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 arthur freed (4)


"Would You" from Singin' in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain, that 1952 bundle of joy and color and music, is often hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, and is so littered with terrific song and dance routines that selecting a favorite can be a daunting task. Donald O’Connor’s athletic “Make ‘Em Laugh” number is indeed comic gold. “Fit as a Fiddle” and “Moses Supposes” showcase the hoofing brilliance of O’Connor and the film’s male lead, Gene Kelly. “All I Do is Dream of You” is deliriously happy, marked by vibrant pink-and-gold chorine outfits, colored streamers and a nifty Charleston dance. “Good Morning” is so catchy it can turn average citizens into singers. And, of course, the title number is a monument to great movie moments, the celluloid equivalent of a bronze statue in the town square.

And yet the musical interlude I always marvel at is a demure little waltz called “Would You,” sung by Betty Noyes (dubbing for Debbie Reynolds, above) and, briefly, Jean Hagen. As a stand-alone, the song—with music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed—is nice, but unremarkable. What the filmmakers have done with it, however, is use it to deftly move the plot along, touching briefly upon the growing romance between the two leads and sweeping us through the process of moviemaking.

It begins with Kathy Selden (Reynolds) singing “Would You” in a recording studio, with Cosmo Brown (O’Connor) directing the orchestra. The camera pans to reveal Don Lockwood (Kelly) gazing lovingly upon Selden, his discovery. The scene dissolves to a close-up of a record player and the musically challenged Lina Lamont (Hagen) learning the song, with her vocal coach and sound technicians looking on. From there, the sequence takes us to the filming of a period picture with Lamont lip-synching the tune to Lockwood. Gradually, the color is drained from the scene and we are in the studio screening room, watching a black-and-white version of it projected for Lockwood, Brown and studio head R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell). It is one minute and 46 seconds of total cinema, gracefully nestled in a film that is all about the motion picture industry.

Here’s a look at the song as it appears in the film.



April 12

Arthur Freed dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, 1973. The musicals he produced at MGM became the gold standard for the genre: Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), The Band Wagon (1953). In the early 1950s, he commissioned screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green to build a story around a collection of songs lyricist Freed had written with frequent collaborator and composer, Nacio Herb Brown. Operating on the thin guidance that, at some point in the story, someone would be singing and it would be raining, Comden and Green slowly and agonizingly crafted a plot about the movie business—the advent of talking pictures and how it affected the studios and its players. What resulted is often cited as the cream of the crop of Arthur Freed musicals in particular and movies in general, and, on April 11, 1952, Singin’ in the Rain debuted…to not bad reviews and fairly okay box office.


December 2

Adolph Green is born in The Bronx, 1914. With longtime collaborator Betty Comden (above), the successful writer of songs, plays and screenplays actually tried to duck out of what became one of their greatest achievements. While under contract to MGM, the two were approached by Arthur Freed to write a movie called Singin’ in the Rain, with the plot built around songs Freed wrote with composer Nacio Herb Brown. Comden and Green refused, citing a clause in their contract stating that only they were to write the lyrics for any movie musicals to which they were assigned—unless the lyricist was Irving Berlin, Cole Porter or Richard Rogers. The problem was that no such clause existed. Stuck with Freed’s task—and an office cheerfully overlooking the Smith & Salisbury Mortuary— they begrudgingly set about creating out of whole cloth one of the greatest movie musicals ever made. “We knew one thing about the story,” Comden recalled. “There would have to be some scene where there would be rain, and the leading man would be singing in it.”


August 15

Production begins on Bells Are Ringing (1960) in 1959. The movie, which would begin principal photography in October, would prove to be a swan song for a handful of key players. It was the last musical at MGM to involve producer Arthur Freed and director Vincente Minnelli. It would also be the last movie Judy Holliday ever made. After a five-year bout with cancer, the Oscar-winning actress died in 1965 at the age of 43.