Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 05
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

.


More Flashbacks
December 5, 1963
Charade released

When Charade, director Stanley Donen’s distinctly Hitchcockian Euro thriller starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, was released on December 5, 1963, it represented the end of a very long road scriptwriter Peter Stone had taken to bring his work to the big screen.

Read more »
December 5, 1976
Bound for Glory Remembers Woody

On this day in 1976, Bound for Glory was released, a vivid cinematic portrait of one of the 20th century's most compelling counterculture heroes, writer and folk singer Woody Guthrie. Based on portions of Guthrie's memoir of the same name, the film was directed by Hal Ashby who – after the record breaking box office success of his previous picture, the Warren Beatty sex comedy Shampoo – had been given carte blanche for his follow-up. Though Bound for Glory ended up becoming an Oscar contender that year (going up against films like Network and Rocky for Best Picture), the movie’s production had not been without its problems. Firstly, Ashby couldn't get his first choice actors to play Guthrie and ended up casting TV's Kung Fu star David Carradine, and then production went massively over schedule and almost twice over budget as the logistics of a huge period film – not to mention the director's cocaine habit – led the film to becoming something of a runaway train. Though one of the few quintessentially American films released in the bicentennial year, Bound for Glory lost out in the major categories at the Academy Awards (instead taking Best Cinematography and Best Score) and, due to the lack of attention Ashby's films in general receive nowadays, remains unfairly overlooked as one of the finest biopics of its period.

Read more »