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 barbara stanwyck (8)


January 20

Audrey Hepburn dies of cancer in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, 1993. “Playing the extroverted girl in Breakfast at Tiffany's was the hardest thing I ever did,” said the introverted actress about one of her most identifiable roles. The 1961 film, an adaptation of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella, is a portrait of a young Texas girl named Lula Mae Barnes who remakes herself as quirky Manhattan gadabout Holly Golightly, no stranger to café society, wealthy men and expensive presents. Jean Seberg, Kim Novak and Shirley MacLaine were considered for the role. When Novak and MacLaine turned it down, Marilyn Monroe (Capote’s choice) was cast with John Frankenheimer directing. Monroe left the project after her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, advised her not to do the film. Hepburn was then brought on board and Frankenheimer was replaced with Blake Edwards. Though the actress received a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for her performance, she considered herself miscast and felt insecure and self-conscious in the part, no more so than when Capote would pay a visit to the set.

Barbara Stanwyck dies of heart failure, lung disease and emphysema in Santa Monica, 1990. Among the names bandied about as the real-life inspiration for A Star is Born—the oft-told cinematic tale of an actress on the rise and her alcoholic, star-on-the-skids husband—you will find Colleen Moore and her alcoholic producer husband John McCormick. You might also hear that silent film star John Bowers, who committed suicide by drowning himself in the Pacific Ocean, or director Tom Forman, who shot himself through the heart, could have been the model for the Norman Maine character. To these names add Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay. In 1928, Stanwyck was a fresh face and a big hit in Burlesque, a Broadway production that costarred Fay, who she married on August 26 of that year. In short, she became a star in films while he flopped and drank to excess. They divorced in 1935 soon after an angry, inebriated Fay threw their adopted son in their swimming pool. Robert Taylor (above, with Stanwyck) was the next man in the actress’s life, a movie star in his own right who lived with Stanwyck for three years before they married on May 14, 1939. “The boy’s got a lot to learn, and I’ve got a lot to teach,” she remarked when asked about the four-year age difference between her and the younger Taylor. Though their marriage lasted for the twelve years, it got off to a questionable start when Taylor’s smothering mom insisted he spend his wedding night with her and not his wife.


January 14

Ronald and Nancy Reagan screen Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) at Camp David, 1989. It is almost certain that the Reagans would have screened a different movie—or no movie at all, perhaps—had the studio’s first choice for the male lead accepted the part. Robert Mitchum ended up passing on the project, leaving Barbara Stanwyck top-billed with Ronald Reagan in this Allan Dwan-directed drama about ranchers and stolen cattle in Montana. It would be the last movie the President and First Lady would see during Reagan's administration, which would end six days later when George H. W. Bush assumed the White House.

Faye Dunaway is born in Bascom, Florida, 1941; Peter Finch dies of a heart attack in Beverly Hills, 1977. Both actors had lead roles in Network (1976), writer Paddy Chayefsky’s satire of television, though neither Diana Christensen, Dunaway’s driven, deeply neurotic TV executive, nor Howard Beale, Finch’s unhinged evening news anchorman, ever communicated directly with one another over the course of the story. The Beale role was a challenge to cast, with Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, George C. Scott and Gene Hackman all turning it down. Australian actor Finch went after it, finally convincing director Sidney Lumet that he could affect an American accent by sending him tapes of himself reading The New York Times. Receiving stellar reviews, the film raked in 10 Oscar nominations, including nods for actors Dunaway, Finch, William Holden, Beatrice Straight and Ned Beatty. The day after appearing on The Tonight Show to promote the film, Finch collapsed and died in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. On Oscar night, Chayefsky, Dunaway, Finch and Strait were all awarded statuettes, with Finch become the first actor to receive one posthumously.


January 11

Edna Purviance dies of throat cancer in Hollywood, 1958. Beginning with The Tramp in 1915 and ending with Limelight in 1952, Purviance was one of Charlie Chaplin’s most frequent costars, appearing with the actor and director in more than three-dozen films. “Mr. Chaplin asked me if I would like to act in pictures with him,” the actress said. “I laughed at the idea, but agreed to try it. I guess he took me because I had nothing to unlearn and he could teach me in his own way. I want to tell you that I suffered untold agonies. Eyes seemed to be everywhere—I was simply frightened to death. But he had unlimited patience in directing me and teaching me.” So devoted was Chaplin to Purviance that he kept her on his payroll until her death.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen becomes the first movie to play New York’s Radio City Music Hall, 1933. Frank Capra’s pre-Code tale of interracial attraction between the sexes stars Barbara Stanwyck as Megan Davis, an American missionary in China who gets conked on the head and ends up at the palace of General Yen (Nils Asther). He flirts, she resists, but changes her tune after she inadvertently ruins his life. Asther, a 6-foot-tall Swedish performer, represented the era’s trend of casting white actors in lead Asian roles. To appease Chinese officials, depictions of harsh treatment of POWS by Chinese military were watered down, though some derogatory dialogue about the Chinese remained.


August 30

Fred MacMurray is born in Kankakee, Illinois, 1908. “I was lucky enough to make four pictures with [Barbara Stanwyck],” the actor said about one of his frequent costars. “In the first I turned her in, in the second I killed her, in the third I left her for another woman and in the fourth I pushed her over a waterfall.” For the record, their first pairing was Remember the Night (1940), wherein Stanwyck played a Christmastime shoplifter prosecuted by MacMurray. The noir masterpiece Double Indemnity (1944) followed, with MacMurray giving his best screen performance as a corrupt insurance salesman who pumps his leading lady full of lead. In The Moonlighter (1953), our man plays a cattle rustler whose escapades bring him back into the orbit of former flame Stanwyck, in 3-D no less. And in director Douglas Sirk’s soapy melodrama There’s Always Tomorrow (1956), fashion designer Stanwyck temporarily pulls toy manufacturer MacMurray away from his drab family life. “The one thing all these pictures had in common,” the actor remarked, “was that I fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck—and I did, too.”


August 4

Melvyn Douglas dies of pneumonia and heart failure in New York City, 1981. He played a host of affable, distinguished gentlemen throughout the thirties and forties opposite some of the biggest female stars on film—a heady list that included Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich. He was also that rare performer who transitioned rather effortlessly from leading man to character actor. “The Hollywood roles I did were boring,” Douglas said about his early acting duties. “I was soon fed up with them. It's true they gave me a world-wide reputation I could trade on, but they also typed me as a one-dimensional non-serious actor.” Three-dimensional characters would come to the serious actor towards the latter part of his 50-year film career, and were met with enormous critical acclaim. Douglas received three Academy Award nominations during this stage of his life: Best Supporting Actor for Hud (1963), Best Actor for I Never Sang for My Father (1970) and Best Supporting Actor for Being There (1979). It would be his roles as a cattle rancher in Hud and an ailing business mogul in Being There that would turn Melvyn Douglas into a two-time Oscar winner.