Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 18
Kate Winslet October 5, 1975
Kate Winslet Born

Kate Winslet was born on October 5, 1975 in the English of Reading. She admits that while she “didn't have a privileged upbringing,” she grew up with two prior generations of actors. Her grandparents on her mother’s side ran the Reading Repertory Theatre, and those on her dad’s side worked in vaudeville. Both her parents pursued acting careers, although neither was able to sustain them professionally. From a young age, Kate Winslet dove into acting, fighting for parts in school plays, even getting into the competitive Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. But there, her working class roots and weight –– her schoolmates cruelly nicknamed her “blubber” –– distinguished her from her more entitled peers. In addition to a fierce sense of ambition, Winselt took from her childhood a keen sense of the unfair demands that society, even Hollywood, puts on women. By 12 she got her first TV commercial (turning into a honey bear monster in a Sugar Puffs cereal). By 13 she got bits in TV shows, appearing in several mini-series. Then at 17, while making a ham sandwich at the deli where she worked part time, she got the call that Peter Jackson had cast her in HEAVENLY CREATURES. Her role as a day-dreaming murderous teen won her a London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year, and changed her life.  The next year she was cast by Ang Lee to play Marianne Dashwood in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, a role for which she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Two years later in the blockbuster TITANTIC, she got her first nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She would continue to get nominated––four times for Leading and twice for Supporting Actress (including for Best Actress in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND in 2004). She finally won Best Actress in 2008 for THE READER. Her singular focus and dramatic versatility led New York Magazine critic David Edelstein in 2009 to hail her as "the best English-speaking film actress of her generation."


More Flashbacks
Dec. 18, 1958
Boris Karloff's nephews found murdered

On December 18, 1958, Boris Karloff was struck by a personal tragedy more horrible than any event depicted in one of his movies when his two great-nephews were discovered with their throats slit.

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December 18, 1966
Antonioni’s Blowup Defines Cool

In New York, crowds of hip cinephiles lined up to see Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language film Blowup. The Italian director had already risen to the top of everyone’s must-see list with movies like L'avventura and L’eclisse. But in Blowup, Antonioni took hipness to a whole new level. The script, based on a short story by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar (who gets a walk on role in the film as a homeless man), involves a callous fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who believes he may have photographed a murder by accident, but finds he can’t prove it one way or other. While Blowup’s existential murder mystery was indeed compelling, it was its backdrop of swinging mod London that captured the most attention. Many felt the main character was modeled on the real-life jet-setting photographer David Bailey, and actual models Jane Birkin and Veruschka wander in and out the film’s world. At the party scene, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page of The Yardbirds play on stage (as themselves), and local personalities like Michael Palin (later of Monty Python) pop up in the crowd. The whole mishmash captured the London scene like nothing else had. Andrew Sarris called the movie "a mod masterpiece.” Playboy’s Arthur Knight went further by suggesting that in the future Blowup will be as “as important and germinal a film as Citizen Kane, Open City and Hiroshima, Mon Amour – perhaps even more so."

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