Monday, October 10, 2011

The Restless Fifties 1953 - 1955 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 10


The tenth chapter in "32 Days of Movies", an audiovisual tour through 366 films. 
(2015 update: included Vimeo embed after the jump)

The Restless Fifties

Far from being a tepid, sedate period as is sometimes suggested, the fifties were full of dynamic energy. What distinguished the decade from the following one was the difficulties these energies faced in finding expression. You could see them in advertisements, magazine layouts, in widescreen movies (making their first appearance today) and live television, and especially the emergence of teen culture and rock 'n' roll. Yet somehow there seemed to be a deeper restlessness and rootlessness there, something left over from the war that couldn't quite fully flower.


You can see it all over the place in today's chapter - a stillness that seems just on the verge of movement, or a sinuous motion full of pent-up energy. It's there in the young boy seeing a figure emerge from the distance in his gunsights, or the crowd of moody young men gazing over the stormy seashore, or even the aching grace of a sliding camera as a little boy kneels down to pay his respects at a grave (and if any characters were deserving of rest, it would be those in this film). A girl gazes longingly at a party she cannot enter and a sad big-hearted man finds joy in love for the first time - and can't contain himself.

Neither can the woman at the end who, Pandora be damned, just must find out what's in that box. Restlessness can only be contained so long - sooner or later it's gotta explode.




I suppose the last clip contains a spoiler of sorts though chances are you've already seen the image even if you haven't seen the film. Spoiler at end so you can wait for the title's appearance to decide.

I have covered one of today's films here.

Yesterday: A Violent Release

2 comments:

Shubhajit said...

Another great effort, Joel.

The current compilation of yours in littered with one revered masterpiece after another. Unfortunately, I've watched just 3 of them, viz. On the Waterfront, Rear Window, Kiss Me Deadly.

Interestingly, I recently read Mickey Spillane's One Lonely Night, featuring the indomitable Mike Hammer. And the omnibus also contains Kiss Me Deadly, though I haven't read it yet.

Due to time constraints, I'm having to keep my comment short. I'll make that up with my subsequent contributions.

Cheers!

Joel Bocko said...

No pressure on comments - just say what's on your mind when you feel like it. Indeed, if there are films you haven't seen yet but do down the line, feel free to leave a comment at these spaces weeks, months, even years after the post - I always love return visits.