Movies – 1950s

12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men is the most probing, incisive, and penetrating look into the hearts and minds of a jury that has ever been filmed. Sidney Lumet made his film directing debut with this sensitive and absorbing 1957 classic, shot in just 20 days. A young Puerto Rican slum kid is on trial for murdering his father.(...)

1984 (1955)

The 1955 version of George Orwell's dystopian novel is set in a futuristic 1984 while the 1984 version of 1984 was set in the grim, postwar era in which Orwell lived and wrote. All of which proves that Orwell's book was at once timely and timeless. Michael Anderson's adaptation is reasonably faithful to its source, concentrating(...)

20 Million Miles To Earth (1957)

A spaceship returning from the first manned space flight to Venus crashes near Sicily, releasing a fast-growing reptilian beast that rampages through Rome in one of animation master Ray Harryhausen's best fantasy films, and his own personal favourite. The snake-tailed giant Ymir monster is also one of Harryhausen's finest creations: it has a well-defined personality and(...)

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)

For its first big-budget live-action movie, Disney turned to a classic: Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The studio also turned to a few major Hollywood stars: Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. Set at the close of the 19th century, the story opens in San Francisco, where terrified sailors spin tales of(...)

27th Day, The (1957)

This quite extraordinary anti-communist tract masquerades as naive science fiction. An alien gives five people from five different countries a box of capsules capable of destroying life on their continent if opened. The capsules become harmless after 27 days or on the owner's death. Suicide or destruction is the choice until the Russian emissary is(...)

4D Man (1959)

Research scientist Robert Lansing discovers the secret of penetrating solid matter when he accidentally opens a fourth dimension thanks to an electric motor stirring up his brainwaves. Entering a sordid life of crime due to his power, he must keep replenishing his life force by passing through the bodies of others or else suffer from(...)

5,000 Fingers of Dr T, The (1953)

Beloved children's author Dr. Seuss made his first and only foray into feature films with The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., which he conceived, co-wrote and helped design. Not surprisingly, the look and story were unlike anything audiences had seen before. Young Bart Collins doesn't like his piano lessons any more than most kids, but in(...)

7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad brought the legendary sailor into combat with a variety of creatures, all brought to life by the stop-motion magic of special effects guru Ray Harryhausen. In this 1958 screen adventure, Sinbad and his men sail to the island of Colossa and find trouble with a man-eating Cyclops. Facing certain death, the(...)

A Place In The Sun (1951)

In adapting Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy for the screen, director George Stevens was faced with the difficulty of making the novelist's grimly naturalist tale of class warfare interesting to a 1950s audience more eager for entertainment than political instruction. His solution was brilliantly effective: to emphasise the erotic longings of George Eastman (Clift) for the beautiful(...)

A Star is Born (1954)

Judy Garland starred in this musical remake of the 1937 drama of the same name, starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March. The tried and trusted tale is of Esther Blodgett, an aspiring young singer who reaches the upper echelons of success as Vicky Lester, only to have her heart broken by her film star husband,(...)

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953)

Having run out of exotic backgrounds on Earth, the duo board a spaceship and think they've landed on Mars when they're in the middle of the New Orleans Mardi Gras. Hijacked by a couple of bank robbers, they escape to Venus (not Mars!), which is populated solely by former Miss Universe contestants under Mari Blanchard(...)

Abbott and Costello In The Foreign Legion (1950)

Between meeting Dracula and the Invisible Man, Abbott and Costello took time out to cavort on existing sets on Universal's backlot, but they could well have done with some scriptwriting help. The duo were also beginning to show their age physically, and Lou, in particular, was starting to look a little grotesque. The title says(...)

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952)

Swashbuckling nonsense as Abbott and Costello go in search of the titular pirate's secret treasure when, as two waiters on the pirate island of Tortuga, they are accidentally given a treasure map. In between the comedy and songs of the two stars, Charles Laughton chews the scenery with wild abandon as the fearsome Captain Kidd. Rocky Stonebridge Bud(...)

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1952)

Robert Louis Stevenson probably spun wildly in his grave over this production as Bud and Lou (as 18th Century American detectives) chase down the monster that has been terrorising Victorian London (played by Boris Karloff). It sounds like the double date from hell, but this is one of Bud and Lou's livelier outings. The boys(...)

Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1951)

When an innocent boxer (Arthur Franz) is set up and charged for killing his manager, he takes a serum to make himself invisible and escape the police. A couple of bumbling private investigators (guess who!) step into the ring to try to add visibility to the situation. There is a modicum of mystery beneath the thin(...)

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