20 Sep: First Cannes Film Festival

There was no red carpet, no Palme d’Or, and no Palais des Festivals – but Hollywood nonetheless descended on the French Riviera for the opening of the first Cannes Film Festival on 20th September, 1946. 

It was actually the second time the event had been attempted – the first, in September 1939, was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the competition was conceived as a rebuke to fascist propaganda scooping top prizes at the world’s first film festival, Venice; 

reveal why Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’ never stood a chance after its disastrous debut screening; and consider the ‘Raoul!’ meme that has persisted at Cannes festivals for more than fifty years… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Cannes Film Festival: See Vintage Photos of the First-Ever Fest’ (Time, 2015): https://time.com/3843724/first-cannes-history/

• ‘The first Cannes Film Festival : September 1946’ (Numero, 2020): https://www.numero.com/en/cinema/cannes-film-festival-second-world-war-september-1946-michelle-morgan-alfred-hitchcock-the-battle-of-the-rails

• ‘Cannes Film Festival’ (British Movietone, 1946):