BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1952

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1952

Movie Mirrors Introduction




c S M H P V En Ed
 Affair In Trinidad 98   b  5  5  5  5  4
 Against All Flags 83   c  4  5  5  5  6  5  4
 Angel Face 91   b  5  5  5      5  4
 Anything Can Happen 107   b  6  4  5      5  5
 Appointment in London 92   b  7  6  5    5  5  5
 April In Paris 100   c  5  5  5  4  4  5  4
 Assignment—Paris 84   b  5  4  4      5  4
 Battle at Apache Pass 85   c    5        5  5
 Because You’re Mine 103   c  6  4  4  4  4  5  4
 Belle of New York, The 82   c  5  5  5  3  4  5  4
 Belles on Their Toes 89   c  5  6  4    4  5  5
 Big Sky, The 138   b  6  6  5  6  5  5
 Big Trees, The 89   c  5  4  6  4  6  5  5
 Boots Malone 102   b  6  6  4  4  5  5  5
 Breaking the Sound Barrier 116   c  7  7  6    5  5  5
 Devil Makes Three, The 90   b  5  4  4    4  5  5
 Dreamboat 83   b  6  6  5      5  5
 Europa ‘51 110   b  6  3  5    5  5  5
 Fearless Fagan 79   b    4  4    5  5  4
 Iron Mistress, The 110   c  5  5  4    4  5  4
 Jazz Singer, The 79   c  6  5  4    5  5
 Kansas City Confidential 99   b  5  6  4  6  5  4
 Life of Oharu, The (Japanese) 136   b  5  5  7  8  7  5  5
 Light Touch, The 93   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Lone Star 94   b  5  5  4  5  5  5  4
 Lovely to Look At 103   c  6  5  5  6  5  4
 Mandy (Crash of Silence) 93   b    6        5  5
 Marrying Kind, The 92   b  6  6  5    5  5  5
 Member of the Wedding, The 91   b  7  6  5  7  6  4  5
 Million Dollar Mermaid 110   c  5  5  5  5  5  5
 Miserables, Les 105   b  5  6  6    5  5  5
 My Man and I 99   b  5  5  4    4  5  5
 My Six Convicts 104   b  6  6  5      5  5
 On Dangerous Ground 82   b  6  6  4  6  5  5
 One Minute to Zero 105   b  4  4  4  3  4  5  5
 Park Row 83   b  6  6 5    3  5  5
 Phone Call from a Stranger 96   b  6  6  4  5  5  5  5
 Pride of St. Louis, The 93   b  5  5  4  4  4  5  5
 Prisoner of Zenda, The 101   c  6  5  5  5  5  5  4
 Rancho Notorious 89   c  7  6  4  6  6  5  4
 Red Ball Express 83   b  4  5  4    5  5  5
 Room for One More 95   b  6 6  4    4  5  5
 Ruby Gentry 82   b  6  5 4  5  5  5  4
 Scandal Sheet 82   b  6  6  4    5  5  4
 Son of Paleface 95   c  7  6  5  6  7  5  4
 Springfield Rifle 93   c  6  5  4    5  5  4
 Steel Trap, The 86   b  6  5  5    4  5  5
 Sudden Fear 110   b  6  6  6    6  5  4
 Thunder in the East 97   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Turning Point, The 85   b  5  5  5      5  5
 What Price Glory? 110   c  5 5  5  5  6  5  5
 When in Rome 78   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Wild North, The 97   c  4  4  4      5  4
 Winning Team, The 98   b  5  5  4  3  5  5  5
 World In His Arms, The 104   b  6  6  5    5  5  4
 Young Man With Ideas 85   b  5  5  5    4  5  5

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

Affair In Trinidad

(1952 b 98’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Inspector Smythe (Torin Thatcher) tells entertainer Chris Emery (Rita Hayworth) that her husband was murdered, and she agrees to help get evidence on wealthy Max Fabian (Alexander Scourby). Her brother-in-law Steve Emery (Glenn Ford) arrives and falls in love with her but is suspicious of her and Fabian.

         This romantic crime drama with the seductive Rita symbolizes the sordid prostitution rampant on the island that had two American military bases. Hayworth in her comeback lessened her taxes by setting up a phony production company. The maid Dominique (Juanita Moore) portrays the uncanny spiritual qualities of West Indians.

Against All Flags

(1952 c 83’) En: 5 Ed: 4

In 1700 British officer Brian Hawke (Errol Flynn) goes undercover as a deserter to spy on a pirate stronghold where he encounters pirate Captain Roc Brasilio (Anthony Quinn) and Prudence “Spitfire” Stevens who inherited her father’s position and hires pirate captains. Hawke hopes to rescue the captured Mogul Princess Patma (Alice Kelley).

            This adventure story depicts an ambitious woman who rivals pirate captains but is looking to escape to become respectable in England with a story implying that the English are the protectors of civilization.

Angel Face

(1952 b 91’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Young and beautiful Diana (Jean Simmons) and her father (Herbert Marshall) are not getting along well with his second wife Catherine (Barbara O’Neil), who is wealthy. Diana meets Frank (Robert Mitchum) and lures him away from his girlfriend Mary (Mona Freeman) into her life and will do anything to keep him from leaving her.

         This film-noir keeps the audience guessing as skeptical Frank is trapped despite his various defenses. As a movie fantasy meant to entertain the motivations need only be plausible even when they are insane.

Anything Can Happen

(1952 b 107’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from George Papashvily’s autobiographical novel, Giorgi Papashvili (Jose Ferrer) and Nuri Bey (Kurt Kasznar) arrive in New York as immigrants and get a job. Giorgi finds his Uncle John (Oskar Karlweis) and falls in love with the court reporter and folk music collector Helen Watson (Kim Hunter). He and other relatives go to California to see Helen, and Giorgi buys a run-down orange grove.

This comedy portrays Georgian immigrants who like to get together and help each other out. The question is whether the poor Giorgi can overcome the social divide between him and the more prosperous Helen.

Appointment in London

(1952 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Wing-Commander Tim Mason (Dirk Bogarde) has flown 87 bombing missions, and Group Captain Logan (Ian Hunter) orders him to retire from flying; but Tim wants to go on and meets the pretty widow Eve Canyon (Dinah Sheridan), whom the American Major Mac Baker (William Sylvester) is also courting.

         The war drama realistically portrays a British bomber squadron in its dangerous, destructive, and deadly work aimed at winning the war against Germany.

April In Paris

(1952 c 100’) En: 5 Ed: 4

State Department official S. Winthrop Putnam (Ray Bolger) mistakenly chooses chorus girl “Dynamite” Jackson (Doris Day) to go to a cultural exchange in Paris. On the voyage they fall in love and think they get married but have difficulty.

         This musical comedy of errors satirizes bureaucratic government in the era of McCarthyist investigations while entertaining with romantic songs and dance.


(1952 b 84’) En: 5 Ed: 4

American reporter Jimmy Race (Dana Andrews) at the Hungarian embassy in Paris meets Jeanne Moray (Marta Torén) after she returns from Budapest. They both work for New York newspaper editor Nick Strang (George Sanders). Sandy Tate (Audrey Totter) also works there and seems to like Nick more than he likes her now. Nick likes Jeanne, but Jimmy also falls in love with her. They are trying to find out what happened to Anderson in Hungary, and Nick sends Jimmy to Budapest. He is followed but gains information before he is arrested.

This film noir depicts the totalitarian politics in Hungary during the cold war from the American point of view and shows the Americans outsmarting the paranoid Communists in Hungary who are trying to hide their previous friendliness with Marshall Tito from ruthless Stalin.

Battle at Apache Pass

(1952 c 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Roughly based on the Bascom affair leading up to the battle at Apache Pass on July 15-16, 1862, Major Colton (John Lund) is a good friend of the peace-loving Chief Cochise (Jeff Chandler), but Geronimo is a fierce warrior who wants to raid wagon trains. While Colton is away, the new Lt. Bascom (John Hudson), led astray by the ambitious Indian advisor Neil Baylor (Bruce Cowling), makes mistakes and brings on a war with Cochise’s tribe, the Chiricahua.

This fictionalized version of historical events depicts the aggressive imperialism of the United States Army in the southwest during the Civil War and the wisdom of an officer who was able to work things out with Cochise most of the time.

Because You’re Mine

(1952 c 103’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Opera star Renaldo Rossano (Mario Lanza) is drafted, but Sergeant Batterson (James Whitmore) loves opera and has a sister Bridget (Doretta Morrow) who can sing. Despite jealous Francesca (Rita Corday), Renaldo naturally falls for Bridget.

         This musical comedy satirizes how army sergeants can manipulate their officers, but ultimately the General’s wife (Spring Byington) has the most pull. The draft and the role of the United Nations reflects the current Korean War. The plot also foreshadows what would happen with Elvis Presley.

The Belle of New York

(1952 c 82’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on C. M. S. McLellan’s 1897 play, Charlie Hill (Fred Astaire) likes women but not weddings. He and his lawyer Max Ferris (Keenan Wynn) are bailed out by his rich aunt (Marjorie Main). Then Charlie meets pretty welfare worker Angela (Vera-Ellen), and he is dancing on air.

         This musical comedy portrays a more innocent age when unescorted women drinking champagne is considered scandalous. This fantasy allows a man to play with women while escaping any responsibility. Finally he meets one who is so good that he cannot resist her.

Belles on Their Toes

(1952 c 89’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Ernestine Gilbreth Carey’s book, widowed Lillian Gilbreth (Myrna Loy) raises eleven children with help from Tom (Hoagy Carmichael) and overcomes sexist discrimination by Sam Harper (Edward Arnold) while Ann (Jeanne Crain), Ernestine (Barbara Bates), and Martha (Debra Paget) experience romance.

         This comedy portrays the fun and challenges of a large family in the 1920s. The bigoted attitudes of men toward a professional woman show how much progress has been made since then.

The Big Sky

(1952 b 138’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by A. B. Guthrie Jr., hunters Jim Deakins (Kirk Douglas) and Boone Caudill (Dewey Martin) find Boone’s uncle Zeb Calloway (Arthur Hunnicutt) and go with him up the Missouri River with a Blackfoot princess (Elizabeth Threatt) to trade for furs.

         This western set in 1832 portrays an era when the white men could still find country where enough furs still remained for lucrative trading. Zeb’s experience and humor provide understanding of the Indians for the competitive young men.

The Big Trees

(1952 c 89) En: 5 Ed: 5

Greedy manipulator Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) teams up with Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan) to exploit a new 1900 law and take redwoods from homesteading Quakers; but Jim falls in love with widow Chadwick (Eve Miller) and changes sides to oppose the ruthless exploiters while his former girlfriend Daisy (Patrice Wymore), worn out by Jim’s lack of commitment, goes the other way.

         This romantic adventure applies the usual Hollywood pressure to make peaceful people turn to righteous violence in dramatic situations. The story is similar to the 1938 film Valley of the Giants.

Boots Malone

(1952 b 102’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Old horse trainer Preacher Cole (Basil Ruysdael) buys a good horse from wealthy Howard Whitehead (Ed Begley) with help from down-and-out jockey coach Boots Malone (William Holden), Stash (Stanley Clements), and others. Boots teaches the run-away boy Tommy (Johnny Stewart) how to be a successful jockey until Tommy’s rich mother (Annie Lee) shows up.

This drama portrays the training of race horses and jockeys amid the dangers of the gambling world while showing how a boy can bond with men who take to caring for him.

Breaking the Sound Barrier

(1952 b 116’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written by Terence Rattigan and directed by David Lean, John Ridgefield (Ralph Richardson) owns a company that prospered developing jet planes during World War II, and now he is determined to have a test pilot break the sound barrier. His daughter marries the pilot Tony Garthwaite (Nigel Patrick), and after Ridgefield’s son Chris (Denholm Elliott) is killed in a crash, Tony is given the opportunity to try to do so.

Although this appears to be an account of how this feat was achieved, it is actually a fiction that the British were the first as is the technique used to do so. In fact the American Chuck Yeager was the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947, but most British viewers did not know that.

The Devil Makes Three

(1952 b 99’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In 1947 American Air Corps Captain Jeff Eliot (Gene Kelly) returns to Germany to find the family that hid him after he escaped from a POW camp. He learns that only the daughter Wilhelmina Lehrt (Pier Angeli) survived and is working entertaining men in a nightclub. While spending time with her, he learns from Lt. Parker (Richard Egan) and other American officers that she may be working for a group trying to use Nazi gold to revive German power.

This political and romantic drama depicts some of the consequences of Allied bombing of German cities that destroyed buildings and left Germans in dire circumstances, though Americans with the Marshall plan were attempting to help them.


(1952 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 5

A college professor (Clifton Webb) with a past as a matinee idol and the co-star of Gloria Marlowe (Ginger Rogers) sues to keep his old movies off television while he is pursued by the amorous college president (Elsa Lanchester); his intellectual daughter (Anne Francis) finds romance.

         This farce satirizes the exaggerated action and romance of silent movies and their exploitation on television by crass advertisers as compared to the more intellectual value of literature.

Europa ‘51

(1952 b 113’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Roberto Rosselini, Irene Girard (Ingrid Bergman) is married to the American executive George Girard (Alexander Knox) and entertains their well-off friends in Rome. Their son Michele (Sandro Franchina) demands her attention during a party and attempts suicide and later dies. Irene is influenced by the socialist Andrea Casatti (Ettore Giannini) to help poor people and finds this more spiritually fulfilling than her previous life. However, she becomes estranged from her jealous husband and does not identify with any social institution. Although she persuades a bank robber to turn himself in, she is arrested and treated as if she were insane.

This drama depicts the poverty in Italy after World War II as compared to the indifference of other social classes. A woman, who hates her previous life because it cost the life of her son, devotes herself to helping the poor on her own, but in doing so she is treated as an outcast by those who have authority over her—her husband, the police, a judge, clergy, and even the socialist because she does not consider her work political but spiritual. The irony is that for doing what Jesus taught she is rejected by those with power as insane.

Fearless Fagan

(1952 b 79’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by Stanley Donen, young Floyd Hilston has raised and tamed the lion Fearless Fagan that he wrestles in the circus. The draft forces him to join the army, and he is under Sergeant Kellwin (Keenan Wynn). Floyd tries to keep his lion and meets beautiful Abby Ames (Janet Leigh).

This comedy is based on the anomaly of a lion that has been trained by loving kindness to be playful and gentle. The courageous man also finds a woman he loves.

The Iron Mistress

(1952 c 110’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Paul Wellman’s novel, Jim Bowie (Alan Ladd) falls in love with Judalon de Bornay (Virginia Mayo) in New Orleans. He becomes rich by winning a horse race and investing in cotton. After inventing a large knife he is eventually rescued from a sequence of duels and violence by Ursula de Varamendi (Phyllis Kirk) of San Antonio.

         This mostly fictional adventure dramatizes some of the violence in Bowie’s life that occurred during a duel and makes him appear to be a hero rather than the fighter who became wealthy by selling slaves he illegally purchased from the pirate Lafitte before developing the sugar industry.

The Jazz Singer

(1952 c 107’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Samson Raphaelson’s play, Jerry Golding (Danny Thomas) returns from the Korean War, and his father David Golding (Eduard Franz) wants him to succeed him as cantor in the Sinai Temple in Philadelphia, but Jerry wants to go into show business, and his mother Ruth Golding (Mildred Dunnock) is sympathetic. Jerry is also in love with the singer Judy Lane (Peggy Lee) who helps him get into show business.

This musical drama, which is an updated version of the famous 1927 film which was the first significant talking picture, explores a family conflict between tradition and what the son wants to do on his own while his efforts in show business also provide entertainment.

Kansas City Confidential

(1952 b 99’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Laid-off cop Tim Foster (Preston Foster) gets three criminals to rob a bank with masks so that none can betray him or each other;  but veteran Joe Rolfe (John Payne) is arrested for questioning and decides to clear his name by tracking down the criminals. When he does, Tim’s daughter Helen (Coleen Gray) becomes involved.

         This film-noir dramatizes how conflicts between criminals bring about their downfall while an innocent man manages to survive and find love.

The Life of Oharu

(Japanese 1952 b 136’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Saikaku Ihara’s novel and directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, in the 17th century aristocratic Oharu (Kinuyo Tanaka) wants to marry the samurai Katsunosuke (Toshiro Mifune), but he is rejected as only a retainer. She is found as the perfect beauty to be the concubine of Lord Harutaka Matsudaira (Toshiaki Konoe) so that she can bear an heir, and she gives birth to a son. Later he abandons her, and she ends up as an aging prostitute which is how the film began.

            This classical drama depicts patriarchal Japanese society that uses women only for the pleasure and purposes of men. Finally Oharu finds some refuge in Buddhism.

The Light Touch

(1952 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Sam Conride (Stewart Granger) steals a religious painting, but he tells his partner Felix Guignol (George Sanders) it was burned. Sam hires Anna Vasarri (Pier Angeli) to paint a copy and marries her to seal the deal. The plans of various thieves and greedy collectors get confused, and detective Lt. Massiro (Joseph Calleia) tries to get the original back for the church.

         This somewhat romantic crime drama features the cynical wit of Felix, showing that there is little honor among thieves; but the goodness of the young Italian Anna symbolizes redemptive grace.

Lone Star

(1952 b 94’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Andrew Jackson (Lionel Barrymore) sends Devereaux Burke (Clark Gable) to persuade Sam Houston (Moroni Olsen) to favor the annexation of Texas; but Thomas Craden (Broderick Crawford) likes Texas as a republic. Burke falls in love with newspaper editor Martha Ronda (Ava Gardner).

         This romantic western fictionalizes a critical episode when Houston negotiated the annexation of Texas with some complicated political maneuvering that brought it into the United States as a slave state and led to a war with Mexico which is treated in this film with cowboy patriotism.

Lovely to Look At

(1952 c 103’) En: 5 Ed: 4

In this version of the Harbach-Kern play and the 1935 film Roberta, singer Tony Naylor (Howard Keel), comedian Al Marsh (Red Skelton), and dancer Jerry Ralby (Gower Champion) get help from dancer Bubbles (Ann Miller) to go to Paris where they fall in love with fashion businesswomen Stephanie (Kathryn Grayson) and Clarisse (Marge Champion).

         This musical comedy contrasts the over-confidence of the egotistical Tony with the bumbling Al, but the former’s voice and the latter’s humor provide entertainment along with the skilled dancing of the Champions and Miller.

Mandy (Crash of Silence)

(1952 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Hilda Lewis, Christine Garland (Phyllis Calvert) and her husband Harry Garland (Terence Morgan) discover that their little daughter Mandy (Mandy Miller) is deaf. He wants to keep her at home where his parents also live, but Christine insists on putting her in a school for the deaf where Dick Searle (Jack Hawkins) and others take special care to teach Mandy how to read lips and speak. This is complicated because the administrator Ackland (Edward Chapman) has animosity toward Searle.

            This drama depicts the plight of a person born deaf but shows that good teachers can help such people to learn not only how to use sign language but also to read lips and speak so that they can interact with people who do not know sign language. The determination of the mother and dedication of a teacher to help this child come in to conflict with the resistance of the father and the petty administrator.

The Marrying Kind

(1952 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

A judge (Madge Kennedy) asks Florrie (Judy Holiday) and Chet (Aldo Ray) to reconsider whether they want to divorce, and they tell her about what has happened in their seven years of marriage.

         This realistic comedy-drama portrays a couple trying to learn how to get along with each other while they experience life’s challenges and tragedies. Knowing that divorce is possible, they are able to try again.

The Member of the Wedding

(1952 b 91’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Based on the novel and play by Carson McCullers, twelve-year-old Frankie Addams (Julie Harris) is looking forward to her brother’s wedding. The cook Berenice (Ethel Waters) says Frankie is jealous, and they spend much time talking with each other and their young neighbor John Henry (Brandon De Wilde). When Frankie tries to run away, a soldier tries to kiss her. She runs home and finds her life changing.

         This realistic drama portrays a lonely girl who feels rejected by older girls and tries to find consolation with the cook and the young boy next door; but suddenly she finds that she must face life without them.

Million Dollar Mermaid

(1952 c 110’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Australian Annette Kellerman (Esther Williams) becomes an outstanding swimmer and goes to London with her musician father (Walter Pidgeon). They meet carnival manager James Sullivan (Victor Mature) and his partner Doc (Jesse White). Annette becomes a star entertainer and works at the New York Hippodrome for Alfred Harper (David Brian).

         Although many specifics are fictionalized, this biopic is true to the spirit of the swimmer who led the way toward smaller swimsuits and pioneered water ballet in the early 20th century.

Les Miserables

(1952 b 105’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel and directed by Lewis Milestone, Jean Valjean (Michael Rennie) steals bread to help a starving family and wastes ten years in prison. As a convict he is helped by Bishop Courbet (Edmund Gwenn) and transforms his life, becoming successful and a mayor. Inspector Javert (Robert Newton) is searching for him for breaking his parole; but Valjean adopts young Cosette (Debra Paget) who falls in love with the revolutionary Marius (Cameron Mitchell).

In this version of the great novel the story is truncated compared to the much longer movie of 1934. Yet this one is in English and still conveys the message of how kindness and generosity can overcome the cruelty of a punitive society.

My Man and I

(1952 b 99’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Chu Chu Ramirez (Ricardo Montalban) has become a citizen and gets a job working for Ansel Ames (Wendell Corey) and makes friends with Mrs. Ames (Claire Trevor) and the alcoholic Nancy (Shelley Winters). Ames gives Chu Chu a bad check and refuses to pay him. Then he and his wife bring the law against him, but Chu Chu gets support from his friends.

            This drama contrasts the honest and friendly Chu Chu and his immigrant friends with dishonest and mean people who try to take advantage of him. Much of the bad attitudes and behavior is difficult to watch, but the buoyant honesty and faith of Chu Chu carries the story.

My Six Convicts

(1952 b 104’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the novelistic memoir by psychologist Donald Powell Wilson, Dr. Wilson (John Beal) tells the warden he cannot give him information he learns from inmates and is able to gain the trust of six prisoners who work for him including humorous and clever James Connie (Millard Mitchell), tough guy Punch Pinero (Gilbert Roland), alcoholic Blivens Scott (Marshall Thompson), the timid embezzler Steve Kopac (Jay Adler), young Clem Randall (Alf Kjellin), and the homicidal Dawson (Harry Morgan).

            This comedy-drama portrays prison life from the viewpoint of the psychologist who wants to help them by getting them to help him do his job of testing inmates. The story shows that if a prison employee accepts the ethics of the inmates he can gain their trust and understand their culture.

On Dangerous Ground

(1952 b 82’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Gerald Butler’s novel, a tough cop (Robert Ryan) has a lonely life and takes it out on criminals until he sees how a vindictive man (Ward Bond) acts and meets a blind woman (Ida Lupino) who wants to protect her brother (Sumner Williams), a murderer.

         This police drama explores the issue of police brutality by showing how cops can become cynical and hardened from relating with criminals so much. This detective trusts no one, but he is won over by a blind woman who says she has to trust everyone.

One Minute to Zero

(1952 b 105’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In 1950 Col. Steve Janowski (Robert Mitchum) forces United Nations health worker Landa Day (Ann Blyth) to leave South Korea as the war erupts. Steve fights the invading Communists with help from Col. Joe Parker (William Talman), Capt. Ralston (Richard Egan), and Sgt. Baker (Charles McGraw) while falling in love with the war widow Day.

         This romantic war drama portrays the beginning of the Korean War while it was still going. A war atrocity that massacred refugees is given context in the awful situation of a ruthless war. The Russian-backed North Koreans aggressively attack South Korea soon after it was established with UN-sponsored elections, but the Americans use their military might to equalize the equation of stalemate, where the cold war got hot.

Park Row

(1952 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Samuel Fuller, in 1886 Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans) starts a newspaper in New York with the experienced reporter Josiah Davenport (Herbert Heyes) while Ottmar Mergenthaler (Bela Kovacs) works on inventing an automatic typesetting machine. Rival newspaper owner Charity Hackett (Mary Welch) enters into competition with Mitchell that is mixed with sexual tension. Mitchell’s paper is more socially conscious and raises money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

This drama depicts the newspaper business in the late 19th century with a fictional story of an idealistic editor who is dedicated to using journalism to tell the truth and improve the world. Mergenthaler did invent the linotype machine in 1886, but he was supported in this by Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune.

Phone Call from a Stranger

(1952 b 96’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Lawyer David Trask (Gary Merrill) leaves his wife and takes a plane where he meets actress Bianca Carr (Shelley Winters), Dr. Robert Fortness (Michael Rennie), and salesman Eddie Hoke (Keenan Wynn), who give him their addresses. After the plane crashes, Trask calls and visits their spouses to try to bring them resolution.

         This moral drama explores various problems in relationships and how understanding can come to some even after the separation by death. In the process the lawyer learns about love and realizes he can be reconciled as well.

The Pride of St. Louis

(1952 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Uneducated baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean (Dan Dailey) marries Pat (Joanne Dru), and excels with the St. Louis Cardinals with his brother Paul (Richard Crenna); but both Deans suffer injuries and see their careers cut short. The eccentric Dizzy struggles and finally turns to baseball announcing.

         This biopic tells the true story of the baseball legend whose boyish charm and zeal for baseball won the hearts of many. His wife helps him to face up to life’s challenges, and he learns to adapt to difficult changes.

The Prisoner of Zenda

(1952 c 101’) En: 5 Ed: 4

In this remake of the 1937 version of Anthony Hope’s novel, Rudolf Rassendyll (Stewart Granger) substitutes for alcoholic Rudolf V (Stewart Granger), falls in love with Princess Flavia (Deborah Kerr), and outwits Duke Michael (Robert Douglas) and Rupert of Hentzau (James Mason).

         This look-alike fantasy is a romantic tale that once again allows the English to identify with an upstanding hero who fools the eastern Europeans.

Rancho Notorious

(1952 c 89’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Vern Haskell (Arthur Kennedy) searches for the murderer of his fiancé and is drawn to Altar Keane (Marlene Dietrich), who won money gambling and has a ranch for outlaws. Vern finds her through arrested gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont (Mel Ferrer) and learns who the murderer is.

         Fritz Lang directed this western with style, but it reflects the usual violence in a story of revenge, bank robberies, and murders.

Red Ball Express

(1952 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Lt. Campbell (Jeff Chandler) leads a team of army truckers supplying Patton’s advancing tank battalion in 1944 France. Sgt. Red Kallek (Alex Nichol) has a deep grudge against Campbell while writer Partridge (Charles Drake) is detoured by pretty Antoinette (Jacqueline Duval). Pvt. Wilson (Hugh O’Brian) clashes with Cpl. Robertson (Sidney Poitier), who is advised by Taffy (Bubber Johnson) how to get along.

         This war adventure depicts how an army depends on its lines of supply and reflects a US military that was integrated by Truman after the war.

Room for One More

(1952 b 95’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the book by Anna Perrot Rose and directed by Norman Taurog, George “Poppy” Rose (Cary Grant) and Anna Perrot Rose (Betsy Drake) have three children—Tim (Malcolm Cassell), Trot (Gay Gordon), and Teenie (George Winslow) plus a large dog and a litter of cats. At an adoption agency Miss Kenyon (Lurene Tuttle) persuades Anna to take in the problem girl Jane Miller (Iris Mann), and they improve her negative attitude. Later they also take in Jimmy (Clifford Tatum Jr.) whose legs are in braces, and he manages to become an Eagle Scout.

            This farcical comedy is a primer in loving and generous parenting skills while entertaining with funny situations and witty comments, especially by Poppy.

Ruby Gentry

(1952 b 82’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Ruby (Jennifer Jones) is gorgeous but is a social outcast. She is in love with Boake Tackman (Charlton Heston), but he marries the well-to-do Tracy (Phyllis Avery). The banker Jim Gentry (Karl Malden) has taken care of Ruby. After his wife dies, he asks to marry Ruby. Tragedy leads to hateful behavior and a chain reaction of revenge.

         This melodrama grovels in the worst attitudes in a rural Carolina town and shows how hate and vindictive actions destroy others and oneself.

Scandal Sheet

(1952 b 82’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Samuel Fuller’s novel, a tabloid editor (Broderick Crawford) is found by his wife (Rosemary DeCamp) he ditched years ago. He tries to hide her accidental death, but his ace reporter (John Derek) and his columnist girlfriend (Donna Reed) are covering the suspected murder story that is oddly discovered by an alcoholic ex-reporter (Henry O’Neill) the editor has abandoned.

         This newspaper crime drama portrays a ruthless editor who exploits the troubles of others only to find that he has become one of those others.

Son of Paleface

(1952 c 95’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Harvard grad Paleface Potter Jr. (Bob Hope) arrives in the West to claim his inheritance but finds his father’s bill collectors instead. Roy Barton (Roger Rogers) is trying to catch the rich robber Mike the Torch (Jane Russell), who is after the Potter gold.

         This sequel to the western farce is filled with gimmicks meant to entertain that pass the time in a wild romp that features Trigger’s tricks.

Springfield Rifle

(1952 b 110’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Wealthy playwright Myra (Joan Crawford) rejects leading man Lester (Jack Palance) for her play and then falls in love with him and marries him. She discovers that he and Irene (Gloria Grahame) are plotting to kill her for her money and comes up with her own counter-plot.

         This film-noir suddenly turns a happy marriage to fear with a sinister murder plot that attempts to thrill the audience with chilling scenes.

The Steel Trap

(1952 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Andrew Stone, a bank manager (Joseph Cotton) with a wife (Teresa Wright) and child suddenly decides to steal a million dollars and take his family to Brazil where there is no extradition, but he has difficulty carrying out his plan.

            This suspenseful drama depicts a man’s attempt to become a millionaire by changing his life from honesty to deception with one big crime. The story demonstrates in a humane way the axiom that crime does not pay.

Sudden Fear

(1952 b 110’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Wealthy playwright Myra (Joan Crawford) rejects leading man Lester (Jack Palance) for her play and then falls in love with him and marries him. She discovers that he and Irene (Gloria Grahame) are plotting to kill her for her money and comes up with her own counter-plot.

         This film-noir suddenly turns a happy marriage to fear with a sinister murder plot that attempts to thrill the audience with chilling scenes.

Thunder in the East

(1952 b 97’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Alan Moorehead’s novel, American arms dealer Steve Gibbs (Alan Ladd) arrives in a plane to sell arms to a Hindu kingdom before it is attacked by Muslims, but the nonviolent Prime Minister Singh (Charles Boyer) refuses to buy or use the arms he confiscates. Among the British who have lost their privileged situation is the blind Joan Willoughby (Deborah Kerr), who falls in love with Steve.

         This melodrama crudely reflects American militarism masquerading as “defense” in a story that makes a man who opposes killing look ridiculous, providing blatant propaganda for the arms business during the Cold War.

The Turning Point

(1952 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Lawyer John Conroy (Edmond O’Brien) is assigned to investigate organized crime and is assisted by his friend Jerry McKibbon (William Holden), a cynical reporter. John’s father Matt Conroy (Tom Tully) is a corrupt police officer, and Jerry tries to help him go straight. Jerry is attracted to John’s girlfriend Amanda Waycross (Alexis Smith). Neil Eichelberger (Ed Begley) is the vicious boss of a crime syndicate.

         This crime drama pits an idealistic reformer against a violent mob and shows how a journalist can expose crime. The theme is stated in the line “Sometimes someone has to pay an exorbitant price to uphold the majesty of the law.”

What Price Glory?

(1952 c 110’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Loosely based on Maxwell Anderson’s play, Captain Flagg (James Cagney) and First Sergeant Quirt (Dan Dailey) squabble over the French Charmaine (Corinne Calvet) before and after a trip to the front in the useless World War I.

         Under John Ford’s direction Anderson’s anti-war play becomes a comedy that celebrates machismo in wartime. The grim reality of war is the context for a friendly rivalry in womanizing and drinking and provides a nihilistic message in an entertaining fashion.

When in Rome

(1952 b 78’) En: 5 Ed: 5

The priest John Halligan (Van Johnson) and escaped convict Joe Brewster (Paul Douglas) meet on their way to Rome. Joe steals John’s identity, and a police investigator (Joseph Calleia) asks John to turn in Joe.

         This religious comedy allows a priest to extend grace beyond the law to test a criminal who does not want to return to prison nor to do wrong either. The shift in roles allows each to see the perspective of the other.

The Wild North

(1952 c 97’) En: 5 Ed: 4

The French fur trapper Jules Vincent (Stewart Granger) comes to a town and meets an Indian girl (Cyd Charisse) and gets into a conflict with a man who is killed. Constable Pedley (Wendell Corey) is sent to arrest Vincent for murder and bring him back from his cabin in the far north.

This adventure drama portrays a skilled trapper and the early prototype for the Canadian Mounty who always gets his man. Their personalities clash in their adversarial situation, but in the process they get to know and respect each other.

The Winning Team

(1952 b 98’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Grover Cleveland Alexander (Ronald Reagan) marries Aimee (Doris Day) and becomes an outstanding baseball pitcher while suffering from epilepsy and alcoholism.

         This biopic is based on a true story but glamorizes the extent of the alcoholism; his wife divorced him twice and married him three times. After his major league career Alexander pitched for the House of David for four years.

The World In His Arms

(1952 c 104’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Rex Beach’s novel, a captain (Gregory Peck) makes money catching seals and wants to buy Alaska from the Russians. He overcomes the thief Portugee (Anthony Quinn) and falls in love with a Russian countess (Ann Blyth), but he has to rescue her from being married to a Russian prince (Carl Esmond).

         This adventure set in 1850 depicts an American hero triumphing over aristocratic Russians, who are blamed for slaughtering seals, reflecting the psychological desire to see Americans defeating Russians during the Cold War.

Young Man With Ideas

(1952 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Mitchell Leisen, lawyer Maxwell Webster (Glenn Ford) and his wife Julie Webster (Ruth Roman) believe he is undervalued at a firm in Montana, demand he be made a partner, and move their family of five to Los  Angeles where he studies for the California bar exam with attractive Joyce Laramie (Nina Foch) who also hires him as a bill collector. The Websters move into a bungalow that had been a bookie joint, and many things go wrong. Maxwell is tempted by singer Dorianne Gray (Denise Darcel) and eventually shows his skill as an attorney.

            This comedy of errors shows how a faithful couple can be tested in a big city which is portrayed with its competition and temptations.
Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1952

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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

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