This Week In Film History, 07.21.13

July 14, 1908: Edison Company actor D.W. Griffith makes his directing debut with The Adventures of Dollie, the first of over 500 works to come.

July 17, 1913: An old vaudeville gag is reborn on screen as Mabel Normand becomes the first to throw a pie into “Fatty” Arbuckle’s kisser, in A Noise from the Deep.

July 22, 1934: After seeing MGM’s Manhattan Melodrama at Chicago’s Biograph Theater, gangster John Dillinger is gunned down outside by G-men.

July 20, 1938: The major film studios are named to a governmental antitrust lawsuit over their dominance in both production and distribution of motion pictures.   

July 23, 1947: The subject of anti-Semitism is dramatized in RKO’s Crossfire and, in November, by 20th Century Fox’s Oscar-winning Gentleman’s Agreement.

July 23, 1948: Film pioneer D.W. Griffith, 73, who last directed in 1931, dies. Studios observe a three-minute moment of silence during his funeral five days later.

July 20, 1950: Playing a wheelchair-bound WWII veteran, newcomer Marlon Brando wows audiences and critics in The Men.

July 20, 1951: After a 16-year run, the Time, Inc.-produced newsreel series The March of Time no longer marches on.

July 25, 1952: High Noon, the western that would garner Gary Cooper an Oscar for his performance as the retired sheriff faced with a fateful showdown, opens.

July 22, 1959: Steve Reeves first flexes his pecs to American audiences in the Italian-made Hercules, beginning a flood of imported “sword-and-sandal” actioners.

July 23, 1962: After a six-year stint producing independent films, former studio V.P. Darryl Zanuck is now at the helm of a financially-troubled 20th Century Fox.

July 23, 1966: After what one writer called “the world’s longest suicide,” troubled actor Montgomery Clift, 45, is found dead in his New York brownstone.

July 20, 1973: Mystery surrounds the death of martial arts star Bruce Lee, 32, the cause of which will be attributed to a brain edema.

July 23, 1982: A helicopter crash on the set of Twilight Zone-The Movie results in the deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors.

July 22, 1983: With 89-year-old Abel Gance in attendance, the restored edition of his 1927 epic Napoleon has its “re-premiere” in Paris.

July 24, 1998: Director Steven Spielberg and star Tom Hanks acquaint a new generation with the drama and sacrifice of World War II in Saving Private Ryan.