Good News in History, July 26

94 years ago today, Stanley Kubrick was born. Widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, his films, almost all of which are adaptations of novels or short stories, cover a wide range of genres and are noted for their realism, dark humor, unique cinematography, extensive set designs, and evocative use of music. Indeed it would take one of the greatest filmmakers to create films in so many disparate genres, including horror/suspense (The Shining,) high science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey,) and a proper war film (Full Metal Jacket). READ Kubrick’s favorite review he ever received…

A 21-year-old Stanley Kubrick working as a photographer.

Kubrick worked as a photographer as a young man, but moved into film alongside a rather decent collaborator—Kirk Douglas, with whom he partnered to make the war picture Paths of Glory and the historical epic Spartacus.

Kubrick’s work as a director was often cutting edge, with twenty to thirty retakes ordered as part of an attempt to achieve hyper-realism. As such it won its fair share of critics. But as is so often said, because it’s so often the case, the greatest artists often grow as time goes one, and movies such as the three mentioned above, plus, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orangeand Dr. Strangeloveare considered some of the finest cinema ever created.

It was reported that Kubrick’s favorite review stated “the first half of Full Metal Jacket is brilliant: then it degrades into a masterpiece.”

MORE Good News on this Day:

Carl Jung, who founded analytic psychology, was born in Switzerland (1875)
Segregation in the U.S. military and federal government was banned by order of President Harry Truman (1948)
The Jackson Five signed with Motown Records, and went on to make history two years later as the first recording act ever to see their first 4 singles reach #1 on the Billboard charts— I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There? (1968)
Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule (1974)
The Americans with Disabilities Act became law, which was meant to provide equal access to public services by requiring public ramps for wheelchairs, wider doorways, but also defined disabilities as both physical and mental, not necessarily severe or permanent, medical conditions (1990)
A lawsuit ended with Swiss banks awarding $1.25 billion to more than a half million plaintiffs who alleged the banks had hoarded money deposited by Holocaust victims (2000)
Other Notable Birthdays: actress Sandra Bullock, 58 (Speed, The Blind Side), born in Washington, D.C. in 1964; actor and producer Jeremy Piven, 57 (Entourage, Serendipity, Mr. Selfridge), who grew up in Evanston, Illinois (1965)

227 years ago today, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first U.S. Postmaster General. It established a postal system that became the United States Post Office, a system that continues to operate today—delivering a letter anywhere in the U.S. for 55 cents. He was responsible for all Post Offices—from Massachusetts to Georgia—and had authority to hire as many postmasters as he saw fit.

Franklin’s career in the postal service began in 1737 when the British Crown appointed him postmaster of their colony in Philadelphia. Thanks in part to Franklin’s efforts, the British Crown Post in North America registered its first profit in 1760, but he was fired 14 years later because England knew he was sympathetic to the idea of independence for the American colonies.

Earlier in his life, Franklin, a prolific reader and printer of the newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette, created and published Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was wildly successful and secured his fortune. Images of Ben Franklin and George Washington were both chosen to be on the first U.S. postage stamps, issued in 1847. (1775)

And, Happy Birthday to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, who turns 79 today.

By Mexicaans fotomagazijn, CC

Born in Kent, England to a teacher and hairdresser, he’s spent more than 50 years as one of the most influential frontmen in the history of rock and roll—and showed the world that old age doesn’t have to mean the end of “cool”. WATCH a tribute below shared on the occasion of his 70th birthday. (1943)

Also, Happy 77th Birthday to Helen Mirren, the Brilliant British actress who was nominated for an Oscar three times before winning the golden statue, playing Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen. She also won a Tony Award for Best Actress in the stage performance of The Audience.

In 2019, Dame Helen starred in another royal role—playing Catherine the Great in an HBO series named after the 18th-century Russian empress, a formidable monarch who helped shape the future of Russian politics. Mirren always wanted to play the part—no wonder, because her father (who once played the viola with the London Philharmonic) was Russian-born, and her grandfather fought in the Imperial Russian Army. Mirren said of Catherine, “She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word Great attached to her name—Catherine the Great.”

Helen’s other Academy Award nominations include The Madness of King George, Gosford Park, and The Last Station (in 2009). She won major awards for her role as a police detective on the British television series Prime Suspect (2006), and another Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance in the miniseries Elizabeth I (2005).

2014 photo by See Li / the Moët British Independent Film Awards, CC license

We also love her versatility and comic timing—on display in the role of a sexy senior spy wielding machine guns, opposite Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich, in Red and Red 2. (1945)

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