The official timeline of the Cannes Film Festival makes it clear that the glitzy celebration of cinema began in 1946. So why was TIME reporting in July of 1939 that the festival would take place that autumn?
The plans were even concrete enough to promise readers an exact set of dates:
The September 1939 film festival, of course, never happened — and, based on the reasons for the film festival’s establishment, it’s not hard to guess why. The coming of World War II derailed all plans to launch a rival to the Venice film festival, and it wasn’t until after the peace came that the festival in Cannes finally took place. As these photos show, the bash was, appropriately, a happy occasion.
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