Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1964

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969

The Year 1964
Year
Event and Significance
1964
The first feature-length made-for-TV movie, an action film titled See How They Run (1964) and starring John Forsythe and Senta Berger, was broadcast on NBC-TV for its world premiere. It was the first broadcast of Project 120, an innovative deal between Universal and NBC.
1964
Director/screenwriter Shirley Clarke's mainstream, fictional feature crime film The Cool World (1964), a cinema verite-style examination of the rise of the Black Power movement and street gangs among African-Americans in the inner-city, was the first commercial film venture to be shot on location in Harlem. The semi-documentary was also the first feature-length film credit produced by legendary documentary director Frederick Wiseman.
1964
Michelangelo Antonioni's and cinematographer Carlo DiPalma's visually-impressive French-Italian co-production Red Desert (1964, It.) (Il Deserto Rosso) made spectacular use of the recently-perfected telephoto lens, to create a shallow depth-of-field. It was also Antonioni's first film in color, used in extreme and expressive ways.
1964
Director Teinosuke Kinugasa's Japanese historical period drama Gate of Hell (1953/54, Jp.) (aka Jigokumon), released during the wave of influential Japanese cinema in mid-century, was the first color film from Japan to be released outside of the country. It also won the Palme d'Or (Grand Prize) at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, and the Best Costume Design (Color) Oscar. Its tale was about a brave 12th Century samurai named Moritoh Enda (Kazuo Hasegawa) who hopelessly longed for the beautiful but married Lady Kesa (Machiko Kyo).
1964
The mockumentary A Hard Day's Night (1964), the first Beatles film, premiered. The behind-the-scenes lives of the Fab Four were highlighted as Beatlemania erupted worldwide. The Beatles had made their first live TV appearance in the US on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on February 9, 1964.
1964
Sony began marketing the first reel-to-reel (video tape recorder) VTR designed specifically for home use in 1964 -- however, widescale consumer use of video tape recorders didn't really take off until the mid-1970s.
1964
Director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant, satirical, provocative black comedy/fantasy regarding doomsday and Cold War politics was released, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). The landmark film - the first commercially-successful political satire about nuclear war, was a cynically-objective, Monty Python-esque, humorous, biting response to the apocalyptic fears of the 1950s.
1964
To obtain film rights to the intellectual property My Fair Lady (1964), to be directed by George Cukor and starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, Warners paid a record sum of $5.5 million in February 1962. (See Annie (1982) when the record was broken.)
1964
The Cockney flower vendor character, Eliza Doolittle, played by little-known Julie Andrews on the Broadway stage for My Fair Lady was replaced by well-known, non-singing 'Cinderella' actress Audrey Hepburn in the big-screen 1964 version. Ironically, Julie Andrews was awarded a Best Actress Academy Award (presented in 1965) for her role in Disney's competing film Mary Poppins (1964) as the title character British nanny, and Hepburn failed to receive a nomination for her part.
1964
Mostly known for his "tough guy" roles, Alan Ladd died at the age of 50, due to a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs. During his film career, he was most memorably paired three times in film noirs with 'peekaboo' blonde star Veronica Lake in his breakthrough film This Gun For Hire (1942) as hired killer "Raven," in The Glass Key (1942), and in the mystery The Blue Dahlia (1946). Another notable role for which he was forever identified was as the title character in George Stevens' western Shane (1953).
1964
Goldfinger (1964), the third James Bond film in the long-running series, was released in the UK in September of 1964. A few months later in December, it was released in the US. It was the first James Bond film to receive an Academy Awards Oscar - Best Sound Effects Editing. It was also the first Bond film to receive an Academy Awards nomination. It also introduced the not-so-subtly named Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Its iconic image was Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) dying after being painted in gold.
1964
During the filming of The Cincinnati Kid (1965) starring Steve McQueen, maverick director Sam Peckinpah was fired by producer Martin Ransohoff (the President of Filmways, Inc.) for "vulgarizing" the picture with the unscheduled shooting of a non-scripted nude scene with a female extra (star-to-be Sharon Tate), supposedly for the European version. She was to be naked under a fur coat. Along with Peckinpah, actress Tate was fired. He was replaced by a new director, Norman Jewison. The theatrical release of the film contained no nudity.
1964
The musical Hello, Dolly!, starring Carol Channing, opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City on January 16, 1964. Five years later, Barbra Streisand played the lead role in the film version of Hello, Dolly! (1969) directed by Gene Kelly.
1964
In late June of 1964, 47 year-old actor Ernest Borgnine married 56 year-old singer Ethel Merman (with a long filmography of musicals that stretched back into the 1930s) - a union that lasted only 32 days. It was her fourth marriage - and divorce, and his third marriage. Their divorce was finalized in May of 1965.
1964
Ronald Reagan's last feature film appearance before his retiring from the screen was in director Don Siegel's post-noir crime thriller The Killers (1964) in which he played 'heavy' or bad-guy crime boss Jack Browning - the first time he had ever played a villain. Two years later, he would be elected governor of California.
1964
Austrian-born character actor Peter Lorre, with a distinctive accent and large bugged-out eyes, died of a heart attack/stroke at the age of 59. He first came to prominence in the role of Hans Beckert, a predatory serial killer of young children in director Fritz Lang's M (1931, Germ.). He also had memorable roles in films opposite Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1942), as the star in a series of eight Mr. Moto films (from 1937 to 1939), and in the wacky comedy Arsenic and Old Lace (1944).


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