February 2, 1922: Hollywood has a real whodunit on its hands when Paramount Pictures director William Desmond Taylor is found slain.
February 5, 1927: Buster Keaton‘s comedic masterwork The General, based on a true Civil War incident, is released.
February 1, 1929: MGM’s The Broadway Melody premieres in Hollywood, becoming the first musical with an original score.
February 5, 1936: At the New York premiere of Charles Chaplin‘s Modern Times, riot police are called in to control the crowds trying to see the stars attending the festivities.
January 31, 1943: Italian director Luchino Visconti‘s gritty drama Ossessione adds the phrase “neo-realism” to the cinematic lexicon.
February 1, 1966: After a career that spanned 50 years, with successes on stage, and in front of and behind the camera, Buster Keaton, 70, dies of lung cancer.
February 2, 1969: “King of Horror” Boris Karloff dies of respiratory disease in his native England at 81.
February 1, 1973: A record $5.00 ticket price is being charged at New York’s Trans-Lux East Theatre for Last Tango in Paris.
January 31, 1974: Legendary producer Sam Goldwyn of Guys and Dolls and The Best Years of Our Lives fame dies at the age of 74.
February 1, 1978: Just before he’s about to be sentenced for the statutory rape of a teenage girl at Jack Nicholson’s L.A. home, director Roman Polanski flees the United States.
February 3, 1989: Maverick filmmaker John Cassavetes, whose work preceded the rise of the independent cinema, dies of lung cancer at 59.
February 2, 1996: Athletic screen hoofer and choreographer Gene Kelly dies at the age of 83.