Big River Man

Martin Strel aka Big River Man

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 5 November Link Wray dies, 2005 On this day in 2005, one of the legends of rock. Link Wray, born Fred Lincoln Wray Jr in 1929, died. He was most famous for his 1958 instrumental hit Rumble, which added power chords to the blues sound of the overdriven amplifier into the repertoire of rock. If you haven’t heard it, Rumble is an elegant, slow, succession of chords played so slowly they’re almost arpeggio, followed by a chiming run down the top notes, repeated and repeated again. It’s simplicity itself. Relying on mood and riff rather than rhythm and tune, it could … Read more

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Bruno S as Kaspar Hauser in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 4 November Genie the feral child found, 1970 On this day in 1970, the child known as Genie was discovered in Los Angeles, California, USA. Aged around 13, she had spent her life tied to a child’s toilet or tied up in a crib, unable to move except her hands and feet. Brought up by a progressively blind mother in thrall to a mentally ill and violent husband, Genie had been fed on nothing but soft or baby food since birth. Genie was the fourth child born to the couple. The first two had died – one of pneumonia from being … Read more

Without Limits

Billy Crudup as Steve Prefontaine in Without Limits

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 3 November Adolf Dassler born, 1900 On this day in 1900, Adolf Dassler, known to his friends as Adi, was born, in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. A cobbler by training he started making his own sports shoes after returning from the First World War. He got his big break at the Amsterdam Olympics of 1928, where his running shoes were popular with athletes. At the 1936 Olympics Dassler offered Jesse Owens a pair of his running shoes, the first time an African American had had a sponsor. Dassler joined the Nazi party, along with his brother Rudolf, but later left the party … Read more

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut

Saddam Hussein and Satan get cosy in South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 2 November Lady Chatterley Trial verdict, 1960 On this day in 1960, a jury in the trial of Regina versus Penguin Books found the UK publisher not guilt of obscenity. The trial against DH Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was brought under the provision of the Obscene Publications Act, which had only come into force the previous year and was intended to more clearly mark off pornography from works of artistic and scientific merit. And so the trial hinged on whether Lawrence’s 1928 novel did indeed possess artistic merit, or whether its litany of rude words and rude acts would tend … Read more

Das Boot

Jürgen Prochnow in Das Boot

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 1 November Death of Jacques Piccard, 2008 On this day in 2008, Jacques Piccard, one of the pioneers of really deep deep-sea exploration, died, aged 86. The son of Auguste Piccard, a balloonist who had ascended higher than any other human in the early 1930s, Jacques initially started out working on bathyscaphes as a favour to help out his father, who had switched from high altitude to the depths. Together, between 1948 and 1955 they built three bathyscaphes. But Jacques was only a hobbyist – by day he was a professor of economics. It was only after governments started to become … Read more

North by Northwest

Cary Grant pursued by a plane in North by Northwest

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 31 October Mount Rushmore completed, 1941 On this day in 1941, the sculpture of four US presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – was finished on a granite face near Keystone, South Dakota. Sculpted from a mountain known to the Lakota Sioux as the Six Grandfathers, the depiction of the four presidents was masterminded by Gutzon Borglum and carved (after dynamiting to remove the big stuff) by up to 400 workers, each head measuring around 60 feet (18 metres). The gigantic frieze was conceived and created for reasons of promoting tourism, rather than overarching patriotism, and … Read more

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

The opening shot from Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 30 October The Bridge over the Bosphorus completed, 1973 It is one of the polite fictions of what used to be called the civilised world that Europe is a continent. Looked at objectively, with space goggles on, the continent is more properly Eurasia, Europe getting special treatment because of its historical importance. One of the “border” points of Europe has always been the Black Sea, the point where it empties out into the Mediterranean being one of the great dividing lines between Europe and Asia (the Urals, Ural River, Caspian and Caucasus Mountains forming the rest of the dividing line). Thus … Read more

Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers

Chief Inspector Yan Glassey and the hanging Pink Panther in his office

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 29 October Star of India stolen, 1964 On this day in 1964, the famous Star of India gemstone was stolen from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Though not the biggest gem in the world, this blue-green 563.35 carat (112.67g) golfball-sized sapphire is one of the most famous, thanks in large part to its distinctive markings – a star on either side of the stone. The robbery was simplicity itself. During the day the thieves unlocked a bathroom window and used it to climb back into the museum later at night – the burglar alarm system wasn’t working … Read more


Brigitte Helm in L'argent

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 28 October Black Monday, 1929 On this day in 1929, the Dow Jones index fell by 13% in a day. After nine years of an exuberantly rising market, during which time the index had risen tenfold, some economists had started predicting an end to boom and bust – “stock prices have risen to what looks like a permanently high plateau” said Yale’s Irving Fisher at the time. Theoretical neoclassical economists notwithstanding, the New York market tumbled on 18 September 1929. Two days later in London the flamboyant entrepreneur Clarence Hatry confessed to fraud and forgery, having propped up his underfinanced companies … Read more

Viva Riva!

Manie Malone in Viva Riva!

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 27 October Creation of Zaire, 1971 On this day in 1971, Zaire was created, and continued in existence until 1997. Previously the country had been called the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville and Congo-Kinshasa. It would later become the Democratic Republic of the Congo (not to be confused with the Republic of the Congo, its neighbour). Whatever its name, it is the second largest country in Africa, with 250 ethnic groups speaking over 700 local languages, hence the importance of French as a lingua franca. The country’s name was changed from Republic of Congo-Léopoldville by Mobutu Sese Seko (born … Read more