Art Vs Commerce: Musicals, Bible Stories, and Bad Choices (1950s)

My Personal Ranking

Toss another ten flicks into the list and here’s what we get…

(Maybe I am still overvaluing Cimarron, so what, call the film discourse cops.)

  1. Casablanca
  2. It Happened One Night
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Gentleman’s Agreement
  5. On The Waterfront
  6. All About Eve
  7. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  8. Cimarron
  9. Gone With the Wind
  10. Going My Way
  11. Rebecca
  12. Wings
  13. Mutiny on the Bounty
  14. Hamlet
  15. Marty
  16. You Can’t Take It With You
  17. The Grand Hotel
  18. An American in Paris
  19. Gigi
  20. The Best Years of Our Lives
  21. The Life of Emile Zola
  22. Around The World in 80 Days
  23. Ben-Hur
  24. The Greatest Show on Earth
  25. Mrs. Miniver
  26. How Green Was My Valley
  27. All the King’s Men
  28. From Here To Eternity
  29. The Lost Weekend
  30. The Great Ziegfeld
  31. The Broadway Melody
  32. Cavalcade

Parting Thoughts

First off, go me for managing a secret running gag in the “next page” sections. Or maybe you noticed it. I don’t know, I don’t live inside your head.

Yet.

Second… on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (a thing I did that I’m proud of but worry can’t be mentioned without sounding douchey), they say that day two, and the climb to Dead Woman’s Pass, is the hardest part. The steepest climb to the highest point. Once you get through that, it gets much easier the rest of the way.

I am really hoping that’s what the 50s were to this project. That the roughest patch is over. Because the Oscar winners were all over the damn map and the box office champs were an unrewarding slog. Just gotta remind myself… the 70s are coming, and hoo golly that’s when things get interesting. Just make it to the 70s, man, just make it to the 70s.

Martin Scorcese claimed that the MCU films are “theme park rides” rather than “cinema,” and film snobs were quick to pile on, because film snobs love to say that modern audiences don’t appreciate true filmmaking, almost as much as they like taking a shot at Marvel Studios. Next time anyone says anything like that, tell them Borat is about 1,000,000 times funnier and less racist than Eddie Cantor. Tell them about This Is The Army, Quo Vadis, or The Robe, because Avengers: Endgame might be 70% fan service, and Rise of Skywalker might be 70% fan service that didn’t land, but they’re both far better movies than any of those other three yes including Rise of Skywalker.

Next time a conservative complains about movies being too “political” remind them that the 50s ate up empty-calorie “epics” that paused in the middle for a damned homily from literal Saint Peter, and making religious sermons into blockbusters is very much not better than having a superhero say that trans rights are human rights, or Harley Quinn say that she’s not just an accessory to the Joker and women have value in their own right. Those second examples are better because they’re about making a positive change in the world, rather than just saying “Christianity! It exists and is better than… [checks notes] the Roman empire.” Yeah. Spicy take right there, Quo Vadis.

Next time… someone get Quentin Tarantino a tissue, because we enter the last days of the Golden Age of Hollywood as the Hays Code and old school studio system die, and the film industry gets nuts.

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