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Domestic production in 1959 was at an all-time low of 229 features, of which 81 earned at least $1 million. Approximately 82.3 million people per week went to theaters over the summer, up dramatically from the 45 million per week over the same period in 1958.
(right) won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress of 1959
for her portrayal of a Jewish housewife with a warm heart
and sharp tongue in The
Diary of Anne Frank,
released on April 17. Millie Perkins played the title
Kramer's On the Beach, based on the best-selling novel by Nevil
Shute, received great international acclaim. The novel
and film depicted the world "a few years from
now," after nuclear warfare had wiped out the
northern hemisphere and clouds of irradiated dust were
closing in on Australia, where the last survivors clung
to life. The film's all-star cast included Gregory Peck,
Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire,
and Gregory Peck. Kramer arranged simultaneous premieres
of his film in 18 major cities throughout the world,
including Moscow, on December 17.
M-G-M on December 26, Ben-Hur topped the list of the longest movies of
1959, with a running time of 3 hours 39 minutes. It went
on to take 11 Academy Awards in 1960, including: Best
Film, Best Actor (Charlton Heston), and Best Supporting
Actor (Hugh Griffith).
Top-Grossing U.S. Films of
Auntie Mame ($9 million)
The Roof, by Vittorio De Sica,
told of a married couple faced with the improbable task
of leading a decent life amid the squalor and rank
injustices of postwar Rome, Italy. The film was released
on May 12.
The Oscar for Best Foreign
Film of 1959 went to the French Black Orpheus, a
modern adaptation of the Orpheus ans Eurydice legend
released on December 21. Marcel Damus directed, Marpessa
Dawn and Brena Mello starred.
This page was last updated on 01/31/2017.