This Week In Film History, 04.01.12

April 1, 1923: Moviegoers are thrilled by the death-defying, high-rise antics of comedian Harold Lloyd in Safety Last.

April 7, 1927: Upon the centenary of the military leader’s death, director Abel Gance releases an epic achievement, the landmark Napoleon.

April 1, 1930: After being spotted in a Berlin stage revue by director Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich reaches stardom with The Blue Angel.

April 2, 1936: Selznick International Pictures releases their first production, an adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy starring Freddie Bartholomew

April 1, 1949: England’s Ealing studio releases the first of its acclaimed, whimsical comedies, Passport to Pimlico, starring Margaret Rutherford.

April 2, 1951: The premiere issue of the French film journal Cahiers du Cinema goes on sale; contributing writers will include Truffaut, Rohmer and Chabrol.

April 4, 1958: Cheryl Crane, 14-year-old daughter of Lana Turner, fatally stabs her mother’s lover, tough guy gangster Johnny Stompanato, in self-defense.

April 4, 1960: William Wyler‘s epic religious drama, Ben-Hur, takes home a record 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Actor (Charlton Heston).

April 7, 1960: Respected British director Michael Powell comes under fire for his latest, Peeping Tom, a psychological drama about a deranged killer. 

April 4, 1962: Pope John XXIII issues a denouncement of the rumored illicit affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during production of Cleopatra.

April 2, 1968: Director Stanley Kubrick‘s senses-shattering sci-fi epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, debuts. Though a stunning achievement, acclaim is not widespread.

April 7, 1970: John Wayne receives his first and only Academy Award for his role as feisty gunfighter Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

April 3, 1972: The Film Society of Lincoln Center honors Charles Chaplin, marking the first time the star has stepped onto American soil in 20 years.

April 2, 1974: A streaker interrupts David Niven at the Oscars, who quips, “…the only laugh that man will probably get is for…showing off his shortcomings.”

April 1, 1976: A failed Fox musical called The Rocky Horror Picture Show is given new life at a midnight showing at the Waverly Theater in Greenwich Village.