1951-1960

Brian Desmond Hurst – Scrooge AKA A Christmas Carol [+Commentary] (1951)

Synopsis:
Stubbornly refusing to believe in Christmas and to be separated from his inexhaustible wealth, the Victorian money lender and parsimonious recluse, Ebenezer Scrooge, can’t be bothered with the poor and destitute at the most festive time of the year. Intent on spending the holy night alone, instead, the sceptical curmudgeon is visited by an unexpected and sympathetic friend, who will pave the way for the inevitable visitation of the otherworldly spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. But, what do the pale ghosts want? Can a wicked old miser admit the error in his ways, and embrace change? In the end, is Scrooge ready to love and be loved? Read More »

Samuel Fuller – The Steel Helmet (1951)

The third film from pioneering auteur Samuel Fuller, and the first in a cycle of WW2 films rooted deeply in his own experiences as a WW2 infantryman.

From Time Out London:
A characteristically hard-hitting war movie from Fuller, charting the fortunes of Gene Evans’ Sergeant Zack, sole survivor of a PoW massacre in Korea. Saved by a Korean orphan and joining up with other GIs cut off from their units, Evans’ cynical veteran embodies the writer-director’s abiding thesis that, to survive the madness of war, a ruthless individualism is necessary. Fuller glamorises neither his loner protagonist nor the war itself: if he clearly supports the US presence in Korea, battle is still a chaotic, deadly affair, and nobody has much idea of why they fight. The action scenes are terrific, belying the movie’s very low budget. – Geoff Andrew Read More »

Richard Fleischer – Compulsion (1959)

Quote:
Compulsion is a compelling, stylish thriller, loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Loeb and Leopold, two homosexual students who murdered a young boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. Artie Straus (Bradford Dillman) is a sadistic, mother-dominated bully. Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) is a submissive, introverted sissy. Having been raised by wealthy, arrogant families, both Artie and Judd consider themselves above conventional morality. Unfeeling and conceited, the boys, after th Read More »

Jean Renoir – French Cancan (1955)

Synopsis:
Henri Danglard, proprietor of the fashionable (but bankrupt) cafe ‘Le Paravent Chinois’ featuring his mistress, belly dancer Lola, goes slumming in Montmarte (circa 1890) where the then-old-fashioned cancan is still danced. There, he conceives the idea of reviving the cancan as the feature of a new, more popular establishment…and meets Nini, a laundress and natural dancer, whom he hopes to star in his new show. But a tangled maze of jealousies intervenes… Read More »

Vincente Minnelli – An American in Paris (1951)

Synopsis:
Jerry Mulligan, a struggling American painter in Paris, is “discovered” by an influential heiress with an interest in more than Jerry’s art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise, a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer. Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist, while romantic complications abound. Read More »

Ray Milland – A Man Alone (1955)

Synopsis:
A gunfighter, stranded in the desert, comes across the aftermath of a stage robbery, in which all the passengers were killed. He takes one of the horses to ride to town to report the massacre, but finds himself accused of it. He also finds himself accused of the murder of the local banker, and winds up hiding in the basement of a house where the local sheriff, who is very sick, lives with his daughter. Read More »

Sergei Yutkevich – Otello (1955)

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Review by The Little Songbird @IMDb:
I have always loved the poetry and intensity of Shakespeare’s dialogue in Othello, and I have also found the play one of his more dramatically concise ones. This Othello from Russia is excellent, and very interesting as well. It is handsome to look at, the photography flows nicely and the locations are splendid. The symbolic palette to emphasise Othello’s contrasts between physical and temperamental is also interestingly used. The film is smartly written and intelligently adapted and it is directed beautifully by Sergei Yutkevitch. Read More »