Archive for February 3rd, 2009

by Sam Juliano

      The 1950’s, the visionary decade which ushered in the singular greatness of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Robert Bresson, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yashijiro Ozu, Kon Ichikawa, Francois Truffaut, Alain Resnais, S. Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, Michaelangelo Antonioni, as well as a bevy of American artists like Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan and Douglas Sirk–not to mention Alfred Hitchcock in his prime–will be scrutinized in a poll that will launch today.

As always, voters are asked to click on the “Best Movies of the 1950’s” thread, which is located under the Wonders in the Dark heading, to enter their listing, as well as pertinent comments dealing with the polling of individual films or directors.

    Again, voters are asked to list their Top 25 (in numerical order) and are welcome to list “runners-up” choices, which won’t be part of the tabulation, but will surely give the voter some “peace” for having to omit so many revered and adored films from their individual lists.

    Voting tabulator extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. will again be monitoring the thread on a daily basis, and will compile the numbers at the end of the eight-week duration of the polling.

    Voters are again urged to access the penultimate sidebar 1950’s listings, which for all intents and purposes will give each voter a comprehensive overview of this defining era in film.  Naturally, voters can choose films that may not appear within those lists, even if the preponderance of such instances will be rare.

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by Allan Fish

the fifties countdown begins today…

(UK 1951 81m) DVD1/2

Knight in shining armour

p  Sidney Cole, Michael Balcon  d  Alexander Mackendrick  w  Roger MacDougall, John Dighton, Alexander Mackendrick  ph  Douglas Slocombe  ed  Bernard Gribble  m  Benjamin Frankel  art  Jim Morahan  spc  Sydney Pearson  sound  Stephen Dalby

Alec Guinness (Sidney Stratton), Joan Greenwood (Daphne Birnley), Cecil Parker (Mr Birnley), Michael Gough (Michael Corland), Vida Hope (Bertha), Howard Marion Crawford (Cranford), Ernest Thesiger (Sir John Kierlaw), Miles Malleson (tailor), Henry Mollison (Hoskins), George Benson (lodger), Edie Martin (landlady), Mandy Miller (girl),

Ealing comedies have long been a staple diet amongst fans of the so-called golden-age of British cinema, part of our national heritage to be cherished for ever more.  In truth, though they made a host of classics, including Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt and Hue and Cry, only four stand up to real scrutiny over half a century on; Whisky Galore, The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets and this wonderful satire from Ealing’s greatest director, Alexander Mackendrick.  Many who associate Ealing with a cosy England that is no more often find Mackendrick’s later acerbic Sweet Smell of Success to be the antithesis of his earlier work.  In reality, there’s more than a little darkness in this earlier masterpiece, too.  David Thomson was right to point out the debts to Kafka, and it also dates a lot better than the later Boulting satires (such as I’m All Right Jack). 

            Sidney Stratton is a working class lad who has been thrown out of his Cambridge fellowship after some radical experiments go awry.  Finding himself eventually in Wellsborough at Birnleys, the biggest mill in the land, he manages to swindle his way into the laboratory.  When he claims to have invented an everlasting fabric, he not only antagonises the industry and unions but attracts the attention of the owner’s daughter. (more…)

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