Perhaps I am not a good critic of film because I tend to find at least one redeeming quality in most of the films that I see that I am not overly fond of.
Last night I was channel flipping before going to sleep and the 1957 film “Peyton Place” was on. It’s based on the novel by Grace Metalious about a small New England town around the time of World War II and after, that is not so straight-laced as it seems.
I’ve seen it from beginning to end once, maybe twice. I can take it or leave it. But what kept me from changing channels last night is that although I’m not overly fond of the film, I think it is one of most beautiful-looking films ever created.
It was filmed using CinemaScope lenses that were a popular filming technique of that era for widescreen films. The film shows the beauty of the New England countryside in rich detail and the viewer, at least I did, gets the sense of standing next to the actors while watching the film. Call it the HD of its era if you will.
The movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards including cinematographer William C. Mellon. It received none.
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” won for cinematography that year. I can’t argue with that selection, but “Peyton Place” remains what I think is the best-looking film of the 1950s.