Sunday, June 16, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 1958

This entry might be interesting for some, because for the first time since I've started these lists, the movie in the #1 spot is something not everyone has heard of.



10. The Horse's Mouth

This was a pretty bizarre movie, but I found it very entertaining, and thought Alec Guinness' performance was great. Very screwball and oddly funny, this is certainly not a typical comedy -- but a very enjoyable one nonetheless.


9. The Magician

Not one of his very strongest features, Ingmar Bergman's signature style and overtly dark themes are still on full display in The Magician, which shows off how well Bergman could have made horror films had he gone further in that particular genre.


8. Touch Of Evil

Despite the bizarre casting of Charlton Heston as a Mexican, Touch of Evil is still one of Welles' strongest directorial efforts, and features one of his best performances as well. Classic late-'50s noir.


7. The Hidden Fortress

An early inspiration for the Star Wars films, The Hidden Fortress is yet another on the list of reasons why Akira Kurosawa is my favorite director. Fantastic pacing, wonderful performances, and never dull for a moment.


6. A Night To Remember

A much less dramatized (yet far more genuine) look at the events surrounding the disastrous maiden voyage of the Titanic than the James Cameron epic, there is no doubt this is a very subdued film, but an incredibly effective one.


5. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

A brilliant showcase of writing and acting, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, based on the Tennessee Williams play, features one of the strongest central casts of any film of the era. Between Newman, Taylor and Ives, there are many fantastic confrontations and beautifully-executed scenes. A graceful, biting drama.


4. Separate Tables

Somehow forgotten by time but never by me, Separate Tables was the best Best Picture nominee of 1958, and featured one of my favorite Best Actor winning performances ever, provided by the incredible David Niven. As a straight-up character drama, it's hard to beat Separate Tables.


3. The Music Room

A rich visual tapestry not unlike his fantastic Apu Trilogy, Satyajit Ray created this film with such elegance and beauty, it's hard to mistake it for any other director's handiwork. An alarmingly simple, yet profound film, with a wonderful soundtrack and brilliant cinematography.


2. Vertigo

Often considered one of the greatest films by Hitchcock (or by anyone, for that matter), Vertigo is incredibly influential, dark, mysterious, brilliantly-acted, and very entertaining from start to end. First-time viewers will be caught up in the mystery, where others will be left finding more and more things about the film to be impressed by.


1. Cairo Station

A film that desperately needs to find a larger following, this Egyptian masterpiece by Youssef Chahine has everything a movie buff could ask for: great acting, fantastic pacing, excellent writing/character development, romance, suspense, horror, humor, and much more. This movie has pretty much everything I could want/expect from a movie, and delivers it all in less than 80 minutes. Could easily stand as one of the strongest films of the '50s, and one of my personal choices for most overlooked, underrated, and simply forgotten films of all-time.
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