Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1959 Timelines: 1950 to 1960

The Motion Picture Association of America has repealed its 1957 ruling that forbids persons sympathetic to Communism, or those who refused to give evidence to the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC), from being nominated for an Academy Award.


Succumbing to a life of alcohol and drugs, the actor Errol Flynn dies at the age of 50.


Elizabeth Taylor’s films have been banned in Egypt following her fund–raising for Israel.


Janus Films has become a successful foreign film distributor in the U.S., in part by handling the films of Ingmar Bergman.


In an effort to compete with television, the average U.S. movie ticket price has declined from $.53 in 1950 to $.51 in 1959.


The famous director, Cecil B. de Mille, has died at the age of 78. Having directed his first film in 1914, and his last in 1956, de Mille’s career spanned almost the entire history of motion pictures. Perhaps best known for his biblical epics, his final film “The Ten Commandments” was nominated for seven Academy Awards.


Significant Films:

Universal releases the romantic comedy, “Pillow Talk”, starring Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, and Doris Day. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and the Hudson–Day partnership proved to be so successful that they went on to make a number of similar movies together.

The British film “Room at the Top” is released starring Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret. Simone Signoret wins the Oscar for “Best Actress”, becoming the first actress to win the Academy Award for a performance in a foreign–made film.

Columbia releases Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder” starring James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, George C. Scott and Lee Remick. Although nominated for seven Academy Awards, the film is most notable for repeatedly using such “daring” words as “panties” and “contraception”, and for giving George C. Scott his first major film role.

MGM releases William Wyler’s “Ben–Hur” starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, and Stephen Boyd. The movie wins a record eleven Academy Awards, including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

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