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Yearly Roundup – 1959

Posted by martinteller on December 6, 2012

The Cream of the Crop

Mighty good year.  While there’s nothing currently in my top 100, there are two that were in the previous edition, and two more that come damn close.  The 400 Blows is deservedly canonized, a cornerstone of the nouvelle vague, and just a damn good slice of entertainment with one of the best child performances of all time.  Odds Against Tomorrow is gripping noir, part heist film and part racial commentary with brilliant tension between Belafonte and Ryan.  The World of Apu caps off Satyajit Ray’s trilogy in fine form, as Apu (played this time by the wonderful Soumitra Chatterjee) gets put through the wringer once more but emerges with a ray of hope.  Few rays of hope to be found, however, in Ichikawa’s relentlessly bleak — but also darkly comic — Fires on the Plain, a harrowing anti-war film.

*

Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

Oh, did I say “relentlessly bleak”?  Feast your eyes on Human Condition I, kicking off what is probably the most depressing trilogy ever.  I want to revisit the films, but can’t bring myself to do it.  The Letter Never Sent is a masterpiece of cinematography, and has a solid, engaging story as well.  Pickpocket is yet another winner from Robert Bresson: quiet, stripped-down drama.  Rio Bravo is one of the best times you can have with a western… an extremely rare case where I actually enjoy John Wayne.  And Imitation of Life is one of Sirk’s best works, melodrama with a subversive, progressive undercurrent.  Juanita Moore knocks it out of the park.

*

Also Love

The Crimson Kimono
House on Haunted Hill
Human Condition II
India: Matri Bhumi
North By Northwest
The Sign of Leo
Some Like It Hot
Warlock

*

Varying Degrees of Like

Anatomy of a Murder
Ballad of a Soldier
The Beat Generation
Black Orpheus
City of Fear
Compulsion
Floating Weeds
Il Generale della Rovere
The Ghost of Yotsuya
La grande guerra
Hiroshima Mon Amour
The Indian Tomb
Kapo
Nazarin
Our Man in Havana
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Sapphire
Suddenly, Last Summer
La tête contre les murs
The Tiger of Eschnapur

*

Varying Degrees of Hate

A Bucket of Blood

*

Some Notable Films In The Middle

The Atomic Submarine
Ben-Hur
I’m All Right Jack
La Fievre monte a El Pao
First Man Into Space
Good Morning
Kaagaz Ke Phool
The Last Mile
Ride Lonesome
Shadows
The Tingler

*

Uncharted Territory

Date With Death, The Diary of Anne Frank, Face of a Fugitive, Gidget, The Horse Soldiers, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Last Train from Gun Hill, Libel, The Mouse That Roared, Night Train, The Nun’s Story, Odd Obsession, On the Beach, Pillow Talk, Room at the Top, Sleeping Beauty, Take a Giant Step, Time Stood Still, The Trap, Virgin Island

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2 Responses to “Yearly Roundup – 1959”

  1. JamDenTel said

    There’s a film from this year I must recommend that you seem to have omitted; Edward Dmytryk’s fascinating WARLOCK. I know you’re not the biggest Western fan, but WARLOCK is generally cited as one of the more psychologically complex Hollywood Westerns, especially in regard to Anthony Quinn’s character. It’s worth seeking out.

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