Friday, August 23, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1956.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

And the nominees on the entries from 1956 for every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
Forbidden Planet
The Burmese Harp
The Searchers
A Man Escaped
Written on the Wind
The Man Who Knew Too Much
All That Heaven Allows
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Wrong Man
Bigger Than Life
High Society


And the winner for the Best Picture of 1956 is…The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Very entertaining Alfred Hitchcock thriller about a doctor (Jimmy Stewart) and his ex-perfomer wife (Doris Day) whose son is kidnapped while they are on vacation in Marakesh. They embark on an odyssey that sends them across continents, up a few blind alleys and finally to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

One of my favorite scenes is when Stewart goes to meet Ambrose Hall to get information about his boy, only to find out the Ambrose Hall he goes to is the wrong one! Just one of Hitchcock's misdirections, but a interesting bit of comic relief at a tense time in the movie.

Jimmy Stewart does his usually fine job as the everyman caught up in a situation over his head (Assuming you can call a successful doctor with a beautiful and talented wife an everyman.) And Doris Day is also very good. It makes you wonder how she would have done if she had veered off into more dramatic parts instead of Please Don't Eat the Daisies type roles.

There are also lot of clever touches in the John Michael Hayes script, including much of the banter between Stewart and Day.
The Man Who Knew Too Much

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1956 is...Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet

Here are the top ten reasons Forbidden Planet is one of the most fondly remembered films all 50’s sci-fi films.

Number 10 Anne Francis’s uber-short mini-skirt!

Number 9 Despite the quality of the production, it can still be a bit cheesy at times.: Examples include the flying saucer shots which aren’t really that much better than the ones from Fire Maidens From Outer Space and the supposedly nude Alatara clearly wearing a body suit.

Number 8 Special appeal for Trekies. This film was clearly a clearly a blueprint for much of the original Star Trek universe: Dashing commander who goes to an unknown planet and makes out with the only girl there! Dashing commander hangs out with the ships doctor, who really is closer to Spock than Mccoy. Blasters-which are called phasers in Star Trek, and more space jargon (you know, like the explanations from Star Trek why a worm hole will be closing up because of an exploding Super Nova in the next galaxy that is really hard to understand, but you just have to except it as a given plot point) is used here than you can shake a blaster at.

Number 7 High brow appeal in that Forbidden Planet is often compared to Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Number 6 Special appeal for Freudians as the Id plays such an important part in this story

Number 5 The fine supporting cast including the guy who later was on Police Woman, the guy who was later on Maverick and the guy who was later on The Six Million Dollar Man.

Number 4 Walter Pidgeon as Morbius is indeed a tragic character out of Shakespeare, though it might take a minute to realize that the pre-Airplane! Leslie Nielsen actually says his lines straight!

Number 3 The fact that the creatures are more of the mind than anything avoids the film from having any bad monster makeup that would seem dated now.

Number 2 The look of the film, the color, and the fact that it is in Cinemascope makes this production great to look at. Dr. Morbius’s lab is also pretty impressive.

But the Number 1 reason that Forbidden Planet is one of the most fondly remembered films all 50’s sci-fi films is: Robby the Robot!

Forbidden Planet


  1. I like the tenth reason...
    Personally I think The Searchers is the one I think have held up the best of the bunch. It is simply one of the best westerns ever made (though not the best).