Tag Archives: Film

The Fabulous Fifties

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

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:

FAVORITE ‘50s FILMS

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)

FAVORITE 50s MUSIC

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)

FAVORITE 50s LITERATURE

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.

A New Way of Making Lists

All you listers out there will be interested to know that I have been experimenting with a new listing method that overcomes one of the worst frustrations listers face: the numerical limit.  Top 10 this.  Best 100 that.  The difficulty, if you love something, isn’t coming up with 10, or 100, but getting it down to the required number.  When I compiled my Top 100 Movies list, I started with over 200: cutting those last 25 movies to get down to 100 was a painful experience, and it felt very arbitrary – is Mildred Pierce really better than Cool Hand Luke?

But thanks to a number of websites that ask members to give ratings (1-5 stars, usually, sometimes 1-10) to books, movies, albums, etc., there is another, less frustrating option: listing your 5-star rated items.  Instead of arbitrarily cutting off your favorites at 10 or 100, you can list every book, movie, album, etc,, that you gave the highest rating.  The total number is irrelevant: it could be 7, 99, or 274.  This method provides a more accurate depiction of your favorites and, more importantly avoids the awful pain of cutting just to reach an arbitrary number.

Here are the results of my experiments:

Books: http://beckchris.com/the-lists/literature-lists/my-five-star-books/
Films: http://beckchris.com/the-lists/movie-lists/my-five-star-films/
Music: http://beckchris.com/the-lists/music-lists/my-five-star-albums/