This Week in Film History, 8.10.14

August 16, 1926: Up-and-coming starlet Clara Bow inks a deal with Paramount, but refuses to sign the customary “morality” clause.

August 15, 1935: Beloved stage and screen star Will Rogers, traveling with aviator Wiley Post, is killed in a plane crash near Barrow, Alaska.

August 15, 1939:  The audience at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is taken “Over the Ranibow” at the Hollywood premiere of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland.

August 14, 1940: Top screenwriter of Easy Living and If I Were King, Preston Sturges, makes his directorial debut with The Great McGinty.

August 10, 1950: Director Billy Wilder is accused of biting the hand that feeds him with his darkly funny look at Hollywood past, Sunset Boulevard.

August 14, 1951: A Place in the Sun opens. Paramount removes the name of actress Anne Revere, who had refused to cooperate with HUAC, from the publicity.

August 16, 1956: The screen’s most famous vampire, Bela Lugosi, dies at 73. In accordance with his wishes, he’s buried in his Dracula cape.

August 13, 1967: Arthur Penn’s biodrama Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, ushers in a wave of screen realism and violence.

August 11, 1976: Depicting, ironically, a famed gunslinger’s battle with cancer, John Wayne’s last film, The Shootist, opens.

August 16, 1977: Elvis Presley dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 42 in his Memphis home, Graceland.

August 15, 1979: After years of production and financial troubles, Apocalypse Now finally opens in American theaters, three months after its premiere at Cannes.

August 16, 1985: On her 27th birthday, Madonna maries actor boyfriend Sean Penn. Their union would last four years and produce the box office bomb Shanghai Express.

August 12, 1988: Director Martin Scorsese’s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ opens to protests from religious groups.

August 16, 1995: The film noir genre gets a ’90s updating with the acclaimed, plot-twisting whodunit The Usual Suspects.

August 13, 1997: American audiences are introduced to a British slang term, thanks to the unexpected comedy hit The Full Monty.

August 12, 2000: Loretta Young, Best Actress Oscar-winner for The Farmer’s Daughter, dies from cancer at 87.

August 14, 2006: Comic actor Bruno Kirby (When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers) dies from complications from leukemia at 57.