Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, USA)
The tiredest cliché about 1950s sci-fi is that it was all Really About Fear of Communism, because, you know, people had this irrational belief that the Soviet Union was governed by a clique of murderous fanatics who desired to rule the world, and they didn’t know how else to express it. But, trust me on this – when old Hollywood wanted to make movies about Communism, they knew how to make movies about Communism. When they made movies about a zombie apocalypse from outer space, it was probably for the same reason they do so today: because they wanted to tell a good story. Watched it before, and again now.
The Girl Can’t Help It (1956, USA)
Two middle-aged has-beens try to make some money on all this music the young people are into. This also seems to have been what the producers had in mind, because this is the highest budget rock’n roll movie so far. Watched: 19 minutes, plus the musical numbers. Features Jayne Mansfield trying her best to impersonate Marilyn Monroe, but the hottest thing here is the music.
The Burning Hills (1956, USA)
Did westerns get a lot better in 1956? Not the best ones, they were always good, but the ones that are hardly more than competently assembled revenge fantasies, the kind that might inspire someone to invent the spaghetti western. Watched it all.
Reprisal! (1956, USA)
Look, “Reprisal” is just a bad title for a western, and it doesn’t get any better by adding an exclamation point. Watched: 7 minutes.