Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
January 29
October 10, 1909
The First Times

When readers opened their Sunday New York Times to page 8 on 10 October 1909, they found a review of Pippa Passes, the new D. W. Griffith film loosely based on Robert Browning’s 1841 poem. The column began “Pippa Passes is being given in the nickelodeons and Browning is being presented to the average motion picture audience, which has received it with applause and is asking for more.” What made such a mundane observation memorable is that this was the Times first film review. Much like Griffith’s later epic, Intolerance, Pippa Passes is broken into four parts, each designating a time of the day with special lighting effects signaling dawn or dusk. A young Gertrude Robinson played the lead, beating out newcomer Mary Pickford, who at 16 Griffith considered too old.


More Flashbacks
Dr. Strangelove January 29, 1964
Dr. Strangelove released

In the 1960s — as today, actually — nuclear war was no laughing matter. Air raid sirens, bomb shelters, and young students being taught to “duck and cover” — all were familiar signs that amidst the Cold War nuclear Armageddon was a real possibility.

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January 29, 1964
Alan Ladd commits suicide

An actor, famous for his brooding, emotionally troubled roles, ends his own life.

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