1948 Timelines: 1940 to 1949

The great Russian film director, Sergei Eisenstein, dies of a heart attack at the age of 50.


Under the terms of an agreement with the United Kingdom, American film companies will reinvest the $60 million profit, recently made in England, in various “permitted uses” such as hiring British talent, buying British story properties, etc. The English, in return, will reduce the 1947 tax on American films by 75%.


The British Parliament passes the “Film Act of 1948” which requires British cinemas to only show programs that consist of at least 40% British films. Hollywood counters by decreeing that no American film import can be double–billed in England with a British picture.


In Hollywood, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) regains control of organized labor from the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), whose militancy disturbed the producers.


In the antitrust case, U.S. v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. , the Supreme Court hands down a decision in favor of the Justice Department. Paramount, along with the other major studios, has been declared guilty of “conspiracy and discrimination” in order to secure a monopoly of the motion picture theater circuits. The studios are ordered to divest themselves of their movie theaters.


In order to save money, Hollywood studios are spending much less on high–priced pre–sold story properties like novels and stage plays, relying instead on less expensive original screenplays.


Howard Hughes, the owner of TWA and Hughes Tool Company, buys RKO for $8.8 million.


The International film star, Louise Brooks, who retired from motion pictures in 1938 when her film career failed to revive, has been discovered working as a $40–per–week salesgirl at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.


Significant Films:

Warner Bros. releases “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. Directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, the film wins Academy Awards for both John Huston and his father, Walter Huston.

In London, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger release “The Red Shoes”. A fantasy film about life backstage in the ballet world, it is nominated for five Academy Awards, and is generally considered to be one of the finest films about dance ever made.

Warner Bros. releases “Key Largo”. Directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Claire Trevor, the film seems to sum up the post–war mood of despair. Claire Trevor wins the Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress”.

In London, Rank releases “Hamlet”. Directed by, and starring Laurence Olivier, it is nominated for six Academy Awards and wins two, including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.


The Picture Show Man website was established in 2004 to be a comprehensive and free resource for anyone interested in vintage movies. Our focus is the history of motion pictures from the beginning of its development in 1890, to the end of 1960.

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