REEFER TRILOGY
Three overwrought cautionary tales from the 1930s examine the perils of smoking marijuana in polite society.

DESIGN IN FILM: THE MODERN HOUSEAn eight-minute video montage of modern homes—real and fake—as seen on the silver screen.

BEHIND THE SCENES
Twenty-five cool photos reveal what goes on outside of movie camera range.

SILENT SURVIVORS
Our list of at least a dozen silent film performers that are happily still with us.

70MMThirty visually stunning films that illustrate the grandeur of large-format filmmaking.

12 GREAT MOVIE SONGSElvis, The Beatles and The Supremes join our list of favorite movie themes of the 1960s.

WILHELM SCREAMWe trace the history of one of the most famous and beloved sound effects in movies.

LOST HORIZONA dud receives its due as we explore the elements that made this 1973 musical so preposterously memorable.

GREAT CLOSING LINES
One hundred films whose final words of dialogue make indelible lasting impressions.

25 GREAT SILENT MOVIE POSTERSOur selection of artwork from the early days of motion pictures that expertly illustrate the tone and tale of the films they represent.

RAVES AND RASPBERRIES We select some choice bits from reviews by the late Roger Ebert.

ERROL FLYNN GETS WHACKEDThe actor recalls an unforgettable moment with Bette Davis on the set of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.

CINEMATIC RIDESTen films where carnival attractions add to the plot and give their protagonists a cheap thrill.

20 DIRECTORS / 20 FILMSSome of the world’s best moviemakers from Hollywood’s Golden Era provide a behind-the-scenes look at their creations.

LOS ANGELES IN THE 1920SVintage clips offer a look at famous boulevards, studios, theaters, eateries and more.

BILLY WILDEROur favorite lines of dialogue from the Oscar-winning writer/director.

WOODY ALLENChoice lines of dialogue, from Take the Money and Run to Midnight in Paris.

KATHARINE HEPBURNTen authoritative moments when Kate's movie character speaks her mind.

UFA MOVIE POSTERSA look at the early one sheets from the longest standing film studio in Germany.

THE LANGUAGE OF NOIRWe celebrate tough talk from the best of Hollywood’s gritty crime dramas.

HELICOPTER OVER HOLLYWOOD

Aerial shots of Hollywood in 1958 includes Griffith Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and major studios.

AMERICAWe celebrate one of the most exuberant dance numbers committed to film, a thrilling showcase for freakishly talented folks with music in their bones.

HOLLYWOOD POSTCARDSTen vintage postcards revealing the glories of Southern California's movie mecca.

MAJOR FILMS, MINOR GAFFESTwenty-five mistakes in some of the greatest movies ever made.

NEBRASKANSA look at some of the memorable talentsfrom Astaire to Zanuck—to come from the Cornhusker State.

GEORGE GERSHWINTen classic songs as seen on the silver screen.

GREAT ENDINGSA memorable tussle in Death Valley caps Erich von Stroheim’s broken classic.

10 GREAT POSTERSOur look at striking works of art that just happen to sell movie tickets.

MUST READMGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot provides a fascinating look at a lost treasure.

IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENINGJane Wyman and Bing Crosby charm with the Oscar-winning song from Here Comes the Groom (1951).

PLUNDER ROADFilm noir at its best—and most economical. No backstory, a lean look and just 72 minutes long.

W.C. FIELDSTen of his most memorable character names.

MOVIE MOMENTS THAT MAKE LIFE WORTH LIVINGOur collection of ten little moments of breathtaking beauty, expert craftsmanship and happy accidents that rank as our favorites.

CEDRIC GIBBONS
We take a good look at the work of MGM’s legendary art director.

JOHN QUALENFive of our favorite performances from the character actor’s lengthy career.

NOT STARRING DORIS DAY
We select three movie musicals we deeply wish the sunny singer/actress would have made.

MICKEY ROONEY’S BEST
Twelve examples of what made the late actor such an enduring movie star.

SPRING SPRING SPRING”
We take a closer look and listen at Johnny Mercer’s witty ditty about the coming of the season.

PUBLICITY PHOTOS
Ten artful, playful and downright silly shots from some of the most famous movies in existence.

JEFFREY HUNTERWe tip our hat to the underrated (and very pretty) actor best known for going toe-to-toe with John Wayne in The Searchers and hanging on the cross in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings.

STARS ON STARS: 30 CANDID OPINIONSA collection of favorite quotes from movie folk discussing their peers.

ELVIS PRESLEYFive essential films for the Elvis movie fan.

BILL GOLD’S MOVIE POSTERSOur salute to the legendary graphic artist, including 25 of his posters for some of the most famous movies ever made.

BEAUTIFUL MENFilm giants Cary Grant and his ilk will have to wait. Here we look at ten not-so-obvious choices—actors blessed with incredible good looks, if not legendary status.

BEAUTIFUL WOMENTen of the most physically stunning females to grace the silver screen.

FOOTBALLFive classic films where gridiron shenanigans drive the plot. 

THE 43 FACES OF JOHNNY DEPPWe review the wide variety of characters the actor has played, from early teenager roles to larger-than-life eccentrics.

FRED ASTAIREFive lively numbers from the peerless hoofer.

THE ROAD TO HELEN LAWSONJudy Garland, Susan Hayward and the bumpy road Valley of the Dolls producers experienced in casting an important role in a truly lousy film.

 AMERICAN LANDMARKS ON FILM From the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, we take a look at ten famous sights that added drama to the movies.

THE GIRL HUNT BALLETWe revisit the stylish Fred Astaire dream ballet from The Band Wagon (1953).

IOWA FILMS & STARSTen contributions the Hawkeye State has made to motion picture history.

SCREEN TESTSAudition footage from Monroe, Dean, Brando and others.

FOX THEATEROur fond look back at one of San Francisco’s grandest movie palaces.

AUTOBIOGRAPHIESTen great titles penned by industry legends.

THE BAND WAGONNanette Fabray recalls a glaring mistake in the 1953 classic musical.

TRIGGERWe celebrate the life and somewhat creepy afterlife of Roy Rogers's favorite mount.

CHARACTERS: AGNES GOOCHPeggy Cass's memorable turn as a plain Jane coaxed into living a little in Auntie Mame (1958).

DESIGNS ON FILMA handsome volume by author and designer Cathy Whitlock chronicles the history of Hollywood set design.

REBECCAFive screen tests for Hitchock’s 1940 classic, with comments by David O. Selznick.

AL HIRSCHFELDWe select our ten favorite movie posters by the famed caricaturist.

CHARACTERS: BABY ROSALIEIn a daffy send-up of Shirley Temple, June Preisser plays an aging child star in MGM's let's-put-on-a-show musical, Babes in Arms (1939).

OSCARS RECAP
Twelve observations about the event that was, from a diva’s pipes to how Ellen mastered the ceremonies.

PRESTON STURGESSnippets of dialogue from six of the writer/director’s best films.

ANSELMO BALLESTEROur gallery of ten striking one sheets from the Italian poster artist.

GREAT MOVIESCelebrating the cool jazz short, Jammin’ the Blues (1944).

BETTY HUTTONTwelve films that exemplify the charms of this freakishly energetic performer.

JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZSmart dialogue from the Oscar-winning screenwriter.

BESTSELLERS

A dozen books that became publishing phenomena and, at times, well-made and popular films.


DESERT NOIROur report from this year’s Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs.

DIAMOND SETTINGSWe take a look at five of our favorite baseball movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

RED DREAM FACTORYWe profile eight films from a unique Russian-German film studio of the twenties and thirties.


Monday
Jan262015

Audrey Hepburn

“I don't have sex appeal and I know it. As a matter of fact, I think I'm rather funny looking. My teeth are funny, for one thing, and I have none of the attributes usually required for a movie queen, including the shapeliness.”
— Audrey Hepburn

Monday
Jan262015

Peter O'Toole

“I've had luck with my leading ladies. The real shocker was Ursula Andress, with whom I made What’s New Pussycat. She's a bloody sex symbol and all that, and yet she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. A real mother hen, looking after everybody.”
— Peter O’Toole on his curvaceous 1965 costar

Tuesday
Jan202015

Family Tree

Buster Keaton provides solid, fatherly support to his children, late 1920s. His marriage to actress Norma Talmadge produced two sons, Robert (left) and Buster Jr. (right). The youngest, Robert, was born in 1924. The oldest, Buster Jr., was born Joseph Talmadge Keaton in 1922 and, as a tot, appeared alongside his dad in Our Hospitality (1923).

Monday
Jan192015

Frank Capra

“Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enzymes; directs the pineal gland; plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film.”
— Frank Capra

Friday
Jan162015

Jack Carson

Jack Carson stood six-feet-two-inches tall, possessed the slick smile of a car salesman and—at a studio that employed such major talents as Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Olivia de Havilland and James Cagney—was arguably one of the best actors on the Warner Bros. lot. Attractive, but not movie-star handsome, Carson found supporting roles early on at RKO in films like Stage Door (1937) and Carefree (1938). He went to Warner Bros. in 1941, honing his craft opposite Cagney in The Strawberry Blonde (1941), de Havilland and Henry Fonda in The Male Animal (1942) and Edward G. Robinson in Larceny, Inc. (1942).

In the forties, Carson teamed with handsome tenor Dennis Morgan for a series of films that were Warner Bros.’s answer to Paramount’s Hope and Crosby Road pictures. If the two didn’t exactly set the world on fire, they nevertheless acquitted themselves well. Later that decade Carson helped usher Doris Day to movie stardom by costarring in her first three films. A body of strong dramatic work in high-profile projects rounded out his career. His first movie was You Only Live Once in 1937; his final film was King of the Roaring 20’s (sic) in 1961, two years before he died at age 52 of stomach and liver cancer. 

Essential Films

The Hard Way (1943) 
The part of struggling song-and-dance man Albert Runkel elevated Carson from comedic bits in lighthearted fare to a supporting role in a serious drama. The plot offered fairly enjoyable histrionics: Ida Lupino plays ambitious Helen Chernen, who schemes to get her and her sister Katie (Joan Leslie) out of their grungy steel-mill hometown by coercing her sister into a loveless marriage with Runkel. As Runkel’s stage act with partner Paul Collins (Dennis Morgan) dips in popularity, Katie’s stage career takes off. And so Runkel, borrowing a page from A Star is Born, decides to kill himself. The Hard Way earned solid reviews, especially for the cast, and propelled Carson to meatier roles.

Mildred Pierce (1945)
Its uncomplicated style, unexpected humor and irresistible mother-daughter conflict made Mildred Pierce a film noir milestone and offered further proof of Jack Carson’s talent. Not merely a secondary character to protagonist Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford), Wally Fay (Carson) was also Mildred’s friend, real estate agent, financial advisor, legal advisor—he even introduced her to her second husband. And, in his relentless romantic pursuit of her, Wally provided Mildred with an abundant and handy source of personal validation, should she ever need it. Wally Fay was a supporting role in every sense, and it gave Carson the best reviews of his career. 

Romance on the High Seas (1948)
Jack Carson was right by Doris Day’s side the moment she became a movie star. Audiences loved her in Romance on the High Seas, a story about jealous spouses, mistaken identity and a South American cruise, but Bosley Crowther of The New York Times was unimpressed. “It is hard to work up enthusiasm for the Warners' new starlet, Doris Day,” the film critic wrote. “Maybe the Warners figured they had a new Betty Hutton in her but, even without other assets, she still lacks Miss Hutton's vital style. Also Miss Day's singing voice, while adequate to such night-club tunes as ‘I'm in Love,’ ‘You or No One’ and ‘It's Magic,’ is nothing to herald.” Somehow Day dodged Crowther’s arrows and survived, making her next two pictures with good luck charm Jack Carson and, by some accounts, enjoying a brief romance with her burly costar.

A Star is Born (1954)
In Judy Garland’s comeback vehicle, Carson played to perfection that singular show biz animal, the studio press agent. In this, George Cukor’s musical remake of the 1937 drama, it is a creature frequently found between a rock—what’s good for business—and a hard place—an unpredictable and self-destructive celebrity. As Matt Libby, Carson is cynical, diplomatic when called for, devoid of sympathy and, when it’s safe, quite cruel. Libby is a man of hard edges, and Carson played it like an actor who didn’t give a damn about audience affection. It was one of his strongest performances.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Jack Carson, in his last significant movie role, joined a handful of screen heavyweights and got to speak the words of one of America’s most famous playwrights. As the wonderfully named Gooper Pollitt, the genetically improbable brother of Paul Newman, Carson appeared alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Judith Anderson and Burl Ives in Tennessee Williams’s tale of a southern family grappling their way through a birthday gathering at the family plantation. It’s the kind of sexually heightened, psychological shoutfest at which Williams excels, and the results are fascinating to watch. It would be the actor’s last significant movie role.