This Week In Film History, 02.27.11

button-film-historyMarch 2, 1906: Biograph Studios wins appeal of kinetoscope inventor Edison’s patent claims, preventing (temporarily) a potential monopoly on the making of movies.

March 5, 1919: Pioneering black producer/director Oscar Micheaux releases his first film, The Homesteader.

February 27, 1920: German expressionist painting and design are captured to great effect in Robert Wiene‘s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

March 5, 1922: A “strange symphony of terror” is unleashed on screens across the world with the debut of Germany’s Nosferatu, a unauthorized adaptation of Dracula.

March 1, 1924: The first of Walt Disney’s Alice short subjects, mixing live-action and animation, Alice’s Day at Sea, is released.

March 1, 1926: Young British director Alfred Hitchcock releases his first finished, credited work, The Pleasure Garden.

March 2, 1933: “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” King Kong, is unleashed on New York by RKO Pictures, during its hair-raising premiere.

February 27, 1934: A lawsuit against MGM’s Rasputin and the Empress results in the now-familiar “The events and characters in this film are fictional…” disclaimer.

February 27, 1935: It Happened One Night makes Academy Award history by taking Best Picture, Actor, Actress and Director.

March 5, 1936: Writer Dudley Nichols becomes the first person to refuse an Oscar (for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Informer) during a boycott of the Academy.

March 2, 1939: B-Western hero John Wayne is catapulted to stardom when he plays the Ringo Kid in John Ford‘s hit frontier drama Stagecoach.

February 27, 1940: With a host of extraordinary films on the ballot, the Oscars are nearly swept by Selznick’s Gone With the Wind, which takes home nine.

March 3, 1950: Marx Brothers Groucho, Chico and Harpo make their final film appearance as a team in Love Happy, with a young Marilyn Monroe.

March 5, 1960: After a two-year stint, rock ‘n’ roller and movie star Elvis Presley is released from the U.S. Army and will begin filming G.I. Blues.

March 5, 1962: George C. Scott becomes the first actor to refuse an Oscar nomination (for The Hustler), in protest of fellow actors’ practice of campaigning for awards.

March 1, 1973: A New York court rules the adult movie Deep Throat to be obscene. A fine double the film’s box office receipts is imposed.

March 1, 1978: Charlie Chaplin‘s body is stolen from his grave in Vevey, Switzerland, and held for ransom. Police will recover it on May 18th.

March 5, 1982: Comedian and former Saturday Night Live star John Belushi, 33, is found dead from a drug overdose in a Los Angeles hotel.

March 1, 1984: William Powell, consummate urbane leading man of the ’20s through the ’40s, dies at age 91.

March 2, 1984: Actor-turned-director Rob Reiner makes an auspicious debut with his acclaimed comedy This Is Spinal Tap.