Gems - Movies
Most of these Screen Gems movies are remembered seen at
the Mimosa Theater
or even in the auditorium during Saturday Night at the Movies.
Nowadays, these same movies can be seen with closed captions.
Bond...James Bond is arguably the best-known character in film history -- a
suave superspy with a license to kill whose cinematic exploits has been
watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, circa 1997
(HO/Reuters). However, it wasn't until the 1995 film, "GoldenEye" with
Pierce Brosnan as Bond, computer-generated imagery was used (Russell
Although Sean Connery is now seen as the gold standard for the 007
character, he was a relatively minor actor when producers were searching to
cast the part in the first Bond film, "Dr. No... more." Cary Grant, James
Mason, Rex Harrison and eventual 007 Roger Moore were all contenders while
Bond author Ian Fleming favored David Niven. But the top name on the list
was Richard Burton, who turned down the opportunity and apparently passed
again after Connery left the series in 1967. Anyone care to imagine
Elizabeth Taylor as a Bond girl? (movies.msn.com)
And the Top 10 Box-Office Films of the 1960s are:
1. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
2. The Jungle Book (1967)
3. The Sound of Music (1965)
4. Thunderball (1965)
5. Goldfinger (1964)
6. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
7. You Only Live Twice (1967)
8. The Graduate (1967)
9. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
10. Mary Poppins (1964)
(some sources switch the order of # 9 and # 10)
This list was compiled by www.filmsite.org
60's Movie Trivia
"Psycho" was the first American film ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.
31 year-old Stanley Kubrick was brought in to salvage the epic costume drama
"Spartacus" (originally directed by Anthony Mann) -- a highly-successful
production by star Kirk Douglas. It was auteur Kubrick's sole work for hire
- he was able to avoid Hollywood almost completely afterwards, and began to
direct movies on his own.
The first feature film released in Panavision was Billy Wilder's "The
Apartment" (1960). The film was also the last B/W film to win the Best
Picture Academy Award Oscar until "Schindler's List" (1993).
Although the tradition of embedding 5-pointed pink stars in the sidewalk
("the Hollywood Walk of Fame") along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street was
established by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1958, it wasn't until
February 9, 1960 that the first star was awarded to actress Joanne Woodward.
Low-budget showman William Castle (known as "The King of Ballyhoo") released
his first "Illusion-O" feature film, 13 Ghosts - audience members were given
red-and-blue colored 'ghost-viewers' in order to see the ghosts on-screen in
the haunted house.
Sophia Loren was the first foreign-language performer to win the Best
Actress prize for "Two Women" (1960) - in a film that was not in English. She
currently remains the only actress to win an acting Oscar in a
TWA exhibited the first in-flight feature film on a regularly-scheduled
commercial airline. It was MGM's "By Love Possessed", starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., shown on TWA flights from New York to Los Angeles.
The film "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953), the first wide-screen CinemaScope Hollywood comedy, was the first film to be aired on the weekly
NBC series Saturday Night at the Movies - in September of 1961.
More than 700 foreign-language films were released in US theaters during
36 year old sex symbol Marilyn Monroe died (August 5) in the Los Angeles
area (Brentwood) in a Mexican style bungalow of an apparent drug overdose.
She was in the midst of filming with director George Cukor in "Something's
Got To Give" (1962). Speculations arose over her associations with President
John F. Kennedy and his brother. Her final film was director John Huston's "The Misfits" (1961) -- which was also the last film of screen icon Clark
"Dr. No" inaugurated the successful, long-running, and highly profitable James
Bond series of action films based upon Ian Fleming's works, with its first
Agent 007 -- unknown actor Sean Connery. Other lead characters included
George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel
Craig. Two non-canonical (not sanctioned) Bond films were "Casino Royale"
(1967) and "Never Say Never Again" (1983).
Universal was purchased by talent agency MCA.
Government regulations forced studios out of the talent agency business.
The multi-directed Western epic "How the West Was Won" was the first
non-documentary Cinerama film. It was also one of the last to use the old
three-camera technique, that produced visible lines between the three
Sidney Poitier won the Best Actor Academy Award (awarded in 1964) for "Lilies
of the Field", thereby becoming the first African-American to win this award.
This was the only instance in the 20th century that this award was given to
The most expensive film ever made (in terms of real costs adjusted for
inflation) -- and one of the biggest flops in film history -- opened:
"Cleopatra", starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison, and Richard Burton.
Negative publicity was generated by the off-screen extra-marital affair
conducted between major stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (as Julius
Caesar) (married to Eddie Fisher and Sybil Burton respectively) - in the
long run, it was beneficial for the film's bottom line, since it became the
most expensive film
made-to-date. The stars' off-screen indiscretions helped (although they were
criticized on moral grounds), but it took many years for the film to recoup
its enormous costs.
Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World", an epic comedy with a lengthy
running time (originally 175 minutes) and a huge cast (present day comedians
and cameos from many big-name legendary stars from the past), was the first
big-budget, all-star comedy extravaganza.
Ampex, which had developed the world's first practical videotape recorder in
1956 for TV studios, began to offer its first consumer version of a
videotape recorder, sold through the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalogue for
$30,000 - a non consumer-friendly price.
The low-budget, exploitative, and successful film company - American
International Pictures (AIP), founded in 1956, released their first "beach"
film (mostly to drive-in theatres) - the musical comedy Beach Party - to
appeal to the lucrative teen market. It starred popular singer Frankie
Avalon and grown-up ex-Disney Mickey Mouse Club Mousketeer Annette Funicello
(as Dolores or "DeeDee" in later films). It was the first of a 'beach movie'
cycle of films.
The first theater originally designed (by inventor Stanley Durwood) as a
'multiplex' opened in the Ward Parkway shopping center in south Kansas City.
Buxom, platinum blonde sex goddess/siren Jayne Mansfield appeared naked
(breasts and buttocks) in the unrated sex farce "Promises! Promises!" (1963).
Mansfield became the first mainstream actress to appear nude in an American
feature sound film. (The honor would have been held by Marilyn Monroe in
"Something's Gotta Give" (1962), but she died during production.) The original
version was banned in many cities (including Cleveland) and substituted with
an edited version. The provocative film was heavily publicized in
Playboy's June 1963 issue, with pictures to prove it, that led to the
magazine's publisher Hugh Hefner being charged with obscenity (and later
acquitted) -- the only time in his life.
The first feature-length made-for-TV movie, an action film titled "See How
They Run" and starring John Forsythe and Senta Berger, was broadcast on
NBC-TV for its world premiere. It was the first broadcast of Project 120, an
innovative deal between Universal and NBC.
The mockumentary "A Hard Day's Night", the first Beatles film, premiered.
Sony began marketing the first reel-to-reel (video tape recorder) VTR
designed specifically for home use in 1964 -- however, widescale consumer
use of video tape recorders didn't really take off until the mid-1970s.
Director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant, satirical, provocative black
comedy/fantasy regarding doomsday and Cold War politics was released, "Dr.
Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb". The
landmark film - the first commercially-successful political satire about
nuclear war, was a cynically-objective, Monty Python-esque, humorous, biting
response to the apocalyptic fears of the 1950s.
Sidney Lumet's "The Pawnbroker" became the first major Hollywood film to
daringly and boldly feature a sequence of partial nudity (the bared breasts
of Thelma Oliver), essential to the plot. However, it received the infamous
"condemned" rating from the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency.
A small-time TV comedy writer Woody Allen wrote his first feature length
screenplay for director Richard Donner's unexpectedly-successful sex farce
"What's New Pussycat?", with Allen in his first major screen role. Because the
writer/star disliked the film, he would proceed to his directorial debut for
"What's Up, Tiger Lily?" (1966), a satire/spoof of quickly-made, badly-dubbed,
exploitative, Japanese spy films, made in the style of Mystery Science
The ground-breaking UK Swinging 60s comedy film "Georgy Girl" became the first
film to carry the label "suggested for mature audiences" - or M rating.
Paramount's purchase by Gulf & Western marked the beginning of a trend
toward studio ownership by diversified, multi-national conglomerates.
The 'Oscars' or Academy Awards ceremony was first broadcast in color.
The ABC-TV network paid a record $2 million for airing rights to "The Bridge
on the River Kwai" (1957) - the screening attracted over 60 million viewers,
and set a precedent for higher fees for hit theatrical films sold to
The Star Trek TV series had its debut on network television on September 8,
1966 -- this popular and most successful science-fiction series of its kind
was extremely influential in future years for various other versions,
including the release of a Saturday morning animated version from 1973-74,
and the first of many big-budget theatrical feature films in 1979 (there
were a total of eleven Star Trek-related feature films by 2009).
The first 'spaghetti western', Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars", opened
in the United States, starring Clint Eastwood as the 'man with no name'. It
was the first screen collaboration between Leone and Eastwood. (The western
had earlier premiered in 1964 in Florence, Italy.)
Director Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" was promoted with the slogan for its
anti-heroes: 'They're young. They're in love. They kill people.' The
anti-establishment, violent film, originally criticized at the time of its
release, was aimed at youth audiences by its American auteur and
producer/star Warren Beatty.
Mike Nichols became the first director to earn $1,000,000 for a single
picture — for "The Graduate" (1967).
Jack Warner, co-creator of Warner Bros., sold his remaining interest in the
company to a Canadian corporation called Seven Arts Ltd. for $84 million.
The company became known as Warner-Seven Arts.
The first contemporary music (rock 'n roll concert) industry film, "Monterey
Pop" (1968), was filmed at the historic Monterey International Pop Festival
in California, featuring such performers as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Mamas
and the Papas, Janis Joplin and more. It was the precursor to Michael
Wadleigh's concert documentary of the late 60s rock fest, "Woodstock" (1970).
"In the Heat of the Night" was the first Best Picture Oscar winner to be
adapted into a regular prime-time television series, in 1988, with Carroll
O'Connor as Sheriff Bill Gillespie and Howard Rollins as Virgil Tibbs. It
was also the only true 'who-dun-it' detective story that won Best Picture.
Sony introduced a portable (but bulky), expensive, out-of-studio,
black-and-white video camera system (or video tape recorder - VTR) called
the PortaPak -- it inaugurated the modern era of video.
The first major (commercially-released) US studio film to include the word
's--t' in its dialogue was Richard Brooks' "In Cold Blood". It was also said a
year later in "Boom!" (1968, UK) (spoken by actress Elizabeth Taylor as Flora
'Sissy' Goforth: "S--t on your mother!" Note: Taylor was the first actress
to say 's--t' in a major motion picture).
A new voluntary ratings system was developed and went into effect in late
November by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) The new system
classified films according to their suitability for viewing by young people,
in four categories: "G" for general audiences; "M" for mature audiences;
"R," no one under 16 admitted without an adult guardian (later raised to
under 17 years of age); and "X," no one under 17 admitted. Many parents
thought films rated M contained more adult content than those that were
rated R; this confusion led to its replacement in 1969 by the rating of GP
(or General Public, or General Audiences,
Parental Guidance Suggested). In 1970, the GP (or earlier M) rating was
changed to PG: Parental Guidance Suggested, and the age limit was increased
to 17. [The PG ratings category would again be revised in 1984.]
Brian De Palma's draft-dodger comedy "Greetings", (Robert DeNiro's debut
film), was the first film in the US to receive an X rating by the MPAA for
nudity and profanity (in its original release), although it was reduced to
an R rating.
Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" reinvented the science fiction
genre. It introduced the character of HAL, a computer that could see, speak,
hear, and think like its human colleagues aboard the spaceship, and
fantastic special effects of outer-space by Douglas Trumbull. And by the
way, the letters of computer's name, HAL, are one alphabet letter before the
The classic science fiction film, "Planet of the Apes" was one of the
pioneering, modern multimedia marketing blockbusters, spawning not only four
sequels and two television series spinoffs, but merchandising, such as
action figures. It provided both solid entertainment value, and an
effective, politically-charged message of social commentary.
"Midnight Cowboy", starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, became the only
X-rated picture to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture (the rating was later
changed to an R). More and more mainstream films contained sexual content
that was unacceptable only a few years earlier.
ABC-TV programmer Barry Diller created 'The Movie of the Week'. By 1971, ABC
was airing Tuesday and Wednesday night versions.
Sony introduced a new device -- the videocassette recorder (VCR) for home
After her last film, Fox's "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College" (1949), former
child star Shirley Temple entered politics after raising a family - she was
appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Later, she served as U.S.
ambassador to Ghana (1974-1976) and Czechoslovakia (1989), and during the
late 70s was the U.S. Chief of Protocol.
A new wave of independent film-making in Hollywood (dubbed 'The New
Hollywood') was signaled by Dennis Hopper's anti-Establishment release of
the low-budget "Easy Rider". Its phenomenal success shook up the major
Hollywood studios. This movement was termed Hollywood's New Wave (fashioned
after the earlier French New Wave), and would last through the next decade.
Hopper's next experimental film "The Last Movie" (1971) was less successful,
both commercially and critically, and sounded a death-knell for his own
African-American film-maker and cinematographer Gordon Parks directed his
own autobiographical "The Learning Tree", and became the first black director
of a major feature film for a major US studio. This laid the groundwork for
Parks' next film -- the landmark blaxploitation action film "Shaft" (1971)
with Richard Roundtree - a very successful cross-over film.
A three-day rock music festival, dubbed Woodstock, occurred in a large
farming field in upstate New York, attracting 400,000 young people for an
outdoor concert marked by drug use, nudity, food shortages and profanity, as
well as superb performances by the rock stars of the era. The landmark
concert was captured in director Michael Wadleigh's successful widescreen
(and split-screen) rockumentary "Woodstock: 3 Days of Love & Music" (1970) -
winning the Best Documentary Academy Award.
The IMAX wide-screen format premiered in the Fuji Pavilion at the EXPO '70
in Osaka, Japan, with the 17-minute film "Tiger Child".
For her performance in "Women in Love" (1969, UK), actress Glenda Jackson
became the first performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for a
role in which she appeared nude.
"Let It Be" was released, the last film starring the Fab Four; this effort
chronicled the Beatles recording their last-produced Apple studios album - a
comeback attempt that actually led to their breakup.
Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider" (1969), Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces" (1970),
and Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" (1971) were representative of
the New Hollywood movement of unconventional auteur directors with new ideas
and personal visions. In 1971, USC film school graduate George Lucas
released his first full-length feature film, "THX 1138".
The 1969 movie "Marooned" eerily parallels Apollo 13, both in life as
well as the 1995 movie, "Apollo 13". "Marooned" was based on the 1964 novel
"Marooned" by Martin Caidin;
however, while the original novel was based on the single-pilot Mercury
program, the film depicted a space station program resembling Skylab. The
space station seen in the film was based on an early proposal of the OWS
(Orbital Work Shop)
based on several sketches during the Apollo Applications Program. Caidin
rewrote the novel, incorporating appropriate material from the original
version and updating it to follow the film. The names of the film's
astronauts (Jim, Buzz and Stoney) were chosen out of the blue, not to
reflect on the real astronauts with those names.
As the saying goes...Life imitates art...
All movie poster images belong to their rightful entities
and were obtained from various public domain sites.
Movie trivia data was obtained from
unless otherwise indicated.
Coming soon to a small screen near you,
Small Screen Gems
Return to Previous Page
This page was last updated on