On This Day … 12 June [2022]


Events

  • 1939 – Shooting begins on Paramount Pictures’ Dr. Cyclops, the first horror film photographed in three-strip Technicolor.
  • 1963 – The film Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, is released in US theatres.
    • It was the most expensive film made at the time.
  • 1981 – The first of the Indiana Jones film franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is released in theatres.
  • 2009 – Analog television stations (excluding low-powered stations) switch to digital television following the DTV Delay Act.

People (Births)

  • 1914 – William Lundigan, American actor (d. 1975).

Dr. Cyclops

Dr. Cyclops is a 1940 American science fiction horror film from Paramount Pictures, produced by Dale Van Every and Merian C. Cooper, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack, and starring Thomas Coley, Victor Kilian, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Frank Yaconelli, and Albert Dekker.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects (by Farciot Edouart and Gordon Jennings) at the 13th Academy Awards.

Fantasy and science fiction writer Henry Kuttner wrote a novelette adapting the film’s story that appeared in the June 1940 issue of the pulp magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories.

Technicolour

Technicolour is a series of colour motion picture processes, the first version dating back to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades.

Technicolor movies with 3 strips started in the ’30s and continued in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to end in 2000. In the ’90s, 36,860 films were made in Technicolour.

It was the second major colour process, after Britain’s Kinemacolor (used between 1908 and 1914), and the most widely used colour process in Hollywood during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Technicolor’s three-color process became known and celebrated for its highly saturated colour, and was initially most commonly used for filming musicals such as The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Down Argentine Way (1940), costume pictures such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Gone with the Wind (1939), the film Blue Lagoon (1949), The Searchers (1956), and animated films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Gulliver’s Travels (1939), and Fantasia (1940). As the technology matured it was also used for less spectacular dramas and comedies. Occasionally, even a film noir – such as Leave Her to Heaven (1945) or Niagara (1953) – was filmed in Technicolour.

The “Tech” in the company’s name was inspired by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Herbert Kalmus and Daniel Frost Comstock received their undergraduate degrees in 1904 and were later instructors.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film and television production and distribution company and the main namesake subsidiary of Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS). It is the fifth oldest film studio in the world, the second oldest film studio in the United States (behind Universal Pictures), and the sole member of the “Big Five” film studios still located in the city limits of Los Angeles.

In 1916, film producer Adolph Zukor put 24 actors and actresses under contract and honoured each with a star on the logo. In 1967, the number of stars was reduced to 22 and their hidden meaning was dropped. In 2014, Paramount Pictures became the first major Hollywood studio to distribute all of its films in digital form only. The company’s headquarters and studios are located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California.

Paramount Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Cleopatra (1963)

Cleopatra is a 1963 American epic historical drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with a screenplay adapted by Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman from the 1957 book The Life and Times of Cleopatra by Carlo Maria Franzero, and from histories by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor in the eponymous role. Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau are featured in supporting roles. It chronicles the struggles of Cleopatra, the young queen of Egypt, to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.

Walter Wanger had long contemplated producing a biographical film about Cleopatra. In 1958, his production company partnered with Twentieth Century Fox to produce the film. Following an extensive casting search, Elizabeth Taylor signed on to portray the title role for a record-setting salary of $1 million. Rouben Mamoulian was hired as director, and the script underwent numerous revisions from Nigel Balchin, Dale Wasserman, Lawrence Durrell, and Nunnally Johnson. Principal photography began at Pinewood Studios on 28 September 1960, but Taylor’s health problems delayed further filming. Production was suspended in November after it had gone overbudget with only ten minutes of usable footage.

Mamoulian resigned as director, and was subsequently replaced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who had previously directed Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). Production was re-located to Cinecittà, where filming resumed on 25 September 1961, without a finished shooting script. During filming, a personal scandal made worldwide headlines when it was reported that co-stars Taylor and Richard Burton had an adulterous affair. Filming wrapped on 28 July 1962, and further reshoots were made from February to March 1963. With the estimated production costs totalling $31 million, the film became the most expensive film ever made up to that point and nearly bankrupted the studio.

Cleopatra premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City on 12 June 1963. It received a generally favourable response from film critics, and became the highest-grossing film of 1963, earning box-office receipts of $57.7 million in the United States and Canada, and one of the highest-grossing films of the decade at a worldwide level. However, the film initially lost money because of its production and marketing costs of $44 million. It received nine nominations at the 36th Academy Awards, including for Best Picture, and won four: Best Art Direction (Colour), Best Cinematography (Colour), Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design (Colour).

William Lundigan

William Paul Lundigan (12 June 1914 to 20 December 1975) was an American film actor. His more than 125 films include The Fighting 69th (1940), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Santa Fe Trail (1940).

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