Thursday, May 23, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 1950

Instead of just posting bulk lists (as I have very lazily done in the past), I have decided to make these lists with a little more pizzazz. My top 10 movies of each year 1950-present begins now with, you guessed it, 1950:

10. Scandal

One of Kurosawa's earlier works, and the film released only months prior to his breakthrough with Rashomon, Scandal is not one of his better efforts, but still a solid film with strong performances.

9. Cinderella

One of the more memorable of the Disney classics, Cinderella is an enjoyable animation, but never really escalates beyond the point of simply being light entertainment. Its best attribute is the animation itself.

8. Harvey

Fueled more by single performances than by plot or content, Harvey is a very nice little movie with a very endearing lead performance by Stewart, and very high-strung support from Josephine Hull. A relatively harmless comedy/fantasy.

7. Father Of The Bride

And here is when I start getting into the ones I really loved. Spencer Tracy gives one of his more memorable, entertaining performances here as the very concerned father (which would later be duplicated by Steve Martin, to a lesser effect), a performance that alone makes the movie worth a watch. Not to mention fine support from the rest of the cast, good comedic timing, and a lot of heart.

6. In A Lonely Place

With a very strong lead performance by Bogart, excellent suspense, and a very tricky script, In A Lonely Place is the kind of movie that could have easily fallen apart had any single aspect been off-center. Luckily, this noir finds its balance between romance and mystery, resulting in a very compelling film.

5. Los Olvidados

A more straight-forward effort from surrealist master Luis Bunuel, Los Olvidados is a hard-hitting, gritty melodrama focusing on poverty-stricken youths in Mexico City. With a concise running time, and a powerful subject matter, this stands as one of the strongest films of the director's fantastic career.

4. All About Eve

One of the more vicious and memorable Best Picture winners of the '50s, All About Eve has one of the most fantastic casts ever in the history of film, also featuring incredible dialogue, which is very well-balanced mixing its darker elements with very witty one-liners and clever banter.

3. Sunset Boulevard

Perhaps one of the greatest film noirs ever made, Sunset Boulevard has a good argument to also be one of the greatest dramatic films to come from writer/director Billy Wilder. Fantastic lead performances by Holden and Swanson, this movie is almost always one of the first titles to come up in a serious conversation about the greatest movies of the 1950s -- and rightfully so.

2. Orpheus

One of the more experimental and impressive fantasy films of its time, Jean Cocteau's Orpheus features some of the most inventive special effects and set designs I can recall ever seeing. Pure artistry, without ever feeling at all pretentious or overly-stylized. One of my favorite films of the entire decade, but not able to take the #1 spot of the year.

1. Rashomon

Anyone who knows my love for Kurosawa and this incredible masterpiece should have seen this coming. I often consider this one of the, if not the only, perfect movies ever made. Everything about this movie is exactly what it could have been: the acting is marvelous, the concept is brilliant and inventive, the pacing is spot-on... all the pieces come together here, and the result is what could possibly be the greatest movie I've ever seen. In other words, this was a pretty easy pick.

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