It was the year that saw the passing of George VI, King of the United Kingdom and her dominions, of Canada, of South Africa, of Australia, of New Zealand and of Ceylon. The year his daughter, The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom. The year was 1952. Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced to the world that Britain had an atomic bomb. Agatha Christie’s legendary whodunnit The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End and has been running ever since, the longest run of any play in history with close to 25,000 performances. And many magnificent movies hit cinemas worldwide. God save the Queen!
Oscar-winner Gary Cooper played a stalwart lawman compelled to face a former foe in taut, genre-defining western High Noon. A vengeful Arthur Kennedy squared off against mellifluous Marlene Dietrich in Rancho Notorious. James Stewart battles a questionable past to play the hero game in pioneering tale Bend of the River. And though best known for his western works, John Wayne swaggered appealingly through olden days Ireland in romantic drama The Quiet Man.
From fearlessly original director and charismatic star Orson Welles came Othello. A magical spectacle starring Charlton Heston, The Greatest Show on Earth lifted the lid on colourful circus folk. A wondrous curiosity about a fading comedian, Limelight was a romantic drama from writer, director, producer and star Charlie Chaplin.
A beautiful, brilliantly barmy British comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest did Oscar Wilde proud. The sixth of seven road trip comedies starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, and the only one the gang ever shot in Technicolor, Road to Bali remains fine, feelgood fun.
Best of the lot though was Singin’ in the Rain, a vivacious comedy musical detailing the earliest days of cinema and the game-changing arrival of sound. Singing and dancing up a storm, Gene Kelly led an irrepressible cast through arguably the greatest film about filmmaking ever filmed. “What’s wrong with the way I talk? What’s the big idea? Am I dumb or something?”