Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1946

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949

The Year 1946
Year
Event and Significance
1946
The Cannes Film Festival debuted in France on the French Riviera. Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend (1945) was the first Best Picture Oscar-winning film to also win Cannes' top prize (known now as the Golden Palm or Palme d'Or).
1946
Universal Pictures merged with the independent production company International Pictures to become Universal International.
1946
Disney's first live-action feature film The Song of the South (1946) was released, with three major segments of animation; it was based upon Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus folk tales regarding Br'er Rabbit; due to extensive protests (mostly by the NAACP) over the stereotypical representations of blacks in the film and the film's romanticizing of slavery, the controversial film was never released on home video for US audiences; the film's hit song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" won the Academy Awards Oscar for Best Song.
1946
The first theme park, originally named Santa Claus Land (later renamed as Holiday World & Splashin' Safari), opened in August of 1946 near Evansville, Indiana. Disneyland would open a full nine years later in July of 1955.
1946
Bobby Driscoll, the child star of Song of the South (1946) and Treasure Island (1950), was the first actor to sign a long-term contract with Disney Productions.
1946
The most famous role and peak performance of WWII's GI "love goddess" - the beautiful, alluring, and provocative, red-haired pin-up Rita Hayworth - with her sleek and sophisticated eroticism, lush hair and peaches and cream complexion, was in director Charles Vidor's Gilda (1946). Film posters cried: "There NEVER was a woman like Gilda!" Hayworth's most famous scene was a seductive striptease (to the tune of Put the Blame on Mame) when she only removed long black satin gloves from her arms.
1946
Screen comedian, actor, writer, and juggler W.C. Fields died at the age of 66. Due to the effects of a heavy-drinking life, his last starring film was Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941). Supposedly, he despised the holiday of Christmas, the day on which he died, of an alcohol-related stomach hemorrhage.
1946
David O. Selznick announced that he would release his films by himself rather than through United Artists.
1946
Director William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) debuted, and won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor in 1947. It was a classic post-war film that accurately and poignantly portrayed the readjustment of veterans and their families after their return home. Double amputee (from war injuries) and amateur actor Harold Russell became the only actor to win two Oscars for playing the same role, a returning GI named Homer Parrish. He was awarded a special Academy Award for "bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans," and then also won the year's Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
1946
The impressionistic, fantasy-romance film Beauty and the Beast (1946, Fr.) (aka La Belle et La Bête), directed by Jean Cocteau, was released in post WW II France. It was an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's 1756 fairy-tale. It inspired the Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast (1991), the first and only full-length feature animated film to be nominated for Best Picture by AMPAS.
1946
Director Frank Capra's holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946), with James Stewart and Donna Reed, opened and was fairly well-received. However, it was a box-office flop at the time of its release, and only became the Christmas movie classic in the 1970s due to repeated television showings at Christmas-time when its copyright protection slipped and it fell into the public domain in 1974 and TV stations could air it for free.
1946
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPPA) had earlier withdrawn its seal of approval for obsessed millionaire producer/director Howard Hughes' controversial 'sexy' adult-western epic about Billy the Kid titled The Outlaw (1943), featuring busty 36D" starlet Jane Russell in her film debut and breakthrough role. The B-grade western was notorious for leering camera views of Russell's ample cleavage, as she played the sexy, half-breed Mexican mistress Rio of Doc Holliday (Walter Huston). She was often seen in a low-cut, unbuttoned peasant blouse - which was considered too racy for contemporary audiences in 1941. Hughes refused to submit film ads to the MPAA in his ad campaign (such as "What are the two reasons for Jane Russell's rise to stardom?") for seal approval. He defied the Hayes Production Code (reportedly this was the first US film to do so), and sued the MPAA organization, but eventually backed down. Hughes postponed its opening until 1943 when it was given a limited release (one-week run), then withdrew it, and re-released it three years later in 1946 in a cut version, and then again in 1947. The eventual release of the mediocre, fictional film ended up as an example of triumphant ballyhooing and film marketing.
1946
The Motion Pictures Code allowed films to show drug trafficking so long as the scenes did not "stimulate curiosity."
1946
The first ever "original soundtrack album" was MGM's release of the soundtrack for its film musical Till the Clouds Roll By -- it was first soundtrack album ever made from a live-action film musical; its first release was on a 78 RPM album, then later on 33 RPM LP and on compact disc. The Jerome Kern soundtrack was MGM Records' first soundtrack album. [Note: Disney's movie soundtrack of a few of the songs from its animated musical film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) were available on a limited RCA two-record set - the only other previous soundtrack released.]
1946
The last pairing of Basil Rathbone (as Sherlock Holmes) and Nigel Bruce (as Dr. John Watson) was in Dressed to Kill (1946) - the last of 14 Sherlock Holmes films they were teamed in from 1939 to 1946.


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