Great topic! It might be my favourite decade for film:
2. Rear Window
3. North By Northwest
4. Sunset Boulevard
5. Dial M for Murder
6. The Man Who Knew Too Much
7. Roman Holiday
8. Strangers on a Train
10. The Vikings
I also really like Plan 9 From Outer Space, but would not DREAM f putting it anywhere near a top 10 list =P
To Catch a Thief, 20,000 Leagues, and I considered having one animated film with Lady and the Tramp (I think, haven't seen it since young childhood).
I also really like the 1940s. Films were less locked into formula back then, I think it was probably in the late 70s and 80s when they began really locking down formulas: Star Wars and Jaws were great films, but their massive success was a blow to creativity in the decades to follow - since the business end of film industry figured out the reusable formula which is still in use today.
I'll also note that Vertigo is not only my favourite film of the 1950s, but my favourite film of all time. I probably watch it no less than at least once every 6-8 months or so. Rear Window is also in my top 10.
I would ague it was not that atypical. The narrative vehicle of showing the events in real time, is pretty unique even today. As far as a classic goes. The Academy agreed giving it four awards, and I believe it has also been selected preservation by the Library of Congress (That's when you really know you made it )
Oh and was remade as "Outland" an equally outstanding if not under appreciated science fiction film from the 80s
Witness for the Prosecution is another good Billy Wilder picture. I love Wilder's noirs ---Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Ace in the Hole, and think they stand with the best pictures ever made. But man, I really dislike his comedies.It doesn't help when Jack Lemmon is in a movie; I didn't like that guy.