We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.
AllowReject
Back to library

1950s Masterpieces

1950s Masterpieces

A SONG OF LOVE

Jean Genet France, 1950

The controversial writer and outcast Jean Genet made only one film in his lifetime yet its impact on underground and independent filmmakers has been incalculable. This sexually graphic and profoundly liberating work, which was infamously declared obscene, is a poetic paean to homoerotic desire.

More info

THE VAGABOND

Raj Kapoor India, 1951

Raj Kapoor’s watershed film belongs to the Golden Age of Hindi cinema, combining multiple genres and serving as a social critique of class in newly independent India. A milestone in introducing global audiences to Bollywood, the film also launched Kapoor’s illustrious Chaplinesque character.

THE HITCH-HIKER

Ida Lupino United States, 1953

In Hollywood history, too few women have gotten their chance in the director’s chair. But in any hall of fame, there’s actress-turned-director Ida Lupino, whose independently-produced Hitch-Hiker (the first major noir directed by a woman?) is one of the era’s most shocking renegade thrillers.

HD
More info

DEATH IN THE GARDEN

Luis Buñuel France, 1956

Shot in brilliant Eastmancolor and featuring a star-studded cast, Death in the Garden is a pulsating adventure film alive with gradually dawning surrealist gestures from director Luis Buñuel.

SALT OF THE EARTH

Herbert J. Biberman United States, 1954

Depicting the prejudices faced by Mexican-Americans with a feminist and pro-labor position, this powerful and persuasive, yet long-suppressed and blacklisted film was promptly decried as communist propaganda. A rare and radical classic of American independent and social-realist cinema.

VENOM AND ETERNITY

Isidore Isou France, 1951

With Venom and Eternity, avant-garde poet Isidore Isou had the goal to “hurt your eyes, truly!” Exclaiming his cinema prophecy in an incendiary voice-over, provoking the viewer with its entrancing, distorted images of everyday life, it is a bona fide surrealist visual revolution.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM

Otto Preminger United States, 1955

Besides making masterpiece after masterpiece, in the 1950s Austrian emigre auteur Otto Preminger was known for pushing the envelope of American censorship. Try this one on for size: Frank Sinatra as a drug addict! Impeccably fluid filmmaking, a legendary performance, and an unforgettable score.

ROBINSON CRUSOE

Luis Buñuel Mexico, 1954

Luis Buñuel in the jungle! Himself an exile several times over, he had his biggest flirtation with Hollywood success by shrewdly rendering Daniel Defoe’s desert island classic as a satire on the madness of civilization. His first film in color, shaded like a fever dream!