Today in History: World Premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968

Today in History: World Premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968

Stanley Kubrick’s epic about human evolution, technology, and extraterrestrial life has polarized audiences and critics alike. Today, it is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.

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Today in History: The Premiere of the “Blue Angel”

 

Today in History: The Premiere of the “Blue Angel” in 1930

90 years ago today, , the German movie Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) celebrated its premiere in Berlin and introduced the world to a new movie star, Marlene Dietrich. The opening was completely sold out, possibly helped by rumors that the movie may not have been allowed to be shown at all due to its disreputable plot: a disciplinarian professor falling for a cabaret singer.

Josef von Sternberg was brought in from Hollywood to be the film’s director; Emil Jannings, who had just won an Oscar, was hired to play the professor. But filling the role of cabaret singer Lola-Lola turned out to be more problematic. Sternberg wanted Metropolis star, Brigitte Helm but she was booked; Jannings preferred theater singer Lucie Mannheim but Sternberg considered her too serious. Author Heinrich Mann would have liked to have seen his girlfriend Trude Hesterberg in the role but she was not sufficiently well-known.

Enter Marlene Dietrich. Supposedly, Sternberg was immediately fascinated by this inexperienced woman from a local drama school. It seems that the young Dietrich embodied Lola-Lola, a seductress with the longest legs and the right smile. It is said that Dietrich did not even prepare a song for her first audition, telling Sternberg that she assumed she would not be seriously considered for the role. Her flippant behavior intrigued the director and because Dietrich was behaving like the film character Lola Lola, she was hired.

Nobody could have predicted the film’s enormous success. A new star was born and immediately following the triumphant premiere in Berlin, the blue angel and her director went off to pursue a career in Hollywood.

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Today in History: King Kong Premiere in 1933

Today in History: King Kong Premiere in 1933

The black and white movie marked a milestone in the history of film, especially due to Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion effects.

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Today in History: Premiere of The Cabinet of Dr. Calilgari in 1920

Today in History: Premiere of The Cabinet of Dr. Calilgari in 1920

100 years ago today, one of the most influential German silent horror movie of all time premiered in Berlin (it was released in the US in March of 1921). The Cabinet of Dr. Calilgari tells the story of the madman Dr. Caligari and his devoted, fortune-telling sleepwalker Cesare and their connection to a string of murders in a German mountain village. This landmark in silent film history is famous for its exceptional, wildly distorted stage set designs. Caligari’s success had a huge impact on the worldwide image of German film-making after World War I. The movie was banned in Germany in 1933 and became part of the exhibition “Degenerate Art” in 1937.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Today in History: Premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times in 1936

84 years ago today, Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” premiered in the United States. Chaplin himself wrote and directed the movie and starred as the main character. The film was banned in Germany and Italy for its alleged communist tendencies.

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Today in History: Buster Keaton died in 1966

Today in History: Buster Keaton died in 1966

54 years ago today, Hollywood actor, director, and producer Buster Keaton passed away at the age of 70 in Los Angeles, California. Keaton was best known for his comic performance in silent films during the 1920s. His films “The General” (1926) and “The Cameraman” (1928) remain among the most highly regarded films of all times.

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