Posted by: distributorcap | April 4, 2008

I like Ike

well not really, but I would take Ike over the current resident. Then again Ike gave us another “president to be proud of.”

I need another break from politics and news — I have been watching too much MSNBC.

1950’s – the post war boom of America — the birth of commercial television, rockets into space and the perfect American society. No sex, No drugs, No rock ‘n roll (well until 1955 no Rock ‘n Roll). Just perfect furniture.

Well there was plenty of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll — it just was on the underside and a lot of it showed up in movies.

The Oscars picked the following movies as the best of the 1950’s

1950 – All About Eve
1951 – An American in Paris
1952 – The Greatest Show on Earth
1953 – From Here to Eternity
1954 – On The Waterfront
1955 – Marty
1956 – Around the World in Eighty Days
1957 – The Bridge on the River Kwai
1958 – Gigi
1959 – Ben-Hur

7 classics (IMHO), 2 almost, and 1 not-so-great movie. 2 musicals. Definitely not the best of the best from that decade. I am not a fan of Ben-Hur – it is really long, I think it drags, and if you need to see a biblical Charlton Heston, then stick with The Ten Commandments. I also think Around the World in Eighty Days is not that great of a movie — it has lots of cameos and is sort of fun at times, but it definitely doesn’t hold your attention (maybe when Shirley MacLaine shows up) and it is a mediocre flick at best. While I can appreciate An American in Paris – I am not a ballet fan and seeing once was enough. The real sore thumb is The Greatest Show on Earth — an homage to the circus and to Cecil B. DeMille. Other than the animals, even the big train wreck doesn’t make this one worthy at all. The rest I can watch over and over.

So here is my choice for the 25 best movies of the 1950s (rules – they had to be released from 1950-59 and I had to have seen them). Again since I do not like Westerns – that eliminates a lot of good ones (Shane, High Noon, The Searchers). I’ll put my Franklin half on these:

26. A Place in the Sun (1951) – Because Elizabeth Taylor is so gorgeous and Shelley Winters is so frumpy – and she gets tossed overboard.
25. It Should Happen to You (1954) – I am a both a Judy Holliday fan and a fan of billboards.
24. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – A science fiction movie that makes you think
23. Peyton Place (1957) – OK, it is a soap opera, but it is actually quite entertaining and it holds up really well. And it is a good story.
22. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) -The Holocaust — somber, telling and intense with no Nazis
21. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) – Hollywood trashes itself and Kirk Douglas was great
20. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – One of the best war movies and a great ending
19. On The Beach (1959) – Proving there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide
18. From Here to Eternity (1953) – Another great war movie, with some of the best acting
17. Rififi (1955) – King of the crime movies
16. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – JJ Hunsecker, don’t miss this one
15. Touch of Evil (1958) – The best of the ‘noir’ genre and I think Welles’ best
14. The Caine Mutiny (1954) – Strawberries anyone?
13. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) – Another noir classic and Huston’s best (or one of)
12. Twelve Angry Men (1957) – Because anything with Henry Fonda in it is usually great
11. A Face in the Crowd (1957) – If you want to see where Jerry Falwell learned his trade
10. Paths of Glory (1957) – Soldiers in WW1 refuse to continue with an impossible attack from Stanley Kubrick
9. The African Queen (1951) – Hepburn and Bogart and a river — doesn’t get any better.
8. Singin’ In The Rain (1952) – The best musical ever (a genre I don’t like, a movie I really like). Jean Hagen in the most under-rated role ever.
7. All About Eve (1950) – One of the best scripts ever and a ton of great lines.
6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Perfect allegory for the red scare of the 50s
5. Some Like It Hot (1959) – Perfect script, perfectly shot and still hysterically funny. best closing line
4. On The Waterfront (1954) – I wish I could have been a contender
3. Vertigo (1958) – Many consider this Hitchcock’s best..
2. Rebel Without A Cause (1955) – The movie that made James Dean, James Dean
1. North by Northwest (1959) – But I consider this one his best. My favorite Hitchcock movie

Honorable Mention
Born Yesterday (1950), War of the Worlds (1953), To Catch A Thief (1955), Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Seven Year Itch (1955), The High and the Mighty (1954), The Bad Seed (1956), Member of the Wedding (1953), The Ten Commandments (1956), Roman Holiday (1953), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Rear Window (1954), The Seven Samurai (1954), The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Like you did in the 1960’s – argue, criticize and add


  1. Rififi? Never heard of it. I’ll ask Jim. He’s probably seen it or owns it.Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock film and Hitchcock made many great movies. The setting in San Francisco is stunning and the score is breathtaking.All About Eve is so smart and sophisticated. Great dialogue.North by Northwest is my second favorite Hitchcock film. I love any film about mistaken identity.Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is just awesome. Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman were at the height of their physical beauty. How can two people look like this? They’re Gods among mortals.

  2. Even when under the weather, you write a great post.It is not a big surprise that I agree with you on most things,but Rififi??? What is that?Also, I love an American In Paris, so we split there.

  3. I’ve been watching lots of old movies lately. I’m partial to Rear Window, but I love all the Hitchcock films including North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief.And dammit I only caught the end of The African Queen yesterday.Great break from politics, DCap! Now slow down on the MSNBC or you’ll go blind. Or stupid.

  4. North By Northwest is absolutely my favorite Hitchcock movie.

  5. Singing in the Rain was a good musical, but best has to go to 1776 for me (don’t know the year released though).

  6. I agree with North by Northwest but Rear Window is close. Love those Hitchcock blonds: Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak and Doris Day

  7. Bridge on the River Kwai is one of my favs! I still find myself whistling Colonel Boogie March every now and then.

  8. Rear Window is right up there with Vertigo for me, but all the Hitchcock films from around there are extra groovy. And Rififi! Great flick. Man, I haven’t seen that in years. Klaatu barada nikto, and all that jazz.

  9. I’ve got The Bad and the Beautiful waiting for me on my PVR. All About Eve is a classic for sure but I think I’ve got some more watching to do. I haven’t seen enough of these although I’ve heard of them all but Rififi.I wonder why the catch phrase “I Like Dick” never caught on the way it did with the Ike thing?

  10. “The Bridge on the River Kwai” is one of the best I have seen. We Were Soldiers was the best war movie I have seen lately and it can’t even get close to the Bridge. They don’t make movies like that anymore…

  11. Terrific list, DCap, but a little light on the foreign films. Let me add a few of those for spice.RashomonBob Le FlambeurThe Seventh SealThe World of ApuThe Lavender Hill MobThe Mouse That RoaredLa StradaThe 400 BlowsBlack OrpheusAnd one American film I love like crazy:Night of the Hunter

  12. Singin’ in the Rain is one of my faves. As hot as Gene Kelly was (and a Pittsburgh boy!) I always had a mad crush on Donald O’Connor. I always loved those funnymen.

  13. Lots O’ Goodies in your list DCap..but I love anything written by Tennesee Williams and COAHTR was one of his gems. Speaking of Heston..he died today…sigh. No one played religious figures like Charlton ;p

  14. The only movie I ever saw (on this list) was The Bridge Over The River Kwai. That was an awesome movie.

  15. I couldn’t imagine living back then DC. My mother used to say it was rough because everything was subject to judgemental eyes, all the while they were doing the same thing.

  16. Dick,You haven’t seen these Hitchcock films?Now you listen up, boy. Run, don’t walk to Target and buy them or when your local revival house screens them, stop what you’re doing and go.Especially, Vertigo, North by Northwest and Rear Window. These are towering masterpieces. Trust me on this.

  17. Christopher,Ah, but I have nothing to play them on, my friend. I don’t have a dvd player, etc. However, you’re always free to come over and hook up yours, and we could watch them together (if you catch my drift *wink*)

  18. btw, did I ever mention I can whistle the tune to Bridge Over The River Kwai. In fact I’m doing it.Right.Now.

  19. I’m too restless to sit through a whole movie, no matter how good it is. But I do like dick…

  20. Thanks!

  21. Wait a minute, I have dubs on Dickie !!

  22. I remember those days. I remember IKE’s parting address warning us to beware the military-industrial complex. Three great leaders took his advice to heart: JFK, RFK and MLK. The response against them proved that IKE was right.

  23. Chris – if you like crime movies, you will love Rififi, and yes Taylor and Newman are beyond mortalFIA – awww… I am not big on An American…..Dcup — I watched MSNBC all day today, don’t askJY – NbN is one of the best eveh!JJ – 1776 was release in the 70s – never saw the movie, only the showMath – and Janet Leigh, Tippi Hedren, Ingrid Bergman, Vera Miles….Skyler – I wish I could whistleRandal – you speak like Gork or whatever his name wasDale – I like dick caught on in the cheney HHDem – no they don’t, bridge is one of the bestMatty – I know, I am not big on foreign films – I did include Rififi and Seven SamuraiBeck – actually Jean Hagen is the best in that movie – a role of a lifetimeDusty – cat and streetcar!Dick – we gotta get you a DVDPhil – oh life was simpler back thenMadam – LOLMarjorie – you mean dibsTomcat – ike would be a welcome republican today!

  24. Ha! “The Seven Year Itch” – That was a great movie! Billy Wilder was a genius. (Did the boy ever get his canoe paddle?)

  25. 400 BlowsRashomonThese need to be on there.

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