Archive for the Movie reviews – 1950s Category

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Guys and Dolls (1955)

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Sorry if I haven’t been updating as frequently during my SUMMER BREAK (hey, we all need a vacation…), as well as some romance, real-life, sleep pattern issues. I hope to break the habit eventually when college approaches. Aside from being a fan of stop-motion creativity, I do not shy away from the usually extravagant display of Broadway musicals, which of course always leaves me in a happier mood than I should be.

In the bustling city of New York, we follow two stories of conflict between two greatest rival: love and money. Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) is the operator of “New York’s Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York” (well, they all claim that.) but is also in need of a new spot for his business; this involves the payment of $1000 to rent out the Biltmore Garage, which he doesn’t have at the moment. He decides to make a bet on a high-rolling gambler, Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando), whom has a reputation for betting on anything, is around and offers him a proposition: Take a certain Salvation Army doll named Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) to Havana, Cuba for a date; if he fails, he pays the 1 grand. Meanwhile, Nathan’s sweetheart, Miss Adelaide (Vivian Blaine, reprising her Broadway role), is frustrated by his involvement with the craps game and her 14-years engagement with him because she wishes he would quit and get married with her already.

Apparently, this is sadly the only musical from Joseph L. Mankiewicz (as well as Brando) and to be honest, this was pretty enjoyable. I’ve never watched a film with a young Marlon Brando in it before, so I was not only surprised by his charming appearance but also his singing voice! Sinatra obviously filled his role, being the crooner he is and the chemistry (yeah, chemistry!) between the two pair felt mutual as a good cast would. As for the “interlude” scenes, the opening scene of “dancing” city folks in rush hour was an amusing but somehow natural feeling of what the real thing could be. Even to scenes like a craps game in a sewer ,with gamblers in interpret-dancing in the essence of the gang fights in West Side Stories (1961, which will be reviewed possibly in the later reviews not too far in the future!). It’s definitely a recommendation to anyone with enough tolerance for singing and dancing (a lot of this blogger’s friends aren’t that fond of musicals…) and probably has been performed numerously in school plays. It’s a classic to watch, truth be, and you would surely want to stop by to watch this at least once in your life!

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Vertigo (1958) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Vertigo (1958)

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Director Alfred Hitchcock, known best for classic thrillers such as Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), delivers his usual plot twist and psychological thriller that leaves the audience in a dazed emotion. (Blogger here felt a sudden eerie uneasiness in the room after credits rolled…probably the haunting scream)

Detective John Ferguson (Scottie to his acquaintances) retires, after his acrophobia causes the death of a fellow police officer during a rooftop chase. All is well until an old friend, Gavin Elster, invites him over and asks him to spies on his wife, whom has been acting strangely (staring at a portrait for hours, wanders to places like the cemetary and San Francisco Bay on a daily occasion); Gavin believes his wife is possessed by someone.

An interesting film combining acrophobia with mystery thriller.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Warner Bros'. challenging drama of today's juvenile violence!

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There are things to be said about this particular movie. It helped James Dean achieve the status of a cultural icon, but also commentary to the supposed “rebel” teenager angst and a troubled, dysfunctional relationship between them and their folks. As Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a-changin’ “ and this was a time when the generation gap between Baby-Boomers and the Older Generation was differing in music, in fashion, as well as lifestyle.

Summary

Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious teenager who had just moved from another town; this was not the first time he had moved and thus he had trouble fitting in. He is troubled by the fact his father is unable to stand up for himself and be strong for his own son over his mother’s words. Meanwhile, Judy (Natalie Wood) is frustrated by her father’s unwillingness to show affection towards his own daughter; she runs away and ends up in the police station beside Jim. Also, John (‘Plato’ to his friends) (Sal Mineo) ends up there after shooting puppies; his father abandoned the family and his mother was never around.

The next day after a planetarium field trip, Jim is taunted by Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen), a local bully who threatens him with a switchblade. The two engage in a knife fight, before being separated by the adults. Throughout the film, the trio goes through teenager angst because the adults don’t seem to understand them and never seems to listens to their reasons, feeling neglect and betrayal.

Jim Stark… a kid from a ‘good’ family – what makes him tick… like a bomb?

Review

The film was released (October 27, 1995) after Dean’s fatal car crash (September 30, 1955) with the ‘Little Bastard’ (1955 Porsche 550 Spyder), directed by Nicholas Ray, is one of his most well known film by him with expressionistic color usage (a trademark of his films). The film became one of James Dean’s role of Jim Stark became most associated with James Dean, the other being his role in East of Eden (1955, before Rebel Without a Cause) and Giant (1956). Teenagers at the time identified themselves with the film, pointing out how accurate the conflicts between the characters were true to life, as the rock-and-roll scene was a spreading influence for the young generation who were progressively drifting from traditional family values and lifestyle. This generation of “hippies” (blogger prefers ‘flower children’) too, would later deal with the newer generation of “yuppies”. Rebel Without a Cause is no doubt, his most celebrated film that has grown in popularity over the years. It is a good film for introducing someone to James Dean!

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