This Week In Film History, 04.17.11

April 20, 1965: Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker, starring Rod Steiger, takes its place in Hollywood history as the first mainstream film to include female frontal nudity.

April 20, 1903: A judgment on appeal in Edison v. Lubin allows a film to be copyrighted in its entirety, rather than each individual frame.

April 20, 1909: Broadway star Mary Pickford signs to appear in films for director D.W. Griffith; her first, The Violin Maker of Cremona, opens a few weeks later.

April 18, 1914: The release of Italy’s elaborate, sweeping historical epic Cabiria will help to inspire such American filmmakers as Griffith and DeMille.

April 17, 1919: Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks unite to form United Artists Corporation.

April 17, 1924: The merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and the independent Louis B. Mayer Company is announced.

April 17, 1937: A manic “darn-fool duck” named Daffy makes his debut in the Warner Bros. cartoon Porky’s Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery.

April 18, 1937: British composer Sir Arthur Bliss’ score for Things to Come becomes the first soundtrack to be issued on records to the public in its entirety.

April 20, 1938: Roy Rogers’ (Article: Roy Rogers: Under California Stars) first starring western, Under Western Skies, is released by Republic Pictures.

April 18, 1956: Hollywood and European royalty merge when Academy Award-winner Grace Kelly weds Prince Rainier of Monaco.

April 17, 1960: Jane Fonda, daughter of Henry, makes her film debut in Joshua Logan’s comedy Tall Story, starring alongside Anthony Perkins.

April 23, 1971: Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song opens and will go on to jump start the “blaxploitation” film movement.

April 22, 1991: 1960’s Spartacus is reissued, now containing a double-entendre-filled bathhouse scene with Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier.

April 23, 1992: Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, responsible for the Apu trilogy and other classics, dies in Calcutta at age 70.