Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1958 Timelines: 1950 to 1960

Paramount has sold the television rights for its pre–1948 film catalogue (750 movies) to the Music Corporation of America (MCA). The price is said to have been $50 million.


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against 23 victims of the blacklist who instituted proceedings against the studios that had suspended them. The decision ratifies the suspensions.


Mike Todd, producer of “Around the World in 80 Days” and promoter of the widescreen Todd–AO process, has died at the age of 50 in a plane crash. His wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, had been persuaded not to accompany him on the flight because she was sick with a flu virus.


Independent production companies are making over 65% of Hollywood’s movies.


Robert Gottschalk introduces an anamorphic projection lens that is compatible with all widescreen formats, and an anamorphic camera lens that dramatically reduces distortion when filming extreme close–ups. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards these “Panavision” lenses a Class II Technical Award. By 1968 even 20th Century–Fox adopts the Panavision lens for its widescreen productions.


The popular actor, Tyrone Power, has died at the age of 45 of a massive heart attack while filming a swordfight for the movie “Solomon and Sheba”.


The Paris press is describing a group of young, unknown French filmmakers, who are producing their first films in a burst of creative energy, as Nouvelle Vague (literally “New Wave”). These new filmmakers have reignited French cinema and gained worldwide attention with their use of unorthodox editing techniques that intentionally break the narrative flow of their films.


Paramount has made its studios available to independent producers.


For the first time in the history of American motion pictures, the major Hollywood studios earned more abroad than domestically.


Significant Films:

“Room at the Top” is released in London. The movie reflects the “angry young men” generation that had arrived on the British stage and in British literature in 1956.

Universal–International releases “Touch of Evil”, a film written, directed and starring Orson Welles. Also starring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, this movie is considered by many to be the last great film noir of the “classic” period.

Columbia releases “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” starring Kerwin Mathews and Kathryn Grant. The movie provides a stunning Technicolor showcase for the stop–motion “Dynamation” special effects of Ray Harryhausen. (The final cost of the film was a mere $650,000.)

MGM releases Vincente Minnelli’s “Gigi” starring Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, and Leslie Caron. With a musical score by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, the movie sets a record by winning nine Academy Awards (all the awards for which it was nominated), including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”. However, it did not receive any acting nominations for any of its cast members, although Maurice Chevalier was given an honorary award for his contributions to the entertainment world.

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