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Yearly Roundup – 1956

Posted by martinteller on July 12, 2012

The Cream of the Crop

The Girl Can’t Help It snuck in at the very bottom of my top 100 last year, and I’m not sure it will remain this year.  But it is definitely my favorite Tashlin, with all the marvelous rock ‘n’ roll acts pushing it over the top.  Crazy amounts of fun to be had.  Speaking of favorites, A Man Escaped (boy, I’ve got to write a better review of that) currently stands as my favorite Bresson.  It’s another top 100 whose future on the list is uncertain, but the film’s solemn attention to detail and ability to craft tension out of almost nothing is masterful.


Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

1956 is of course a noir year, with the standouts being Kubrick’s The Killing — an almost perfect encapsulation of the genre’s defining characteristics — and one of Hitchcock’s most underrated films IMHO, The Wrong Man.  Undeniably flawed, but the noir flourishes earn it a spot in my heart.  I am long overdue for a rewatch of the entire “Apu trilogy” but I’m still waiting for that Criterion Blu-Ray set.  Aparajito is, in my memory at least, the weakest of the three, but that’s like saying… well, fill in your own analogy.  A couple of French documentary/essay films worth noting: Clouzot’s unique look at the creative process, The Mystery of Picasso, and Resnais’ poetic exploration of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Toute la mémoire du monde.  From the nation of Japan, we have Ichikawa’s elegiac The Burmese Harp and Mizoguchi’s final film (and one of his most accomplished) Street of Shame.  Rounding out the “Tasty” section is Nicholas Ray’s slyly subversive Bigger Than Life.

Update 3/18/2014: I would add another noir… Time Table.


Varying Degrees of Like

Baby Doll
Bob le flambeur
Crazed Fruit
A Cry in the Night
Elena and Her Men
Flowing (Nagareru)
Forbidden Planet
The Harder They Fall
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
A Kiss Before Dying
The Man Who Never Was
The Red Balloon
The Rocket from Calabuch
Spring on Zarechnaya Street
Sudden Rain
Terror At Midnight
There’s Always Tomorrow
While the City Sleeps
Written on the Wind


Varying Degrees of Hate

Please Murder Me
The Searchers
 (need to re-evaluate)


Some Notable Films In The Middle

The Battle of the River Plate
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Crime in the Streets
Death in the Garden
Early Spring
The Killer Is Loose

The Man Who Knew Too Much
Slightly Scarlet


Uncharted Territory

Anastasia, And God Created Woman, Around the World in 80 Days, The Bad Seed, Blonde Sinner, Bus Stop, Calling Homicide, Carousel, The Come On, Deadlier Than the Male, Death of a Scoundrel, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Forty-First, Giant, The Houston Story, The King and I, Lust for Life, The Man Is Armed, Moby Dick, The Price of Fear, Samurai III, Siraa Fil-Mina, The Ten Commandments, War and Peace, Wicked As They Come


5 Responses to “Yearly Roundup – 1956”

  1. JamDenTel said

    Around the World in 80 Days: Pleasant, colorful, pretty well acted (and I know you like Shirley MacLaine), with a very nice score…but also very long, light on plot, and cameo heavy. As an Oscar completist and fan of epics, I’d say give it a shot.

    Giant: Very, very long, but it’s very engrossing, and I personally find the sight of James Dean as a middle-aged man (as he is in the second half) oddly fascinating. Solidly recommended.

    The Ten Commandments: ALSO very long, and fairly uneven (I find the first half fairly heavy-going)…but it’s iconic.

    I haven’t seen Carousel or The King and I, but I definitely want to.

    • To be honest, none of those are on my to-do list. Occasionally I see GIANT on the shelf at the public library, pick it up, look at the running time, and put it back down. I suppose I’ll get to it one of these days.

  2. I’ve seen too few films from 1956 to pass any sort of judgement on anything, so I’ll limit my contribution to the following statements:

    1. I really enjoyed The Red Balloon. The final shot is glorious.
    2. The Wrong Man is a nice Hitchcock piece. Not too heavy or ambitious, but a very good film all the same.

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