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Currently Browsing: 1950′s

The Red Balloon (1956)

The Red Balloon (1956)
I recently watched this enchanting short film for the first time and found myself swept up (no pun intended) by its delightful depiction of the simple joys of childhood (granted this was a childhood decades before video games, Toys R Us, etc), This 34 minute French short film has almost no dialogue but every scene is a beautifully rendered moving painting. This simple yet charming tale begins when towheaded Pascal (the director’s 9 year old son) is on his way to school and comes across a large, lusciously, lollipop red balloon tied to a post. Pascal unties it, assumes ownership of the red globe and...
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The Killing (1956)

The Killing (1956)
Movie Review Is it film noir or not? Some critics claim that it is while others argue that Stanley Kubrick was trying to make it too many things at once for the movie to be truly considered film noir. Who cares? The Killing is a GREAT heist movie! Quentin Tarantino has admitted to the influence this film had on his own Reservoir Dogs. I loved The Killing the first time I saw it and couldn’t believe that Kubrick was only 27 years old at the time he directed it and that this was only his second film. Told in a non-linear fashion with great dialogue written by Jim Thompson. Yes THAT Jim Thompson! The...
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Johnny Tremain (1957)

Johnny Tremain (1957)
Movie Review Adapted from the Newbery Medal winning book by Esther Forbes, this family classic is one of Disney’s better live action movies. Johnny Tremain tells the story of a young silversmith apprentice (Hal Stalmaster) in pre-revolutionary Boston. While working on the Sabbath (illegal at the time) Johnny injures his hand and is forced to seek work (unsuccessfully) elsewhere. In despair he approaches wealthy merchant and British sympathizer Jonathan Lyte (a beardless Sebastian Cabot, remember Mr. French from Family Affair?) Johnny’s mother left him a cup that would identify him as a member of the...
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East of Eden (1955)

East of Eden (1955)
Movie review Based on the novel by John Steinbeck and directed by Elia Kazan, East of Eden still packs a powerful punch more than 50 years after its release. I personally rank it among the 10 greatest American movies ever made. The film draws from the biblical story of Cain and Abel. The setting is Salinas, an agricultural town in northern California and takes place in 1917 shortly before the US enters WWI. Cal (Caleb) and Aron Trask are the twin sons of lettuce farmer, Adam Trask. This was James Dean’s first film and to my mind his most powerful performance. It’s also the only one of his 3 films to...
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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Movie Review When a mysterious one armed stranger arrives by train into the sleepy little desert town of Black Rock, he sets off a contagion of apprehension and hostility among the locals. Just as John J. Macready (Spencer Tracy) steps off the train the station manager/telegraph operator is alarmed and surprised that the train even stopped. It’s been four years since the last train stopped at Black Rock. It’s been just a few months since the end of WWII, but retired Army man Macready finds he’s walked into inexplicably hostile territory by the reception from the locals. Why are these...
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