The 101 Most Influential Coming-of-Age Movies

By Ryan Uytdewilligen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5. THE 1950S: THE VOICE

Like a developing child, the movie industry was finding its own personality, pursuing new interests, and discovering new talents.

The film industry was in a panic as everyone crowded around the brand new box inside their homes. Television sets were selling like hotcakes in the 1950s, boasting a variety of broadcasts and added comfort in your own living room. For the first time, people could watch the continuation of stories week to week, following escapades of “typical families” like the Cleavers or Ozzy and Harriet. And to top the mix of programming, filmmakers and studio heads were stunned at the fact advertisements could interrupt a broadcast and showcase a product to viewers around the world. Something had to be done to save film and it had to be done quick. To draw attention to the big screen, every bell and whistle would be utilized, launching the industry miles ahead and creating some of the best loved films of all time.

Auteur filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock worked like mad to pump out picture after picture, eagerly awaited by fans. Technicolor had advanced and become affordable since the end of the war so most films would shine in a variety of bright colors for the decade, something television could not afford to do. The first wave of 3D cinema hit the big screen in the early decade with hits like House of Wax (1953) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). Musicals would be bigger and grander, epics got bigger and longer, and dramas got darker and edgier. Anything that couldn’t be shown on TV was now being considered. Foreign films from around the world had never been so available or respected, especially from legends like Kurosawa or Satyajit Ray. Film had evolved like never before, but for once, it wasn’t the parents watching; this decade belonged to the teenagers.

Truly identified among the culture, teenagers ran wild across the world, vying to be popular and cool. Advertisements were everywhere and it was the youngsters who gobbled it up and bought what they saw to match their friends.

-45-

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