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 charles brackett (4)

Thursday
Dec202012

Oscars 1945: Drunk with Success

The story of an alcoholic writer with a propensity for hiding liquor in the most unlikely places was a big winner on Oscar night, though the Billy Wilder drama wasn’t the easiest picture to get off the ground. Paramount balked at having the alcoholic played by anything other than a matinée idol, and matinée idol Ray Milland was advised not to touch the role. Preview audiences didn’t care too much for it, the liquor industry was none too thrilled either, and Paramount released it wide only after it received rave reviews during a limited-engagement run. At the awards ceremony, The Lost Weekend received Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Milland was presented the Best Actor trophy from Ingrid Bergman, who announced, “Mr. Milland, are you nervous? It’s yours!” Quipped host Bob Hope, “I’m surprised they just handed it to him. I thought they’d hide it in the chandelier.” The next day, co-screenwriter Charles Brackett and Wilder were greeted by a congratulatory gesture from fellow scribes—a series of little booze bottles hanging from strings outside each window of Paramount’s Writers’ Building.

BEST PICTURE
The Lost Weekend

BEST DIRECTOR
Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend

BEST ACTOR
Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend

BEST ACTRESS
Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
James Dunn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Revere, National Velvet

Friday
Apr272012

Billy Wilder on Sunset Boulevard (1950)

It was an idea that Charles Brackett and I had long before we tackled it. We wanted to do it, believe it for not, five years before we actually got around to it. We wanted to make a picture with a kind of a passé star. We wanted to do it with Mae West. That’s all I can tell you. But it didn’t come out this way.

There is no such thing as somebody sitting down and saying, “Now, all right, I’m going to make a new picture.” Not at all. You have ideas stashed away, dozens of them—good, bad or indifferent. Then you pull them out of your memory, out of your drawer, you combine them. An actor is available, and that’s the way it starts. People think when it comes to a screenplay you start with absolutely nothing. But the trouble is that you have a million ideas and you have to condense them into a thousand ideas, and you have to condense those into three hundred ideas to get it under one hat, as it were. In other words, you start with too much, not with nothing, and it can go in every kind of direction. Every possible avenue is open. Then you have to dramatize it—it is as simple as that—by omitting, by simplifying, by finding a clean theme that leads someplace.

Sunset Boulevard was a picture where everything sort of fell into my lap. I needed the Paramount studio, and we got permission to shoot at Paramount. I needed Cecil B. DeMille to play DeMille, and he played it. I needed somebody to play the part Stroheim played. Stroheim at one time had been a director and had, indeed, directed Gloria Swanson in Queen Kelly. We needed old faces and got Buster Keaton. Everything was just right.

When we made that picture with Gloria Swanson people forget that she herself was considered sort of an old bag from silent picture times. At the time when we shot the picture she was actually fifty years old, that was all. She was then three or four years younger than Audrey Hepburn is today. But it was the split, you know, the divide between sound pictures and silent pictures that made such a difference. She was actually very young for that thing. She was just forgotten because she had stopped making pictures when she was about thirty, when sound came in. But what would she be doing today? As you heard in the picture, she had those oil wells, pumping, pumping, pumping. I guess she would have four or five gigolos. She would now be living somewhere in Santa Barbara with George Hamilton.

Wednesday
Sep282011

September 28

Paramount Pictures is sued for plagiarism over the screenplay of Midnight, 1939. After competion of the film, writer Robert Buckner filed a suit demanding an injunction against the film’s exhibition, citing a play that he and Charles Beahan wrote called Dearly Beloved  that  he delivered to the studio in 1933.

In the early stages of film production, Paramount felt the script, by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, needed a rewrite team to shape it. The studio blindly assigned the script to a couple of writers at the studio—Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett—who simply retyped the script and resubmitted it. It was accepted without further changes.

Thursday
Aug182011

25 Great Lines from Billy Wilder Movies

Billy Wilder, along with collaborators Charles Brackett, I.A.L. Diamond and a handful of others, created more than 60 screenplays in his lifetime. From them, we selected single lines of dialogue that stand on their own. Many are succinct observations of the human condition. The rest are just really, really funny.

"Democracy can be a wickedly unfair thing, Sabrina. Nobody poor was ever called democratic for marrying somebody rich." — Thomas Fairchild (John Williams), Sabrina (1954), screenplay by Billy Wilder, Samuel L. Taylor and Ernest Lehman

"Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among eight million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were." — C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), The Apartment (1960), screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"I can handle big news and little news. And if there's no news, I'll go out and bite a dog." — Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas), Ace in the Hole (1951), screenplay by Billy Wilder, Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels

"Real diamonds! They must be worth their weight in gold!" — Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), Some Like It Hot (1959), screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"Make no mistake, I shall regret the absence of your keen mind; unfortunately, it is inseparable from an extremely disturbing body." — Professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper), Ball of Fire (1941), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

"We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" — Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), Sunset Blvd. (1950), screenplay by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

"I am constantly surprised that women's hats do not provoke more murders." — Sir Wilfrid (Charles Laughton), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Harry Kurnitz

"Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?" — Mr. Osborne (Robert Benchley), The Major and The Minor (1942), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

"I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you, you're twenty minutes." — Lorraine (Jan Sterling), Ace in the Hole (1951)

"I'll pick you up at 6:30 sharp, because the 7:00 train for Moscow leaves promptly at 8:15." — Otto Ludwig Piffl (Horst Buchholtz), One, Two, Three (1961), screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"The Lafuentes have more of everything. In fact, most of their children were born with eleven fingers." — Princess Bitotska (Lucile Watson), The Emperor Waltz (1948), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

"It's like the doctor was just telling medelirium is a disease of the night. Good night." — 'Bim' Nolan (Frank Faylen), The Lost Weekend (1945), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

"When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara." — Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), The Apartment (1960)

"To be overly honest in a dishonest world is like plucking a chicken against the wind—you only wind up with a mouth full of feathers." — Moustache (Lou Jacobi), Irma la Douce (1963), screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"Bad news sells best, 'cause good news is no news." — Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas), Ace in the Hole (1951)

"Do you know what happens if I defect? They will line up my family and shoot them! My wife, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law...[pauses] Let's do it!" — Peripetchikoff (Leon Askin), One, Two, Three (1961)

"All columnists should be beaten to a pulp and converted back into paper!" — Oliver Larrabee (Walter Hampden), Sabrina (1954)

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small." — Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), Sunset Blvd. (1950)

"My three-o'clock patient jumped out of the window in the middle of his session. I have been running fifteen minutes ahead of schedule ever since." — Dr. Brubaker (Oskar Homolka), The Seven Year Itch (1955), screenplay by Billy Wilder and George Axelrod

"I don't care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car and his own toothpaste." — Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), Some Like It Hot (1959)

"I picked you for the job, not because I think you're so darn smart, but because I thought you were a shade less dumb than the rest of the outfit. Guess I was wrong. You're not smarter, Walter...you're just taller." — Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson), Double Indemnity (1944), screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler

"I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons." — Lorraine (Jan Sterling), Ace in the Hole (1951)

"I'm his brother-in-law, Sister. And this is his mother, Sister, and this is my wife, his sister, Sister." — Willie Gingrich (Walter Matthau), The Fortune Cookie (1966), screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"One's too many and a hundred's not enough." — Nat (Howard Da Silva), The Lost Weekend (1945)

"And I promise you I'll never desert you again, because after Salome we'll make another picture and another picture. You see, this is my life. It always will be. Nothing else...just us, the cameras and all those wonderful people out there in the dark...All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." — Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), Sunset Blvd. (1950)