Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1943

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
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1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949

The Year 1943
Year
Event and Significance
1943
20th Century Fox began distributing three million pinups of leggy actress Betty Grable, in her famed white swimsuit photo (with her hands on her hips and an over-the-shoulder smile), mostly to GIs serving in armed forces overseas. She was declared their favorite pinup. The actress' handprints (and one leg) were immortalized in cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on February 15, 1943. Lloyds of London insured her legs for up to one million dollars in 1943. At $300,000 a year salary in 1946-47, the US Treasury Department declared that she was the highest-salaried American woman.
1943
Columbia Pictures released its first Technicolor film, a western called The Desperadoes (1943) with Glenn Ford and Randolph Scott.
1943
Director Vincente Minnelli's Cabin in the Sky (1943) opened, starring Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, and Ethel Waters. Stormy Weather, starring Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Fats Waller, was also released.
1943
The War Production Board ordered theaters to dim their marquee lights at 10 p.m.
1943
50 year-old British actor Leslie Howard, famous for his role as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind (1939), was killed when onboard a DC-3 plane that was shot down by German Luftwaffe fighters over the Bay of Biscay near Lisbon, Portugal (considered a war zone).
1943
Beginning a directorial career that spanned 57 years, Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa directed the action film Sanshiro Sugata (1943, Jp.)(aka Judo Saga), his directorial debut film, but it was not released in the US until 1974.
1943
The UPA (United Productions of America) was formed by a group of animators who broke away from Disney, following a five months artists' strike in 1941. The intentions of the film production company were to promote freedom of expression in the field of animation.
1943
Obsessed millionaire producer/ "director" Howard Hughes' controversial B-grade western The Outlaw (1943) featured busty (36-D) starlet Jane Russell in a breakthrough role. It was considered too racy for contemporary audiences in 1941 when it was screened for the Hays Office. Its original release had to be postponed until 1943 - and then only in very limited release to theatres. After a one-week run at that time, Hughes decided to withdraw and shelve the film for three years after which it was finally placed in general release in 1946 (in a cut version) without a seal of approval, and then again in 1947.
1943
The precursor of Italian neo-realism was Luchino Visconti's gritty Ossessione (1943, It.), the Italian director's first film. Loosely adapted from James M. Cain's pulp novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, it enraged fascist censors and inspired the term neo-realism. The movement would really take hold from the mid-40s to the mid-50s, with its main exponents being Visconti, Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica.
1943
Female director Dorothy Arzner directed the war melodrama First Comes Courage (1943), her last feature film, starring Merle Oberon.
1943
Director/producer Alfred Hitchcock's best American film (and second film with Universal Studios) was the thriller Shadow of a Doubt (1943) - and it was purportedly his own personal favorite. The cynical, film-noirish, war-time film was shot on location in the small, story-book town of Santa Rosa, California - a representative place of sacred, wholesome, middle-American values where dark corruption was hidden within a family. Joseph Cotten played beloved relative Uncle Charlie who lived with his sister's family until his niece (Teresa Wright) discovered his murderous secret.
1943
Influential Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein published The Film Sense, a film theory book that took a critical look at film and its impact, using his experiences in creating Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925), October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1927), Old and New (1929), and Alexander Nevsky (1938), and including a defense of his use of "montage".
1943
The 18-minute silent, surrealistic feminist film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), co-directed by husband and wife Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren (who also starred as the film's two major characters, The Man and The Woman) and shot in 16mm, was influential in ushering in the post-WW II American avant-garde (experimental) film movement. It was called a "dream" or "trance" film, due to the fact that its day-dream plot (filled with poetic imagery of the subconscious) was filmed without a script.
1943
Superhero Batman was the first Detective Comics (DC) character to have his own serial - Batman (1943), Columbia Pictures' 15-episode wartime serial with cliffhangers. It starred Lewis Wilson as smug playboy Bruce Wayne and alias Batman - "America's No. 1 crime fighter."
1943
The emotionless, meek, slow-moving, slow-talking, deadpan-voiced, yet stoic Droopy Dog made his nameless debut in MGM's Dumb-Hounded (1943). His first line of dialogue was: "Hello all you happy people...you know what? I'm the hero." Besides Tom & Jerry, the other biggest MGM cartoon character, Droopy (known as "Happy Hound") was Tex Avery's most famous and long-lasting character at the studio. The cartoon character finally received the name "Droopy" in his fifth cartoon, Senor Droopy (1949).
1943
Supported by the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), Olivia de Havilland filed a far-reaching lawsuit against her studio, Warner Bros, eventually winning in a 1945 ruling called the DeHavilland Law. It declared that a studio could not indefinitely extend a performer's contract. It imposed a 7 year limit on contracts for service unless the employee agreed to an extension beyond that term. The decision ultimately limited the oppressive contract-power of studios over their performers.
1943
Paramount's all-star musical film Star-Spangled Rhythm (1943) opened in Hollywood - it was the first of the plotless WW II morale-boosting, patriotic entertainment films.
1943
Controversy was engendered when 54 year-old Charlie Chaplin wed 17 year-old Oona O'Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill (who cut ties with her and disowned her following the marriage). It was Chaplin's fourth marriage, and they eventually had eight children, one of whom was future actress Geraldine Chaplin.
1943
A Los Angeles jury found Errol Flynn not guilty of statutory rape charges brought against him in 1942 by two teenage girls (Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterlee).
1943
Actor Clark Gable served in the armed forces during WWII, and as a US Army Air Corps Lieutenant, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal after participating in five combat missions in 1943. After one of those close calls, MGM studios were worried about the fate of their box-office star, and requested that his assignment be transferred to non-combat duty.


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