Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 22
Grace Kelly November 12, 1929
Grace Kelly born

In 1956, Grace Kelly would be reborn into royalty as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco after she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in a ceremony watched the world over. Her actual birth, however, as the third child (and second daughter) of Margaret and John Kelly of Philadelphia, was less dramatic. While her family was wealthy, they were far from the high society she would often represent in films. Indeed, as Democratic Irish Roman-Catholics, her family was for the most part barred from competing in real Philadelphia society. On the other hand, in the midst of America’s worst economic collapse, she wanted for little. Born only a month after the stock market crash of 1929, Kelly was raised in a world of affluence and ease. While both her parents were enthusiastically athletic, Grace was more interested in books, art, and drama. One of her biggest influence was her uncle George, a successful playwright who was generally shunned by the family for being both an artist and a gay man. Kelly later said of her uncle, “He introduced me to all kinds of things I would never have considered or been exposed to––classical literature, poetry and great plays. …He was also one of the few people who stood up to my father, disagreed with him, contradicted him. I thought Uncle George was fearless.” At age 17, Kelly also stood up to her father when she moved to NYC to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She further enraged everyone by refusing any assistance, carving out a successful modeling career to pay for her education. Having gotten cast in several Broadway shows (including The Philadelphia Story, the drama she would later redo as a musical in her last film High Society), Kelly then showed up in a small part in the 1951 suspense drama Fourteen Hours. However, her real screen debut would be the next year when she was cast opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon. From that point, her career took off. Before she stopped acting in 1956 to become Princess Grace, she’d made 10 films (three with Alfred Hitchcock), received an Oscar nomination in 1954 for Mogambo, and won a Best Actress Academy Award the next year for The Country Girl

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More Flashbacks
Mark Ruffalo November 22, 1967
Mark Ruffalo born

If every generation gets the leading man it deserves, then we should be grateful that Mark Ruffalo’s star is on the rise.

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November 22, 2002
Far From Heaven opens

When Far from Heaven opened in 2002, audiences could believe they had traveled back nearly 50 years to 1957, when the film is set.

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November 22, 1963
The Film Seen Round the World

On November 22, 1963, an accidental filmmaker made what became the most obsessed over film of the twentieth century. Standing on a concrete overpass in Dallas, women’s clothing manufacturer Abraham Zapruder raised his Bell and Howell 8mm camera and tracked the motorcade that carried president John F. Kennedy through Dealy Plaza. Zapruder’s 27 seconds of footage shot from a clear, elevated vantage point are the only complete recording of Kennedy’s assassination and a focal point for government investigators and conspiracy theorists alike. The film also became the object of one of the stranger ownership tussles in modern cinema. Zapruder gave copies of his film to the Secret Service and, three days after the shooting, sold the negative and all rights to Life Magazine. Zapruder’s heirs later disputed the sale, and the film was eventually returned to them by Life owner Time Inc. for $1 dollar. In 1992, however, the U.S. declared the film an “assassination record” and the property of the government. A lengthy dispute ensued over the amount Zapruder’s heirs should be paid. The government proposed paying the family $3 to $5 million; the Zapruders argued that the film should be valued similarly to recent sales of a Van Gogh painting and an Andy Warhol silk screen of Marilyn Monroe. Finally, arbitrators worked out a value of $16 million. Shortly thereafter, Zapruder’s heirs donated one of the original copies of the film and its copyright to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, which now oversees all rights requests.

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