The Searchers (1956, USA, Ford)
I’ve heard it said that the anti-heroic tone of this movie, where John Wayne is almost as hateful and murderous as the Comanches who have kidnapped his niece, represented something new in westerns in 1956. But Anthony Mann had been making cynical westerns for year. What this is, though, is an exceptionally well-made western, and that has always been rare. Watched it before, several times, but I didn’t notice until this time how much the Tatooine scenes in Star Wars owe to it.
The Conquerer (1956, USA, Hughes)
This movie is best remembered today for (allegedly) causing half the cast and crew to (eventually) die from cancer, because it was filmed downwind from a nuclear test area. Also, for the odd choice of having John Wayne playing a cowboy dressed up as Genghis Khan.Even the Obligatory Decadent Banquet Scene is unusually silly. Watched: 8 minutes.
Between Heaven and Hell (1956, USA)
Whenever a movie opens with a piece of music that makes me sit up and pay attention, more often than not the music is written by Hugo Friedhofer. In this movie he borrows the Gregorian chant for Dies Irae, which was used to even more chilling effect in the intro to the T. H. Dreyer movie Vredens dag, (a movie intro so ominous that it makes you want to go out and invent black metal). Anyway: Watched: 12 minutes.