This Week In Film History, 08.21.11

August 27, 1953Audrey Hepburn captivates audiences with her Hollywood debut as the runaway princess in Roman Holiday, for which she’ll win an Academy Award.

August 27, 1917: The first feature to be directed by John Ford, the Harry CareyHoot Gibson western Straight Shooting, opens.

August 23, 1925: With its premiere at the Century Theater in New York, Fritz Lang‘s Siegfried introduces the synchronized, sound-on-film process.

August 23, 1926: Film fans react in shock to news of the death of beloved screen idol Rudolph Valentino, 31, struck down following surgery for a ruptured ulcer.

August 26, 1930: The silent cinema loses one of its greatest stars when “man of a thousand faces” Lon Chaney succumbs to bronchial cancer at the age of 47.

August 24, 1937: “The Dead End Kids” (Huntz Hall, Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, et. al.) reprise their stage roles in the film version of Dead End, co-starring Humphrey Bogart.

August 24, 1938: MGM’s price for the loan of Clark Gable‘s services to Selznick for Gone With the Wind: the distribution rights and one half the profits.

August 21, 1939: RKO Pictures contracts with theater/radio wunderkind Orson Welles, allowing him to produce, direct, script and act in two projects of his choosing.

August 23, 1943: Olivia de Havilland files her trailblazing lawsuit against Warner Brothers that ultimately broke the studios’ practice of extending performer contracts indefinitely.

August 26, 1980: Master of outlandish cartoon mayhem Frederick “Tex” Avery, who gave Bugs Bunny his “What’s up, Doc?” catchphrase, dies at 72.

August 21, 1987: Stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey have the time of their lives in the surprise hit Dirty Dancing.