Choosing a year of Hollywood history to look at wasn’t easy, but I settled on 1950 because it was the start of a decade of change for the Hollywood studios.In fact 1950 may have been the beginning of the end of the studio system.
The separation of production companies and theatre chains went into force at the start of the year.
Seven million TV sets were sold in America. Cinema audiences were declining.
The Hollywood Ten went to jail subsequent to the HUAC hearings of 1947 and the studios’ rush to fire anyone remotely connected to communism.
But the Brothers Warner were still running their studio: Darryl Zanuck knew what he was doing at Fox; MGM continued lavishing big budgets on their glossy musicals (though L.B.Mayer would be replaced within a year): Over at RKO Howard Hughes was running the studio – into the ground.
Stars who made their names in the 1930s were still very active as the new decade began – Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Tyrone Power, John Wayne,James Stewart,Humphrey Bogart,James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable.
But Judy Garland, only 28 years old, and after making films(and profits) for MGM for 15 years, was let go by the studio.
1950 had its share of classic in all genres.
Bogart was the tortured writer in IN A LONELY PLACE.
I’d like to add a Hitchcock from 1950, but STAGE FRIGHT isn’t one of his best.
Two highlights of 1950;
Who would have guessed that,after nearly 20 years in Hollywood, Bette Davis would get one of the best roles of her career – as the temperamental stage star,’Margo Channing’ in ALL ABOUT EVE. Bette used all her considerable talent and made ‘Margo’ unforgettable.
Over at Paramount, Billy Wilder focused on another legend, a silent film star,’Norma Desmond’ played by silent film star Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD. His tale was very different from the Broadway world of All About Eve.
Other films that stand out for me from this year include UNION STATION,WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS,ARMORED CAR ROBBERY,PANIC IN THE STREETS, DARK CITY,BORN YESTERDAY,GUN CRAZY.
So Hollywood was still going strong, but there were big changes ahead.
Other posts in the Blogathon can be seen here