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 berlinale 2014 (12)


Berlinale 2014: We Come as Friends (2014)

Director Hubert Sauper’s smart, sobering documentary about Sudan details the country’s harsh economic situation, warring factions, a successful election to create a free South Sudan and the various outside cultural influences, past and future, in the region. It is a film populated by Sudan’s tribal citizens and the dangerously ridiculous interlopers practically drooling at ways in which they can exploit the land and its people. A Chinese oil firm makes a fortune while contaminating local drinking water. A foreign developer offers a Sudanese landowner a paltry $25,000 to lease 600,000 hectaires and cede any and all control of said property. A Texas couple, appalled at the nakedness of the natives (and what they see as their remarkable lack of shame), aim to clothe the community and impose their own brand of religious supersition on them at the expense of reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s not pretty, and any hope of stability and advancement appears in fleetingly random slivers in Sauper’s socio-political horror story.


Berlinale 2014: Aesthetics of Shadow Short Films

A series of 1920s-era short films from the likes of Man Ray, René Clair, Henri Chomette and Hans Richter featured a panoply of shrinking geometric designs, ballerinas shot from below a glass floor, people cavorting in slow motion and other cinematic salmagundis. These are artists looking at a relatively new medium every which way—backwards, forwards and inside out—with complete freedom of artistic expression. It’s a thrill.


Berlinale 2014: Air Force (1943)

In August 1942, with a Japanese invasion a legitimate possibility on the west coast of the United States, the production of Air Force headed to Drew Field in Tampa, Florida, to shoot the battle scenes between U.S. and mocked-up Japanese planes. Howard Hawks’s World War II drama, a fictional tale of a bomber crew in the Pacific theater, ended up a robust little action adventure full of energy, patriotism and testosterone. Though the movie ostensibly stars John Ridgely as the commander of a B-17 aircraft nicknamed “Mary Ann,” it’s more of an ensemble piece, with Gig Young, Arthur Kennedy, Harry Carey, John Garfield, George Tobias and others comprising a unified force in skirmishes set in Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Manila and the Battle of the Coral Sea. The script by Dudley Nichols is lean and tough, with an elegant deathbed scene by an uncredited William Faulkner.


Berlinale 2014: Blind Justice (1916)

Benjamin Christensen was no Victor Sjöström, though their careers seemed to run on parallel tracks. Both men were actors and directors in their native Scandinavia; Christensen on stage and in silent film in his native Denmark and Swedish-born Sjöström performing similar duties in his home country. Both were lured to Hollywood in 1924 and directed a handful of films for American audiences. Only one fellow was successful.

To acclaim and popularity, Sjöström directed He Who Gets Slapped (1924), The Wind (1928) and, toward the end of his life, turned in a memorable performance as the aging professor in Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries (1957). Christensen’s Hollywood output, on the other hand, left audiences apathetic and critics unimpressed. Among his flops, Mockery, a 1927 drama starring Lon Chaney as a peasant who comes to the aid of a countess in war-torn Siberia, is generally considered the nadir of his movie career. He spent his final years running a movie theater in Copenhagen.

The Christensen film screened in this year’s Retrospektive was one of his early Danish successes. Even so, Blind Justice, a silent drama from 1916, is an odd duck that begins with footage of Christensen showing leading lady Karen Caspersen a model of the house where the story takes place. It’s a weird beginning to the tale of an escaped convict wrongly accused of a crime and a woman whose initial kindness towards him goes all wrong. The escapee is soon captured and returned to prison, vowing revenge on the woman he believes betrayed him. Situations irrelevant to the revenge plotline pop up like weeds, marring an overall handsome, atmospheric production.


Berlinale 2014: Citizen Kane (1941)

In viewing Citizen Kane as a faithful recounting of the life of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, it’s helpful to know that Susan Alexander is nothing like Marion Davies. Davies, Hearst’s mistress, was by all accounts a charming person, a talented actress with a flair for comedy and a loving companion to the man in his later years. Susan Alexander, Charles Foster Kane’s mistress and eventual second wife, is by turns simple and shrill, a wounded wife and mediocre singer who eventually finds the courage to leave her benefactor husband. Though Dorothy Comingore’s portrayal of Alexander was widely praised—except in Hearst-own newspapers—Marion Davies’s stock fell considerably as she became irrevocably linked to this fictional, erroneous portrayal of her. Years after the film’s release, no less than director and star Orson Welles himself stated, “I thought we were very unfair to Marion Davies because we had somebody very different in the place of [her]…it seemed to me to be something of a dirty trick.”