A couple of weeks ago, I was messing around with the film list website LETTERBOXD, and came up with a list idea of posting a snapshot of a year in film (I started with 1973) and discussed it with my friend over at RUPERT PUPKIN SPEAKS. He took the idea a step further and posted a similar list to his blog for 1974.
So between the 2 of us (and anyone else, feel free to join in) we'll be giving a cinema snapshot of various years from various decades.
I love looking - especially years later - at a film line release schedule. How many times has a movie come out and just been forgotten, or it lives on as a cinema classic. Looking at a year in full gives an idea of what Hollywood was thinking, what and who was popular, and is a great reminder of just how many great films can come in 1 year's time.
I love the 1950s, so it being Easter weekend, I decided to start with 1959 the release year of BEN-HUR. It also ties in with the fact that the 1997 James Cameron movie TITANIC was re-released this weekend in 3D, and BEN-HUR and TITANIC share the honor of winning the most Academy Award wins (along with THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING) with 11.
In some cases I have made notes, or mentioned a director - and obviously this list is not a full list of everything that came out in 1959 - but as you can see it was a pretty great year overall.
ANATOMY OF A MURDER (Otto Preminger)
ANATOMY OF A MURDER is nothing short of a masterpiece, and is on my list of top 10 movies of all time. Recently, THE CRITERION COLLECTION issued a Blu-Ray edition which should be in every movie lovers collection.
If the title doesn't grab you, that poster should!
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
I came across this movie years ago - either on AMC or TCM - and it's a delightful movie that has Peter Sellers threatened when a female executive is sent to the sock factory in Scotland where he works to shape things up.
THE KILLER SHREWS
Another fun movie that I discovered during last summer's TCM Drive-in movie programming. James Best (Roscoe P. Coltrane from THE DUKES OF HAZZARD) plays a particularly crusty ships captain forced to deal with some pretty big and nasty creatures. Worth it for the ending sequence where they turn washtubs into walking tanks.
THE MOUSE THAT ROARED
Truly one of my favorites. Worth checking out which is easy to do as TCM airs it regularly.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (Alfred Hitchcock)
Truly one of the great movies from this year and this decade! One of Hitchcock's best, and next to say PSYCHO, probably his most famous.
THE NUN'S STORY (Fred Zinnemann)
I recently caught this movie (again on TCM) and while it is heavy going, it is a very fulfilling movie and Audrey Hepburn really shines in it.
This movie has a following, and Universal is restoring it for a Blu-Ray release this summer as part of their 100th Year Anniversary.
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (Ed Wood)
Often cited as the worst movie ever made - so bad it's a masterpiece in badness. Not to mention, thanks to it we have Tim Burton's delightful ED WOOD.
PORGY AND BESS (Otto Preminger)
I had the opportunity to see a beautiful 35mm print of this at a gentleman's house in LA who had his own print collection and screening room. Worth seeing in all its Cinemascope glory.
RIO BRAVO (Howard Hawks)
One of my all-time favorite westerns, and easily Dean Martin's best role. This movie is just great all around.
Widescreen Disney animated feature which introduced the world to the very evil Malificent. Disney is working on a live-action feature about Malificent and I believe Angelina Jolie is attached to play the title role.
SOME LIKE IT HOT (Billy Wilder)
Probably Billy Wilder's most famous movie, and one of the films that made Marilyn Monroe and icon. Love Tony Curtis' imitation of Cary Grant, and the comedy subplot of Jack Lemmon (in drag) being romanced by another guy is very cutting edge given the period this film was released. The last line in the film is truly a classic.
THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS