1952 Timelines: 1950 to 1960

Howard Hughes announces the temporary closure of RKO Studios to facilitate the dismissal of close to 100 employees suspected of having Communist sympathies.

 

The actor, John Wayne, calls the movie “High Noon”, “The most un–American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.” Wayne, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando and Gregory Peck all turned down the leading role in the film.

 

After admitting that he had been a member of the Communist Party from 1934 to 1936, Elia Kazan denounces 15 of his former colleagues to the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC).

 

The new projection system known as Cinerama is introduced in specially constructed theaters. After using a special camera that shoots three separate rolls of film simultaneously, allowing it to encompass a 146° view that approximates the view of human vision, the system then uses three separate projectors to project the films onto a wide curved screen. The screen envelopes the audience on three sides and provides a unique viewing experience that seems to draw the spectator into the movie. (A fourth roll of film provides seven–track stereophonic sound.)

 

Using Edwin Land’s Polaroid process, first patented in 1928, the ‘Natural Vision’ Corporation applies polarization to the motion picture “Bwana Devil”. By wearing special polarized glasses, depth is added to the motion picture and viewers can see the movie in three dimensions instead of two. The effect is startling, and 3–D films become wildly popular for a year or two until the novelty wears off.

 

U.S. movie attendance drops to 51 million per week, from a 1948 high of 90 million. Warner Bros. and 20th Century–Fox announce that they will cease making “B” movies.

 

The actor James Stewart is among the first to share in his film’s profits when he signs to be in “Bend of the River”.

 

Significant Films:

United Artists releases “Bwana Devil” starring Robert Stack and Barbara Britton. This was the first film to use the ‘Natural Vision’ Corporation’s 3–D process.

Stanley Kramer releases “High Noon”. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, the movie is nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning four. Liberals claim the film is a metaphor for the American public’s failure to unite against McCarthyism.

Republic releases John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The film wins two Academy Awards, including John Ford’s fourth Oscar for “Best Director”.

MGM releases Arthur Freed’s “Singing in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Pauline Kael, writing for the New Yorker magazine in 1975, will declare this to be “probably the most enjoyable of all American movie musicals.” Although nominated for two Academy Awards, it doesn’t win either.

Paramount releases Cecil B. de Mille’s film “The Greatest Show on Earth” starring Charlton Heston, James Stewart, and Betty Hutton. The movie is nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

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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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