The Cannes Film Festival has its origins in 1932 when Jean Zay, the French Minister of National Education, on the proposal of historian Philippe Erlanger and with the support of the British and Americans, set up an international cinematographic festival. Its origins may be attributed in part to the French desire to compete with the Venice Film Festival, which at the time was shocking the democratic world by its fascist bias. The first festival was planned for 1939, Cannes was selected as the location for it, but the funding and organization were too slow and finally the beginning of World War II put an end to this plan.
On 20 September 1946, twenty-one countries presented their films at the First Cannes International Film Festival, which took place at the former Casino of Cannes. In 1947, amid serious problems of efficiency, the festival was held as the “Festival du film de Cannes”, where films from sixteen countries were presented. The festival was not held in 1948 and 1950 on account of budgetary problems.
During the early 1950s the festival attracted a lot of tourism and press attention, with showbiz scandals and high profile personalities love affairs. At the same time, the artistic aspect of the festival started developing. These amazing vintage photographs below captured scenes of Cannes film festivals from between the 1950s and 1960s.
Kirk Douglas on the beach at Cannes with a young actress Brigitte Bardot during the 6th International Cannes Film Festival, 1953. (Photo by SIPA Press/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
French actress Brigitte Bardot sitting on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival, 1953. (Photo by Patrick Morin/RDA/Getty Images)
Young Brigitte Bardot making her debut in a bathing suit during the 6th International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on April 1, 1953. (Photo by LIDO/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
Hollywood royalty Sophia Loren at Cannes Film Festival, France, 1954. (Photo by SIPA Press/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
Starlets at Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, 1955. (Photo by Roger-Viollet/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
“Belle de Jour” star Francoise Fabian at the 9th Cannes International Film Festival, France, 1956. (Photo by SIPA Press/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
George Baker runs through the surf at Cannes with Bella Darvi and another young friend, 1956. (Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images)
Actress Brigitte Bardot watching Pablo Picasso at work in his studio in Vallauris during the 1956 International Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by Jerome Brierre/RDA/Getty Images)
During Cannes film festival, the Irish starlet Didi Sullivan posed on the edge of the Mediterrannean for photographers, who had to wear bathing suits for the shoot, 1959. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Women dressed in swimming costumes show off their bodies during a beauty contest. The 13th Cannes International Film Festival, France, 1960. (Photo by SIPA Press/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
Actress Elke Sommer sunbathing on the beach of Cannes during the Cannes film festival, 1961. (Photo by Daniel Fallot/INA via Getty Images)
Actors Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale with a real leopard in the Croisette for the presentation of Luchino Visconti’s movie “The Leopard” at the XVIth Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, on May 21, 1963. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
John Lennon flies out to the Cannes Film Festival with his first wife Cynthia Lennon allegedly icognito wearing dark glasses and a green velour hat, 1965. (Photo by H. Wallace/Daily Mail/Rex Features/Shutterstock)
Michael Caine during the promotion for his movie “Alfie”. Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, 1966. (Photo by Roger-Viollet/Rex Features/Shutterstock)