BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1950

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1950

Movie Mirrors Introduction

Abbreviations
 Title

Min.

c S M H P V En Ed
 American Guerrilla in Philippines, An 105   c  4  5  4      5  5
 Armored Car Robbery 67   b  7  6  5    4  5  4
 Baron of Arizona, The 97   b  4  5  4  4  6  5  5
 Black Hand 92   b  5  5  5  3  6  5  5
 Born To Be Bad 90   b  6  5  4  6  5  5  5
 Bright Leaf 111   b  5  5  4    5  5  5
 Convicted 91   b  6  5  5      5  5
 Crisis 95   b  6  5  5   3  5  5
 D.O.A. 83   b  6  7  6  6  7  5  4
 Damned Don’t Cry, The 104   b  6  5  4   5  5  4
 Daughter of Rosie O’Grady, The 105   c  5  5  5    4  5  4
 Devil’s Doorway 84   b  6  6  4   4  5  5
 Fancy Pants 92   c  6  6  6  6  5  5  4
 File on Thelma Jordon, The 100   b  5  5  5  3    5  5
 Flame and the Arrow, The 88   c  6  6  5  7  6  5  4
 For Heaven’s Sake 92   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Francis 91   b  4  5  5  6  6  5  4
 Fuller Brush Girl, The 85   b  6  4  5  5  5  5  4
 Furies, The 109   b  6  5  5   5  5  4
 Gambling House 80   b    5        5  5
 Glass Menagerie, The 107   b  5  5  6      5  5
 Happiest Days of Your Life, The 81   b  6  6  7  6  5  5
 Happy Years, The 110   c  6  6  4   5  5  5
 Highly Dangerous 88   b  6  5  4      5  4
 Kim 113   c  5  7  5  6  6  5  5
 Life of Her Own, A 108   b  6  5  4  3  5  4  5
 Louisa 90   b  5  6  5      5  4
 Madeleine 115   b  6  6  5    5  5  5
 Mister 880 90   b  6  6  6      5  5
 My Blue Heaven 96   c  5  5  4    5  5  5
 Mystery Street 93   b  6  5  5    4  5  4
 Next Voice You Hear…, The 83   b  6  5  5  4  5  5  5
 Night and the City 96   b  7  5  4  7  7  5  5
 Olvidados, Los (Spanish) 91   b  5  5  5  5  5  5  5
 Our Very Own 93   b  4  5  4    4  5  5
 Quicksand 79   b  5  5  4    5  5  5
 Reformer and the Redhead, The 90   b  4  5  5      5  4
 Rocky Mountain 83   b  4  6  4    4  5  4
 September Affair 104   b  6  5  4  4  5  5  5
 711 Ocean Drive 102   b  5  5  5   4  5  5
 Side Street 83   b  5  6  4    4  5  4
 So Long at the Fair 86   b  6  6  5      5  5
 The Sound of Fury (Try and Get Me!) 92   b  6  5 5  6  4  5  5
 Stage Fright 110   b  6  5  5  5  6  5  4
 Stromboli 107   b  6  3  4  3  5  5  5
 Tea for Two 98   c  5  5  5  5  6  5  4
 Three Little Words 102   c  6  6  5  4  5  5  5
 To Please a Lady 91   b  5  5  5  5  5  5  5
 Two Weeks with Love 92   c  5  5  5  3  4  5  5
 Underworld Story, The 91   b  6 6  6  4  5  5  5
 Union Station 80   b  6  5  6  5  4  5  4
 Wabash Avenue 92   c  6  6  5  7    5  4
 When Willie Comes Marching Home 82   b  6  5  5    6  5  5
 Where the Sidewalk Ends 95   b  7  6  4      5  5

Abbreviations
b = black and white
c = color
S = Scheuer's rating
M = Maltin's rating
H = Halliwell's rating
P = Martin & Porter's rating
V = Videohound's rating
En = Beck's entertainment value
Ed = Beck's educational value

 

An American Guerrilla in the Philippines

(1950 c 105’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Ira Wolfert’s novel, Ensign Chuck Palmer (Tyrone Power) and crewman Mitchell (Tom Ewell) are stranded in the Philippines in 1942 and make it to Leyte, where they join the guerrilla movement and send information to prepare for the triumphant return of General MacArthur. Palmer falls in love with Jeanne Martinez (Micheline Presle), whose husband Juan Martinez (Juan Torena) is killed by Japanese occupiers.

         This war drama was filmed in the actual locations and came out one week before the Korean War began, thus reflecting American military involvement in east Asia. In the climactic shoot-out with the Japanese soldiers the Americans have hid in a church, showing that guerrillas are easily tempted into using religious sanctuaries.

Armored Car Robbery

(1950 b 67’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Police Lt. Jim Cordell (Charles McGraw) has his partner killed during a robbery of an armored car led by Dave Purvis (William Talman). The master mind criminal is seeing the burlesque queen Yvonne Le Doux (Adele Jergens), wife of Benny McBride (Douglas Fowley), who is involved in the hold-up. Al Mapes (Steve Brodie) is double-crossed by Purvis, and rookie Lt. Danny Ryan (Don McGuire) helps Cordell track them down.

         This crime drama shows the criminals betraying each other while the cops cooperate and risk their lives. Although the film has much violence, it show its futility in trying to steal from others by force.

The Baron of Arizona

(1950 b 97’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Sam Fuller, James Addison Reavis (Vincent Price) persuades humble Pepito Alvarez (Vladimir Sokoloff) that an orphan is the heir to the enormous Peralta land grant from Spain that became the Arizona Territory. Reavis has the girl educated by Loma Morales (Beulah Bondi), spends years forging documents in Spain, and then marries Sofia de Peralta (Ellen Drew). The story is told by the forgery expert John Griff (Reed Hadley).

            Based on a true story, this version fictionalizes and simplifies a very complicated story over many years that in history resulted in Reavis spending 21 months in prison before being released in 1898. The film depicts a morality tale that shows a life of deception can cause tremendous confusion and conflicts, though a man can be redeemed by the love of a woman.

Black Hand

(1950 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Giovanni Columbo (Gene Kelly) comes back to New York to get revenge against the Mafia for having murdered his father. Isabella (Teresa Celli) helps him study law, and he works with police detective Louis Lorelli (J. Carrol Naish); but witnesses are intimidated, and they face much violence in their effort to bring to justice the criminal conspiracy.

         This realistic drama set early in the century exposes the pervasive viciousness of organized crime using cruel violence and threats to extort money from poor immigrants.

Born To Be Bad

(1950 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Anne Parish’s novel, orphan Christabel (Joan Fontaine) visits her cousin Donna (Joan Leslie) and steals away her rich fiancé Curtis Carey (Zachary Scott) while being romanced by author Nick Bradley (Robert Ryan). Nick realizes what Christabel is, and the artist Gobby (Mel Ferrer) exploits the scandal.

         In this melodrama seductive and manipulative Christabel is eventually caught in her deceit and is left without any good relationships. The fooled Curtis reflects producer Howard Hughes.

Bright Leaf

(1950 b 117’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Foster Fitzsimmons, Brant Royle (Gary Cooper) loves Margaret Singleton (Patricia Neal) whose father James Singleton (Donald Crisp) hates Royle and dominates the tobacco business. John Barton (Jeff Corey) has invented a machine to produce cigarettes which Singleton rejects. Sonia Kovac (Lauren Bacall) loves Royle and loans him money to build a cigarette factory, and he is also aided by salesman Chris Malley (Jack Carson). Royle has to decide between two women while he pursues his ambition and revenge against Singleton.

            This melodrama is a fictionalized version of how a business in North Carolina came to dominate the American cigarette market until it was broken up by an anti-trust suit in 1911.

Convicted

(1950 b 91’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the play by Martin Flavin and essentially a remake of the 1931 film,The Criminal Code, Joe Hufford (Glenn Ford) gets into a fight with a man who insulted his dance partner, and District Attorney George Knowland (Broderick Crawford) reluctantly prosecutes him for the accidental manslaughter. Hufford gets a sentence of five years; but when Knowland becomes Warden, he and his daughter Kay Knowland (Dorothy Malone) try to help Hufford who finds himself in trouble involving his cellmate Malloby (Millard Mitchell).

            This prison drama depicts how prisoners are generally mistreated and made resentful by mean and insensitive guards. Prison inmates have a different code of ethics than those involved in law enforcement. The compassion and independence of the Knowlands provide mercy with the justice.

Crisis

(1950 b 95’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Dr. Ferguson (Cary Grant) and his wife (Paula Raymond) are on vacation in Latin America when they are kidnapped by Col. Abragon (Ramon Navarro) and Señora Farrago (Signe Hasso) so that he can perform surgery on the dying dictator Raoul Farrago (Jose Ferrer) in the midst of a revolution led by Roland Gonzales (Gilbert Roland).

         This cynical political drama presents an extreme stereotype of a tyrannical country appealing to the competent American for help.

D.O.A.

(1950 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 4

An accountant (Edmund O’Brien) on vacation away from his fiancée (Pamela Britton) learns he has been poisoned and spends his last hours tracking down who killed him.

         This film-noir mystery reflects the lethal era of radiation, a most subtle and potent destroyer of life.

The Damned Don’t Cry

(1950 b 104’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Ethel Whitehead (Joan Crawford) leaves behind her poor husband (Morris Ankrum) and uses her looks and nerve to get money and a more luxurious life-style from the naïve accountant Martin Blackford (Kent Smith), gambling operator Grady (Hugh Sanders), his crime syndicate boss George Castleman (David Brian), and the gangster Nick Prenta (Steve Cochran).

         In this underworld film-noir the characters disregard ethics and the law in order to manipulate other people and make money. The greed leads to violent results. The title suggests that such persons have even lost touch with their human feelings.

Daughter of Rosie O’Grady

(1950 c 105’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Widower Dennis O’Grady (James Barton) has been in Vaudeville. His daughter Katie (Marsha Jones) is secretly married to a policeman, and Patricia (June Haver) falls in love with Vaudevillian Tony Pastor (Gordon MacRae) who gives her a job dancing in his show with Doug Martin (Gene Nelson).

            This musical comedy is set about 1900 and entertains with singing and dancing and the comic difficulties the father has adjusting to the romantic relationships of his daughters.

Devil’s Doorway

(1950 b 84’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Decorated Civil War veteran Lance Poole (Robert Taylor) goes back to his cattle ranch in the Wyoming territory and is joined by fellow Shoshones from a reservation. His friend Marshal Zeke Carmody (Edgar Buchanan) and his lawyer Orrie Masters (Paula Raymond) are caught in the middle when greedy lawyer Verne Coolan (Louis Calhern) persuades homesteading sheep-herders to take their land.

         This unusual western exposes the injustice of the Euro-Americans using their laws to take land away from native Americans, who are forced by the army to live on reservations.

Fancy Pants

(1950 c 92’) En: 5 Ed: 4

An actor (Bob Hope) is hired by Effie Floud (Lea Penman) and her daughter Aggie (Lucille Ball) to be their butler Humphrey; but in New Mexico territory in 1905 he is taken for an earl until he is exposed by the malicious Cart Belnap (Bruce Cabot) when President Teddy Roosevelt (John Alexander) comes to town.

         This farcical remake of Ruggles of Red Gap lacks the sophistication and shows how Hollywood has been reduced to a low common denominator.

The File on Thelma Jordon

(1950 b 100’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Married Cleve Marshall (Wendell Corey) falls in love with Thelma (Barbara Stanwyck) and is assigned to prosecute her for the murder of her wealthy aunt. Cleve’s wife Pamela (Joan Tetzel) hopes to win him back, and Cleve’s friend Miles Scott (Paul Kelly) investigates the case; but Thelma has another boyfriend named Tony (Richard Rober).

         This melodramatic mystery depicts the fall of a man who is dissatisfied with his domestic situation; but even his love for Thelma and her love for him can not lift her out of the web of crime she has woven for herself.

The Flame and the Arrow

(1950 c 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In the 12th century Lombardy is occupied by Germans and governed by the Hawk (Frank Allenby). Dardo Bartoli (Burt Lancaster) has his son Rudi (Gordon Gebert) taken and joins the outlaws in the forest. They take Marchese Alessandro (Robert Douglas) and Anne de Hesse (Virginia Mayo) hostage; but the skill of Dardo, Piccolo (Nick Cravat), and their friends triumph.

         This Robin Hood swashbuckler aims for entertainment as the outlaws perform acrobatics while defeating their foes. The theme suggests that indigenous guerrillas will usually defeat militaristic occupiers.

For Heaven’s Sake

(1950 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Dorothy Segall’s play, angels Charles (Clifton Webb) and Arthur (Edmund Gwenn) have come to Earth to help the children Item (Gigi Perreau) and Joe Blake (Tommy Rettig) be born to the parents they have chosen. Item has been waiting seven years for the theatrical producer and director Jeff Bolton (Robert Cummings) and his wife Lydia (Joan Bennett) who stars in his plays. Charles becomes a human “angel” to help finance a new play and to help Item.

            This spiritual fantasy probably has more truth to it than most people realize. The process of souls incarnating and reincarnating in human form likely involves counseling from heavenly beings on the other side, and this film makes a comedy out of the unlikely attempts of Charles to be a helpful human.

Francis

(1950 b 91’) En: 5 Ed: 4

David Stern adapted his own novel about the talking mule Francis (voice of Chill Wills) who advises 2nd Lt. Peter Stirling (Donald O’Connor) during the Pacific War against the Japanese. Stirling tells others how he heard a mule talking to him and is naturally treated as insane.

            This fantasy farce shows what an intelligent mule could accomplish during the war with the help of a cooperating officer.

The Fuller Brush Girl

(1950 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by Lloyd Bacon, Sally Elliot (Lucille Ball) and Humphrey Briggs (Eddie Albert) have been engaged for years and want to buy a new house, but they cannot afford it until Humphrey’s boss Harvey Simpson (Jerome Cowan) gives him a temporary promotion that entangles them in his criminal conspiracy. Sally quits her job and tries to sell cosmetics for the Fuller Brush Company with disastrous results. They try to solve a double murder and learn that Mr. Watkins (John Litel) is the killer, but Sally becomes the primary suspect.

            This farce entertains with unusual situations as various things go wrong. The story reflects the current craze for making money through personal sales to women in the home. Early television is satirized when they interfere with the aerials on a roof.

The Furies

(1950 b 109’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Niven Busch’s novel, rancher T. C. Jeffords (Walter Huston) and his daughter Vance (Barbara Stanwyck) have a close relationship but try to control each other. Vance loves Juan Herrera (Gilbert Roland), but he is Mexican. When Jeffords marries Flo (Judith Anderson), Vance becomes insanely jealous and uses ambitious Rip Darrow (Wendell Corey) to get her father’s ranch after he used her to get money from Jeffords.

         This western is based on the Electra complex, and like the Greek tragedies, warns that there are spiritual energies (Furies) that will cause people to suffer for the consequences of their actions.

Gambling House

(1950 b 80’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Gambler Marc Fury (Victor Mature) was wounded at a gambling house and is suspected of committing a murder there. Gambling boss Joe Farrow (William Bendix) offers him $50 to plead self-defense and promises to testify for him. Marc is acquitted but is detained by immigration and is to be deported as undesirable. Marc happens to meet the social worker Sally who helps immigrants, and she tries to reform him. Judge Ravinek (Basil Ruysdael) hears his case.

            This film noir explores the difficulties of immigrants and the evil ways of a gangster gambling boss. The ideals and values of the social worker provide a contrast and a way out of that dark world.

The Glass Menagerie

(1950 b 107’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, Tom Wingfield (Arthur Kennedy) remembers his nagging mother Amanda Wingfield (Gertrude Lawrence) and his disabled sister Laura Wingfield (Jane Wyman). Frustrated Tom invites to dinner his co-worker Jim O’Connor (Kirk Douglas) from the factory. Amanda’s and Laura’s hopes are raised but dashed when they find out Jim is already engaged.

         Williams resented the hopeful note tacked on to the end of his pathetic drama about disappointed southerners who have great difficulty getting along with each other. All three Wingfields live in a world of dreams and hopes that are as fragile and far from reality as Laura’s collection of glass animals.

The Happiest Days of Your Life

(1950 b 81’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on John Dighton’s play, on the first day of school the headmaster (Alistair Sim) and staff of a boys boarding school learn that a girls boarding school under the supervision of Muriel Whitchurch (Margaret Rutherford) will be sharing the school with them.

         This comedy satirizes English society’s segregating of boys and girls by throwing two schools together by a bureaucratic mix-up, implying that it is much more fun to let them mix it up.

The Happy Years

(1950 c 110’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In 1896 Dink Stover (Dean Stockwell) is a tough kid who likes to make trouble, and his father (Leon Ames) sends him to a prep school where he feuds with Tough McCarty (Darryl Hickman). The Old Roman (Leo G. Carroll) teaches him Latin and lets him play football, which channels his energy and changes his belligerent attitude.

         This childhood drama portrays a young rascal who goes to a fine school where his pranks are tolerated until he learns to be more mature.

Highly Dangerous

(1950 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 4

British entomologist Frances Gray (Margaret Lockwood) is persuaded by Mr. Hedgerley (Naunton Wayne) to go as a spy to a dangerous country in order to capture insects being used in a biological weapons program. When she arrives on the train, Commandant Anton Razinski (Marius Goring) learns she has smuggled in a microscope. Her contact Alf (Eugene Deckers) is eliminated, and she is arrested. Journalist Bill Casey (Dane Clark) befriends her and helps her carry out her very dangerous mission. The British consul Mr. Luke (Wilfrid Hyde-White) also tries to help her.

            This spy thriller has elements of comedy and reflects the current Cold War in which Communist and capitalist countries are involved in an arms race that includes extremely dangerous biological weapons which could be difficult to control.

Kim

(1950 c 113’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In this version of Kipling’s novel, Kim (Dean Stockwell) avoids school by stealing, begging, and carrying messages for his friend Mahbub Ali (Errol Flynn) and Col. Creighton (Robert Douglas) to prepare for a war against feared Russians from the north while he befriends a Tibetan Lama (Paul Lukas) on a spiritual quest.

         This story, set in 1885 during British imperialist rule of India, reflects the fears the English had of the Russians in the north that caused them to get involved in wars in Afghanistan. The Tibetan priest is presented as an unworldly visionary who is helpless in this world.

A Life of Her Own

(1950 b 108’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Lily James (Lana Turner) goes to New York and is hired to be a model by fast-talking Tom Caraway (Tom Ewell). She meets a depressed model turned alcoholic (Ann Dvorak) and fends off aggressive Lee (Barry Sullivan). Friendly Jim (Louis Calhern) introduces her to copper-miner Steve Harleigh (Ray Milland), who is married, and they fall in love.

         This rather depressing drama portrays an attractive woman who has become cynical because of the way men pursue her. She makes the mistake of falling in love with a married man, and the difficult situation makes them both happy for a while but miserable when they realize they cannot betray his disabled wife.

Louisa

(1950 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Hal (Ronald Reagan) tells his mother Louisa (Spring Byington), who has moved in, to stop annoying his family. She controls her fault-finding and falls in love with the grocer Henry (Edmund Gwenn), who wants to marry her; but he soon has a rival when Hal’s boss Abel Burnside (Charles Coburn) starts courting her too.

         This family comedy is ahead of its time in showing that older folks can have late romances after their spouses have died.

Madeleine

(1950 b 115’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by David Lean, in Victorian Scotland young and beautiful Madeleine Smith (Ann Todd) from a wealthy family dominated by her father (Leslie Banks) is secretly engaged to Emile L’Anglier (Ivan Desny) and then decides to marry the handsome English gentleman William Minnoch (Norman Wooland). She buys arsenic but pleads not guilty to having poisoned Emile.

            This docudrama of a true story depicts a dispassionate portrayal of her difficult circumstances in which she seems trapped by two suitors, her father, her family, and her society with a very public and sensational trial.

Mister 880

(1950 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a true story with a screenplay by Robert Riskin and directed by  Edmund Goulding, Elderly “Skipper” Miller (Edmund Gwenn) sells junk and occasionally prints one-dollar bills to get by. He gives two to his neighbor Ann Winslow (Dorothy McGuire) who works as a translator for the United Nations. Secret Service agent Steve Buchanan (Burt Lancaster) is put on the ten-year old counterfeiting case and “cultivates” the friendship of Ann to try to find the counterfeiter.

            This comedy depicts a very kind old man and portrays a budding romance with a secret service agent who comes to realize that this counterfeiter was not nearly as bad as others he caught.

My Blue Heaven

(1950 c 96’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Entertainers Kitty Moran (Betty Grable) and her husband Jack Moran (Dan Dailey) move from radio to television and try to start a family with help from their friends Walter Pringle (David Wayne) and his wife Janet (Jane Wyatt). Sexy Gloria Adams (Mitzi Gaynor) fills in for Kitty, and Irma Gilbert (Una Merkel) runs an adoption agency.

            This musical comedy takes on the problem of having a baby or adopting one and how it affects their life. Harold Arlen and Ralph Blane contributed several songs to go with the title standard.

Mystery Street

(1950 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Lt. Peter Morales (Ricardo Montalban) gets forensic help from Harvard expert Dr. McAdoo (Bruce Bennett) in solving the murder of a blonde dancer (Jan Sterling) that involves her land-lady (Elsa Lanchester), her married lover (Edmon Ryan), Henry Shanway (Marshall Thompson) and his wife (Sally Forrest).

         This detective story portrays several characters with human faults that create a web of lies the police investigator must untangle to find the killer while suggesting that scientific methods and thorough investigation can bring people to justice.

The Next Voice You Hear…

(1950 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Joe Smith (James Whitmore), his pregnant wife Mary (Nancy Davis), and their son Johnny (Gary Gray) change their attitudes during a week in which people all over the world hear the voice of God on the radio.

         This spiritual fantasy reflects suburban families who are settling into a routine life with modern technology. The long-distance medium of radio is used to present a universal message that gets people thinking and talking about the miracles of life on earth.

Night and the City

(1950 b 96’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Gerald Kersh’s novel and directed by Jules Dassin, in London desperate hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is on the run and tries to steal from his girl-friend Mary Bristol (Gene Tierney) who borrows a little from her friend Adam Dunn (Hugh Marlowe). Harry uses every trick he can to get money from Helen Nosseross (Googie Withers) and her husband Philip Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan) in order try to take over the wrestling business from Kristo (Herbert Lom) and the Strangler (Mike Mazurki) with help from retired wrestler Gregorius (Stanislaus Zybszko) and Nikolas (Ken Richmond).
      This film noir shows the underside of a city and the cruel form of entertainment called wrestling while revealing that lying, cheating, forging, stealing, beating, and killing are the wrong ways to try to get ahead. Harry becomes so desperate that he finally tries to sell his own life.

Los Olvidados

(Spanish 1950 b 80’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Luis Buñuel, poor children in Mexico City struggle to survive. El Jaibo (Roberto Cobo) has escaped from reform school and bullies others. While robbing Julian (Javier Amézcua), El Jaibo accidentally kills him. Pedro (Alfonso Mejia) is a witness and has a difficult relationship with his mother (Stella Inda), and El Jaibo warns him not to talk.

            This drama depicts the poverty and mayhem in a poor neighborhood where parents struggle to survive and hope their children can bring in some money by working.

Our Very Own

(1950 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Chuck (Farley Granger) and Frank (Gus Schilling) install a new television in the Macaulay home while being pestered by the talkative child Penny Macaulay (Natalie Wood). Her older sister Joan Macaulay (Joan Evans) arrives and is eager to talk with Chuck while her boyfriend Bert (Martin Milner) waits. Gail Macaulay is a year older than Joan and is about to graduate from high school. Gail and Chuck are in love with each other. Mother Lois Macaulay (Jane Wyatt) and father Fred Macaulay (Donald Cook) care for each of their three daughters, and they have had Violet (Jessica Grayson) as a servant since they started their family. By accident Joan learns that Gail was adopted and lets her know during the heat of an argument over Chuck. Gail is upset and naturally wants to meet her biological mother Gert Lynch (Ann Dvorak).
      This family drama explores the situation of a child who in this case was raised well by the parents who adopted her. The story reflects a society where parents who are well off can afford to adopt a child that a poor mother would have difficulty raising. The child comes to realize that she is blessed by the good home which her adopted parents and their family provided for her.

Quicksand

(1950 b 79’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Irving Pichel, Dan (Mickey Rooney) is working with a mechanic and avoids seeing Helen (Barbara Bates) because she wants to marry him. He “borrows” $20 from the cash register at work so that he can take out pretty Vera (Jeanne Cagney). This leads to a downward spiral of petty crimes leading to more serious offenses as he is blackmailed by shady businessman Nick (Peter Lorre) and his boss Mackey (Art Smith).

            This crime drama shows a series of wrong decisions can get a person into serious trouble. Eventually Dan is helped by the love of Helen and an understanding lawyer. This story shows how even small crimes have consequences and warns against taking desperate measures that can make things much worse.

 

The Reformer and the Redhead

(1950 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Hot-tempered Kathy Maguire (June Allyson) falls in love with Andrew Hale (Dick Powell), who is running for mayor, and both must contend with the powerful Commodore Parker (Ray Collins). Hale is assisted by his witty campaign manager Artie Maxwell (David Wayne) and precocious Leon (Marvin Kaplan) while Kathy is helped by her kind father (Cecil Kellaway) and cynical Tim Harveigh (Robert Keith).

         This comedy has an underlying theme of animal rights as well as the ethics of politics that is often corrupted by money interests.

Rocky Mountain

(1950 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by William Keighley, in 1865 eight Confederate soldiers are sent by General Robert E. Lee to a desert mountain in California to revive the nearly lost cause. Captain Lafe Barstow (Errol Flynn) leads seven others that included Pap Dennison (Guinn Williams), Jim Wheat (Dickie Jones), and Plank (Slim Pickens). They are too late to protect a stage coach from a Shoshone attack but rescue the driver Gil Craigie (Chubby Johnson) and Johanna Carter (Patrice Wymore). They meet the outlaw Cole Smith (Howard Petrie) who promises to raise more outlaws for the Confederate cause, and they capture Johanna’s fiancé Lt. Rickey (Scott Forbes) with other Union soldiers. However, they have to face a Shoshone attack.
      This western is set in a historical context but appears to be a fictional story that portrays Confederate soldiers on their own under a capable officer who balances his war duty with his humanitarian sympathies when taking Union prisoners and acting to save the life of Joanna and Craigie. The story shows how warfare can dehumanize men into killing each other.

September Affair

(1950 b 104’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Engineer David Lawrence (Joseph Cotton) and pianist Manina Stuart (Joan Fontaine) meet in Rome, miss a plane that crashes, and fall in love. His wife (Jessica Tandy) won’t give him a divorce, and so David and Manina stay in Florence while they are presumed dead.

         This sophisticated romance explores the dilemmas brought on by strong personal feelings for love and freedom as they clash with career ambitions and family responsibilities. The audience is able to identify with two talented and capable people who are willing to give it all up just to be with each other. They come to realize that romance is only one aspect of multi-dimensional life.

711 Ocean Drive

(1950 b 102’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Mal Granger (Edmond O’Brien) uses his skill at rigging telephone systems to make an underground bookie service into a West coast syndicate. When an even larger Eastern syndicate moves in, he lures Gail Mason (Joanne Dru) from Larry Mason (Donald Porter) and takes his place in the organization under Carl Stephans (Otto Kruger); but Mal is so ambitious that he makes enemies, and the police get him.

         This crime drama shows how illegal gambling can be controlled by organized crime; but those who get rich immorally and illegally seldom escape destruction.

Side Street

(1950 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Joe Norson (Farley Granger) is poor and wants to be rich; he has a wife (Cathy O’Donnell) who has a baby. Joe steals $30,000 that was taken from a broker by blackmail and murder; but he loses it and gets involved with the criminals, George Garsell (James Craig) being the worst, whom the police, led by Captain Anderson (Paul Kelly), are trying to catch.

         This crime drama depicts some terrible people doing anything for money while the police close in on them as part of the life in New York City. Perhaps the agony the main character undergoes will help some to realize that stealing is a bad idea.

So Long at the Fair

(1950 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In the late 19th century Vicky Barton (Jean Simmons) and her brother Johnny Barton (David Tomlinson) go to Paris for the Exposition and check into a hotel; but in the morning he has disappeared, and the hotel owner (Cathleen Nesbitt) says he was never there. A painter (Dirk Bogarde) helps Vicky try to find him.

         This mysterious drama is based on a legend that explains why someone disappeared from Paris during a fair. A conspiracy makes one person feel like she is going mad until she finds an ally, and it is uncovered. The theme suggests how far the tourism industry will go to protect its economic prosperity.

The Sound of Fury (Try and Get Me!)

(1950 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Jo Pagano adapted his own novel based on a true story in 1933. Robber Jerry Slocum (Lloyd Bridges) persuades unemployed Howard Tyler (Frank Lovejoy), whose wife (Kathleen Ryan) is having another baby, to drive his car for robberies; but a kidnapping turns to murder. An editor (Art Smith) gets a journalist (Richard Carlson) to play up the brutality of the crime to sell newspapers while Dr. Vito Simone (Renzo Cesana) warns against the social breakdown that leads to violence.

         This powerful drama condemns the yellow journalism that leads to mob violence. However, setting the story at the dawn of the television age in 1950 the violence seems to me would be more likely to arouse the public to approve capital punishment as the more preferred method of revenge.

Stage Fright

(1950 b 110’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Alfred Hitchcock directed this adaptation of Selwyn Jepson’s novel. Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd) tells his friend Eve Gill (Jane Wyman) that his lover Charlotte (Marlene Dietrich) murdered her husband so that Eve will help him escape. They go to her father, Commodore Gill (Alastair Sim), but during the investigation actress Eve falls in love with the detective Smith (Michael Wilding).

         This droll mystery throws the audience off balance by giving them a character’s deceptive story. Thus they have to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth while two actresses find themselves having to act in their lives.

Stromboli

(1950 b 107’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Roberto Rossellini, Karin (Ingrid Bergman) is a Czech refugee in an Italian internment camp, where she marries Antonio (Mario Vitale). He takes her to a volcanic island, where she has difficulty adjusting to the traditional lifestyle of a fishing village and tries to get help from a priest (Renzo Cesana) and a man (Mario Sponzo) who works in a lighthouse.

         This neo-realistic drama portrays the trauma of a modern woman alone in a culture that is strange to her. She calls upon her own resources but only makes the situation more alienating. Finally in her desperation she turns to God, but her dilemma is unresolved.

Tea for Two

(1950 c 98’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the Harbach-Mandel-Nyitray play, “No, No” Nanette (Doris Day) bets her formerly rich uncle Max (S. Z. Sakall) she can avoid saying yes for 48 hours so that she can get money to produce a musical composed by Jimmy (Gordon MacRae) and directed by obnoxious Larry (Billy de Wolfe). Fortunately Nanette’s secretary Pauline (Eve Arden) gets lucky with dancer Tammy (Gene Nelson) and lawyer Moe (Bill Goodwin).

         This musical comedy provides entertainment while looking back at the era when many fortunes were lost on speculation.

Three Little Words

(1950 c 102’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Bert Kalmer (Fred Astaire) is in love with his dance partner Jessie (Vera-Ellen), and he teams up with composer Harry Ruby (Red Skelton) to write hit songs.

         This musical biopic shows songwriting from the vaudeville era to movie musicals. The songs and dancing are entertaining, and Harry and Bert help each other to find the right marriage partners.

To Please a Lady

(1950 b 91’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Powerful syndicated columnist Regina Forbes (Barbara Stanwyck) exposes the ruthless racing-car driver Mike Brannan (Clark Gable) after another driver is killed. The bad publicity affects his career; but he perseveres in his daring, and she finds they are much alike.

         This romantic drama starring two screen legends portrays two exceptional personalities and examines the ethical question of the consequences that result from single-minded ambition. His actions get the main attention, but the results of her bold writing reflect the same dilemma.

Two Weeks with Love

(1950 c 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Horatio Robinson (Louis Calhern) and his wife Katherine (Ann Harding) during a vacation around 1900 watch over their daughters Patti (Jane Powell) and Melba (Debbie Reynolds) while they fall in love with Demi Armendez (Ricardo Montalban) and Billy Finlay (Carleton Carpenter).

         This musical comedy explores the tribulations of growing up when corsets and long pants indicated an adult.

The Underworld Story

(1950 b 91’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Opportunistic reporter Mike Reese (Dan Duryea) is blacklisted and gets money from gangster Carl Durham (Howard Da Silva) to revive a suburban newspaper for Cathy Harris (Gale Storm). Clark Stanton (Gar Moore) has murdered his wife, and his powerful father E. J. Stanton (Herbert Marshall) tries to help him get away with it by framing their Negro maid Molly (Mary Anderson). Reese works to defend Molly, but Cathy and the D. A. (Michael O’Shea) don’t trust him.

         This fast-moving melodrama depicts various characters trying to manipulate each other and reflects how newspapers can influence a sensational murder case while what goes into the newspapers is determined by those who own them. After this film came out, director Cy Endfield, writer Henry Blankford, and Howard Da Silva were blacklisted.

Union Station

(1950 b 80’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Thomas Walsh’s novel, Joyce (Nancy Olson) suspects two men on a train, and Lt. Calhoun (William Holden) discovers they have kidnapped blind Lorna Murchison (Allene Roberts). Wealthy Henry Murchison (Herbert Heyes) wants to pay them  off; but the police led by Inspector Donnelly (Barry Fitzgerald) want to catch them.

         This crime drama depicts modern police working as a team trying to catch ruthless kidnappers. The plot unfolds as a kind of complicated game to entertain the audience; but these things seem to happen more in the movies than in real life.

Wabash Avenue

(1950 c 92’) En: 5 Ed: 4

In 1892 schemer Andy Clark (Victor Mature) blackmails nightclub owner Mike Stanley (Phil Harris) into making him a partner so that he can improve the act of entertainer Ruby Summers (Betty Grable); but alcoholic Harrigan (James Barton) returns, and Mike gets revenge.

         This musical comedy begins with sexual tension; but after various nefarious tricks, it ends in love.

When Willie Comes Marching Home

(1950 b 82’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Bill Kluggs (Dan Dailey) is first to enlist for the war but is kept at home as an instructor while his father (William Demarest), girlfriend Marge (Colleen Townsend), and others lose respect for him. Finally he is sent overseas, parachutes into France, and with help from Yvonne (Corinne Calvet) brings back secret information to Washington.

         This offbeat comedy satirizes patriotic attitudes during the war and suggests that often becoming a hero is merely a matter of chance.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

(1950 b 95’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from William L. Stuart’s novel, police detective Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews), who beats up hoodlums, kills one by accident and tries to cover it up; but he falls in love with the victim’s wife Morgan (Gene Tierney), and her father (Tom Tully) gets framed. So he tries to pin it on the gangster Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill).

         Becoming a cop to overcome his father’s violence, Dixon realizes he is a hoodlum too and tries to sacrifice himself in this film noir. He takes out his frustration on others, but it rebounds back on himself.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1950

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1930
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Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies of All Time
Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies in Alphabetical Order

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