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The decade of the heartthrobs, rebels and rock&roll.
Marilyn Monroe started acting at the end of the 40s and by the early 50s she was already becoming a huge star. Films such as 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', 'How To Marry A Millionaire' and 'The Seven Year Itch' with its famous scene in which Marilyn stood over a New York subway grate that blew wind up into the skirt of her dress, cemented her as a true icon and beauty.
Still considered one of the best actors in the world, Brando was a huge star and icon. 'On The Waterfront', 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'The Godfather' were just three of the roles that cemented his reputation as talented method actor.
After the more austere 1940s, fashion started to become more feminine and daring in the 50s. Balenciaga for example dared to add prints and stripes to their creations. The makeup, as seen on this model, is strong with arched, dark eyebrows, black eyeliner, dark red lips and pale skin - an iconic 50s look, to which sometimes women added a beauty spot with black kohl, just above the mouth, like Marilyn Monroe. Hair is kept short in curls.
Taylor was a hugely successful actress and in the 50s she starred in several important films in her career: 'Giant' with James Dean (his last role), 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof' with Paul Newman and 'Raintree County' with Montgomery Clift.
The actor may have only starred in three films, but thanks to his incredible talent, beauty and the roles he took, he became a true icon of his generation. 'Rebel Without A Cause' highlighted a new generation, the teenagers and their turmoil, never seen before in film. 'East Of Eden' and 'Giant' too were hugely successful movies. Sadly Dean passed away too soon, at the age of 24 in a car accident.
By the mid 50s Elvis mania was in full swing. His album 'Elvis Presley' spent 10 weeks at the top of the billboard chart in 1956. The first rock and roll album to make it to number one and sell over a million copies. Rock and roll was a defining musical genre of the 50s, but blues and jazz were huge too, with artists such as Fats Domino and Miles Davis rising to become some of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
The 50s gave a voice to its youth, thanks to films such as James Dean's 'Rebel Without A Cause'. Teens finally had a voice and they embraced the rock and roll culture. The first young rebels were born.
Christian Dior was at the forefront of fashion and had created the famous 50s 'New Look', which was feminine, soft, sensual but very sophisticated. Skirts were flared, waists were waspy and hats had a large brim.
The Soviet artificial earth satellite was launched into the low earth orbit in 1957. The Sputnik provided scientists with invaluable information about our planet and its orbit and it triggered a space competition between the Soviet Union and the USA.
Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant were two huge actors of their generation, with long, successful careers. They starred together in 1957 romantic drama 'An Affair To Remember', a classic that was nominated for four Oscars.
Another icon of the 50s: the beautiful and sexy Italian actress Sophia Loren. Loren acted in many films, both in Hollywood and in Italy. In 1957 she starred in 'Legend Of The Lost', with another Hollywood legend: John Wayne. The pair got on famously, as we can see from this shot of them relaxing and joking together on set.
The twice Oscar nominated 1956 film was hugely popular but ended up being Kelly's final performance as she'd just met a famous royal who she ended up marrying and giving up acting for.....
On 18 April 1956 a true fairytale unfolded: an aristocrat married a Hollywood star. Kelly stopped acting after marrying the prince, and despite being a hugely successful actress, she only starred in 14 films in her career.
The first colour TV was launched in the 1950s. Watching television at the time was a family ritual. Mum, dad and children, would gather around the box and spend a few hours together.
Just like James Dean, Elvis was regarded as a heartthrob. This famous still from his film (and single) 'Jailhouse Rock', is one of the most iconic images of the 50s.