Salt of the Earth (1954)
Recently mentioned on Next Picture Show in relation to Harlan County USA, early indie film has a strange history in that it was made by three blacklisted filmmakers. They were falsely accused of being communist, so they're revenge is this pro-communist film. This doesn't make sense to me, investing your time and what little is left of your money and connections to create something you claim to be falsely accused of. Anyway, the movie itself is kind of laughable. A dumbed-down social drama with wooden performances and talking point memos for dialogue. While the anti-Union strike story is bad, the amount of time and strength drawn from the female characters is really good. Still heavy-handed, but having events revolve around the women is an inspired touch.
On the Bowery (1956)
Strange hybrid of documentary with a bit of story thrown in to undercut the realism. It's like they never found real characters and evolving situations to grab onto so they just went about creating their own, using the documentary footage for montages and connective filler.