Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1957

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959

The Year 1957
Year
Event and Significance
1957
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' bylaws denied eligibility for Oscar nominations or consideration to anyone who admitted Communist Party membership or refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) - in other words, artists who were blacklisted. This practice was abandoned in early 1959.
1957
Millionaire Howard Hughes, who had been in charge of RKO Studios since 1948 and sole owner of the studio since 1954, sold off the studio's theatres (now a part of the Cineplex Odeon group). By 1953, RKO Studios' losses totaled $20 million, and in 1954, Hughes began the sell-off of the studio's film library to television, and fired hundreds of employees. RKO Radio Pictures was sold to the General Tire and Rubber Corporation in 1955 for $25 million, and ceased production of feature films altogether in 1957. It announced plans to close and distribute/release its remaining pictures through other companies, primarily Universal-International. The studio that had made two of the greatest films ever, King Kong (1933) and Citizen Kane (1941) and was responsible for the cycle of Astaire-Rogers dance musicals, was no more.
1957
Roger Vadim's ...And God Created Woman (1956, Fr.) was released in the US (heavily censored), starring international French starlet and pouty sex kitten nymphet Brigitte Bardot, ushering in a new level of sexuality into films.
1957
During the filming of director Otto Preminger's Saint Joan (1957), a biopic about the life of Joan of Arc, 17 year-old unknown actress - the petite and elfin Jean Seberg (in her film debut, selected after a long national talent search) during the execution scene of the title character, was accidentally burned while tied to a stake. Seberg claimed afterwards that she was also "burned at the stake by the critics." Reviews for Seberg's first and second films (Preminger's Bonjour Tristesse (1958)) were critical and almost career-ending, until she appeared in Jean-Luc Godard's landmark French New Wave film Breathless (1960, Fr.) (aka A Bout de Souffle).
1957
The Caribbean romance film Island in the Sun (1957) was noted as groundbreaking in the late 50s for its two inter-racial romances. There was hugging and kissing in the inter-racial romance between local West Indian dime store clerk Margot Seaton (Dorothy Dandridge) and the governor's white aide David Archer (John Justin). The film was notable for being the first Hollywood film with an inter-racial screen kiss. In another parallel romance, however, there was only the holding of hands (reflecting a double standard regarding the black male) between Joan Fontaine as socialite Mavis Norman and Harry Belafonte as politically-ambitious black union official David Boyeur.
1957
The high-grossing teenage-oriented horror film and cult classic from the exploitation studio American-International, I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), starred Michael Landon in a dual role. This rock and roll horror film (the first?) made popular the term "I Was A Teenage..."
1957
The famed Universal monster Frankenstein appeared for the first time in color, in UK Hammer Studio's version The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) directed by Terence Fisher, with Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein, and Christopher Lee as the Monster. This monster film, bloodier than its predecessors, marked the advent of a long cycle of the studio's stylistic gothic horror films for the next few decades, with Lee also playing the famed Dracula vampire, as in Fisher's Horror of Dracula (1958) the next year.
1957
Following the 1956 breakup of the successful legendary comedy duo of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin after making sixteen Paramount films together from 1949 to 1956, ending with their teaming in Hollywood or Bust (1956), Jerry Lewis made his first solo film, The Delicate Delinquent (1957), and was able to establish a successful career for himself.
1957
Rock n roller Elvis Presley purchased Graceland for $102,500 in March of 1957.
1957
Meredith Willson's musical The Music Man debuted on Broadway, on December 19, 1957. Five years later, the hit show was adapted for the big screen as The Music Man (1962), with Robert Preston as con-man salesman/band instructor "Professor" Harold Hill.
1957
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman's allegorical and influential classic art film The Seventh Seal (1957, Swe.) (aka Det Sjunde Inseglet), the filmmaker's most influential work, told of a symbolic chess game during the time of the Black Plague between black-robed Death (the Grim Reaper) and a 14th century knight (Max von Sydow). The medieval allegory was a treatise on God's existence and on life and death.
1957
Legendary actor Humphrey Bogart (known as Bogey or Bogie), often rated as one of the greatest male movie stars of all-time, died at the age of 57, due to the effects of cancer. His career ranged from his breakthrough film The Petrified Forest (1936), followed by a few "tough guy" gangster films Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) and The Roaring Twenties (1939), and then numerous 1940s roles in High Sierra (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), To Have and Have Not (1944) - in his first role opposite his future wife Lauren Bacall (in her debut film), The Big Sleep (1946), Key Largo (1948), and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). His sole Oscar win was for The African Queen (1951), and other later 1950s roles included Sabrina (1954), The Caine Mutiny (1954), and his last film The Harder They Fall (1956).
1957
Horror film director James Whale died at the age of 67 due to suicidal drowning in his own swimming pool. He was most noted for the classic horror films Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), although he directed other film genres, including the musical Showboat (1936) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1939).
1957
US comic actor Oliver Hardy, the more corpulent one of the Laurel and Hardy team known for tie-twiddling, died at the age of 65 from the effects of strokes. His long film career spanned from silents to the sound era, a period of 37 years from his first film Outwitting Dad (1914) (without Stan Laurel), to the duo's final film together, Atoll K (1951, Fr./It.) (aka Utopia).


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