Strike up the Band.

Waterloo Bridge.

My Little Chickadee.

Northwest Passage.

Knute Rockne All American.

Rebecca.

Ziegfeld Girl.

The Outlaw.

Dumbo.

Now Voyager.

Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Pride of the Yankees.

My Friend Flicka.

Song of Bernadette.

Edge of Darkness.

The White Cliffs of Dover.

Laura.

Meet Me in Saint Louis.

Double Indemnity.

They Were Expendable.

Objective Burma.

Spellbound.

Humoresque.

Gilda.

The Best Years of our Lives.

It's a Wonderful Life.

The Red House.

Johnny O'clock.

Sea of Grass.

The Red Shoes.

Red River.

Sorry Wrong Number.

The Third Man.

Samson and Delilah.

Timeline 1940 to 1949.

CHOOSE A YEAR OR SCROLL THROUGH THE ENTIRE DECADE
1940



A Brief Overview of the Decade

Rising from the economic ashes of the “Great Depression”, the 1940s brought a global war that changed the very concept of war. For the first time civilians were as likely to be killed as soldiers, and a doomsday weapon of unimaginable power was unleashed bringing the planet suddenly, and violently into the “Nuclear Age”. Nearly every country was brought into World War II, and no country was unaffected by it. By the time the war ended in 1945, over 35 million people had died because of the conflict.

Although the United States stayed out of the war until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, when the U.S. finally joined the Allies it joined the battle against all of the Axis powers: Japan , Italy and Germany. The public quickly learned the meaning of new words like “Blitzkrieg”, “Kamikaze”, “Wolfpacks”, ”Liberty Ships”, “Spitfires”, “Buzz Bombs”, and “V–2s”. Toward the end of the war even more horrible terms entered the common vocabulary, such as “Atomic Bomb”, “Radiation Poisoning”, “Concentration Camps”, and “The Final Solution”. As American men went to war, women joined the workforce in unprecedented numbers changing forever the dynamics of family life. By 1944 over half the women in the U.S. had a job outside the home.

The reports from London of Edward R. Murrow and his staff, broadcast throughout the country by CBS News Radio, brought the Battle of Britain directly into America's living rooms and demonstrated the tremendous potential of this popular medium. Music entered the home as never before when Columbia Records introduced the “high fidelity” sound of LPs, 12–inch long–playing records that created a “hi–fi” boom. Then, by the end of the decade, more and more people began buying televisions so they could tune in to NBC's “Texaco Star Theater” and watch the antics of Milton Berle who was dubbed “Mr. Television”.

After the catharsis of the war, an uneasy peace engulfed the world that was dominated by the less violent, but almost as intense, battle of ideologies. In 1945 Berlin was divided into four administrative sectors, and the political line was actually and metaphorically drawn between the Soviet Union on the one hand, and America, Britain and France on the other. Winston Churchill noted in 1946 that, “an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” and a strange and unique “Cold War” was unofficially declared. The battle between Communism and Democracy had begun, and as the poet W.H. Auden noted, the world drifted into an “age of anxiety”.

The first half of the decade saw Hollywood participating in the war effort with tremendous enthusiasm. Many celebrities volunteered to fight, and many distinguished directors risked their lives to make combat documentaries. When the USO (United Service Organizations) was formed, it encountered no difficulty in recruiting entertainers through the Hollywood Victory Committee to entertain the Allied troops, and the “Hollywood Canteen” was opened by Bette Davis and John Garfield to give members of the armed forces a chance to meet their favorite stars. But the second half of the decade saw Hollywood suddenly engaged in its own fierce battles. The U.S. House of Representatives' Un–American Activities Committee suddenly considered Hollywood to be a “center of Communist activity”; the studios and the unions battled for control of the Hollywood workforce; more and more of the Hollywood talent became freelance and independent; the censors continued to crack down on film content; and the Justice Department ended the decade by winning an antitrust action against Paramount, which forced all five major studios to divest themselves of their theaters and, as a consequence, their controlled chain of distribution.

 Year
History of Motion Pictures
Significant Films
Picture Show Man Articles
 1940

 

In the United States there are 17,500 movie theaters in operation, one for every 8,000 people. Out of a total U.S. population of 130 million, it is estimated that 55–60 million Americans go to the movies every week.

As more and more families move to the edges of the urban areas and become commuters, the Motion Picture Herald reports, “a substantial part of the future of motion picture exhibition lies in the suburbs.”

In response to the government's antitrust campaign against Hollywood 's movie studios, the Justice Department and the Big Five studios hammer out a consent decree. Block booking of films will continue, but in blocks no larger than five films; trade shows and advanced screenings will be held for exhibitors; and finally, the major studios agree not to expand their holdings without federal approval.

Because of the 1940 consent decree's restrictions on block booking, more pressure than ever is being put on film stars to sell pictures. The top five Hollywood stars in 1940 are: Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Gene Autry and Tyrone Power.

A trend is beginning for movie producers, directors and stars to break away from long–term contracts with the major studios and either become freelance agents or start their own independent production companies. Distributed and usually financed by the major studios, these independent production companies provide the studios with a steady stream of needed “A” class pictures without requiring that the studios expand their facilities or their payrolls.

George H. Gallup creates the Audience Research Institute (ARI), (later called “Audience Research Incorporated”) , devoted exclusively to the study of the movie industry and its audience. ARI's first client is RKO.

Charlie Chaplin releases “The Great Dictator”. This is the first film in which Chaplin's character speaks dialogue, and the movie is a damning verdict on Fascism.

MGM releases “The Philadelphia Story”. Directed by George Cukor, and starring James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn, the film sets box–office records at Radio City Music Hall and is nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two.

Disney releases the sweeping, feature–length musical cartoon “Fantasia”. With the collaboration of Leopold Stokowski, Disney experiments with stereophonic sound.

20th Century–Fox releases “The Grapes of Wrath”. Directed by John Ford, and starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell, the film is nominated for 14 Academy Awards.

David O. Selznick releases “Rebecca”. Starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, this is Alfred Hitchcock's first American movie. It wins the Academy Award for “Outstanding Production”.

 

Rebecca

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

 

1941

William Randolph Hearst forbids any mention of the film “Citizen Kane” in his newspapers. He considers the film to be defamatory.

The government makes public the salaries earned by the heads of well–known companies. Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM, is the highest paid executive in the country with an annual salary of approximately $700,000.

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) has called for a boycott of all Disney productions in support of strikers at Disney who have been battling for higher wages and recognition of their union.

The Hollywood director, Frank Capra, announces his intention to join the Cinema Services section of the Armed Forces to use his knowledge to further democracy.

The screen star, Greta Garbo, announces her retirement from motion pictures.

Ten days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , FDR appoints Lowell Mellett to serve as a liaison between the government and the motion picture industry. In his letter of appointment, FDR tells Mellett: “The American motion picture is one of the most effective mediums in informing and entertaining our citizens. The motion picture must remain free in so far as national security will permit. I want no censorship of the motion picture.” Mellett forms the Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP).

RKO releases “Citizen Kane”. Directed by, and starring Orson Welles, the movie fails at the box–office, although later generations will declare it to be one of, if not “the”, greatest motion picture ever made.

Warner Bros. releases “The Maltese Falcon”. Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, this is the first film directed by John Huston, who also wrote the screenplay.

Warner Bros. releases the Howard Hawks film “Sergeant York”. In it, Gary Cooper plays a conscientious objector who becomes a war hero in World War I. The film is nominated for 10 Academy Awards and becomes the #1 box–office hit of the year.

20th Century–Fox releases “How Green Was My Valley”. Directed by John Ford, and starring Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Roddy McDowall, the film is nominated for nine Academy Awards and wins five, including the Oscar for “Outstanding Motion Picture”.

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

 1942

 

The Hollywood actress and wife of Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, dies at the age of 34 in an airplane crash.

Because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just two months before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides to label its annual awards ceremony a “dinner” rather than a “banquet”, and to ban formal attire and the traditional outside searchlights.

Darryl F. Zanuck resigns as head of production at 20th Century–Fox to join the Armed Forces. Altogether, 2,700 workers leave Hollywood for active military duty.

Walt Disney abandons commercial operations to concentrate exclusively on war–related films.

The Office of War Information (OWI) is created to coordinate government information activities, and to serve as a liaison with press, radio, and motion pictures.

The director, Frank Capra, supervising the 834th Photo Signal Detachment, begins producing the seven–part “Why We Fight” series. It becomes the most influential and widely seen of all wartime documentaries, and every American in uniform is required to see the film series as part of their training.

RKO takes advantage of Orson Welles absence in South America to edit down his film “The Magnificent Ambersons” from 131 minutes to 88. RKO is attempting to make certain that the box–office failure of “Citizen Kane” will not be repeated.

The Hollywood Canteen opens allowing members of the armed services to enjoy free refreshments, the music of top bands, and the company of their favorite movie stars. The one–millionth serviceman to enter the Canteen receives kisses from Marlene Dietrich, Deanna Durbin, and Lana Turner.

RKO's Val Lewton releases “Cat People”. Directed by Jacques Tourneur , this classic “B” movie is the first monster film to refrain from showing its monster.

Warner Bros. releases “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Directed by Michael Curtiz, it stars James Cagney who becomes the first actor to win an Academy Award for a musical performance.

Universal releases “There's One Born Every Minute”. It is the screen debut of the 10–year–old actress, Elizabeth Taylor.

MGM releases “Mrs. Miniver”. Starring Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson, this depiction of Britain at war wins six Academy Awards, including the Oscar for “Outstanding Motion Picture”. The movie runs for a record ten weeks at Radio City Music Hall generating gross receipts of over $1 million in that single venue. Greer Garson is nominated for the “Best Actress” Academy Award every year between 1941 and 1945.

 

 

Casablanca

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1943

An opinion poll carried out by the Motion Picture Herald has shown that the American public is saturated with war films and is demanding movies that distract and entertain.

As the motion picture exhibition industry loses more and more of its male employees to the armed services, women begin to fill the vacancies. In March, Warner Bros. reports that it now has the first theater in the U.S. to be staffed entirely by women. Three months later Loew's reports that 62 of its theaters, roughly half, are being run by women.

The Hollywood studios are dubbing their recent films in French and Italian. Their plan is to distribute them in Europe after the war.

Clark Gable, who signed up as a lieutenant in the Air Force, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

The wartime income tax has accelerated the move by top Hollywood talent to set–up independent production companies, often as a corporation to produce a single feature film. By doing this, highly paid producers, directors and stars can be taxed at the capital gains rate of 25%, rather than at the personal income tax rate which can be as high as 80–90%.

Based on popularity and commercial appeal, Gary Cooper is the leading male star during the war years.

Because of holdovers and long runs at the first–run theaters, the smaller theaters are finding it more and more difficult to book new feature films on a timely basis. To alleviate this situation, a number of exhibitors have asked the Hollywood studios to re–release old hits. Although most of the major studios, like MGM, have never reissued pictures, many of the reissues do excellent business and provide an unexpected windfall for the studios.

In England, J. Arthur Rank now owns or controls both the Odeon and Gaumont theater circuits (totaling 650 theaters); the Eagle–Lion distribution company; and is chairman of the Gaumont British organization which includes Gainsborough Pictures, Gaumont British News, the Denham Studios and the Pinewood Studios.

RKO releases the Howard Hughes' production “The Outlaw”. This film introduces the voluptuous actress, Jane Russell, who wears a specially designed brassiere to enhance her cleavage. Censors force the film's withdrawal.

20th Century–Fox releases “The Song of Bernadette”. The film is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and makes a star of Jennifer Jones who wins the Oscar for “Best Actress”.

Universal releases “The Phantom of the Opera”. Starring Claude Rains and Susanna Foster, the movie wins three Academy Awards, including the ones for “Color Art Direction” and “Color Cinematography”. This was only the third time that Universal had used Technicolor's three–strip process for a film.

Universal releases Alfred Hitchcock's “Shadow of a Doubt”. Starring Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright and Hume Cronyn, many later critics will rate this film as Hitchcock's best.

Warner Bros. releases Casablanca . Directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the film wins three Academy Awards, including the Oscar for “Outstanding Motion Picture”. (Although the film premiered in 1942, because of its release pattern it was listed as a 1943 film by the Academy.)

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1944

 

The Hollywood Victory Committee now has 80 entertainment units touring overseas, with 38 of these being in the British Isles.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Crescent theater circuit for antitrust violations. Crescent had been accused of monopolizing a five–state area in the Southeast and of colluding with the major studios for favorable distribution terms. The Supreme Court's decision breaks up the Crescent circuit and outlaws preferential treatment by distributors in exchange for favorable runs. This case strengthens the U.S. Justice Department's position in future antitrust battles with other theater circuits, and with the major Hollywood studios.

It is becoming common for studios to finance and distribute films made by independent production companies. Paramount signs a contract with the freelance producer–director, Leo McCarey, who has an idea for a picture about two priests, but the studio is sufficiently leery of the project to require that McCarey waive his salary in lieu of a share of the profits. McCarey produces the film “Going My Way” starring Bing Crosby, and it becomes the biggest box–office hit of the year. McCarey makes over $1 million. When McCarey makes the sequel, “Bells of St. Mary's”, he makes it at RKO instead of Paramount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rank releases a film adaptation of Shakespeare's “Henry V”. One of the first British Technicolor films, it marks Laurence Olivier's debut as a director. Olivier also plays the title role.

20th Century–Fox releases “Laura”. Directed by Otto Preminger, this mature film noir stars Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb. The film makes Clifton Webb a star.

David O. Selznick releases “Since You Went Away”. Starring Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotten, and Jennifer Jones, this sentimentalized portrait of America 's wartime women and the domestic front becomes one of the biggest hits of the war and is nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Paramount releases “Double Indemnity”. Directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson, the film is ranked as one of the greatest films noir.

Warner Bros. releases “To Have and Have Not”. Directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Humphrey Bogart, the movie introduces an 18–year–old model, Lauren Bacall. Sparks fly both on and off screen between Bogart and Bacall.

MGM releases the suspenseful “Gaslight”. Directed by George Cukor, and starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, it is nominated for seven Academy Awards. Ingrid Bergman wins the Oscar for “Best Actress”.

Paramount releases “Going My Way”. Starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald, the film is nominated for ten Academy Awards, and wins seven including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

 

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1945

 

Olivia de Havilland wins a landmark decision in her contract dispute with Warner Bros. The Supreme Court has now set the outside limit of a studio–player contract at seven years, including periods of suspension.

7,000 members of the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), made up of studio set designers, illustrators, decorators and other motion picture craftsmen, go out on strike for 32 weeks. When the strike is finally resolved, it has cost the strikers $15–16 million in lost wages, and the studios around $10 million in additional overhead. Called the “decorators strike”, Variety refers to it as “the most disastrous strike in the film industry's history.”

President Harry Truman abolishes the Office of War Information (OWI) and its Bureau of Motion Pictures.

To facilitate overseas trade in the complex postwar global marketplace, the Motion Picture Export Association (MPEA) is created. It is a merger between the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the overseas branch of the government's Office of War Information (OWI).

The House Un–American Activities Committee becomes a standing (permanent) committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RKO releases “Bells of St. Mary's”. A sequel to 1944's “Going My Way”, it stars Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman and is nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Warner Bros. releases “Mildred Pierce”. Directed by Michael Curtiz, it wins an Academy Award for its star, Joan Crawford, and revives her career. The advertisements for the picture describe Crawford as a film noir femme fatale.

David Lean's film “Brief Encounter” is released in London. Adapted by Noel Coward from his play, “Still Life”, this simple love story is deemed to be one of the finest examples of good, middle–class, British cinema ever made. It is nominated for three Academy Awards.

20th Century–Fox releases “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn”. Directed by Elia Kazan, and starring James Dunn and Peggy Ann Garner, it wins an Academy Award for James Dunn, reviving his career, and a Special Award for Ms. Garner for “Outstanding Child Actress of 1945”.

RKO releases a ten–minute short subject entitled “The House I Live In”. Starring Frank Sinatra, the film is a plea for racial tolerance. It receives a Special Academy Award.

Paramount releases “The Lost Weekend”. Directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, it wins four Academy Awards: “Best Motion Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actor”, and “Best Screenplay”.

 

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1946

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revises its rules for Academy Awards voting. Instead of allowing members of the entire film community to select nominees and winners, only members of the Academy will be allowed to vote. The Academy's rolls immediately increase from 700 to over 1,600.

Shirley Temple celebrates her 18th birthday.

20th Century–Fox signs up a 20–year–old photographic model named Norma Jean Baker at a salary of $75 per week. She will be known professionally as Marilyn Monroe.

In what has become known as “the treaty of Beverly Hills”, the Association of Motion Picture Producers (AMPP) agrees to give members of the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) a 25% wage hike making them the nation's highest paid salaried workers.

The vice–president of the American Federation of Labor, Matthew Woll, says that Hollywood is the “third largest Communist center in the U.S.” He warns that the unions will not countenance actors and scriptwriters “guilty of treason.”

The combined profits of the eight largest studios is said to be $120 million for the year. That is double the profits of 1945.

The Internal Revenue Service closes the tax loophole for single–picture corporations. This forces many independent Hollywood production companies to seek out permanent financial and distribution deals with the major studios. Some directors and stars become “in–house” independents at a major studio, or become freelance.

In Hollywood the English producer, J. Arthur Rank, orchestrates a merger between “Universal Pictures” and the independent production company “International Pictures”. The new studio will be known as Universal–International.

RKO releases Alfred Hitchcock's “Notorious”. Starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, it is advertised as having the “longest screen kiss in the history of the cinema”.

In defiance of the Legion of Decency and the Production Code Administration (PCA), Howard Hughes re–releases his 1943 movie “The Outlaw” through United Artists. Using the censorship flap to fuel audience interest, Hughes personally handles the promotion for the film with the result that it becomes a major box–office hit.

Columbia releases “The Jolson Story”. Starring the contract player, Larry Parks, the film makes him a star and is the third most popular movie of the year. (Larry Parks' singing is dubbed by Al Jolson himself.)

RKO releases Frank Capra's “It's A Wonderful Life”. Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, the movie does not do well at the box–office despite being nominated for four Academy Awards.

Samuel Goldwyn releases “The Best Years of Our Lives”. Directed by William Wyler, and starring Fredric March, Myrna Loy, and Harold Russell, the film wins seven Academy Awards including the one for “Best Motion Picture”. Harold Russell, a war veteran with no hands, wins the “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar despite having had no training as an actor, and despite this being his first film.

 

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1947

At a meeting in New York City, the 50 most influential studio chiefs and producers have decided to dismiss any employee who refuses to cooperate with the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC), or who they suspect harbor Communist sympathies.

The Production Code has been amended to ban all scenarios describing the life of “notorious criminals” unless the character is seen to pay for his crime.

Ronald Reagan is elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Using the “morals” clause in worker's contracts, the Hollywood studios institute a system of “blacklisting” anyone who is a Communist, a subversive, or who does not cooperate with the House Un–American Activities Committee, thereby depriving those people of any future employment in the motion picture industry. The guilds and unions accept blacklisting as an industry policy.

The careers of 10 talented Hollywood personalities are destroyed when they refuse to answer the questions put to them by the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC). They are cited for “contempt of Congress”, blacklisted and, eventually, imprisoned.

Both movie attendance and gate receipts begin to fall sharply.

20th Century–Fox releases “Miracle on 34th Street”. Starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood, the film wins three Academy Awards.

Disney releases Song of the South”. James Baskett portrays “Uncle Remus”, and wins a Special Award from the Academy for his “able and heart–warming characterization”. Baskett dies only four months after receiving the award.

RKO releases “The Farmer's Daughter” starring Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten and Ethel Barrymore. After appearing in movies since she was four, Loretta Young finally wins an Academy Award for a performance in a film.

20th Century–Fox releases “Gentleman's Agreement”. Directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield, the film tackles anti–Semitism and wins three Academy Awards including “Best Motion Picture”.

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1948

 

The great Russian film director, Sergei Eisenstein, dies of a heart attack at the age of 50.

Under the terms of an agreement with the United Kingdom, American film companies will reinvest the $60 million profit, recently made in England, in various “permitted uses” such as hiring British talent, buying British story properties, etc. The English, in return, will reduce the 1947 tax on American films by 75%.

The British Parliament passes the “Film Act of 1948” which requires British cinemas to only show programs that consist of at least 40% British films. Hollywood counters by decreeing that no American film import can be double–billed in England with a British picture.

In Hollywood, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) regains control of organized labor from the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), whose militancy disturbed the producers.

In the antitrust case, U.S. v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. , the Supreme Court hands down a decision in favor of the Justice Department. Paramount, along with the other major studios, has been declared guilty of “conspiracy and discrimination” in order to secure a monopoly of the motion picture theater circuits. The studios are ordered to divest themselves of their movie theaters.

In order to save money, Hollywood studios are spending much less on high–priced pre–sold story properties like novels and stage plays, relying instead on less expensive original screenplays.

Howard Hughes, the owner of TWA and Hughes Tool Company, buys RKO for $8.8 million.

The International film star, Louise Brooks, who retired from motion pictures in 1938 when her film career failed to revive, has been discovered working as a $40–per–week salesgirl at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Warner Bros. releases “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. Directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, the film wins Academy Awards for both John Huston and his father, Walter Huston.

In London, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger release “The Red Shoes”. A fantasy film about life backstage in the ballet world, it is nominated for five Academy Awards, and is generally considered to be one of the finest films about dance ever made.

Warner Bros. releases “Key Largo”. Directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Claire Trevor, the film seems to sum up the post–war mood of despair. Claire Trevor wins the Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress”.

In London, Rank releases “Hamlet”. Directed by, and starring Laurence Olivier, it is nominated for six Academy Awards and wins two, including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

C. Aubrey Smith – Hollywood's Resident Englishman

1949

Harry Warner declares that Warner Bros. will introduce television production at its Burbank studios as soon as the FCC approves the studio's purchase of the Thackery television stations in Los Angeles. The government, however, puts a moratorium on the licensing of TV stations that is not lifted until 1952, and Thackery TV pulls out of the deal.

Paramount signs the antitrust agreement aimed at separating production and distribution. The company agrees to hand over its cinema network of 1,450 theaters to a new company that will reduce the number of theaters to 600 by 1952.

Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, the former chairman of the House Un–American Activities Committee and a leader in the fight against Communist influence and lax morals, is sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for embezzlement.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives a special award to the Eastman Kodak Company for the “development and introduction of an improved safety base motion picture film.”

The popular star, Ingrid Bergman, causes a tremendous scandal when it is confirmed that the married actress is having an affair with the Italian director, Roberto Rossellini.

During the past four years the number of traditional movie theaters in the U.S. declined by 15%, while during the same period the number of drive–in movie theaters increased from 300 to over 2,000.

Paramount releases “The Heiress”. Directed by William Wyler, and starring Olivia de Havilland and Ralph Richardson, the film wins three Academy Awards including the “Best Actess” Oscar for Olivia de Havilland.

MGM releases “On the Town”. Directed by, and starring Gene Kelly, this exuberant musical also stars Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Vera–Ellen and Ann Miller.

20th Century–Fox releases “Twelve O'Clock High”. Starring Gregory Peck and Hugh Marlowe, this film becomes one of the year's biggest box–office hits.

Paramount releases Cecil B. de Mille's “Samson and Delilah”. This lavish Technicolor spectacle becomes the biggest box–office hit of the decade, and starts the trend for biblical epics that continues through the 1950s.

Columbia releases “All the King's Men”. Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge and John Ireland, the movie is nominated for seven Academy Awards and wins three, including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

“B” Movies – A Brief History.

The “Academy” Ratio – The Shape of Movies Before 1953

"Film Noir" – What Is It?

Oscar Levant – Hollywood's Musical "Enfant Terrible"

Movie Censorship – A Brief History

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