Cannes Film Fest 1953: Year 6–Clouzot’s Thriller Wages of Fear, Starring Yves Montand, is Top Winner

My Life as Film Festival Juror, 1987-Present

Representing the contingency of U.S. critics, I have been asked to serve on the jury of the 75th milestone edition of the Cannes Film Fest, which runs this year May 17-28.

This would be my fifth honorable duty on the jury (Fipresci) of this prestigious venue; I had previously served on the juries of its 40th (1987), 50th (1997), 60th (2007) and 70th (2017) anniversaries.

Cannes Film Fest, 1953: Year 6

The sixth Cannes Film Fest was held in the spring, between April 15–29, 1953.

The Grand Prize went to the brilliant political thriller, The Wages of Fear, by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

The festival opened with Horizons sans fin by Jean Dréville.

Walt Disney was honored at the festival with the Legion of Honor.

Jury

Most of the jury members were French directors (Abel Gance), writers, and journalists.  American actor Edward G. Robinson was the exception.

Above: Jean Cocteau, Jury President

  • Jean Cocteau (France) (president)
  • Louis Chauvet (France) (journalist)
  • Titina De Filippo (France)
  • Guy Desson (France) (MP official)
  • Philippe Erlanger (France)
  • Renée Faure (France)
  • Jacques-Pierre Frogerais (France)
  • Abel Gance (France)
  • André Lang (France)
  • Georges Raguis (France) (union official)
  • Edward G. Robinson (US actor)
  • Charles Spaak (France)
  • Georges Van Parys (France)
  • Bert Haanstra (Netherlands) (short films)
  • Roger Leenhard (France) (short films)
  • René Luco (France) (short films)
  • Jean Queval (France) (journalist) (short films)
  • Jacques Schiltz (France) (short films)
  • Jean Vivie (France) (CST official) (short films)

Feature film competition

  • 1 April 2000 by Wolfgang Liebeneiner
  • Awaara by Raj Kapoor
  • Barabbas by Alf Sjöberg
  • Bongolo by André Cauvin
  • Call Me Madam by Walter Lang (US)
  • O Cangaceiro by Lima Barreto
  • Children of Hiroshima by Kaneto Shindō
  • Come Back, Little Sheba by Daniel Mann (US)
  • Daibutsu kaigen by Teinosuke Kinugasa
  • Doña Francisquita by Ladislao Vajda
  • Duende y misterio del flamenco by Edgar Neville
  • Él by Luis Buñuel
  • För min heta ungdoms skull by Arne Mattsson
  • Gendai-jin by Minoru Shibuya
  • The Heart of the Matter by George More O’Ferrall
  • Horizons sans fin by Jean Dréville
  • I Confess by Alfred Hitchcock (US)
  • Intimate Relations by Charles Frank
  • Lili by Charles Walters (US)
  • Luz en el páramo by Víctor Urruchúa
  • Magia verde by Gian Gaspare Napolitano
  • Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday by Jacques Tati
  • Nevjera by Vladimir Pogacic
  • Peter Pan by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi and Wilfred Jackson
  • La provincial by Mario Soldati
  • La red by Emilio Fernández
  • Sala de guardia by Tulio Demicheli
  • Sie fanden eine Heimat by Leopold Lindtberg
  • The Sun Shines Bright by John Ford (US)
  • Terminal Stationby Vittorio De Sica
  • Las Tres perfectas casadas by Roberto Gavaldón
  • Valkoinen peura by Erik Blomberg
  • La vie passionnée de Clemenceau by Gilbert Prouteau
  • The Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Welcome Mr. Marshall! by Luis García Berlanga

Hollywood was represented in the compeition with several weak titles, such as Call Me Madam by Walter Lang, and Come Back, Little Shebaby Daniel Mann.

That said, Hitchccock was invited to present his thriller, I Confess, starring Montgomery Clift.  It was the first appearance of a Hitchcock movie on the Croisette.

Awards

Once again, awards were divided by genre, such as the Best Fairy Tale or the Best Adventure Film and the Best Dramatic Film.

  • Grand Prize: The Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • International Prize: ¡Bienvenido, Mister Marshall! by Luis García Berlanga
  • Best Visual Narration: La red by Emilio Fernández
  • Best Fairy Tale Film: Valkoinen peura by Erik Blomberg
  • Best Dramatic Film: Come Back, Little Sheba by Daniel Mann
  • Best Exploration Film: Magia verde by Gian Gaspare Napolitano
  • Best Adventure Film: O Cangaceiro by Lima Barreto
  • Best Entertainment Film: Lili by Charles Walters
  • Jury Special Prize: Walt Disney
  • Best Actor: Charles Vanel for The Wages of Fear
  • Best Actress: Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba

Shirley Booth became the first woman to win the Best Actress Oscar and the same kudo at Cannes, for Come Back, Little Sheba.

  • Special Mention:
    • Juan Antonio Bardem, Luis García Berlanga and Miguel Mihura for the screenplay of ¡Bienvenido, Mister Marshall!
    • Gabriel Migliori for the score of O Cangaceiro
    • For the charming acting in Lili
    • Leslie Caron in the smash hit, Lili
    • For the use of color in Magia verde
  • Short Film Grand Prix: White Mane by Albert Lamorisse
  • Best Fictional Short Film: The Stranger Left No Card by Wendy Toye
  • Best Documentary Short Film: Houen zo! by Herman van der Horst
  • Best Homage: Duende y misterio del flamenco by Edgar Neville
  • OCIC Award: Horizons sans fin by Jean Dréville