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A United Artists/AIP Retrospective Scrapbook: 1955


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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

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Battle Taxi was a Korean War drama with Sterling Hayden

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Sabaka was an adventure film made in India and featuring Boris Karloff

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Big House USA was a crime saga with Ralph Meeker and Broderick Crawford

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Joel McCrea starred in the Western Stranger on Horseback

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Gregory Peck was dealing with depression over his lost wife and the war in Burma in The Purple Plain

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back to the West with Canyon Crossroards

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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.

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it was Edward G Robinson vs George Raft in the crime tale A Bullet for Joey. Also with Audrey Totter.

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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.

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back to the Rest with Robber's Roost

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Top of the World was an adventure film with an aviation theme

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And more noir with The Big Bluff. One of the female parts was played by Martha Vickers.

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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.

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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.

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The Sea Shall Not Have them was a British war film with Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde.

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This British War trend continued with Albert RN

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Burt Lancaster headed west to star in The Kentuckian

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Moira Shearer was the redhead in question in the comedy The Man Who Loved Redheads

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Orson Welles's version of Othello with him laying the title role in dark makeup finally arrived, 4 years after it was made

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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.

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The Naked Street was a noir with Farley Granger, Anthony Quinn, and Anne Bancroft

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Killer's Kiss was another noir, this one directed by Kubrick

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Peter graves was back in the west in Fort Yuma

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Hollywood got skewered in The Big Knife with Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey, Shelley Winters, Jean Hagen, and Rod Steiger

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King's Rhapsody was a British Musical

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Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain starred in a musical comedy Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. The blondes were more popular....

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Robert Mitchum was the Man with the Gun in a Western costarring Jan Sterling

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Ralph Meeker starred in the African adventure Desert Sands

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Lawrence Harvery, Gloria Grahame, and Joan Collins appeared in the Brit noir The Good Die Young

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Heidi and Peter was a followup to the Swiss family hit

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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

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Cornel Wilde starred and directed in the noir Storm Fear

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Kirk Douglas was The Indian Fighter. Walter Matthau had one of his earlier parts

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And the year closed with a Sterling Hayden western, Top Gun.

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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.

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The Fast and the Furious was a crime melodrama with John Ireland and Dorothy Malone

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Five Guns West was a Western with a sign of things to come. It was Roger Corman's first film for the company

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Outlaw Treasure was a Western

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The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes was their first foray into the sci-fi genre for which they would become famed

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Apache Woman was another Corman western, this one with Lloyd Bridges

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The Day the World Ended was a post-apocalyptic tale

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And The Beast from 10,000 Leagues closed out their inaugural year

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Marty is definitely my favorite this year. Ernest Borgnine has always been one of my favorite actors and here he gives the best performance of his career.

Night of the Hunter is an excellent movie, with terrific performances by Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish.

David Lean, Katharine Hepburn, and Venice in the 1950s are the best reasons to watch Summertime .

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 8:21 PM, CinemaInternational said:

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.

Naas1955.jpg

It's not a great film, but definitely one of the best casts ever. 

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