Saturday, June 11, 2011

1950, It was a Very Good Year

I was born in 1950, so I thought it would be good to check out which great movies were released that year.  I know you can look up the movies by year in IMDb, but I wasn't certain exactly how. 

In IMDb each movie title has the year of release, and that number is a link to the movies made that year.  All I had to do was find a 1950 movie and click on the year link.  Henry Fonda was a big star in the middle of the last century, so I entered his name.  A scroll down his filmography to 1950 and...he had no releases that year!

I did eventually figure it out, and the list is impressive.  I was born in a great movie year!  1950 was a year of change, not only in the movies, but in America.  The war was over for five years, and all the new families were booming babies.  The suburbs were a new phenomenon, created by William Levitt and his Levittowns. 

My family moved from Philadelphia to the suburbs in 1953.  We have 16mm silent home movies that my grandfather shot.  As a child, I still remember the new neighborhood with no trees.  As I grew up, so did the flora.  My wife and I were just talking about how, during the summer, we would wait for the Good Humor ice cream truck to come by.  Of course, I didn't know her then.  We both miss the old experiences.

Back to the movies. IMDb lists 1,667 titles for the year 1950, and some of them are television.  If you list the movies by box office gross, Cinderella was the big winner at $34.1M.  There is no denying that it was a great movie, carrying on the Disney tradition of excellent animation, all hand drawn.

My guess is that the rest are less than accurate on the box office take.  Annie Get Your Gun, starring Betty Hutton (1921 - 2007) was next at $8M.  I'll stick with the 1934 Barbara Stanwick version, but Hutton's did receive a better rating from IMDb viewers.

Then came Destination Moon with $5M gross at the box office.  This was the first Sci-Fi movie that attempted realism and mostly accurate science.  This one starred John Archer (1915 - 1999), Warner Anderson (1911 - 1976) and Tom Powers (1890 1955).  Three names that to me say Bit Actors.  Maybe we'll take a closer look at them in a future post.

Fancy Pants with Bob Hope came in with $2.6M, and All About Eve starring Bette Davis shows only $10,200 at the box office?  That can't be correct.  Keep in mind that these numbers probably came from posters, such as myself.  I doubt that IMDb has any way to check everything that is posted, nor should they be responsible for inaccuracies.

Re-sorting by the IMDb Moviemeter brings up some choice 1950 movies.  Sunset Blvd. is the #1 rated film on IMDb for that year.  "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille."  Probably the most famous Gloria Swanson line ever spake.

Father of the Bride with Spencer Tracey and Liz Taylor is a perennial favorite, as are The Asphalt Jungle, Treasure Island (the Disney release), Rio Grande (John Wayne and John Ford, together again), Cheaper by the Dozen with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, Winchester '73 my favorite James Stewart western, Stage Fright with Marlene Dietrich and Alfred Hitchcock, Born Yesterday a great Judy Holliday flick, and The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck.  I have written about many of these films and their stars and Bit Actors.

1950 is definitely a year of great films.  But then again, most years have great films.  But I was born in this one!


  1. Hi, Allen. I sometimes check for info on a year or an era, here's a link to 1950 (you've mentioned just about all on this short list) -

    I also found a site with some info on grosses...I'm assuming the $ figure is for the year, but not sure...

    Those were the days of the Good Humor man, the milk man...and where I lived there was even a bakery truck.

    Great post, Allen, and congratulations on being born in a great movie year. I think most Baby Boomers came in during very good movie years.

  2. Thanks for those great links, Eve. Sometimes there isn't enough time to do all the research and also maintain daily life! This will help.

    I should have AMC in my bookmarks, and The Numbers shows how far off a site like IMDb can be. IMDb showed All About Eve at $10,200 gross, Numbers puts it at $8.4M. There is no explanation of how that number was determined on either site.

    I noticed D.O.A. was also a 1950 film and one I should have mentioned. Great film noir! That is a movie that should only be made in black and white.

  3. When I saw this I had to post a comment here...coming up on TCM tonight (Sun.) at 12:30 am PDT (3:30 EDT)..."The Good Humor Man" starring Jack Carson (with Lola Albright &...George Reeves). Year of release: 1950


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