“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”
– Fred Astaire
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Hi dears!! I’m returning to the posts about the movies of each genre. Now it will be about the 50’s movies, in special, in these two genres: Comedy and Drama.
Today I will dedicate only to the Comedies, especially the Romantic ones, which I believe that is one of the favorite genres about the 50’s and about the American cinema in general…
To start, how we can talk about the 50’s comedies without remember the most known icon Marilyn Monroe? She initiated her carreer in the 40’s end, but was in the 50’s that she stood out, entering on pop culture’s history and keeping herself loved until today. Among the movies she acted in the 50’s are:
- “Gentleman Prefer Blondes”, also starring Jane Russell; and “How to Marry a Millionaire”, starring Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall (both movies of 1953);
- “The Seven Year Itch” (1955): directed by Billy Wilder, it’s considered one of the greatest comedies of all time in the cinema and it’s in this movie that happens the famous scene where Marilyn’s dress is raised in the street by the subway. Also by this movie, Marilyn is consolidated as the greatest sex symbol in that period;
- “Some Like It Hot”, also directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (1959): this movie won the Academy Awards (1960) in the category “Best Costume – Black and White”; and the Golden Globe Awards (1960) in the categories “Best Movie – Comedy/Musical”, “Best Actor – Comedy/Musical” (Jack Lemmon) and “Best Actress – Comedy/Musical” (Marilyn Monroe).
– About the movie “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” give a look on the famous scene where Monroe sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend“, which has inspired several artists over time, as Madonna in her musical video “Material Girl” (1985) and Nicole Kidman in the movie “Moulin Rouge” (2001):
Another actress who stood out in the Romantic comedies in 50’s was Audrey Hepburn, but in the contrary side of Monroe, she acted in more behaved roles. Her first big movie was “Roman Holiday” (1953 – also starring Gregory Peck), which won the Academy Awards (1954) in the categories “Best Actress” (Audrey), “Best Costume – Black and White” and “Best Original Story”; and the Golden Globe Awards (1954), the BAFTA (1954 – UK) and the NYFCC Award (1953) in the category “Best Actress” (Audrey Hepburn). See the trailer:
Other Romantic comedies with Miss Hepburn in the 50’s:
- “Sabrina” (1954), directed by Billy Wilder and also starring Humphrey Bogart and William Holden;
- “Funny Face” (1957), directed by Stanley Donen and also starring Fred Astaire;
- “Love In The Afternoon” (1957), directed by Billy Wilder and also starring Gary Cooper.
I believe these two movies with Doris Day are also adorable: “Teacher’s Pet” (1958), also starring Clark Gable, and “Pillow Talk” (1959), also starring Rock Hudson.
Some movies that you also may like:
- “Born Yesterday“, starring Judy Holliday and William Holden, and “Harvey“, starring James Stewart (both of 1950);
- “Monkey Business“, starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, also with Marilyn Monroe; “Pat and Mike“, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (both of 1952);
- “The Barefoot Contessa” (1954), starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart, this movie is a co-production between USA and Italy;
- “The Court Jester” (1956), starring Danny Kaye;
- “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” (1957), starring Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall.
So I hope you enjoy these fabulous comedies and see you soon with some dramas in the next post! 😉
This week I decided to write about some movies of each genre. Today, I’ll talk about the Musical ones.
Like I said before, this genre had its peak in the 40’s, when some memorable movies were produced. Between 1940 and 1941, Disney, for example, produced three big classical animations: “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” in 1940, and “Dumbo” in 1941. Here, you can see the Pinocchio’s making of:
In 1942, was produced “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, starring James Cagney and Joan Leslie in a plot that shows the George Cohan’s story, an important artist from Broadway. Also in 1942, Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth starred “You Were Never Lovelier”.
In 1945, was premiered “Anchors Aweigh”, starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson. This musical is, by far, my favorite by a logical reason: there were Sinatra singing and Gene dancing! Two of my favorite artists! Also in this movie, there is the famous scene where Gene dances with the little mouse Jerry. See the trailer:
In 1948, it came out “Easter Parade”, with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Also in 1948, was made “The Three Musketeers”, was starring by Gene Kelly, Lara Turner and Vincent Price:
By the way, in 1949, there was another movie starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra: “On The Town“. Gene directed the movie too (with another director: Stanley Donen). The movie is also starring Bette Garrett and Ann Miller. Give a look:
For conclude, I will leave you with this little video where Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are dancing and singing together (only time that both of them appeared on screen together). This video is part of a movie called “Ziegfeld Follies“ (1946), which is divided in 12 segments and directed by several directors. This segment, called “The Babbitt And The Bromide“, was directed by Vincente Minnelli and all the choreography was made by Gene (sections one and two) and Fred Astaire (third section). Enjoy!!
The Hollywood’s golden era lasted about 20 years, between these two landmarks: the talkies’ appearance (which left the silent film in crisis) and the television’s popularization (which worried all the film industry). This period had its peak between the 40’s and 50’s, especially in this last, when the Star System was very strong in the society through the several artists whose studios used to use in its productions. This made a lot of movies reach the maximum of popularity and success.
As mentioned before, one of the main characteristics of this period in the cinema is the movies’ subdivision in genres, each one presenting a series of constant elements which show the function and characteristics of each movie. It’s also visible that, with the movies’ subdivision in genres and the Star System’s power, the artists often stayed stuck to only one genre, what created the stereotypes as for the artists as for the movies. This practice is very common until nowadays, because it creates the identification with the public and, consequently, the consumption, what makes the studios and all the film industry keep making money.
With the talkies’ appearance, all the film industry had to change, adapting itself to this innovation. So, with the possibility of using the sound, why not to use the music? Then, the Musical genre arises in the movies, with some iconic artists who keep representing this genre until today, as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. And, this genre had its peak in the 40’s, when some memorable movies were produced.
Another big genre stood out in this decade was the Film noir:
Movie’s style primarily associated to thrillers, which portrays their main characters in a cynical and antipathetic world. The Film noir is derivative from Big Depression epoch’s suspense novels and from 30’s horror movies’ visual style. The first Films noirs appeared in the beginning of 40’s decade. The “Noirs” were historically filmed in black-and-white and they were characterized by high contrast, with roots in the characteristic cinematography from German Expressionism. [WIKIPEDIA, online].
Also, one of the most known genres of the American movies is the Western, and especially in the classic period, this was a popular one. The golden age of this genre has like maximum exponent the job of the director John Ford, who boosted the John Wayne’s career.
Besides the movies of these genres, there were other important and famous movies in the beginning of 40’s decade like: “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940); “Citizen Kane” (1941); and “Casablanca” (1942).
Focusing on the 50’s decade this was a prosperity time for USA and the production from Hollywood because the leisure had become an important part in the American life and the cinema was an essential part in this leisure. According to Wasson (2011): “It was the 50’s and the United States apparently on vacation. […] In these postwar years, the industry of the anxiety’s relief peaked unprecedented, increasing more over the decade”. (WASSON, 2011, p. 39).
In this period, as in the 40’s, it was produced unforgettable Musical movies, some Films noirs and also some Westerns…
On the other hand, it was another genre that stood out in the 50’s decade: the Comedy, more specifically, the Romantic comedy. And, if in the 40’s decade, the actors who dominated the movie screens, in the 50’s, the actresses who commanded. It was in this decade that stood out a phenomenon called Marilyn Monroe, who is the first actress remembered by a lot of people when it is asked something about the 50’s movies. However, as mentioned before, in the classic period of American cinema, especially in the 50’s decade, there was an extreme dialectic to women. So, in the contrary side of Marilyn Monroe, appeared Audrey Hepburn, in movies where she acted in more behaved roles.
Another recurrent genre of the 50’s is the Drama, sometimes involving a Romance, others involving a War, but always with the drama as background.
The 50’s also was the career’s decade of two actors: Grace Kelly and James Dean.
Grace Kelly – Monaco’s Princess – considered the 13th legend of world cinema according to American Film Institute, starred 11 movies between 1951 and 1956 and received 10 nominations for the main awards in the film industry, which won 06 times. James Dean, considered a cultural icon, representing the youth of the 50’s decade. He acted in 07 movies (where in 04 of them, Dean wasn’t credited), also between 1951 and 1956. He received 02 posthumous nominations for Academy Awards (1956 / 1957).
– In the next posts I’ll
talk write more specifically about some movies of this golden period. See you soon!
CINEMA western. Wikipedia. Available in: <http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western>. Access in: 2014, May 25th.
FILM noir. Wikipedia. Available in: <http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_noir>. Access in: 2014, May 25th.
GRACE Kelly. Wikipedia. Available in: <http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Kelly>. Access in: 2014, May 25th.
JAMES Dean. Wikipedia. Available in: <http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dean>. Access in: 2014, May 25th.
STUDIO System / Star System / Gêneros [Genres]. Slideshare. 2009. Available in: <http://pt.slideshare.net/guestcda059/studio-system-star-system-gneros>. Access in: 2014, May 25th.
WASSON, Sam. Quinta Avenida, 5 da manhã: Audrey Hepburn, Bonequinha de luxo e o surgimento da mulher moderna [Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the dawn of the modern woman]. Translated by José Rubens Siqueira. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2011. Cap. 01.