Tag Archives | 1950s

Sea Fury (Cy Endfield, 1958)

Most of my summers have been spent in L’Estartit (Girona), where I learnt how to swim, how to make friends in a foreign language, how to survive on a diet of coco pops and alcopops and that Malibu mixed with milk is not actually a nice drink. Before the tourism boom of the 1960s, L’Estartit was a tiny fishing town. The L’Estartit that I knew, however, was the one of British pub quizzes, Dutch teenagers, foam parties, and thong vending machines. I used to be mesmerised by the latter and even purchased one at the age of 9 only to “ewww” and “ahhhh” at it for about five seconds before someone threw it away. Another souvenir I purchased at the time was a squeaky monkey which let out a massive penis when squeezed. Now that I think about it, maybe it was a priest and not a monkey, or maybe both. Nice Catholic education there, mum and dad.

Anyway, I have always loved trying to imagine what this little coastal town looked like before the buzzing neon signs, decaying nightclubs and drunk Brits. The other day, quite by coincidence, I came across this gem of a film which was filmed there in 1958, before tourism swallowed up the coast. In it you can see what the town looked like before it even had streets, back when people spent their time making fishing nets on the beach, before anybody tried to sell you dodgy coke. Sea Fury (Cy Endfield, 1958) is available on youtube. It’s not even a good film, and Luciana Paluzzi’s Spanish accent is hilarious, but the views of L’Estartit are magnificent.


Liverpool In the 50s & 60s – Of Time And the City (Terence Davies)

Let’s be honest. I thought this film was über-pretentious. Sure, it is beautifully made and there were truly funny moments, but half of the time I found myself thinking he was trying too hard to make it as arty as possible. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not as cultivated as I thought. Terence Davies uses newsreel footage and his own voice to show his experience of growing up in Liverpool during the 1950s and 60s and the decadence and end end of the city he used to know. I didn’t think much of his account, but the old images of Liverpool are wonderful. As a long time Beatles fan, I’ve always imagined what Liverpool was like back then, what people wore, what they did, etc. My needs are now more than satisfied.


Your grandparents were once teenagers too

Today I’ve been reading about teenagers as research for some essays. In one of the books I’m reading, Jon Savage’s Teenage. The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, I came across this photo by Nina Leen and fell in love with it because, well, because it combines record shopping, teenagers and the 40s. I mean, what’s there not to love?
I wondered if the photographer took more photos about teenagers and a little google search revealed that she had indeed. I had come across Leen’s work many times before, but I never really took notice of the name or investigated further. I probably should have. Predictably, my favourite shots of hers are the ones of teenagers during the 40s and 50s. I don’t know if they are staged or not, but they seem to be a very accurate depiction of teenage life. It’s funny how, despite all the time that has passed and the changes in our lifestyle,  some of these images remain relevant.
All images in this post belong to Nina Leen.

Grahame vs Monroe

Next Wednesday I am doing a presentation on Human Desire (which I haven’t watched yet). We are analysing Hollywood stars and looking at the actress (or female actor, whatever) Gloria Grahame across different films (The Big Heat, Human Desire, Oklahoma!, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Bad and the Beautiful). Today we talked a bit about the different representations of femininity in 1950s Hollywood. I have spent the whole evening thinking about the possibility of comparing Grahame’s character in Human Desire, which is a Film Noir from 1954, with Marilyn Monroe’s femme fatale in Niagara, a Film Noir made one year earlier. My thinking is that both actresses appropiate the character of the femme fatale, giving their characters features characteristic of their star persona, so I think it would be interesting to see how very similar characters are made different by stars in the same genre and during the same period. I am excited about this, but I haven’t watched Niagara since I was about 12 and I still have to watch Human Desire, so it might not work at all.

And I am posting this because I had to write it down somewhere before the idea leaves me.


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