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Today in Movie History: November 8

It’s a big day in more ways than one, so let’s get to it. For 45 years, Shakespeare’s¬†Henry V belonged firmly to Laurence Olivier, whose 1944 version was considered definitive. Intended to rally the British nation during World War II, it offered a fairy-tale atmosphere of inevitable victory and proved so potent that no one dared make another version of …

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Today in Movie History: October 30

We’re pounding down the home stretch to Halloween, but the big opener today isn’t a horror movie. It’s The Lion in Winter,¬†Anthony Harvey’s adaptation of the James Goldman play about Henry II’s (Peter O’Toole) vacillating choice for an heir. Katherine Hepburn won the third of her four Oscars as his scheming queen, and the sight of the two of them …

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Today in Movie History: May 4

We’re sticking with Marvel today because… well because the biggest superhero movie of all time opened today. 2012’s The Avengers turned an already successful franchise — three franchises technically — into something entirely new. Not since the Universal horror cycle in the 1940s had we seen anything quite like it, and Universal couldn’t dream of accomplishing something on the scale …

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Today in Movie History: May 6

We’re closing out the week of Marvel… and for the first time this week when there’s been a Marvel release, the column isn’t topped by it. The pole position goes to Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, long considered one of the greatest adaptaions of Shakespeare’s masterpiece ever put on film, and which netted Olivier Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor. (He …