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 fritz lang (4)


January 10

Metropolis premiers to an enthusiastic audience at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin, 1927. Fritz Lang’s ambitious science fiction epic about the conflicts between futuristic societies clocked in at 153 minutes, but distribution company Parafumet had the power to restructure the film as they saw fit in an effort to increase profitability. And so they did, enlisting the creative input of playwright Channing Pollock to simplify and shorten the picture to 115 minutes. In 1936, UFA saw fit to edit Metropolis even more, trimming it to a severely abridged hour and a half.

Its modern-day renaissance began in 1984 when Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder added color tints and an original score to the picture which, with subtitles replacing intertitles and a faster frame rate, ran 80 minutes. Since then, additional bits of footage have been discovered, including scenes found in 2005 at the National Film Archive of New Zealand. Then, in 2008, an incredible find was announced: a nearly complete 16mm print of the film—passed around among distributors and film collectors since 1928—was discovered at Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires. The newly restored, 145-minute Metropolis premiered in February 2010.

Sal Mineo is born in The Bronx, 1939. “It would be easy to blame Hollywood to say that I was typed and forced to play the same role over and over,” the actor said. “For a while, I did. But the truth is that I knew what I was doing. I enjoyed myself. I was making money. I suppose that had to stop. I made some good pictures, and I made some bad ones. I wasn’t trying to build an image, though. I was trying to build a life for myself.” After making Rebel Without a Cause in 1955, he saw lots of troubled teen roles come his way. Following an early-1960s career slump, he appeared in Who Killed Teddy Bear? (1965), a rather lurid tale of Lawrence Sherman (Mineo) who stalks Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) while indulging in his favorite things, namely making obscene phone calls and visiting adult movie theaters. The film did not revive his career, but did switch his typecasting from angry young man to psycho criminal. Though never again as successful as he was in the 1950s, Mineo worked steadily until his death by homicide in 1976.

Here’s a peek at his Who Killed Teddy Bear? workout routine.


June 26

Peter Lorre is born in Rozsahegy, Hungary, Austria-Hungary, 1904. Before he entered the movies, Lorre cultivated a reputation as a comedic performer on the stages of Vienna, Brenslau, Zurich and Berlin. That changed considerably once director Fritz Lang cast him as the lead in M (1931), a movie about a serial child murderer and the kangaroo court that convicts him. As psychopath Hans Beckert, the actor earned strong noticed for his raw and powerful performance, prompting Variety to observe, “Peter Lorre does unusually well as the murderer, changing from human despair to bestial lust…most gripping when he pleads for human treatment and understanding for his pathological tendencies.” M led to more roles with Lorre as the heavy or, at the very least, a very odd duck. He returned to comedy in Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Silk Stockings (1957) and—his final film—Jerry Lewis’s The Patsy (1964).


Fritz Lang on M (1931)

I had made Die Nibelungen, Metropolis and Girl in the Moon. Big films, crowds and so on. I got tired of this kind of film and I was thinking of simpler stories. I was talking with Thea von Harbou, my wife. What was the most abominable, the greatest crime which we reject? We decided, let’s write some nasty son-of-a-bitch stories. And one day I came to her and said ”Listen, darling, let’s make a film about a child murderer who is forced by a power within him to commit a crime which he afterwards resents very much.” And then we made M.

Those days there were lots of horrible crimes in Germany. There was a mass murderer in the Rhineland, and many reviewers said that was the inspiration, which is not true. M was finished long before this mass murderer. At the Berlin Scotland Yard I saw the result of many murders. One case I will never forget—a small shop where a woman was murdered, and the murderer cut her throat and the blood just dripped over the counter into an open sack of white flour. I will never forget that my whole life. Another one was in a big apartment house where they found chopped-off hands on a plate under the bed of the murderer, where he was cooking something. There was a man on the border of Germany and Czechoslovakia who killed travelers and made sausages out them and sold them, and the people liked them very much. It was a horrible time.

I first saw Peter Lorre on the stage. He came to Berlin and was in two plays, and my idea was to cast the murderer differently from what Lombroso has said a murderer is: big eyebrows, big shoulders. You know, the famous Lombroso picture of a murderer.* And so I used Peter Lorre, who nobody would think to be a murderer. I had a big fight with Peter. In the kangaroo court scene, which I shot at the Staaken Zeppelinhalle, he didn’t want to come because he was playing at night in Squaring the Circle and had rehearsals. I had to force him. I said, “Look, I will bring an injunction against you because I have a contract with you.” And so he came, and we shot the last scenes and we didn’t talk until it brought on a great success, and then we talked again.

I remember one thing that was very funny. Thea von Harbou and I sat for two hours in front of the room where the censors were looking at the film. We didn’t have to be ashamed, and yet you look there like a schoolboy worrying if you got a good note or not. Finally they came out and they said, “Mr. Lang, this film has practically everything about which we disagree and which we cannot accept, but it is done with such integrity that we don’t want to make any cuts.”

It’s very peculiar because in M there’s no love story, and I’ll tell you what happened. A young man came to me—very elegant. But he had a very peculiar reputation. He asked me if I would like to make a film with him, and I said no. I didn’t want to make films anymore. I wanted to become a chemist. And he came again, and I said, “Let me tell you something. I will make a film for you, but you have no rights except to give me the money for what the film costs. You will have no rights to subject, no rights about cutting, no rights about casting.” He accepted this. Otherwise M would never have been made, because it has no love story, nothing.

* Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) was a highly influential Italian criminologist and physician known for his study of the relation between mental and physical characteristics.


UFA Movie Posters

Universum Film AG (UFA), the longest standing film studio in Germany, began in 1917 as the producer of propaganda and public service films. The release of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) signalled a dramatic change of direction, and in the years that followed, up to the end of World War II, a number of innovative, expressionist films were shot, along with traditional romances and adventure stories. Director F. W. Murnau filmed at UFA, as did Fritz Lang before the war compelled him to move westward, first to Paris, then to Hollywood.

Here is a brief look at the one sheets of UFA’s early days.

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