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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1953

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A year of change at Fox began with Mitzi Gaynor in the musical bio Ther I Don't Care Girl, in which she gave a pert and lively performance

 

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One of Marilyn Monroe's best films was Niagara, a sensational noir.

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Dan Dailey was a cab driver in Taxi, trying to help an immigrant find her husband in the big city.

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Tonight We Sing was another musical biopic, including opera this time around.

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Dale Robertson was back in his usual panorama, the West, in the Silver Whip

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Cornel Wilde then went on a treasure hunt....

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Mitzi was back for more music in Down Among the Sheltering Palms.

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And Richard Widmark was game for adventure in the desert.....

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Ethel Merman returned to Fox after an almost 15 year absence headlining Call Me Madam, just like she did on Broadway.

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Elia Kazan directed Man on a Tightrope, a movie with a circus family trying to defect and cross the Iron Curtain.

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It was a waterlogged night when Titanic sank anew. This time Barbara Stanwyck proved to be unsinkable....

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Invaders of Mars came by to add a kick of sci-fi....

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WWII resurfaced in the much liked The Desert Rats.

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June Haver left the film world behind after finishing the musical The Girl Next Door

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The Glory Brigade focused on the then-current Korean War.

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Charlton Heston was Andrew Jackson, and Susan Hayward was his wife, The President's Lady

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Rory Calhoun made the way west in Powder River.

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Hi-ho- the-dairy-O, Betty Grable and Dale Robertson were a match in The Farmer Takes a Wife.

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Thelma Ritter delivered one of the greatest performances put to film in Pickup on South Street.

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was a rollicking good time and provided both female leads with some of their best work.

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Dan Dailey went back again to baseball in The Kid from Left Field

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And Robert Mitchum and Susan Hayward headed to Africa in White Witch Doctor.

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A dip into noir was next in store for Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters.

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War hit the Pacific in Sailor of the King

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Dangerous Crossing was Gaslight on a boat.

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Noir went 3D in Inferno.

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And Clifton Webb commandeered the Boy Scouts

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Vicki was I Wake Up Screaming revisited. The killer's identity in this one is very surprising from today's vantage point.

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Jeannie Crain was in trouble when she was in the City of Bad Men.

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And then the change. CinemaScope arrived and Fox led the widescreen charge in getting audiences away from their TVs. The first one was The Robe, the biggest hit of the year.

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Thy Neighbor's Wife was the latest Hugo Haas quickie.

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How to Marry a Millionaire was a good chic comedy remake with a sterling cast, although the best parts were the Bacall/William Powell scenes and the airplane scene with Marilyn and David Wayne.

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Amanda "Miss Kitty" Blake was the shipwrecked one in Miss Robin Crusoe, a gender swap on Dafoe's classic.

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Man Crazy was a B with women with Hollywood on their minds

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Robert Wagner and Terry Moore went Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

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Tyrone Power left Fox at this point after King of the Khyber Rifles. He would return once before his untimely death.

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Was Jack Palance playing Jack the Ripper in Man in the attic?

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The Grable-Robertson musical is pretty bad. Several other films in this group are just as lifeless.

But the good ones are very good.

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 5.41.11 PM.jpeg

1. MAN ON A TIGHTROPE. Unusual cast delivers in spades. Also not the kind of subject matter one would expect with Kazan. But the whole thing works. Quirky with intriguing characterizations, yet a plot that's easy to follow.

2. PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. Perhaps Fuller's best film. Widmark, Kiley and Peters are all excellent. But Thelma Ritter steals it. She should have had the Oscar for it.

3. CALL ME MADAM. Schmaltzy but enjoyable. Tremendous cast. George Sanders didn't make many musicals. But he's right at home in this one. So is everyone else.

4. GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES. Good though a bit overrated. Coburn nearly eclipses the leads.

5. INFERNO. Suspenseful. One of Robert Ryan's better performances.

6. BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF. It's a bit cheesy in spots, but it's entertaining. I like the dynamic between Robert Wagner and Gilbert Roland in this film. The underwater scenes are nicely photographed.

7. NIAGARA. A decent color noir. I found Peters' character more interesting than Monroe's. I love the final sequence, maybe because it doesn't have Monroe in it.

8. MAN IN THE ATTIC. A "B" remake of THE LODGER. Palance is extraordinarily good. The supporting cast is outstanding too. Very atmospheric and frightening at times. Such a well made B-film that it's more of a B+ or A-.

9. A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER. Another quality "B" crime film. Expertly played and photographed.

10. TITANIC. Not as good as the 1958 version with Kenneth More. But still engaging, highly watchable.

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On 5/8/2019 at 7:42 PM, TopBilled said:

The Grable-Robertson musical is pretty bad. Several other films in this group are just as lifeless.

But the good ones are very good.

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 5.41.11 PM.jpeg

1. MAN ON A TIGHTROPE. Unusual cast delivers in spades. Also not the kind of subject matter one would expect with Kazan. But the whole thing works. Quirky with intriguing characterizations, yet a plot that's easy to follow.

2. PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. Perhaps Fuller's best film. Widmark, Kiley and Peters are all excellent. But Thelma Ritter steals it. She should have had the Oscar for it.

3. CALL ME MADAM. Schmaltzy but enjoyable. Tremendous cast. George Sanders didn't make many musicals. But he's right at home in this one. So is everyone else.

4. GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES. Good though a bit overrated. Coburn nearly eclipses the leads.

5. INFERNO. Suspenseful. One of Robert Ryan's better performances.

6. BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF. It's a bit cheesy in spots, but it's entertaining. I like the dynamic between Robert Wagner and Gilbert Roland in this film. The underwater scenes are nicely photographed.

7. NIAGARA. A decent color noir. I found Peters' character more interesting than Monroe's. I love the final sequence, maybe because it doesn't have Monroe in it.

8. MAN IN THE ATTIC. A "B" remake of THE LODGER. Palance is extraordinarily good. The supporting cast is outstanding too. Very atmospheric and frightening at times. Such a well made B-film that it's more of a B+ or A-.

9. A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER. Another quality "B" crime film. Expertly played and photographed.

10. TITANIC. Not as good as the 1958 version with Kenneth More. But still engaging, highly watchable.

I would add How to Marry a Millionaire to this list.  Grable, Bacall, Monroe were a lot of fun.  I'll be catching A Blueprint for Murder tonight on TCM.

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1 hour ago, filmnoirguy said:

I would add How to Marry a Millionaire to this list.  Grable, Bacall, Monroe were a lot of fun.  I'll be catching A Blueprint for Murder tonight on TCM.

I deliberately kept HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE off my list. I didn't want to draw negative attention to it, or go over why I don't really enjoy it...because I know it has a lot of fans. 

My main problem is that the story had been done so many times that it doesn't excite me the way something like MOON OVER MIAMI does, where Gable was younger and it all seemed fresh. I'm not a Monroe fan, so that contributes to its lower rating for me. I do like Powell's performance very much. He's really the only reason I would re-watch it.

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