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1548
In Thailand King Chakrapat was saved by his wife Suriyothai, who maneuvered her elephant in front of the invading Burmese King Tabinshweeti and took the sword thrust intended for her husband.
Links: Myanmar, Thailand, Film     More  Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1560 Sep 16
Arnaud du Tilh, who had confessed to impersonating Martin Guerre, was hanged in front of Guerre’s house in Artigat, France. In 1941 Janet Lewis (1899-1998) published "The Wife of Martin Guerre," a historical novel based on Guerre. The story was turned into an opera in 1961 with music by William Bergsma. In 1984 a French film version was released "The Return of Martin Guere." An American version, "Somersby," was made in 1993 set during the Civil War.
Links: France, Opera, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1597 Oct 26
Korea’s Admiral Yi Sun-shin (Yi Sun sin), with a fleet of 13 ships, beat back the Japanese Navy, with a fleet of hundreds of ships, at the Battle of Myeongnyang. In 2014 the South Korean film “Roaring Currents,” a depiction of the battle, was released and became the country’s most popular film of all time.
Links: Japan, Korea, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1654 Dec 25
Dorothy Osborne (1627-1695) married William Temple (1628-1699). Their story was later the focus of the historical romance “Forever Amber” (1944), which was also made into a film (1947). In 2008 Jane Dunn authored “Read My Heart: Dorothy Osborne and Sir William Temple, a Love Story in the Age of Revolution.”
Links: Britain, Film, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1863 Jul 18
A 2nd assault in the Battle of Fort Wagner, SC, left US1500 and CS174 casualties. Union troops of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry assaulted Battery Wagner on Morris Island in the harbor at Charleston, SC. The ultimately unsuccessful attack, the 1st major engagement by a unit of freed black soldiers, was later celebrated in the 1989 film “Glory.”
Links: USA, Black History, South Carolina, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1889 Jan 30
Rudolf (b.1858), Archduke of Austria, and his mistress, Marie Vetschera, were found dead having committed a double suicide overnight. Their story was later depicted by Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso in his film "Vices and Pleasures" (1976).
Links: Austria, Suicide, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1891
1918
The Edison Company produced films during this period. In 2005 Kino Int’l. brought out a 4-DVD set titled “Edison: The Invention of the Movies” containing 140 films made during this period.
Links: USA, Film, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1894 Apr 1
The manufacture and sale of Kinetoscopes and films were assigned to the Edison Manufacturing Company, thus moving them out of the experimental laboratory. The Kinetograph Department, a new division in the Edison Company, was launched.
Links: USA, Film, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1896 Apr 23
The Vitascope system for projecting movies onto a screen was demonstrated in New York City. Motion pictures premiered in New York City. It was developed by Thomas Armat and C. Francis Jenkins and marketed by Thomas Edison.
Links: USA, NYC, Film, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1896
A French cinematic society held a screening in Turin, Italy.
Links: France, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1896
Chinese cinema was born a year after it was invented in France.
Links: China, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1903 Dec 1
"The Great Train Robbery," the 1st Western film, was released. Edwin S. Porter, a cameraman for Thomas Edison’s production company, revived flagging interest in motion pictures with the 12-minute movie that introduced three great American traditions—editing, the chase scene and the Western. Prior to Porter’s landmark movie, moving pictures were non-narrative, with one long shot recording an actual event. The Great Train Robbery, with a series of 14 scenes of bandits robbing a railway station and ultimately paying the price for their misdeeds, developed multiple plot lines simultaneously by cutting and splicing film. Moviegoers screamed when the scene of an outlaw shooting directly into the camera was shown.
Links: Technology, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1907
American Vitagraph studios of NYC produced the film “Daniel Boone,” featuring Florence Lawrence (born as Florence Annie Bridgewood) and her mother Lotta Lawrence (Charlotte Bridgewood). By the following year Florence had appeared in 38 Vitagraph productions.
Links: USA, Filmstar, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1908
The Edison film “Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest,” directed by Edwin S. Porter, featured the screen acting debut of David Wark Griffith. D.W. Griffith went on to direct for Biograph.
Links: USA, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1909 May
Biograph released the 11 minute film “Resurrection” directed by D.W. Griffith (34). It featured Florence Lawrence and was based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy. Actor credits were not given at this time and Lawrence was known as the “Biograph Girl.”
Links: USA, Filmstar, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1909 Oct 16
Carl Laemmle, director of the Independent Motion Pictures Company of America (IMP) confirmed that he had stolen Florence Lawrence, the “Biograph Girl,” from his competitor.
Links: USA, Filmstar, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1910
The NYC film company IMP produced “Coquette’s Suitor” and identified Florence Lawrence by name as the lead actress. This was the 1st time to date that a move star was identified for the purposes of advertising.
Links: USA, Filmstar, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1910
The NYC film company IMP produced “The Broken Oath.” It starred Florence Lawrence and was directed by her husband Harry Solter.
Links: USA, Filmstar, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1911
1931
Omar Mukhtar harassed the Italian forces attempting to subdue Libya. The 1981 film “Lion in the Desert” starred Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar.
Links: Italy, Libya, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1911
The silent film “Their First Misunderstanding” starred Mary Pickford. This was the first film in which Pickford was given credit in the advertising materials. A single and only known copy of the film was found in a New Hampshire barn in 2013.
Links: USA, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1912
Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson and George Spoor, Chicago movie producers, set up the Essanay movie studios in Niles, Ca., Over the next 4 years they produced some 350 one-reel films that included "The Tramp" with Charlie Chaplin.
Links: USA, California, Chicago, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1912
In India the film “Pundalit,” the first result of an Indian’s use to tell a story, opened in Bombay. An ad for the film survived, but the film itself was lost.
Links: India, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1912
Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson and George Spoor, Chicago movie producers moved their Essanay movie studios to Niles, Ca., and over the next 4 years produced some 350 one-reel films that included "The Tramp" with Charlie Chaplin.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1913 Oct 5
In San Francisco a 7-reel film exhibition of Jack London’s story “Sea Wolf” was given at Grauman’s Imperial Theater.
Links: USA, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1914 May 8
William Wadsworth Hodkinson (1881-1971) merged 11 film rental bureaus to create the first US-wide distributor of feature films, Paramount Pictures.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1914 Jun 6
Three big movie companies in Los Angeles and San Francisco merged to form the Paramount Picture Corp. They included the Famous Players Co., the Master Film Co. and the Bosworth Co.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1914 Jun
In San Francisco the film version of “The Valley of the Moon” a 1913 novel by Jack London (1876-1916), premiered at Grauman’s Imperial Theater, 1077 Market St.
Links: USA, , Writer, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915 Feb 8
D.W. Griffith's silent movie epic about the Civil War, "The Birth of a Nation," premiered at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles. It was based Thomas Dixon’s novel “The Clansman.”
Links: USA, California, Books, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915 Apr 22
The Australian ship Success, billed as a convict museum, docked in SF, Ca., for the Panama–Pacific International Exposition. While there a short film made by the Keystone Film Company called “Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World's Fair at San Francisco.”
Links: Australia, USA, SF, Film, Expo     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915 Dec 7
Eli Wallach (d.2014), American film, TV and stage actor, was born in Brooklyn, NY.
Links: USA, NYC, Theater, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1915
The Edison film “The Unbeliever” was directed by Alan Crosland. It was a propaganda film with battle scenes shot at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia.
Links: USA, Virginia, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915
The film “A Jitney Elopement” starred Charlie Chaplin. He also directed the film, which was set in San Francisco.
Links: USA, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915
The film “A Night Out” featured the debut of Edna Purviance. It was directed by Charlie Chaplin and set in Oakland, Ca. Purviance starred in 33 Chaplin movies.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1919 Nov 19
Gillo Pontecorvo (d.2006) was born in Pisa, Italy. He one of 10 children of a wealthy Jewish industrialist and grew up to become a prominent film maker.
Links: Italy, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1919
Movie audiences were introduced to Felix the Cat. Otto Messmer created Felix for an animation studio owned by Pat Sullivan, who licensed the character. A. Schoenhut & Co. of Philadelphia (f.1872) began marketing Felix toys in the 1920s.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Cartoons, Toys, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1920 Dec 14
George Gipp (b.1895) died in Indiana from pneumonia and a strep infection during his senior year at Notre Dame. He was buried in northern Michigan. Gipp was the school's first All-American and set a school career rushing record that stood for more than 50 years. Ronald Reagan portrayed Gipp in the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne, All American," in which he made famous the phrase "win one for the Gipper."
Links: USA, Michigan, Football, Indiana, Film, ReaganR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1920
The horror film “The Penalty” starred Lon Chaney and was shot on the Barbary Coast of San Francisco.
Links: USA, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1920
The film “The Daughter of Dawn” was first screened in Los Angeles. It featured a large cast of Comanche and Kiowa people with scenes of buffalo hunting and ceremonial dances. A damaged copy was reported found in 2015.
Links: USA, AmerIndian, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1922
The film “Moran of the Lady Letty” starred Rudolph Valentino as a playboy living in San Francisco’s Nob Hill.
Links: USA, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1923 Apr 15
American inventor Lee De Forest (1873-1961) premiered 18 short films made in Phonofilm at the Rivoli Theater in New York City. Phonofilm recorded sound directly onto film.
Links: USA, NYC, Film, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1923
Walt Disney began producing his “Alice” comedies and continued with the series to 1927. Virginia Davis (1919-2009), hired at age four, appeared in 13 of the “Alice” films. These included “Alice’s Day at Sea,” “Alice the Peacemaker,” and “Alice’s Wild West Show.” Disney and his Laugh-O-Gram company were based in Kansas City, Ms., when the series began.
Links: USA, Missouri, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1924
The film "Greed" starred Gibson Gowland and Zasu Pitts. It was made by Erich von Stroheim in San Francisco based on the novel "McTeague" by Frank Norris about a Polk Street dentist. The original 8-hour film was cut down to 140 minutes.
Links: USA, SF, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1926 Jul 21
Norman Jewison, Canadian film director (Moonstruck, ...and Justice For All), was born.
Links: Canada, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1926
1931
Joseph P. Kennedy spent these 5 years in the film business. In 2009 Cari Beauchamp authored “Joseph Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.”
Links: USA, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1927 Apr 27
Actress Mae West was released from jail after 10 days. She and the entire cast and producers of her Broadway play “Sex” had been thrown in jail. The 1926 Mae West comedy-drama "Sex" caused a scandal and police closed it down after 375 performances.
Links: USA, Filmstar, Sex, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1927 May 4
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was incorporated. [see May 11] Louis B. Mayer, Mayer and three of his guests – actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo and producer Fred Beetson, had initiated discussions for the organization earlier in the year.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1927 May 11
An official organizational banquet was held for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Biltmore Hotel. Of the 300 guests, 230 joined the Academy, paying $100 each. [see May 4] Douglas Fairbanks served as the first president.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1928 May 24
The dirigible Italia crashed while attempting to reach Spitzbergen. Nine men survived the initial crash. In 2000 Wilbur Cross authored "Disaster at the Pole," a revised edition of the 1960 version of the disaster led by Italian aviator Umberto Nobile. The Russian film "Krasnaya palatka" (1969), starring Sean Connery, detailed the Nobile expedition and attempted rescue. This movie was released in North America under the title "The Red Tent."
Links: Arctic, Italy, Russia, Air Crash, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1928 Jun 17
Fox Movietone News covered the first night of a NY dance marathon at the Manhattan Casino and took a close-up of the feet of "Shorty" George Snowden. When asked "What are you doing with your feet," Shorty replied, "The Lindy." The Lindy Hop was born in black communities in Harlem, New York in the United States from about 1927 into the early 1930s from four possible sources: the breakaway, the Charleston, the Texas Tommy, and the hop. Four couples remained when the dance marathon was forced by the Health Commissioner to end after 16 days, on July 3. The eight finalists were awarded an equal portion of the $1000 prize at the Savoy Ballroom on Friday, July 6, 1928.
Links: USA, NYC, Dance, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1929 May 16
Hollywood staged an experimental publicity stunt for the movie industry at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel that grew to become the Academy Awards extravaganza. The first Academy Awards were presented during a banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The movie "Wings" won best production while Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor were named best actor and best actress. The first ceremony gave out a 2nd best award that went to F.W. Murnau’s "Sunrise." The dog Rin Tin Tin received the most votes for best actor, but the academy decided it would be a more auspicious precedent to grant the award to a human.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1929
The German film "Diary of a Lost Girl" starred Louise Brooks (1906-1985) and was directed by G.W. Pabst. It was based on book first published in 1905.
Links: Germany, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1929
Friedrich Ritter and his lover Dore Strauch left their spouses in Germany to live on the uninhabited Floreana island in the Galapagos. Their letters home were leaked to the press and others soon followed. In 2014 the documentary film “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Comes to Eden” was produced.
Links: Ecuador, Germany, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 Apr 3
The first of two Academy Awards banquets this year was held in Los Angeles at the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel. The awards were given for films released between 2 August 1928 and 31 July 1929.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 Aug 6
In NYC state Supreme Court Judge Joseph Force Crater (b.1889) dined at a West 45th Street steakhouse with a group of friends that included a showgirl. Crater had earlier withdrawn $5,150 from a pair of bank accounts. He was last seen at 9:15 p.m., climbing into the cab. Crater had been recently appointed by Gov. Franklin Roosevelt to the NY Supreme Court. In 2004 Richard J. Tofel authored “Vanishing Point,” an account of Tammany Hall and Crater’s disappearance. The 1947 film “The Judge Steps Out,” starring Alexander Knox, was inspired by the case. Evidence in 2005 suggested that several men killed the judge and buried him under the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn. [see Sep 1]
Links: New York, NYC, Murder, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 Nov 5
A 2nd Academy Awards banquet was held in Los Angeles at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel. The awards were given for movies made between 1 August 1929 and 31 July 1930.
Links: USA, California, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1930
Film director Raoul Walsh changed the name of actor Marion Robert Morrison (1907-1979) to John Wayne, after colonial general “Mad Anthony” Wayne.
Links: USA, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930
In Taiwan hundreds of indigenous Seediq people, led by Mauna Rudao, revolted against Japanese overlords. Over a hundred Japanese were killed in what came to be known as the Wushe incident. This triggered a brutal Japanese response. The story was brought to life in the 2011 Taiwanese film “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” directed by Wei Te-sheng.
Links: Japan, Taiwan, Film, Massacre     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1931 Oct 18
Legendary inventor Thomas Alva Edison died at the age of 84. Edison was the first to create a machine that projected motion pictures. With his motion picture projector and George Eastman's photographic film, the first picture, called "The Sneeze," was recorded in Edison's mobile studio. The very short silent film paved the way for the motion picture industry. Edison's many inventions also included the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph; he was credited with holding 1,093 patents. His ideas were granted patents every year for 65 years, from 1868 to 1933--unparalleled in American history. In 1998 Paul Israel authored “Edison: A Life of Invention.”
Links: USA, Film, Inventor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1932 Jan 6
Julius Rosenwald (b.1862), president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., died in Highland Park, Ill. By 1931 he had financed the construction of 5,295 schools throughout the South in association with Booker T. Washington and William Baldwin Jr., a Boston railway executive and founder of the Urban League. In 2015 Aviva Kemper directed the film documentary “Rosenwald”.
Links: USA, Illinois, Film, Education, Retail     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1932 Apr 4
Andrei Tarkovsky, Russian film maker, was born.
Links: Russia, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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