Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '55 - KC (Of A CLASSIC MOVIE Blog) ""

Monday, October 26, 2015

Underrated '55 - KC (Of A CLASSIC MOVIE Blog)

Kendahl "KC" Cruver writes about movies at A Classic Movie Blog and as a regular contributor to ClassicFlix. You can find her all over the web:
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My Sister Eileen (1955; Richard Quine)
I like the easygoing feel of this high-spirited musical, set in a Manhattan with spotless alleys that clearly do not smell like urine. Janet Leigh and Betty Garnett are sisters living together in a Greenwich Village basement apartment. They are romanced by Bob Fosse and Jack Lemmon, whose quirkiness adds a great deal of interest to the squeaky clean 1950s-ness of it all. The songs are charming, if not terribly memorable, and Fosse's choreography, already clicking with those famous finger snaps, has a simplicity that non-dancer Leigh can manage, but is also energetic enough to get your blood pumping. Fosse's also great in a non-stinky alley dance-off with Tommy Rall.

Pete Kelly's Blues (1955; Jack Webb)
Janet Leigh again, this time as a wealthy flapper girl playing support to Jack Webb's troubled bandleader. Their romance doesn't make a lot of sense, but the real reason to see this movie is the musical interludes featuring Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Lee is also very effective in her role as a battered, alcoholic moll.

Female on the Beach (1955; Jospeh Pevney)
One of Joan Crawford's "twentysomething going on fifty" dramas, where everyone is supposed to act like she's young and innocent, even though she looks like she could bring you down with a twitch of those magnificent eyebrows. There's a fascinating scumminess to the characters that surround Ms. Joan; the performances by Jeff Chandler, Jan Sterling, Cecil Kellaway and Natalie Schafer are so shady that you still feel you can't trust the ones that turn out to be okay. 

Dementia/Daughter of Horror (1955; John Parker)
I had a hard time believing this grotesque horror noir was made in 1955, and I still marvel that it was not only made, but distributed. It features Adrienne Barrett in a one-off starring role as a psychopathic killer who wanders through a nightmarish night in the city. Essentially an experimental film, dialogue free and with stylistic nods to Maya Deren and Jean Cocteau, it would have been interesting to see how the drive-in crowd reacted to this one. I saw the version narrated by Ed McMahon, which gives it an occasional Ed Wood vibe, but doesn't ruin it the way purists will tell you.

Man Without a Star (1955; King Vidor)
I actually don't remember this modern Western very well, except that I really liked Kirk Douglas' performance, and he's not an actor I tend to enjoy. There are also a few beautifully executed shots by director King Vidor that stick in my mind. I'll need to watch this one again soon.

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