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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1957


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This was the final year in which Fox made a total near their old numbers in the late 30s/early 40s with 51. Despite the lack of Zanuck, there were some interesting titles in the mix. But problems would begin to crop up in 1958....

Oh Men Oh Women was a comedy about a psychiatrist that had a starry cast. It was also the last major studio film of Ginger Rogers' career.

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This was followed by The Storm Rider, a B western.

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The Lost Continent was a documentary about Southeast Asia.

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Heaven Knows Mr Allison was a wonderful film with two of my favorite stars at the top of their form.

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Break in the Circle was a British drama concerning defection....

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She-Devil was a sci-fi horror

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Kronos has gained in reputation over the years

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The River's Edge was a rarity, a 50s noir in Color.

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Oasis was a European made adventure film.

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Boy on a Dolphin was the American debut for Sophia Loren.

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The Restless Breed, a Western, capped off Anne Bancroft's Fox years. After one more film at UA, she turned to the stage, before returning to films as a formidable talent in 1962.

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In Lure of the Swamp, crime hit the bayou.

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Desk Set was the penultimate Hepburn/Tracy teaming, and was a dry, droll, wonderful comedy.

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Badlands of Montana was another B western, with Beverly Garland in a supporting role.

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Jeffrey Hunter and Sheree North went on a big treasure hunt in The Way to the Gold.

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Robert Wagner became an infamous outlaw in The True Story of Jesse James.

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China Gate was a gritty war film made by Sam Fuller, often considered to be one of the best representative of the genre.

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The Wayward Bus had an unexpected cast for a Steinbeck adaptation....

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Two Grooms for a Bride was a British romance....

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...While Island in the Sun became the screen's first interracial romance of the Production Code era.

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Victor McLaglen's presence enhanced the look of the latest Noir B....

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God is My Partner, with Walter Brennan, was a very profitable bread-and-butter release for Fox.

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And then it was back to the West for Apache Warrior.

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And then, one of the screen's most enduring romantic favorites in An Affair to Remember, a wonderful remake of Love Affair.

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A Hatful of Rain took on morphine addiction, and was controversial but much acclaimed.

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Pat Boone was the lead in Bernardine, but of more lasting importance is that it was Janet Gaynor's final film.

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Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter was a prime slice of comedy, at whip-fast pace and with many wonderful moments.

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Hell on Devil's Island was another of those prison horror films

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Back from the Dead served up supernatural horror.

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And The Unknown Terror served up sci-fi horror.

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Getting out of the genre for a while, The Sun Also Rises was up next, and had a uniformly strong cast.... if also some needlessly long scenes of bullfighting.

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Sam Fuller was back with a Barbara Stanwyck starring western, Forty Guns.

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The Western remained close by, returning in Copper Sky....

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The Cooper classic The Deerslayer arrived next with Lex Barker and Rita Moreno.

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And then Under Fire brought the line back to War.

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The three Faces of Eve was a much deserved Oscar for Joanne Woodward who delived a true tour de force.

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Ghost Diver had a treasure hunt under water.

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Sea Wife cast Joan Collins as a nun.

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Young and Dangerous was a return to bread and butter crime.

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Rockabilly Baby was a musical once referred to as Mother was a Stripper which seems rather blunt for a 50s title.

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No Down Payment was a melodrama or soap opera of various infidelities and other problems in suburbia all in one housing devision. I wonder if this was an inspiration for Knots Landing....

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Horror met wintertime in The Abominable Snowman

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Ride a Violent Mile meant it was time to go back west.

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Pat Boone and Shirley Jones fell for one another in the musical April Love.

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Escape from Red Rock brought Brian Donlevy to the West.

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And Plunder Road was a turn back to noir....

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Despite billing, Cary Grant was falling for Suzy Parker in Kiss Them for Me, not Jayne Mansfield. Pleasant film, but not exactly an essential Grant film.

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Peyton Place was one of Lana Turner's finest hours and a wonderful melodrama with an outstanding cast.

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A Farewell to Arms, based on the classic book, was the final production for David O. Selznick....

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Robert Mitchum went deep for the submarine film The Enemy Below

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And the year was closed when noir took a trip to Japan in Stopover Tokyo.

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There were some excellent films released by the studio this year.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 6.14.55 PM.jpg

Here's my top 10:

1. HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON. This is my favorite John Huston film. It is also my favorite Robert Mitchum film and my favorite Deborah Kerr film. It's a character study between the two, filmed in a beautiful location. The story is powerful, and I think the production code saves it from veering over the line. It's perfectly restrained.

2. A HATFUL OF RAIN. I love-love-love Don Murray's performance in this one. And I think Lloyd Nolan is a great choice to play the father. The very different performance styles of these two actors is what makes it work-- Murray is a method actor and Nolan's from the old school seat-of-your-pants style acting. Theirs is a generation gap of epic proportions, and you throw in the drug addiction stuff, plus smart supporting performances from Franciosa and Saint, and voila-- it's really something to watch.

3. APRIL LOVE. A very charming, very pleasant, very entertaining musical with a lot of romance and amusing moments. Pat Boone said it was his personal favorite of all the films he made at Fox. I love the outdoor barbecue scene. Such fun! The title song is infectious, it stays with you long after the movie is over.

4. PEYTON PLACE. Lana. Need I say more? Oh yeah...David Nelson. I always found him more interesting to watch than his famous kid brother.

5. THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES. I'm a fan of Fox westerns. This one's not as good as the 1939 original with Tyrone Power, but I think Robert Wagner does an admirable job. Agnes Moorehead is excellent too. I wish she had appeared in more westerns. The ending is memorable in a Nicholas Ray sort of way.

6. WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? A rollicking good time, this film. Mansfield's shtick tires after awhile, particularly her never-ending squeals, but Randall and Blondell keep it going.

7. THE SUN ALSO RISES. Ty Power's last film for Fox. Great cast. I especially enjoy Mel Ferrer's performance in this one. Zanuck liked doing adaptations of Hemingway's work, so he undoubtedly pushed this film on to the screen.

8. DESK SET. It's dated by today's standards. Heck, it was probably dated by 1970. But it's fun. Again, Blondell in the supporting cast really helps keep things humming.

9. LURE OF THE SWAMP. A remake of SWAMP WATER and not quite as good. But still entertaining, plus it's in Technicolor. Walter Brennan has the same role in both pictures. Only he was top-billed the first time. Now he's fourth-billed. Sixteen years have passed since the original version, and at this point Brennan seems more age appropriate for the role he's been assigned.

10. SEA WIFE. A guilty pleasure. I was totally fooled by Joan Collins' character the first time I watched it. It's a far-far cry from her later role as scheming Alexis Colby on Dynasty

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Sea Wife is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. Fox really put out a variety of films for a variety of audiences. There are quite a number of titles I haven't seen, but would like to.

I really enjoy this series of year-by-year looks at Fox productions.

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10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

2. A HATFUL OF RAIN. I love-love-love Don Murray's performance in this one. And I think Lloyd Nolan is a great choice to play the father. The very different performance styles of these two actors is what makes it work-- Murray is a method actor and Nolan's from the old school seat-of-your-pants style acting. Theirs is a generation gap of epic proportions, and you throw in the drug addiction stuff, plus smart supporting performances from Franciosa and Saint, and voila-- it's really something to watch.

Totally agree on this, I wish this was shown more often. Another Method student Eva Marie Saint plays Murray's loyal and pregnant wife. Murray loved working with her, since she was always prepared and on time, in contrast to his "Bus Stop" co star Marilyn Monroe was constantly late and did not know her lines. 

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1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Totally agree on this, I wish this was shown more often. Another Method student Eva Marie Saint plays Murray's loyal and pregnant wife. Murray loved working with her, since she was always prepared and on time, in contrast to his "Bus Stop" co star Marilyn Monroe was constantly late and did not know her lines. 

Murray and Nolan's "relationship" in this film reminds me of Massey and Dean's "relationship" in EAST OF EDEN.

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13 hours ago, TopBilled said:

There were some excellent films released by the studio this year.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 6.14.55 PM.jpg

Here's my top 10:

1. HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON. This is my favorite John Huston film. It is also my favorite Robert Mitchum film and my favorite Deborah Kerr film. It's a character study between the two, filmed in a beautiful location. The story is powerful, and I think the production code saves it from veering over the line. It's perfectly restrained.

2. A HATFUL OF RAIN. I love-love-love Don Murray's performance in this one. And I think Lloyd Nolan is a great choice to play the father. The very different performance styles of these two actors is what makes it work-- Murray is a method actor and Nolan's from the old school seat-of-your-pants style acting. Theirs is a generation gap of epic proportions, and you throw in the drug addiction stuff, plus smart supporting performances from Franciosa and Saint, and voila-- it's really something to watch.

3. APRIL LOVE. A very charming, very pleasant, very entertaining musical with a lot of romance and amusing moments. Pat Boone said it was his personal favorite of all the films he made at Fox. I love the outdoor barbecue scene. Such fun! The title song is infectious, it stays with you long after the movie is over.

4. PEYTON PLACE. Lana. Need I say more? Oh yeah...David Nelson. I always found him more interesting to watch than his famous kid brother.

5. THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES. I'm a fan of Fox westerns. This one's not as good as the 1939 original with Tyrone Power, but I think Robert Wagner does an admirable job. Agnes Moorehead is excellent too. I wish she had appeared in more westerns. The ending is memorable in a Nicholas Ray sort of way.

6. WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? A rollicking good time, this film. Mansfield's shtick tires after awhile, particularly her never-ending squeals, but Randall and Blondell keep it going.

7. THE SUN ALSO RISES. Ty Power's last film for Fox. Great cast. I especially enjoy Mel Ferrer's performance in this one. Zanuck liked doing adaptations of Hemingway's work, so he undoubtedly pushed this film on to the screen.

8. DESK SET. It's dated by today's standards. Heck, it was probably dated by 1970. But it's fun. Again, Blondell in the supporting cast really helps keep things humming.

9. LURE OF THE SWAMP. A remake of SWAMP WATER and not quite as good. But still entertaining, plus it's in Technicolor. Walter Brennan has the same role in both pictures. Only he was top-billed the first time. Now he's fourth-billed. Sixteen years have passed since the original version, and at this point Brennan seems more age appropriate for the role he's been assigned.

10. SEA WIFE. A guilty pleasure. I was totally fooled by Joan Collins' character the first time I watched it. It's a far-far cry from her later role as scheming Alexis Colby on Dynasty

I've always thought that Don Murray gave the Best Actor's performance of 1957, but it was Anthony Franciosa who received the Oscar nod.  TCM has shown it, unfortunately, in a rather poor pan-and-scan print.  It has appeared in letterbox on the Fox Movie Channel, but the Fox Cinema Archives MOD release is in pan-and-scan!  Go figure.

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1 minute ago, filmnoirguy said:

I've always thought that Don Murray gave the Best Actor's performance of 1957, but it was Anthony Franciosa who received the Oscar nod.  TCM has shown it, unfortunately, in a rather poor pan-and-scan print.  It has appeared in letterbox on the Fox Movie Channel, but the Fox Cinema Archives MOD release is in pan-and-scan!  Go figure.

Yes, I think I caught it on the old Fox Movie Channel which is now FXM Retro. 

Franciosa is fine but it's Murray who has the most difficult role in this film, and he delivers in spades.

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Big year for Jayne Mansfield. The pick of the litter is Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? The one that got away seems to be The Wayward Bus, which only seems to exist in lousy pan-and-scan prints. Also probably Pat Boone's biggest year. Peyton Place and Desk Set I watch every time they're on. Thanks for these posts...a real trip down Memory Lane.

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19 minutes ago, DougieB said:

Big year for Jayne Mansfield. The pick of the litter is Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? The one that got away seems to be The Wayward Bus, which only seems to exist in lousy pan-and-scan prints. Also probably Pat Boone's biggest year. Peyton Place and Desk Set I watch every time they're on. Thanks for these posts...a real trip down Memory Lane.

Just as big a year for Joan Collins. She appeared in four "A" films for Fox in 1957. Plus she had just returned from MGM where she had been loaned out to do THE OPPOSITE SEX. She was getting the big star treatment along with Monroe and Mansfield. She was the studio's sexy brunette.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 6.41.55 AM.jpg

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