City Lit Blog

Celebrating 100 years of cinematic icons

Story added 4th Dec 2017

 

2018 marks the centenary of three cinematic icons: actors Rita Hayworth and William Holden, and visionary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Born in 1918, all three left an indelible imprint on the cinematic form, and they continue to have an influence on students on filmmaking classes and film studies courses to this day.

Rita Hayworth was arguably the biggest female lead of the 1940s, and one of the most glamorous of all Hollywood’s early breakout stars. She was also extremely prolific, appearing in over 60 films during her stellar career. Perhaps her best known role came in the 1946 American film noir Gilda, where she starred as one of cinema’s great femme fatales. She was also revered for her dancing ability, with Fred Astaire naming her as his favourite dance partner.

At the height of his fame, William Holden was one of film’s most bankable stars, winning an Academy Award for his memorable performance in 1953 war film Stalag 93. He swiftly became one of Hollywood’s most reliable leading men, appearing in several other critically-acclaimed films including Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) and Peckinpah classic The Wild Bunch (1969), latterly reviving his career in the 1976 satire Network

Both Hayworth and Holden have been posthumously honoured by the American Film Institute on their ‘100 Years...100 Stars’ list, released at the end of the 20th century to celebrate the greatest film stars of all time.

Moving behind the camera, Ingmar Bergman is widely considered to be one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. The Swedish auteur has inspired budding directors around the world with his visionary, independent filmmaking style.  His best-known work is the 1957 drama-fantasy The Seventh Seal, which contains one of the most iconic scenes in the history of world cinema – ‘Death’ playing a game of chess with the lead character, a medieval knight. Bergman continued to be productive well into the 21st century, completing his final film, Saraband, in 2007, just five years before his death at the age of 89.

Hayworth, Holden and Bergman continue to inspire actors, filmmakers and cultural historians to this day. You can follow your own path into the world of cinema on one of City Lit’s many film courses, or simply head to the ‘Classics’ section of your favourite DVD store or Netflix and settle in for an evening of vintage cinema.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017-18 course guide, now available from City Lit.

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