This week in history: 15th March – 22nd March

Marlon Brando as Mafia boss Vito Corleone

The 15th of March 1972 marked the entrance of the Corleone family into our lives. The Godfather, a mafia classic directed by Martin Scorsese, was adapted from a novel of the same name written by Mario Puzo. The film encountered controversy after its release, as the Italian-American Civil Rights League held a rally in Madison Square Gardens to protest the film, which they felt was a slur against Italian-Americans.

Marlon Brando as Mafia boss Vito Corleone

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Julia Roberts became the first actress ever to earn a staggering $20 million for one movie on the 17th February 2000. As the lead role in director Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich, Roberts became the first female to command a pay cheque so high, following many A-list, male actors such as Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Tom Hanks.

For the first time, audiences were able to watch on as the televised broadcast of the Academy Awards took place. First organized in 1927, the 19th March 1953 marked the first time viewers were able to watch the world’s most prestigious film award ceremony.

This week in history: 8th March – 14th March

An image of Jon Hamm at the Oscars in a suit and tie.


An image of Jon Hamm at the Oscars in a suit and tie.

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Fargo was released written, edited and directed by Joel and Ethen Coen.  The American crime/black-comedy went on to gain seven Academy awards nominations including two wins for best screenplay Joel and Ethen Coen and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Francis McDormand.

Actor Jon Hamm was born on March 10th star of Mad Men and the upcoming Disney film, Million Dollar Arm.

March 13 2005, Disney announces Robert Iger as the new chief executive. He oversaw Disney’s acquisition of Pixar Studios in 2006, Marvel Studios in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012 which lead to the reinvigoration of the Star Wars franchise

The words 'Star Wars' with a gold outline on a black background

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This week in history 24th February – 2nd March

This 1920's black and white image shows a middle aged man in tails looks apprehensively at a smiling young woman.

The Academy Awards on February 26, 1942 were a different affair. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour the previous December, the Academy wanted to show support for the war effort. The guests at the Biltmore Hotel that evening all paid to attend and proceeds went to the Red Cross.

Guests were also asked not to wear formal dress and the statuette that year (and all following until the end of the war) was made of plaster as the government needed all the metal for the war effort. The 14th Academy Award winner for Best picture that year was John Fords How Green Was My Valley, and the first award for a documentary was given to Churchill’s Island. 

In March 1926 Hitchcock’s The Pleasure Garden was shown to British Press. At the time, Alfred Hitchcock was a promising art director and writer. Critics were shocked by the film; journalist Cedric Belfrage who wrote for Picturegoer wrote that “Hitchcock has such a complete grasp of all the different branches of film technique that the is able to take far more control of his production than the average director of four times his experience”.

During shooting of The Pleasure Garden, cinematographer Gaetano di Ventimi hid the camera underneath Hitchcock’s bunk as they wanted to avoid Italian duties. When it was found the unexposed film was confiscated and the crew had to buy new film to shoot on location, increasing the films budget. The confiscated film was returned later. Hitchcock became engaged to Alma Reville while filming.

This week in history: 17th February- 23rd February

The actor Alan Rickman.

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This week’s TWIH post showcases the births of three fantastic actors and actresses.

On the 18th of February, 1954, John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1977 he starred as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, and in 1987 he starred as Danny Suko in Grease. Since then, he has starred in a number of fantastic films, including 1994’s Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

On the 21st of February, 1946, Alan Rickman was born. Originally from Hammersmith in London, Alan Rickman has starred in a number of fantastic films, including Love Actually and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Most famously, Alan Rickman starred in all of the Harry Potter films as the ambiguous Professor Snape.

Lastly, born on the 23rd of February, is Dakota Fanning. She was born in Conyers, Georgia and starred in her first film role at the age of seven, in 2001’s I Am Sam. Her performance in this film gained her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, making her the youngest ever nominee. Since then, she has performed in War of the Worlds (2005) and Charlotte’s Web (2006).

This week in history: 8th February – 15th February

The 9th of February 1960 marked the beginning of a film tradition that still abides today. Academy Award winning actress Joanne Woodward, star of 1957 film The Three Faces of Eve, became the first person to receive a star on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since the original ground-breaking ceremony, a further 2,500 terazzo or brass stars have been embedded on the walk, lines both sides of Hollywood Boulevard from Gower to La Brea, and both sides of Vine Street, from Yucca to Sunset.

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Heirs of J.R.R Tolkien, writer of the beloved Lord of the Rings series, joined a group of publishers in filing a $150 million lawsuit against New Line Cinema on the 11th February 2008.
With a total of 30 Academy Awards, including 11 for Return of The King, which equalled Ben-Hur and Titanic for most Academy Awards at a single event, the three films grossed $6 billion internationally. However, legal rights dating as far back as 1969 suggested that the Tolkien Trust was entitled to 7.5% of the gross revenue which they had not received.

February 15th marks the anniversary of premier of animated feature Cinderella. Produced by Walt Disney, the film opened in theatres on the 15th February 1950, Cinderella became of the highest grossest films of 1950 and is accredited as being Disney’s favourite work. Cinderella was re-released 5 more times, sustaining its popularity amongst younger generations.