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 high noon (5)

Tuesday
Nov182014

Bare-Chested Billiards

 
Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn take a break on the set of Viva Zapata!, 1951. Though Quinn thought himself a better choice for the part of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, it was Quinn’s performance as Eufemio, Zapata’s brother, that became one of the movie’s best-reviewed elements. A friendly competition between the two stars emerged during the shoot, one that was preceded by Quinn earning rave reviews for playing Stanley Kowalski—a role that Brando famously originated on Broadway—in the touring production of A Streetcar Named Desire. While filming Viva Zapata!, the stars literally got into a pissing contest, standing on the banks of the Rio Grande to see who could shoot a stream the farthest. Brando won. He would later lose the Best Actor Oscar to Gary Cooper for High Noon (1952). Quinn fared better, receiving the Academy Award for that year’s Best Supporting Actor.

Saturday
Jul122014

July 12

Lon Chaney, Jr. dies of liver and heart failure in San Clemente, California, 1973. “My father would be horrified if he knew I was making it in the pictures and that I'm not billed as Creighton Chaney,” the actor once remarked about his real name, which he reluctantly changed to become more marketable. The son of legendary horror movie actor Lon Chaney, Lon Jr. entered the movie business in 1931, one year after his father’s death, in The Galloping Ghost, a 12-part serial about gambling and college football.

Like his father, horror would be a running thread throughout the actor’s film work, beginning with The Wolf Man in 1941. As the years progressed, Chaney would again play The Wolf Man, along with Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy, though the budgets and quality of Chaney’s monster escapades seemed to diminish with each successive picture.

Occasionally a prestige film such as High Noon (1952) and The Defiant Ones (1959) came his way. His most lauded performance was in 1939 as Lennie in Of Mice and Men, a role he played earlier in a Los Angeles stage production. As director Lewis Milestone was preparing the film version, Chaney (above left, with Burgess Meredith) asked for a screen test, though Milestone had already planned to cast Broderick Crawford, who originated the role on Broadway. Chaney made the test, Milestone forgot all about Crawford and Lennie would end up being the actor's favorite part.

Friday
Jul052013

July 5

Katy Jurado dies of a heart attack in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, 2002. “I look and act like a Mexican—not imitation,” the actress said. “Some Mexicans go to Hollywood and lose career in Mexico, because they play imitation. I don't want this to happen to me.” It didn’t, as the extraordinarily beautiful Jurado found solid roles in dozens of Mexican films following her breakthrough performance opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952). Her Mexican film career began in 1943 with No matarás. In 1950, while reporting on a bullfight, she met John Wayne and director Budd Boetticher, who cast the actress in her first American picture, Bullfighter and the Lady (1951). In all, her work on screen spanned a remarkable 59 years, a career that included such high-profile American movies as Arrowhead (1953), Trapeze (1956), One-Eyed Jacks (1961) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). For her supporting role in Broken Lance (1954), Jurado became the first Mexican actor to receive an Academy Award nomination.

Thursday
Jan102013

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.”

BEST PICTURE
The Greatest Show on Earth

BEST DIRECTOR
John Ford, The Quiet Man

BEST ACTOR
Gary Cooper, High Noon

BEST ACTRESS
Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful

Monday
Apr092012

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.