Nominees that didn’t make it:
5. Quo Vadis-never ends, no one interests
4. An American in Paris-like Singin’ in the Rain if everything was dated
For Twitter length reviews click here
Never ends but only occasionally bores. Great craftmanship via the numbers, unusually grim.
Favorite Moment: The halfway point musical number.
41. The Idiot
Wish the editing hadn’t been botched, although the movie definitely needed some trimming, but still an interesting trinity to observe.
Favorite Moment: The ending.
40. Red Badge of Courage
Gets in, Huston does the heavy lifting, and then gets out.
Favorite Moment: Jim’s freakout.
39. Der Verlorene
Owes a lot to M, but the concept’s arguably even more twisted. Lorre does great work in front of and behind the camera.
Favorite Moment: The big flashback reveal.
38. When Worlds Collide
Shot in ravishing technicolors despite silly potboiler material that is still surprisingly fun in a stupid way.
Favorite Moment: The lottery drawing.
37. Lady of Musashino
While it’s not subtle in the least about nostalgia for prewar Japan and it relies too heavily on Tanaka’s performance (and as a rather plain character to boot), it looks beautiful and the ending is genuinely impressive.
Favorite Moment: The fight during the rainstorm.
36. Miracle in Milan
De Sica is in unusually playful form here, with this magical fairy tale being a pleasant diversion if a little silly.
Favorite Moment: The water celebration.
35. The Tales from Hoffmann
Not P+P’s finest hour simply by virtue of having opera, an artform whose charm I’m totally immune to, but I can’t deny that the phantasmagoria is wonderful to behold.
Favorite Moment: The handful of eyes.
Bunuel makes a subtle satire (and reportedly regretted it later), but the change of pace is a good thing, especially since “the Catholic Church hates women and thinks they’re the devil!” is already plenty loud.
Favorite Moment: Susana at the rainy window.
33. The Thing From Another World
Sadly, the remake was better, but this film is a little like His Girl Friday with aliens and you can’t go wrong with that.
Favorite Moment: The chair tying.
Setsuko Hara, as per usual, is the savior of this movie. A little too willing to outright state themes but is still full of subtleties thanks to the actors throwing in nuances where other movies wouldn’t have any.
Favorite Moment: The ending.
31. He Ran All the Way
Standard stuff but in a fun way, as is par the course with Dalton Trumbo.
Favorite Moment: The dinner.
30. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
Consistently hallucinatory work, but I’d expect nothing less considering how many people from the P+P repertoire were involved in this production. Not exactly deep stuff but the visuals amaze.
Favorite Moment: The racecar speed record attempt.
29. Death of a Salesman
A bizarre mix of overly theatrical and interesting subjectivity. March’s performance is an interesting failure but McCarthy/Dunnock pump a little subtlety in, along with the score.
Favorite Moment: Susana at the rainy window.
28. The Model and the Marriage Broker
More Thelma Ritter starring vehicles please! What a star. Very drily witty in all the right ways.
Favorite Moment: Everyone gets tangled.
27. Detective Story
It’s well-written but I wish it innovated more, and the two nominated ladies are quite bad. Bendix is the real standout-where are his prizes?
Favorite Moment: The final shot.
26. La Ronde
Looks gorgeous but frontloads the best stuff.
Favorite Moment: The opening.
25. The Prowler
Acid courses through this movie’s veins, with everyone clawing to get ahead and trapping each other in their nets. Heflin and Keyes shred each other’s nerves.
Favorite Moment: The church-funeral transition.
24. Outcast of the Islands
One of those movies where the plot is mostly just an excuse for pretty pictures and it succeeds there admirably.
Favorite Moment: “PIG PIG PIG!”
23. The Mating Season
Mostly just an excuse for Ritter and Tierney to fuck around, but they do it so well even with the idiot plot.
Favorite Moment: The nutty dinner.
22. The Browning Version
Like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but self-censoring in more ways than one. Engenders sympathy for arguably the most loathsome person in the cast but never denies that. Vicious performances that could maybe give Streetcar a run for its money?
Favorite Moment: The confrontation at the reception over the tenure.
21. Oliver Twist
Lean uses sets straight out of Dr. Caligari in order to make his point, even with Oliver being a bit too precious.
Favorite Moment: Nancy gets attacked.
The most famous non-Muppet adaptation off the back of some inspired production design and the best Scrooge ever to hit the screen.
Favorite Moment: The child reveal.
19. Decision Before Dawn
Wish the supporting cast was up to Werner’s level-they’re slightly stilted. Nice little ambiguities peppered throughout if buried too deep, with truly grim production design thanks to it being genuine shells of buildings and the like.
Favorite Moment: The medication decision.
18. Man in the White Suit
Charming comedy that will probably always be a bit timely even though there’s too many scenes involving rubble falling on people.
Favorite Moment: The tearaway.
17. Anne of the Indies
More pirate movies! More woman pirate movies!
Favorite Moment: The initial meeting between Anne and Pierre.
For my Top 20 of 1951 click here.
BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
5. Fredric March, Death of a Salesman-a bizarre success or a borderline failure? I genuinely don’t know
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
5. Eleanor Parker, Detective Story-dry and airless
Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actor):
5. Leo Genn, Quo Vadis-delivers his lines?
4. Gig Young, Come Fill the Cup-makes an effort, hamstrung by awful script
Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actress):
5. Lee Grant, Detective Story-pulls too many faces for my liking
Humphrey Bogart, African Queen-a neat twist on his old act
Marlon Brando, Streetcar Named Desire-redefining acting and sex
Montgomery Clift, Place in the Sun-quietly suffocated by America
Kirk Douglas, Ace in the Hole
Kirk Douglas, Detective Story
Farley Granger, Strangers on a Train
Van Heflin, The Prowler
Arthur Kennedy, Bright Victory-believably blinded
Peter Lorre, Der Verlorene
Birgir Malmsten, Summer Interlude
Michael Redgrave, Browning Version
Robert Ryan, On Dangerous Ground
Alistair Sim, Scrooge
Oskar Werner, Decision Before Dawn
Maj Britt-Nilsson, Summer Interlude
Setsuko Hara, Early Summer
Setsuko Hara, Repast
Katherine Hepburn, African Queen-appropriately stiff
Jean Kent, Browning Version
Evelyn Keyes, The Prowler
Vivien Leigh, Streetcar Named Desire-making it up as you went along never looked so perfect
Ida Lupino, On Dangerous Ground
Nubuko Otowa, Miss Oyu
Jean Peters, Anne of the Indies
Rosita Quintana, Susana
Thelma Ritter, Model and the Marriage Broker
Hideko Takamine, Carmen Comes Home
Kinuyo Tanaka, Lady of Musashino
Shelley Winters, Place in the Sun-such a sad lump, yet her awareness growing is awful
Jane Wyman, Blue Veil-peak maternalism
Robert Arthur, Ace in the Hole
William Bendix, Detective Story
Louis Jourdan, Anne of the Indies
Karl Malden, Streetcar Named Desire-a sad lump of a man
Kevin McCarthy, Death of a Salesman-gets it all out in one scene but it’s a barnburner
Nigel Patrick, Browning Version
Peter Ustinov, Quo Vadis-deliciously venal in a dry movie
Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train
Joan Blondell, Blue Veil-basically a cameo but a real hard hitting one
Mildred Dunnock, Death of a Salesman-as appropriately a pushover as needed
Nina Foch, American in Paris
Peg Hilias, Streetcar Named Desire
Patricia Hitchcock, Strangers on a Train
Kim Hunter, Streetcar Named Desire-shifts her desires around
Machiko Kyo, Rashomon
Marion Lorne, Strangers on a Train
Thelma Ritter, Mating Season-conjures up a whole lot of light fun
Jan Sterling, Ace in the Hole
Haruko Sugimura, Early Summer
Elizabeth Taylor, Place in the Sun
Gene Tierney, Mating Season
Vivian Vance, Blue Veil