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 berlinale (4)

Monday
Jul142014

July 14

Ingmar Bergman is born in Uppsala, Sweden, 1918. He was one of two geniuses of international cinema to emerge from Sweden. The other was actress Ingrid Bergman, to whom he was unrelated and actually never worked with until late in each other’s careers. Their sole collaboration was Autumn Sonata, a 1978 drama about Charlotte Andergast (Ingrid Bergman), a famous concert pianist, who tense visit with her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann) in her Norway home leads to a lengthy evening of confrontation and catharsis about their strained mother-daughter relationship.

The film screened at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 as part of an Ingmar Bergman retrospective and was introduced by Isabella Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, and Ullmann, who recounted a moment of contention on the set between the two Bergmans. The scene involved the lengthy nighttime discussion towards the end of the film, where Eva basically tells her mother that the neglect she felt as a child caused her great unhappiness throughout her life and negatively affected her adult relationships, and so on and so on until the sun finally comes up and Charlotte apologizes to her daughter.

It was the apology that rankled Ingrid. “I don’t want to say the line,” she told the director. “My character would slap her instead.” Ingmar told her that she would indeed say the line. She refused. He said that, as an actress, she could choose to play against the line—that is, register an emotion counter to the intent of the dialogue—but that she would, in fact, say the line as written.

They began to argue. As the argument began to escalate, Ingmar took Ingrid into a room down the hall where they could discuss the matter in private. According to Ullmann, what followed was two hours of loud quarreling between two creative egos. Then silence. At that moment, Ullmann knew that the genius—the director—had won.

The filming of the scene resumed and Charlotte said her line of apology to Eva. “However,” Ullmann told the audience, “notice how she looks when she says it.” Indeed, an apology may be on Ingrid Bergman’s lips, but there is murder in her eyes.

Tuesday
Mar052013

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)

Thursday
Feb092012

Berlinale 2012: Hommage

We’ll soon be reporting from the 62nd annual Berlin International Film Festival, seeking refuge from the city’s frigid air in many a darkened cinema. On this, the eve of the festival, we thought we’d present a random selection of scenes featuring the focus of this year’s Hommage program—and the recipient of an honorary Golden Bear—Meryl Streep.

Julia (1977)

Ironweed (1987)

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)

Julie and Julia (2009)

Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Doubt (2008)

Tuesday
Jan032012

Berlinale 2012: Retrospektive

With the 62nd annual Berlin International Film Festival coming soon—February 9 to 19, to be precise—we thought we'd offer a glimpse of our favorite part of the festival, the Retrospektive. Each year, the Retrospective becomes an unofficial film history class, as directors, genres, themes or studios are profiled with a collection of representative films. Luis Buñuel was the focus in 2008. In 2000, the theme was Artificial People, featuring The Golem (1920), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and The Stepford Wives (1975). This year the program is titled The Red Dream Factory and presents works from the German-Russian film studio Mezhrabpom-Film and its German branch, Prometheus. In operation from 1922 to 1936, the studio was created by Russian producer Moisei Aleinikov and German communist and "red media entrepreneur" Willi Münzinberg with the goal of making modern, visually sophisticated stories across all genres. More than 600 films were made at the studio before the Hitler and Stalin regimes forced closure.

In all, more than 40 silent and sound films will be screened, with silent films accompanied by live music from local artists. Here’s a look at a mere handful of the pictures being presented this February in Berlin.

Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924)
Yakov Protazanov directed what is referred to as the first Soviet science fiction film. The plot centers on a mysterious radio message from Mars to Earth, an individualist dreamer, a totalitarian state, a trip to the Red Planet, and a proletarian uprising. The film was so popular that parents named their newborn daughters Aelita.

The End of St. Petersburg (1927)
A thread of individual courage and strength runs through much of director Vsevolod Pudovkin’s work, including this tale of a peasant turned revolutionary set amid the backdrop of Russia’s Imperial capitol.

The Girl with the Hat Box (1927)
Anna Sten stars in director Boris Barnet’s story of girl, Natasha (Sten), who makes hats, marries a homeless student and acquires a winning lottery ticket. Complications ensue.

Harbor Drift (1929)
Reflecting economic conditions facing Germany in the late 1920s, Leo Mittler concocts a tragedy involving a beggar, an unemployed man, a prostitute and a found necklace on a crowded city street.

Lost Sensation (1935)
An engineer develops giant robots for assembly line work, a creation co-opted by the military for its own purposes in this science fiction film by director Aleksandr Andriyevsky.

The Road to Life (1931)
The Soviet Union’s first sound film concerns a camp that turns the downtrodden and dispossessed into fine, clean-cut, upstanding Soviet citizens. Nickolai Ekk directed.

Storm over Asia (1928)
A Mongol herdsman fighting for the Soviets is suspected to be a direct descendant of Genghis Khan in this Pudovkin-directed drama.

Whither Germany (1932)
Slatan Dudow directs a tale of unemployment, eviction and suicide and its effect on a working-class family in 1931 Berlin.