Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1927

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929

The Year 1927
Year
Event and Significance
1927
Fox released They're Coming to Get Me (1927), a five-minute black and white short that was the first 'talkie' using the Movietone system. The first feature film released using the Fox Movietone system was Sunrise (1927), directed by F. W. Murnau -- the first professionally-produced feature film with an actual soundtrack.
1927
The effective end of the silent era of films came when Warner Brothers produced and debuted The Jazz Singer (1927), the first widely-screened feature-length talkie or movie with dialogue. The musical, starring popular vaudevillian Al Jolson, had accompanying audio (with a sound-on-disc technology) which consisted of a few songs by Jolson and a few lines of synchronized dialogue. In his nightclub act in the film, Jolson presented the movie's first spoken ad-libbed words: "Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothin' yet." The film had about 350 spontaneously ad-libbed words.
1927
Fox's Movietone newsreel, the first sound news film, was produced. The first recording of a news event was the takeoff of Charles Lindbergh's plane from New York on May 20, 1927 on his historic flight across the Atlantic to Paris, the inspiration to create Movietone News.
1927
At the height of his career during the decade of the 20s, comedian Buster Keaton (known as "The Great Stone Face" who equally rivaled silent comic director/star Charlie Chaplin), made many short films and twelve feature films, including his timeless masterpiece The General (1927). It is regarded as one of the greatest of all silent comedies (and Keaton's own favorite) - and undoubtedly the best train film ever made. The chase comedy based on a true Civil War incident received both poor reviews by critics (it was considered tedious and disappointing) and weak box-office results (about a half million dollars) when initially released in the late 1920s, and it led to Keaton's loss of independence as a film-maker and a restrictive deal with MGM. It would take many decades for the film to be hailed as one of the best ever made. His distinctive films were noted for their trademark wit, satire, acrobatic agility and stunt-work, and fantasy. Other well-known works at this time included Our Hospitality (1923), The Navigator (1924), Sherlock, Jr. (1924), and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928).
1927
Director Abel Gance's celebrated epic silent film Napoleon (1927, Fr.) premiered in Paris, France, over 100 years after the military leader's death in 1821. It experimented with wide-screen and multi-screen effects, used rapid-fire editing (influenced by Eisenstein's Potemkin (1925)), free-wheeling camera movement (influenced by Murnau), and a unique multi-projector system. The final sequence was to be screened via triple projection as a triptych. It was the precursor to the wide-screen Cinerama process that debuted in 1952.
1927
Director Fritz Lang's classic dystopian vision of the future, the expressionistic Metropolis (1927, Germ) set in the year of 2000, exploited massive sets and lavish set design, clever special effects, stylistic shadowing, oblique camera angles and labryinths, and physical effects like realistic miniatures (one of their first uses) and hydraulically-produced flooding. It was considered a costly box-office disaster at the time and its notorious German producer, the UFA (Universumfilm Aktiengesellschaft) had to be bailed out by U.S. interests. Brigitte Helm served as the film's real Maria (an oppressed working girl) and as the evil robotic doppelganger of herself - cinematic history's first android or robot.
1927
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was founded, with 36 members (composed of actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers). The organization's first president was Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and its first awards ceremony was held in 1929, to honor films in 1927 and 1928.
1927
Motion picture film became standardized at 24 fps.
1927
The prison comedy silent film The Second Hundred Years (1927) marked the official debut of "Stan" Laurel and "Ollie" Hardy as a comedy duo, although they had previously worked together for about 10 years. It was the first of Hal Roach's comedy series that paired and featured the two as a formal screen team.
1927
British director Alfred Hitchcock released his third film, the suspense film The Lodger (1927) (aka The Lodger: A Story of The London Fog), a tale about an "Avenger" based upon the Jack the Ripper serial killings. Hitchcock's first credited and completed feature film The Pleasure Garden (1925, UK) was released in the US in 1926, but delayed for release in the UK until 1927 following The Lodger's success. The film was notable as being Hitchcock's first 'true' film (his first suspense film), his earliest film that survived in its entirety, and the first with a trademark cameo appearance.
1927
The Hays Office issued a Production Code memorandum, "Don'ts and Be Carefuls," a code of decency telling the studios eleven taboos or things to avoid in the "Don'ts" section (and twenty-six items in the "Be Carefuls" section), including profanity, 'licentious or suggestive nudity,' illegal traffic in drugs, any inference of sex perversion, white slavery, miscegenation, sex hygiene and venereal diseases, scenes of actual childbirth, children's sex organs, ridicule of the clergy, and willful offense to any nation, race or creed.
1927
Grauman's Chinese Theater opened in Hollywood, California (on Hollywood Boulevard), with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings (1927). It soon became famed for hand and footprints of various film stars and celebrities. The first stars to leave their imprints in the concrete were: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (April 30), Norma Talmadge (May 18), Norma Shearer (August 1), Harold Lloyd (November 21), and William S. Hart (November 28).
1927
In 1927, the average cost of a movie ticket was 25 cents.
1927
All-American half-back football star Johnny Mack Brown, a future star of B-westerns for over two decades, signed a contract with MGM, thereby becoming the first sports star to sustain a career in motion pictures.
1927
Paramount's film titled It (1927) opened, with an early appearance by Gary Cooper and 22 year-old starlet Clara Bow as resourceful lingerie department store salesgirl Betty Lou Spence who fell for her boss (Cyrus Waltham Jr.) - she soon became known as the "It Girl." "IT" meant unashamed sex appeal, hedonism and liberation. Bow - a saucy working class girl from Brooklyn, who had struck it big as a silent film actress, had already been dubbed "The Brooklyn Bonfire" and "The Hottest Jazz Baby in Films." One of her most memorable lines in the film was: "So you're one of those Minute Men - the minute you meet a girl you think you can kiss her!" The film was also noted as having the earliest known use of a zoom lens in a US feature film, in its opening shot.
1927
Leo the Lion, the famed African lion mascot of Hollywood's MGM film studio, was flown as a transcontinental publicity stunt non-stop from Southern California (near San Diego) to New York, in a plane similar to Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis which had made its historic flight across the Atlantic a few months earlier. The plane crashed in Arizona near the town of Gisela, in a Tonto National Forest canyon. Six days following the crash, after the pilot went for help, the still-caged Leo was rescued from the plane's wreckage - alive and well, but hungry and thirsty. The mascot was shipped back to Los Angeles by truck.


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