Teahouse of the August Moon (1956, USA)
American imperial administrators arrive to bring the light of civilization to Marlon Brando and the other barbarian natives of Okinawa. Watched it all. This is almost a Marx Brothers movie, with Glenn Ford as Groucho, Marlon Brandon as Chico, and Machiko Kyo as Harpo.
The Ten Commandments (1956, USA, DeMille)
Not unlike certain high-budget TV producers of today, Cecil B. DeMille takes the social values of his day and places them in the legendary past, creating a spectacular multi-hour epic with bad writing and worse actors. Watched: 18 minutes, then fast-forwarded through the exciting bits, to find out if the Charlton Heston-sounding clips in this Hanzel und Gretyl song were actually from this movie, (they are). I thought I’d seen this movie before, but I can’t remember a single scene, and there are scenes here you’re not ever going to forget once you’ve seen them. Unfortunately, the total effect of it all is to highlight all the ways in which this story is utterly implausible. I prefer the book.
Spring on Zarechnaya Street (1956, USSR)
Love is possible in the brown and dusty industrial cities of the Soviet Union – just possible. Watched it all. The few post-war Soviet movies I’ve seen so far have an almost American level of ambition to them. Earlier the ambition was channeled into Stalin worship, but the ’56 movies feel freer, more alive. Human. Look at the scene above – Hollywood could have made that scene. The French or Italians would have bungled it completely.