Five Favorite Films of the '50s


Happy National Classic Movie Day! To celebrate the classic film community's favorite day, I'm participating in the Five Favorite Films of the '50s Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Film and TV Cafe. You can read the other entries here.

I knew as soon as I signed up for this event that it'd be difficult -- I have a track record of getting stressed out over these kinds of lists -- but I surprised myself with how quickly I made my choices. I mean, I did keep changing my mind when it came to the last slot, but the other four seemed clear to me... although I must admit they aren't the most original selections in the world. I also made a rule for myself that I wouldn't repeat directors or actors so my choices would be a bit more diverse.


Sabrina (1954)
My second favorite film of all time, Billy Wilder's dreamy modern fairy tale is the perfect antidote for whatever ails you. Rendered in lush black and white, Sabrina sweeps me off my feet on every viewing. The dialogue is incredible; the romance is very sweet; the music is enchanting; and the cast, anchored by a remarkable Audrey Hepburn, is sublime. Simply put, Sabrina means the world to me.

You can read my full review here.


Singin' in the Rain (1952)
One of a handful of classic films that my sister and I both love, Singin' in the Rain deserves all of the praise and adoration it's received over the years. Simultaneously a hilarious Hollywood satire, swooning romance, and dazzling musical, this movie is the epitome of joy. Every number makes my heart sing, thanks to Debbie Reynolds's charm, Donald O'Connor's brilliance, Cyd Charisse's smoldering elegance, and Gene Kelly's ridiculously incredible talent. His and Stanley Donen's dynamic direction of this Technicolor dream is wonderful, as is Betty Comden and Adolph Green's witty script and Jean Hagen's iconic performance of the outrageous Lina Lamont.


Dangerous When Wet (1953)
You didn't think I'd make a list without Esther, did you? Dangerous When Wet is one of her best, a delightful mixture of songs, romance, and, of course, swimming. With debonair Fernando Lamas by her side, Esther sparkles as a farm girl whose family enters a competition to swim the English Channel. As her father, William Demarest is wildly endearing, while a very funny Jack Carson is their sponsor/coach. Director Charles Walters expertly crafted a film that has plenty of laughs and heart -- and one splendid sequence of Esther swimming with Tom and Jerry!

You can read my full review here.


Rear Window (1954)
It was difficult to only have one Hitchcock film on this list (I can't tell you how painful it was to not include To Catch a Thief or North by Northwest), but since Rear Window is my #1 Hitchcock picture, it was only logical to place it here.

I adore every single thing about this film. The atmosphere created by the giant set piece permeates the whole thing. The soundtrack is comprised of music and sounds coming from the surrounding apartments, which feels intimate and fun. Thelma Ritter proves why she was one of the funniest people around. And I love how Jimmy Stewart’s character starts out doubting his future with Grace Kelly and over the course of the film, he begins to appreciate her and see sides of her that he assumed wouldn’t be there. Truly one of Hitch's greatest masterpieces.


Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Disney's tale about a cursed princess and the three fairies who protect her has bewitched me ever since I was little. While the other films on this list were discovered by me as a teenager, Sleeping Beauty has been with me my whole life and slowly became my favorite Disney flick. The majestic Tchaikovsky score swirls with the extraordinarily rich, mesmerizing visuals to create a piece of art that never fails to take my breath away.

You can read my full review here.

Honorable Mentions, also known as the exclusions that hurt my heart: Pillow Talk; Kiss Me, Kate; Cinderella; The Glass Slipper; Easy to Love; The Pajama Game; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which I'll be talking about soon for the Broadway Bound Blogathon!); Some Like It Hot; Call Me Madam; The Court Jester

Comments

  1. I have had a blast reading all the lists for this blogathon! So glad to see REAR WINDOW included as one of your five marvelous selections. I struggled with whether to choose it or VERTIGO. They are both brilliant films (and NORTH BY NORTHWEST is immensely entertaining). Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY is one of the finest color films ever made. And it was fun to see DANGEROUS WHEN WET on your list; it's one of Esther's best pictures and I also love the animated sequence with Tom, Jerry, and Octopus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed my picks! After doing this blogathon and seeing other peoples' lists, I think I've realized that the '50s might be my favorite movie period. :)

      Delete
  2. Lovey choices Michaela, so want to learn more of these movies after your dreamy post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gill! You can't go wrong with any of them, but I may be biased. ;)

      Delete
  3. I certainly did not expect you to make a list which did not include an Esther Williams picture! You narrowed the list to such excellent choices that you have me rethinking my own.

    My son adores Sleeping Beauty as much as he adores The Nutcracker. I believe Tchaikovsky speaks to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling all of us participants will be doing some second-guessing.

      Your son and I have that in common, Paddy. My university puts on an excellent production of The Nutcracker around Christmas every year and I've been going for the past 5 years. I never fail to cry when the Snow Queen and King do their pas de deux.

      Delete
  4. Michaela, I KNEW you would include an Esther Williams film haha! ;) Ok, I think Singin' in the Rain is definitely the common denominator to all our lists lol. You included wonderful choices here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, you know I've gotta stay loyal to Esther! I've been seeing a lot of Singin' in the Rain and Rear Window on people's lists -- they're clearly well-loved films!

      Delete
  5. It made me smile to see “Dangerous When Wet” because I love when Esther swims with Tom and Jerry! And I, too, love a good fairy tale and “Sleeping Beauty” is enchanting. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we would all immerse ourselves in a lovely story when we felt grumpy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your reaction to Dangerous When Wet made me smile! It's very dear to me, as is Sleeping Beauty. Disney films are definitely my happy place.

      Delete
  6. Oh, I'm so happy to see someone with an animated film on their list. I didn't even consider that! I love that you shared why these movies are special to you. It's always neat to hear what makes a film meaningful to others, since perspective vary so widely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I almost didn't include Sleeping Beauty, actually. I had picked Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but then it hit me that SB had been released in 1959 and I knew it deserved a spot.

      Delete
  7. Such a fun list. It reveals you as a gal who simply loves movies with a passion.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Count me among the Singin in the Rain enthusiasts--of course, it should be on every list! If I start watching classic animated films (never been much of a fan) I will make sure Sleeping Beauty is on the list. That's what's so great about these blogathons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, blogathon discoveries are the best! Sleeping Beauty is a triumph of animation. I hope you enjoy it whenever you see it!

      Delete
  9. I had similar problems when choosing! SLEEPING BEAUTY - YESSS! I chose that one too!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, great! I got through about half of the lists yesterday, so I haven't gotten to yours yet, but it's on my radar! :)

      Delete
  10. I absolutely love Rear Window because of Jimmy Stewart, but particularly the climax with Raymond Burr. One could see how great he would become from this role.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raymond Burr is bone-chilling in this film! The first time I saw it, I absolutely shuddered when the police are in his apartment and he realizes that Jeff is watching from across the way -- the shot of him looking straight at Jeff/us freaked me out as much as it did Jeff!

      Delete
  11. It's great how we see a little of the blogger's personality by their choices for the blogathon. You chose amazing, sweet, bright films, and also my very first Hitchcock. Also, I think Singin' in the Rain will be in a lot of lists.
    Kisses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Le! My first Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief, very nearly appeared instead of Rear Window. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty surprised that I didn't include any Cary Grant films at all.

      Delete
  12. Aha! I was waiting to see when and how Esther Williams would make the list, and you didn't let us down. I love that all your films have beautiful elements to them, even down to the set in Rear Window. Also, I'm very pleased you included Sleeping Beauty. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I guess Esther has made me predictable!

      It's funny -- because Disney films have been around me my whole life, I tend to forget their release years. To me, they've just kind of always existed, so I almost didn't remember that Sleeping Beauty was even a '50s film.

      Delete
  13. A really enjoyable read and some very interesting choices. Love that you had an animation classic on there as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Disney has been such a giant presence in my life, it was unthinkable for me to leave out Sleeping Beauty once I thought of it.

      Delete

Post a Comment

You might've missed these popular posts...

Loving and Fighting Furiously: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Top Ten: Fred Astaire's Partners

Bette and Errol.

Danny Kaye excels as... The Court Jester (1956)

Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk (1959) and Lover Come Back (1961)

Announcing the Doris Day Blogathon!

The One Lovely Blog Award.

Announcing the Vincente Minnelli Blogathon!

Jerry Lewis presents... The Nutty Professor (1963)

The Loss of Gene Wilder.