FILMS… Taking a Peek at my 5 Fave Films from the Fifties



Going back to the Fifties with 5 British Movies…


I present you with 5 British lovelies from this time and place.



Now for something completely different, as I’ve already reviewed many of my favourite American made films of this decade. So instead, here are just some of the wonderful British films I watched on the telly as a kid (and one of these films more recently). I’ve only just started watching more films from other prolific genres from this time, such as Cold War and Sci-fi films (any recommendations will be welcome). So tune in to read these posts, as they happen.

Now it’s back to 1950s Britain we go to revisit the five lovely British films I adore… and I promise to not use the words “charming” and “twee” to describe these movies, even though they are.


Genevieve (1953)

Genevieve (1953) Sun-2-Sept at 7:15pm / Wed-5-Sept at 9pm, Talking Pictures TV

One of two films in this list starring Kenneth More, this film tells of two pairs of friends who enter a vintage car race between London and Brighton. With Alan McKim (John Gregson) and his wife, Wendy (Dinah Sheridan) – driving Genevieve – vs Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth More) and his latest girlfriend in the driving seat(s), Rosalind.

As you’d expect it’s a thrill or a laugh a minute. A bet between these men on who’ll beat who adds to the suspense. This leads to some cunning skullduggery by both parties to improve their chances. It’s kind of like an early version of the Cannonball Run film but set in fifties England.

Or if you prefer the possible inspiration for many of those street races in the Fast and Furious franchise. But not with a young lady in tight-fitting Daisy Duke shorts (and not because they weren’t invented then) starting the race. Although you don’t have to be a film buff to guess who wins, this still fun and charming British comedy. (Damn, said it already).


Doctor in the House (1954)

Sir Lancelott Spratt – James Robertson Justice, youtyoobawy

I loved Richard Gordon’s Doctor book series as a kid. These books told of Doctor Simon Sparrow and his buddies and their adventures in the medical profession. This film tells about Sparrow’s student days at St. Swithin’s Hospital in London. With a wonderful British cast including Dirk Bogarde in the leading role with Kenneth More, Shirley Eaton and James Gordon Justice supporting fantastically. This film was the first of a long-running franchise and TV series. With a few jokes seemingly a tad inappropriate now.

Like the Carry On franchise, there are lots of hot nurses and doctors, double entendres and comic capers galore. Add to this fun mix, Sparrow’s constant clashing with Sir Lancelot Spratt (James Gordon Justice) with a few comic scenes that never age. Kay Kendall and Joan Sims appear in this film as potential love interests. This film was made by Rank Productions was it a popular film with a record 15,500,000 people seeing it on release.


The Ladykillers (1955)

THE LADYKILLERS – Official Trailer – Starring Alec Guinness, StudiocanalUK
This Ealing comedy crime film tells of the elderly, genteel Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) who lives alone near London’s Kings Cross station. She is well-known by the local police, as being a wee bit on the over-imaginative and eccentric side. The seemingly nice but sinister-looking Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) and his bunch of odd bod friends rent out rooms from her. It appears these men are a group of classical musicians. Then men who often heard practising their pieces.


In reality, this is a charade, with the men planning a bank robbery. The five men play classical records to keep up the masquerade to their unsuspecting landlady. Once the heinous crime is committed, Mrs Wilberforce is embroiled unwittingly in the final stages of their crime. But once the truth is revealed, she threatens to tell the police…

The film won an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Guinness heads a fabulous British cast including Cecil Parker, Jack Warner, Peter Sellers and their evil ringleader Herbert Lom. With Lom at his most menacing. Guinness’s role was one that was written originally for Alistair Sim. This is reflected in Guinness’s appearance and portrayal. Peter Sellers was said to be in awe of Guinness, who was his then film idol. There are also some blink and miss them parts for two Carry on regulars, so keep your eyes peeled.


Carry on Nurse (1959)

Carry On Nurse – UK Trailer, CarryOnTrailers

Having seen most of the bawdy British comedy series, this is one of my favourites. The film is based on Ring for Catty a play written by British comedian Patrick Cargill (of Father Dear Father (1968-73)) and Jack Beale.

Twice Around the Daffodils (1962) was also based on this play, with many of the cast and crew in both films. With a cast including Carry on regulars Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey. This list is also supported by well-known British comedians including Bill Owen, June Whitfield and Wilfrid Hyde-White.

This film tells of the lives, loves and antics of staff, visitors and patients around a men’s ward in Haven Hospital. Needless to say, the ins and outs of the plot are comically complicated. The film also with the sexual innuendo this film series is famed for. But it’s very much of its time. There’s a clumsy student nurse, a few hot nurses (one played by a later Bond girl), a formidable matron and a ward full of men with a variety of ailments. Concluding the film, with that infamous daffodil scene.


Tiger Bay (1959)

Tiger Bay (J. Lee Thompson, 1959) Trailer,  Grupo Kino

This list ends with a British crime drama film, which by luck I’ve only recently discovered. Surprisingly as Hayley Mills used to figure quite a lot in my film viewing as a kid. As a kid, I remember those films with her child performances almost constantly in the Christmas telly movie listings. I watched her in Pollyanna (1960), The Parent Trap (1961) and my favourite of her childhood movies Whistle Down the Wind (1961).

In Tiger Bay, Hayley Mills is Gillie, an orphaned English tomboy brought up by her aunt in Cardiff. Gillie wants to get in with the cool kids by getting a cap gun. and is known for being a constant fibber. Meanwhile, a Polish sailor, Bronislav Korchinsky (Horst Buchholz) returns from leave ready to propose to his girl, Anya.

Korchinsky finds out Anya has also moved on in love with a married man, so he goes to her new place. By coincidence, Gillie also lives there. She witnesses the pair fight through Anya’s letterbox, still watching as Korchinsky murders Anya. Then he hides the gun. Gillie takes the gun and lies about where she got it. This leads to a Hayley Mills character in league with a charming wanted man for the first (and not the last time) in her film career.

Despite her famous actor father John Mills in the cast as a police superintendent, Hayley in her debut outshines him with her sweet, natural and convincing acting style. She has an excellent screen rapport with Buchholz and this is always evident in their scenes together. Her scenes with her father, are just as wonderful.

So that’s just a few of my favourite films. But if you are a newbie to my wee blog and in the mood for an American film from the fifties just take a wee look HERE, HERE or HERE.  just take a chance and you never know your luck. With this lucky dip, you might just have some great new discoveries.



5 Favourite Films of the 50s Blogathon 2019, No 24

This post was added to Classic Film and TV Cafe’s blogathon. Other films with this cast include The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella with Kenneth More. Kenneth Connor in Carry on England and Kenneth Williams in Carry on Behind. John Mills in Murder with Mirrors and The Wrong Box. Megs Jenkins stars inThe Innocents. Dirk Bogarde in I Could Go On Singing and James Robertson Justice in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Herbert Lom in Asylum, The Man from UNCLE and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Hayley Mills stars in Endless Night, Appointment with Death and Deadly Strangers. 




31 thoughts on “FILMS… Taking a Peek at my 5 Fave Films from the Fifties

  1. I recently watched Tiger Bay as well. I hadn’t seen it for many years and I was very impressed.

    As for your comedy selections, you hit me where I live. Our first family pet was a black cat we named Ambrose Claverhouse!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you featured British films, as I’m not overly familiar with them. These all sound so entertaining. I recently watched Nurse on Wheels with Juliet Mills, which I believe is part of the Carry On series. I loved it and would love to see more of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TIGER BAY is one of those movies in which I was never sure of the outcome. Horst and Hayley make a great (unlikely) team and I love her scenes with her father. I own all the DOCTOR movies and, of course, the best ones are those featuring the blustery Lancelot Spratt!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the fact you chose 5 British films! I’m a yank- but consider myself an Anglophile!! Nice choices- I have new films to check out now!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of these films I’ve only seen The Ladykillers and Tiger Bay, and both viewings were quite some time ago. But I did enjoy both films, different as they are. Well, who can resist Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers or Hayley Mills (or Horst Buchholz, for that matter) in a good film. Nice selections!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ohh I love British films so I definitely have to check these! Anyway, you always have great recommendations! There’s a film you might like called Please, Turn Over (1959) which was produced, written and directed by the Carry On team. For spy/Iron Curtain-era films, I would definitely recommend Highly Dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for promoting British films from this era. I haven’t seen any of these, but they all look so interesting! I’ve bookmarked your post so I can check back to see your recommendations. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These all sound great! I’m familiar with most of them, but I’ve yet to see any of them. Doctor in the House used to be on Netflix but then disappeared before I could watch it, which I’ve always regretted. I adore Hayley Mills, so now I’m excitedly putting Tiger Bay on my watchlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. An interesting selection, and all worth watching. I grew up in the 1950s, so have some other suggestions. 🙂

    1) Woman In a Dressing Gown. (1957)
    2) Yield To The Night. (1957)
    3) Night And The City. (1950)
    4) Night Of The Demon. (1957)
    5) Seven Days To Noon. (1957)
    6) Richard III (1955)
    7) Dunkirk. (1958)
    8) A Night To Remember. (1958)
    9) The Man In The White Suit. (1951)
    10) Room At The Top. (1959)

    Many thanks for following my blog! Please check out the ‘Film and Cinema’ category. Also these articles, on another blog.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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