BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1958

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1958

Movie Mirrors Introduction

Abbreviations
 Title

Min.

c S M H P V En Ed
 Ashes and Diamonds (Polish) 103   b  8  6  8  7  7  5  5
 Badlanders, The 84   c  5  5  5  5  6  5  4
 Bonjour Tristesse 94   c  6  6  5  5  6  5  5
 Carve Her Name with Pride 119   b  8  6  5    5  5  5
 Cowboy 92   c  6  6  5    6  5  5
 Equinox Flower (Japanese) 118   c  6  6  7  7  4  5  5
 Fly, The 94   c  6  6  4  7  6  5  4
 Gift of Love, The 101   c  4  4  4      5  5
 Goddess, The 105   b  7  6  5  5  6  5  5
 God’s Little Acre 118   b  5  6  5  7  6  5  5
 Gunman’s Walk 95   c  6  6  5    5  5  5
 Handle with Care 82   b  5          5  5
 High Cost of Loving, The 88   b  6  5  5      5  5
 Home Before Dark 136   b  5  6  4    4  5  5
 Hot Spell 86   b  6  6  5  5  3  4  5
 Houseboat 110   c  7  6  4 5  5  5  5
 I, Mobster 81   b  5  5  4  6  5  5  4
 Indiscreet 100   c  7  6  6 4  6  5  5
 Intent to Kill 88   b    5  5      5  5
 Key, The 126   b  6  5  5  4  5  5  5
 King Creole 116   b  5  5  4  7  5  5  5
 Left-Handed Gun, The 102   b  5  6  5  6  6  5  5
 Lineup, The 86   c  7  5  5    4  5  4
 Lonelyhearts 103   b  5  5  5  3  5  5  5
 Magician, The (Swedish) 100   b  7  6  8  5  6  5  5
 Me and the Colonel 109   b  7  5  4    5  5  5
 Merry Andrew 103   c  5  5  4      5  5
 Music Room, The (Bengali) 99   b  7    6      4  5
 Naked and the Dead, The 131   c  4  6  4  5  5  5  5
 Orders to Kill 112   b  7  5  5      5  5
 Party Girl 99   c  5  5  4 6  7  5  4
 Proud Rebel, The 103   c  7  6  4  6  6  5  4
 Quiet American, The 120   b  6  5  6      5  5
 Rally ’Round the Flag, Boys! 106   c  4  5  4    3  5  4
 Reluctant Debutante, The 96   c  5  5  5 5  6  5  5
 Rickshaw Man, The (Japanese) 104   c            5  5
 Run Silent, Run Deep 93   b  6  6  5  7  6  5  5
 Sheepman, The 86   c  7  6  5    6  5  4
 Snowfire 73   c  5          5  5
 Some Came Running 136   c  5  5  4  6  6  5  5
 St. Louis Blues 93   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Stage Struck 95   c  5  5  6  3  5  5  5
 Tale of Two Cities, A 117   b  6  6  5    6  5  5
 Terror in a Texas Town 81   b  4  3  5    5  5  5
 tom thumb 92   c  6  7  5  6  6  5  5
 Too Much, Too Soon 121   b  5  4  5      4  5
 Torpedo Run 95   c  5  5  5  6  4  5  4
 True Story of Lynn Stuart, The 78   b    5        5  5
 Tunnel of Love, The 98   b  6  6  4 6  5  5  5
 Vikings, The 116   c  5  5  7  6  5  5  5
 Wind Across the Everglades 93   c  6  5  5      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

Ashes and Diamonds

(Polish 1958 b 103’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Jerzy Andrzejewski’s novel and directed by Andrzej Wajda, on May 8, 1945 Polish resistance fighters Maciek Chelmicki (Zbigniew Cybulski) and Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski) have been ordered to assassinate the Communist leader Szczuka (Waclaw Zastrzezynski), but by mistake they murder two innocent workers. As Poles in Warsaw celebrate the end of the war in Europe, they are told to complete the job; but Maciek becomes interested in pretty Krystyna (Ewa Krzyzewska) at the hotel bar.
            This political drama of a botched assassination portrays Poles during the transition from the war to what will happen to Poland afterward.

The Badlanders

(1958 c 84’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on W. R. Burnett’s novel, Peter Van Hoek (Alan Ladd) and MacBain (Ernest Borgnine) are released from Yuma Prison on the same day and go to Prescott where the mining engineer Peter knows where gold ore is in the Lisbon Mine. He makes friends with Ada (Claire Kelly), makes a deal with mine-owner Lounsberry (Kent Smith), and hires MacBain and Vicente (Nehemiah Persoff) to help him get the ore. MacBain rescues Anita (Katy Jurado) from bullies, and they fall in love. She gets her Mexican friends to help MacBain and Peter escape their adversaries.
      This western depicts Arizona territory and the mining business with two men who had suffered injustice and want to get revenge by getting what they believe they deserve. The Mexican-American community is favorably portrayed.

Bonjour Tristesse

(1958 c 94’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Françoise Sagan’s novel and directed by Otto Preminger, 17-year-old Cecile (Jean Seberg) is spending her summer vacation with her playboy father Raymond (David Niven) on the Riviera and his latest girlfriend Elsa (Mylene Demongeot), but he forgot he also invited his old friend Anne Larson (Deborah Kerr). Cecile falls in love with young Philippe (Geoffrey Horne). When Raymond drops Elsa and decides to marry Anne, who forbids Cecile to see Philippe, Cecile plots with Elsa and Philippe to make Raymond and Anne jealous.
      This tragic drama begins and ends in black and white with that summer flashback in color. Cecile is at that awkward age when she is too old to be a child and too young to be an adult. She loves her father, and they get along very well in their quest for a life of pleasure. However, after the summer she has become a sadder but wiser girl and seems lost without a deeper purpose in her life.

Carve Her Name with Pride

(1958  b 119’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the biography by R. J. Minney, in 1940 Violette Bushell (Virginia McKenna), whose father is English and mother is French, meets the French officer Etienne Szabo (Alain Saury), and they marry. After he is killed in North Africa, she joins the Special Operations Executive, where she meets Tony Fraser (Paul Schofield). They work together on two missions in France.
      This true story of the heroic winner of the highest awards for valor is fairly accurately portrayed, showing her brief marriage, family life, training, and her dangerous operations against the Nazi occupation of France.

Cowboy

(1958 c 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on autobiographical writing by Frank Harris, in Chicago hotel clerk Frank Harris (Jack Lemmon) is in love with Mexican Maria Vidal (Anna Kashli), but her wealthy father rejects him. Harris gives money to cattle boss Tom Reese (Glenn Ford) and becomes his partner in a drive from Mexico.
      This realistic western portrays a cattle drive as the young man learns its ways from his reluctant partner.

Equinox Flower

(Japanese 1958 c 118’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Ton Satomi’s novel and directed by Yasujiro Ozu, Wataru Hirayama (Shin Saburi) and his wife Kiyoko (Kinuyo Tanaka) are planning to arrange a marriage for their oldest daughter Setsuko (Ineko Arima); but she has met a man at work who asks Wataru for permission to marry her. He does not approve, but Setsuko gets help from her friend Yukiko Mikami (Fujiko Yamamoto).

This family drama portrays modernized postwar Japan and shows how the younger generation has the courage and independence to make their own marital decisions.

The Fly

(1958 c 94’) En: 5 Ed: 4

A man is killed by a large machine for pressing metals, and his wife Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) tells her brother-in-law François Delambre (Vincent Price) and police inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) that she killed him. She tells the story of her husband’s faulty experiments with a teleportation machine and tries to get her son Philippe Delambre (Charles Herbert) and their housekeeper Emma (Kathleen Freeman) to catch a fly with a white head while she secretly communicates with her husband Andre Delambre (David Hedison) in his laboratory.

            This science fiction horror story packs an emotional punch and reflects the dangers of modern scientific advances and experiments.

The Gift of Love

(1958 c 101’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Jean Negulesco, employed Julie (Lauren Bacall) meets the eccentric physicist Bill Beck (Robert Stack) and begins taking care of him. After five years of marriage her former employer, Dr. Jim Miller (Edward Platt), tells her that her heart condition will not allow her to live much longer. She decides to adopt the unusual child Hitty (Evelyn Rudie) from the orphanage run by Miss McMasters (Anne Seymour) so that she can take care of Bill after her death. Hitty has good imagination, and adults believe she lives often in fantasies; but after Julie’s death she is able to communicate with her spirit, helping Bill to realize that Julie was not really dead.
      This spiritual love story begins with romantic love and moves on to the love of a child and ends with the spiritual love of caring for others even after one has left the body at death. Several people have commented at IMDb that this film greatly affected them when they saw it when young. I saw this movie for the first time at age 65 on the wedding anniversary of my late parents. Coincidentally my father’s name is Beck, and he was an engineer who also worked on missiles. I am aware there is life after death, but I don’t think my father believed in it when he was in human form.

The Goddess

(1958 b 105’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by John Cromwell, a neglected child takes after her unhappy mother Laureen (Betty Lou Holland) but somehow Emily Ann Faulkner (Kim Stanley) manages to become a sexy movie star, though her too marriages to a movie star’s son, John Tower (Steven Hill) and boxer Dutch Seymour (Lloyd Bridges) are very unhappy and short. Emily becomes suicidal even though her ex John recovers from that and raises their daughter.

            This dramatic tragedy portrays a woman who has received little love and there does not know how to love even though ironically her beauty and acting ability made her a successful star. This character has been thought to represent Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, or Ava Gardner, but perhaps the closest parallel is Marilyn Maxwell whom she also resembles in many ways.

God’s Little Acre

(1958 b 118’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, patriarch Ty Ty Walden (Robert Ryan) is obsessed with finding gold coins he believes his grandfather buried on his property, and he gets his sons Shaw Walden (Vic Morrow) and Buck Walden (Jack Lord) to dig holes. His field hand Uncle Felix (Rec Ingram) helps him use the albino Dave Dawson (Michael Landon) to divine for the gold. Shaw is jealous of his beautiful wife Griselda (Tina Louise) who has had an affair with Bill Thompson (Also Ray) who use to work in a factory and is married to Ty Ty’s daughter Rosamund (Helen Westcott). Her sister Darlin’ Jill (Fay Spain) is also beautiful but won’t marry fat Pluto Swint (Buddy Hackett).
      This drama of a passionate family in conflict depicts how lust for gold and beautiful women can make fools out of men.

Gunman’s Walk

(1958 c 95’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Wealthy cattle rancher Lee Hackett (Van Heflin) has two different sons. Ed Hackett (Tab Hunter) is aggressive and uses violence to get what he thinks he wants while Davy Hackett (James Darren) does not like to carry a gun and falls in love with Clee Chouard (Kathryn Grant) whose mother is Lakota. The town has changed since Lee’s younger days, and Ed often gets in trouble with laws enforced by Sheriff Harry Brill (Robert F. Simon) and the Judge (Will Wright).
      This western shows a place that has outlawed carrying a gun in town. A father and his violent son have to learn that times have changed and that laws are replacing more primitive customs.

Handle with Care

(1958 b 82’) En 5 Ed: 5

In a law school in a small town Professor Bowdin (Walter Abel) has senior students conduct mock grand juries. Zachary Davis (Dean Jones) persuades them to investigate their actual town instead of a fictional one. He is given the role of district attorney. His friend Mary Judson (Joan O’Brien) and others become concerned about what he is uncovering when Mayor Dick Williston (Thomas Mitchell) was the tax collector in the 1930s.
      This drama depicts the education of a young muckraker who learns about the merciful side of justice from a situation in which a public servant technically broke the law but did so for humanitarian reasons without hurting anyone.

The High Cost of Loving

(1958 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Jose Ferrer, Jim Fry (Jose Ferrer) has been married to Virginia Fry (Gena Rowlands) for 9 years and during their breakfast routine she informs him that she is pregnant for the first time. Jim works as a purchasing assistant for a company that is being taken over by a bigger corporation. He does not get an invitation to their luncheon and worries he is going to be fired.

           This realistic comedy portrays the limiting conformity of the 1950s in the business world and the frustration and insecurity a man may feel in his work when he does not know whether he is appreciated.

Home Before Dark

(1958 b 136’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Eileen Bassing’s novel and directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Charlotte Bronn (Jean Simmons) is released from a mental hospital after a year and is taken home by her husband Arnold Bronn (Dan O’Herlihy) where she lives in her house with her step-sister Joan (Rhonda Fleming), her step-mother Inez (Mabel Albertson), and the crotchety cook Mattie (Kathryn Card). Arnold declines to sleep with Charlotte and obviously likes Joan better while Inez tells Charlotte what to eat and what to do. A new boarder Jake Diamond (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) is friendly to Charlotte who still loves Arnold despite his coldness toward her. Hamilton Gregory (Stephen Dunne) also likes Charlotte, but she feels he drinks too much.
      This soap opera shows how lack of real love for someone can cause that person to believe she is mentally ill. Eventually she learns that her jealousy was not a delusion and that her husband no longer loves her as he loves Joan. Finally she realizes her situation and extricates herself from the poisonous environment that drove her insane, and she wisely decides to get counseling from a psychiatrist.

Hot Spell

(1958 b 86’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Adapted from Lonnie Coleman’s novel, Alma Duval (Shirley Booth) wants to please her husband John Duval (Anthony Quinn) on his 45th birthday and has presents for their children Buddy (Earl Holliman), Virginia (Shirley MacLaine), and Billy (Clint Kimbrough) to give him; but they have trouble getting along with their father, and he goes out to see his young girlfriend.

    This well acted drama depicts a family with a discontented father and an overly protective mother of grown-up children who live at home but want to be independent.

Houseboat

(1958 c 110’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Melville Shavelson, divorced Tom Winters (Cary Grant) after the death of his ex-wife tries to raise his sons David (Paul Petersen) and Robert (Charles Herbert) and his daughter Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson). At a concert Robert gets lost and is found and returned by Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), daughter of an orchestra conductor. Tom hires her as a maid, and they try to live in a houseboat purchased from Angelo Donatello (Harry Guardino). Carolyn Gibson (Martha Hyer) has broken up with her husband because she has always been in love with her brother-in-law Tom; but he and Cinzia are falling in love during his attempts to be a good father and hers to be a housekeeper.

      This romantic comedy portrays a motherless family and a father just learning to be one. The perspective of another culture comes from the beautiful maid as they are all learning to be a family.

I, Mobster

(1958 b 81’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Joseph Hilton Smyth’s novel and directed by Roger Corman, starting young, Joe Sante (Steve Cochran) works his way up in organized crime, though criticized by his father and later by his mother (Celia Lovsky). Joe likes Teresa Porter (Lita Milan) and is not interested in other women. Occasionally committing murder, he makes money and uses it to help his family and friends. His first boss is Black Frankie Udino (Robert Strauss), but he rises by working for Paul Moran (Grant Withers).

            This mob drama is a realistic portrayal of a career criminal who cares about people who are close to him.

Indiscreet

(1958 c 100’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Norman Krasna adapted his own play about successful actress Anna Kalman (Ingrid Bergman) who falls in love with the charming NATO economist Philip Adams (Cary Grant) who tells her he is married and cannot get a divorce. When Anna’s brother-in-law Alfred Munson (Cecil Parker) finds out that Philip is married, his wife Margaret Munson (Phyllis Calvert) informs Anna who plans her revenge.
      This romantic comedy is well played and reflects the changing morals and Cold War spying on public servants which is how the secret is discovered by the assistant secretary Alfred.

Intent to Kill

(1958 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Michael Bryan, four men led by Finch (Warren Stevens) have been hired to kill the South American president Juan Menda (Herbert Lom) while he is in Montreal for brain surgery. The doctors McNeil (Alexander Knox), Bob McLaurin (Michael Todd), and Nancy Ferguson (Betsy Drake) perform the surgery. Bob’s wife Margaret (Catherine Boyle) wants him to take a job in London and tries to blackmail him by accusing him of adultery with Nancy.
      This drama combines a suspenseful assassination plot with a hospital soap opera while depicting the workings of a hospital.

The Key

(1958 b 126’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Jan de Hartog’s novel and directed by Carol Reed, in 1941 the American David Ross (William Holden) is assigned to captain a tugboat that rescues disabled ships off England. He is welcomed by his friend, Captain Chris Ford (Trevor Howard) who lives in an apartment with Stella (Sophia Loren) and gives him an extra key as others who died had given one to him.
      The war drama depicts the risky task of going into hostile waters to save those who have been attacked by German submarines and mines. The story shows how futile and destructive war can be as humans try to kill each other.

King Creole

(1958 b 116’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Harold Robbins and directed by Michael Curtiz, in the Bourbon Street neighborhood of New Orleans a poor family is struggling as Danny Fisher (Elvis Presley) is working and trying to finish high school while his father (Dean Jagger) loses jobs, and his sister Mimi (Jan Shepard) cooks for them. Danny meets alcoholic Ronnie (Carolyn Jones) who belongs to Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau) who runs most of the town except for his competitor Charlie LeGrand (Paul Stewart) who gives Danny a job singing. Danny gets involved with a gang led by Shark (Vic Morrow) and in a store meets Nellie (Dolores Hart) who quickly falls in love with him.

This musical drama portrays a community that is dominated by one man who is challenged by a young singer who achieves success while trying to help his father.

The Left-Handed Gun

(1958 b 102’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from a play by Gore Vidal, stranded Billy the Kid (Paul Newman) is given work in a cattle drive. He finds his unarmed boss murdered and decides to kill the murderers. Eventually Pat Garrett (John Dehner) stops Billy from killing any more with a bullet.
      This western is fictionalized story of the historic William Bonney who could draw fast and shoot well but often found himself in trouble. Using killing to fight killing leads to more killing.

The Lineup

(1958 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Written by Stirling Silliphant and directed by Don Siegel, police inspectors Al Quine (Emile Meyer) and Fred Asher (Marshall Reed) go after heroine smugglers Dancer (Eli Wallach) and Julian (Robert Keith) who are assisted by driver Sandy McLain (Richard Jaeckel) in San Francisco.

This crime drama depicts a ruthless criminal being mentored by an older man as they pick up heroine hidden in art objects of unsuspecting travelers. The ethical contrast between the merciless killer and ordinary people is stark.

Lonelyhearts

(1958 b 103’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Nathanael West and the play by Howard Teichmann, sensitive Adam White (Montgomery Clift) is helped by Florence Shrike (Myrna Loy) to meet the abrasive newspaper editor William Shrike (Robert Ryan) who hires Adam to write the “Miss Lonelyhearts” column. Adam is in love with Justy Sargeant (Dolores Hart) who helps take care of her father and younger brothers. Adam’s father (Onslow Stevens) is in prison for having killed his wife and her lover. Adam finds himself tested when he meets Fay Doyle (Maureen Stapleton) who is dissatisfied with her husband.

This drama depicts how a cynical editor tries to break down the naïve innocence of a young writer by making him respond to the pitiful problems of lonely readers. The story reflects the despair and sadness of lonely people in the modern era and shows how two young lovers can overcome such tendencies.

The Magician

(Swedish 1958 b 100’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman inspired by G. K. Chesterton’s play Magic, a troupe of magicians led by Albert Emanuel Vogler (Max von Sydow) and his wife Manda Vogler (Ingrid Thulin), who dresses as a man, with Granny Vogler (Naima Wifstrand), Johan Spegel (Bengt Ekerot), and Tubal (Ake Fridell) put on shows for Dr. Vergerus (Gunnar Bjornstrand), Consul Egerman (Erland Josephson), his wife Ottilia Egerman (Gertrud Fridh), and others. They are threatened by the law and say they only use deceptive tricks but proceed to hypnotize people and use a love potion to bring about startling results.

            This fantasy has comic as well as dramatic elements as it takes off from reality by means of the author-director’s imagination.

Me and the Colonel

(1958 b 109’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the plays by Franz Werfel and S. N. Behrman and directed by Peter Glenville, in 1940 while the German Army is invading France, four Polish refugees try to escape. Jewish S. L. Jacobowsky (Danny Kaye) uses his cleverness to help Col. Prokoszny (Curt Jurgens), his fiancée Suzanne Roualet (Nicole Maurey), and Sergeant Szabuniewicz (Akim Tamiroff) while Suzanne is falling in love with Jacobowsky.
      This comedy, set in a terrible war, depicts a growing friendship between a Jew and a militaristic colonel who cooperate to escape in difficult circumstances.

Merry Andrew

(1958 c 103’) En: 5 Ed: 5

With songs by Saul Chaplin and Johnny Mercer, schoolteacher Andrew Larabee (Danny Kaye) has been engaged to Letitia Fairchild (Patricia Cutts) for five years and needs a promotion from his father Matthew Larabee (Noel Purcell) to marry; but he wants to dig for a statue of Pan as an archaeologist and discovers the circus of the Gallini family and falls in love with Selena Gallini (Pier Angeli).
      This musical comedy entertains with clever songs and slapstick comedy involving circus acts as the professor has fun learning about the circus which helps him to get out of his head and into his heart.

The Music Room

(Bengali 1958 b 99’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Satyajit Ray, aging landlord Biswambhar Roy (Chhabi Biswas) does not like to leave his palace anymore. Everything is done according to his wishes by servants, and he finds delight only in performances in his music room. His wife Mahamaya (Padma Devi) takes their son Khoka (Pinaki Sen Gupta) to visit her ailing mother, and Khoka dies. Mahim Ganguly is the son of a moneylender and is wealthy enough to become Roy’s neighbor. After Ganguly puts on a performance by a dancer and musicians in his new music room, Roy spends his remaining cash to put on another similar concert.

            This drama depicts Bengali culture in the 20th century and a decadent aristocrat who strives to keep up appearances despite his pathetic situation.

Naked and the Dead

(1958 c 131’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Norman Mailer’s novel and directed by Raoul Walsh, an American platoon fights the Japanese on an island with Sergeant Sam Croft (Aldo Ray) exercising aggressive leadership of his men while thoughtful Lt. Robert Hearn (Cliff Robertson) is working as an aide to the tough disciplinarian General Cummings (Raymond Massey). When the general sends Hearn to lead the platoon on a patrol, he clashes with Croft.
      This realistic war drama portrays the dangerous fighting in World War II on Pacific islands and contrasts the militaristic philosophy and strategy of the sergeant and general to the more liberal lieutenant who believes that love is a better motivation than fear.

Orders to Kill

(1958 b 112’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a true story and a novel by Donald Downes and directed by Anthony Asquith, the American bomber pilot Gene Summers (Paul Massie) is trained by Major MacMahon (Eddie Albert) and others to go as a special agent to Paris during the last period of World War II to kill Marcel Lafitte (Leslie French) of the French underground believed to be collaborating. While there he discusses his mission with his resistance contact Leonie (Irene Worth).
      This realistic drama depicts how a man comes to realize the consequences of his actions during war by having a more personal experience of killing than by dropping bombs from a distance.

Party Girl

(1958 c 99’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by Nicholas Ray, in Chicago in the 1930s lawyer Tommy Farrell (Robert Taylor) defends gangsters like Louis Canetto (John Ireland) and Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb). Tommy’s wife won’t divorce him, but he falls in love with dancer Vicki Gaye (Cyd Charisse). Rico forces Tommy to defend Cookie La Motte (Corey Allen), and that causes him trouble with the prosecutor Jeffrey Stewart (Kent Smith).
      This film noir depicts the criminal underworld of Chicago, but the lawyer who defends unsavory characters has principles and integrity even though he gets them off.

The Proud Rebel

(1958 c 103’) En: 5 Ed: 4

After the Civil War southerner John Chandler (Alan Ladd) travels north with his mute son David (David Ladd) looking for a doctor to cure his son. Dr. Enos Davis (Cecil Kellaway) tells him of a doctor who might cure him; but Harry Burleigh (Dean Jagger) and his two sons try to steal the Chandlers’ dog who can herd their sheep, and they goad him into a fight and get him convicted of assault by Judge Morley (Henry Hull). Single Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland) offers to pay John’s $30 fine in exchange for his work on her farm coveted by the Burleighs.

            This western portrays a boy with a disability who has a good attitude and a father who does everything he can to help him. The story has the usual western hostility and violence that provokes the hero into fighting.

The Quiet American

(1958 b 120’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Graham Greene’s novel and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, The quiet American (Audie Murphy) arrives in Vietnam in 1952, meets British journalist Thomas Fowler (Michael Redgrave) who has been living with Phuong (Giorgia Moll) for two years. The idealistic American quickly falls in love with Phuong but honorably keeps his distance from her until he asks her to marry him. Fowler has a wife in England who does not believe in divorce. Fowler suspects the American’s humanitarian motives and learns about the use of plastic explosives in the conflict between the Communists and the French imperialists.
      This adaptation of a novel has a better version in the 2002 version that is more accurate to the book. Unfortunately the merits of the 1958 story are obscured by changing the story to make the American the hero and martyr while the Englishman comes off as selfish and interested mostly in his own comfortable life.

Rally ’Round the Flag, Boys!

(1958 c 106’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the novel by Max Shulman and directed by Leo McCarey, public relations man Harry Bannerman (Paul Newman) is married to Grace (Joanne Woodward) with two small children and wants to go away with her; but she has many meetings, and his neighbor Angela Hoffa (Joan Collins) wants to seduce him. Grace becomes active in protesting a secret military base, and Harry is hired to by Army to do PR.

This comedy satirizes modern suburban life and the nefarious activities of the US Army and the attempt of local citizens to protest them.

The Reluctant Debutante

(1958 c 96’) En: 5 Ed: 5

William Douglas-Home adapted his own play with direction by Vincente Minnelli. British banker Jimmy Broadbent (Rex Harrison) and his second wife Sheila (Kay Kendall) invite his daughter Jane (Sandra Dee) by his American ex-wife to visit them in England during the last debutante season. Their gossiping friend Mabel (Angela Lansbury) hopes her daughter Clarissa (Diana Clare) will be matched with David Fenner (Peter Myers) and gives Sheila the phone number of the notorious half-American, half-Italian drummer David Parkson (John Saxon), and Jane falls in love with him.
      This charming and witty comedy satirizes the fading British aristocracy by contrasting their stuffiness and snobbery with two more liberated half-Americans. Farcical at times, the humor contains sexual innuendos and even a mention of “hashish cigarettes.”

The Rickshaw Man

(Japanese 1958 c 104’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, the poor rickshaw man Matsugoro (Toshiro Mifune) is independent and courageous. After a brawl he learns to solve problems without fighting. He helps Toshio Yoshioka (Kenji Kasahara), the son of a wealthy family, when he is injured climbing a tree. After the boy’s father Captain Kotaro Yoshioka (Hiroshi Akutagawa) dies, his mother Yoshiko Yoshioka (Hideko Takamine) asks him to take on the responsibility of helping her to raise her son.
      This drama portrays the traditional Japanese social classes that prevents a poor man from marrying a wealthy widow; but he shows the nobility of his character by the way he helps take care of her son.

Run Silent, Run Deep

(1958 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Edward L. Beach’s novel and directed by Robert Wise, Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) has his submarine blown up in 1942 in the Bungo Strait off Japan and is given a desk job. He manages to be made captain of a submarine and refuses to Lt. Jim Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster) transfer. They drills the crew and heads for a dangerous area to get revenge.
      This tense World War II submarine drama portrays a submarine in challenging combat circumstances under two men who both want to command.

The Sheepman

(1958 c 85’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Jason Sweet (Glenn Ford) arrives in a western town on a train and tells Dell Payton (Shirley MacLaine), Milt Masters (Edgar Buchanan), and others that he wants to avoid trouble because he is bringing in sheep to use the open range. Jason aims to show others he is much more clever and skillful than they are; so they had better leave him alone. Everyone there supports cattle and not sheep, and Jason has to confront his old nemesis Col. Stephen Bedford (Leslie Nielsen) as well as the rest of the town.
      This comedy-western is played for laughs and is amusing despite the usual violence of a western.

Snowfire

(1958 c 73’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Rancher Mike McGowan (Don Megowan) catches the wild stallion Snowfire after his neighbor Carol Hampton (Claire Kelly) and her three cowboys have chased it. Don’s little daughter Molly McGowan) loves Snowfire, helps him, and says she can talk to him. Her father does not believe her, and his neighbors try hard to capture the horse after Molly releases. Molly gets some sympathy from Poco (Michael Vallon).

            This family western has elements of spiritual fantasy, or the child could be psychic. Either way the traditional elements of western conflict do not take away too much from this delightful story of the girl and a smart horse.

Some Came Running

(1958 c 137’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by James Jones and directed by Vincente Minnelli, in 1948 middle-aged novelist Dave Hirsh (Frank Sinatra) gets out of the army and returns to his home town where he clashes with his brother Frank Hirsh (Arthur Kennedy) whose wife Agnes (Leora Dana) does not like him either. Ginnie (Shirley MacLaine) arrives with him and stays on. Dave becomes friends with the gambler Bama Dillert (Dean Martin), falls in love with English teacher Gwen French (Martha Hyer) who admires his writing, and tries to help his niece Dawn Hirsh (Betty Lou Kelm). Ginnie is in love with Frank.
      This melodrama portrays a small town where reputations are easily tarnished, and the life-style of Frank, Ginnie, and Bama offends others. The story explores various personalities and the difficulties they have interacting.

St. Louis Blues

(1958 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from the life of W. C. Handy, Will Handy (Nat “King” Cole) loves music and writes hymns his father, the Rev. Charles Handy (Juano Hernandez) and jazzy songs his father says are the devil’s music. Will is in love with Elizabeth (Ruby Dee), but Gogo Germaine (Eartha Kitt) makes his songs successful.

            This biopic depicts the famous composer’s struggle complicated by his father’s rigid moral judgment that even affects his son’s vision for a time.

Stage Struck

(1958 c 95’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Zoe Akins and directed by Sidney Lumet, aspiring actress Eva Lovelace (Susan Strasberg) comes to New York determined to work in the theater, and she pushes herself forward and is helped by actor Harley Hedges (Herbert Marshall), playwright Joe Sheridan (Christopher Plummer), and producer Lewis Easton (Henry Fonda). After being rejected, she understudies the role of the star Rita Vernon (Joan Greenwood) and then replaces her in Joe’s play.
      This drama depicts the challenging and exciting life of the theater in New York, and the gambles people take with their lives and their dramatic art. For those who love and understand great theater this film is fascinating.

A Tale of Two Cities

(1958 b 117’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, during the French Revolution the alcoholic barrister Sydney Carton (Dirk Bogarde) sacrifices his life for Charles Darnay (Paul Guers) because both love Lucie Manette (Dorothy Tutin), but she has married Charles.
      This version of the classic novel is not nearly as good as the 1935 production.

Terror in a Texas Town

(1958 b 81’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written by black-listed Dalton Trumbo, Ed McNeil is trying to take over a territory that has oil and hires Johnny Crale (Ned Young) to remove those who refuse to sell out. Swedish George Hansen (Sterling Hayden) arrives and finds his father has been killed and his land taken. He becomes friends with Jose Mirada (Victor Millan) and his family and talks to Johnny’s girlfriend Molly (Carol Kelly).
      This classic western of good and evil shows how the greedy can use force to get their way when people are afraid and divided; but when the people stand together for what is right, they can overcome the bullies.

tom thumb

(1958 c 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a story by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Jonathan (Bernard Miles) the woodcutter meets the Forest Queen (June Thorburn) who gives him three wishes for not chopping down a big tree. He tells his wife Anne (Jessie Matthews) who asks for a tiny child. They get Tom Thumb (Russ Tamblyn). He is befriended by Woody (Alan Young) who likes the Forest Queen; but Ivan (Terry-Thomas) and Antony (Peter Sellers) persuade Tom to help them steal money.
      This fairy tale includes music, dancing, and comedy and is especially appropriate for children and the child in all of us.

Too Much, Too Soon

(1958 b 121’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Adapted from the autobiography by Diana Barrymore and Gerold Frank, Diana Barrymore (Dorothy Malone) is wooed by Lincoln Forrester (Martin Milner) but leaves her mother (Neva Patterson), becomes an actress, signs a contract with a Hollywood studio, and tries to live with her alcoholic father, John Barrymore (Errol Flynn). After his death she marries actor Vincent Bryant (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.). Her acting career flops, and she starts drinking. She is seduced by tennis player John Howard (Ray Danton) and marries him for a time. She continues to drink and marries recovering alcoholic Robert Wilcox (Ed Kemmer).


      This generally accurate biopic is a sad tale about alcoholism which is also reflected in the life of Errol Flynn who was John Barrymore’s friend. Diana finds some redemption eventually by working on her own autobiography in order to understand herself better.

Torpedo Run

(1958 c 95’) En: 5 Ed: 4

In 1942 submarine Lt. Commander Barney Doyle (Glenn Ford) and his executive officer Lt. Archie Sloan (Ernest Borgnine) have a close friendship and want to sink the Japanese aircraft carrier, the Shinaru, which had led the attack on Pearl Harbor. However Barney’s wife and child were captured in Manila and were transferred with other prisoners on a ship the Japanese were using as a shield to protect the Shinaru.
      This tense World War II drama depicts the claustrophobic and dangerous experience of being in a submarine in battle and is noteworthy for the escape of the crew after having been sunk.

The True Story of Lynn Stuart

(1958 b 78’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Introduced by California’s Attorney General Edmund G. Brown (himself), housewife Phyllis Carter (Betsy Palmer) loses her father because of drug criminals in Santa Ana, California and volunteers to help the police as an undercover informant using the name Lynn Stuart, and her husband Ralph Carter (Kim Spalding) approves. Lt. Jim Hagen heads the operation, and an officer pretends to be her husband Wilbur Stuart (Harry Jackson). Lynn manages to gain the confidence of the criminal Willie Down (Jack Lord).

This brave woman actually helped the police make a large number of arrests in a major drug ring. Ironically, she and her family are moved to another city for their own protection, and no one except a few police knew of her heroic action.

The Tunnel of Love

(1958 b 98’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novel by Peter De Fries and the play, artist Augie Poole (Richard Widmark) and his wife Isolde (Doris Day) are hoping to have a baby and decide to adopt a child with support from their neighbors philandering Dick Pepper (Gig Young) and his often pregnant wife Alice (Elisabeth Fraser). Estelle Novick (Gia Scala) investigates for the adoption agency and becomes a temptation.
      This comedy satirizes suburban life and the emphasis on raising children there in the 1950s. The men love their wives but still feel desires for other women.

The Vikings

(1958 c 116’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from the novel by Edison Marshall, the Viking chief Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) raids Northumberland, and the queen gives birth to his son Erik (Tony Curtis). Twenty years later the Welsh Morgana (Janet Leigh) has promised to marry Northumberland King Aella (Frank Thring) who claims the throne and considers Egbert (James Donald) an enemy. Egbert knows Erik’s parentage and flees to Ragnar’s Vikings. Captured by Vikings, Erik is a slave. Ragnar’s son Einar (Kirk Douglas) quarrels with the slave Erik, and they become rivals for the love of Morgana.

This adventure depicts the raiding life-style of the Vikings and their conflict with the English during Europe’s dark age.

Wind Across the Everglades

(1958 c 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Nicholas Ray, when Miami was just a hamlet, Walt Murdock (Christopher Plummer) arrives as an agent for the Audubon Society to protect the birds from poaching to sell feathers for ladies hats led by Cottonmouth (Burl Ives). Mrs. Bradford (Gypsy Rose Lee) runs the saloon. Walt falls in love with Naomi (Chana Eden) but takes his chances in the Everglades.

This adventure drama depicts human cruelty toward animals when greed runs out of control, but one heroic man who cares about birds has the audience on his side.

Copyright © 2013 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1958

1913-1926 1927-1929
1930
1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

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

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index