A look back at this day in film history
December 10
November 15, 1967
François Ozon born

Born in Paris in 1967, a year before the city was rocked by protests and revolution, François Ozon would continue that revolutionary spirit in a very different way. Interested in film from childhood, he was a voracious consumer of movies, a love that armed him well for getting his masters degree in cinema before moving on to FEMIS, France’s elite film school (where he came under the tutelage of Eric Rohmer). Immensely productive, Ozon made 14 short films, screened at festivals around the world, before two of his shorts––A Summer Dress and See the Sea––gained international attention. Ozon has gone on to be one of France’s talented and enigmatic auteurs. Shifting cinematic styles from film to film, he mix and matches elements of mystery (8 WomenSwimming Pool), musicals (8 WomenWater Drops on Burning Rocks), and melodrama (Criminal LoversUnder the Sand) and cinematic influences (Rohmer, Fassbinder, Buñuel, Hitchcock, Sirk). Like the figures of the French New Wave who were popular at the time of his birth, Ozon has re-fashioned the elements of classical cinema to fit his unique vision––fashionable, unexpected, and a little bit queer.

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December 10, 1968
Oliver Released

When Oliver!, Lionel Bart’s musical stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, proved a surprise hit in 1960, Hollywood knew a film adaptation wasn’t far behind.

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December 10, 1948
Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours

In December 1948, Twentieth Century-Fox released Unfaithfully Yours, the latest work from the comic writer-director Preston Sturges.  Fox was hoping to profit from the director’s possible comeback. From 1940 to 1946, the writer/director had a string of seven major hits, but then, after leaving Paramount and setting up a production company with Howard Hughes, Sturges seemed to have lost his magic touch. But Fox was betting he still had it in him, especially since the film was actually written in 1932, just prior to his hitting it big. Here a symphony conductor (Rex Harrison), believing his wife is having an affair, imagines different scenarios for murdering her as he conducts three classic orchestral pieces. During Rossini's Overture to Semiramide, the conductor envisions his wife as a vamp; during Wagner's Overture to Tannhäuser, he imagines a better life for himself, and finally during Tchaikovsky’s "Francesca da Rimini" ruminates on that special place in Hell for cheating wives. And while everyone was excited by the outcome, publicity storm clouds were on the horizon. Studio lawyers feared possible law suits from the English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, who bore more than a striking resemblance to the main character. Then in July, Rex Harrison’s name was linked to the scandal swirling around the suicide of Carole Landis, an actress he was having an affair with. But, in the end, the film’s dark comedy was out of touch with a hopeful post-war America. And while it was praised by critics, few came to see it.

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