Other films for your consideration V

The 1950s was a golden age for science fiction, good and bad.

Here are three goodies:

“The Thing From Another World” aka “The Thing”.

A group of scientists find an alien frozen in the ice at the North Pole. (1951) Don’t go for the re-make.

“The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers”

Mysterious pods appear from space and grow duplicate humans. (1956) Don’t go for the re-make.

“Forbidden Planet”

A group of astronauts visit the planet Altair IV to find out what has happened to the previous expedition to the planet. (1956)

This is a curiously sterile film, but looks great on the big screen.

“Trouble In Store”

I am not quite sure of the first film I ever saw at the cinema. I remember going to see my mum’s friend Auntie Grace and her mother giving me some money to see a film.

It could have been “The Sword In The Stone” but my memory is that it was “Trouble In Store”. This was released in 1953, before I was born, so, if it was that, it was a re-release.

It’s very hard to explain to people just how hugely popular Norman Wisdom was in those days, but he was massive and all his films were huge hits. They broke attendance records.

Perhaps his best known film is “The Early Bird”, where he played a milkman at a local delivery being oppressed by big business.

It was often the same with Norman, the little man against the world.

There always seemed to be some kind of love interest, Norman plays “Norman”, Edward Chapman is Mr Grimsdale, and Norman sings.

“Trouble In Store” was Norman Wisdom’s first full length film. Watching it now, and it does crop up on the old film channels, it’s not as squirmy as some of his later efforts.

By the mid-1960s, Norman Wisdom’s films looked dated, even for then, and he had moved on to do more serious work, then tv. But for a good fifteen years Norman Wisdom was top of the tree in the UK.

“Strangers On A Train”

Many years ago I found myself at the Eastman House in Rochester NY. If you don’t know, George Eastman was the founder of Kodak. Kodak is a small scrap of what it once was, but it has been a leader in photography and film in the past.

The house is now a museum, an archive and a cinema. They have a huge vault of films and do restorations.

I went to see a film and a chat with one of the stars, Farley Grainger, from “Strangers On A Train”. It’s a Hitchcock film from 1950.

In case you don’t know the plot, the title tells most of it. Two men meet at random on a train. Both have personal problems. They hatch a plot to kill each other’s ‘problems’ and they will never be suspected as they have no obvious motive.

I am no big fan of Hitchcock or his films, especially the later ones. I hate how he gets his cameo into each, and it’s no different here.

The original Patricia Highsmith novel is altered significantly. Raymond Chandler was brought in to do the script but it was a painful experience for him and what you see on the screen is not his.

But the film is worth a watch and has some good moments, especially the end. The very bad process photography spoils much of it, though.