An opinion poll carried out by the Motion Picture Herald has shown that the American public is saturated with war films and is demanding movies that distract and entertain.
As the motion picture exhibition industry loses more and more of its male employees to the armed services, women begin to fill the vacancies. In March, Warner Bros. reports that it now has the first theater in the U.S. to be staffed entirely by women. Three months later Loew’s reports that 62 of its theaters, roughly half, are being run by women.
The Hollywood studios are dubbing their recent films in French and Italian. Their plan is to distribute them in Europe after the war.
Clark Gable, who signed up as a lieutenant in the Air Force, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
The wartime income tax has accelerated the move by top Hollywood talent to set–up independent production companies, often as a corporation to produce a single feature film. By doing this, highly paid producers, directors and stars can be taxed at the capital gains rate of 25%, rather than at the personal income tax rate which can be as high as 80–90%.
Based on popularity and commercial appeal, Gary Cooper is the leading male star during the war years.
Because of holdovers and long runs at the first–run theaters, the smaller theaters are finding it more and more difficult to book new feature films on a timely basis. To alleviate this situation, a number of exhibitors have asked the Hollywood studios to re–release old hits. Although most of the major studios, like MGM, have never reissued pictures, many of the reissues do excellent business and provide an unexpected windfall for the studios.
In England, J. Arthur Rank now owns or controls both the Odeon and Gaumont theater circuits (totaling 650 theaters); the Eagle–Lion distribution company; and is chairman of the Gaumont British organization which includes Gainsborough Pictures, Gaumont British News, the Denham Studios and the Pinewood Studios.
RKO releases the Howard Hughes’ production “The Outlaw”. This film introduces the voluptuous actress, Jane Russell, who wears a specially designed brassiere to enhance her cleavage. Censors force the film’s withdrawal.
20th Century–Fox releases “The Song of Bernadette”. The film is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and makes a star of Jennifer Jones who wins the Oscar for “Best Actress”.
Universal releases “The Phantom of the Opera”. Starring Claude Rains and Susanna Foster, the movie wins three Academy Awards, including the ones for “Color Art Direction” and “Color Cinematography”. This was only the third time that Universal had used Technicolor’s three–strip process for a film.
Universal releases Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt”. Starring Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright and Hume Cronyn, many later critics will rate this film as Hitchcock’s best.
Warner Bros. releases “Casablanca ”. Directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the film wins three Academy Awards, including the Oscar for “Outstanding Motion Picture”. (Although the film premiered in 1942, because of its release pattern it was listed as a 1943 film by the Academy.)