Top of the World: 5 Favourite Films of the 50s for National Classic Movie Day!

Happy National Classic Movie Day to all! Today, for the occasion, Rick from Classic Film & TV Café is hosting the 5 Favorite Films of the 50s Blogathon. I don’t think I need to explain further what it’s all about! The 50s being one of my top favorite decades in cinema history, I was non-hesitant to take part in the event. Everybody choose the way they want to present their top, of course.

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I know this was a difficult challenge for many but for me, it wasn’t so much as I’ve made a top 40 of my most favourite films not a long time ago and that included AT LEAST 5 films of the 50s. However, presenting only five is the real challenge as we would love the world to know about all the films we love, no?

Keep in mind that this list is subjective and present my own personal favourites. Anyway, if people would present entirely objective lists, I think they’ll all look pretty similar and there wouldn’t be any fun in that.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 favourite films of the 50s!

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5- High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952)

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High Noon is one of those films that made me discover classics in general, but also Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper who happen to be among my top favourite actors. It’s without a doubt my favourite western because it’s so unique in its genre. If you like this film as much as I do, I would also recommend you to see The Plunderers (Joseph Pevney, 1960) with Jeff Chandler, Dolores Hart, and John Saxon. It’s a very underrated western and somehow I can see similarities between it and High Noon.

4- Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)

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Because I am SO original (not) I’ve decided to include Singin’ in the Rain in my top. Seriously, among all the articles written for this blogathon that I’ve read so far, I think pretty much everybody included that iconic musical. But what do you expect? There’s so much to love about this film! The story, the music, the costumes, the actor and its delightful humour (thank you, Jean Hagen and Donald O’Connor). I believe Singin’ in the Rain is one of those films made for people who usually aren’t too much into musicals, mainly for the fact that there aren’t too many songs and when there’s one, it’s hard not to like it.

3- Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

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Like Leticia from Crítica Retrô, I also believe this is the best film that has ever been made (sorry Citizen Kane). Yes, everything about it is perfect. It’s a simply mesmerizing noir. I love it so much that I can recite by heart Joe Gillis’s introducing narration (from ” Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California” to “Well, in the end, he got himself a pool, only the price turned out to be a little high…”). Sunset Boulevard is also one of the elements that made me interested in screenwriting (despite Joe’s fatal faith).

2- Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

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There was a time, I never thought Kiss Me Deadly would rank so high in a top list. I first saw this film in my seminar on American Cinema of the 50s and I remember liking it but it didn’t immediately become one of my top favourites (it’s now my 4th most favourite film of all times and my favourite film noir). Anyway, the term after, I had a class on Film Noir and our teacher showed us the beginning and the end of the film (which is very unfortunate for those who hadn’t seen it before) and watching those clips really made me want to see it again, which is what I did. Oh my! I was completely hooked by it! I’ve watched my Criterion DVD too often since I bought it. What I love about Kiss Me Deadly isn’t only its impeccable film noir cinematography but also the fact that it’s a very unusual film. Without spoiling you, it starts as something and then becomes something completely unexpected. The film might have one of the most jaw-dropping endings ever filmed and the beginning is just as iconic.

1- Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

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Well, Some Like It Hot is my most favourite film ever so it would obviously be #1 on this list! I won’t go into too many details as you can read my full review here but, basically what makes this film so great is its screenplay and its actors. Billy Wilder’s comedy is one of those films that, before I even watched it a first time, I had the feeling it would become a favourite. Weird, no?

Honorable mention: The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)

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Honestly, a Virginie’s list without an Hitchcock film is a bit weird since he’s my favourite movie director and he surely made some of his best films during that decade. I chose The Man Who Knew Too Much since it’s my favourite Hitchcock film of the 50s and it has all the ingredients to be a perfect Hitchcockian film. Ohhh! And Doris Day. Still can’t believe she has left us. 😦

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Thanks so much Rick for hosting this! I love reading the participants entries and discover everyone’s favourites! I invite you to check them here!

See you!

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19 thoughts on “Top of the World: 5 Favourite Films of the 50s for National Classic Movie Day!

  1. Virginie, you’ve made some wonderful picks here! I recently rewatched SOME LIKE IT HOT and, this time around, focused on the fantastic performance of Jack Lemmon (who has some of the best one-liners). I was delighted to see the wonderfully odd KISS ME, DEADLY on your list. It’s a unique private eye film with an opening and ending unlike any other. Thanks for participating in this blogathon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am definitely going to take your advice and check out The Plunderers, as we are both High Noon fans.

    It has taken me a couple of viewings to really “get” Kiss Me Deadly. It is such an odd movie, but truly compelling.

    Your list shows how varied the great films of the 1950s are, and how much fun to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DORIS! It was such a shock- even though she lived a long a filling life! Nice list! I wanted to include some of these on my own- but its so hard!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a delightfully interesting mix of films, Virginie. My heart also belongs to Some Like it Hot (featured on my list, too), a film that is simply perfection on every front, from beginning to end. I’m also a great fan of The Man Who Knew Too Much, one in the string of sparkling gems from Alfred Hitchcock in the ’50s. Doris Day and James Stewart are superb in the lead roles – and what an inspired ending this movie has. After all the family’s been through, a moment of humor. I’m also a forever fan of Kiss Me Deadly. So, great list, I’d say!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful job as always! We share Kiss Me Deadly in common as the noirs on our list and love the rest of your choices especially High Noon and Sunset Boulevard. It’s an intriguing choice as the best film ever made because it’s one of the few to get to the top of these lists that has two strong female performances (Gloria Swanson and Nancy Olson)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely need to rewatch High Noon and Kiss Me Deadly, but I love your other choices. It was so hard to exclude Some Like It Hot from my own list — it’s my favorite comedy — but since I wanted to have only one Wilder film, Sabrina won out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good for you for squeezing The Man Who Knew Too Much onto your list as an honourable mention.

    I agree with others re: Kiss Me Deadly. It’s such a strange film, but I can’t not watch it. It’s so compelling!

    I like that your list has films from different genres. Excellent choices!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Virginie, I think we are on the same wavelength with the diversity of genres in our lists! I also had ‘Singin in the Rain’ (not so original, haha), but I think that one might be the best movie ever made — Sunset Boulevard has good credentials, too, for this honor! I must admit that I’m not eager to see Kiss Me Deadly again, but it *was* fascinating. Wasn’t this a fun topic for a blogathon? Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading my top Jocelyn! Yeah, I gather Kiss Me Deadly is not a film for everybody, but I like unusual stuff! I think Singin’ In the Rain is totally the type of film I would show to someone who isn’t too much into classic films!

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  9. Great choices.

    I think that’s true about Singin’ in the Rain appealing to people who don’t normally go for musicals (that includes me!).

    Now I’m really interested in Kiss Me Deadly, which I haven’t seen. But I do like Aldrich generally and you’ve got me intrigued. I’d like to see The Man Who Knew Too Much again as well, but really want to watch both the original and the remake for comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m happy we agree about Sunset Boulevard – everything is perfect in this film, and Billy Wilder could do anything in any genre! also, Singin’ in the Rain is such a happy movie, and I agree that it is a musical for people who don’t like musicals, as my mother hates musicals but enjoyed this one with me. All the other choices are terrific as well!
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Kisses!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this blogathon because of everyone’s fantastic choices but also felt like I was committing sacrilege with the films I left off my list. You have some awesome choices Virginie and some I was close to choosing, so I feel like cheating and appropriating other people’s lists – including yours! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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