“What I set out to do is to help you see movies better, to experience them more deeply and sharply and richly,” says James Harvey. And his critical method-reading a movie moment by moment, scene by scene-reveals new layers of meaning in even the most familiar films. See how 1940s film noir evolves into 1950s melodrama; how the femme fatale of the 1940s (think Barbara Stanwyck) becomes blander and blonder (think Doris Day) and then younger and sexier (yes, Marilyn); and how the new boy-men-Clift, Brando, Dean-finally steal the show. Harvey also discusses the directors: Hitchcock, Ophuls, Kazan, Welles. Comprehensive, vivid, and charismatic, Movie Love in the Fifties is a fresh look at the films, directors, and actors of a dynamic decade. “Whether he’s escorting us through Nicholas Ray’s Bitter Victory, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life, Orson Welles’s Magnificent Ambersons, or any one of a dozen other great films from the period, Harvey lends us an astuteness of analysis and a power of observation that we couldn’t have had on our own.” — Wendy Lesser, The American Prospect

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