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A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1956 – The Searchers

All right. I’ll admit I’m compromising a little bit. But not so much. If I really wanted to pick a film that represented the country culturally in 1956, I’d have picked The Girl Can’t Help It. But, The Searchers is one of the greatest films ever made, is iconic, and still also represents 1956 in every other way except pop culturally. So it fits.

Pretty much, at some point in the 50s, you’re gonna talk about Cinemascope. Technically Rebel Without a Cause was shot in Cinemascope, so I guess that covers it. Other options for 1956 are Giant, Around the World in 80 Days… Written on the Wind has a shot. It’s a good year for choices. But The Searchers feels like it has it all.

I also skewed a bit light on the westerns, so this will cover everything that’s happened with the western thus far. Read the rest of this page »

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A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1955 – Rebel Without a Cause

“You’re tearing me apart!”

Those words were pretty important in 1955. And pretty representative of the disconnect between the older generation and the younger generation. (Words that would also resonate just as loudly and beautifully when directed at Lisa in the iconic chamber drama and winner of seven Academy Awards The Room.)

Times were changing. Kids were listening to rock and roll and coming up with their own culture. The culture of the country was changing. This has been represented countless times in movies. I don’t need to get into that here. The landscape of the country and of film were both changing. And this film came at a very crucial time, and as such, has become one of the greatest and most iconic films of all time.

It’s rare to get a total package like this one. A film that represents actually everything going on in American culture at the time. Read the rest of this page »

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1954 – On the Waterfront

I think I mentioned 1954 in the intro for these articles. I said how 1954 poses so many problems, given the incredible amount of choices out there.

To run down the serious choices: Seven Samurai, Rear Window, Godzilla. I can probably include a few more less serious ones (since they won’t top those three). And yet, Waterfront still seems like the choice over all of those. Because it is one of the most acclaimed films of all time, the most acclaimed film of the year, and is a huge film for the actual year of 1954, because it is ultimately about blacklisting and the House of Un-American Activities. It’s the perfect article.

Oh, and there’s that whole, “Coulda had class, coulda been a conteder” speech.

But who remembers that, right? Read the rest of this page »

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1953 – Roman Holiday

Colin was visiting earlier in the month. And I was telling him about the articles and such. And I was talking about this one, about how I felt unsure if this was the right choice for 1953, given the amount of great films that came out in 1953.

I said, “I feel like that’s gonna be a difficult one to justify given everything else from that year.”

And his response was, “No. It’s Roman Holiday. You don’t need any justification. Fuck that shit.”

So that’s how I’m going about this.

It’s Roman Holiday. Fuck that shit. Read the rest of this page »

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