Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '55 - Lindsey D. ""

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Underrated '55 - Lindsey D.

Lindsey has been blogging about film at The Motion Pictures for almost four years, updating the site on a daily basis. Though the blog's focus is on pre-1970 films, a little bit of everything is covered, and Lindsey's motto is "I'll watch anything once." You can also find her on Twitter (@tmplindsey) and Tumblr (recollective.tumblr.com).


The list:


DRAMA: I'll Cry Tomorrow
This is a biopic about Lillian Roth, who was a Broadway and film star during the 1920s and 1930s. The film focuses on Lillian's personal life, from her childhood spent under the control of an oppressive stage mother to her later struggles with alcoholism. Susan Hayward gives a gritty and heartbreaking performance in the role of Lillian. It would be easy to pan I'll Cry Tomorrow due to its visual anachronisms -- it's set in the '20s and '30s but looks and sounds like a thoroughly '50s film -- but it's a good watch, especially for Hayward's performance.
MUSICAL: My Sister Eileen
Previously filmed in 1942 as a screwball comedy with Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair, My Sister Eileen tells the story of aspiring actress Eileen (Janet Leigh) and aspiring writer Ruth (Betty Garrett), sisters who have moved to New York City in search of their dreams. This 1955 version is every bit as fun as the earlier film, but with the added bonus of musical numbers! The great Jack Lemmon stars alongside Leigh and Garrett; all three give top-notch performances, making the film worthy of a lot more attention than it gets.
NOIR/THRILLER: Killer's Kiss
"Underrated" and "Kubrick" aren't usually used in the same sentence, but I'd argue that the director's second film, Killer's Kiss, is definitely underrated. The film tells the story of a boxer who, returning home from a lost fight, hears screams coming from a neighbor's apartment. Fans of the director's later work seem to dismiss this flick, calling it one of his worst. The cinematography, pretty much universally praised by anyone who has seen this film, is the only element that gets the positive attention it deserves.
SCI-FI: The Beast with a Million Eyes
For fans of cheesy sci-fi flicks, The Beast with a Million Eyes is one of the most enjoyable crops of corn to be found. The film follows the Kelley family, a dysfunctional bunch who live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. A plane crashes near their home one day, and all of the animals in the area begin acting strangely... because their minds (as well as those of nearby "weak-minded" humans) are being controlled by an alien! The performances aren't great, nor the script, but if you're a fan of bad-good B-movies, this is definitely one to seek out.
WESTERN: The Violent Men
Barbara Stanwyck was one of classic Hollywood's most versatile actresses. She made noir, she made dramas, she made Westerns... she even made a musical or two! She's known by many as "the queen of Hollywood," but even among her filmography, underrated gems can be found. It's surprising that her 1955 Western The Violent Menisn't more-often discussed, considering Stanwyck appears alongside two more classic legends, Glenn Ford and Edward G. Robinson. The cast is strong, the story is engrossing, and the character dynamics are fascinating to watch.

2 comments:

Katy Rochelle said...

Great picks! Susan gives an amazing performance in I'll Cry Tomorrow; one of my favorites.

Laura said...

Really glad to see MY SISTER EILEEN included on a list, it's a very enjoyable movie with a wonderful cast -- I almost included it on my own list!

Enjoyed your picks!

Best wishes,
Laura