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.


Entries in arthur lyons film noir festival (14)

Saturday
May312014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Out of the Past (1947)

The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) made audiences notice actor Robert Mitchum, Crossfire (1947) made him a star and Out of the Past (1947) cemented it. In Out of the Past, Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, a gas station owner with a former life that menacingly resurfaces. It was a part Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield and Dick Powell all turned down. Flashbacks within flashbacks reveal racketeer Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) on the hunt for his mistress Kathy Moffat (Jane Greer), who took off with $40,000 of his money. Sterling hires Bailey to track her down and get the dough, but not to fall in love with her, which is exactly what he does. Sterling eventually tries to frame Bailey, resulting in a lakeside standoff unique for its imaginative use of a fishing pole to kill a bad guy.

Friday
May302014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Laura (1944)

What may have been Otto Preminger’s best film was also one of his earliest—his seventh directorial effort out of a career thirty-nine. Initially, Preminger was the producer and Rouben Mamoulian was the director of this stylish, moody mystery about a dead woman and the people in her orbit. Dissatisfied with Mamoulian’s approach to the material, Preminger took over and scrapped all of the initial footage. Laura proved a solid success at the box office and with critics, giving a boost to the careers of stars Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson and especially Clifton Webb, a silent film actor making his first talkie at the age of 54. His performance as acerbic newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Also profiting in a major way was the actress who played the title role. Gene Tierney’s star was already on the ascendent with 1943’s Heaven Can Wait. It would be the start of a three-year rise to the top, with Laura the following year and Tierney’s Oscar-nominated performance in Leave Her to Heaven rounding out 1945.

Friday
May302014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

Among the titles in the substantial library of Humphrey Bogart noirs, Deadline U.S.A. is one of the most underrated and overlooked. It is a smart, sharply written examination inside the world of a New York City newspaper and the forces that shape its headlines. Bogart plays Ed Hutcheson, the editor of the The Day, a daily in the process of being sold by the late owner’s family. Hutcheson makes a last bid to boost circulation and keep the paper alive by crafting an exposé tying a gangster to the murder of a woman. He also makes a bid to reunite with his estranged wife Nora, played by Kim Hunter. Their scenes have the terrific lived-in quality of two mature thinkers who obviously care for each other but, over the years, have grown to want different things. Ethel Barrymore, as the family’s matriarch, quietly steals every scene she’s in. If the whole enterprise reeks of verisimilitude, it is with good reason. Several real newspapermen played themselves, and the newsroom and printing plant for The New York Daily News were used for location shooting. A meticulous reproduction of the facilities was built on Hollywood soundstages for additional scenes.

Thursday
May292014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Shack Out on 101 (1955)

Terry Moore made Shack Out on 101 three years after her Oscar-nominated performance in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952). Besides the fact that both films are in black and white, in quality and content they exist on two different planes. Author Eddie Muller, who introduced the film, likened the script to something William Inge would have written had he passed out and his fingers kept typing. Moore, interviewed by Muller after the screening, did not think the picture at all strange, but I am inclined to agree with Muller. Most of the action takes place in a cardboard-looking seaside diner owned by Keenan Wynn that seems to have very few customers except for those involved in the illicit exchange of nuclear secrets. Bizarre bits of comedy pop up in this turgid Red Scare melodrama. Some are intentional, like an ad-libbed exercise session involving Wynn and Lee Marvin (who plays a short-order cook named Slob). Others inspire unintentional guffaws by their sheer weirdness, as when Slob and Perch (Len Lesser) engage in a slugfest while each bite down on opposite ends of a dishtowel. I give you, ladies and gentlemen, future Oscar winner Lee Marvin.

Thursday
May292014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: The Killers (1946)

In 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers, a short story about two guys putting a hit on a former boxer, was first published. In the movie version, directed by Robert Siodmak and adapted by screenwriter Anthony Veiller, the entirety of Hemingway’s tale is depicted in the first reel. In those ten minutes of celluloid, two tough guys (Charles McGraw and William Conrad) arrive in a small town to bump off the aforementioned boxer nicknamed “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster), a man who realizes that it’s the end of the road for him and rather casually accepts his fate. For the remaining 93 minutes, Veiller concocts a back-story that involves insurance investigator John Riordan (Edmond O’Brien), whose investigation of the Swede’s life insurance policy reveals the dead man’s complicated connection to organized crime and a mysterious woman named Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner).

For audiences that saw The Killers upon its release in 1946, this film contained two “Who the hell is that?” performances. One belonged to its star, 32-year-old Lancaster, a former acrobat who received first billing on this, his movie debut. The newcomer enjoyed a brief career on the New York stage before being snatched up by Hollywood, where a screen test impressed producer Mark Hellinger enough to take a chance on Lancaster over initial choices Wayne Morris and Sonny Tufts. Making a similarly strong impression on moviegoers was Gardner, who by that time had appeared in movies for five years in mostly decorative roles. The Killers gave her considerably more to chew on as Kitty, a gorgeous, duplicitous character tailor-made for film noir. As with Lancaster, her notices were glowing.