The Chronicle of Cinema 1895-1995: 1951: inside the crucible

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The third instalment of our brief history of cinema set against the backdrop of world events revisits the scene 43 years ago, in 1951. The McCarthy witch-hunts were in the news again. Four years earlier, Edward Dmytryk had escaped the year's imprisonment imposed on 10 Hollywood writers and producers by complying and naming names. In 1951, he was back before the House Un-American Activities Committee to blow the whistle on Communism again.

If this was censorship in full swing, then Britain was only just getting started with the introduction of the new X classification, a 16-and- over restrictive certificate which was to remain in force until the introduction of our present 18 rating in 1983.

CINEMA 9 Jan First film to receive the new X (adults only) certificate of the British Board of Film Censors is released. It is La Vie Commence Demain, which contains a sequence dealing with artificial insemination.

April Edward Dmytryk reappears before HUAC, identifying 24 former Communists.

1 April French review Cahiers du Cinema commences publication. Andre Bazin becomes contributor with second number, ultimately to be joined by Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette.

3 May Third Cannes Film Festival. From this time the event will be annual.

10 Sept Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon wins Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival.

WORLD EVENTS 1 Jan Chinese cross into South Korea and capture Seoul (4 Jan).

27 March US and South Korean forces push back communist forces across 38th parallel.

30 March In New York, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg sentenced to death for passing atomic secrets to USSR.

11 April President Truman removes General MacArthur from command of US forces in Korea.

25 May Foreign Office officials Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean disappear, later re-emerging as defectors to USSR.

Elsewhere in the arts: Picasso, Massacre in Korea; Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I; J D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye; James Jones, From Here to Eternity.

Births: Kevin Keegan, Anatoli Karpov.

Deaths: Andre Gide, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Marshal Petain, William Randolph Hearst.

FILMS France: Le Journal d'un Cure de Campagne (Robert Bresson); Olivia (Jacqueline Audry).

Sweden: Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman).

UK: The Browning Version (Anthony Asquith); The Importance of Being Earnest (Anthony Asquith); The Lavender Hill Mob (Charles Crichton); The Man in the White Suit (Alexander Mackendrick); The Tales of Hoffman (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger).

USA: Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder); The African Queen (John Huston); An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli); The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise); The Quiet Man (John Ford); The River (Jean Renoir); The Steel Helmet (Samuel Fuller); Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock); A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan); The Thing from Another World (Christian Nyby).

MOVIE BIRTHS 17 March Kurt Russell 17 April Olivia Hussey 14 May Robert Zemeckis 9 July Anjelica Huston 8 Aug Keith Carradine 25 Sept Pedro Almodovar This is an edited version of Part III of 'The Chronicle of Cinema' (1940-1960), by David Robinson and available free with the November issue of 'Sight and Sound' magazine. Next month we highlight a year from the two decades 1960-1980