This Week in Film History, 01-09-11

January 10, 1927: Set in the year 2000, Fritz Lang‘s sci-fi opus, Metropolis (Metropolis: Fritz Lang’s Timeless Vision), opens. It’s among the first to use miniatures in place of enormous sets.

January 10, 1914: With Mack Sennett’s instruction to Charlie Chaplin to “get into a comedy make-up,” the legendary “Little Tramp” is born.

January 10, 1923: The “Hollywoodland” sign is dedicated. It was built on the Hollywood Hills to promote sales of homes in Beachwood Canyon.

January 10, 1924: Columbia Pictures Corporation, formerly CBC Film Sales, is founded by brothers Harry and Jack Cohn, and Joseph Brandt.

January 9, 1931: Diminutive actor Edward G. Robinson creates a chilling persona in ruthless gangster “Rico” Bandello in Warner Bros.’ Little Caesar.

January 13, 1939: The industry’s most-ballyhooed casting search to date (or since) ends when Vivien Leigh signs to play Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.

January 10, 1949: Actor Robert Mitchum is sentenced to two months’ jail time after being convicted on marijuana charges.

January 12, 1957: Humphrey Bogart (Humphrey Bogart: The Non-Essentials), quintessential movie tough guy from the ’30s through the ’50s, dies of cancer at age 57.

January 10, 1959: Former Cahiers critic Claude Chabrol releases Le Beau Serge, considered the first “New Wave” film, a movement ignited by young cinema enthusiasts.

January 13, 1959: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences abandons the practice of excluding blacklisted artists from Oscar consideration.

January 10, 1990: The largest communications merger to date is accomplished when Warner Bros. and Time Inc. form Time/Warner. Cost: some $14 billion.