Sunday, June 2, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 1956

I have been found guilty of writing very little and sounding very unenthusiastic in my past few posts, so I will try to make it more evident now that I'm making these lists because I want to (and because I love movies), rather than because I feel like I have to. After I let out a huge sigh, I will continue. Ready? *SIGH* Okay, here we go...

10. Bob Le Flambeur

Not one of the most significant films by Jean-Pierre Melville, Bob The Flambeur is still drenched with the auteur's signature style, and a fine dramatic effort from the great director.

9. Lust For Life

Featuring a stellar performance by Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh, Lust For Life is mostly memorable for its strong acting, and vibrant visuals, which accurately reflect the artwork of the world-famous artist.

8. The Searchers

One of the many visual masterpieces by John Ford, The Searchers has some issues with keeping itself in-check (mostly regarding the passing of time within the film) but is nonetheless a great western with possibly John Wayne's strongest and most complex performance.

7. The Ladykillers

As dark of a comedy as you can get, this is one of the funniest, most well-written movies of the era. With an especially memorable leading performance by Alec Guinness, The Ladykillers is a lot more fun than it probably should be.

6. Aparajito

The second film in the Apu Trilogy (following Pather Panchali), Aparjito is a fantastic coming-of-age drama. Not quite on the same level as Apur Sansar (The World Of Apu), which follows it, but every bit as good as its predecessor.

5. The Killing

If you've ever found yourself wondering what you might get when Stanley Kubrick directs a heist movie, The Killing is your answer to that, and it by no means disappoints. Wonderfully-paced and incredibly intense, this is one of the better heist films ever made.

4. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Easily top 5 sci/fi of the 1950s, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is well-shot, unsettling, and surprisingly effective. Neither remake could ever match the impact of this original body snatcher film, which is definitely one of my favorite alien movies ever.

3. The Burmese Harp

One of the greatest Japanese non-Kurosawa films of its time (an oddly specific distinction, I know, but one worth noting), Kon Ichikawa's anti-war epic is beautifully-shot, emotional, and unforgettable. One of the greatest films of its time depicting the effects of war on society.

2. A Man Escaped

Possibly Robert Bresson's finest work, A Man Escaped is, hands down, one of the greatest prison escape movies of all-time. With fantastic pacing (much less tedious than Bresson's films usually suffer from being) and a thrilling climax, this movie is, for lack of a better term, practically perfect.

1. Forbidden Planet

Just as odd as it was seeing Leslie Nielsen as a young man, I find it even stranger that I legitimately enjoyed this cheesy sci/fi movie as much as I did. The concept is intriguing, the visuals are wonderful, and the twist ending is both incredibly surprising and extremely original. With its very fun old-fashioned special effects and solid acting, Forbidden Planet is undoubtedly one of the most fun sci/fi movies I've ever seen.

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