This Week in Film History, 11.18.12

November 18, 1928: Mickey Mouse whistles his way onto the screen in his first speaking performance, in Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie.

November 21, 1931: Released only months after Dracula, Universal Pictures has another horror hit in Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff as the scientist’s creation.

November 24, 1947: Ten Hollywood writers and producers are cited for contempt of Congress and will go on to be found guilty and be banished from the film community.

November 20, 1975: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which producer Michael Douglas‘ father Kirk had been trying to bring to the screen for years, debuts.

November 21, 1976: Rocky, the low-budget tale of a Philadelphia boxer written by and starring the unknown Sylvester Stallone, debuts.

November 19, 1980: Director Michael Cimino’s $35 million western, Heaven’s Gate, becomes one of the biggest bombs in film history and sinks United Artists.

November 22, 1980: Queen of screen innuendo and double entendre Mae West, 87, dies from complications from a stroke.

November 20, 1981: James Cagney returns to the big screen after a 20-year absence in director Milos Forman’s Ragtime.

November 20, 1986: The epitome of Hollywood sophistication and suaveness, Cary Grant, dies at 82 while taking part in an Iowa film festival.

November 22, 1995: The first feature-length computer-animated film, Toy Story, is released by Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

  • Blair Kramer

    Regarding the so-called “Hollywood ten,” Why would anyone be sent to jail for contempt of Congress? After all, don’t we ALL have contempt for Congress?! But seriously, the ten writers were found in contempt of Congress because they refused to answer questions about their communist leanings and affiliations. This never made sense to me. After all, even in 1947, it was perfectly legal to be a communist. Did the members of Congress seriously believe that communists in Hollywood would actually be able to bring down the government?! Did they think that a majority of Americans would grab their hammers and sickles after watching a film written by (one of the Hollywood ten) Dalton Trumbo?! What nonsense! To be sure, the Hollywood ten never should have been called to testify before Congress in the first place. They supposedly had a right to freedom of association. And besides, one has to wonder why ANY Hollywood communist was ever taken seriously! I could just imagine them gathering around the swimming pools of their mansions to plot the downfall of the government! It’s just too silly! Too ludicrous! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… in order to relax, some people choose to take up a hobby. There’s plenty of camaraderie involved in joining a club! Clearly, that’s precisely what some supposed communists in Hollywood did! As for myself… I prefer painting and building plastic hobby kits!