SPOTLIGHT ON 1950

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Choosing a year of Hollywood history to look at wasn’t easy, but I settled on 1950 because it was the start of a decade of change for the Hollywood studios.In fact 1950 may have been the beginning of the end of the studio system.
The separation of production companies and theatre chains went into force at the start of the year.
Seven million TV sets were sold in America.   Cinema audiences were declining.

The Hollywood Ten went to jail subsequent to the HUAC hearings of 1947 and the studios’ rush to fire anyone remotely connected to communism.

But the Brothers Warner were still running their studio: Darryl Zanuck knew what he was doing at Fox; MGM continued lavishing big budgets on their glossy musicals (though L.B.Mayer would be replaced within a year): Over at RKO Howard Hughes was running the studio – into the ground.
Stars who made their names in the 1930s were still very active as the new decade began – Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Tyrone Power, John Wayne,James Stewart,Humphrey Bogart,James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable.
But Judy Garland, only 28 years old, and after making films(and profits) for MGM for 15 years, was let go by the studio.

1950 had its share of classic in all genres.

Bogart was the tortured writer in IN A LONELY PLACE.

Gloria Grahame,Humphrey Bogart

Gloria Grahame,Humphrey Bogart

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When James Stewart wasn’t starring for Hitchcock, he appeared in some of the best westerns of the 50s, beginning with WINCHESTER 73 in which he battled with Stephen McNally over a rare rifle.

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What can you say about D.O.A. surely one of the best thrillers ever, with Edmund O‘Brien in practically every scene after he announces his own death!

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Betty Hutton has the role of her career as Annie Oakley in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Originally meant to star Judy Garland, Miss Hutton grabbed the role and made it her own.

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HARVEY was the perfect comedy role for James Stewart as the friendly individual whose best friend was a very large rabbit.

I’d like to add a Hitchcock from 1950, but STAGE FRIGHT isn’t one of his best.

Two highlights of 1950;
Who would have guessed that,after nearly 20 years in Hollywood, Bette Davis would get one of the best roles of her career – as the temperamental stage star,’Margo Channing’ in ALL ABOUT EVE. Bette used all her considerable talent and made ‘Margo’ unforgettable.

Bette Davis, Thelma Ritter

Bette Davis, Thelma Ritter

Over at Paramount, Billy Wilder focused on another legend, a silent film star,’Norma Desmond’ played by silent film star Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD. His tale was very different from  the Broadway world of All About Eve.
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Other films that stand out for me from this year include UNION STATION,WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS,ARMORED CAR ROBBERY,PANIC IN THE STREETS, DARK CITY,BORN YESTERDAY,GUN CRAZY.

So Hollywood was still going strong, but there were big changes ahead.

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Other posts in the Blogathon can be seen here

14 responses »

  1. I don’t always associate 1950 with great movies, but your rundown of releases impressed me and reminded me of others that have made their way into my heart: “Stars in My Crown”, “No Way Out”, “Cinderella”, “The Asphalt Jungle” and “Rio Grande”. The more you look, the more there is to appreciate. Thanks for kicking me in the memory!

  2. Patricia, I should have mentioned Asphalt Jungle.
    Seems to me you could pick so many years and find a great selection – as we can see from the. Blogathon!
    I agree,Kristina, a great year for noirs.

  3. You highlight some fab films from 1950 🙂 “Annie Get Your Gun”, “All About Eve” and “Harvey” are such fun!

    Nice choice of posters too! Love the ones for “Gun Crazy” and “Panic In The Streets”.

  4. Any year that has Norma Desmond, Billie Dawn and Margo Channing has to be a banner year! The 1950s films are looking better and better to me these days and this year certainly started the decade with a bang. Loved the post and your choice of posters;

  5. Love the noir movie posters you’ve included – a great mix of danger and seediness.

    I liked your overview of 1950. Some terrific films from this year…and the beginning of the end for the studio system. It’s kind of bittersweet in a way, isn’t it? The end of the studio system meant actors & others had more freedom, but – in my opinion – the golden age of movies was sliding into history…

  6. I’m sad to reach 1950 and the last entry in this blogathon, but you made it more bearable. D.O.A. is one of my favorite thrillers (lots of San Francisco) and Harvey is one of my favorites of all time. We need more Elwood P Dowds and more pookahs in this world. Thank for a nice conclusion to the blogathon.

  7. Silver Screenings, a big thank you for co-hosting the Blogathon. It’s been one of the best. And ‘Bittersweet’ is a good word to describe the changes in Hollywood.

    Joe,thank you so much for your comments. It occurs to me we could have included the 50s in the Blogathon. I’m just thinking of some of my favorites from that decade. -REAR WINDOW,VERTIGO,NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, STALAG 17, HIGH NOON,THE THING,JOHNNY GUITAR,BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, KISS ME DEADLY.

    Hollywood was changing but the Classic era wasn’t over.

  8. Loved the post! I have always had a soft spot for 1950 and I don’t envy the Academy voters in choosing the best actress (congrats to Judy Holliday). And the noir! The noir! Thanks for the mention of Where the Sidewalk ends. Overlooked in favor of the happier Laura but what a film!

  9. I love Where the Sidewalk Ends but found it disappointing that Gene Tierney’s part was so much less than Laura.
    Thank you so much for co-hosting this great Blogathon.

  10. Hollywood was still strong, and both Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve are there to prove the quality of 1950. Another favorite of mine from this year is Harvey.
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂
    Greetings!

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