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 darryl f. zanuck (7)

Thursday
May092013

May 9

Alice Faye dies of stomach cancer in Rancho Mirage, California, 1998. Along with Greta Garbo and Deanna Durbin, the name of Alice Faye must be added to the very short list of movie stars who left the business at the peak of their careers. Faye, a singer with Rudy Vallee’s band in the early 1930s, followed the bandleader to Hollywood and made her motion picture debut when star Lilian Harvey left the cast of George White’s Scandals (1934). Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck took a liking to her, as did movie audiences of the 1930s and ‘40s, making her one of the era’s biggest stars. Hits included In Old Chicago (1937), Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938) and Hello Frisco, Hello (1943), which featured Faye singing “You’ll Never Know,” a Harry Warren/Mack Gordon song that became a standard and scooped up the Oscar for Best Song.

In 1940, Faye was teamed with Betty Grable for the musical Tin Pan Alley, playing singing sisters who propel a songwriting team to fortune and fame. The two remained close friends until Grable’s death in 1973, in spite of the Fox publicity department playing up rumors of a rivalry between the two. That same year, Grable replaced Faye when an illness forced her to pull out of Down Argentine Way. Over the next several years, Faye’s popularity remained strong, though Grable rose to become Fox’s next big musical comedy star, often assuming roles that were tailored for Faye. Pleased with her performance in Fallen Angel (1945) yet dismayed at the ham-fisted edit job given the picture, Faye decided to leave the movie business, returning years later in State Fair (1962) and The Magic of Lassie (1978). "When I stopped making pictures, it didn't bother me because there were so many things I hadn't done,” Faye remarked. “I had never learned to run a house. I didn't know how to cook. I didn't know how to shop. So all these things filled all those gaps."

Thursday
Jan032013

Oscars 1947: Gentlemen's Club

Gentleman’s Agreement brought together Elia Kazan, screenwriter Moss Hart and actors Gregory Peck and John Garfield in the story of a writer pretending to be a Jew in order to experience anti-Semitism in America firsthand. Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck championed the film against the advice of fellow studio heads—mostly Jewish—to not even go near such an incendiary topic. Like Wilson three years before, Gentleman’s Agreement was a pet project of Zanuck’s, and both movies received critical acclaim and multiple Oscars. Wilson, however, flopped at the box office; Gentleman’s Agreement went on to become Fox’s top-grossing film of 1948 and also took the top prize that eluded Wilson—a fact the triumphant but still bitter Zanuck mentioned in his Oscar night acceptance speech. “This makes up for the sharp disappointment I suffered some years ago,” Zanuck said to the audience. “I’m sure I will be forgiven from mentioning the name of the pictures, Wilson, of which I am still proud.”

BEST PICTURE
Gentleman’s Agreement

BEST DIRECTOR
Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement

BEST ACTOR
Ronald Colman, A Double Life

BEST ACTRESS
Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Celeste Holm, Gentleman’s Agreement

Monday
Jul162012

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:

Wednesday
May162012

May 16

Henry Fonda is born in Grand Island, Nebraska, 1905. The actor made nine films with director John Ford, including The Battle of Midway (1942), a documentary narrated by Fonda and his costar in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Jane Darwell. “He would never rehearse, didn't want to talk about a part,” Fonda said about his frequent director. “If an actor started to ask questions he'd either take those pages and tear them out of the script or insult him in an awful way. He loved getting his shot on the first take, which for him meant it was fresh. He would print the first take—even if it wasn't any good.” Among their collaborations were Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), which Fonda turned down until Ford convinced him otherwise after making him do a screen test in full make-up, My Darling Clementine (1946), with Ford overruling Darryl F. Zanuck’s choice of James Stewart in favor of putting Fonda in the lead and Mister Roberts (1955) for which Ford was replaced by Mervyn Leroy reportedly due to conflict between the director and his longtime star. “He had instinctively a beautiful eye for the camera,” Fonda recalled. “But he was also an egomaniac.”

Monday
Nov282011

November 28

A key scene is filmed for Miracle on 34th Street, 1946. For the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sequence, filmmakers saved time and money recreating it for the film by arranging for actor Edmund Gwenn, playing Kris Kringle in the film, to play Santa Claus in the actual parade. Three cameras were stationed throughout the parade route to ensure proper coverage, as retakes were out of the question.

The film, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, also starred Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and an itsy bitsy Natalie Wood, who was eight years old at the time. Zanuck, realizing more people attend movies in the summer—and wanting to put as many butts in the seats as possible—opted to release the Christmas classic in May 1947. Posters for the film were careful not to show Gwenn as Santa and instead emphasized the relationship between O’Hara and Payne’s characters.

The film was a huge hit and a favorite among critics. The Academy was not exactly hostile to it either, giving it four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. It ended up winning three: Best Writing - Original Story, Best Writing - Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. “Americans don’t like whimsy,” actor Cecil Kellaway is reported as saying when he turned down the role of Kringle. Gwenn, Kellaway’s cousin, happily stepped in and earned an Academy Award for his efforts. Upon accepting his prize, the actor remarked, “Now I know there is a Santa Claus.”