Photoplay’s top films on 1954 — How many have you seen?

This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, in which I share excerpts from my collection of vintage publications.

When I read any of the books or magazines from my collection of vintage publications, I often think of the many people who must have enjoyed reading them in the past.

Sometimes my interaction with these readers of the past goes beyond my simple wondering about who they were and which articles they enjoyed best. Sometimes they leave little notes behind in the magazines that give me insight into who they were.

The cover of the November 1954 issue of Photoplay, which includes the awards ballot. (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP - Don't steal me!)
The cover of the November 1954 issue of Photoplay, which includes the awards ballot. (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP – Don’t steal me!)

My November 1954 issue of Photoplay includes two little clues into the life of one of the former owners. One missing review has been clipped out of the page filled with brief reviews. Not much discovery can be done here since I haven’t been able to track down another copy of the magazine and see which film was important enough to the reader to be clipped out.

Quite a few pages later, there is a list of the biggest stars and films of the year. Photoplay urged readers to send in their favorite female star, male star and film of the year from those lists. Rather than follow Photoplay’s wishes, one of the previous orders of my copy marked which films they had seen from the list in pencil, scribbling “31 I seen” in the margin of the page.

The delivery sticker is still attached to the front of the magazine, giving me some idea as to who the scribbler of this message could be, but I’ll never know for certain — at least one other person (the antiques dealer that I bought the magazine from) has been in possession of it, so anyone could have written it. But I thought, regardless of the identity of the previous reader, it would be fun to compare our movie-watching experiences! (Yep, I’m a creepy film nerd. And I want to be a History Detective.)

Below is the “Top films of 1954” list, with each film I’ve seen marked with an asterisk. I’ve marked The Scribbler’s watched films with a hyphen.

About Mr. Leslie-

Act of Love-

Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

The Americans


The Barefoot Contessa*

Beat the Devil

Beau Brummel

Bengal Brigade

The Big Rainbow

The Black Shield of Falworth


Broken Lance-

The Caine Mutiny*

Carnival Story-

Casanova’s Big Night*

The Command

Country Girl*

Creature from the Black Lagoon*

(Scanned by Lindsey for TMP - Don't steal me!)
(Scanned by Lindsey for TMP – Don’t steal me!)

Dangerous Mission

Deep in My Heart

Demetrius and the Gladiators


Dial “M” for Murder*-


Drum Beat

Easy to Love-

The Eddie Cantor Story

The Egyptian

Elephant Walk-

Executive Suite*-

Flame and the Flesh-

Forever Female*

Francis Joins the WACS

The French Line

Garden of Evil-

The Glenn Miller Story-

Green Fire*

Hell and High Water

Hell Below Zero

The High and the Mighty-

His Majesty O’Keefe

Hobson’s Choice


Indiscretion of an American Wife-

It Should Happen to You-

Johnny Dark

Johnny Guitar-

Jupiter’s Darling

King Richard and the Crusaders

Knights of the Round Table

Knock on Wood

The Little Kidnappers

Living it Up-

The Long, Long Trailer*-

Lucky Me

Ma and Pa Kettle at Home

Magnificent Obsession*-

Man with a Million

Men of the Fighting Lady-

Money from Home

Miss Sadie Thompson*-

Naked Alibi

The Naked Jungle-

Night People-

On the Waterfront*




Prince Valiant-

The Purple Plain


Rear Window*

Red Garters


River of No Return*

Rob Roy

Rose Marie-



Secret of the Incas-

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers*

She Couldn’t Say No

Son of Sinbad

A Star is Born*

The Student Prince


Susan Slept Here*


This is My Love

Three Coins in the Fountain*

Track of the Cat

The Vanishing Prairie

Vera Cruz

Walking My Baby Back Home-

White Christmas*

The Wild One-

Woman’s World

Yankee Pasha-

Young at Heart

My watches total up to 24, which means I’ve got some viewing to do if I want to catch up with The Scribbler. I recognize a few of these titles from my Mill Creek sets, though, so I’ll catch up eventually!

Feel free to count up your total and let me know how many of these films you’ve seen in the comments (or follow Photoplay’s instructions by sharing your two favorite stars and your favorite film of the year).

9 thoughts on “Photoplay’s top films on 1954 — How many have you seen?

  1. I’ve seen seven of these. My personal favorite would have to be On the Waterfront (which is in my top ten of all time), though I think Rear Window is probably the better film.
    It’s always interesting to see what people enjoyed at the time. In this case it seems pretty similar to what I at least liked from that year.


  2. I’ve seen eleven of the above films, and it’s interesting to me that The Scribbler’s choice in film seemed quite varied, as far as genres went. And what I think is cool to consider is this: of the 31 films he/she saw that year, imagine which old-time single-screen theaters they went to see them in. I was going to do a little detective work myself, to see which theaters they MIGHT have visited, but you’ve blacked out the address label! Curses!

    And my Photoplay vote for favorite movie would be ‘Rear Window’.


    1. I will do that detective work when I get back to MI. :) I decided to block out the address on the odd chance that the person listed may still be living at that address, or that the same family may still own the home. It would be rude of me to share their address with the world!


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