The Month of April in History

By Mickey Dunaway | Reprinted with Permission by Limitlesss Magazine | Cornelius, NC

Lights … Camera … ACTION!

April is Oscar month this year because of the pandemic, so we are taking a look at Oscar winners released in the month of April. 

As we begin our turn on the red carpet, we see the movie posters for Oscar winners released in April. But don’t hold your breath. Since 1934—the Oscar awards began in 1929—only 17 Oscar-nominated best pictures have been released in the month of April with only eight winners. I compiled the list below from the Internet Movie Database (www.IMDb.com), and I have found some discrepancies with release dates from Wikipedia. Where you see (USA-wide release), this is an indication that the premier occurred earlier, but the film was not released to the public until later.

April 15, 1933        Cavalcade (USA wide release) | Drama, Romance, War 

April 8, 1936          The Great Ziegfeld (USA wide release) | Biography, Drama, Musical 

April 12, 1940        Rebecca (USA wide release) |Drama, Mystery, Romance 

April 1, 1965           The Sound of Music (USA wide release) Biography, Drama, Family 

April 2, 1970          Patton (USA wide release) | Biography, Drama, War 

April 20, 1977        Annie Hall | Comedy, Romance 

April 9, 1982          Chariots of Fire (USA wide release) | Biography, Drama, Sport

April 15, 1988        The Last Emperor (USA wide release) | Biography, Drama, History

As we continue, it is interesting to take a look at the top-grossing April movies of all time. Sorry, no Oscar winners here. Understandably, market conditions are much different today for the box office than for a film released in 1990. In 2020, the average movie ticket costs $9.37—but 30 years ago, the average ticket stood at a mere $4.23. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbean/2020/04/10/box-office-the-10-biggest-april-movie-releases-ever/?sh=53050acd2a4d)

  1. Avengers: Endgame ($858.4 million)
  2. Avengers: Infinity War ($678.8 million)
  3. The Jungle Book ($364 million)
  4. Furious 7 ($353 million)
  5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259.8 million)
  6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241.4 million)
  7. The Fate of the Furious ($226 million)
  8. Fast Five ($209.8 million)
  9. Clash of the Titans ($163.2 million)
  10.  Fast & Furious ($155.1 million)

Mature readers of Limitless, you will be excused if you suddenly cry out, “What happened to real movies?!” I recognize the titles of all of these movies only because I have teenage grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter visited us last month—and you guessed it—we watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

Our last consideration for this month is the question of “How good were these winners?” Like all critics worth their salt, I will let my personal feelings come through only slightly. Unfortunately, since I am not a movie buff of any renown, I don’t expect any insights either.

Since 1965 I have seen every April Oscar Winner. Their order of significance, according to my tastes, is below in descending order.

  1. Patton (7 Oscars)  George C. Scott’s performance as the irascible four-star General George S. Patton, by itself, makes this worth watching over and over.
  2. The Sound of Music (5 Oscars)  It is number one in family movies. I put it above Wizard of Oz because those flying monkeys still scare me!
  3. Annie Hall (4 Oscars)  The epitome of a classic romantic comedy, Diane Keaton’s smile filled the screen and the hearts of more than a few red-blooded males. Probably Woody Allen’s best.
  4. The Last Emperor (9 Oscars)  The first Western feature film authorized by the People’s Republic of China to be filmed in the Forbidden City. The sweeping cinematography was worth the price of admission.
  5. Chariots of Fire (4 Oscars)  If you listen hard. you can hear the haunting theme by Vangelis. But it comes with a WARNING. The song is an excellent earworm example. You know that tune that stays in your head for days at a time

__________

“I thought the drama was when the actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.” Filmmaker Frank Capra

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