Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 06
October 13, 1950
All About All About Eve

The melodrama of fame, All About Eve, brought out its stars for a New York premiere on October 13, 1950. Bette Davis was there, as was Anne Baxter and Marilyn Monroe. Davis (recently been dropped from Warner Brothers after a string of flops) anchored the story of a fading theatre actress being upstaged by a cunning ingénue Eve (Anne Baxter). Davis was the filmmakers’ sixth choice, after Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, Gertrude Lawrence, Tallulah Bankhead and Susan Hayward. Anne Baxter stepped up to play Eve, after Jeanne Craig became pregnant and Donna Reed was passed over. And the blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe was just starting out––much the chagrin of many of the actor’s wives. (Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Sanders’ then wife, would come to the set to keep an eye out for the new girl in town). The film, adapted from a real-life inspired short story by Mary Orr published in Cosmopolitan, proved an instant success, going on to receive a record 14 Academy Award nominations (a feat only equalled by Titanic), and winning six Oscars including Best Picture. In an ironic twist, the film which satirized New York’s theater world, was later adapted into the Broadway musical Applause.


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December 6, 1990
Edward Scissorhands released

On December 6, 1990, writer-director Tim Burton nervously opened the lid on his most personal film yet, Edward Scisshorhands, as the movie premiered in Los Angeles.

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December 6, 1970
Gimme Shelter Captures History

One of the most immediate and compelling documentaries ever committed to celluloid was released today in 1970, twelve months to the day after the era-defining tragedy that it depicted. Before directing Gimme Shelter, Albert and David Maysles had made vérité documentaries focusing on celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, Truman Capote and the Beatles and it was the latter experience that convinced Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones to invite the brothers and their creative collaborator Charlotte Zwerin to film the free concert they were headlining at the Altamont Speedway. The concert was attended by an enormous 300,000 people but the free love party was so large that the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang were recruited in the last minute to act as security for the event. Rather than being a West Coast version of Woodstock (which had been held earlier that summer) Altamont instead became infamous for the death of Meredith Hunter, an 18-year-old African-American man, stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels after drawing a long-barreled revolver. Amazingly, the Maysles caught the incident on film, turning Gimme Shelter into, as Amy Taubin succinctly put it, rock ‘n’ roll’s answer to the Zapruder footage of JFK’s assassination. Not only does the movie feature the fatal incident but, even more compellingly, in one scene we see a clearly affected Jagger watching the incident again as the Maysles edit the footage. A great concert film as well as a hugely important cinematic document hugely altered the trajectory of the Maysles’ career and remains, along with Don’t Look Back, one of the most important music docs ever made.

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