12 Angry Men (1957)

“It’s always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth. I don’t really know what the truth is. I don’t suppose anybody will ever really know. Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we’re just…

Gigi (1958)

“Oh yes, Auntie, I understand. We don’t marry, is that it?” ‘Gigi’, directed by Vincente Minnelli in 1958, is an American musical comedy adapted from the novel ‘Collete’, starring Maurice Chevalier, Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan. Jourdan plays Gaston, a Parisian playboy who is bored and spends his days socialising with women, but in particular…

The Flowers of St Francis (1950)

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” ‘The Flowers of St Francis’, directed by Roberto Rossellini in 1950, is an Italian historical drama charting incidents in the career of Francis of Assisi. The structure of the film is nine ‘chapters’, each telling a parable from the ministry of…

Shadows (1959)

“The trouble with you is, you have a case of self-induced hysteria every time you hear the word ‘existentialism’.” ‘Shadows’, directed by John Cassavetes in 1959, is an American movie set amongst the ‘beat generation’ in New York. Three siblings of African-American descent move through the jazz clubs and nightlife of the city. Two are…

Limelight (1952)

“Think of the power that’s in the universe! Turning the Earth. Making the trees grow. Well that’s the same power within you! If you’d only have courage and the will to use it!” ‘Limelight’, written and directed by Charles Chaplin in 1952, is an American comedy drama. Chaplin plays Calvero, an aging stage comedian in…

The African Queen (1951)

“I don’t know why the Germans would want this God-forsaken place.” ‘The African Queen’, directed by John Huston in 1951, is an American adventure movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Hepburn plays Rose Sayer, a Methodist missionary in German East Africa in the 1910s. When war breaks out, Sayer escapes her village after it…

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

“Take a look at yourself here in a worn-out Mardi Gras outfit, rented for 50 cents from some rag-picker. And with a crazy crown on. Now what kind of a queen do you think you are? Do you know that I’ve been on to you from the start, and not once did you pull the…

La Strada (1954)

First published on ‘We Are Cult’ on the 15th of July 2017 In many respects, La Strada, directed by Federico Fellini in 1954, is a drama that sowed the seeds for the director’s later, extravagantly fantastical films, but one that equally has its own, very particular identity. The movie focuses on a circus strongman called…

The Wrong Man (1956)

“This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all…

On the Waterfront (1954)

“It wasn’t him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, “Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.” You remember that? “This ain’t your night”! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the…

The Big Heat (1953)

“I guess a scar isn’t so bad. Not if it’s only on one side… I can always go through life sideways.” ‘The Big Heat’, directed by Fritz Lang in 1953, is an American crime drama starring Glenn Ford as Sergeant Dave Bannion, a police officer who becomes determined to bring down a network of organised…

Summer with Monika (1953)

“Monika, we have to make something real out of our lives. We’ll care for each other. I’ll study and get a decent job, so we can get married and have a nice house, you and me and the little one on its way.” ‘Summer with Monika’, directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1953, is a Swedish…