Greatest Movies Through 1960

Best Movies Compiled From Many Sources

Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

The Grass is Greener (1960)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1960

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104 min – view video trailer

Director: Stanley Donen
Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

IMDB 6.6 / Amazon 3.8 / Tomatometer 100%

Oscars: n/a

Victor and Hillary are down on their luck to the point that they allow tourists to take guided tours of their castle. But Charles Delacro, a millionaire oil tycoon, visits, and takes a liking to more than the house. Soon, Hattie Durant gets involved and they have a good old fashioned love triangle. IMDB 6.6 from over 2,336 users

Cary Grant is the befuddled English earl casually puttering around his tourist attraction of a grand old estate in casual dress while a bull of an American millionaire (Robert Mitchum) crashes into his life and seduces Grant’s sophisticated lady (Deborah Kerr). It’s pure fantasy, of course, with its cool, cultured lovers swapping witty banter with the same calm they swap gunshots in an old-fashioned duel. Have adultery and jealousy ever been so civilized? Stanley Donen never shakes this very British drawing-room comedy of manners free of its talky, stagebound source or its deliberate snail’s pace, but he does manages to bring a lightness that softens the wit with an American lilt. Ultimately, though, it’s all about a crack cast in fine form: Mitchum’s sleepy-eyed insolence, Kerr’s easy elegance, Jean Simmons’s flighty outrageousness, and especially the charm and measured grace that is Cary Grant. Amazon 3.8 stars from over 48 users

A rousing chorus of Noël Coward’s “Stately Homes of England” is heard as the opening titles of The Grass Is Greener fade into several stock shots of those stately homes. One of these mansions is owned by British earl Victor Rhyall (Cary Grant), who opens his home to American tourists in order to make ends meet. One such tourist is wealthy Texan Charles Delacro (Robert Mitchum), who sets his sights upon Victor’s lovely wife, Hilary (Deborah Kerr). In his efforts to win back his wife, Victor presses his former girlfriend Hattie Durant (Jean Simmons) into service.  Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 100% Audience 64%

MRQE has links to 11 reviews

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBAmg47F_dw]
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The Apartment (1960)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1960

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125 min – PG – view video trailer

Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama

IMDB 8.4 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 83 / Tomatometer 93%

Oscars: nominated for 10, won 5 (Best Picture, Director, Writing, Editing, Art)

Ranked #27 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. IMDB 8.4 rating from over 54,641 users

Romance at its most anti-romantic–that is the Billy Wilder stamp of genius, and this Best Picture Academy Award winner from 1960 is no exception. Set in a decidedly unsavory world of corporate climbing and philandering, the great filmmaker’s trenchant, witty satire-melodrama takes the office politics of a corporation and plays them out in the apartment of lonely clerk C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon). Amazon 4.6 stars from over 158 users

Widely regarded as a comedy in 1960, The Apartment seems more melancholy with each passing year. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a go-getting office worker who loans his tiny apartment to his philandering superiors for their romantic trysts. He runs into trouble when he finds himself sharing a girlfriend (Shirley MacLaine) with his callous boss (Fred MacMurray). Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 93% Audience 93%

MRQE 83% from over 82 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Breathless (1960) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1960

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(French: A bout de souffle)

90 min – view video trailer

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Genres: Foreign, Crime, Drama, Romance

IMDB 7.9 / Amazon 4.3 / MRQE 86% / Tomatometer 96%

Oscars: none

Ranked #85 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him. IMDB 7.9 rating from over 29,460 users

The movie that heralded the French New Wave movement, this lean and exciting 1959 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard (A Woman Is a WomanWeekend) broke new ground not only in its unorthodox use of editing and hand-held photography, but in its unflinching and nonjudgmental portrayal of amoral youth. Amazon 4.3 stars from over 93 users

Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate “mismatches” between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music.  Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 96% Audience 89%

MRQE 86% from over 80 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Ben Hur (1959) A Tale of the Christ

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1959

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212 min – PG – view video trailer

Director: William Wyler
Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins

Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.7 / Decent Films A

Oscars: nominated for 12, won 11 (Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Art, Cinematography, Costume, Effects, Editing, Music, Sound)

Ranked #28 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. IMDB 8.2 rating from over 83,799 users

Ben-Hur scooped an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards and, unlike some later rivals, richly deserved every single one. This is epic filmmaking on a scale that had not been seen before and is unlikely ever to be seen again.  At four hours it’s a long haul (especially given some of the portentous dialogue), but all in all, Ben-Hur is a great movie, best seen on the biggest screen possible. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 489 users

The grandest of Hollywood’s classic biblical epics, William Wyler’s Ben-Hur doesn’t transcend its genre, with its emphasis on spectacle and melodrama, but it does these things about as well as they could possibly be done… The sheer scale of the picture, in the days before digitally created crowds and computerized process shots, is astounding. The central set piece, the classic chariot race, remains a brilliant action sequence, with Heston and Boyd doing their own riding and nearly all their own stunts. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, nearly Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE links to over 75 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The 400 Blows (1959) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1959

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(French: Les Quatre cents coups)

99 min – view video trailer

Director: Francois Truffaut
Starring: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Albert Remy, Claire Maurier

Genres: Crime, Drama, Foreign

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 93% / ReelViews 4 stars

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0 (Best Writing)

Ranked #32 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie, included in 13 of 37 lists of Greatest Movies

Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. IMDB rating 8.2 from over 35,277 users

Zagat summary snippet: Anyone who survived adolescence can relate to thie French coming-of-age filme which depicts the pain and joy of growing up. The movie earned its place in film history by breaking a lot of rules whie demonstrating a true love of movies. Zagat Ratings: Overall 27 / Acting 26 / Story 25 / Production 24 / Total 102

The 400 Blows sensitively recreates the trials of Truffaut’s own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut’s passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 111 users

There’s no question that The 400 Blows stands out when compared to other coming-of-age dramas. Even though more than forty years have elapsed since the film’s release, its effect has neither faded nor been duplicated. The 400 Blows remains a remarkable film. As with all of the great classics, the passage of time only causes us to appreciate it more. ReelViews highest 4 star rating

MRQE gave it 93% rating with links to more than 65 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Black Orchid (1958)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1958

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96 mins – not rated – view video trailer

Director: Martin Ritt

Writer: Joseph Stefano

Genres: Drama, Romance
IMDB 6.7 / Amazon 3.9 / Tomatometer 20% / 64%
Oscars: none
After mobsters murder her husband, Rose Bianco works long hours making artificial flowers, to support herself and her son. Some suspect that Rose’s demand for a lavish lifestyle pushed her husband to a life of crime, and they blame her for his death. Widower Frank Valente is attracted to Rose, and must convince her that real love exists. He must also deal with his own daughter, who has her own reasons for opposing his marriage to Rose. IMDB 6.7 rating from over 539 users
There is more than a hint of the Oscar winning Marty in this quiet drama, shot in luminous black and white by Robert Barr and directed with economy and restraint by Martin Ritt. Anthony Quinn plays a widower who falls in love with Rose Bianco -the Black Orchid of the title.She is a widow whose husband was entangled with the mob and killed in a mob hit.She is eking out a living working in an artificial flower company and worrying about her son who is a persistent escapee from the county farm.Initially resistant she soon falls heavily for Quinn’s rough hewn charms but there is an obstacle -the staunch opposition of his possessive daughter ,played by Ina Balin. The movie is the story of the courtship and its eventual resolution. Sterling performances by the leads and a strong musical score by Alessandro Cicognini compensate for the slightly over sentimental script but overall this a neglected little gem. Amazon 3.9 stars from over 14 users
The title is Black Orchid, but the leading lady is a rose–florist Rose Bianco, played by Sophia Loren. Newly widowed, Rose holds herself responsible for the death of her husband, a well-known gangster. Anthony Quinn plays a widower who falls in love with Rose, much to the dismay of his daughter (Ina Balin), who fears that Quinn will be destroyed as thoroughly as Rose’s first husband. All ends happily after Rose and her new beau align to find her unhappy runaway son (Jimmy Baird). Black Orchid tries too hard to be a “slice of life;” perhaps it might have fared better with a cast of unknowns, but then who’d go to see it? Rotten Tomatoes 20% / 64% audience
MRQE 7 reviews
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An Affair to Remember (1957)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1957

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119 min – view video trailer

Director: Leo McCarey
Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr

Genres: Drama, Romance

IMDB 7.4 / Amazon 4.5 / Tomatometer 65% / MRQE 70%

Oscars: Nominated for 4 Won 0

A couple falls in love and agrees to meet in six months at the Empire State Building – but will it happen? IMDB 7.4 from over 15,533 users

In this poignant and humorous love story nominated for four Academy Awards, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on an ocean liner and fall deeply in love. Though each is engaged to someone else, they agree to meet six months later at the Empire State Building if they still feel the same way about each other. But a tragic accident prevents their rendezvous and the lover’s future takes an emotional and uncertain turn. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 289 users

An Affair to Remember, director Leo McCarey’s scene-for-scene remake of his own 1939 film Love Affair, isn’t really an improvement on the original, but it’s equally as enjoyable. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, high-profile types both engaged to be married to other people, meet and fall in love during an ocean voyage. To test the depth of their commitment to each other, Grant and Kerr promise that, if they’re still in love at the end of six months, they will meet again at the top of the Empire State Building.  Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 65% Audience 87%

MRQE 70% from 49 reviews

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12 Angry Men (1957)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1957

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96 min – view video trailer

Director: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee Cobb, Martin Balsam

Genres: Drama

IMDB 8.9 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 89% / RottenTomatoes 100%

Oscars: nominated for 3, won 0

Ranked #14 Greatest Movies Through 1960, included in 10 of 37 lists of Greatest Movies, a Zagat Top Movie

A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court. IMDB rating 8.9 from over 192,956 users

Zagat summary snippet: Human nature at its best and worst in a brilliant courtroom drama with a taut script and an unforgettable Fonda. A study of American democracy that is suuspenseful and compelling.

Eleven jurors are convinced that the defendant is guilty of murder. The twelfth has no doubt of his innocence. How can this one man steer the others toward the same conclusion? It’s a case of seemingly overwhelming evidence against a teenager accused of killing his father in “one of the best pictures ever made. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 322 users

Eleven of the jurors vote for conviction, each for reasons of his own. The sole holdout is Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda. As Fonda persuades the weary jurors to re-examine the evidence, we learn the backstory of each man.  Rotten Tomatoes 100% critics / 95% viewers

MRQE 89% rating from over 60 reviews.

Madison Public Library

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The Ten Commandments (1956)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1956

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220 min – rated G – view video trailer

Director: Cecil B DeMille
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter

Genres: Adventure, Drama, History

IMDB 7.9 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 69% / Decent Films A

Oscars: nominated for 7, won 1 (Best Effects)

Ranked #38 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people. IMDB 7.9 rating from over 28,155 users

Based on the Holy Scriptures, with additional dialogue by several other hands, The Ten Commandments was the last film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovered in the bullrushes as an infant by the pharoah’s daughter, to his long, hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 568 users

An aura of King-Jamesesque authority and grandeur hangs over Cecil B. DeMille’s last and arguably greatest film, the 1956The Ten Commandments. Suffused with all of DeMille’s considerable talent for archaic staginess, melodramatic pageantry, and opulent spectacle, The Ten Commandments is like an artifact of an earlier era, with something of the world of silent film about it. Charlton Heston’s statuesque presence and rumbling line readings in perhaps his best role complete the effect; he’s like Michelangelo’s Moses come to life. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 69% from over 76 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Seven Samurai (1954) Japanese

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1954

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207 min – view video trailer

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

IMDB 8.8 / Amazon 4.7 / ReelViews 4 stars

Oscars: nominated for 2, won 0 (Best Art, Costume)

Ranked #11 Greatest Movies Through 1960, in 23 of 41 lists of best movies, a Zagat Top Movie

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.  IMDB 8.8 rating from over 131,982 users

Hailed as the greatest film in the history of Japanese cinema, Seven Samurai is director Akira Kurosawa’s undisputed masterpiece. Arguably the greatest of all jidai-gecki (or historical swordplay films), Kurosawa’s classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 513 users

Seven Samurai was influential not only in Japan and for foreign film enthusiasts, but it led to a popular and reasonably faithful remake, The Magnificent Seven. And, although Japanese critics during the ’50s were dismissive of the picture, it has since achieved an almost mythical status and was recently selected by a group of ’00 critics as the Best Japanese Movie of All-Time. ReelViews 4 stars

MRQE has links to over 70 reviews

Madison Public Library

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