Several directors who made their reputations during the Studio Era in the 1940s (Billy Wilder, John Huston, Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock, and John Ford) continued to make good films (as well as mediocre ones).
Alfred Hitchcock's star continued to rise in the 1950s with three significant films.
John Wayne plays the man who shot Liberty Valance, an evil gunman from the "old school" (compare Jack Palance's portrayal of the gunman in Shane, 1953). Shane is a former gunslinger who tries to settle down. He rides away from the secure world he had tried to become a part of. In some respects the best films of the 1950s are the ones that forecast the great films on the 1960s.
But the credit for killing Valance goes to Jimmy Stewart, who had reluctantly picked up a gun and tried to use it against the hardened killer. But conflicts in the outside world find their way to his doorstep, and he is compelled to strap on his guns one more time and dispatch the evil Jack Palance gunslinger (who wears black! Examples include On the Waterfront (1954), Rebel Without a Cause (1954), Marty (1955), Paths of Glory (1957), 12 Angry Men (1957), Separate Tables (1958), and Wild River (1960).
For some reason the 1950s have slipped past our consciousness.
They exist in a limbo between the focused efforts of Americans to win World War II and the disappointments and cynicism of the 1960s (the assassination of John F.