1951-1960

Jacques Tourneur – Way of a Gaucho (1952)

Synopsis:
Set in the Argentina of about 1875 in which a customary punishment for killing was a sentence to army service. A young gaucho deserts his army sentence and becomes a bandit leader and also gets his sweetheart pregnant. Seeing the futility of his ways, he takes her to a church to be married prior to surrendering himself back to the army. Read More »

Charles Lamont – Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man AKA Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

Boxer Tommy Nelson is accused of killing his manager. While detectives Bud and Lou investigate they come across an invisibility formula with which Tommy injects himself rather than face the police. This sparks an idea for trapping gangster Morgan by having Lou fight champ Rocky Hanlon, with Tommy’s invisible help. Read More »

John Gilling – The Quiet Woman (1951)

Quote:
Having previously been married to a criminal, Jane Foster (Jane Hylton) takes over a coastal pub named ‘The Quiet Woman’ to start a new life with the help of her loyal and protective employee Elsie (Dora Bryan). She is indignant to discover that the previous owner had allowed an amiable local artist and part-time smuggler Duncan McLeod (Derek Bond) to use the pub for storing contraband goods but despite this, a romantic attachment develops between them. Helen (Dianne Foster), an old flame of McLeods, tricks her way into staying at the pub to pose for him but becomes jealous of Jane and taunts her about knowing her past and threatens to expose her. Pressure then mounts on McLeod when an old Naval colleague Inspector Bromley (John Horsley) arrives at the pub to stay for several weeks. He now is working as a customs officer. And then Jane’s escaped convict husband turns up and demands her help. Read More »

Phil Karlson – 99 River Street (1953)

Synopsis:
Having lost his heavyweight championship match, boxer Ernie Driscoll now drives a taxi for a living and earns the scorn of his nagging wife, Pauline, who blames him for her lack of social status. Involved with jewel thief Victor Rawlins, Pauline is murdered by him when she impedes his ability to fence the jewels. Blamed for his wife’s murder, Ernie must track down Rawlins before he leaves the country. Read More »

Frank Wisbar – Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben AKA Stalingrad-Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever (1959)

Synopsis:
Set just outside Stalingrad in the winter of 1942, this compelling wartime drama tells the tale of a contingent of German soldiers caught in a Russian vise. Headed by Gen. Paulus (Wilhelm Borchert), the other officers and foot soldiers are slowly surrounded by Russian troops on the offensive. The battles that ensue as a result of the entrapment are depicted via the experiences of individual officers and enlisted men — the full story emerges through the eyes of each of these soldiers. There is also a subsidiary tale about a friendship between a Russian woman (Sonia Zieman) and a German officer that ultimately saves the man’s life. Read More »

Robert Parrish – Cry Danger (1951)

Todd Wiener writes:
In his directorial debut, former editor Robert Parrish skillfully illuminates screenwriter Bill Bowers’ equally acerbic and droll Cry Danger into an underappreciated noir gem.

Even though this Jerome Cady story was originally purchased by Humphrey Bogart’s Santana Pictures, the film ended up being the only release by Olympic Productions. The tersely pitch-perfect Dick Powell portrays protagonist ex-convict Rocky Mulloy who returns to Los Angeles to find the gang that framed him for a crime he did not commit. Aided by a hard-drinking, crippled ex-marine (brilliantly realized by Richard Erdman), Mulloy sets up home-base at a Bunker Hill trailer camp that is home to his ex-girlfriend Nancy, played by the graceful Rhonda Fleming. Fleming, who was on loan from David O. Selznick’s company for this project, underwent an emergency appendectomy that initially held up the film’s very tight twenty-two day shooting schedule. Read More »

Satyajit Ray – Devi AKA The Goddess (1960)

Synopsis
One of Satyajit Ray’s greatest early films, full of sensuality and ironic undertones, Devi is sufficiently critical of Hindu superstition that it was banned from foreign distribution until Nehru interceded. The plot concerns a wealthy and devout landowner in the 19th century who believes his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is the reincarnation of the goddess Kali and convinces her that he’s right. With Soumitra Chatterji and Chhabi Biswas.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader Read More »