Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 05
November 5, 1999
American Cinema Shoots Itself

Several days after Halloween in 1999, sophisticated New York cineastes were treated to a real horror film, American Movie, a documentary about two would-be filmmakers stumbling after the American cinematic dream. Director Chris Smith had spend the last years following the progress of aspiring Milwaukee director Mark Borchardt and his best friend Mike Schank as they worked on a horror film, Coven. Though some accused Smith of treating the two men as figures of fun, American Movie captures their passion for film and depicts their sometimes inept low budget methods, offbeat views and mispronunciations (such as Coven, which Borchardt pronounces “coh-ven”) with genuine affection. The film catapulted Borchardt and Schank to unlikely star status as they traveled the world with the film giving highly entertaining Q&A sessions, appearing on talk shows and, in the case of Schank, even playing a version of himself in a movie (Todd Solondz’s Storytelling.) American Movie was a cult hit for Smith and his producing partner Sarah Price, and the pair followed it up by co-directing another humorous doc The Yes Men (2004), about two political pranksters.


More Flashbacks
Carmen Miranda August 5, 1955
Carmen Miranda dies

On this day in 1955, Carmen Miranda passed away of a heart attack at the age of just 46. An actress and singer whose onscreen image was vivacious and happy, the latter stages of her life were in stark contrast to what the public saw on the screen.

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August 5, 1962
Marilyn Monroe dies

On this day in 1962, Marilyn Monroe died, an event which was not only a tragic loss of one of the brightest and most promising stars in Hollywood, but would spark countless conspiracy theories.

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5 August 1962
Goodbye, Norma Jean

The movies lost perhaps its greatest sex symbol on August 5, 1962, when Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her California home.

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