1950’s

[5.0] Joan Crawford plays an impoverished woman who leaves her husband after a tragedy claims the life of their young son. Determined never to be poor again, she sleeps her way through a string of men to reach a higher social standing. But once she ingratiates herself with gangsters, she gets in over her head. The Damned Don’t Cry delivers the typical Joan Crawford character …

[7.0] Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Nielsen star in this glossy MGM production about a starship crew investigating a planet where a colony of humans has gone mysteriously quiet. Once there, they discover most of the colonists were killed by a mysterious force. But a scientist (Pidgeon) and his daughter (Anne Francis) appear to be immune to the dangerous entity. Pidgeon shares with the team’s captain …

[6.0] Humphrey Bogart plays a Hollywood screenwriter suspected of murder until his next door neighbor, played by Gloria Grahame, vouches for him. Grahame starts a romance with Bogey as the investigation continues. It’s not long before Bogey reveals a hidden rage and a violent streak that make her reconsider his culpability. In a Lonely Place is reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard, released the same year. Both …

[5.5] In 1860s New Orleans, a Creole servant girl (Micheline Presle) vows revenge after her wealthy lover (Vincent Price) uses his influence to put her in jail so he can marry a rich socialite. While on trial, however, Captain Fabian (Errol Flynn) comes to the girl’s defense out of spite for Price’s character more than anything else. Flynn sets Presle up with a tavern to …

[4.0] Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck star in this story of a midget car racer (Gable) whose treacherous tactics get exposed by a prying news reporter (Stanwyck). After he’s blamed for causing the death of another driver, Gable’s racing career implodes. Stanwyck finds him doing daredevil stunts for a circus. Despite the obvious animosity he has for her, the two fall for each other. As …

[6.0] William Wellman’s (Wings, The Ox-Bow Incident) final film is also his most autobiographical, combining his experiences as an American volunteer in the French Legion during World War I with the experiences of a friend who fell in love with a French sex worker. Lafayette Escadrille stars Tab Hunter as the pilot in love, an unruly youth who deserts the Legion and then fights to …

[5.0] If I were a kid in the 1950s, I probably would have loved Fearless Fagan, the story of a circus performer (lanky Carleton Carpenter) drafted into the army with nowhere to leave his pet lion, Fagan. He sneaks Fagan onto army training grounds and manages to keep him a secret until Janet Leigh shows up as a song and dance girl who accidentally stumbles …

[7.0] Humphrey Bogart stars in this taut mystery-thriller as a district attorney trying to keep a terrified witness alive until he can testify against the ringleader of a hit-squad. The Enforcer is largely told through a series of flashbacks told by various members of the hit squad — usually proximate to their untimely demises. That sort of movie is entertaining enough, but The Enforcer is …

[6.5] Producer Walt Disney brings Jules Verne’s adventure to the big screen in his first live-action feature, one that nearly bankrupted the studio and ended up being the most expensive movie ever made up to that time. James Mason stars as Captain Nemo, who uses his advanced submarine, the Nautilus, to destroy war-faring vessels. After one such attack, he picks up a sailor, a professor, …

[5.0] Eleanor Parker stars as a mail-order bride to a lonely South American cocoa plantation farmer played by Charlton Heston. When she first meets her husband, she’s taken back by his brutish behavior. The two decide maybe marrying each other without ever meeting was probably a bad idea. But before Parker can catch the next boat out of the jungle, a 20-mile wide army of …

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