Category Archives: 1950 Films

Stage Fright-1950

Stage Fright-1950

Director Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding

Scott’s Review #1,160

Reviewed July 9, 2021

Grade: A-

Stage Fright (1950) is a British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock before his American invasion.

The film feels like a hybrid British/American project with the leading lady, Jane Wyman, being American, but otherwise is set in London with many British actors.

Hitchcock mixes plenty of film noir influences with the typical thrills and suspense creating an excellent product that flies under the radar when matched against his other films.

Wyman is cast as an attractive aspiring actress who works on her craft by going undercover to solve a mystery. There are Nancy Drew elements and it’s fun to watch Wyman, who would become Mrs. Ronald Reagan before he entered politics and later would become President of the United States.

She reportedly divorced him because she had little interest in entering the political spectrum by association.

The action gets off to a compelling start with two characters driving in a car in clear peril. Hitchcock loved driving scenes like these. It is learned that the police think actor Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd) is a murderer, and now they’re on his tail.

He seeks shelter with his ex-girlfriend Eve (Wyman), who drives him to stay in hiding with her father, Commodore Gill (Alastair Sim).

He explains that it was his lover, the famous and snobbish actress Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich), who killed the victim (not coincidentally, her husband). Convinced Jonathan is innocent, Eve plays detective and assumes multiple disguises, slowly developing feelings for Detective Inspector, Wilfred O. Smith (Michael Wilding).

Once embroiled in a web of deception, she realizes that Shakespeare was right and that all the world is a stage.

Wyman is the Hitchcock brunette as opposed to his later fascination with the blonde bombshell. Therefore, her role is more sedate and astute than the sex appeal that would come with Hitchcock’s later characters.

Eve closely resembles the character of Charlie whom Teresa Wright played in 1943’s Shadow of a Doubt. They are both astute and investigative with a mystery to unravel. Interestingly, they both fall for detectives.

All the glasses! Hitchcock’s fetish for women wearing glasses is on full display, especially with the character of Nellie, a cockney opportunist played by Kay Walsh. Look closely and one can spot several minor or background ladies sporting spectacles and even Eve dons a pair as a disguise.

Pat Hitchcock, the director’s daughter, plays a small role as she would in Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960).

Speaking of Strangers on a Train, there are similarities to mention.

Both involve a tit-for-tat exchange where one character is requested by another to kill someone in exchange for either a payoff or another form of motivation.

Marlene Dietrich is as sexy as ever in the pivotal role of Charlotte. She is self-centered, self-absorbed, and thoughtless, constantly mispronouncing Eve’s fictitious name and barely noticing that she is covering for her regular maid/dresser.

But is she evil and capable of killing her husband?

Stage Fright has a thrilling finale. In the climax, the audience finally finds out who has been telling the truth who has been lying, and what explanations are revealed. There is a pursuit, an attempted killing, and a shocking death by way of a falling safety curtain, in the theater naturally.

What one would expect from a Hitchcock final act.

The focus on theatrical stage actors is a nice topic and adds to the existing drama as the implication of playing various roles comes into play big time. So is the prominence early on of the Big Ben landmark in London and other location trimmings.

Stage Fright (1950) doesn’t get the love saved for other Hitchcock masterpieces and that’s a shame because the film is excellent.



Director Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson

Voices Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley

Scott’s Review #731

Reviewed March 7, 2018

Grade: A-

Cinderella is a lovely 1950 Walt Disney production that rejuvenated the animated film genre after a sluggish 1940s, thanks to the ravages of World War II.

The film glistens with goodness and bright colors, offering a charming fairy tale-based story based on hope and “happily ever after”.

Cinderella is enchanting on all levels.

Told largely in narration form especially to explain the history of the story, we learn that Cinderella’s parents have both died, leaving her an orphan and living with her wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine.

Her stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia are jealous of Cinderella’s natural beauty. She is abused and berated regularly, forced to work as a servant in a rundown chateau- tending to the trio’s needs and demands.

Despite her unhappy life, Cinderella makes the most of it and befriends mice, birds, and many other animals she meets, singing and dancing merrily.

Life chugs along for our heroine until one day the King of the royal palace decides to throw a lavish Ball for his son, the Prince, to find his soulmate and marry her finally. The King requests that all eligible unmarried women attend.

As Cinderella excitedly requests to go, Lady Tremaine cruelly grants her request, provided all of her work is done, having no intention of making things easy on her.

In true fairy tale form, the Prince falls madly in love with Cinderella while many hurdles face the pair on their way to happiness.

Given the time when Cinderella was made (1950), the timing was excellent for a lavish production, to say nothing of the fantasy that many young girls undoubtedly experienced a handsome prince rescuing them, whisking them away from a life of doldrums to undying love.

Female empowerment had not yet taken hold during the 1950s, so the male-rescuing female message was palpable and appealing to many. Dated not the least bit, a story of true love overcoming hardship can always find an audience.

The colors and animations of the production are lush and powerful, oozing with perfection and drizzling with fantastic elements of romance and spectacular wealth.

An example of this is the lavish ball at the palace- as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother transforms the young girl and her transportation into a magical fantasy of horses, gowns, and carriages, it is quite extravagant in its beauty.

Engaging, with a bit of humor mixed in, are the supporting characters of the three evil ladies and the bumbling Grand Duke- interestingly voiced by the same person as the King. As Drizella and Anastasia attempt to impress Prince Charming, their awkward and haphazard mannerisms and scowls perfectly counterbalance the charm and grace of Cinderella in a sometimes comical fashion.

Comparisons must be made to 1937’s masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and both films could easily be companion films to each other, being watched in sequence for better study and marveling about similarities.

Snow White and Cinderella are purely “good” characters, singing lovely tunes, embracing animal friends, and various forms of wildlife- they are both more or less “saved” by men.

In the present day, instead of this being offensive or “old fashioned”, it remains enchanting and a celebration of true love.

Cinderella is a treasure to be enjoyed after all these years, never aging nor becoming dated or irrelevant, which is a true testament to the power of film. Carving a story of values, honesty, hard work, and good payoff, generations of fans can appreciate this everlasting treasure.

Oscar Nominations: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Original Song-“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, Best Sound Recording

Sunset Boulevard-1950

Sunset Boulevard-1950

Director Billy Wilder

Starring Gloria Swanson, William Holden

Top 100 Films #42

Scott’s Review #330


Reviewed January 8, 2016

Grade: A

I adore films about Hollywood (good ones), and Sunset Boulevard (1950) is an absolute treasure.

Directed by classic film director, Billy Wilder, the film is a film noir about a legendary silent film star, Norma Desmond, unable to cope with modern films involving sound, and living a life of instability and mental illness, as her career has long ended.

Handsome Joe innocently stumbles upon her mansion and the two form an eerie relationship ending in tragedy.

Sunset Blvd. is a famous street that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California and is immediately featured in the film as Joe Gillis, played by William Holden, drives down the street, an unsuccessful screenwriter, whose car is about to be repossessed.

Joe narrates the film and we see a man lying dead in a vast swimming pool. Ironically, this is the film’s ending, and Wilder interestingly works backward so the audience knows tragedy will eventually ensue.

To avoid men chasing him, Joe pulls into a driveway and hides his car in a garage near a vast yet run-down mansion. He is mistaken for a coffin salesman and meets the infamous and creepy Norma and her servant, Max.

The coffin is for Norma’s pet chimpanzee, who has died. Intrigued, and broke, Joe hatches a plot to re-write Norma’s terrible screenplay- and make some money from the aging Hollywood star.

Norma needs companionship. The two, with Max, embark on a weird relationship based on jealousy, passion, and rage.

The black-and-white style works extremely well in the film. The lighting gives off a mystique of intrigue and film noir.

Sunset Boulevard combines the noir with a rich character study of Norma and we feel her pain and isolation at being cast aside because of the times.

I love how Wilder focuses both on the gloomy nature of Norma’s vast mansion- especially when she throws a New Year’s Eve party- isolated with just she and Joe and a hired band- interspersed with a lively party in Hollywood- filled with young, energetic, up and coming talents.

The scenes mix perfectly and show the two different worlds and perspectives.

Sunset Boulevard is a brilliant depiction of old Hollywood at its best (and worst). A study in ambition, struggle, high hopes (Joe), and faded success and dreams shattered in reality, where delusion is the only defense (Norma).

Oscar Nominations: 3 wins-Best Motion Picture, Best Director-Billy Wilder, Best Actor-William Holden, Best Actress-Gloria Swanson, Best Supporting Actor-Erich von Stroheim, Best Supporting Actress-Nancy Olson, Best Story and Screenplay (won), Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (won), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (won), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Film Editing

All About Eve-1950

All About Eve-1950

Director Joe Mankiewicz

Starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter

Top 100 Films #84

Scott’s Review #73


Reviewed June 27, 2014

Grade: A

All About Eve is a cynical masterpiece from 1950 set in the competitive world of the New York theater.

Insecure Margo Channing, played to perfection by Bette Davis, is an aging actress whose career is declining. She meets naïve Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter, who insinuates herself into Margo’s life and career.

One interesting facet of this film is how the opening scene is of an acceptance speech by Eve. The look of anger and disdain from the front table gives a good indication of things to come. From there the film backtracks to the first time the two women meet and the story begins.

It is certainly a dark film and jealousy and back-stabbing are common themes throughout as had never been done before set in the world of theater.

One by one, each of Margo’s friends catches on to Eve’s plot, but at what cost?

This is Bette Davis’s comeback performance as a talented Broadway star and she makes the most of the opportunity as she deliciously utters her famous revenge-minded line “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”.

Marilyn Monroe has a cameo role as a debutante in her first film role.

The film deservedly won the 1950 Best Picture Oscar.

Oscar Nominations: 7 wins-Best Motion Picture (won), Best Director-Joseph L. Mankiewicz (won), Best Actress-Anne Baxter, Bette Davis, Best Supporting Actor-George Sanders (won), Best Supporting Actress-Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Best Screenplay (won), Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Sound Recording (won), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (won), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (won), Best Film Editing