The Young Philadelphians, I’m All Right, Jack

Hitchcock’s best period
The Ealing Comedies


A Touch of Evil (Orson Welles) 1959



Admittedly my number of films seen for some years is pretty thin, but…

1950: Sunset Boulevard
1951: Strangers On A Train
1952: High Noon
1953: Roman Holiday
1954: Rear Window
1955: Rebel Without A Cause
1956: The Searchers
1957: 12 Angry Men (‘57 not ‘53, right?)
1958: Vertigo
1959: Some Like It Hot

Hitchcock and Wilder were wonderful this decade. I like some of the Japanese cinema classics but they got edged out for top spot each time.


1955: I Am a Camera

1950 - Rashomon

1951 - A Streetcar Named Desire

1952 - High Noon

1953 - Ugetsu Monogatari

1954 - Seven Samurai

HM: On the Waterfront

1955: Rebel Without a Cause

HM: East of Eden & To Catch a Thief

1956: Reach for the Sky

1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai

1958: Vertigo

1959: North by Northwest


1950: Sunset Blvd. (Favorite film of all time with Catch 22)
Great year for movies though: All About Eve, In a Lonely Place, Asphalt Jungle, Night and the City…
1951: Ace In the Hole Strangers on a Train
1952: Kansas City Confidential
1953: Wages of Fear (What a movie!) Niagra, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
1954: On the Waterfront Rear Window, Dial M for Murder
1955: Les Diaboliques, Night of the Hunter, Bad Day at Black Rock
1956: The Killing, The Wrong Man, Bigger than Life
1957: The Spies (Clouzot), 12 Angry Men(Have a few to catch up on from this year)
1958: Vertigo, Touch of Evil, Mon Oncle
1959: On The Beach, North by Northwest, Anatomy of a Murder

That’s a preliminary list anyway, there are a few more International movies I have to confirm the years of.


1950: Treasure Island- think its the only film i have seen from that year. liked it as a kid
1951: Strangers on a train- great film
1952: dont think i have seen any from that year
1953: Peter Pan
1954: Rear Window
1955: To catch a thief
1956: Invasion of the body snatchers
1957: 12 Angry Men- amazing film. Can’t believe with all the remakes Hollywood does now they haven’t done this one
1958: Only seen Vertigo- and i thought it was very average
1959: North by Northwest. Hitchcocks best film imo

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12 Angry Men has been remade.

The remake has a stella cast with Jack Lemmon leading the way and is almost as good as the original.

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really? when was this?


It’s directed by the one and only William Friedkin of The French Connection & The Exorcist fame.

It’s a very good film in its own right.

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1950: All About Eve/Sunset Boulevard (tied)
King Solomon’s Mines

1951; A Place in the Sun
The Enforcer, African Queen, The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Streetcar Named Desire

1952: The Quiet Man
Ivanhoe, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, Scaramouche

1953: Roman Holiday
House of Wax, The Wild One, The Robe, Titanic

1954: Rear Window
Dial M for Murder, The Barefoot Contessa, The Glenn Miller Story, The Silver Chalice (Paul Newman’s first movie), The Belles of St Trinians

1955: East of Eden
Rebel Without a Cause, Love is a Many Splendid Thing, We’re No Angels, I’ll Cry Tomorrow

1956: A Kiss Before Dying
The Wrong Man, Giant, Written in the Wind, The Man who Knew Too Much

1957: 12 Angry Men
The Bridge Over The River Kwai, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Witness for the Prosecution, Peyton Place, The Three Faces of Eve, A Farewell to Arms

1958: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (a favourite)
The Long, Hot Summer, The Blob, The Fly, Vertigo

1959: Imitation of Life (a favourite)
Ben Hur, The Diary of Anne Frank, Anatomy of a Murder, Suddenly, Last Summer, A Summer Place, On the Beach, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mummy,