Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 1957

After a brief hiatus, I have decided to return (for an unknown amount of time) to, in the very least, present my top 10 list of 1957 - which is probably one of the strongest years in the history of film.

10. The Lower Depths

Yes, Kurosawa is the master, and this is yet another in a long list of the reasons why. The Lower Depths is one of the darkest, least hopeful films of Kurosawa's career, with one of the greatest, most cynical final lines in the history of film.

9. The Cranes Of Flying

Interesting use of camera angles, fantastic performances, and a heartbreaking story all come together to make this excellent Soviet film, which stands as one of the most underrated/forgotten movies of the 1950s.

8. Witness For The Prosecution

One of the most memorable courtroom dramas in history, this Billy Wilder classic features just enough twists and turns to keep the court scenes interesting, all the while being held together by fantastic performances - most notably Charles Laughton.

7. The Bridge On The River Kwai

Winner of the Oscar for Best Picture, David Lean's epic war drama is definitely in need of a re-watch on my part. With one of the greatest male performances of the 1950s in Alec Guinness, The Bridge On The River Kwai may have a bloated running time, but all of that length is utilized well to create a fantastic, thrilling masterpiece.

6. Wild Strawberries

One of Bergman's finer films, which leaves a profound effect not easily shaken. With fantastic performances, a concise running time, and a surprisingly warm message from the famously-bleak Swedish auteur, Wild Strawberries is a classic, through-and-through.

5. 12 Angry Men

Sidney Lumet's directorial debut, and one of the most iconic bottle dramas of all-time. 12 Angry Men has one of the strongest ensemble casts I've ever seen, and is fantastically-paced. Definitely a classic, and deserving of its overwhelming acclaim.

4. Throne Of Blood

The Second Kurosawa film on this list, Throne Of Blood is an eerie re-imagining of Macbeth, with Toshiro Mifune giving one of the most intense leading performances ever. Spooky, wonderfully-shot, and totally incredible.

3. Sweet Smell Of Success

One of the smartest films ever written, nearly every character interaction in this movie is bursting with clever dialogue. Lancaster and Curtis' performances alone would earn this a spot on the list, but paired with the fantastic writing, Sweet Smell Of Success continues to impress me every time I watch it.

2. Paths Of Glory

One of several which could be considered my favorite Kubrick film, Paths Of Glory features one of Kirk Douglas' finest performances, and a dark script with a lot of bite. One of the best war movies ever made - if that's what you choose to classify it as.

1. The Seventh Seal

Definitely in the running when I name my very favorite films of all-time. Often the single movie I point to when I pick one film I would like to claim I had made, The Seventh Seal is dark, atmospheric, symbolic, iconic, and every synonym you can find for the word "great". This is what film, as an art form, has to offer in its highest pedigree. Not only is it the best Bergman has to offer, but this just might be the best film ever made.

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