Sleeping Beauty: the best animated film of the 1950's

So why do this now?  Well, because I already covered the years in film, with 1950 – 1955 coming back before I started the History of Best Picture, and I have finally caught up with where I began my History.  So, since the next film year will be 1961, in which I will do both Year in Film and Best Picture, now is the time to wrap up the 1950’s.

1950  –  1959

Total Films I’ve Seen:  692

Films That Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  40

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  The Searchers

Film of the Decade:  Sunset Blvd.

Worst Film of the Decade:  Glen or Glenda

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  Peyton Place

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  The Egyptian

Best Animated Film:

  1. Sleeping Beauty
  2. The Lady and the Tramp
  3. Cinderella
  4. Alice in Wonderland
  5. Peter Pan

Best Foreign Film:

  1. Rashomon
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. The Seven Samurai
  4. Wild Strawberries
  5. Ikiru

note:  not only are all of the top 5 either Kurosawa or Bergman films, but #6 (Throne of Blood) and #7 (Smiles of a Summer Night) are as well

Best Original Song:

  1. “That’s Entertainment”  (The Band Wagon)
  2. “Bibbidy-Bobbidi-Boo”  (Cinderella)
  3. “Moses Supposes”  (Singin in the Rain)
  4. “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)”  (High Noon)
  5. “Make Em Laugh”  (Singin in the Rain)

the great makeup in Hammer Studios' The Horror of Dracula (1958)

Best Makeup:

  1. The Horror of Dracula
  2. Gate of Hell
  3. The Seven Samurai
  4. The Curse of Frankenstein
  5. The Magician

Best Costume Design:

  1. The Seven Samurai
  2. Gate of Hell
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. Throne of Blood
  5. The King and I

Best Sound Editing:

  1. The Seven Samurai
  2. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  3. The Sound Barrier
  4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  5. Forbidden Planet

Best Visual Effects

  1. Forbidden Planet
  2. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  3. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  4. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
  5. War of the Worlds

Best Art Direction:

  1. Sunset Blvd.
  2. Smiles of a Summer Night
  3. Rashomon
  4. Singin in the Rain
  5. A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Sound:

  1. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  2. The Seven Samurai
  3. The Sound Barrier
  4. Paths of Glory
  5. From Here to Eternity

Best Original Score:

  1. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  2. Rashomon
  3. Sunset Blvd.
  4. North by Northwest
  5. High Noon

one of the many brilliant shots in Touch of Evil (1958)

Best Cinematography:

  1. Touch of Evil
  2. The Seven Samurai
  3. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  4. Sunset Blvd.
  5. Rashomon

Best Editing:

  1. Rashomon
  2. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  3. Sunset Blvd.
  4. On the Waterfront
  5. A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Supporting Actress  (Comedy):

  1. Harriet Andersson  (Smiles of a Summer Night)
  2. Josephine Hull  (Harvey)
  3. Jean Hagen  (Singin in the Rain)
  4. Katie Johnson  (The Ladykillers)
  5. Dawn Addams  (The Moon is Blue)

Best Supporting Actress  (Drama):

  1. Kim Hunter  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Eva Marie Saint  (On the Waterfront)
  3. Bibi Andersson  (The Seventh Seal)
  4. Bibi Andersson  (Wild Strawberries)
  5. Gloria Grahame  (The Bad and the Beautiful)
  6. Nancy Olson  (Sunset Blvd.)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Bibi Andersson

the best Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor and Actor of the decade and the second best Actress, all in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Best Supporting Actress:

  1. Kim Hunter  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Eva Marie Saint  (On the Waterfront)
  3. Harriet Andersson  (Smiles of a Summer Night)
  4. Bibi Andersson  (The Seventh Seal)
  5. Bibi Andersson  (Wild Strawberries)
  6. Gloria Grahame  (The Bad and the Beautiful)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Bibi Andersson

Best Supporting Actor  (Comedy):

  1. Jack Lemmon  (Mister Roberts)
  2. James Cagney  (Mister Roberts)
  3. Joe E. Brown  (Some Like It Hot)
  4. Donald O’Connor  (Singin in the Rain)
  5. Jack Buchanan  (The Band Wagon)

Best Supporting Actor  (Drama):

  1. Karl Malden  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Toshiro Mifune  (Rashomon)
  3. Erich von Stroheim  (Sunset Blvd.)
  4. George Sanders  (All About Eve)
  5. Sessue Hayakawa  (The Bridge on the River Kwai)

Best Supporting Actor:

  1. Karl Malden  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Toshiro Mifune  (Rashomon)
  3. Erich von Stroheim  (Sunset Blvd.)
  4. George Sanders  (All About Eve)
  5. Jack Lemmon  (Mister Roberts)

the Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) of the 50's: Judy Garland in A Star is Born (1954)

Best Actress  (Comedy):

  1. Judy Garland  (A Star is Born)
  2. Audrey Hepburn  (Roman Holiday)
  3. Eva Dahlbeck  (Smiles of a Summer Night)
  4. Audrey Hepburn  (Sabrina)
  5. Deborah Kerr  (The King and I)
  6. Brenda de Banzie  (Hobson’s Choice)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the 2 nominations for Audrey Hepburn

Best Actress  (Drama):

  1. Gloria Swanson  (Sunset Blvd.)
  2. Vivien Leigh  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  3. Bette Davis  (All About Eve)
  4. Elizabeth Taylor  (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
  5. Simone Signoret  (Room at the Top)

Best Actress:

  1. Gloria Swanson  (Sunset Blvd.)
  2. Vivien Leigh  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  3. Bette Davis  (All About Eve)
  4. Elizabeth Taylor  (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
  5. Simone Signoret  (Room at the Top)

Best Actor  (Comedy):

  1. Jack Lemmon  (Some Like It Hot)
  2. James Stewart  (Harvey)
  3. Henry Fonda  (Mister Roberts)
  4. James Mason  (A Star is Born)
  5. Gene Kelly  (Singin in the Rain)

Best Actor  (Drama):

  1. Marlon Brando  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Alec Guinness  (The Bridge on the River Kwai)
  3. Orson Welles  (Touch of Evil)
  4. Marlon Brando  (On the Waterfront)
  5. William Holden  (Sunset Blvd.)
  6. Takashi Shimura  (Ikiru)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Marlon Brando

Best Actor:

  1. Marlon Brando  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  2. Alec Guinness  (The Bridge on the River Kwai)
  3. Orson Welles  (Touch of Evil)
  4. Marlon Brando  (On the Waterfront)
  5. William Holden  (Sunset Blvd.)
  6. Takashi Shimura  (Ikiru)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Marlon Brando

Best Original Screenplay  (Comedy):

  1. Smiles of a Summer Night
  2. Singin in the Rain
  3. Roman Holiday
  4. The Lavender Hill Mob
  5. The Ladykillers

Best Original Screenplay  (Drama):

  1. Sunset Blvd.
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. Wild Strawberries
  4. Ikiru
  5. On the Waterfront

Best Original Screenplay:

  1. Sunset Blvd.
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. Wild Strawberries
  4. Ikiru
  5. Smiles of a Summer Night

note:  4 of the 5 nominees are Foreign films – three of them were written by Ingmar Bergman

Best Adapted Screenplay  (Comedy):

  1. Some Like It Hot (from the short story)
  2. Mister Roberts (from the play)
  3. Sabrina (from the play Sabrina Fair)
  4. Harvey (from the play)
  5. Hobson’s Choice (from the play)

Best Adapted Screenplay  (Drama):

  1. Rashomon (from the novel)
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire (from the play)
  3. Touch of Evil (from the novel Badge of Evil)
  4. The Bridge on the River Kwai (from the novel)
  5. All About Eve (from the story “The Wisdom of Eve”)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  1. Rashomon
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire
  3. Touch of Evil
  4. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  5. Some Like It Hot

Best Director  (Comedy):

  1. Billy Wilder  (Some Like It Hot)
  2. Ingmar Bergman  (Smiles of a Summer Night)
  3. Stanley Donen  /  Gene Kelly  (Singin in the Rain)
  4. Alfred Hitchcock  (To Catch a Thief)
  5. William Wyler  (Roman Holiday)

Best Director  (Drama):

  1. David Lean  (The Bridge on the River Kwai)
  2. Akira Kurosawa  (Rashomon)
  3. Billy Wilder  (Sunset Blvd.)
  4. Orson Welles  (Touch of Evil)
  5. Akira Kurosawa  (The Seven Samurai)
  6. Ingmar Bergman  (The Seventh Seal)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Akira Kurosawa

Best Director:

  1. David Lean  (The Bridge on the River Kwai)
  2. Akira Kurosawa  (Rashomon)
  3. Billy Wilder  (Sunset Blvd.)
  4. Orson Welles  (Touch of Evil)
  5. Akira Kurosawa  (The Seven Samurai)
  6. Ingmar Bergman  (The Seventh Seal)

note:  there are 6 nominees because of the two nominations for Akira Kurosawa

the Japanese film poster for Rashomon - the best Foreign Film of the decade

Films That Earn Best of Decade Nominations  (winners in bold):

  • Sunset Blvd.
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction
  • Rashomon
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction, Foreign Film
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Touch of Evil
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Cinematography
  • The Seventh Seal
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Foreign Film
  • The Seven Samurai
    • Director, Cinematography, Sound, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Art Direction
  • Some Like It Hot
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Wild Strawberries
    • Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Foreign Film
  • Ikiru
    • Actor, Original Screenplay, Foreign Film
  • Smiles of a Summer Night
    • Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Art Direction
  • On the Waterfront
    • Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing
  • All About Eve
    • Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    • Actress
  • Room at the Top
    • Actress
  • Mister Roberts
    • Supporting Actor
  • The Bad and the Beautiful
    • Supporting Actress
  • High Noon
    • Original Score, Song
  • North by Northwest
    • Original Score
  • The Sound Barrier
    • Sound
  • Paths of Glory
    • Sound
  • From Here to Eternity
    • Sound
  • Singin in the Rain
    • Art Direction, Song, Song
  • Forbidden Planet
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • War of the Worlds
    • Visual Effects
  • The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
    • Visual Effects
  • Gate of Hell
    • Costume Design, Makeup
  • Throne of Blood
    • Costume Design
  • Moulin Rouge
    • Costume Design
  • The King and I
    • Costume Design
  • The Horror of Dracula
    • Makeup
  • The Magician
    • Makeup
  • The Curse of Frankenstein
    • Makeup
  • The Band Wagon
    • Song
  • Cinderella
    • Song, Animated Film
  • Sleeping Beauty
    • Animated Film
  • The Lady and the Tramp
    • Animated Film
  • Alice in Wonderland
    • Animated Film
  • Peter Pan
    • Animated Film

Best Years for Each Category of the Nighthawk Awards:

  • Animated Film:  1959
    • Sleeping Beauty
  • Foreign Film:  1957
    • The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Throne of Blood, The Cranes are Flying, Nights of Cabiria —  hon. men. —  White Nights, Aparajito
    • best year in film history for Best Foreign Film
  • Original Song:  1952
    • “Moses Supposes”, “Make Em Laugh”, “High Noon”, “Zing a Little Zong”
  • Makeup:  1957
    • Curse of Frankenstein, Man of a Thousand Faces, Bridge on the River Kwai, White Reindeer, Nights of Cabiria
  • Costume Design:  1956
    • The Seven Samurai, The King and I, Lust for Life, Richard III, War and Peace —  hon. men.  —  Anastasia, War and Peace
  • Sound Editing:  1956
    • The Seven Samurai, Forbidden Planet, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, The Killing, Moby Dick
  • Visual Effects:  1956
    • Forbidden Planet, The 10 Commandments, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers
  • Art Direction:  1952
    • Singin in the Rain, Rashomon, Moulin Rouge, Miss Julie, Carrie —  hon. men.  —  A Christmas Carol
  • Sound:  1952
    • The Sound Barrier, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Rashomon, Singin in the Rain, High Noon —  hon. men.  —  Moulin Rouge
  • Original Score:  1952
    • Rashomon, High Noon, Moulin Rouge, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, The Quiet Man
  • Cinematography:  1950
    • Sunset Blvd., The Third Man, Night and the City, The Asphalt Jungle, All About Eve
  • Editing:  1950
    • Sunset Blvd., The Third Man, The Asphalt Jungle, Night and the City, All About Eve
  • Supporting Actress:  1950
    • Nancy Olson  (Sunset Blvd.)
    • Celeste Holm  (All About Eve)
    • Josephine Hull  (Harvey)
    • Thelma Ritter  (All About Eve)
    • Gloria Grahame  (In a Lonely Place)
    • hon. men.  —  Hope Emerson  (Caged)
  • Supporting Actor:  1950
    • Erich von Stroheim  (Sunset Blvd.)
    • Orson Welles  (The Third Man)
    • George Sanders  (All About Eve)
    • Alistair Sim  (Stage Fright)
    • Francis L. Sullivan  (Night and the City)
    • hon. men.  —  Herbert Lom  (Night and the City)
  • Actress:  1950
    • Gloria Swanson  (Sunset Blvd.)
    • Bette Davis  (All About Eve)
    • Anne Baxter  (All About Eve)
    • Anna Magnani  (Amore)
    • Eleanor Parker  (Caged)
    • hon. men.  —  Jane Wyman  (Stage Fright)
  • Actor:  1951
    • Marlon Brando  (A Streetcar Named Desire)
    • Humphrey Bogart  (The African Queen)
    • Robert Walker  (Strangers on a Train)
    • Kirk Douglas  (Ace in the Hole)
    • Kirk Douglas  (Detective Story)
    • hon. men.  —  Alec Guinness  (Oliver Twist)
    • hon. men.  —  Montgomery Clift  (A Place in the Sun)
    • hon. men.  —  Frederic March  (Death of a Salesman)
    • best year in film history for Best Actor
  • Original Screenplay:  1959
    • Wild Strawberries, The 400 Blows, North by Northwest, Drunken Angel, The Magician —  hon. men.  —  Aparajito
  • Adapted Screenplay:  1957
    • The Bridge on the River Kwai, Paths of Glory, Sweet Smell of Success, 12 Angry Men, Witness for the Prosecution
  • Director:  1957
    • The Bridge on the River Kwai, Paths of Glory, Smiles of a Summer Night, 12 Angry Men, Sweet Smell of Success —  hon. men.  —  Nights of Cabiria
  • Picture:  1957
    • The Bridge on the River Kwai, Paths of Glory, Smiles of a Summer Night, 12 Angry Men, Sweet Smell of Success —  hon. men.  —  Nights of Cabiria

Cinematographer of the Decade:

Robert Burks

He won the Oscar for To Catch a Thief and was also nominated for Strangers on a Train and Rear Window.  Really, do I need to write any more to justify his placement here?  Possibly the three best photographed films of Hitchcock’s career.  Not to mention the fact that the Academy somehow didn’t nominate him for some of his other Hitchcock films in the decade, most notably North by Northwest, Vertigo and The Trouble with Harry.

Composer of the Decade:

Dmitri Tiomkin

Amazingly, only 4 of his 9 Oscar nominations in the 50’s were for Score (the others were for Song).  But he was composing for all nine of those nominations.  And some of those songs, especially “High Noon” are very much in tune with what he is also doing with the score.  And there are his films for which he wasn’t nominated – like Giant, Rio Bravo or The Thing from Another World.  All in all he composed scores for 49 different films in the decade and his work on High Noon is some of the decade’s best.

Writer of the Decade:

Billy Wilder

Just look at the some of the lines that came out of this decade:  “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”  “I’ve met some hard boiled eggs, but you – you’re twenty minutes.”  “Wanna kiss me, Ducky?”  “Nobody’s perfect.”  And those are just the ones that have been thrown into various quote books.  Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot are two of the most quotable films of the decades.  And those lines above don’t include anything from Stalag 17 or Sabrina.  Later in the decade, Bergman would become the major serious writer, but it was Wilder who was making people laugh from the get-go and never stopped.  He wins my Best Original Screenplay Award in back to back years (1950 and 1951), then wins my Best Adapted Screenplay in 1954 and 1959.  While Bergman would win the final three Original Screenplay Awards of the decade, it was Wilder’s ability to both come up with original ideas or to adapt what was already around and turn out gold either way that really gets him this award.

the magnificent Bibi Andersson in The Seventh Seal (1957)

Supporting Actress of the Decade:

Bibi Andersson

At the beginning of the decade, she was uncredited in a cameo in Miss Julie, an unknown teenage actress.  By the end of the decade, she had given Oscar worthy performances in three magnificent Bergman films – The Seventh Seal, where as the wife, she holds the film together, magnificently delivering the final lines (and winning the Nighthawk Award for 1957), The Magician, and Wild Strawberries – where she appears in both parts of the story and serves as the efervescent muse who inspires Victor Sjostrom (and wins the Nighthawk Award for 1959).  She is beautiful and magnificent and it was just a sign of what was to come in further Bergman films in the sixties (most notably, her magnificent performance in Persona).

Lee J. Cobb in his Oscar nominated role of Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront (1954)

Supporting Actor of the Decade:

Lee J. Cobb

Cobb wasn’t just fiery and bombastic.  Oh, certainly that was what he was known for.  He did it so well in On the Waterfront that he was nominated for an Oscar and then he did it so well again in The Brothers Karamazov that he was nominated for an Oscar again.  And it’s even possible that he’s best remembered for doing it so well in 12 Angry Men, where he’s not the overt racist – he’s just the one who is convinced that the kid must have done it.  But you can also look at him in a film like The Three Faces of Eve where he plays a nice, smart psychiatrist trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  Certainly he was the best at what he did – a precursor to George C. Scott.  But there was more to him than just that loud mouth.

Deborah Kerr (in From Here to Eternity, of course)

Actress of the Decade:

Deborah Kerr

On the one hand, it’s odd to give my Actress of the Decade award to someone who didn’t actually win Best Actress from me any time during the decade.  But most of those actresses who did win never had another truly great performance in the fifties (of the 10, only Audrey Hepburn and Simone Signoret score more than one other nomination in the decade and Kerr’s total work for the decade is better than theirs).  And it’s true that Kerr was in several Best Picture nominees early in the decade where she looked beautiful but where it seemed like she had lost the ability to act (King Solomon’s Mines, Quo Vadis, Julius Caesar).  But then came her performance in From Here to Eternity and she suddenly seemed to be reminded that she was the actress who, in the forties, had been amazing in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and I See a Dark Stranger.  She came in second place for both Eternity and Separate Tables and earned Nighthawk nominations for The End of the Affair and The King and I, while also being solid in both Tea and Sympathy and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.  And she was still beautiful.

Kirk Douglas, looking appropriately intense in Lust for Life (1956)

Actor of the Decade:

Kirk Douglas

Douglas, amazingly enough, also doesn’t win Best Actor from me for any specific year in the decade.  He had won both Nighthawk Awards (lead and supporting) in 1949, but in the fifties, he comes in second (The Bad and the Beautiful and Lust for Life), fourth (Ace in the Hole and Paths of Glory) and fifth (Detective Story).  Granted he comes in fourth and fifth in two of the greatest years for Best Actor in film history.  He, like Kerr, never actually won an Oscar and that’s the Academy’s short-coming.  He was great and he was intense and he wasn’t nominated as often as he should have been and he was better than the actual Oscar winner in 1949 and 1956 and somehow didn’t get nominated for either of his amazing performances in 1951.

Director of the Decade:

Akira Kurosawa

He has four films in the top 20 and two in the top seven in one decade.  That should pretty much say it all right there.  He made seven films in the decade.  Four of them win Best Foreign Film (Rashomon, Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress).  Two others come in third (The Idiot, in the same year as Rashomon, and Throne of Blood, in the greatest year for Foreign films ever – landing behind The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries).  Rashomon wins Best Picture from me in 1952 and The Seven Samurai does the same in 1956.  Even over at the distinguished Top 1000, those four films that make my top 20 all make the top 200 of all-time, with Ikiru making the top 100 and Rashomon and The Seven Samurai making the top 20.  That pretty much says it all right there.

The Top 100 Films of the 1950’s:

  1. Sunset Blvd. (1950, dir. Billy Wilder)
  2. Rashomon (1951, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  3. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, dir. David Lean)
  4. Touch of Evil (1958, dir. Orson Welles)
  5. The Seventh Seal (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  6. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, dir. Elia Kazan)
  7. The Seven Samurai (1954, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  8. On the Waterfront (1954, dir. Elia Kazan)
  9. Paths of Glory (1957, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  10. Singin in the Rain (1952, dir. Stanley Donen / Gene Kelly)
  11. Wild Strawberries (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  12. All About Eve (1950, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

    the beautiful, haunting shot from Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru (1952)

  13. Some Like it Hot (1959, dir. Billy Wilder)
  14. Ikiru (1952, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  15. From Here to Eternity (1953, dir. Fred Zinnemann)
  16. Throne of Blood (1957, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  17. The Searchers (1956, dir. John Ford)
  18. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  19. Strangers on a Train (1951, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  20. The Cranes are Flying (1957, dir. Mikhail Kalatazov)
  21. High Noon (1952, dir. Fred Zinnemann)
  22. North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  23. Rear Window (1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  24. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, dir. Nicholas Ray)
  25. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952, dir. Vincente Minnelli)
  26. The 400 Blows (1959, dir. Francois Truffaut)
  27. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, dir. Alexander MacKendrick)
  28. The Killing (1956, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  29. Stalag 17 (1953, dir. Billy Wilder)
  30. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958, dir. Richard Brooks)
  31. The Big Heat (1953, dir. Fritz Lang)
  32. 12 Angry Men (1957, dir. Sidney Lumet)
  33. The World of Apu (1959, dir. Satyajit Ray)
  34. Detective Story (1951, dir. William Wyler)
  35. The African Queen (1951, dir. John Huston)
  36. Mister Roberts (1955, dir. Mervyn LeRoy / John Ford)
  37. Forbidden Games (1952, dir. Rene Clement)
  38. A Star is Born (1954, dir. George Cukor)
  39. The Hidden Fortress (1958, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  40. A Place in the Sun (1951, dir. George Stevens)
  41. Roman Holiday (1953, dir. William Wyler)
  42. Night and the City (1950, dir. Jules Dassin)
  43. Richard III (1955, dir. Laurence Olivier)
  44. Nights of Cabiria (1957, dir. Federico Fellini)
  45. Sabrina (1954, dir. Billy Wilder)
  46. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955, dir. John Sturges)

    To Catch a Thief is in the top 100, but this really just an excuse for me to use another Grace Kelly picture

  47. Forbidden Planet (1956, dir. Fred Wilcox)
  48. To Catch a Thief (1955, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  49. Witness for the Prosecution (1957, dir. Billy Wilder)
  50. Anatomy of a Murder (1959, dir. Otto Preminger)
  51. The Defiant Ones (1958, dir. Stanley Kramer)
  52. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951, dir. Charles Crichten)
  53. Pickup on South Street (1953, dir. Samuel Fuller)
  54. Gate of Hell (1954, dir. Teinosuke Kinugasa)
  55. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959, dir. George Stevens)
  56. The Bridge (1959, dir. Bernhard Wicki)
  57. Elevator to the Gallows (1959, dir. Louis Malle)
  58. The Ladykillers (1956, dir. Alexander MacKendrick)
  59. Ace in the Hole (1951, dir. Billy Wilder)
  60. Diabolique (1955, dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot)
  61. The Asphalt Jungle (1950, dir. John Huston)
  62. Miss Julie (1951, dir. Alf Sjoberg)
  63. Sleeping Beauty (1959, animated)
  64. La Strada (1956, dir. Federico Fellini)
  65. The Lady and the Tramp (1955, animated)
  66. The Man with the Golden Arm (1955, dir. Otto Preminger)
  67. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953, dir. Jacques Tati)
  68. Othello (1952, dir. Orson Welles)
  69. The Gunfighter (1950, dir. Henry King)
  70. The Moon is Blue (1953, dir. Otto Preminger)
  71. Hobson’s Choice (1954, dir. David Lean)
  72. Ben-Hur (1959, dir. William Wyler)
  73. White Nights (1957, dir. Luchino Visconti)
  74. East of Eden (1955, dir. Elia Kazan)
  75. Baby Doll (1956, dir. Elia Kazan)
  76. La Ronde (1950, dir. Max Ophuls)
  77. Picnic (1955, dir. Joshua Logan)
  78. The Magician (1958, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  79. Vertigo (1958, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  80. Harvey (1950, dir. Henry Koster)
  81. The Quiet Man (1952, dir. John Ford)
  82. Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi (1955, dir. Hiroshi Tanagaki)
  83. Death of a Cyclist (1955, dir. Juan Antonio Bardem)
  84. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, dir. Don Siegel)
  85. Ivan the Terrible Part II (1958, dir. Sergei Eisenstein)
  86. The Country Girl (1954, dir. George Seaton)
  87. Casque d’Or (1952, dir. Jacques Becker)
  88. The Trouble with Harry (1955, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  89. Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, dir. Ingmar Bergman)

    the incredible house in Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle (1958)

  90. Pather Panchali (1955, dir. Satyajit Ray)
  91. Winchester 73 (1950, dir. Anthony Mann)
  92. Aparajito (1957, dir. Satyajit Ray)
  93. Mon Oncle (1958, dir. Jacques Tati)
  94. In a Lonely Place (1950, dir. Nicholas Ray)
  95. The Earrings of Madame De… (1953, dir. Max Ophuls)
  96. The Night of the Hunter (1955, dir. Charles Laughton)
  97. Tin Star (1957, dir. Anthony Mann)
  98. The Caine Mutiny (1954, dir. Edward Dmytryk)
  99. The Thing from Another World (1951, dir. Christain Nyby)
  100. Los Olvidados (1950, dir. Luis Buñuel)

In theory, each year should have 10 films in the top 100, but here’s how they actually play out (top 20 in parenthesis):

  • 1950  –  10  (2)
  • 1951  –  10  (3)
  • 1952  –  8  (2)
  • 1953  –  9  (1)
  • 1954  –  9  (2)
  • 1955  –  17  (1)
  • 1956  –  6  (1)
  • 1957  –  13  (6)
  • 1958  –  9  (1)
  • 1959  –  9  (1)

Because of various Foreign films, the Oscar eligibility (and thus, Nighthawk Award eligibility) actually looks like this:

  • 1950  –  8  (2)
  • 1951  –  8  (2)
  • 1952  –  9  (2)
  • 1953  –  6  (1)
  • 1954  –  10  (1)
  • 1955  –  13  (0)
  • 1956  –  11  (2)
  • 1957  –  8  (3)
  • 1958  –  8  (2)
  • 1959  –  11 (2)
  • post-1959  –  8  (3)

All of the post-1959 films end up in either 1960 or 1961 and they are all Foreign films.  1950 also gets 3 of the top 100 from the 1940’s, including #5 (The Third Man).  The huge disparity in 1957 is the indication of what an amazing year for Foreign films it was as I talked about here.

A couple of sub-genres that began to thrive in the fifties are the Courtroom Drama (four of which make the top 100) and Heist films (5 of which are in the top 100).  We also have four Samurai films, two of which weren’t directed by Akira Kurosawa.  Foreign films were at their peak and a full third of the list consists of non-English language films, including 8 of the top 20.  We do get a Horror film (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and two Science Fiction films (Forbidden Planet, Thing from Another World), but in this decade of musicals, where two of them won Best Picture at the Oscars, only Singin in the Rain and A Star is Born make the list out of the 76 musicals I’ve seen.

Overall, the best year for Best Picture nominees at the Oscars was 1957 which ranked 52nd.  The worst was 1956, coming in at 78th, the worst year since the early 30’s and no year since has been as bad.  Here’s how many nominees from each year made the top 100:

  • 1950  –  2
  • 1951  –  2
  • 1952  –  2
  • 1953  –  2
  • 1954  –  3
  • 1955  –  2
  • 1956  –  0
  • 1957  –  3
  • 1958  –  2
  • 1959  –  3

The problem was that years with great films (like 1954 or 1957) were then counter-balanced by a truly awful film (Three Coins in the Fountain and Peyton Place).

Billy Wilder directing Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Director with 3 or more in the Top 100:

  • 6:
    • Billy Wilder  (1, 13, 29, 45, 49, 59)
    • Alfred Hitchcock  (19, 22, 23, 48, 79, 88)
  • 5:
    • Akira Kurosawa  (2, 7, 14, 16, 39)
    • Ingmar Bergman  (5, 11, 18, 78, 89)
  • 4:
    • Elia Kazan  (6, 8, 74, 75)
  • 3:
    • John Ford  (17, 36, 81)
    • Satyajit Ray  (33, 90, 92)
    • William Wyler  (34, 41, 72)
    • Otto Preminger  (50, 66, 70)
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