Screen Chronology: 1950 to 1954
Compiled by John Kenrick
- **** - Sensational
- *** - Good entertainment
- ** - Beats a finger in the eye
- * - You'd rather mow a lawn
- (NO stars) - Run for your life
- Annie Get Your Gun ** - Handsome production and Howard Keel sounds great,
but Betty Hutton tries way too hard as the sharpshooter who finds
fame in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
- Blues Busters (not seen)
- Cinderella **** - Disney's classic animated version, as magical as
anyone could ask for. Okay songs and lush visuals throughout.
- Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, The ** - June Haver and Gordon MacRae sing
favorites of the early 1900s okay but uninspired.
- Duchess of Idaho, The (not seen)
- Grounds for Marriage ** - Limited laughs as opera diva Kathryn Grayson
battles ex-husband Van Johnson.
- Hit Parade of 1951 (not seen)
- I'll Get By * - June Haver stars in another tired "songwriter in
- Let's Dance ** - Even Fred Astaire can't make up for an annoying
performance by Betty Hutton.
- Mr. Music (not seen)
- My Blue Heaven ** - Betty Grable and Dan Dailey as radio celebrities
looking to adopt a child. Tiresome plot.
- Nancy Goes to Rio ** - Ann Southern and Jane Powell play a mother and daughter
competing for the same role and the same man. So-so.
- Pagan Love Song ** - Esther Williams splashes about in Tahiti with Howard Keel.
- Pretty Girl, The (not seen)
- Riding High (not seen)
- Summer Stock *** - Gene Kelly's theatre troupe puts on a show at Judy Garland's farm,
and both stars dazzle. Highlights: Garland's "Get Happy" and
Kelly's newspaper dance solo.
- Tea for Two ** - A weak rehash of No, No, Nanette starring Doris Day.
- There's a Girl in My Heart (not seen)
- Three Little Words **** - Fred Astaire and Red Skelton are
delightful as songwriters Kalmar and Ruby. This gem rarely gets the praise it deserves.
- Toast of New Orleans *** - Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson sing
their hearts out in this light audience pleaser.
- Two Weeks with Love *** - Jane Powell is delicious in this tale of an American teenager
coming of age one summer in the early 1900s.
- Wabash Avenue *** - Victor Mature competes with Phil Harris for Betty Grable in this
enjoyable remake of Coney Island.
- West Point Story, The ** - James Cagney and Doris Day brighten this
weak tuner about a Broadway director putting on a show at the iconic military academy.
- When You're Smiling (not seen)
- Young Man With a Horn *** - Kirk Douglas is jazz legend Bix
Beiderbecke putting professional success ahead of his love for Doris
Day. Strong script & great music.
- Alice in Wonderland *** - Some brilliant moments, but Disney's
animated take on Lewis Carroll's classic children's story has its dull patches.
- An American in Paris **** - One of the finest screen musicals ever made. Gene Kelly
is an ex GI turned artist wooing Parisian shop girl Leslie Caron, all set to vintage Gershwin tunes.
The final ballet is not to be missed.
- Call Me Mister ** - Soldier Dan Dailey pursues angry girlfriend
Betty Grable around occupied Japan. Fun score, uneven film.
- Casa Manana (not seen)
- Comin' Round the Mountain (not seen)
- Disc Jockey (not seen)
- Excuse My Dust ** - Red Skelton invents a car. Underrated score.
- Great Caruso, The *** - Opera buffs will enjoy Mario Lanza singing arias galore.
- Golden Girl ** - Mitzi Gaynor as a Civil War entertainer. Okay,
but not required viewing.
- Here Comes the Groom (not seen)
- Honeychile (not seen)
- Jack and the Beanstalk ** - Abbott and Costello revamp the
- Lullaby of Broadway ** - Doris Day as an actress returning to
Broadway. Gene Nelson co-stars. Fun moments.
- Medium, The ** - Weak adaptation of Menotti's Broadway opera.
- Meet Me After the Show * - Betty Grable's weakest musical,
strictly for die-hard fans.
- Mr. Imperium * - Heir to throne puts duty before love in this lame
Student Prince rip-off. A rare chance to catch Ezio Pinza on film.
- Of Men and Music (not seen)
- On Moonlight Bay *** - Period songs &
charm abound as Gordon MacRae woos tomboy Doris Day in the early 1900s. Corny but enjoyable.
- On the Riviera *** - Danny Kaye is brilliant playing both a French soldier
and a look-alike entertainer.
- Painting the Clouds with Sunshine * - Las Vegas showgirls seek rich
- Purple Heart Diary (not seen)
- Rich, Young and Pretty ** - Jane Powell frolics in Paris.
- Rhythm Inn (not seen)
- Royal Wedding **** - Great fun, with Fred Astaire and Jane Powell as a
brother-sister theatre team finding love in London. Highlights
include Astaire's dance on the ceiling and his ingenious pas de
deux with a hat rack.
- Sailor Beware ** - Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis join the Navy,
with chaotic results. Funny scenes one of their less annoying efforts.
- Show Boat *** - Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel
are delightful in this color remake, but some things (like Ava Gardner as Julie? Yikes!)
are jarring no match for the 1936 version.
- Starlift * - Even a truckload of stellar cameos cannot
lift this brain-dead GI love story.
- Strip, The (not seen)
- Sunny Side of the Street * - Deadly Frankie Lane vehicle.
- Texas Carnival ** - Weak Esther Williams swim fest.
- Two Tickets to Broadway ** - Dull tale of performers trying to get
onto a TV show helped by some fun musical sequences.
- Aaron Slick from Punkin' Crick (NO stars) - Dinah Shore as a farm widow ripe
for the picking. Every bit as bad as its title suggests. A sure cure for insomnia.
- About Face * - Gordon MacRae in a dull military cadet buddy flick.
- April In Paris (not seen)
- Because You're Mine ** - Few pleasures as opera star Mario Lanza is
drafted and finds romance with an officers daughter.
- Belle of New York, The ** - Fred Astaire and Vera Ellen in an
uninspired vehicle loosely based on an 1890s stage hit.
- Bloodhounds of Broadway (not seen)
- Everything I Have Is Yours (not seen)
- Hans Christian Andersen *** - Silly plot, but Danny Kaye is
endearing in the title role, and Frank Loesser's marvelous songs help immeasurably.
- I Dream of Jeanie (not seen)
- I'll See You In My Dreams (not seen)
- Jumping Jacks (not seen)
- Just for You *** - Underrated fun as businessman Bing Crosby romances Jane
Wyman and re-discovers the joy of living. Fine Harry Warren score. Worth catching.
- Lovely to Look At *** - Kathryn Grayson stars in a pleasant
remake of Roberta, with some great Jerome Kern tunes.
- Meet Danny Wilson ** - Frank Sinatra plays a nightclub singer
contending with a troublesome club owner.
- Meet Me At the Fair (not seen)
- Merry Widow, The ** - Lavish production values are the chief
attraction as a miscast Lana Turner stars in this unnecessary remake of Lehr's
- Million Dollar Mermaid (not seen)
- Rainbow Round My Shoulder (not seen)
- She's Back On Broadway (not seen)
- She's Working Her Way Through College ** - Burlesque stripper
Virginia Mayo pursues college education, with an assist from professor
Ronald Reagan slim pickings.
- Singin' in the Rain **** - Gene Kelly is a silent film star learning
to live with sound, with an assist from Debbie Reynolds and Donald
O'Connor. Hollywood's all-time best musical comedy!
- Skirts Ahoy! ** - Esther Williams and stellar supporting cast help
this waterlogged tale of military ladies.
- Somebody Loves Me (not seen)
- Son Of Paleface (not seen)
- Stars and Stripes Forever ** - Clifton Webb is a bit wooden as
march-master John Phillip Sousa. Formulaic plot.
- Where's Charley? (not seen)
- With a Song in My Heart *** - Susan Hayward stars in this
tear-stained bio of singer Jane Frohman, who dubbed thrilling vocals
for a truckload of great songs.
- Affairs of Dobie Gillis, The *** - Minor but enjoyable college romance
starring Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van.
- All Ashore (not seen)
- Band Wagon, The **** - Fred Astaire headlines this glorious
backstage look at the birth of a Broadway musical. One of MGM's best
do not miss this one!
- By the Light of the Silvery Moon **** - Doris Day and Gordon MacRae
sing more period hits in this so-so sequel to On Moonlight Bay.
- Caddy, The ** - Martin & Lewis as golfers aiming for
show biz fame. Hit song: "That's Amore."
- Calamity Jane ** - Doris Day is at her best as a cowgirl out to
capture Howard Keel's heart. Good score, but overall a clumsy attempt to
rip-off Annie Get Your Gun.
- Call Me Madam **** - Ethel Merman sensational in her stage
triumph. Great Berlin score & fine supporting
cast help make this a real joy for musical buffs.
- Crusin' Down the River (not seen)
- Dangerous When Wet *** - One of Esther Williams' better
splash-a-thons has her swimming the English Channel
and romancing Fernando Lamas.
- Desert Song, The ** - Gordon MacRae and Kathryn Grayson star in
Hollywood's third lackluster version of Romberg's romantic operetta.
- Down Among the Sheltering Palms * - Cheezy rip-off of South
Pacific, ironically features Mitzi Gaynor.
- Easy to Love ** - If you like Esther Williams, this may be
your dish. She splashes about with Van Johnson and Tony Martin.
- Eddie Cantor Story, The (NO stars) - Lifeless attempt to make
another Jolson Story.
- Farmer Takes a Wife, The * - Betty Grable seeks romance on the Erie
Canal, and sinks.
- 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., The *** - Dr. Seuss's only musical is
bizarre but thanks to some some amazing visuals is well worth catching.
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes *** - Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell star
as gold diggers who know that "Diamonds are a Girl's Best
Friend." Don't miss the gymnasium sequence, one of the gayest
numbers ever filmed.
- Give a Girl a Break ** - So-so backstage musical, but Gower Champion and Bob Fosse
dancing together is a must-see number.
- Here Come the Girls (not seen)
- I-Don't-Care Girl, The ** - Mitzi Gaynor stars as vaudeville
great Eva Tanguay. Great star, lousy script, good songs -- your call.
- I Love Melvin ** - Donald O'Connor wants to make Debbie Reynolds a
magazine cover girl harmless but uninspired.
- Jazz Singer, The ** - Danny Thomas cannot save this sudsy reworking of
Jolson's early talkie.
- Kiss Me Kate **** - Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson are great, but Ann
Miller darn near steals this excellent adaptation of Cole Porter's stage
hit. If you can ever see this in the original 3D version, do!
- Let's Do It Again ** - Dull musical version of The Awful
Truth has divorcees Jane Wyman and Ray Milland trying to
ruin each other's love lives.
- Lili **** - Leslie Caron is a naive girl who finds new life and
romance performing with a circus puppet show. Enchanting semi-musical,
includes hit song "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo."
- Main Street to Broadway ** - Meager backstage musical offers a
parade of Broadway legends in cameos, including Rodgers and Hammerstein.
- Meet Me at the Fair ** - Dan Dailey song and dance vehicle.
Not his best.
- Miss Sadie Thompson *** - Rita Hayworth and Jose Ferrer star in this
effective musical remake of Somerset Maugham's Rain.
- Peter Pan **** - Disney's animated version of Barrie's classic is
a winner, with Hans Conried providing the perfect voice for Captain Hook.
- Road to Bali (not seen)
- Scared Stiff (not seen)
- Small Town Girl ** - So-so love story is stolen by supporting
players Ann Miller and Bobby Van in some knockout production numbers.
- So This Is Love: The Grace Moore Story * - Kathryn Grayson stars in
this painfully weak bio of the opera diva who triumphed in Hollywood.
- Sombrero * - A few decent numbers cannot save this cheesy
love story set in Mexico.
- Stars Are Singing, The ** - Rosemary Clooney sings some of
her greatest hits. Weak plot, but cast includes opera legend Lauritz
- Stooge, The * - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in arguably their
- Those Redheads From Seattle (not seen)
- Three Sailors And a Girl (not seen)
- Tonight We Sing (not seen)
- Torch Song ** - Joan Crawford lip synchs her songs in this
camp classic about a stage star obsessed with success. Includes the
most embarrassing MGM production number of all time, "Two Faced Woman."
- Walking My Baby Back Home (not seen)
- Athena ** - Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds play sisters seeking
romance in this dull vehicle.
- Brigadoon *** - Underrated version of Lerner & Loewe's stage hit
about a mysterious town in the Scottish highlands. Highlight: Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse
dancing in the heather
- Carmen Jones *** - Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and Pearl
Bailey sizzle in Oscar Hammerstein II's update of Bizet's opera.
- Casanova's Big Night ** - Bob Hope as a nobody pretending to be the famous lover
in this lavish film.
- Deep in My Heart *** - Jose Ferrer stars as composer
Sigmund Romberg; the silly plot is redeemed by a parade of
all-star musical numbers.
- French Line, The * - Jane Russell vehicle set on an ocean
liner is a tacky attempt to follow up on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
- Glen Miller Story, The **** - Jimmy Stewart stars in this
affectionate bio of the big band leader. Loaded with vintage swing era hits.
- Living It Up (not seen)
- Lucky Me ** - Doris Day and Phil Silvers stuck in a lifeless backstager.
- New Faces ** - The hit Broadway revue is weak on film, but theatre buffs
will enjoy seeing Eartha Kitt, Paul Lynde and others.
- Red Garters (not seen)
- Rhapsody (not seen)
- Rose Marie ** - Bert Lahr steals this otherwise dreary remake of the
classic Friml operetta about a Canadian Mountie finding love in the
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers **** - One of the all-time great
Hollywood musicals has Jane Powell contending with mountaineer husband Howard Keel
and his wife-seeking pack of hunky brothers. Great songs, amazing dance
- So This Is Paris ** - Gene Nelson is the only reason to catch this
tale of sailors on leave.
- Star Is Born, A **** - Judy Garland gives the greatest performance of her career as
a singer finding musical stardom in Hollywood magnificent!
Highlight: "Born in a Trunk."
- Student Prince, The ** - Genial but uninspired version of Romberg's
Broadway hit. Best (and worst) feature: Mario Lanza'a glorious singing
voice stuck in Edmund Purdom's mouth.
- There's No Business Like Show Business *** - Dumb,
predictable plot but some great musical sequences as Dan Dailey and Ethel
Merman try to keep their show biz family together in this Irving Berlin songfest.
- Top Banana ** - Phil Silvers Broadway hit about burlesque
comics. Filmed cheaply on stage at the Winter Garden, it is uneven but
fascinating. Highlight: the burlesque skits in the title song.
- White Christmas **** - Great Irving Berlin songs and some fine dance
numbers as show biz pals Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye romance singing sisters Rosemary Clooney
and Vera Ellen. Highlights include Crosby & Kaye's hilarious drag performance of
- Young at Heart *** - Frank Sinatra woos Doris Day as Ethel
Barrymore watches. You may be surprised how enjoyable this one is.
The Other Film Chronologies: