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 billy wilder (13)

Saturday
Jan022016

January 3

Rouben Mamoulian resigns as director of Cleopatra, 1961. The 1963 release, starring Elizabeth Taylor, was the 192-minute result of a famously beleaguered production, one that immediately hit a snag when Taylor became ill shortly after filming began. Accompanying Mamoulian to the exits were costars Stephen Boyd and Peter Finch, who cited other commitments. Mamoulian, Boyd and Finch were eventually replaced with Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, respectively.

Ray Milland is born in Neath, Wales, 1905. The actor worked for the first time with director Billy Wilder in The Major and the Minor (1942), a comedy starring Milland as an army guy who befriends a grown woman (Ginger Rogers) passing herself off as a 12-year-old girl in order to acquire a cheaper train fare. When it came time to begin filming Wilder’s 1945 release, The Lost Weekend, Wilder looked to Jose Ferrer to portray Don Birnam, an author suffering from writer’s block and an addiction to booze. Paramount vetoed Ferrer, citing the need for more of a box office draw. Cary Grant and a handful of others turned Wilder down; Ray Milland did not and got the role of his career, with Wilder predicting that the actor would win the Academy Award. “On the day it dawned, I knew I couldn't face it and made up my mind not to attend,” Milland recalled about the Oscar ceremony, where he was up for Best Actor against Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck and Cornel Wilde. “At breakfast, I hesitantly told [my wife] Mal of my decision. She slowly put down her fork and just examined me. I didn't know where to look. Then she said, ‘I know that you're erratic, volatile, and the possessor of a foul temper. But I never thought you were a coward!’ Then with a look as cold as a Canadian nun, she said, ‘You'll go the that ceremony tonight if we have to put you in a straitjacket.’” He won and spoke no words of thanks, but instead bowed to the audience and exited the stage.

Wednesday
Nov122014

Billy Wilder

Aunt Minnie’s antithesis converses with director Billy Wilder on the set of The Seven Year Itch (1955).

“There was an actress named Marilyn Monroe. She was always late. She never remembered her lines. She was a pain in the ass. My Aunt Minnie is a nice lady. If she were in pictures she would always be on time. She would know her lines. She would be nice. Why does everyone in Hollywood want to work with Marilyn Monroe and no one wants to work with my Aunt Minnie? Because no one will go to the movies to watch my Aunt Minnie.”
— Billy Wilder

Monday
Sep292014

Upper Crust / Lower Manhattan

A dapper William Holden, as wealthy playboy David Larrabee, poses with a Nash-Healey sports car during the shoot of Billy Wilder's romantic comedy Sabrina, 1954.

Sunday
Jun012014

June 1

The Seven Year Itch has its premier at Loew’s State Theater in New York City, 1955, on the 29th birthday of its star, Marilyn Monroe. Just around the corner, at the Fulton Theater at 210 West 46th Street, is where The Seven Year Itch got its start as a Broadway play, opening on November 20, 1952, and running for an impressive 1141 performances. Its star, Tom Ewell, was tapped for the movie version, with writer George Axelrod along for the ride to adapt his play for the screen. Left out in the cold was Vanessa Brown, an Austrian-born actress who saw her role as The Girl offered to the enormously more bankable Monroe. Against director Billy WIlder’s wishes, the film was shot in color as stipulated in Monroe’s contract.

The comedy’s plot is simple: A beautiful young blonde woman fuels the fantasies of a married man attempting to live the bachelor life while his wife and son are away for the summer. The enduring image from the movie is the shot of Monroe standing on a subway grate and trying to keep her white pleated dress from blowing up. Strangely enough, that visual as we’ve come to know it does not appear in the film. Oh, the scene is there, and the skirt blows up. But it’s not a full body shot of Monroe like we’re used to, but shots of her above the waist edited with shots of her below the waist. Either way, it did not please Monroe’s then-husband, baseball great Joe DiMaggio and, after less than two years of marriage, the couple would divorce on October 31, 1955.

Here’s a glimpse of Monroe and DiMaggio arriving at the premier.

Wednesday
Mar062013

Berlinale 2013: Some Like It Hot

I was craving something familiar, like my favorite bedtime story, so I checked into arguably the best comedy that Billy Wilder—or anybody else—ever made. I first saw it at the Berlinale in 1996 at the huge, Soviet-era theater Kino International on Karl Marx Allee. When it was over, the lights came up and, from my front-row seat, I could hear a buzz building from the back and making its way slowly to the front of the auditorium. I turned around just as Jack Lemmon passed by to take the stage and regale the audience with stories about making the picture. Heaven. Alas, no survivors of the film were there for this screening (are there any?), but after 25-plus viewings of the film, it’s still fresh.