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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

We select three movie musicals we deeply wish the sunny singer/actress would have made.

Twelve examples of what made the late actor such an enduring movie star.

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.

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.

Entries in a midsummer night's dream (6)


January 2

Annie and A Soldier’s Play close on Broadway, 1983. The former was adapted twice for the big screen, first in 1982 in a John Huston-directed misfire partially redeemed by Carol Burnett’s villainous Miss Hannigan, and again in 2014 in a present-day reimagining with Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis. The big-screen version of A Soldier’s Play became A Soldier's Story, an acclaimed 1984 film starring Howard E. Rollins, Adolph Caesar and Denzel Washington. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Ross Alexander commits suicide in Los Angeles, 1937. As a teen, he appeared in a number of Broadway productions before interest from Hollywood pulled him westward. Paramount handled him first, putting him in The Wiser Sex (1932), a film that audiences largely ignored. He got a second chance at Warner Bros. and acted in Depression-era musicals like Flirtation Walk (1934) and flimsy comedies like Going Highbrow (1935). Bigger breaks came with the roles of Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) and Jeremy Pitt, opposite Errol Flynn (above), in Captain Blood (1935). A closeted gay man, Alexander entered a marriage of convenience to Aleta Friele, a troubled young actress who, a few months after the wedding, killed herself with a rifle in outside their Hollywood Hills home. The actor immediately entered a second marriage with actress Anne Nagel, but persistent depression, major debt and a career slump drove him to turn a gun on himself at his Encino ranch home. Alexander was 29 years old. His final film—Ready, Willing and Able (1937), starring Ruby Keeler—was released after his death.


Mickey Rooney (1920-2014)

Can you name another actor who appeared in silent films and who was (or is) still alive in 2014? Mickey Rooney, who began his movie career in 1926, might have been the last of the breed. His first film was the silent one-reeler Not to Be Trusted, quickly followed by a series of Mickey Maguire shorts—78 of them starring Rooney—that dominated his early years as a performer. By the late 1930s, he was the affable, can-do juvenile who breezed through MGM musicals that usually centered around a bunch of kids ignoring naysayers to put on a show and save the world. In later years, he appeared to never turn down a job, with an ever-expanding IMDB.com filmography that contained entries as recent as this year. He was full of energy, but never manic like, say, a Betty Hutton or a Jerry Lewis. He could sing, dance and do comedy. In dramas, he was heartfelt and sincere. In short, Mickey Rooney was a good actor.

Here are twelve films that prove our point.

Click to read more ...


Berlinale 2013: A Midsummer Night's Dream

I always thought Mickey Rooney made a terrific Puck, but now I’m not so certain. He’s appropriately spirited, to be sure—a 60-pound bundle of energy. But it’s an overly aggressive performance, played to the distant back row of a very large theater. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful film, with sets and cinematography by Anton Grot and Hal Mohr, respectively. And it’s full of star power—Olivia de Havilland in one of her first movies, Dick Powell as Lysander, James Cagney as Bottom and a wonderful Joe E. Brown as Flute, the Bellows-mender.


Berlinale 2013

Last month a fair variety of cinema dorks descended upon Berlin for that city’s annual celebration of international film, and I was among them. In addition to imbibing Berliner Pilsner, eating the best wurst east of the Rhine and a sneak visit to an abandoned Soviet missile site outside city limits, I was able to take in 19 features, ten of which were from the Retrospektive program.

The Retrospektive typically features a selection of classic films united by a common thread—such as genre, director or star— and acts as a kind of a fleet, self-guided course in film history with no exams. The Weimar Touch was the title of this year’s program and was comprised of films made after 1933 that bore the influence of German moviemaking from 1918-1933. That influence manifested itself in style and theme of the films on hand, the directors and stars who became exiles when the Nazis came to power, and stories that commented on the political climate in Europe during the war years.

Here is the list.

Hitler’s Madman (1943)

Naked Opera (2013)

Car of Dreams (1935)

I Kori (2012)

The Spirit of ‘45 (2013)

Le Corbeau (1943)

Interior. Leather Bar. (2013)

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Camille Claudel 1915 (2013)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

Gado Bravo (1934)

Dark Blood (2012)

The Queen of Spades (1949)

Marussia (2013)

Lovelace (2013)

Touch of Evil (1958)

Frances Ha (2012)

Peter (1934)

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)


Oscars 1935: All That Glitters

In 1935, the Academy instated a rule that allowed write-in votes in order to quell the small uproar that occurred after they failed to nominate Bette Davis for her performance in 1934’s Of Human Bondage. She didn’t win, but the following year, Hal Mohr did, becoming the first and only write-in candidate to receive the golden statuette. His was for cinematography, a result of him taking over the lensing duties on A Midsummer Night’s Dream after Ernest Haller was fired. Haller’s footage was scrapped and Mohr started from scratch, championing the use of aluminum paint, metallic particles and cobwebs to give the forest an ethereal quality.

The Academy would eliminate the write-in rule the following year.

Mutiny on the Bounty

John Ford, The Informer

Victor McLaglen, The Informer

Bette Davis, Dangerous