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 busby berkeley (4)


March 9

42nd Street, with songs by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, direction by Lloyd Bacon and a noteworthy debut by actress Ruby Keeler, premiers at the Strand Theater in New York City, 1933. It proved to be an enormous moneymaker, giving new life to its studio, Warner Bros., as well as the musical genre, which had lost the interest of the moviegoing public after a steady diet of plotless musical revues characterized by limited staging and restricted camera movement. Choreographer Busby Berkeley was arguably 42nd Street’s most valuable player, making the musical sequences cinematic (even those taking place on a proscenium stage) and adding his signature geometry to the arrangement of chorus girls. The movie’s profits rendered the nearly completed Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) and in-production Footlight Parade (1933) far less risky ventures for the studio.

George Burns dies of natural causes in Beverly Hills, 1996. The star of movies, radio and television got his start in vaudeville as a comic who hit it big when his wife, Gracie Allen, got in on the act. “Gracie was supposed to be the straight woman,” Burns said about their early days on the boards. “The first night we had 40 people out front and they didn't laugh at one of my jokes, but every time Gracie asked me a question they fell out of their seats. So I made her the comic and the act was a hit from that moment on.” Together they appeared in 24 films, including International House (1932) with W.C. Fields and Rudy Vallee, and A Damsel in Distress (1937), in which they performed two musical numbers with Fred Astaire. Theirs was a long marriage—from 1926 to Gracie’s death in 1964—though it hit a bump in the early 1940s when George engaged in a brief extramarital affair. He apologized to Gracie and bought her a piece of furniture; years later he overheard her say to a houseguest, “You know, I wish George would have another affair—I really need a new coffee table.”


W.C Fields, Busby Berkeley and the Quake of '33

At 5:55 pm on March 10, 1933, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck a few miles offshore from Long Beach, California, a large shipping port 25 miles south of Los Angeles. Destroying hundreds of buildings from downtown Long Beach to southern Los Angeles, the quake claimed 120 lives and spurred lawmakers to immediately enact legislation requiring stricter seismic safeguards for new building construction.

Strong rumblings were felt in Hollywood as well, specifically on the sets of two major motion pictures that were in the midst of filming. At Warner Bros. in Burbank, director/choreographer Busby Berkeley hung by one hand from a camera boom after the temblor knocked him off his perch during the filming of “The Shadow Waltz” number in Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933). He managed to hoist himself up, but electricity to the entire soundstage was knocked out and the chorus girls, many on elevated walkways, were instructed to carefully sit where they were at until a door could be thrown open to let in some light.

Over at Paramount, director Edward Sutherland was filming International House (1933) a comedy about a new invention—television—that starred W.C. Fields, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Rudy Vallee, Cab Calloway and Bela Lugosi. Footage was shown in newsreels across the country of a scene involving Fields in which the earthquake struck, causing a chandelier to sway, the camera to shake and a table lamp to fall. Decades later, it was revealed to be a hoax, a tremor staged by Fields and Sutherland as a publicity stunt. "We shared a big laugh and an even bigger drink," the director remarked about putting it over on the public.

The earthquake clip begins at the 0:56 mark in this collection of studio outtakes.


July 16

Ginger Rogers is born in Independence, Missouri, 1911. She was one of the rare triple threats—she could act, she carry a tune, and gosh almighty she could dance. In 1925 she won a Charleston contest and received a contract in vaudeville. Broadway shows followed until her first film, A Night in a Dormitory (1929). The following decade would prove rosy for the newcomer. “The thirties were such a pretty time,” the actress recalled in a 1975 interview. “I know it was a bad time for an awful lot of people, but not for me. I remember the whole atmosphere, the ambiance of the thirties, with a glow because success was knocking at my door…It was a whole new life for me. I was excited about it. It was happy and beautiful and gay and interesting. I was surrounded by marvelous people, all the top people of our industry.” A career highlight for Rogers in the 1930s was a number in a Busby Berkeley musical that, according to Rogers, sprang from the mind of Darryl F. Zanuck. The song was “Were in the Money” by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, the film was Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) and what made it special was the language—Pig Latin—in which a segment of it was delivered. The public ate it up, and, from that moment forward, she was a star.

Here's a look:


March 14

Busby Berkeley dies in Palm Springs, California, 1976. The director and choreographer was best known for his overhead shots of geometrically arranged chorus girls. In addition to this signature style, he also favored close-ups of many of the young women who populated his concoctions. "Well, we've got all the beautiful girls in the picture,” Berkeley explained. “Why not let the public see them?" After a string of successful Warner Bros. musicals in the 1930s, Berkeley worked at MGM on four movies starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and ended his directing career in 1949 with Take Me Out to the Ball Game, starring Gene Kelly, Esther Williams and Frank Sinatra. Reflecting on his contribution to the movies, Berkeley remarked, “In an era of breadlines, depression and wars, I tried to help people get away from all the misery...to turn their minds to something else. I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour.”