The classic fifties! In early 1950, President Harry Truman orders the Atomic Energy Commission to built the first hydrogen bomb. It is also the beginning of the sad McCarthy-era of the Witch Hunt for communists in the USA. A notable list of filmmakers known as the Hollywood Ten, writers, and intellectuals (Edward Dmytryk & Dalton Trumbo, among others) will have to use pseudonyms to continue to work for Hollywood. In June, it is the Korean War that started until 1953. Also in June an extensive blacklist of people working in films will be released and in this list names like Charles Chaplin, Luis Buñuel, Richard Attenborough, Jules Dassin, Dolores del Rio, and many many others.
In the Film’s sphere it was notably the culmination of Film Noir, Classic Hollywood, and a time of conservatism in America. An almost reduced to ashes country emerges from the World Cinema in the decade: Japan. But since Europe and Asia is still rebuilding itself there are less foreign films in 1950. A thing the following years will be corrected by the entries of some of the most notable directors of all time. There is also one of the legends of the first days of Cinema that will be lost: Emil Jannings.
With all this return into time let’s get to the best films of the year 1950.
10. Rio Grande (John Ford)
The final chapter of Ford’s cavalry trilogy, Rio Grande, starring Ford regular John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. A film about the values of the American family, the good will of the society and the cinematic grandeur of Monument Valley. A monument in the Western genre. Sorry, too easy!
9. Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini)
The first of many collaborations between the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and Rossellini. Bergman was one of the biggest stars of her time in the 1940’s. Working with Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Curtiz, Leo McCarey, and many big names. However, she wrote a letter to Roberto Rossellini to ask if he wanted her to star in his next film. Well, this innocent letter leaded to a marriage, three children (Isabella Rossellini), five movies, and a divorce. Stromboli represents a breakout for Italian Neo-Realist films.
8. Gun Crazy aka Deadly Is the Female (Joseph H. Lewis)
This “crazy” film starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall is one of the most sexually depraved film to hit this list. The spouse portrayed by Cummins pushes her husband to go on a robbery spree to fulfill her dreams of wealth and money. Meanwhile, all the guns and crimes arouses her at a point where she is insatiable! A clear influence on the French New Wave, especially on Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless).
7. Journal d’un curé de campagne aka Diary of a Country Priest (Robert Bresson)
A top ten list isn’t complete with at least a French film. In this case, Robert Bresson divides the cinephiles in two clans his admirers and his haters. I tend to be on the line between the two clans. Depending on the film I will fall on one side or the other. An auteur that defines what I respectfully name pure Cinema. The storytelling of the diary of the priest may be redundant and bore the audience. However, it is in the repetition of the actions, movements, frames that Bresson installs his stories and studies his characters. A simplistic film from a thoughtful master.
6. La Ronde (Max Ophüls)
The music, the mise en scène, the constant movement of the camera is an ensemble of cinematic tricks that not enough directors use with complete control. The films of Max Ophüls have influenced great contemporary directors like Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson. La Ronde is Ophüls greatest black and white picture along The Earrings of Madame de…
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