This Week in Film History, 11.9.14

November 13, 1921: After gaining fame in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Italian-born leading man Rudolph Valentino mesmerizes female filmgoers as The Sheik.

November 15, 1925: Lon Chaney outdoes his prior “grotesque” roles as the deformed Erik in the lavish Universal shocker The Phantom of the Opera.

November 13, 1933: Seen on-screen for less than a minute, Claude Rains makes a memorable film debut as H.G. Wells’ title villain in Universal’s The Invisible Man.

November 15, 1935:  The Marx Brothers’ first feature for MGM, A Night at the Opera, opens; it will prove to be their masterpiece and will break box office records across the country.

November 13, 1940: Walt Disney’s Fantasia, featuring animated sequences based on classical performances by Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra, opens.

November 15, 1940: Popular stage and radio comics Bud Abbott and Lou Costello reach a new audience, making their screen debut in One Night in the Tropics.

November 12, 1946: Amid controversy over its depiction of African-Americans, Disney’s mix of live-action and animation, Song of the South, opens.

November 15, 1956: The greatest film career for a rock star gets underway when Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley’s first film, opens in New York.

November 15, 1958: Following a swordfight with George Sanders during the filming of Solomon and Sheba, Tyrone Power has a fatal heart attack at age 44.

November 14, 1964: One of the most bizarre Christmas movies ever made, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, opens in kiddy matinees across the country.

November 15, 1966: The no-budget, shot-in-El Paso chiller Manos: The Hands of Fate debuts. Three decades later, it will gain fame as one of the worst films of all time.

November 15, 1974: Universal Pictures’ Earthquake rattles the American movie-going public with the first use of Sensurround.

November 11, 1976: Universal and Disney launch proceedings against Sony for copyright infringement, hoping to halt the manufacture of its Betamax machine.

November 10, 1981: Shortly after his 1927 epic Napoleon is re-released to a new generation of fans, pioneering French director Abel Gance dies at the age of 92.

November 9. 1984: Horror fans are introduced to the “man of their dreams,” razor-gloved Freddy Krueger, in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

November 15, 1989: Disney’s animated feature division is revitalized with the critical and box office success of The Little Mermaid.

November 16, 2001: Author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard comes to the big screen, as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has a $90 million opening weekend.

November 10, 2006: Screen heavy, Oscar-winner, and one-handed pushup expert Jack Palance passes away at 87.

November 10, 2010: Italian-born producer Dino DeLaurentiis, whose films included La Strada, Death Wish and 1976’s King Kong, dies in Beverly Hills at 91.