The Searchers (1956)

Director: John Ford Screenwriter: Frank Nugent By Roderick Heath John Ford was hardly lacking in fame and acclaim when he released The Searchers. He’d already captured four Oscars as Best Director, proof he stood for his peers as the most admired of American filmmaking talents. Given how rarely Westerns were given such awards and serious …

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Pool of London (1951)

Director: Basil Dearden By Roderick Heath Basil Dearden remains an underappreciated figure of British cinema, although he made some of the most fondly-remembered hits it saw from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. Perhaps he’s neglected precisely because of that, as he was one of those establishment figures loathed by the young guns of the various …

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The Tiger of Eschnapur (Der Tiger von Eschnapur, 1959) / The Indian Tomb (Das Indische Grabmal, 1959)

Director: Fritz Lang By Roderick Heath Fritz Lang returned to make films in Germany after a quarter-century’s absence, after the box office failure of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) finally brought down the curtain on his Hollywood career. Lang had arrived in America as a feted figure wielding great prestige, but he subsisted in marginally …

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Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon, 1957)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath Headlights, burning the night like eyes of a spectral beast, light the way along a country road at night, branches etched in slivers of brightness against vast darkness. The car arrives before a great old house, and its driver, Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham), meets with the house’s owner, Julian …

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The White Reindeer (Valkoinen Peura, 1953)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Erik Blomberg By Roderick Heath It could be argued that all stories we generally refer to under the bracket of ‘horror’ today are in essence a type of folklore, rooted as so many are in storytelling modes descended from ancient cultural forms. To trace the genre’s persistence is to track it backwards through stages …

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The Samurai Trilogy (1954-56)

Samurai (Musashi Miyamoto, 1954) / Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (Zoku Musashi Miyamoto: Ichijôji no kettô, 1955) / Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (Musashi Miyamoto Kanketsuhen: Kettô Ganryûjima, 1956) Director/Coscreenwriter: Hiroshi Inagaki By Roderick Heath In 1955, the foreign-language film Oscar, then still a special rather than a competitive award, was given to …

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Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula, 1958) / Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Director: Terence Fisher By Roderick Heath Christopher Lee, son of an English soldier and an Anglo-Italian countess who had been an artist’s model, had aristocratic roots that could be traced back to Charlemagne. Born in London, he grew with a diverse education and a swathe of languages at his command, a scion both of imperial …

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I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Director: Gene Fowler Jr By Roderick Heath Ladies, has your husband turned into a stranger? Is he withdrawn? Pensive? Acting oddly? Is your bedroom colder than the refrigerator? Does he seem to be hiding a very different face from you? Then you may have to consider he might be an alien imposter. The science fiction …

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