For Your Consideration

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Small-town America. The 1950s. That's the setting for The Last Picture Show (released in 1971). Your choices for what we'll show on Tuesday 6 March are three more films that take place in American small towns but that were made in the 50s. 

Bad Day at Black Rock (John Sturges, USA, 1955)

"Nicely put together by Sturges, its suspense derives largely from the excellent performances and imaginative use of the 'Scope frame by cameraman William C Mellor." - Geoff Andrews, Time Out

Conflicts arise when Spencer Tracey's one-armed stranger rocks into the small  Southwest town where his search for a man named 'Komoko'  is met with hostility from locals including Lee Marvin, Walter Brennan and Robert Ryan. A suspenseful mixture of western and film noir that's also an exploration of American racism. 


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, USA, 1956)

"It's still a chilling picture, gaining over Phil Kaufman's smart remake by virtue of its intimate small town setting, and it has one of the greatest endings ever filmed." - Tom Charity, Time Out

Conflicts arise when alien pods rock into the small California town where not everyone seems concerned that an invasion is underway. A sci-fi classic that's widely interpreted as a criticism of the McCarthy era, anti-Communist witch-hunts and fear of the blacklist.  


The Long, Hot Summer (Martin Ritt, USA, 1958)

"Best remembered for Paul Newman's stellar performance... It's great fun to watch the top-notch cast work together, particularly in the scenes that feature Newman and Orson Welles". - Richard Gilliam, All Movie Guide


Conflicts arise when Paul Newman's ambitious drifter Ben Quick rocks into the small Mississippi town where Will Varner (Orson Welles) reigns as the town patriarch. After initial reluctance Varner takes a shine to Quick, favouring him to take over of the family instead of his son. The script was adapted from three William Faulkner short stories and the supporting cast features Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury and Joanne Woodward (who Newman married soon after).