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 breakfast at tiffany's (4)

Wednesday
Jan202016

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.

Monday
Jun252012

June 25

Johnny Mercer dies of brain cancer in Los Angeles, 1976. Aside from the three words of the title, “Hooray for Hollywood” often stumps people who try to remember the rest of Mercer’s clever and gently cynical lyrics. With music by Richard A. Whiting, the unofficial anthem of motion picture’s mecca was first heard in the Busby Berkeley-directed musical Hollywood Hotel (1937) as performed by Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Johnny Davis and Frances Langford.

The Savannah-born Mercer got his start with bandleader Paul Whitman as a singer and songwriter, eventually beginning his movie career in 1933 by composing “Lazy Bones” with Hoagy Carmichael for the Jean Harlow picture Bombshell. Over the following four decades, he co-wrote such standards as “Blues in the Night,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" (all with music by Harold Arlen) and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” (music by Harry Warren).

In terms of Academy recognition, he didn’t do half bad: 16 nominations and 4 wins for Best Song. His Oscars were earned for “On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe” (music by Harry Warren) for The Harvey Girls (1946), “In the Cool, Cool of the Evening” (music by Hoagy Carmichael) for Here Comes the Groom (1951), “Moon River” (music by Henry Mancini) for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and “Days of Wine and Roses” (music by Mancini) for the 1962 film of the same name.


Tuesday
Jun192012

Three by Mancini

For those familiar with the jazz elements of composer Henry Mancini’s myriad film scores, it should come as no surprise that he began his professional career in swing, first working with Benny Goodman then joining the Glenn Miller band following World War II (minus Glenn Miller, a member of the Army Air Force who went missing in action in 1944). In 1952 Universal hired Mancini to work on the score of Lost in Alaska, an Abbott and Costello feature. It would be the first of hundreds of assignments with various studios, with his more lauded compositions gracing the soundtracks of Touch of Evil (1958), Experiment in Terror (1962), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Charade (1963), The Great Race (1965), Two for the Road (1967) and Victor Victoria (1982).

Here are three of Henry Mancini’s most famous creations—resilient, instantly recognizable elements of the composer’s legacy.

“The Pink Panther Theme” was first used over the animated credits for, naturally, The Pink Panther (1963) and went on to grace all but two of the 12 films in the series as well as countless animated shorts.


Recorded by dozens of artists, “Moon River,” with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was first sung by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Perhaps Mancini’s most unexpected hit was the goofy and almost annoyingly catchy “Baby Elephant Walk,” a bit of incidental music to underscore a scene involving baby elephants out for a walk in the film Hatari! (1962). [Bonus: John Wayne “speaks” German!]

Friday
Sep232011

September 23

Mickey Rooney is born in Brooklyn, 1920. A performer since he first hit the stage at the age of 15 months, Rooney made his film debut in 1926 in Not to Be Trusted and has continued to work in movies ever since, with 242 features and shorts under his belt. Highlights include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Babes in Arms (1939), The Human Comedy (1943) and The Black Stallion (1979). Perhaps the less said about his performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the better. The diminuative actor’s film career spans 86 years and he has appeared onscreen every decade since the 1920s—a feat matched by no one. We wish him a most day today.