BUTTERFLY MCQUEEN
Her roles were largely stereotypical, yet her charm and goofiness made her memorable. Here’s a look at her work beyond Gone With the Wind.

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

KEYE LUKE
An examination of the lengthy career of the Chinese-American character actor, from Charlie Chan to Woody Allen.

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

CHILL WILLS
Our look at the Texas actor’s 43-year film career, including an ill-advised Oscar campaign. 

MARGARET HAMILTON
A look at the professional life of an actress who proved to be much more than just the Wicked Witch of the West.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

OUTER SPACE HORROR
Aliens and mutants take center stage in twenty-five spectacular movie posters from the 1950s.

INGMAR BERGMAN
Our list of ten must-see films—ten artful depictions of the human condition—by one of the world’s most influential directors.

10 DIRECTORS / 10 FILMS 
Accomplished directors from the past 50 years talk about their triumphs and challenges in bringing a story to the big screen.

JACK CARSON
We single out five films that display the talent and range of the Warner Bros. character actor.

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

BILLIE BURKE
Five films that best represent the fluttery voiced character actress’s charms.

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

BESTSELLERS

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


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

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.

EDNA MAY OLIVER
A tribute to a character actress who’s made aunts and spinsters her specialty.

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

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.

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.

ELVIS PRESLEYFive essential films for the Elvis movie fan.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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


Tuesday
Apr052016

April 5

Producer Sam Goldwyn pulls Wuthering Heights from theaters throughout Canada’s Quebec province, 1939. The move was prompted by Goldwyn’s refusal to edit out references to and implications of infidelity and divorce, which raised objections from Quebec censors. A day later, Quebec censorship chairman Arthur Laramee clarified his position, denying that the movie was banned, yet confirming that certain cuts needed to be made before the darkly romantic film could be screened.

Gregory Peck is born in La Jolla, California, 1916. “Of the movies I've done, there isn't much I really like,” the actor said. “The Gunfighter (1950), Roman Holiday (1953) and Twelve O’Clock High (1949) I thought were my best.” Based on a real outlaw named John Ringo, the story of The Gunfighter was written with John Wayne in mind, who offered screenwriter John Bowers $10,000 for it. To Wayne’s dismay, Bowers went for the big bucks and sold it to Fox for $70,000. Peck got the part and set about growing a period-authentic moustache for the film. Shooting commenced while Fox head Spyros Skouras was out of town; when Skouras returned and saw Peck’s facial hair, he was none too pleased, but realized that reshoots of Peck sans ‘stache would have proven too costly. The movie’s weak box office prompted Skouras to quip, “That damn moustache cost us millions.”

Friday
Apr012016

April 1

Lionel Barrymore signs for the role of Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946. Vincent Price, Raymond Massey, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Bickford, Victor Jory, Edward Arnold, Edgar Buchanan, Dan Duryea and Louis Calhern were reportedly among the actors considered for the role of the unscrupulous banker in director Frank Capra’s much-revered and now-inescapable holiday classic. But Barrymore became an easy choice for two reasons: a vivid performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in a recent radio broadcast of A Christmas Carol plus prior experience working with Capra on You Can’t Take It With You (1938). Barrymore was able to convince James Stewart, who hadn’t made a movie since he had returned from World War II, that it was time to get back in front of the cameras to play George Bailey, the film’s central character. Thomas Mitchell was eventually cast as Uncle Billy.

Debbie Reynolds is born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, 1932. “Daddy had got us rooms in a motel until he could find us a house,” the actress recalled about the family’s move to the California coast. “There were not a lot of places available for a young family on our budget. Daddy went around to dozens of places. Nobody wanted kids. Finally, he found one in the hills south of Glendale. As usual, the landlady asked if he had kids. ‘Yep,’ he replied. 'A boy and a girl.' 'Well, what are you going to do about them?' she wanted to know, implying that she didn't allow children. 'I'm going to take 'em out and drown them in the Los Angeles River and come back tomorrow.' That was my father—ask a silly question and just wait. She must have had the same sense of humor; we moved in the next day.”

Reynolds’s entry in the 1948 Miss Burbank contest has oft been told—she entered mainly to receive the silk scarf, blouse and free lunch every contestant received. She went on to win the damn thing and was noticed by a Warner Bros. talent scout: A screen test, studio contract and new first name ensued. Though their family church opposed it, both Reynolds's parents supported Debbie’s foray into show business. Her father thought a job in entertainment would pay for college tuition, while her mother made sure that her movie projects were completely wholesome endeavors.

Saturday
Mar192016

March 19

Fred Clark is born in Lincoln, California, 1914. His characters were often gruff, commanding and, like the actor himself, bald. In 1947 he appeared in his first movie, The Unsuspected, and continued to grace the big screen in small parts until I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew, his final film in 1968. In between were a handful of major films with big stars, among them:

White Heat (1949)
Clark plays money launderer Daniel “The Trader” Winston opposite James Cagney in director Raoul Walsh’s classic crime drama.

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) tries to get Paramount film executive Sheldrake (Clark) to approve his script for production. “You’d have turned down Gone With the Wind,” Gillis tersely remarks to script girl Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson), who recommended against Sheldrake making the film. “No,” says Sheldrake. “That was me.”

A Place in the Sun (1951)
Clark plays a defense attorney named Bellows in George Stevens’s acclaimed drama starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Clark’s businessman Waldo Brewster attempts to cheat on his wife by whisking Betty Grable away for a weekend in a winter lodge, where she promptly catches measles, passes it along to Brewster and falls hard for forest ranger Rory Calhoun.

Auntie Mame (1958)
“I have the responsibility and your trustee has the authority,” laments Mame Dennis (Rosalind Russell) in a neat distillation of the film’s plot—the struggle for Mame to raise her newly orphaned nephew Patrick (Jan Handzlik) in her own free-thinking manner. Clark plays Dwight Babcock, the stern trustee appointed by the Knickerbocker Bank who makes it his mission to “turn this kid into a decent God-fearing Christian if I have to break every bone in his body!”

Clark died suddenly of a liver ailment in 1968. He was 54 years old.

Ursula Andress is born in Bern, Switzerland, 1936. No actress she, Andress was at least able to move her arms and legs and looked darned good doing it. She was primarily a sexy side dish, bringing a dull vivaciousness to 4 for Texas (1963), What’s New Pussycat? (1965) and Casino Royale (1967). Most notably, she emerged from the sea in a bikini in Dr. No (1962), the first James Bond movie to hit the silver screen, playing Honey Ryder opposite Sean Connery’s double agent. Cinema’s first Bond girl also had a long history of famous beaus, Jean Paul Belmondo, Ryan O’Neal, Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty among them. James Dean was another notch on her belt; the volatile nature of their relationship inspired one tabloid to report that Dean was learning German so they could argue in another language.

Wednesday
Mar092016

March 9

42nd Street, with songs by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, direction by Lloyd Bacon and a noteworthy debut by actress Ruby Keeler, premiers at the Strand Theater in New York City, 1933. It proved to be an enormous moneymaker, giving new life to its studio, Warner Bros., as well as the musical genre, which had lost the interest of the moviegoing public after a steady diet of plotless musical revues characterized by limited staging and restricted camera movement. Choreographer Busby Berkeley was arguably 42nd Street’s most valuable player, making the musical sequences cinematic (even those taking place on a proscenium stage) and adding his signature geometry to the arrangement of chorus girls. The movie’s profits rendered the nearly completed Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) and in-production Footlight Parade (1933) far less risky ventures for the studio.

George Burns dies of natural causes in Beverly Hills, 1996. The star of movies, radio and television got his start in vaudeville as a comic who hit it big when his wife, Gracie Allen, got in on the act. “Gracie was supposed to be the straight woman,” Burns said about their early days on the boards. “The first night we had 40 people out front and they didn't laugh at one of my jokes, but every time Gracie asked me a question they fell out of their seats. So I made her the comic and the act was a hit from that moment on.” Together they appeared in 24 films, including International House (1932) with W.C. Fields and Rudy Vallee, and A Damsel in Distress (1937), in which they performed two musical numbers with Fred Astaire. Theirs was a long marriage—from 1926 to Gracie’s death in 1964—though it hit a bump in the early 1940s when George engaged in a brief extramarital affair. He apologized to Gracie and bought her a piece of furniture; years later he overheard her say to a houseguest, “You know, I wish George would have another affair—I really need a new coffee table.”

Wednesday
Mar022016

March 2

Sandy Dennis dies of ovarian cancer in Westport, Connecticut, 1992. She found steady employment on the New York stage before appearing in her first film, Splendor in the Grass (1961). From there, she returned to Broadway and promptly won two back-to-back Tony Awards, the first in 1963 for A Thousand Clowns and again in 1964 for Any Wednesday. Such laurels did not translate to opportunity when it came time to adapt the plays for the big screen, however, with Dennis’s parts going to Barbara Harris and Jane Fonda, respectively. For the movie adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), the situation was reversed; Melinda Dillon played Honey in the 1962 Broadway production; Dennis was cast as Honey for the Mike Nichols film version. It would win Dennis the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Desi Arnaz is born in Santiago, Cuba, 1917. The émigré cleaned canary cages when he first got to America. After starting his own band, he was hired by Xavier Cugat and performed with him for a short while before branching out on his own and launching the conga dance craze. An appearance in the 1939 Broadway show Too Many Girls led to his being cast in the movie version in 1940, where he met the woman to whom he would be forever linked in American pop culture, Lucille Ball. The picture was released on October 8, 1940. The two married on November 30 that same year. Though their show business careers were dominated by television in general and their show I Love Lucy in particular, both Ball and Arnaz enjoyed solid movie careers prior, she with films like Stage Door (1937), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) and Best Foot Forward (1943); he with roles in Four Jacks and a Jill (1942) and Bataan (1943). Together, during the height of their television popularity, they made The Long, Long Trailer (1953), a Vincente Minnelli comedy that traded heavily on their TV personas.