Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 23
October 12, 1966
Shirley Temple resigns from San Francisco Festival

When Mai Zetterling’s Nattlek (Night Games) arrived at the San Francisco Film Festival in 1966, the ex-child star Shirley Temple Black was horrified. This was not the kind of film that she wanted to endorse when she joined the festival’s board in 1964. The third feature form the controversial Swedish actress-turned-director, Night Games was adapted from her own novel about a married couple who return to the groom’s castle to discover a crazy night of orgiastic parties and repressed memories. John Waters later wrote with much admiration, “Zetterling directs with a ludicrously melodramatic, overly gothic sledgehammer to deal with this story of impotence, child masturbation, cross-dressing, porno flicks, and vomiting.” The film certainly arrived in San Francisco with a lot of baggage. At the Venice Film Festival, Night Games was withdrawn from public viewing and could only be watched by the jurors. When the San Francisco Film Festival refused to withdraw the film as Black insisted, she quit in protest, hoping to send a message to other festivals, as well as keep her image clean for her upcoming Congressional run. The film continued to create controversy, much of which was directed at the filmmaker. But Zetterling was oblivious. She once said, “Perhaps I am a mad-hatter Swede…who got lost in the world ... I feel very far from the norm of just about everything."


More Flashbacks
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid opens May 23, 1973
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid opens

Sam Peckinpah's neo-western Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, a tale of an outlaw being betrayed by a former friend, had to deal with another form of betrayal when it opened in May 1973.

Read more »
May 23, 1980
The Shining opens

Despite having the same initials, Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick seemed to have little in common, so when Kubrick optioned King’s novel of a haunted hotel, The Shining, after the cool reception of his previous film, Barry Lyndon, many were surprised and shocked.

Read more »