One hundred years ago, cinema was still a silent medium and would remain so for another five years. But some of the stars who would grace the silver screen during its golden age were born in 1922 and we induct them here into the Cinema Paradiso Centenary Club.
Before we take a look at the bouncing babies of 1922, let's hark back to some of the classic films that were released during the year. One of the most significant was Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North, which was termed a 'documentary' in a review by John Grierson. It later emerged that Flaherty had staged several scenes, as he later would for Man of Aran (1934). So, not only did he pioneer feature-length documentaries, but also scripted reality.
The 1922 murder of Irish director William Desmond Taylor (which we mentioned in the US edition of the Top 10 Best Last Films ) prompted Hollywood to address the scandals that had started to beset the film colony and raise concerns that the studio heads were unfit to regulate an industry that was exerting a growing influence on the nation's morality. Consequently, politician Will. H. Hays was placed in charge of a body named the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, which drew up a list of 'Don'ts and Be Carefuls' that were designed to prevent film-makers from falling foul of local censorship boards. Split 11/26 across the two categories, this charter evolved into the Production Code in 1934, which would continue to restrict the content of Hollywood pictures until 1968, when a certification system was introduced.
Curiously, even though it depicted an outlaw robbing the rich to help the poor, none of the financial institutions that bankrolled Hollywood complained about the fact that crime was seen to pay in Allan Dwan's Robin Hood. One of the most expensive pictures produced to date, this swashbuckling adventure confirmed Douglas Fairbanks's status as cinema's biggest male star. Following George Melford's The Sheik (1921), however, he was facing the smouldering competition of Rudolph Valentino, who cut another dash in Fred Niblo's Blood and Sand, an adaptation of the Vicente Blasco Ibáñez novel that was scripted by June Mathis and edited by Dorothy Arzner.
Lila Lee and Nita Naldi competed for the brooding matador's affections in roles that were taken by Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth in Rouben Mamoulian's 1941 Technicolor remake with Tyrone Power. But Cinema Paradiso users aren't going to want to miss Gilbert Pratt's parody, Mud and Sand, which featured rising slapstick star, Stan Laurel. He was paired with Leona Anderson, who was the sister of producer and early cowboy star, Broncho Billy Anderson. We suggest you seek out her 1957 album, Music to Suffer By, as she makes Meryl Streep in Stephen Frears's Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) sound like Barbra Streisand.
With Stan on fine form, Mud and Sand can be found on the same disc as Norman Taurog's The Sawmill, which sees Oliver Hardy playing the gruff foreman trying to prevent 'dumb-bell' Larry Semon from causing chaos in the workplace. Laurel and Hardy were still searching for their comic characters, as was Harold Lloyd, whose Grandma's Boy is contained on Disc 2 in The Art of Harold Lloyd (2006), which also includes eight of his shorts.
By contrast, Buster Keaton's stone face was becoming familiar around the world, as Peter Bogdanovich explains in The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018). This was a busy time for the 26 year-old, as who collaborated with co-director Edward F. Cline in seven impeccably timed two-reelers - The Paleface; Cops; My Wife's Relations; The Blacksmith; The Frozen North; The Electric House; and Daydreams - which can all be rented from Cinema Paradiso on Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films 1917-23.
Following a hectic six years after his 1914 debut, Charlie Chaplin got off to a slower start in the new decade. He didn't release a single film in 1920 and experimented with a longer format in The Kid. However, he had returned to shorts with The Idle Class (both 1921), which he had backed up with Pay Day. This went on release in April and Chaplin spent the remainder of the year working on The Pilgrim, although it was withheld until the following February. Each of these titles can be enjoyed on Charlie Chaplin: The Mutual Comedies.
As we explained in 100 Years of German Expressionism, Europe was still coming to terms with the senseless slaughter of the Great War. This sombre struggle was reflected in films exploring the darker aspects of human nature, which used chiaroscuro lighting effects to convey the shadows lingering over the continent. Among the classic examples available from Cinema Paradiso are Dane Benjamin Christensen's Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse, the Gambler and two horrors by F.W. Murnau's Phantom (which is included on Early Murnau ) and Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror, whose making was brilliantly (and somewhat mischievously) recreated by John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe in E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire (2000).
Born in Newcastle on 3 January, Bill Travers was the younger brother of Linden Travers, who took the title role in St John Legh Clowes's controversial adaptation of James Hadley Chase's crime novel, No Orchids For Miss Blandish (1948). Having received an MBE for his heroism in South-East Asia during the Second World War, Travers found film fame in Frank Launder's Geordie (1955). But he's most fondly remembered for his partnership with wife Virginia McKenna (who has just turned 91) in films like Basil Dearden's The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) and James Hill's Born Free (1966).
Also born in January 1922 were Betty White ( The Golden Girls, 1985-91), who passed away at the age of 99 in December 2021, and Guy Madison, who never quite clicked in Hollywood, despite successes like Phil Karlson's Five Against the House, 1955). He became a stalwart in sword-and-sandal and Spaghetti Westerns in Italy, while also makng war movies like Alfonso Brescia's Hell in Normandy (1968).
Born the son of a Greek restaurateur on 21 January, Telly Savalas only started speaking English at school. A former lifeguard, he followed war service by working in television news and sport and only became an actor because a director needed someone to do a convincing European accent. Having earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for his performance as Feto Gomez in John Frankenheimer's Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Savalas shaved his head to play Pontius Pilate in George Stevens's The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
He kept the look to add menace to Archer Maggott in Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Ernst Stavro Blofeld opposite George Lazenby's James Bond in Peter R. Hunt's On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). However, he'll be best remembered for his 118 episodes as the lollipop-sucking Lieutenant Theodopoulos Kojak in Kojak (1973-78), which earned him an Emmy and two Golden Globes. Who loves ya, baby?
Sadly, it's not possible to see any of the It's a Square World (1960-64) or Potty Time (1974-80) shows that best captured Michael Bentine's comic genius. But Cinema Paradiso users can enjoy his performance alongside fellow Goons Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe in Maclean Rogers's Down Among the Z Men (1952).
Joanne Dru and William Sylvester shared a birthday of 31 January. Discovered while modelling by Al Jolson, Dru made her name in such Westerns as Howard Hawks's Red River (1948) and John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Wagon Master (1950). However, her best performance came as Anne Stanton opposite the Oscar-winning Broderick Crawford in Robert Rossen's adaptation of Pulitzer laureate Robert Penn Warren's political drama, All the King's Men (1949). Settling in Britain after his wartime naval service, Sylvester could play villains ( Whirlpool, 1959) and heroes ( Gorgo, 1961). But his highest profile role was Heywood R. Floyd in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, while his oddest cast him adrift in Morocco in Frederic Goode's The Hand of Night (both 1968).
Being expelled from Eton did nothing to hold back the irresistible rise of Patrick Macnee, who was born on 6 February 1922. Following wartime naval service, he resumed his acting career with mixed fortunes and was co-producing a documentary series on Winston Churchill when he was offered the role of John Steed in The Avengers (1961-69). He appeared in all but two of its 161 episodes, opposite Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson, before teaming with Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt on The New Avengers (1976-77). Among Macnee's notable later appearances without his umbrella and bowler hat was his knowing turn as Sir Denis Eton-Hogg in Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap (1984).
Another familiar face on British television was Denis Norden. Often heard on radio in the company of former writing partner Frank Muir, he presented the long-running blooper programme, It'll Be Alright on the Night (1977-2006). He also wrote scripts for films like John Guillermin's Song of Paris (1952) and Rod Amateau's The Statue (1971). He shared a friendship with Eric Sykes with Hattie Jacques, who played his sister in the delightful BBC sitcom, Sykes (1972-79), clips of which can be found on The Best of Sykes (2005). Jacques was also a radio regular on Hancock's Half Hour (1954-61) and cropped up in features like Robert Asher's Make Mine Mink (1960). But it was her five matronly turns in 14 Carry On comedies that made her a household name. Ruth Jones played Jacques in Hattie (2011), a teleplay about her marriage to John Le Mesurier, who is best known as Sergeant Wilson in Dad's Army (1969-77).
Completing the February roster are Kathryn Grayson and Steven Hill. A coloratura soprano, Grayson was one of the Hollywood musical's finest singers. In addition to partnering Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in George Sidney's Anchors Aweigh (1945), she was also regularly teamed with Mario Lanza in the likes of Norman Taurog's The Flame of New Orleans (1950). But her best performances came opposite Howard Keel in Sidney's Show Boat (1951) and Kiss Me Kate (1953), which really should be on DVD in this country. Having changed his name from Solomon Krakovsky, Hill was part of the first intake at the Actors Studio, alongside Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. He made films as different as John Cassavetes's A Child Is Waiting (1963) and Sidney Lumet's Garbo Talks (1984), but reached his biggest audiences as Dan Briggs in Mission: Impossible (1966-72) and Adam Schiff in Law & Order (1990-2010).
Fred Astaire claimed that Tula Ellice Finklea was the best dancer in Hollywood. The star of Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953) and Rouben Mamoulian's Silk Stockings (1957) also matched Gene Kelly step for step in Singin' in the Rain (Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952) and Minnelli's Brigadoon (1954). Cinema Paradiso users might know her better as Cyd Charisse, who was born on 8 March 1922.
Landing in New York 12 days later, Carl Reiner was a key figure in postwar American television, as both a writer and performer on classics like The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66). He also directed Steve Martin in such comic gems as The Jerk (1979) and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), and continued acting into old age, notably essaying Saul Bloom in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). His son is director Rob Reiner ( The Princess Bride, 1987 & When Harry Met Sally..., 1989).
Among the month's other new arrivals were Canadian character actor Jack Kruschen, ( The Apartment, 1960), American screenwriter Stewart Stern ( Rebel Without a Cause, 1955), Italian actor Ugo Tognazzi ( La Cage aux folles, 1978), Austrian actor Turhan Bey ( Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, 1943) and American acor Richard Kiley ( The Thorn Birds, 1983). More notorious was sexploitation pioneer Russ Meyer, who titillated audiences with 'nudie cuties' like The Immoral Mr Teas (1960) before taking a tilt at the mainstream with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). He later adopted a raunchier style for satirical romps like Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979), which was co-written by esteemed critic, Roger Ebert.
Cinema Paradiso has already celebrated the remarkable life and career of Doris Kappelhoff in Getting to Know Doris Day, so we shall move on to composer Elmer Bernstein, who was born a day later, on 4 April 1922. He scored over 150 Hollywood features, winning an Oscar for George Roy Hill's Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Perhaps more familiar, however, are his theme tunes for two John Sturges pictures, The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963).
Born on 5 April, Texan Josephine Cottle became better known as actress-singer Gale Storm, who won a year-long contract on a CBS radio show. She acquired a cult following at the B-Hive studio, Monogram, where she made Gordon Douglas's noir, Between Midnight and Dawn (1950) before becoming a fixture on television. Michael Ansara was also in demand on the small screen, although he had numerous film credits to his name, including Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961). However, telly addicts will know him better as the Klingon commander, Kang, in Star Trek (1966-69), Deep Space Nine (1993-99) and Voyager (1995-2001), and as Killer Kane in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81). He also voiced Mr Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series (1992-95) and its spin-off feature, Batman and Mr Freeze: SubZero (1998)
Although she impressed in features like Ted Kotcheff's The Window (1949), Barbara Hale will forever be known as legal secretary Della Street, whom she played opposite Raymund Burr in both the TV series, Perry Mason (1957-66), and its 30 spin-off teleplays. She also played the mother of William Katt (her son with actor Bill Williams) in John Milius's surfing classic, Big Wednesday (1978). Similarly, while Jack Klugman excelled as Juror #5 in Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men (1957), he will always be associated with the role of the forenameless Los Angeles County medical examiner in Quincy, M.E. (1976-83).
Academic, athlete, actor and African American, Roscoe Lee Browne, who was born on 2 May 1922, avoided stereotypical roles, in appearing in features like Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz (1969) and Michael Anderson's Logan's Run (1976). He proved just as versatile on stage and television, voicing The Kingpin in the animated series, Spider-Man (1994-98). Darren McGavin's 60-year career started in the set-painting department at Columbia. A contract dispute prevented him from being credited in Barry Levinson's baseball drama, The Natural (1984), but his name was above the title in the cult TV show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-75), which had a profound influence on The X-Files (1993-2018).
A cousin of Laurence Olivier, Sheila Burrell spent much of her career on stage. But she was notable as Lady Rochford in The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and as Ada Doom in John Schlesinger's adaptation of Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm (1995). Having played comic support in dozens of films, Nancy Walker found a home on television, playing Ida Morgenstern in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) and Rhoda (1974-78). She also stole scenes from Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James as Mildred the maid in McMillan & Wife (1971-76).
Even more beloved of American audiences was Bea Arthur, who was born just five days before Bill Macy, her co-star on the hit sitcom, Maude (1972-78). However, the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress enjoyed even more success alongside Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty in The Golden Girls (1985-91).
It's not often you can say this about a performer, but Denholm Elliott never gave a bad performance. Type his name into the Cinema Paradiso searchline and order any title to see what we mean. A rare feat for someone with 162 film and television credits. Try the BBC ghost story, The Signalman (1976), or James Ivory's A Room With a View (1985). He could do blockbusters, too, playing Marcus Brody in Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). To see him at his peak, however, rent John Landis's Trading Places (1983) and Malcolm Mowbray's A Private Function (1984), which saw him win back-to-back BAFTAs for Best Supporting Actor.
Born on 1 June 1922, Joan Caulfield was a model before she started acting. She teamed with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in Stuart Heisler's Blue Skies (1946) and co-starred with Claude Rains's in Michael Curtiz's thriller, The Unsuspected (1947). She spent her later years in television, as did Carmen Silvera, who excelled as Madame Edith in the BBC sitcom, 'Allo, 'Allo! (1982-92). In between softcore romps like Sex Clinic (1971) and On the Game (1974), Silvera also played Mrs Van Schuyler opposite Francesca Annis in Lillie (1978).
Famed playwright George Axelrod was born on 9 June. He made his name with the Broadway hit that was filmed by Billy Wilder as The Seven Year Itch (1955) and won an Oscar for adapting Truman Capote's Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) for director Blake Edwards (more of whom anon). Thanks to his radio appearances on Hancock's Half Hour, Australian Bill Kerr became a familiar voice in Britain. However, he also cropped up in films like Michael Anderson's The Dam Busters (1955) before returning Down Under to feature in the Peter Weir classic, Gallipoli (1981).
Despite doing much to revive the plays of Greek Antiquity, Cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis will go down in screen history for his adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's Zorba the Greek (1964), for which he and lead Anthony Quinn earned Oscar nominations and Lila Kedrova won the award for Best Supporting Actress. Eleanor Parker was unlucky three times at the Academy Awards. Frustratingly, only her performance in William Wyler's Detective Story (1951) is available on disc. But Cinema Paradiso users can also appreciate this undervalued actress in Otto Preminger's The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), Robert Wise's The Sound of Music (1965) and David Lowell Rich's Eye of the Cat (1969).
Born in Keighley in Yorkshire on 21 July 1922, Mollie Sugden became a national treasure. She made her first impressions as landlady Nellie Harvey in Coronation Street (1965-76) before she played Nerys Hughes's mother, Mrs Hutchinson, in The Liver Birds (1971-79). Her defining role was Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served? (1972-85), which she also reprised in Bob Kellett's 1977 film spin off and the less vaunted sitcom, Grace & Favour (1992-93). But she also starred in That's My Boy (1981-86) and popped up to surprise David Walliams and Matt Lucas in an episode of Little Britain (2003-07).
Sugden often worked with husband William Moore, as did Julie Andrews and American director Blake Edwards. Cinema Paradiso users can rent their collaborations on Darling Lili (1970), The Tamarind Seed (1974), 10 (1979) and Victor/Victoria (1982). But Edwards would forge another Anglo-American alliance with Peter Sellers on eight Pink Panther comedies between 1963-82 (all of which are available with a single click).
There was much more to Edwards, however, as he had started out acting in the likes of Henry Hathaway's Wing and a Prayer (1944) and Lesley Selander's Panhandle (1948). He realised his strengths lay behind the camera and made his name with the TV series, Peter Gunn (1958-61). Cary Grant headlined Operation Petticoat (1959), but Edwards proved himself capable of grittier drama with Breakfast At Tiffany's and Days of Wine and Roses (1962). In later years, he paired Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger in the romcom, Blind Date (1986), and Willis and James Garner in Sunset (1988), a fond tribute to the Hollywood Western.
Sicilian Adolfo Celi became one of cinema's busiest villains after playing Emilio Largo opposite Sean Connery's 007 in Terence Young's Thunderball (1965). He also menaced to good effect as Ralph Valmont in Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1968) before turning up in 1974 in Luis Buñuel's The Phantom of Liberty and Peter Collinson's reworking of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. His career ended on a low note, however, as viewers complained that they couldn't understand his accent in the BBC historical saga, The Borgias (1981), which now has a cult following.
Canadian Arthur Hill, who was born on 1 August 1922, started acting after the war and appeared in several British films. He amused as a country singer in Val Guest's Life With the Lyons (1954) before relocating to Hollywood. Busy on the big and small screen, he particularly impressed as the scientist investigating the blight affecting a small New Mexican town in Robert Wise's adaptation of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain (1971).
Although he had made films earlier in his career, Fulton Mackay was a major figure on the Scottish theatre scene when he was cast as prison warder Mr Mackay in Porridge (1974-77). He briefly reunited with Ronnie Barker in Going Straight (1978) and Dick Clement's 1979 feature version of Porridge. However, he also got to team with Burt Lancaster in Bill Forsyth's eco classic, Local Hero (1983).
Having spent part of his youth in a reformatory, Frank McCown was discovered by Alan Ladd and renamed Rory Calhoun by David O. Selznick. It wasn't until he signed to 20th Century-Fox that his career took off, alongside Betty Grable in Howard Hawks's How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Marilyn Monroe in Otto Preminger's River of No Return (1954). His forte was the Western, with leaked stories about his past reinforcing his bad boy image. But he also came to Europe to headline Sergio Leone's Peplum epic, The Colossus of Rhodes (1961). After guesting in various TV shows, Calhoun achieved cult status in such genre romps as Kevin Connor's Motel Hell (1980) and Donald G. Jackson and R. J. Kizer's Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988).
While there are several Calhoun pictures for Cinema Paradiso users to choose from, the selection is more limited when it comes to French actress, Micheline Presle. Having caught the eye in gems like Jacques Becker's Falbalas (1945), the Parisian was signed by 20th Century-Fox, where Fritz Lang cast her in American Guerilla in the Philippines (1950). She married director William Marshall, who teamed her with Errol Flynn in Adventures of Captain Fabian (1951). Presle did her best work in Europe, however, notably in Jean Grémillon's The Love of a Woman (1953) and Elio Petri's The Assassin (1961). In addition to working with nouvelle vagueurs like Jacques Rivette ( The Nun, 1966), Jacques Demy ( Donkey Skin, 1970 & A Slightly Pregnant Man, 1971) and Alain Resnais ( I Want to Go Home, 1989), she was also directed by daughter Tonie Marshall in Venus Beauty (1998).
Born in Genoa on 1 September 1922, Vittorio Gassman was one of Italy's finest actors. He focussed more on the stage until his success in Mario Monicelli's comic masterpiece, Big Deal on Madonna Street (1957) and spent the next four decades alternating between mainstream outings like Richard Fleischer's Barabbas (1961) and arthouse items like Alain Resnais's Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983). Gassman also won the 1975 Best Actor prize at Cannes for the role of the blind army veteran that would earn Al Pacino an Oscar in Martin Brest's Scent of a Woman (1992).
Margaret Middleton was born the same day in Vancouver, Canada. As Yvonne De Carlo, she became a B-movie pin-up, whom producer Walter Wanger dubbed, 'the most beautiful girl in the world'. Cinema Paradiso has several of her supporting and leading roles on offer, including John Berry's Casbah (1948), Robert Siodmak's Criss Cross (1949), Ken Annakin's Hotel Sahara (1951) and Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956). Her legacy was sealed, however, when she was cast as the vampiric Lily in The Munsters (1964-66), a role she reprised in Earl Bellamy's Munster, Go Home! (1966)
Hailing from Yonkers, Sid Caesar was one of the greats of American comedy. The likes of Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Woody Allen got their start writing gags and sketches for him. But he was also a deft film presence in comedies like Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Alan Arkin's Fire Sale (1977) and Randal Kleiser's Grease (1978), in which he played Coach Calhoun, as he did in Grease 2 (1982).
Just nine years after his birth on 15 September, Jackie Cooper became the first child actor to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in Skippy (1931), which was directed by his uncle, Norman Taurog. Sadly, few of his childhood roles are available on disc, but he can be seen as Daily Planet editor, Perry White, opposite Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent in Superman (1978) and its three sequels ( 1980, 1983 and 1987 ).
Born Vladimir Vujovic in Germany to a Serbian father and French mother, Michel Auclair became a familiar face in French films after establishing himself in Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la bête (1946) and Henri-Georges Clouzot's Manon (1949). He also flirted with Audrey Hepburn in Stanley Donen's Funny Face (1957) and trailed Edward Fox in Fred Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal (1973).
The daughter of a famed composer, Ursula Howells took rare leads like Peter Graham Scott's Account Rendered (1957) before settling into supporting roles, notably in Freddie Francis's Amicus horror anthologies, Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965) and Torture Garden (1967). Texan Louise Latham made her screen debut as Bernice Edgar in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), but spent much of her career on the small screen. However. she did also make features like Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (1974) and Jonathan Kaplan's Love Field (1992).
Paris-born Guy Hamilton earned his stripes as an assistant director to Carol Reed on The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949). He made his mark with the 1954 adaptation of J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls and scored a sizeable hit with The Colditz Story (1955). Despite having turned down Dr No (1962), Hamilton made four Bond movies: Goldfinger (1964); Diamonds Are Forever (1971); Live and Let Die (1973); and The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). He also turned down For Your Eyes Only (1981), Superman (1978) and Batman (1989), but directed two Agatha Christie adaptations, The Mirror Crack'd (1980) and Evil Under the Sun (1982).
Born on 24 September, visual effects artist and director Bert I. Gordon is very much still with us. His métier was the creature feature and Cinema Paradiso users can relish War of the Colossal Beast, The Spider (both 1958) and Empire of the Ants (1977). Also still going strong is actress Janis Paige, who was discovered singing in the Hollywood Canteen during the Second World War. She co-starred with Doris Day in Charles Walters's Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960) and made dozens of TV appearances. However, her major triumphs came on stage.
Born Emma Matzo and nicknamed 'The Threat', Lizabeth Scott left an indelible impression, despite only making 22 features. Her husky voice added to her mystique in noirs like Lewis Milestone's The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), John Cromwell's Dead Reckoning (1947), Byron Haskin's Too Late For Tears (1948) and William Dieterle's Dark City (1949). Her career was interrupted when she sued Confidential magazine, but she returned to the screen opposite Elvis Presley in Hal Kanter's Loving You (1957).
Discovered singing at New York's Stork Club, Martha Stewart only flickered briefly on screen, notably co-starring with Humphrey Bogart in Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place and Glenn Ford in Henry Levin's Convicted (both 1950). Londoner Max Bygraves was also better known for his singing than his acting. However, he proved more than capable in dramatic roles in Lewis Gilbert's A Cry From the Streets (1958) and Leslie Norman's Spare the Rod (1961).
Character actor John Anderson racked up dozens of credits during a 40-year career. He sold Janet Leigh a secondhand car in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and commanded the cavalry unit in Ralph Nelson's controversial Western, Soldier Blue (1970). But he was busiest on television, notably playing Richard Dean Anderson's grandfather in MacGyver (1985-92). Nebraskan Coleen Gray was also a small-screen regular. But she seemed destined for big things after playing the wives of Victor Mature and Tyrone Power in Henry Hathaway's Kiss of Death and Edmund Goulding's Nightmare Alley (1947), as well as Sterling Hayden's moll in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956). Later, she took the title role in Edward Dein's The Leech Woman (1960).
Born on Halloween, Barbara Bel Geddes will always be remembered as Miss Ellie Ewing in the classic soap, Dallas (1978-91). However, she also excelled as Jo Ann in tandem with Henry Fonda in Anatole Litvak's The Long Night (1947), Nancy Reed alongside Richard Widmark in Elia Kazan's Panic in the Streets (1950) and Midge opposite James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958).
Such was America's reprehensible attitude towards racial equality during Dorothy Dandridge's lifetime that she didn't become the star she should have been. The first African American to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones (1954), she died far too young at 42. She was played by Halle Berry in Martha Coolidge's biopic, Face of an Angel (aka Introducing Dorothy Dandridg, 1999).
Born three days later on 12 November, Kim Hunter won audience's hearts as the radio operator chatting to RAF pilot David Niven in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (1945). She won an Oscar as Vivien Leigh's sister and Marlon Brando's wife in Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). But she was blacklisted during the House UnAmerican Activities Committee's investigation into Communism in Hollywood and was barely recognisable as Zira when she enjoyed the biggest box-office hits of her career in Planet of the Apes (1968), and its sequels Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971).
Vienna-born Oskar Werner will be best known for his collaborations with François Truffaut on Jules et Jim (1961) and Fahrenheit 451 (1966). But his Oscar nomination came for Stanley Kramer's Ship of Fools, while he won a Golden Globe for Martin Ritt's John Le Carré adaptation, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (both 1965).
Napolitano Francesco Rosi typified the political potency of Italian cinema in the 1960s, with films like Salvatore Giuliano (1962) and Hands Over the City (1963), which won the Golden Lion at Venice. His masterpiece, however, was an adaptation of Carlo Levi's Christ Stopped At Eboli (1979), which is available to rent from Cinema Paradiso, along with Lucky Luciano (1973), Three Brothers (1981) and Carmen (1984).
New Yorker Royal Dano was a regular in Westerns like Anthony Mann's James Stewart vehicles, Bend of the River (1952) and The Far Country (1954). He amused as the pesky lawman in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry (1955) and played Simon Peter with suitably sincerity in Nicholas Ray's King of Kings (1961). There was much TV in his later years, but type his name into the Cinema Paradiso searchline to see just how splendidly diverse his career was, with credits in everything from James William Guerico's Electra Glide in Blue (1973) and Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) to Stephen Chiodo's Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988) and David Lynch's Twin Peaks (1990-91).
Spanish-French actress María Casarès graced Robert Bresson's Les Dames de la Bois de Boulogne (1945) and Jean Cocteau's Orpheé (1950) and Testament of Orpheus (1959) before winning a César for Michel Deville's La Lectrice (1988). Seven decades after her retirement, 99 year-old Jacqueline Wilson can still look back with pride on her performances in a pair of noir classics, Edward Dmytryk's Crossfire (1947) and Richard Fleischer's The Narrow Margin (1952).
Edinburgh's Graham Crowden will be familiar to British film and TV fans. His best film roles came in Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982). But he also teamed marvellously with Stephanie Cole in the BBC sitcom, Waiting For God (1990-94).
Born in Cannes, Gérard Philipe died much too young at the age of 36. The pin-up boy of postwar French cinema, he could play the romantic lead in the likes of Yves Allégret's Une si jolie petite plage (1949) and Les Orgueilleux (1953), the swashbuckling hero in Christian-Jacques's Fanfan la Tulipe (1952), the roué in Max Ophüls's La Ronde (1950) and René Clair's Les Grandes manoeuvres (1955), and the tortured artist in Jacques Becker's biopic of Amadeo Modigliani, Montparnasse 19 (1958).
Born a week later on 11 December, Dilip Kumar cut a similar dash in Bollywood. Making an impression in Mehboob Khan's Andaz (1949), Kumar showed his comic side in Azaad (1955) and his social conscience in Naya Daur (1957). He bounced back from a fallow period and a sabbatical with Manoj Kumar's patriotic epic, Kranti (1981) before turning to politics.
In 1949, Ruth Roman received a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year for her performance in Mark Robson's Champion. She was even more effective as Farley Granger's mistress in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951). Yet, she never quite reached the top rank, despite solid turns in Nicholas Ray's Bitter Victory (1957) and any number of TV shows.
Born in China, character actor Ivan Desny first came to wider notice in David Lean's Madeleine (1950) and Michelangelo Antonioni's The Lady Without Camelias (1953). He tried his luck in Hollywood opposite the Oscar-winning Ingrid Bergman in Anatole Litvak's Anastasia (1956), but was better used by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in World on a Wire (1973), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and Lola (1981).
We end our meander through the 1922 calendar with two men who are worlds apart in cinematic terms. Lithuanian Jonas Mekas became 'the godfather of American avant-garde cinema', while New Yorker Stan Lee created the comic-books that took Hollywood into its current obsession with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Snippets of Mekas's work can be found in Michael Epstein's documentary, John Lennon: LennoNYC (2010). But you don't need us to tell you where to find any of Lee's characters or his famous cameos, although we have to mention his DC Comics pop-up in Peter Rida Michail and Aaron Horvath's Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018).
Born in Birmingham on the same day as Telly Savalas, Paul Scofield is the fastest winner of the acting Triple Crown of the Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards. His performance as Sir Thomas More in Fred Zinnemann's A Man For All Seasons (1966) remains a model of principled dignity. But he proved equally imposing in Robert Redford's Quiz Show (1994) and Nicholas Hytner's The Crucible (1996), which respectively brought another Oscar nomination and a BAFTA. Another highlight was Peter Brook's King Lear (1971), but also check out his narration of Patrick Keiller's psycho-geographic journeys, London (1994) and Robinson in Space (1997).
On stage at 16, Margaret Leighton debuted on screen in Anthony Asquith's The Winslow Boy before making her mark as Flora MacDonald opposite David Niven in Anthony Kimmins's Bonnie Prince Charlie (both 1948). Following Alfred Hitchcock's Under Capricorn (1949) and George More O'Ferrall's The Holly and the Ivy (1952), she teamed with second husband, Laurence Harvey, in Lewis Gilbert's The Good Die Young (1954). She won a BAFTA and was Oscar nominated for Joseph Losey's The Go-Between (1971) and popped up in Kevin Connor's horror anthology, From Beyond the Grave (1973) and Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Space 1999 (1975-77) before dying at 53 in 1976.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Born on 5 March, Pier Paolo Pasolini was a renowned poet and novelist when he entered films by co-scripting Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria (1957). His first directorial outings, Accatone (1961) and Mamma Roma (1962), gave neo-realism a political jolt, while he equated Christianity with Marxism in The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964). He further courted controversy with Theorem (1968) and Pigsty (1969) before embarking upon the Trilogy of Life: The Decameron (1971); The Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974). Shortly after shocking compatriots with Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), Pasolini was murdered in still mysterious circumstances at the age of 53.
Londoner Christopher Lee racked up a phenomenal 286 screen credits during his 70-year career. Type his name into the Cinema Paradiso searchline to marvel at his achievement. You'll find his seven Hammer outings as Count Dracula; his turn as Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Count Dooku in three Star Wars films (2002-08), and Saruman in the Peter Jackson trilogies, The Lord of the Rings (2001-03) and The Hobbit (2012-14). But don't overlook Terence Fisher's The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Ralph Thomas's A Tale of Two Cities (1958) or Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man (1973).
Frustratingly few of Judy Garland's early films are available on disc, as she forged a delightful partnership with Mickey Rooney. But the success of Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz (1939) clued MGM to the enormity of her talent, as they paired her with Gene Kelly in For Me and My Gal (1942) and The Pirate and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade (both 1948). Husband Vincente Minnelli directed her in Meet Me in St Louis (1944) and In the Good Old Summertime (1949). However, fame brought pressures that weighed heavily on Garland, whose psychological problems owed much to the studio that fired her in 1950. She earned an Oscar nomination for her comeback, George Cukor's A Star Is Born (1954), and for her moving cameo in Stanley Kramer's Judgment At Nuremberg (1961). Renée Zellwegger won Best Actress for playing Garland in Rupert Goold's Judy (2019).
Chicagoan Jason Robards, Jr. was the son of a renowned silent film actor and made his mark on Broadway before venturing to Hollywood for classics like Sidney Lumet's Long Day's Journey into Night (1962). Following features as different as William Friedkin's The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968) and Sam Peckinpah's The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), he won consecutive Best Supporting Oscars as Ben Bradlee in Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men (1976) and Dashiell Hammett in Fred Zinnemann's Julia (1977). Other notable pictures include Nicholas Meyer's The Day After (1983), Ron Howard's Parenthood (1989) and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999).
Starting out on stage, Ruby Dee recreated her Broadway role of Ruth Younger in Daniel Petrie's adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1961). Often appearing with husband and fellow Civil Rights activist, Ossie Davis, Dee co-starred with Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in Buck and the Preacher (1972). After a prolonged absence from the cinema screen (during which she amassed eight Emmy nominations for her television work), she appeared in Paul Schrader's Cat People (1982) and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1991) before becoming the third oldest Best Supporting Actress nominee (at 85) for Ridley Scott's American Gangster (2007).
Constance Ockelman was born in Brooklyn on 14 November 1922. She changed her name and hairstyle forI Wanted Wings (1941). At Paramount, she shone alongside Joel McCrea in Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels (1941) and second husband Andre De Toth's Ramrod (1947). She also showed her lighter side in René Clair's I Married a Witch (1942). But Lake's peek-a-boo tresses and sultry intensity were better suited to her noir teamings with Alan Ladd in Frank Tuttle's This Gun For Hire, Stuart Heisler's The Glass Key (both 1942) and George Marshall's The Blue Dahlia (1946). Sadly, alcoholism made Lake difficult to work with and her star had faded long before she died at the age of 50 in 1973.
The circus saga, Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), proved a turning point in the career of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, as Sven Nykvist replaced Gunnar Fischer as his regular cinematographer. In addition to earning Oscars for Cries and Whispers (1972) and Fanny and Alexander (1983), Nykvist also shot The Virgin Spring (1959), Through a Glass Darkly (1960) and Persona (1966). Notable credits away from Bergman included Louis Malle's Pretty Baby (1978), Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (both 1986), Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
Born on Christmas Eve in Grabtown, North Carolina, Ava Gardner became a star in Robert Siodmak's The Killers (1946). She brought doomed allure to Albert Lewin's Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) and spirited grit to Henry King's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa (1954). But her sole Oscar nomination came for John Ford's Mogambo (1953), although she was cited at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs for John Huston's Night of the Iguana (1964). Tempestuously married to Frank Sinatra, Gardner continued to exude golden age glamour in projects as diverse as John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May (1964), Huston's The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) and Mark Robson's Earthquake (1974).