Thursday, February 2, 2012

Now Playing: FEBRUARY 2, 1962

This is what the groundhogs saw on marquees across the country fifty years ago today -- starting with Daytona Beach, though we could start in any big city across the country.


What the ad calls a "World Premiere" is really what we recognize today as a wide opening, though Daytona can boast that they're getting Light in the Piazza a few days ahead of New York City. The film is noteworthy as the last produced by M-G-M's musical production specialist, Arthur Freed. I can't say if it's noteworthy in any other respect because I haven't seen it. Maybe the trailer from the Turner Classic Movies website can fill us in.

Sticking in Daytona, here's another milestone movie opening today: the first to win an Academy Award for an acting performance in a foreign language.

Loren is just accumulating those awards, isn't she? On a trivial note, Entertainment Weekly just reminded us that 1961 is now the earliest year for which all the Oscar-winning actors are still alive. Of the winners for our year, only Patty Duke still survives. Of course, many people would have seen this film in an English dub, as this clip uploaded by allroundmaster1 demonstrates.

Moving north to Baltimore, here's Joan Collins and Jayne Mansfield in the same picture.

The film is actually nearly five years old by this time, a relic of Mansfield's contract days at 20th Century-Fox and a flop on its original release. But how could it have flopped??? -- if people saw the trailer salvaged on YouTube by barbiefan.

The second feature is older still, but it's a Delmer Daves western I can definitely vouch for. And there'll be more to come this weekend: not just six more weeks but practically a whole year to go.

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