A look back at this day in film history
August 02
October 14, 1954
Dreaming of a White Christmas

On Thursday 14 October 1954, the stars and producers of the Michael Curtiz’s holiday musical White Christmas were awarded with heart-felt applause at its New York premiere. The film became that year’s top grossing film, and went onto to become a perennial holiday favorite, especially after it premiered on television a decade later. But the film’s success was being planned years before its premiere. In the winter of 1940, the Jewish Irving Berlin wrote the film’s anthem to a Christian winter wonderland sitting poolside at the Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Before crooning “White Christmas” as a duet with Marjorie Reynolds in the 1942 musical Holiday Inn (where it went on to win an Oscar for best song), Bing Crosby inaugurated the tune on Christmas night for his NBC radio show in 1941, just weeks after America had entered World War II. When released as a recording, the wistful ode to domestic peace quickly became a hit, especially for troops wishing to be home themselves. The song not only inspired the movie White Christmas, but remained the bestselling song of all time until 1998 when Elton John’s memorial to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind,” surpassed it.

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Bigger Than Life August 2, 1956
Bigger than Life opens

After making a name for himself and his star James Dean in the teen-trauma drama Rebel Without a Cause, director Nicolas Ray returned to the suburbia that made him famous in his next film, Bigger than Life.

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August 2, 1967
In the Heat of the Night is released

Less than two weeks before Norman Jewison’s racially-inflected detective story In the Heat of the Night was to premiere in New York City, race riots had broken out across the river in Newark, NJ.

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