Wim Wenders at Cannes Film Festival (He'S President of Jury) on May 12, 1989 (b/w photo) / Photo © AGIP

5 Film Anniversaries in May

This May is a big month for anniversaries from the glitzy world of cinema. Not only is it the 70th Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, but a number of high-profile Hollywood actresses from the golden age of Hollywood also celebrate anniversaries this month too. Take a look at some of the upcoming anniversaries in the world of film.

Cannes Film Festival
70th Festival, (71 years since founded – May 1946)

Cannes 2014, 2014, (Acrylic on canvas board), Vincent Alexander Booth / Private Collection
Cannes 2014, 2014, (Acrylic on canvas board), Vincent Alexander Booth / Private Collection

Whilst last year saw the 70th anniversary of the first festival, two breaks in its history mean that this year marks the 70th Cannes film festival but its history dates back a little further.  In 1939, French writer Philippe Erlanger proposed the creation of an international film festival for France, one to rival the Venice Film Festival. The French Minister of National Education, Jean Zay, subsequently organised the festival, making Louis Lumèire the president.  However the start of WW2 halted the festival until 1946.

69th Cannes Film Festival 2016, Red Carpet film "Bacalaureat" / Photo © IPA
69th Cannes Film Festival 2016, Red Carpet film “Bacalaureat” / Photo © IPA

Often considered the top dog of the European festival circuit, Cannes is known for showcasing a range of international and French cinema, from Indie dramas to Hollywood classics (and even the occasional blockbuster). However, the festival isn’t always about the films, with many weird and wonderful moments from the world of celebrity. Since its conception, we’ve seen Brigitte Bardot premiere the bikini, Madonna wear her underwear as outerwear and Sacha Baron Cohen reminded us why the mankini can never, ever catch on.

Joan Crawford
40 years since death. 10th May 1977

American Actress Joan Crawford (1904-1977) c. 1932
American Actress Joan Crawford (1904-1977) c. 1932

American film and television actress, Joan Crawford was considered one of the greatest film stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema.  Born Lucille Fay LeSueur, Crawford began her career as a dancer and stage showgirl.

Her films brought in plenty of revenue throughout the first half of the 1930’s, but by 1938 she (along with Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Katharine Hepburn) was labelled “box-office poison” by the Independent Theatre Owners Association of America. This led to a series of lesser-known films during the 1940’s, but Crawford soon made a comeback. In 1946 she won an Oscar for her role in Mildred Pierce.

Off camera, Crawford famously had a bitter rivalry with fellow actress Bette Davis for years, but the pair joined up for what turned out to be one of their most successful films Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by RobertAldrich with Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, 1962 (b/w photo) / Photo © DILTZ
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Robert Aldrich with Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, 1962 (b/w photo) / Photo © DILTZ

Crawford’s familial ties were equally strained. A year after her death, her estranged adopted daughter Christina penned Mommie Dearest, a memoir about Crawford’s alleged poor treatment of her adopted children.

Dalida
30 years since death. 3rd May 1987

 French singer Dalida, end 1960s / United Archives/Roba Archive
French singer Dalida, end 1960s / United Archives/Roba Archive

Born Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti, Dalida was an Egyptian-born Italian singer and actress who performed and recorded in more than ten languages.  She spent most of her career in France and became the only European singer to have won the Oscar mondial du succès du disque (World Oscar of Recording Success) twice.

Her 30-year career began in 1954 with her first film, she began singing professionally two years later.  Whilst most known for her singing career, she had tried to establish herself as an actress. Of this she once said:

“My cinematographic experience did not leave me any souvenirs, because I was only in very bad films that no one saw! It was better they didn’t! In Europe, it is rare for women singers to be in movies. And then, may be that deep within me I didn’t really wished to be in movies, for it is my belief that if I really wanted to, I’d be in the movies. I firmly believe that everybody is able to realise what their wishes, provided that they really want to.”

 Poster of the film "Rapt in the second office" 1958 by Jean Stelli with Franck Villard Danielle Godet and Dalida
Poster of the film “Rapt in the second office” 1958 by Jean Stelli with Franck Villard Danielle Godet and Dalida

Her personal life was marred with difficulty, with many friends and ex-partners committing suicide throughout her life. In 1987, she died from the same fate.

Rita Hayworth
30 years since death. 14th May 1987

GILDA, 1946 directed by CHARLES VIDOR Rita Hayworth (photo) / Photo © DILTZ
GILDA, 1946 directed by CHARLES VIDOR Rita Hayworth (photo) / Photo © DILTZ

American actress, dancer, singer and producer, Rita Hayworth was the ultimate pin-up during the 1940’s – a golden era for Hollywood.  Her career spanned 37 years and she was best known for her roles in Gilda and The Lady from Shanghai, directed by her then-husband Orson Welles.  Half Spanish, Hayworth changed her name from Margarita Carmen Cansino to have an all-American appeal and avoid being typecast as ‘exotic’.

The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles with Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, 1947 (b/w photo) / Photo © DILTZ
The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles with Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, 1947 (b/w photo) / Photo © DILTZ

Her acting abilities became somewhat limited from the 1960’s due to an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  Sadly, it wasn’t diagnosed until 1980, leaving many to assume alcoholism and other issues were also impacting her performances.  Her last role was in the 1972 film The Wrath of God.

Marlene Dietrich
25 years since death. 6th May 1992

Manpower de Raoul Walsh avec Marlene Dietrich 1941
Manpower de Raoul Walsh avec Marlene Dietrich 1941

German actress and singer, Marlene Dietrich was one of the highest-paid actresses of the era, with a career spanning from the 1910’s to the 80’s. In 1999, she was named the ninth greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute.

Her career began in 1920’s Berlin, where she acted on the stage and in silent films, her first being Tragedy of Love in 1923. She made her name in the 1930 film The Blue Angel. The film brought her international fame which resulted in a contract with Paramount Pictures. Following the success, Dietrich went on to star in highly successful Hollywood films such as Morocco, Shanghai Express, and Desire.

SHANGHAI EXPRESS, de JOSEFVONSTERNBERG avec Marlene Dietrich et Clive Brooke 1932
SHANGHAI EXPRESS, de JOSEFVONSTERNBERG avec Marlene Dietrich et Clive Brooke 1932

During World War II, Dietrich lived in the US and was a high-profile entertainer. She housed a number of German and French exiles. She also received a number of honours from the United States, France, Belgium, and Israel for her work on improving morale on the front lines. After the war she spent most of her career performing worldwide as a marquee live-show performer.

 

Find out more

Explore our archive of film images

See our Top Ten Cultural Anniversaries of 2017

Take our David Cronenberg film quiz

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