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  1. United Artists The year started with a western saga The clown and the Kid was a family quickie The Misfits was both the final film for Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, and was close to the end for Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter as well (they'd all be gone by the end of the decade). The film itself becomes a bit dull toward the end, but one thing is clear, it's Monroe's finest performance. It was time for a Frontier Uprising Dog versus criminals Don Murray brought religion and hope to prison... Flashback to the battle in Burma the Brits served up a little horror saga The minotaur was another sword and sandal saga Ride 'em cowboy to a Gunfight The Western theme continued with Jim Davis Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, and Dina Merill entered the world of crime in The Young Savages. John Frankenheimer directed. Robert Mitchum decided to try comedy.... A Matter of Morals is an ironic title for a film which poster makes it clear is about anything but..... When the Clock Strikes was a law vs gangsters saga Gary Cooper made his final screen appearence in the thriller The Naked Edge. Deborah Kerr was a woman in danger. Toshiro Mifune was cast as a native American.... The story of Buddha made for a 70 MM epic. Michelangelo Antonioni made a splash with La Notte with Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau Three on a Spree was a British comedy Ingrid Bergman fell for Anthony Perkins in Goodbye Again back to the sword and sandals. Fate of a Man was an esteemed drama from the USSR Lana Turner returned to the screen for another romantic potboiler. Mary Had a Little... was a provocative Brit comedy The Cat Burglar was a little thriller The crime theme continued in You Have to Run Fast Teenage Millionaire was a youth oriented musical Fredric March and Ben Gazzara were at loggerheads in The Young Doctors Paris Blues was a lovely little bittersweet romantic drama with fine roles for Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, and Diahann Carroll, plus it had a great Jazz soundtrack to boot. Aliens were after a plane in Flight that Disappeared Gangsters ahoy in the Secret of Deep Harbor Kirk Douglas was facing off against a group of individuals accused of sexual violence in Town without Pity. Seems to me that the basic plot sounds like the much later 1988 film The Accused. UA secured the Best Picture winner two years in a row with West Side Story, an ever-popular musical. The boy Who Caught a Crook was a little family film William Shatner was a teacher in The Explosive Generation, also featuring Patty McCormick. Gun Street was a return to the west.... One Two Three was an utter-delight. A whiz-bang satire from Billy Wilder, it is one of the funniest films I have ever seen. Summer of the seventeenth Doll was a saga of infidelity set in Australia. And another choice title was The Children's hour, with gripping performances from Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, and many others. The film had a savage impact. And Judgment at nuremberg also stands as one of the greats. Indeed, this film, I feel is among the 50 best films ever made. Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth were up to no good.... X-15 was a fictionalization of the NASA program with Charles Bronson. It was the cinematic debut for director Richard Donner and co-star Mary Tyler Moore Carroll Baker went through unspeakable horrors in Something Wild And Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Hope Lange, Peter Falk, and film-debuting Ann-Margret were featured in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles, a remake of his own Lady for a Day from 1933. American International Pictures The Year opened with Barbara Steele in Black Sunday Followed by the horror of The Hand Konga had Michael Gough on the run from a gorilla Beware of Children was an unusual sight at AIP, a family comedy Vincent Price and Charles Bronson took on Jules Verne.... Alakazam the Great was the company's first animated film Back to horror with Vincent Price and John Kerr in The Pit and the Pendulum The Rough and the Smooth was a saga of infidelity Twist All night was a dance film Space-men was from Europe the Phantom Planet continued the Sci-fi trend Flight of the Lost Balloon was an Adventure film Guns of the Black Witch was a pirate saga Embassy This company technically started a few years earlier, bringing in mostly small scale foreign titles or sword-and sandal films, of which there are a few here. But this was the year they made their first big impact, and for a time at least (as AVCO Embassy) they were a formidable mini-major with several Oscar nominated films. They lasted until 1986. The Sky Above and the Mud Below was an Oscar winning documentary The Hellfire Club was a swashbuckler with Dennis Stanton.... er I mean Keith Michell (too much Murder She Wrote here) Journey beneath the Desert was a saga of Atlantis Two Women was the breakthrough as Sophia Loren won the Oscar for her heartbreaking work in a shocking saga from Vittorio De Sica The Fascist continued a look at the Italian side of WWII Donald O'Connor starred in The Wonders of Aladdin The Miracle of the Wolves was a French swashbuckler Peter Finch was caught between love and politics The Three Musketeers made an appearance Constantine and the Cross was another epic, this one with Cornel Wilde Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinele were an item in Bell'Antonio Marcello's Divorce Italian Style would win the Oscar the following year for Foreign film Sophia Loren starred in Madame What a Carve Up was a Brit horror comedy Now Claudia was with Belmondo in La Viaccia Fury at Smuggler's Bay was a pirate adventure Sword without a Country was an Italian swashbuckler The Seven Revenges told of Mongols at battle Hercules in the Valley of Woe was another sword-and-sandal saga Triumph of the Son of Hercules was more prehistoric adventure Lex Barker played Robin Hood And Anna Magnani led The Passionate Thief
  2. United Artists The Betrayal was a low budget offering from England involving a man seeking to find who sold him out to the Germans This one was also known as Tiger by the Tail and was a British crime film Mark Stevens headed west And another trip west was in store Romance developed near the water The Quiet American was much changed from the Grame Greene book, which had viewed the title character, played by Audie Murphy, in a spectacularly horrible light War was again in the cards Gable and Lancaster came back to UA for a well-regarded war drama It was next time for a jungle adventure Then a dab of horror Edge of Fury was an early example of a film with a nihilistic conclusion Machete was a tale of murder in Puerto Rico Bob Hope starred in the comedy Paris Holiday Robert Mitchum was dealing out illegal hooch in the cult film Thunder Road Here comes the west again.... At least this one came with Joel McCrea Marie Windsor was among the Island Women The Vikings was an adventure epic with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernest Borgnine Tony Curtis was back again fighting in the war with Frank Sinatra in Kings Go Forth. Natalie Wood was along for the ride. The Lone Ranger returned Wink of an Eye was a small comedy Brigitte Bardot was big at the time, so La Parisienne was a smashing success of an import The Lost Missile was a sci-fi film with Robert Loggia A dash of horror.... God's Little Acre was a controversial hit. Shown here Robert Ryan and Tina Louise Two cases of sci-fi menace Followed by the landmark and brilliant drama The Defiant Ones, a Best Picture nominee, also nominated for Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier (first Black actor to be up for Leading Actor), Theodore Bikel, and Cara Williams The Gun Runners proved to be another film based on the Hemingway story that had been filmed as To Be or Not to Be and as The Breaking Point. Audie Murphy and Eddie Albert starred. Sterling Hayden was back in the West Gary Cooper headed West for one of his best regarded late-career films Robert Loggia starred in the B Cop Hater William Wyler served up amn all-star Western with The Big Country which won an Oscar for burl Ives, and also starred Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons, and Carroll Baker Sterling Hayden was back for a Mexican adventure Dana Andrews went noir And Gene Barry dealt with the Cold War in Hong Kong. Menace in the Night was a noir from England Alec Guinness was excellent as a curmudgeonly painter in the wry and offbeat The Horse's Mouth. Meanwhile Susan Hayward had her own (Oscar-winning) triumph with I Want to Live, a powerful and gripping story of a real-life woman doomed in a tale of law and disorder. Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr appeared in an African-American version of the melodrama Anna Lucasta Back to crime with The Mugger Victor Mature starred in China Doll, a cinematic return for director Frank Borzage Lonelyhearts served as the film debut for Maureen Stapleton (Oscar-nominated here) and starred Montgomery Clift, Robert Ryan, Dolores Hart, and Myrna Loy And Separate Tables was another all star production (David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Gladys Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Wendy Hiller, Rita Hayworth, Cathleen nesbitt, Rod Taylor). This one was sensitively handled and was one of UA's best of the year. Niven and Hiller won Oscars. American International Pictures The Screaming Skull started the year off with horror Sci-Fi had its turn next Then it was time for the air force with John Agar and Audrey Totter Mike Conners was the star of the war film Suicide Battalion The Cool and the Crazy told of troubled youth Daddy-O was another tale of youth, but had one important note. The legendary film composer John Williams began his movie career here with this film. Dragstrip Riot mixed the youth with murder. Connie Stevens had a supporting part Attack of the Puppet People, now that's some title. 9 Years before Faye Dunaway had her say, Dorothy Provine played Bonnie Parker Charles Bronson was playing a gangster as well Straight out of Juvie hall back to the cars again And then back to horror War of the Colossal Beast found a truly large monster on display Wartime called... twice in a row Sign of changing times; Robert Vaughn went from starring in Teenage Caveman to becoming an Oscar nominee in just one year More horror with Night of the Blood beast This was seemingly only a must for those into beach films, despite the fantasy setting Uh. too much... Arachnophobia had a good reason for forming.... the year closed with another war film
  3. United Artists Drango was a western starring Jeff Chandler The Halliday Brand was another Western this one with Joseph Cotten, Viveca Lindfors, Betsy Blair, and Ward Bond Barbara Stanwyck was suspected of a crime of Passion. Sterling Hayder, Raymond Burr, and fay Wray also starred. Four Boys and a Gun was a B crime film Ruth Roman was in trouble in Five Steps to Danger Chuck Connors went West Boris Karloff ran into the world of Voodoo The above was on a double bill with Pharaoh's Curse The Delinquents was the directorial debut of the great Robert Altman Errol Flynn took noir to Cuba. This film's setting would not be possible in a few short years Hit and Run continued the noir theme Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray went into the Korean War War Drums meant it was back to the West Followed by a noir venture. Costar Mary Costa is best known for her vocal work on Sleeping Beauty And back to the west And then there was The Bachelor Party with Don Murray, Jack Warden, EG Marshall, Nancy Marchand, and Carolyn Jones, Oscar nominated for her turn in a praised version of a production originally done on TV And then a flash of brilluiance: 12 Angry Men, one of the great courtroom dramas, with an early success for Sidney Lumet and unforgettable performances from Henry Fonda and Lee J Cobb This was followed by a trio of westerns this one with John Derek This with Anthony Quinn And this with Sterling Hayden The Crooked Sky was back into crime, the British way Ride Em Cowboy John Payne joined the air force Spring Reunion proved to be Betty Hutton's final film. A romantic melodrama, it costarred Dana Andrews and Jean Hagen Jean Seberg meanwhile made her debut in Saint Joan as the great saint Joan of Arc. She was supported by Richard Widmark, Richard Todd, and John Gielgud in the Otto Preminger film Monkey on My Back was the saga of a boxer Burt Lancaster had one of his key parts as the acid columnist in Sweet Smell of Success, one of the most cynical films of the era Two horrors in a row Peter Graves was down in the Bayou Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, and Frank Sinatra were caught up in the Napoleonic wars in the well-meaning but a bit sluggish The Pride and the Passion Trooper Hook was a western with Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck Jungle Heat was an adventure saga Ride em cowgirl More lassos ahead for Dane Clark Hidden Fear continued John Payne's noir phase Enter Calypso music Valerie found Anita Ekberg joining Sterling Hayden in the dusty Western trails Brian Keith and Beverly Garland made for Chicago Confidential Jane Russell fell for her kidnapper in The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown the character of Mike Hammer returned Revenge was the main issue in Lady of Vengeance Dean Stockwell starred in the youth film the Careless Years, the first film for director Arthur Hiller And then there was a documentary about Louis Armstrong The Girl in Black Stockings was for anyone who wanted to see Mamie Van Doren, Anne Bancroft, and Marie Windsor in the same film More crime And Joel McCrea was back to the west. More horror sci-fi Marlene Dietrich starred in The Monte Carlo Story Richard Widmark was in the legal drama Time Limit And back to crime And to the west, with Gloria Grahame in a supporting role Man on the Prowl found a woman in danger Mickey Rooney got his chance to play a gangster Legend of the Lost teamed up John Wayne and Sophia loren More tumbleweeds passed by Paths of Glory is widely considered to be one of the great antiwar films And the year closed with the crackling Witness for the Prosecution, with its startling twist ending. this was Tyrone Power's final film American International Pictures Sci-fi met crime in the Astounding She-Monster naked Paradise was a crime saga with Beverly Garland Voodoo Woman made for a splash of Caribbean horror Onto the world of hot rodders, complete with Frank Gorshin Rock All Night was a rock-and-roll musical with Abby Dalton. (My love of 80s TV series is showing with me referencing Dalton and Garland. So many episodes of Falcon Crest and Scarecrow and Mrs King watched. But I digress....) The Undead certainly had a creepy poster Michael Landon was the cursed one in i Was a Teenage Werewolf Was this the inspiration for the design of Mars Attacks? Naked Africa was actually a documentary Lockdown catfights were in store in Reform School Girl Tommy Steele played his own life story White Huntress was an adventure film Cat Girl was a takeoff on Cat People Motorcycle Gang was about exactly that. Notable as one of the last appearences of Carl "Alfafa" Swizer. The Amazing Colossal Man was an inversion of The Incredible Shrinking Man Sorority Girl took noir to college i Was a Teenage Frankenstein definitely wasn't a looker Blood of Dracula had a female vampire who looked like Eddie Munster with outlandish eyebrows and sharp teeth. How's this for a title? The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent. Abby Dalton starred.
  4. United Artists Aan was imported by UA from Bollywood As was the Tiger and the Flame. The Extra Day was a British comedy about a film having to do last minute reshoots Three Bad Sisters was a crime quickie Shadow of Fear was a suspense film with a stepmommie dearest Lilacs in the Spring found Errol Flynn in a musical (!) Mark Stevens starred in the noir Timetable, which had an early role for Jack Klugman Manfish was a white-knuckled underwater film Wendell Corey wanted to off Rhonda Fleming in The Killer is Loose, but Fleming's husband Joseph Cotten was having none of that Crime Against Joe continued the noir theme Van Heflin starred in Rod Sterling's Patterns, a film that skewered the business world Richard Burton played Alexander the Great, and was supported by Claire Bloom and Fredric March Ghost Town was another little western. Comanche sent Dana Andrews to the West Cornel Wilde starred in the swashbuckler Star of India The Broken Star made for another UA Western UFO was a film that concerned itself with documenting the growing obsession with flying saucers Edward G Robinson was out to stop a dangerous hypnotist in Nightmare Quincannon Frontier Scout made for yet another Western Burt lancaster and Tony Curtis vyed for Gina Lollobrigida in the circus film Trapeze Stanley Kubrick's The Killing was a noir landmark. It starred Sterling Hayden. Robert Wagner bumped off Joanne Woodward and then proceeded to have dastardly plans for her sister Virginia Leith in A Kiss Before Dying, also with Jeffrey Hunter and Mary Astor the Black Sheep was a horror film that marked the end of the line for Bela Lugosi (unless you count his snippet in Plan 9) The Quartermass Xperiment kept up the horror trend, and was well received by the genre's fans Robert Mitchum found some shocking skeletons in the closet in the noir Foreign Intrigue Olivia De Havilland fell for John Forsythe in The Ambassador's Daughter. Myrna Loy and Adolphe Menjou were along for the ride Frank Sinatra played the outlaw of the title in Johnny Concho Richard Widmark, trevor Howard, and Jane Greer starred in Race for the Sun, a remake of the Most Dangerous Game John Payne and Ruth Roman starred in a blend of Western and Noir Huk was an action film shot in the Philippines John Payne continued in Noir in The Boss A dinosaur somehow came back to live and was munching on cattle in the Beast of Hollow Mountain Buster Crabbe returned to films after a few years away in Gun Brothers Robert Mitchum was a one man army in the Western Bandito Crime hit Asia in Flight to Hong Kong Robert Aldrich directed the WWII saga Attack with Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, Richard Jaekel, and Buddy Ebsen Around the World in Eighty Days was the second UA best Picture winner in a row. It starred David Niven, Cantiflias, Shirley MacLaine and Robert Newton (final film) and made for plenty of cameos: Buster Keaton, Caesar Romero, Glynis Johns, Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Bea Lillie, Andy Devine, Robert Morley, Noel Coward, Trevor Howard, Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Finlay Currie, Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Coburn, John Carradine, John Gielgud, Keye Luke, Red Skelton, Victor McLaghlan, Hermoine Gingold, Jack Oakie, Charles Boyer, Gilbert Roland, Joe E. Brown. Yes it was a bit too long, but it was a tremendously fun film, with wonderful closing credits designed by Saul Bass. Man from Del Rio was a Western with Anthony Quinn and Katy Jurado Running target made for yet another Western. They were at the peak of popularity at the time Crime reared its head again in Hot Cars And in Emergency Hospital as well James Arness actually did star in a big screen western while he was working the medium on the small screen's Gunsmoke. this film paired him with Angie Dickinson in her first true role Victor Mature was out to save the Navy from Sharks The Peacemaker was a smaller Western And The Brass Legend with Hugh O'Brien and Raymond Burr was a slightly larger one Anthony Quinn was in The Wild Party, a cautionary tale of lurid influences The final western of 1956 was a comic one, The King and Four Queens, with Clark Gable, Eleanor Parker, and Jo Van Fleet And the year closed with the last Abbott and Costello film American International Pictures Corman directed a Western, The Oklahoma Woman Female Jungle was the only noir the studio made. Jayne Mansfield made her film debut It was Beverly Garland vs. John Ireland in the Western Gunslinger Garland then subsequently returned in a sci-fi horror film with Peter Graves, It Conquered the World. Girls in Prison has a self-explanatory title. As does Hot Rod Girl The She-Creature was another take on Sci-fi horror Flesh and the Spur promised a spicy Western with that title Runaway Daughters was a saga of troubled youth And Shake Rattle and Rock was a Rock and Roll musical.
  5. United Artists This was a year that shows the changes that were soon going to transform UA once again into a force to be reckoned with. There are plenty of B films, but there are some A fils here, and some truly loved classics. The year opened with a Somerset Maugham adaptation, The Beachcomber with Robert Newton and Glynis Johns Battle Taxi was a Korean War drama with Sterling Hayden Sabaka was an adventure film made in India and featuring Boris Karloff Big House USA was a crime saga with Ralph Meeker and Broderick Crawford Joel McCrea starred in the Western Stranger on Horseback Gregory Peck was dealing with depression over his lost wife and the war in Burma in The Purple Plain back to the West with Canyon Crossroards And then, a change in the tide. Marty became the first UA film to win best Picture since Rebecca, and after this point was raised up the Hollywood totem pole. And for good reason too, as this film is a masterpiece in my eyes, a gloriously sensitive romance. it also won the Palme D'Or. it was Edward G Robinson vs George Raft in the crime tale A Bullet for Joey. Also with Audrey Totter. Kiss Me Deadly has only kept growing over the years. A flop in 1955, it is regarded as a screen masterpiece. Ralph Meeker played Mike Hammer, Robert Aldrich directed a film that is often considered to be his best, and Cloris Leachman had a small but important early role. back to the Rest with Robber's Roost Top of the World was an adventure film with an aviation theme And more noir with The Big Bluff. One of the female parts was played by Martha Vickers. Summertime brought Katharine Hepburn and David Lean Oscar nominations for the delicate tale of a spinster schoolteacher who fell for a married man while on a Venetian vacation. Not as a Stranger was the directorial debut of Stanley Kramer, a cross between a crime film and a medical film, starring Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Olivia De Havilliand, Broderick Crawford, Gloria Grahame, Charles bickford, Lon Chaney Jr, and Lee Marvin. The Sea Shall Not Have them was a British war film with Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde. This British War trend continued with Albert RN Burt Lancaster headed west to star in The Kentuckian Moira Shearer was the redhead in question in the comedy The Man Who Loved Redheads Orson Welles's version of Othello with him laying the title role in dark makeup finally arrived, 4 years after it was made The Night of the Hunter was another film that flopped in 1955, but make no mistake, it is a thrilling masterpiece with Robert Mitchum at his chilling best, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, and the two leading children also scored stongly under Charles Laughton's one time only direction. The Naked Street was a noir with Farley Granger, Anthony Quinn, and Anne Bancroft Killer's Kiss was another noir, this one directed by Kubrick Peter graves was back in the west in Fort Yuma Hollywood got skewered in The Big Knife with Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey, Shelley Winters, Jean Hagen, and Rod Steiger King's Rhapsody was a British Musical Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain starred in a musical comedy Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. The blondes were more popular.... Robert Mitchum was the Man with the Gun in a Western costarring Jan Sterling Ralph Meeker starred in the African adventure Desert Sands Lawrence Harvery, Gloria Grahame, and Joan Collins appeared in the Brit noir The Good Die Young Heidi and Peter was a followup to the Swiss family hit Another game changer. The Man with the Golden Arm shattered taboos with its depiction of drug addiction. Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, and Kim Novak starred Cornel Wilde starred and directed in the noir Storm Fear Kirk Douglas was The Indian Fighter. Walter Matthau had one of his earlier parts And the year closed with a Sterling Hayden western, Top Gun. American International Pictures Meanwhile, on the B movie front, a new company was starting. Known as American International Pictures, they would make big inroads in the genres of youth entertainment, sci-fi, and horror. It started as American Releasing Company, but the name was changed before the 50s ended. Operation Malaya was the first release and it was a documentary about the British at war in the titular area. The Fast and the Furious was a crime melodrama with John Ireland and Dorothy Malone Five Guns West was a Western with a sign of things to come. It was Roger Corman's first film for the company Outlaw Treasure was a Western The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes was their first foray into the sci-fi genre for which they would become famed Apache Woman was another Corman western, this one with Lloyd Bridges The Day the World Ended was a post-apocalyptic tale And The Beast from 10,000 Leagues closed out their inaugural year
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