UC Berkeley Library

1950-1959

Imitation of Life (1959)

Based on Fannie Hurst's novel. Directed by Douglas Sirk. Cast: Lana Turner (Lora Meredith), John Gavin (Steve Archer). Draws the audience into an underworld of backstairs and neon gutters with the story of an exploited black maid (played by a white actress) and her daughter trying to pass for white. 124 min. ; (copy 2) Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Kapo (Yugoslavia / France / Italy, 1959)

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Cast: Susan Strasberg, Laurent Terzieff, Emmanuele Riva, Didi Perego. The story of a Jewish girl from Paris sent to a concentration camp during World War II and her struggle to survive by becoming a collaborator. 92 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Reviews and articles:
Celli, Carlo. Gillo Pontecorvo : from resistance to terrorism Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2005. (MAIN: PN1998.3.P664 C45 2005)

Kismet (1955)

Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Cast: Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Dolores Gray, Vic Damone, Monty Woolley, Sebastian Cabot, Jay C. Flippen, Mike Mazurki, Jack Elam, Ted de Corsia. Choreography, Jack Cole. This lush musical follows one fateful, fabulous day as a beggar-poet and his daughter cross paths with a wicked wazir, a wily temptress, a handsome prince, and a magical curse. Special features: Film short "The battle of Gettysburg," cartoon "The first bad man," MGM parade tv series excerpts, song outtakes, and theatrical trailers. 113 min.

La Ronde (Roundabout) (France, 1950)

Directed by Max Ophuls. Cast: Simone Signoret, Danielle Darrieux, Jean-Louis Barrault, Anton Walbrook, Odette Joyeux, Gerard Philipe. Comedy set in 1900 Vienna; a chain of love started between a young prostitute and a soldier goes full circle when the soldier ends up with her after meeting various characters. 92 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Les Amants (The Lovers) (1958)

Directed by Louis Malle. Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Alain Cuny, Jean-Marc Bory, Judith Magre. Landmark film of both modern French cinema and screen eroticism that portrays a fashion-dominated provincial wife whose shallow life changes overnight when she encounters an unpretentious young man. 89 min. (PAL); Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Love Me or Leave Me (1955)

Directed by Charles Vidor. Cast: Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Keith, Tom Tully. Jazz age singing sensation Ruth Etting had it all, but it took more than talent to make it big. Her rise to fame at the hands of her Chicago gangster boyfriend turned her life off stage into a world of fear and abuse. Special features: 3 vintage shorts, the first two with Ruth Etting: A modern Cinderella ; Roseland ; A salute to the theatres; theatrical trailer. 122 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Marjorie Morningstar (1958)

Directed by Irving Rapper. Cast Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood, Claire Trevor, Everett Sloane, Marty Milner, Carolyn Jones, George Tobias, Martin Balsam, Jesse White, Edward Byrnes, Paul Picerni, Alan Reed, Ruta Lee, Ed Wynn. "While working as a counselor at a summer camp, college-student Marjorie Morgenstern falls for 32-year-old Noel Airman, a would-be dramatist working at a nearby summer theater.

Matewan (1954)

Directed by John Sayles. Cast: Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham. Based on true events, a labor leader seeking to organize the workers of a company town sets off a powderkeg of racial hostility, corruption and betrayal in this dramatic retelling of the bitter clash between unionist miners and the tyrannical coal company owners in West Virginia in the 1920's. 100 min. ; Credits and information from the Internet Movie Database

Member of the Wedding (1953)

Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Cast: Ethel Waters, Julie Harris,Brandon De Wilde, Arthur Franz, Nancy Gates. A 12-year-old girllearns something about life when her sister gets married a Based ona story by Carson McCullers. Ethel Waters plays a kind of "nouveaumammy" to Julie Harris' anguished white girl on the verge ofadulthood. The first instance of a black actress being used tocarry a major-studio production. 91 min. ;Credits andother information from the Internet Movie Database
Reviews and articles:

Native Son (USA / Argentina, 1951)

Director, Pierre Chenal. Cast: Richard Wright, Jean Wallace,Gloria Madison, Nicholas Joy, Willa Pearl Curtiss, Charles Cane.Adaptation of the classic novel by Richard Wright. Set in Chicago,Native son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young black man whoaccidentally murders his employer's daughter while performing hisduties as chauffeur. The combined forces of institutional racismand condescending white liberalism pursue Thomas to an unhappy end.The author plays the leading role in this film version.

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