This Week in Film History, 4.6.14

April 12, 1911: Cartoonist Winsor McCay brings his popular Little Nemo in Slumberland characters to animated life in Little Nemo and the Princess.

April 10, 1915: The controversy over D.W. Griffith‘s portrayal of blacks in The Birth of a Nation rages on, as thousands protest the film.

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

April 12, 1932: The first “all-star” (John BarrymoreWallace BeeryJoan CrawfordGreta Garbo, et al.) movie, MGM’s Oscar-winning Grand Hotel, opens.

April 11, 1938: The first step towards industry child labor reform is taken when The Kid star Jackie Coogan sues his mother and stepfather to recover his earnings.

April 10, 1952Gene Kelly eschews bumbershoot and poncho for his most famous dance number in Singin’ in the Rain.

April 11, 1955Marty, the first film made from a TV teleplay, opens and will go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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

April 10, 1972: A grateful Charlie Chaplin, 82, takes the stage at L.A.’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to accept an honorary Academy Award for his body of work.

April 9, 1975: Arthurian legend will never be the same, as the outrageous comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail opens in London.

April 8. 2011: Sidney Lumet, director of Dog Day Afternoon and Network, dies at 86 from cancer.

April 8, 2013: Former Mousketeer and Beach Party co-star Annette Funicello passes away from complications of multiple sclerosis at the age of 70.