The Fabulous Fifties

Svenska: Svensk standardkök från 1950-talets s...

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I’ve often felt that I was born just a little too late – if I had been born in the 1950s instead of the 1960s, I would have been around for all those anti-Vietnam campus protests, and the beginning of the counterculture.  They seemed like heady, exciting times to me (especially when I was a teenager in the 1970s) and I felt like I had missed out on the time of my life.

So I was thinking about the 1950s and I decided to look through my literature, music and films lists to find my favorites from that decade.  Here are the results:


Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950)
All About Eve (Mankiewicz, 1950)
Sunset Blvd. (Wilder, 1950)
Diary of a Country Priest (Bresson, 1951)
Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)
Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly & Donen, 1952)
Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, 1953)
Ugetsu (Mizoguchi, 1953)
The Band Wagon (Minnelli, 1953)
The Earrings of Madame de… (Ophüls, 1953)
Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954)
The Apu Trilogy (Ray, 1955-1959)
The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1957)
Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)
Nights of Cabiria (Fellini, 1957)
Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)


T-Bone Walker, The Complete Imperial Recordings (1950-1954)
Elmore James, The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (1951-1961)
Sarah Vaughan, Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1954)
Elvis Presley, The Sun Sessions (1954-1955)
Ray Charles, LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter, The Clovers, Atlantic & Atco Remasters Series: Sampler One (1954-1958)
Jascha Heifetz, Beethoven and Brahms: Violin Concertos (1955)
Buddy Holly, Memorial Collection (1955-1959)
Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight (1955-1965)
Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier (Karajan; Schwarzkopf; Ludwig) (1956)
Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus (1956)
Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners (1956)
Nat “King” Cole, After Midnight (1956)
Otis Rush, The Classic Cobra Recordings (1956-1958)
Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story (Original Broadway Cast) (1957)
The Everly Brothers, Cadence Classics: Their 20 Greatest Hits (1957-1960)
Champion Jack Dupree, Blues From the Gutter (1958)
The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out (1959)
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (1959)
Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)


J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian (1951)
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
Isaac Asimov, Foundation; Foundation & Empire; Second Foundation (1951-1953)
Samuel Beckett, Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable (1951-1953)
A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic (1952)
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1953)
J. D. Salinger, Nine Stories (1953)
Walter Kaufmann (ed.), Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (1953)
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1953)
Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim (1954)
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction (1955)
William Golding, The Inheritors (1955)
J.L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (1955)
James Agee, A Death in the Family (1957)
Harold Brodkey, First Love and Other Sorrows (1958)
Günter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959)

To see my five-star albums, books and films, click on the appropriate tab at the top of the page.  I’m interested in what you think, and what your favorites are.

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