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On this date: Cary Grant's birthday, 'Casablanca' opens, 'City Lights' premieres and more

On this date in Hollywood history -- January: "The Shop Around the Corner" released ... Cary Grant's birthday ... Gina Lollobrigida passes away ... Marilyn Monroe's "Niagra" premieres ... Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" screens in Los Angeles ... "Casablanca" opens widely across the United States.

Discover what happened on days throughout January in Hollywood history, from historic film premieres and industry milestones to anniversaries of birthdays/deaths of beloved Old Hollywood figures, and more.

(This story will be updated throughout the month)

January 12

The original “You’ve Got Mail”: 1940’s “The Shop Around the Corner” stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as shop workers who fight by day and unknowingly fall in love with each other via letters at night. Versions of this premise abound in movies, but none so tender as this movie with the “Lubitsch touch,” a favorite of both fans and critics. It was released in theaters January 12, 1940.

January 16 

RIP, Gina Lollobrigida. One of the last of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the actress died on January 16 at the age of 95. She starred in — and won multiple awards for — dozens of U.S. and international movies. Here she is in her first big movie for American audiences, 1953’s “Beat the Devil,” which co-starred Humphrey Bogart and was directed by John Huston.

January 18

One of my favorite actors, Cary Grant, in one of my favorite movies, “His Girl Friday.” Celebrate Grant’s birthday January 18 with a watch (or rewatch) of the 1940 classic that showcases his timeless charm, wry comedic delivery and understated acting. And the same could be said for his co-star Rosalind Russell!

Newspaperman Walter (Grant) tricks his reporter ex-wife Hildy (Russell) into one more story before she marries a new guy (Ralph Bellamy). The rapid fire dialogue delivery is one of the fastest in movies – you always discover lines you missed the first – or fiftieth – time you watch.

January 21

Trivia time! What Marilyn Monroe movie is this, the first of her 3(!) hits in 1953? (Hint: The other two were “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire”)
Answer below!๐Ÿ‘‡
๐Ÿ“šThis question and 100 more are part of “101 Classic Movie Trivia Questions,” now available as paperback and ebook at Amazon. Details here and here
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✅ Answer: Film noir “Niagara” was the first hit for Monroe that year, premiering in New York on January 21, 1953.

January 23

“Kiss me as if it were the last time.” The most quoted movie, ever? “Casablanca” marks 80 years since its US release January 23, 1943 (it premiered in NYC in December 1942). How many quotes can you name???

January  30

Charlie Chaplin’s romantic comedy opus “City Lights” premiered in Los Angeles on January 30, 1931. The silent film is often ranked among the greatest movies of all time. This tender last scene is a good reason why: Chaplin’s Tramp and the blind flower girl (her sight now returned) are reunited.