Cinema 1927: You Must Remember This….Events, Trends, Movies, Stars

Research in Progress (May 15, 2021)

Cineliteracy: What You Need to Know about 1927 as a Movie and Culture Year….

Events, Trends, Movies, Stars

An ambitious, not-so-futile, attempt at Cineliteracy, Movie Knowledge, Movie Culture

Film Events

January 10:

Fritz Lang’s sci-fi fantasy Metropolis premieres in Germany, making its creator the most famous and innovative director in the world.

Poster of a robot standing in front of a futuristic urban skyline

Theatrical release poster

Feb 2

Ziegfeld Theater (Loew’s Ziegfeld) opens at 6th Ave & 54th St NYC

The General, Buster Keaton’s silent film, starring Al Boasberg, premieres in New York City

March 11:

The world’s largest movie theatre, the Roxy Theatre, opens in New York City.

April 7:

Abel Gance’s Napoleon his masterpiece, premieres, in shorter version, at the Paris Opéra and demonstrates techniques and equipment, such as hand-held cameras, and the first widescreen projection format Polyvision.

It would be more than three decades before widescreen format would again be used.

April 19

Actress Mae West found guilty of “obscenity and corrupting the morals of youth” in a New York stage play, “Sex.” Her performance as a prostitute created a sensation, and it ran for several weeks before the guardians of morality put a stop to it. She was sentenced to 10 days in prison and fined $500. But the resulting publicity helped launch her Hollywood career and make her one of the highest paid in the U.S.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is founded in Los Angeles by Douglas Fairbanks and others.

The first Academy Awards (later known as Oscars) will be awarded in May 1929 to films released in 1927 or 1928 (See below).

August 12:

Paramount’s film Wings, which would win the first Best Picture Oscar, opens at the Criterion Theater in New York, with a roadshow admission price of $2.00 per ticket.

September 5:

Nicholas Schenck becomes president of Loews Inc. after the death of Marcus Loew.

October 6:

The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, premieres at Warner Theater in New York. Although not the first ‘talkie,’ it becomes the first box-office hit to elevate and popularize sound pictures.

The Jazz Singer
The Jazz Singer 1927 Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

December 3:

The silent short “Putting Pants on Philip,” the first official billing of comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, is released in the U.S.

Movie Ticket Cost

In 1927, the average cost of a movie ticket was 25 cents.

Top-Grossing Films (U.S.)

The top ten 1927 released films by box office gross in North America are as follows:


1 The Jazz Singer, Warner Bros. $1,974,000 (most popular film)

The Jazz Singer
The Jazz Singer 1927 Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

2. 7th Heaven, Fox Film Corporation $1,800,000

3. The King of Kings, Pathé Exchange $1,500,000

4. Tell It to the Marines, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1,250,000

5. The Patent Leather Kid, First National Pictures $1,200,000

6. My Best Girl, United Artists $1,027,757

7. The Way of All Flesh, Paramount Pictures $1,000,000

8. Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $946,000

9. When a Man Loves, Warner Bros. $732,000

10. London After Midnight, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $721,000

Academy Awards (later known as Oscars)

The 1st Academy Awards were presented in Los Angeles on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, honoring films released between July 1, 1927 and December 31, 1928 (18 months).

The ceremonies were hosted by Douglas Fairbanks.

Best Production: Wings
Best Artistic Quality: Sunrise
Best Actor: Emil Jannings for 2 films: The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command
Best Actress: Janet Gaynor for 3 films: Seventh Heaven and Sunrise, and Street Angel
Best Director: Frank Borzage for Seventh Heaven

Popular Movie Stars (in alphabetical order):

George Bancroft

Clara Bowe

Charles Farrell

Greta Garbo

Janet Gaynor

John Gilbert

Emil Jannings

Adolphe Menjou

Ramon Novarro

Gloria Swanson

Rudolph Valentino


Mae West at the height of her career
Mae West