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1950’s

[7] Lauren Bacall finds herself in a love triangle with two best friends played by Rock Hudson and Robert Stack. She marries Stack, the rich playboy, while Hudson continues pining for her. After moving into the family home, Stack’s sister (Dorothy Malone), the town slut, tries to drive a wedge between them and blackmail Hudson into marrying her. Add to this storyline a heap of …

[3] I’m a fan of many Disney animated features, but I find Cinderella to be one of the company’s stinkers. My problems are largely conceptual. I’m simply not a fan of a heroine who’s not strong or clever enough to punch her stepmother and evil step-sisters in the face, leave the house where she’s imprisoned, and get a job that pays. Worse still, this young …

[6] Barbara Stanwyck stars in this intimate thriller from director John Sturges (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven) about a woman who is kidnapped by an escaped convict (Ralph Meeker) while trying to find help for her husband. While the husband (Barry Sullivan) is trapped under debris on a beach with rising tide, Stanwyck comes to realize her only means of saving him might be …

[8] Socially-conscious filmmaker Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg) made an impact early in his directing career with this dramatic chase story of two escaped convicts evading authorities while chained together at the wrists. The twist? One prisoner’s white and the other’s black. This poetic plot point allows The Defiant Ones to address racism in America while also delivering as a tense cat …

[6] Jane Wyman stars in this Alfred Hitchcock noir mystery as an aspiring actress who goes undercover to prove her best friend (Richard Todd) is innocent of murdering a theatre starlet’s husband. The starlet is played with icy villainy by the great Marlene Dietrich — but did she really kill her own husband? You may think you know, but don’t be surprised if old Hitch …

[4] Guys and Dolls pits men against women and vice against virtue in a light-hearted movie musical adapted from the popular Broadway play. Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra headline as two New York gamblers who make a bet that Brando can’t woo a female missionary (Jean Simmons) to a dinner date in Havana. The date unexpectedly results in true love, but the budding romance is …

[7] Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Huston square off in this western about a father and daughter fighting over who will control the future of the family’s sprawling cattle ranch. The relationship begins as a loving, mentoring one, but transforms into a battle between master manipulators. When Huston hangs a belligerent squatter who’s also Stanwyck’s childhood paramour, they cross the point of no return. The Furies …

[6] British men and women are held captive in segregated prison camps under the rule of a sadistic Japanese commander who vows to kill them all if Japan loses World War II. When the Brits secretly learn of the war’s end, they have to keep their Japanese torturers from finding out. They sabotage radio equipment and attempt to delay the mail. But when an American …

[7] Fredric March plays a 1950s Czechoslovakian circus owner trying to lead his troupe in a daring escape from the Iron Curtain. The plan is to obtain a permit to perform for communist soldiers in the border territories — then create a distraction and make a run for freedom over a narrow bridge into American occupation. At the same time, March’s character is dealing with …

[7] Spencer Tracy fronts this lighthearted Vincente Minnelli film about a father experiencing the emotional and financial turmoil of marrying off his only daughter. Elizabeth Taylor plays the daughter and Joan Bennett plays the mother, but this is all Tracy’s show. His droll narration and ‘grin and bear it’ attitude are what give the film its momentum and its low-key comedy. Apart from an effective …

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