Friday, December 18, 2009

Film Anniversaries for 2009

Most of this culled from Wikipedia. Wish the links worked, however, you can just do the usual and add the phrases you wish to search, remembering to separate each word (hyphenated words count as one word) with an underline character, as 1889 films 1899 films 1909 films  1919 films  1929 films  1939 films  1939 in film (major excerpts below)  1949 films  1959 films  1969 films  1979 films  1989 films  1999 films  2009 films

Strictly personal (=pretty much irresistible) picks follow: I'll be leaving out loads of big hits and critically exalted stuff, as well as highly significant births, deaths and film debuts (except super-year 1939):

1889: American inventor George Eastman's celluloid base roll photographic film becomes commercially available.

1919: February 5 - Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith launch United Artists.

Oscar Micheaux releases The Homesteader, starring pioneering African-American actress Evelyn Preer, becoming the first African-American to produce and direct a motion picture.

Harold Lloyd begins holding test screenings of his films and modifying them based on audience feedback, a technique which is still used today.

Tri-Ergon sound-on-film technology is developed by three German inventors, Josef Engl, Hans Vogt, and Joseph Massole; however, the era of sound films is over 6 years away.

Broken Blossoms


January 20 - The movie In Old Arizona was released. The film was the first full-length talking film to be filmed outdoors.

May 16 - The first Academy Awards, or Oscars, are distributed.

July 13, The first all color talkie (in Technicolor), On with the Show is released by Warner. Bros. who led the way in a new color revolution just as they had ushered in that of the talkies.

Hallelujah!, first Hollywood film to contain an entire black cast.

Atlantic (1929 film) is the first sound on film movie made in Germany. It is also the first Titanic movie with sound.

The Broadway Melody is released by MGM and becomes the first major musical film of the sound era, sparking a host of imitators as well as a series of Broadway Melody films that would run until 1940.

The Canary Murder Case   Bulldog Drummond   The Cocoanuts   Disraeli   Gold Diggers of Broadway   Rio Rita   The Virginian

1939: Events

'Movie historians and film buffs often look back on 1939 as "the greatest year in film history". Hollywood was at the height of its Golden Age, and this particular year saw the release of an unusually large number of exceptional movies, many of which have been honored as all-time classics, when multitudes of other films of the era have been largely forgotten.'

Films released in 1939

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, starring Mickey Rooney and Rex Ingram as Jim

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden

Another Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

Ask a Policeman, starring Will Hay, Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott

At the Circus, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx

Babes in Arms, Starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland

Bachelor Mother, starring Ginger Rogers and David Niven

Barricade starring Alice Faye and Warner Baxter

Beau Geste, starring Gary Cooper and Ray Milland

Boys' Reformatory, starring Frankie Darro and Grant Withers

Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring Edward G. Robinson, Francis Lederer, George Sanders and Paul Lukas

Dark Victory, starring Bette Davis (favorite role), George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ronald Reagan (Academy Award Nominee)

Daughter of The Tong, starring Evelyn Brent and Grant Withers

Destry Rides Again, starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart

Dodge City, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland

Drums Along the Mohawk, directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert

Each Dawn I Die, starring James Cagney and George Raft

Everything Happens At Night, starring Sonja Henie and Ray Milland

The Four Feathers starring John Clements and Ralph Richardson

Five Came Back starring Lucille Ball and Chester Morris

Frontier Marshal, starring Randolph Scott, John Carradine and Lon Chaney, Jr.

Gone with the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh (Academy Award for Best Picture)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips, starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson (Academy Award Nominee)

The Gorilla, starring Jimmy Ritz, Harry Ritz and Al Ritz

Gulliver's Travels starring Jessica Dragonette and Lanny Ross

Gunga Din, starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Sam Jaffe

The Hardys Ride High, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden

Hollywood Cavalcade, starring Alice Faye, Don Ameche, J. Edward Bromberg and Alan Curtis

The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara

The Marines Fly High, starring Lucille Ball and Richard Dix

In Name Only, starring Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis

Idiot's Delight, starring Clark Gable and Norma Shearer

Intermezzo, starring Ingrid Bergman and Leslie Howard

Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Charles Laughton and Horace Hodges

Jesse James, starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly and Randolph Scott

Judge Hardy and Son starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker and Fay Holden

Le Jour se lève (Daybreak)

Let Us Live starring Maureen O'Sullivan and Henry Fonda

The Light that Failed, starring Ronald Colman

The Little Princess, starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene

Love Affair, starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (Academy Award Nominee)

Mexicali Rose, starring Gene Autry

Midnight, starring Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains (Academy Award Nominee)

Mr. Wong in Chinatown, starring Boris Karloff

The Mystery of Mr. Wong, starring Boris Karloff

The Oklahoma Kid, starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Donald Crisp

Of Mice and Men, starring Burgess Meredith, Betty Field and Lon Chaney Jr. (Academy Award Nominee)

The Old Maid, starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins

On Dress Parade, starring The Dead End Kids

Only Angels Have Wings, starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur

On Your Toes, screenplay by the playwright Lawrence Riley et al. (film mentioned in article)

Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire and Bela Lugosi (Academy Award Nominee)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn

Q Planes, starring Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier

Range War, a Hopalong Cassidy western starring William Boyd

The Roaring Twenties, starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane and Humphrey Bogart

The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir

Seven Little Australians directed by Arthur Greville Collins

Son of Frankenstein, starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi

The Spy in Black, starring Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson

They Shall have Music, starring Jascha Heifetz, Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds and Walter Brennan

Stagecoach, directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Berton Churchill and John Carradine (Academy Award Nominee)

Stanley and Livingstone, starring Spencer Tracy and Sir Cedric Hardwicke

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, a Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Susannah of the Mounties, starring Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott

The Three Musketeers, starring Don Ameche and The Ritz Brothers

Three Texas Steers, starring John Wayne, directed by George Sherman

Tower of London, starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price

The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley (Academy Award Nominee)

The Women, starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell

Union Pacific, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea and directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Wuthering Heights, starring Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven and Flora Robson (Academy Award Nominee)

Wyoming Outlaw, starring John Wayne, directed by George Sherman

Young Mr. Lincoln, directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Alice Brady


January 10 - Sal Mineo, actor (+ 1976)

February 3 - Michael Cimino, director

February 6 - Mike Farrell, American actor

February 9 - Janet Suzman, actress

March 5 - Samantha Eggar, actress

April 7 - Francis Ford Coppola, director, producer, writer

April 12 - Alan Ayckbourn, writer

April 13 - Paul Sorvino, actor

May 13 - Harvey Keitel, actor

May 19 - Nancy Kwan, actress

May 25 - Ian McKellen, actor

May 30 - Michael J. Pollard, actor

July 30 - Peter Bogdanovich, director

July 31 - France Nuyen, actress

August 2 - Wes Craven, director, producer, writer

August 12 - George Hamilton, actor

August 25 - John Badham, director

August 29 - Joel Schumacher, director

August 30 - Elizabeth Ashley, actress

September 1 - Lily Tomlin, actress

September 18 - Frankie Avalon, actor, singer

September 29 - Larry Linville, American actor (d. April 10, 2000)

October 8 - Paul Hogan, actor

October 22 - Tony Roberts, actor

October 24 - F. Murray Abraham, actor

October 27 - John Cleese, actor

October 28 - Jane Alexander, actress

November 22 - Allen Garfield, actor

Film Debuts

Greer Garson

Maureen O'Hara

William Holden

Veronica Lake

Anne Gwynne


June 9 - Owen Moore, actor

August 23 - Sidney Howard, writer

September 24 - Carl Laemmle, producer

October 23 - Zane Grey, writer

October 28 - Alice Brady, actress

December 12 - Douglas Fairbanks, actor

1949: Pinky   She Wore a Yellow Ribbon   They Live by Night   White Heat

1959: Anatomy of a Murder   Ben-Hur   Black Orpheus   Donald in Mathmagic Land   Journey to the Center of the Earth   North by Northwest   The Nun's Story   Plan 9 from Outer Space   Porgy and Bess   Rio Bravo   Sleeping Beauty   Some Like It Hot

1969: Anne of the Thousand Days   The April Fools   The Assassination Bureau   Ring of Bright Water They Shoot Horses, Don't They?   True Grit   The Undefeated   Z

1979: Alien   Apocalypse Now   Being There   The Black Stallion   Breaking Away   The Muppet Movie Murder by Decree   Norma Rae   The Onion Field   The Rose

1989: Born on the Fourth of July   The 'Burbs   Casualties of War  Driving Miss Daisy   The Experts Farewell to the King   Field of Dreams   Fletch Lives   Glory   Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Sea of Love   Steel Magnolias

1999: The 13th Warrior   American Beauty   Magnolia   Three Kings

I thought Halloween & H20 were '79 & '99, respectively, but, no, they were '78 & '98. Oh.
P.S., R.I.P. Jennifer Jones, heroic and tragic life.  Her unique achievement in being fully adult, yet entirely believable as a child in The Portrait of Jenny and after Duel in the Sun remains astonishing; miraculous.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

1000 Years of Years Ending in 9, pt. 1

Cribbed from Wikipedia and memory, perhaps unreliable; stuff notable to me, not necessarily the most important.  Copied material in quotes, or hyperlinked (if they come through) bits, otherwise my phrasing and commentary.  Some years omitted through lack of interest!

1009 : First known mention of LITHUANIA in recorded history.

1059 : Big year for alleged heirs of allegedly holy Roman Imperial pontificates.

1069 : William the Conqueror does stuff to show he's just another brute-diabolical viking steaming pile and a total hypocrite by way of having rights by way of 'holy' kinships.

1079 : Omar Khayyam, now remembered mostly for his pretty Sufi poetry, did some really important math 'n' science calculations that make my head hurt just to read about in barest discription.

1089 : 'The Synod of Melfi under Pope Urban II imposes slavery on the wives of priests.' WTF?!

1099 : Horrible hypocritical conspiratorial Crusader crappe. But then, any '99s seem pretty bad (?).

1119 : " " " " " . And on it goes .

1139 : 'priestly celibacy is made mandatory in the Catholic Church'.

1159 : 'In the Roman Catholic Church, cardinals are given the right to elect the Pope. Prior to this, the pope was elected by the clergy and congregation of the church.'

1179 : Not content with the schisms and Crusade-fiascos of the past century, the 3rd Lateran Council makes great downward strides toward turning what started as the Church of the Savior of All into a paranoid, persecuting, central-hierarchy cabal.

1209 : The Albigense Crusade: Wha'd I tellya! --And in another 10 years, the Northern Crusades. Meanwhile, Genghis Khan is swallowing points-East.

1229 : Pragmatic egomaniac Frederick II pursues his grand career of ticking everybody off for the next decade and beyond, inspiring the heck out of Great Man Theory ambitious adherents.

1249 : 'Roger Bacon publishes a major scientific work, including writings of convex lens spectacles for treating long-sightedness and the first publication of the formula for gunpowder in the western world.' ...Ushering in the age of looking closely at triggering devices to blow up distant folks.

1259 : Neither brother-war nor gunpowder bombs stop the Mongols.

1269 : Almohad dynasty of alleged caliphs replaced by Berber Marinid dynasty in Moorish Empire. France lays heavy fines on Jews who don't wear 'Jewish i.d.' yellow badges.

1279 : Kublai Khan (~Yuan Dynasty) ends the Song Dynasty; takes all China. Mongol Empire at its peak. Kublai's 'diplomat' tries for Japan: Not rotsa ruck!

1289 : Franciscan friars begin missionary work in China. Promising start fizzles as usual on account of lack of Christianity among representative Christians--including the friars themselves, who put down the Nestorians, who had previously gained much more.

1299 : Assorted dynstic changes. Mongols finally been gettin' seriously butt-kicked.

1309 : Avignon becomes new comfy chair of papacy, which Clement V (of a line of popes with wildly ironic names) needed after secretly absolving the Templars but allowing a lot of the old catchables of them to be sadistically persecuted by Phil the (Outrageously Un-)fair.

1319 : Norway & Sweden unite.

1329 : Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland dies, replaced by David II.

1339 : Kashmir (which may have been previously Israelitish) is conquered by Muslims. All streets in the city of Florence are paved, making it the first European city to do so. This would no doubt help in the following centuries, so that great works of art could be moved without danger of going codpiece-deep in kaky mud. The Kremlin in Moscow is built.

1349 : The Black Plague blamed on Jews, who are burned en masse.

1359 : Lots of Muslim-world thrones reshuffled.

1369 : Damned Crusades in the hole (and embracing converso bloodlines of David & Mohammed), Western Europe goes back to fighting with each other. They could help against Turkics in the South and East, but NOoooooooo*. Throne changes in Southeast Asia, too.

1379 : *The Venetians and Ottomans invade Constantinople.

1389 : Overthrows throwing up all over.

1399 : Muslims, Christians & Tatars continue to fight amongst 'their own' and cross-ally.

1429 : Joan of Arc has a buncha victories, probably not envisioning that France will hardly have a decent native general after her, or Jacques Chirac will be scared of his Maltese (no, not a Knight of Malta, but a dog resembling a particularly cute dust bunny with the biting power of a chip bag clip).

1439: The Great Ordinance is adopted by the French Estates-General. This measure grants the king the exclusive right to raise troops, and establishes the taxation measure known as the taille in support of a standing army. They thought it seemed like a good idea at the time :( . Alleged and unlikely Miracle of the Moose; unfortunately an ouch for Alces. Let us pray for no more armies and only FUN moose miracles.

1459 : Bucharest first mentioned; Jodhpur founded.

1469: Ferdinand of Aragon marries Princess Isabella of Castile. This event will lead to a unified Spain in 1492. Niccolò Machiavelli, Manuel I of Portugal, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, & Vasco da Gama born. Now we're gettin' real quattrocento!

1479 : Lots of events leading to the Age of Exploration.

1499 : Bernardino de Sahagún and Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo are born. Already guys like these have led to the making of statements like this: 'Lake Maracaibo is discovered' --when the indigenes knew it was there all along.

1509 : Hard times in Italy and Istanbul, while Henry VIII looks good. Puts one in mind of what the Bible said about the King of Tyre.

1519 : Huge NEW WORLD year: Reformation & Counter-Reformation stars get goin' by way of activism or birth. Discoveries and conquests in the Western Henisphere lead to agonies, HOWEVER, the good thing: Cacao comes to Europe. Quattrocento superstars die.

1529 : Lots of important and interesting things happened, but Dude! Catch the pic of Suleiman's beanbag chair sized turban! What is it with warmongering megalomaniac tyrants and wildly impractical hats? It seems to have faded in recent decades, but ya hafta figure Saddam, Cheney, etc. got something like a papal tiara pimped out for a Las Vegas showgirl, with nuclear power.

1539 : More like the above, Mosaic horrors in Henan, and Guru Nanak dies.

1549 : 'In the Kingdom of England, it was known as 'The Year of the Many-Headed Monster', because of the unusually high number of rebellions which racked the country.' Including: The first Book of Common Prayer is published in England. The Prayer Book Rebellion breaks out in England.

1559 : Elizabeth I of England is crowned in Westminster Abbey. John Knox returns from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the beginning Scottish Reformation. Francis II becomes King of France following the death of his father, Henry II, in a jousting accident. Frankie would die the next year, widowing his teen bride, Mary, Queen of Scots, who would have a helluva time with Bess and Knox (among others), too.

1569 : Flat-out wars, both sides in the name of the Prince of Peace.

1579 : Birth-pangs of an independent Netherlands. 'Sir Francis Drake, during his circumnavigation of the world, lands in what is now California, which he claims for Queen Elizabeth I. With an English claim here and in Newfoundland, it becomes the basis for English colonial charters which will claim all land from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from "sea to sea." Drake's claim is called "Nova Albion" (New England), and subsequent maps will show all lands north of New Spain and New Mexico under this name.'

1589 : Job is elected as the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Protestants have civilized and barbarous occasions.

1599 : Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex beats up on Ireland, as will Oliver Cromwell, born this year.

1609 : Major startup events in English North America. Spain cools down foreign hostilities with 'heretics', but expels homegrown moriscos.

I may not finish this project.  My original idea was just to point out the many notable by-decade MOVIE ANNIVERSARIES IN 2009...  Since they seem to have been woefully ignored.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ships' Cats

Darlin' article from Wikipedia:'s_cat.  Basic history, plus sweet and noble tales of real ships' cats, fictional usages, and loads of good links.

p.s. : I hope all you lovers of our furry friends know about the mystery-solving animals in the (series) works of Shirley Rousseau Murphy and the dynamic duo of Rita Mae Brown and Sneakie Pie Brown.  They're my top favorites, but web searching ("Cat mysteries" for instance) will lead you to many more, including those in which animals are significant but peripheral...But can be excellent, nonetheless, such as Blaze Clement's topnotch amazing combination of 'hardboiled' and heartfelt sentiment in her series starring Dixie Hemingway, Siesta Key's ex-deputy sherriff petsitter.