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 gary cooper (13)


May 13

Gary Cooper dies of prostate cancer in Beverly Hills, 1961. A veteran of extra work and bit parts, Cooper’s stardom seemed inevitable with his first major role in 1926’s The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), playing ranch hand Abe Lee vying for the attention of the rancher’s daughter. In 1927, a two-minute cameo in the year’s most heralded picture sealed the deal. The film was Wings, a saga of World War I pilots directed by William Wellman and starring Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and Clara Bow. In his brief scene, Cooper plays Cadet White, who chats with fellow flyers Rogers and Arlen just moments before his death in a plane crash. He’s affable, handsome, tall and departs the film just before Wellman gives him an extended close-up, a “Who the hell is that?” moment that quite understandably made audiences want to see more. They didn’t have long to wait, as the actor went on to appear in eight features in 1928 alone.


Oscars 1952: Stage to Screen

“I don’t think it’s fair I win,” Shirley Booth said after receiving the Best Actress Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba, her movie debut. “There is all the difference in the world between playing a character more than a thousand times, as I did, and getting your lines on the set in the morning and having to face the camera with them in the afternoon.” Hers was not a popular opinion among award givers, as, prior to her Oscar win, Booth received Best Actress recognition from the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Golden Globes. Even fellow nominee Joan Crawford expressed her support, telling reporters prior to the Oscar ceremony that “I bet on Shirley to win.”

The Greatest Show on Earth

John Ford, The Quiet Man

Gary Cooper, High Noon

Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba

Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!

Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful


Oscars 1941: Sister vs. Sister

Columnist Harold Heffernan wrote of the evening’s central draw: “From 8:00 pm until close to 1:00 am, the two girls faced each other, chatting and smiling with forced gaiety and nonchalance.  Meanwhile, 1,600 sets of eyes shifted curiously from the entertainment above to the sisterly drama below.” The sisters in question were Olivia de Havilland, up for Best Actress for her performance in Hold Back the Dawn, and her similarly nominated sister Joan Fontaine, recognized for her work as the increasingly fearful young wife in Suspicion. A Best Actress award to Fontaine from the New York Film Critics spurred Suspicion's studio, RKO, into showing the film—originally intended as a 1942 release—at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater on January 11 in order to be eligible for the 1941 Oscars.

RKO’s qualifying move ended up pitting both sisters, notoriously at loggerheads, against each in the most closely watched category of the evening. Said de Havilland in an interview with columnist Louella Parsons, “I voted for [Joan] in Rebecca and I will probably vote for her again this year.” Of their famous feelings for one another, the actress added, “Of course we fight. What two sisters don’t battle?” The moment Fontaine heard her name announced as 1941’s Best Actress, she immediately thought of her sister Olivia, later writing in her autobiography, “All the animus we’d felt toward each other as children, the hair-pullings, the savage wrestling matches, the time Olivia fractured my collarbone—all came rushing back in kaleidoscopic imagery.”

How Green Was My Valley

John Ford, How Green Was My Valley

Gary Cooper, Sergeant York

Joan Fontaine, Suspicion

Donald Crisp, How Green Was My Valley

Mary Astor, The Great Lie


May 6 / May 7

Marlene Dietrich dies of kidney failure in Paris on May 6, 1992. Gary Cooper is born in Helena, Montana, on May 7, 1901.

Born in Berlin, Dietrich was discovered by director Josef von Sternberg and soon thereafter made The Blue Angel with von Sternberg at the helm. After its enormous success, they hightailed it to Hollywood, where they hooked up with Gary Cooper to make Morocco (1930). Dietrich played a Parisian chanteuse, Cooper played a legionnaire, and once again von Sternberg had a hit on his hands. About her costar, Dietrich remarked, “Gary Cooper was neither intelligent nor cultured. Just like the other actors, he was chosen for his physique, which, after all, was more important than an active brain.” Said Cooper about his experience on the film, “It was apparent that von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich had a very close professional relationship. But it was only, in my experience, professional, without any love element. I got along with von Sternberg reasonably well, as all his direction and his instructions were given to Marlene, and the rest of us were left more or less to do as well as we could. I cannot remember that he ever told me how to play a scene.”


Fred Zinnemann on High Noon (1952)

I felt very happy about High Noon, which was a combined effort. The cameraman, Floyd Crosby, and I started with the idea that we wanted to show a film set in 1880 that would look like a newsreel—if there had been newsreels and cameras in those days. And in order to do that we studied photographs, particularly those of Matthew Brady, who was in the Civil War, and noticed the flatness, the coarse grain, and the white sky. So we deliberately set about to recreate that. The tradition in westerns at that time was to have a pretty, filtered gray sky with pretty clouds and be theatrical about it. I wanted to have a newsreel quality to give the thing a reality. No filters. This is also why I didn’t want to do it in color.

My whole idea in shaping the drama of the film was to play the threat as statically as possible. But I also wanted to confine the whole thing just to the village itself. And show the menace, the threat, only in a static shot of the railroad tracks, as against the constant motion of the man who is looking for help—Gary Cooper, always dressed in black—against the white sky.

The third part of the visual pattern I used was the clocks, increasing in size as the urgency grew and as time kept slipping by—pendulums moving more slowly, the whole thing finally settling into an unreal sort of suspended animation, familiar to those who had been faced with sudden death. The clocks were of course part of my original indicated on the pages of my shooting script, which is now in the archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. If you remember, at noon the criminals were going to be back in town and everybody had to get off the fence before that time—in forty minutes, thirty-nine minutes, thirty-eight minutes and so on. The suspense is generated out of that—time is progressively running out.

It’s a picture about conscience. It’s not a western, as far as I’m concerned—it just happens to be set in the Old West. It has to do with a man who is about to run away and then stops and says, “I can’t do it. I’ve got to go back.” And when he’s asked why, he says, “I don’t know,” and then goes back and takes the consequences, right up to the end.