This Week In Film History, 12.25.11

button-film-historyDecember 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 announces her retirement from acting.

December 25, 1946: On one of his least favorite days of the year– Christmas Day– famed screen comedian/curmudgeon W.C. Fields dies at 67.

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.

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 25, 1977: Actor-director-producer-writer Charles Chaplin, once called “the most recognized face in the world,” dies in London at the age of 88.

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

December 25, 1990: Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather, Part III opens, 14 years after the second Corleone family saga hit theaters.

December 25, 1992: The Crying Game opens, and Miramax, its distributor, asks critics and audiences not to reveal the film’s big surprise.