Underrated ’55

I’ve contributed a few times to Brian’s “Underrated” series over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks, compiling lists of westerns and thrillers before now. This time I submitted a few suggestions for  Underrated ’55, highlighting movies from the the year 1955 which deserve a bit of attention. You can view my selections here.

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28 thoughts on “Underrated ’55

  1. Really like your choices. They are all films I would pick. In fact, I already knew our tastes in movies were very similar, Colin, and my own selection for Brian (coming up quite soon) also picked “SHOTGUN” (great minds etc!).

  2. I second Jerry’s comments and these are all films that I like and possibly would have chosen.
    I tried to comment on Toby’s choices but got caught up in all sorts of weird stuff,very
    intimidating for a Luddite like me…profiles and the like.
    At any rate Toby’s more or less smoked my choices by choosing two of my ’55 faves
    TARANTULA! (the second greatest giant bug movie ever made) and the nasty,brutal but
    compulsive BIG HOUSE USA.
    It’s also great that both those films are available in stunning widescreen Blu-Ray versions.
    Colin-regarding Agar (your comments on Toby’s post) I never liked him in Westerns but
    when fighting Tarantulas and Mole People-nobody does it better!
    I know people at Rupert’s often choose the same film several times,but I always like to cover films
    no-one else has mentioned.
    As I mentioned before yourself and Toby, more or less, have covered my ’55 faves.

    BTW Colin some other dudes have nominated THE BIG COMBO……is this REALLY regarded
    as an “underrated movie”

    • John, I tried to choose films I reckoned are genuinely underrated, although some may feel they’re well enough known, since that’s the title of Brian’s series. Personally, I wouldn’t regard The Big Combo as underrated either as I think it’s pretty well regarded by a reasonably wide audience, although it was generally only available in beat up prints until quite recently.

      As for Toby’s choices, I think it’s a good selection and I probably need to give Tarantula a spin again some time soon. My last viewing left me underwhelmed and I’m not sure if that was down to my mood at the time or not.

      • Colin;
        I can highly endorse the recent Koch Blu-Ray version of TARANTULA!
        Seeing the film in high-def widescreen certainly raises the films game somewhat.

  3. I also left a comment against Colin’s films on “Rupert” but had similar issues as John (profiles etc) – just let me say what I have to say!! It didn’t make it either.

    • The blogger platform can be a bit tricky for comments, Jerry, more so than WordPress. At least I find that to be the case. Your remarks may just be saved for moderation of course.

  4. I’ve left you a comment over there, but will just say here too that I enjoyed reading about your choices and have been reminded that I need to see ‘Footsteps in the Fog’!

  5. Despite Colin and that scoundrel Toby 🙂 I have managed to cobble together some of my
    ’55 faves and submitted them to Rupert for approval. Despite being left with more or less
    “barrel scrapings” I think I have managed to cobble something together that is if I get Rupe’s
    approval. (actually there are a couple of really good films in the mix)
    My task was made even harder because other people chose ’55 films that I am really fond
    of especially RUN FOR COVER,MAN WITHOUT A STAR and CREATURE WITH THE ATOM
    BRAIN. One thing’s for sure 1955 was a sensational year as far as films go.
    Despite all this I still had to omit some pretty good films from my choices especially
    THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT which I feel is too “out there” to be considered underrated.

    • I’ll be looking out for your picks, John, and it’s good to know you tried to come up with genuinely underrated stuff – although I’d expect nothing less of you.

  6. This Rupert ’55 thing just keeps getting better and better.
    The thing is,so many great films were released in ’55 people’s choices are more or less
    “clunker” free. Even some of the cheesy poverty row B Horrors have enormous appeal to me,
    especially with the lovely artwork Brian sources-they are really taking me back to my
    flea pit days. Great to see so much love for CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN.
    I was very interested to see the commentator on Colin’s selection who name-dropped
    Lambert Hillyer. A friend and myself are going through a real Lambert Hillyer “fix” at the moment
    his work on early Thirties Buck Jones Westerns is outstanding. We are both very excited that
    the Sony MOD imprint are releasing Hillyer’s THE DEADLINE-reputedly one of the very
    best of the Jones Westerns.I do wish Sony would release these films in sets (like Warner Archive)
    as opposed to single films on one DVD. (The same goes for the superb Whistler series BTW)
    As Colin’s commentator notes Hillyer spent more or less his entire career in B Movies.
    Hillyer is probably best known for DRACULA’S DAUGHTER a cult classic.

    I was a bit dismayed to see a person who highlighted THE BIG COMBO has provided a You-Tube
    link You Tube is a complete anathema to me especially with a film as important as THE BIG
    COMBO.You Tube if you want to,but not me brother!
    The only way I would ever consider watching films this way is if some ultra rare poverty row
    PRC “quickie” turned up and even then I would have second thoughts.

    Good to see FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG generating interest;an inspired choice I might add.
    In the UK at least the support feature was THE GUN THAT WON THE WEST certainly my kinda
    double bill.

    • I was interested to read that comment about Hillyer, a director I’m really not especially familiar with.
      I’ve had a real soft spot for Footsteps in the Fog ever since I caught a TV broadcast many years ago and I like to recommend it whenever I get the chance.

  7. I do like a bloke who bandies around the name of Lambert Hillyer!! This speaks of getting into deep westerns territory (where I’m happiest). Love those great Buck Jones films referred to, and especially those made for Columbia Pictures 1930-34.

    • Those films are unfamiliar to me so it’s interesting to hear what others think of them. Actually, 30s westerns are something I should look into more in general.

  8. Well,Brian seems to have approved my ramblings,so that’s nice.
    I have tried to keep things as brief as possible.
    This ’55 series continues to unearth some great little known films.
    I am most interested to see what Jerry had contributed.
    I do hope Blake is keeping up with all of this;furthermore I do hope that he finds time to
    contribute his own ’55 list which I am sure will be compulsive reading-Blake of all people,I am sure
    will be able to unearth some gems not already covered.
    I remember making negative comments regarding STORM FEAR (1955) over at Laura’s and
    quite rightly, one of Laura’s regulars took me to task over this. I had only seen the film as a off
    air copy and at the time I was somewhat dismayed to see Dan Duryea play such a simpering
    self pitying character. ( as a friend commented “it’s called acting John!”) Anyway having seen the
    film on Blu-Ray remastered in widescreen my initial opinion of the film has changed and I am in
    total agreement with Laura’s regular.I know Laura has issues with “child in peril” elements in films
    and I respect that. I do hope Laura gets a chance to see STORM FEAR,because although the child
    in question is (mildly) imperiled he is also resourceful and ironically the only balanced person
    in the entire film. This is a story of seriously flawed human beings and I’m surprised,no one,so far,
    has chosen this one as an “underrated ’55” selection.
    I was seriously considering including this film myself and cannot really explain why I did not.

    More Lambert Hillyer. I am not at all familiar with Hillyer’s silent screen work which is extensive
    and includes several very highly regarded films. My main awareness of Hillyer is the early
    Thirties Buck Jones films which I regard as outstanding. His later work for Monogram is less
    impressive mainly down to Monogram’s threadbare budgets. I have also seen several of his
    Forties Bill Elliot Columbia films which I also like very much. Laura recently sent me a “surprise”
    feature an off air copy of Hillyer’s BEYOND THE SACRAMENTO with Elliott which I enjoyed
    very much,as it’s one that I have never seen.I would love to see some of Hillyer’s crime thrillers
    starring the likes of Jack Holt. My first awareness of Hillyer was at a B Western convention in
    London many years back. They played a Buck Jones film and there was a very creepy scene
    where Ward Bond,at his most scary,menaces a girl in a cabin. Perhaps Jerry can enlighten me
    regarding the film’s title as it’s evaded me over the passage of time.
    For a B movie director Hillyer certainly created some very dark textures in his films.
    I am looking forward very much to seeing the aforementioned THE DEADLINE and although I
    do carp at the price Sony charge for a single film;I must say that it’s a privilege to see an
    early Thirties film in such stunning quality.

    • Good to hear your selection is coming soon – I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it.

      Storm Fear interests me quite a lot and I intend to get it in the future – the cast alone draws me.
      Incidentally, I’ve watched two Dan Duryea films in the last few days, World for Ransom & Walk a Tightrope, and had a good time. I have to say I enjoyed the latter much more even though the Aldrich film has the more complex plot and moodier cinematography.

    • I love that you remember that Buck Jones film from a long-ago B-western festival in London, John – I was there that day too (mid to late 1970s)!

      Please excuse my correcting you on the film slightly (not much opportunity to correct you other times!!) – the film was “THE CRIMSON TRAIL”, a 1935 Buck Jones film from Universal. Ward Bond did indeed play a very mean baddie but the really creepy character you are remembering was played by one John Bleifer. A favourite Jones film, among many.

      I would definitely point you towards discovering these films then, Colin, provided you like B-westerns, and that is not a ‘given’ just because you love A-westerns. They are a different beast to some extent.

  9. Thanks for your input on this one Jerry-it proves even smartassed contributors to blogs
    get it wrong sometimes-but hey,it was some forty years ago!
    To add insult to injury it was Al Raboch not Lambert Hillyer who directed THE CRIMSON TRAIL.
    Colin,
    I can highly endorse (as well as Jerry) any early Thirties Buck Jones picture especially the
    Columbia’s. The Jones Columbia’s I have seen directed by Hillyer and Louis King are very good
    indeed. The great thing about these films is that the “real West” was only in the recent past and
    in fact still existed in parts of rural America. The Columbia Jones pictures have a wonderfrul
    “authentic” look about them.
    Of course a lot of Thirties B Westerns were made by poverty row outfits and their threadbare
    production values do not hold up well nowadays.
    I have been trying,but so far have failed to turn Laura on to Buck Jones but I will keep trying 🙂
    After all, Laura is a huge George O Brien addict and I am sure Jones will have great appeal to
    her as well. The O’Brien Thirties films are highly recommended too!.
    It’s interesting that an outfit called Mill Creek seem to have some arrangement with Sony and
    are re-releasing previous “stand alone” releases as part of multiple sets.
    I do hope Mill Creek consider releasing some of the Columbia Buck Jones pictures as
    multiple sets as well as the Columbia Bill Elliott pictures.
    I would also love to see some of the “Jungle Jim” pictures released as multiple sets.
    I know these pictures are terribly corny but I find them rather endearing.
    The soon to be released THE DEADLINE a Jones picture directed by Hillyer would seem to be
    a good place to start as it’s reputedly one of Buck’s very best-I will report further when my copy
    arrives. As mentioned previously the remastering Sony does on these truly vintage films is
    totally wonderful.

  10. Just checked in at Rupert’s and I see someone else has nominated SHOTGUN and gives
    it an interesting review. The said person has also reviewed THE NAKED DAWN,a very
    good choice,one I wish that I’d considered myself.
    What really gets my goat is that there is a you-tube link to all the films that he mentions,
    insult added to injury as I believe all the films are “out there” to purchase.
    If this You Tube thing continues companies will stop releasing obscure,little known films,
    as you know Colin I’m dead against it.
    If I had to be reduced to You-Tube as a way of watching movies I simply wouldn’t watch them
    any more. It’s not a question of cash either,I’ve yet to meet an impoverished movie buff.
    Funnily enough the movie fans I know with the most money are the ones most loathe to spend
    it-I guess that’s why they have so much of it in the first place!

    • Just read that list, John, and I found the selection good and interesting. And of course our friend Jerry’s list is now up at Rupert Pupkin Speaks and also includes another vote for Shotgun.

      As for YT, I understand your feelings on the matter and tend only to use it myself for films which are otherwise unavailable. If the rights holders have made a version commercially available, then I won’t entertain a YT copy either.

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