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Another Great Year for Movies
by Jon Schuller

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Like so many other aspects of life, some years really are better than others. No matter what subject we choose I think it's safe to say that our memories will inevitably focus on the good rather than the bad. 60 years ago we were in the beginnings of the "Space Race" with the Soviet Union because of their launch of the Sputnik satellite in October, 1957. The Cold War was being waged all over the globe and the technology part of it was beginning to look critical. Fears of a nuclear catastrophe colored everyone's lives. Here we are and that is still around us. The movies, of course, reflected many tastes, attitudes and directions. Movie musicals were being replaced with other types of film entertainment and in 1958, Gigi kept the genre alive with style and memorable music. The top pictures for 1958 were:
1. South Pacific
2. Auntie Mame
3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
4. No Time for Sergeants
5. Gigi
6. The Vikings
The Young Lions
8. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
9. Some Came Running
As you can see, the variety of subjects and locations was amazing. For Academy Awards, too, the types of movies were across the board. We have
Best Picture: Gigi
Best Director: Vincente Minnelli Gigi
Best Actor: David Niven Separate Tables
Best Actress: Susan Hayward I Want to Live!
Best Supporting Actor: Burl Ives The Big Country
Best Supporting Actress: Wendy Hiller Separate Tables
Best Foreign Language Film: Mon Oncle (My Uncle)
179 movies came out in 1958 all around the world. The famous Carry On films from Great Britain premiered that year. The musicals simply revived their own memorable histories from the Broadway stage. South Pacific, Auntie Mame, Damn Yankees and Gigi brought Broadway to the entire world. Here's a sample of some of the films which premiered 60 years ago and became overnight classics we still watch and love today.
The Big
Country (a personal favorite of mine), Bonjour Tristesse, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, God's Little Acre, The Horse's Mouth, Houseboat, Imitation General, The Hunters, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, The Last Hurrah, The Lineup, The Long Hot Summer, Man of the West, Marjorie Morningstar, The Matchmaker, No Time For Sergeants, The Old Man and the Sea, Run Silent, Run Deep, Separate Tables, Touch of Evil, Teacher's Pet, Vertigo (maybe Hitchcock's greatest work), The Vikings and The Young Lions.

Actors and actresses who made their movies debuts in 1958 and went on to create some of the most memorable roles in film history:
Claudia Cardinale in Goha
Patty Duke in Country Music Holiday
Peter Falk in Wind Across the Everglades
Nigel Hawthorne in Carve Her Name with Pride
Ian Holm in Girls at Sea
Jack Nicholson in The Cry Baby Killer
Suzanne Pleshette in The Geisha Boy
Christopher Plummer in Stage Struck
Vanessa Redgrave - Behind the
Oliver Reed - The Square Peg
Don Rickles - Run Silent, Run Deep
Gena Rowlands - The High Cost of Loving

The incredible variety of films, stories, locations and the creative people who acted, directed and wrote the music for so many of these pictures is staggering even today. The list of actors and actresses who were born in 1958 reads like a Who's Who of cinema royalty. I just love chronicling anniversary years this way. Every year there are great movies that premier across our country and around the world. But certain years somehow, magically, have more of these films than others. I won't even attempt to explain this phenomenon. Maybe it's karma or fate or whatever label you decide to use. In any case, we're the beneficiaries of all this creativity and hard work by 100s of people. Once a year, at the Academy Awards, we find out who gave us these miracles and we can look forward to more and more each year to our collective delight and joys.

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Cinema Savant
Every other Thursday

My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.

Other Columns
Other columns by Jon Schuller:

Three Strikes and You're.....

Imagine That. I Learned Something Old Today.

I'm Not Afraid of a Ghost. Well, Sort Of.

1 Becomes 234

Sitzen machen!

All Columns

Jon Schuller
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 29 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jon Schuller by clicking here.

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