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 gone with the wind (18)

Thursday
Aug012013

50 Unforgettable Movie Images: Part One

In one stunning scene, Scarlett O’Hara leaves a makeshift hospital to cross an expanse littered with dozens, hundreds, then seemingly thousands of injured soldiers as a Confederate flag, tattered but still waving, comes into view. That bravura crane shot got us to thinking: What joins this Gone With the Wind tableau as the most powerful visuals to grace the silver screen? Our list of favorites begins during the silent era, when visuals were all we had, and continues through to the simple image of a lovelorn teenager holding a boombox over his head.

Here are ten early examples.

A rocket lodges in the right eye of the man on the moon in A Trip to the Moon (1902).
Georges Méliès 14-minute rumination on space travel and what six astronomers might find on the moon became one of the earliest science fiction films ever made.

A bandit looks into the camera and fires his gun in The Great Train Robbery (1903).
Director Edwin S. Porter broke new ground with this 12-minute western film, which features linear narration, a moving camera and location shooting. The scene of the robber shooting his weapon frightened audience members and was intended to be placed, at the theater owner's discretion, either before or after the main action of the movie. Most saved the famous shot for last.

Colonel Ben Cameron (Henry Walthall) plants a confederate flag in the barrel of a cannon in
The Birth of a Nation
(1915).
Director D. W. Griffith’s  groundbreaking—and brazenly racist—Civil War epic achieved a unique authenticity in terms of costumes: with the war just 50 years in the rearview mirror, many actual Confederate Army uniforms were still available for the actors to wear.

Anna (Lillian Gish) lies unconscious on an ice floe heading for a waterfall in Way Down East (1920).
The frigid climax of D. W. Griffith’s spurned-woman drama involved location shooting in White River Junction, Vermont, with Lillian Gish floating down a very real river on a very real ice floe in late winter. Conditions were so harsh that the Gish experienced lasting impairment of her right hand from its exposure to the icy water.

The Boy (Harold Lloyd) hangs from a clock on the side of a high-rise building in Safety Last! (1923).
A complicated series of misunderstandings leads to Lloyd’s character taking the famous climb up the side of a building as a marketing stunt for a department store. A fake wall was constructed on a rooftop to give the illusion of great height, though Lloyd was still at risk of great injury or death if he fell. Added to the challenge was a missing thumb and forefinger on Lloyd’s right hand, the result of an exploding prop bomb during a photo shoot four years earlier. A prosthetic glove concealed his digital deficiencies.

An out-of-control baby carriage careens down steps during a civilian massacre in Battleship Potemkin (1925).
One of the most famous montages in movies was a fictional addition to true story of a Russian naval mutiny and its aftermath. The added section, known as the Odessa Steps Sequence, was included by director Sergei Eisenstein presumably to underscore his disdain for the Imperial regime. With a pioneering use of editing techniques, Eisenstein made the brutal killing of townspeople by soldiers and Cossacks an emotionally powerful seven minutes that remains closely examined and endlessly discussed to this day.

Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) unmasks The Phantom (Lon Chaney) in The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
Cinematographer Charles Van Enger asserted that Mary Philbin did not know what Lon Chaney looked like under his mask, making genuine her shocked reaction at the unmasking. Chaney did his own makeup for the role, including gluing his ears back, using fish skin to upturn his nose, building up his cheeks with cotton and clouding his eyes with egg membrane.

A woman’s eye is sliced by a straight razor in Un Chien Andalou (1929).
Luis Buñuel 21-minute surrealist film was born from the director and his friend Salvador Dali telling each other of their recent dreams: a cloud slicing the moon in half “like a razor blade slicing through an eye” from Buñuel's subconscious and a hand crawling with ants from Dali's. With that, Un Chien Andalou was set in motion. The film’s most memorable scene was achieved in three cuts: a woman sitting calmly while a man approaches her eye with a razor, a cutaway to a cloud covering the moon and a close-up of the woman’s eye (in actuality, the eye of a dead calf) being sliced open. 

The land rush in Cimarron (1931).
Budding landowners descend upon the Oklahoma territory, which the U.S. government has just opened up for settlement, in an epic scene that involved 28 cameramen, 5,000 extras, a vast array of horse-drawn vehicles and a sprawling ranch outside of Los Angeles. The sequence took a week to film.

Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) discovered he is a marked man in M (1931).
A beggar chalks the letter “M” on his hand and purposefully bumps into Beckert, a child killer on the loose, in an effort to identify and keep track of his movements while the community closes in on him. The film was originally called Mörder unter uns (Murderer Among Us), but, after filming the pursuit sequence, director Fritz Lang thought the shorter title to be more interesting.

Sunday
Apr142013

April 14

Julie Christie is born in Chabua, Assam, India, 1941. Her movie debut came in 1962 with Crooks Anonymous, though audiences really didn’t take notice until her performance in director John Schlesinger’s Billy Liar the following year. Two years later came the high-water mark for her early career when she reunited with Schlesinger for Darling (1965), the jet-set tale of a mod, freewheeling social climber who goes from self-indulgent bra model to jaded Italian princess. Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice wrote “it is Schlesinger to whom I must be eternally grateful for catapulting Julie Christie into stardom. Miss Christie’s sensual-sentimental assault in Darling has devastated me as nothing has since Harriet Anderson bared a bosom so ample as to contradict her Cocteau face in Naked Night, and Vivien Leigh clawed her way into my heart in Gone With the Wind.” Darling received five Oscar nominations, winning three—Screenplay, Costumes and one for Christie as Best Actress. She would join forces with Schlesinger twice more in her career, for Far From the Madding Crowd (1967) and, for television, Separate Tables (1983).

Monday
Dec242012

Oscars 1946: Selznick's Folly

With Duel in the Sun, producer David O. Selznick aimed to equal or exceed the artistic and commercial achievement of Gone With the Wind seven years earlier. He spent more than $1 million to advertise the $7 million production and ran teaser ads 18 months prior to the film’s release. He missed the mark by a mile. The turgid tale concerns one Pearl Chaves (Jennifer Jones)—charmingly referred to as a “half-breed”—who shakes up a Texas family, including younger brother Jesse (Joseph Cotten) and older brother Lewton (Gregory Peck). The men battle over Pearl in a lengthy gunfight that climaxes the film, which also sees an overheated Peck and Jones shoot each other and expire together in a ridiculously erotic clinch. The epic, dubbed Lust in the Dust by industry wags, received Oscar nominations only for Jennifer Jones as Best Actress and Lillian Gish as Best Supporting Actress.

BEST PICTURE
The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST DIRECTOR
William Wyler, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST ACTOR
Fredric March, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST ACTRESS
Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Baxter, The Razor’s Edge

Monday
Dec172012

Oscars 1939: Wichita Hattie

Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid?” actress Hattie McDaniel said about many of the roles that came her way. “If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one.” The Kansas native got her start as a singer with a band in the mid-1920s, then, by 1932, found her way into movies. She played a memorable Queenie in Show Boat (1936) opposite Paul Robeson as well as the aforementioned maid roles—to Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), Jean Harlow in China Seas (1935), and Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935), among others. In 1939, Gone With the Wind provided McDaniel with the greatest role of her career, and, on February 29, 1940, she became the first African-American to win an Acedemy Award.  “This is more than an occasion,” remarked actress Fay Bainter upon presenting the Oscar to McDaniel. “It is a tribute to a country where people are free to honor noteworthy achievements regardless of creed, race or color.”

BEST PICTURE
Gone With the Wind

BEST DIRECTOR
Victor Fleming, Gone With the Wind

BEST ACTOR
Robert Donat, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

BEST ACTRESS
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Thomas Mitchell, Stagecoach

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Hattie McDaniel, Gone with the Wind

Monday
Dec032012

100 Great Closing Lines

Last lines of movies can be prose or poetry—neat little wrap-ups, baffling enigmas, witty punch lines, weighty morals, desperate pleas and wicked surprises. And they can be a tricky, delicate thing to pull off. The lasting impression of a movie that is merely very good can be greatly elevated by a killer coda; conversely, a stinker exit can sour an otherwise satisfying night at the theater. Here are a hundred of the better ones—final sentiments that rank as our favorites, from the intertitle of a 1927 silent science fiction film to a rare spoken line from 2011’s (mostly) silent Oscar winner.

“Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
Walsh (Joe Mantell)
Chinatown (1974)

“I’m not even gonna swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know and they’ll say ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly.’”
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins)
Psycho (1960)

“I now pronounce you men and wives.”
Reverand Elcott (Ian Wolfe)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

“Happy the man and happy he alone, he who can call today his own, he who is secure within can say: Tomorrow do thy worst! For I have lived today.”
Narrator (Micheál Mac Liammóir)
Tom Jones (1963)

“How’d you like to make yourself a thousand dollars a day, Mr. Boot? I’m a thousand-dollar-a-day newspaperman. You can have me for nothing.”
Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas)
Ace in the Hole (1951)

“Where ya headed, cowboy?”
“Nowhere special.”
“Nowhere special…I always wanted to go there.”
“Come on.”
Jim (Gene Wilder) and Bart (Cleavon Little)
Blazing Saddles (1974)

“What do we do now?”
Bill McKay (Robert Redford)
The Candidate (1972)

“How shall I make out the report on him, Captain?”
“Better make it ‘dead on arrival.’”
D.O.A. (1950)

“Goodbye, Mary Poppins. Don’t stay away too long.”
Bert (Dick Van Dyke)
Mary Poppins (1964)

“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”
Narrator (Mark Hellinger)
The Naked City (1948)

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