This Week In Film History, 12.26.10

This Week In Film HistoryJanuary 1, 1900: French film pioneer Charles Pathé releases the historical re-enactment Episodes of the Transvaal War in Paris.

December 31, 1903: Capital Execution is the first feature from what will be a thriving Danish film industry, until its decline during World War I.

December 26, 1913: Less than two years after the sinking of the Titanic, the disaster comes to the screen as the basis for the lavish Danish drama Atlantis.

December 29, 1913: Chapter One of the first true serial, a continuous storyline told in sequential chapters, The Adventures of Kathlyn, is released.

December 31, 1941: Following the lukewarm reception to her comedy Two-Faced Woman, Greta Garbo (Ninotchka article) announces her retirement from acting.

January 1, 1951: 300 Chicago households take part in the first TV pay-per-view movie system. For $1, they can watch 1948’s April Showers, with Jack Carson.

December 26, 1951: Akira Kurosawa‘s landmark drama Rashomon is released in the U.S. and will set off a wave of interest in Japanese cinema in the West.

December 30, 1953: Marlon Brando creates a new screen archetype-the leather-clad, motorcycle-riding delinquent-when he stars as The Wild One.

January 1, 1954: In his essay “A Certain Tendency in French Cinema” in Cahiers du Cinema, 21-year-old critic François Truffaut plants the seed for his “auteur theory.”

December 26, 1973: The Exorcist opens on a limited basis around the country. The supernatural shocker causes a sensation, eventually grossing $165 million.

December 26, 1974: Stage, television and movie comic legend (and sometime violinist) Jack Benny dies in Beverly Hills at the age of 79.

December 26, 1977: Howard Hawks, whose directorial resumé ran the gamut from Bringing Up Baby to Red River, dies at the age of 81.

January 1, 1980: A long-established glass ceiling gives way when Sherry Lansing is made president of 20th Century Fox, and becomes the first woman to head a studio.