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 janet leigh (6)


May 28

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney prerecord the song “I Wish I Were in Love Again” for Words and Music, 1948. Ostensibly a biography of songwriters Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, the film became more of a showcase for MGM talent than a faithful account of the two acclaimed songwriters. After seeing the film, Rodgers reportedly liked only one thing about it—Janet Leigh as his wife. As it was, Words and Music represented the last time Garland and Rooney were on screen together. Ironically, “I Wish I Were in Love Again” was one of four songs that were cut from Babes in Arms when it came time to make the Garland-Rooney movie version of the Broadway show. As the two perform it, Garland in particular seems fresh, at ease and having a ball, and she looks terrific. This was to be her only number in the movie, but when preview audiences demanded another, she was called back to the studio to record and shoot “Johnny One Note.” Though both songs are performed at the same party in the movie, they were filmed four months apart, which accounts for changes in Garland’s weight and hair length.

Here's a look:


February 29

Frank Albertson dies in Santa Monica, 1964. He began movies in 1922 as a prop boy, then drifted into acting, carving a nice niche for himself as a boyish, somewhat naïve goofball. In his more than 100 films in 40 years, Albertson appeared with Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935), got nautical with Ann Rutherford in Waterfront Lady (1935), tussled with the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball (above) in Room Service (1938) and provided the cash for Janet Leigh’s character to steal in Psycho (1960). But he is probably best known to today’s audiences as Sam “Hee Haw” Wainwright, buddy to James Stewart and Donna Reed’s characters in It ‘s a Wonderful Life (1946). A veteran of television as well as movies, the actor died in his sleep at the age of 55.


December 8

Jet Pilot begins filming at Edwards, George and Williams Air Force Bases, 1949. The Cold War romance between Air Force Colonel John Wayne and defecting Soviet pilot Janet Leigh was produced by RKO and owned by Howard Hughes, who intended the movie to spotlight the latest developments in aviation. Shooting ended in early 1950, though retakes dragged the production out until May 1953. The film sat on the shelf for four more years until its release by Universal in 1957. By that time, the aircraft seen in the picture was no longer state of the art.


November 30

Psycho begins filming, 1959. “To me, it’s a fun picture,” director Alfred Hitchcock said of his 1960 horror film. “The processes through which we take the audience, you see—it’s rather like taking them through the haunted house at the fairground, or the roller coaster.” Made on the cheap with the crew of his television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the production cost for Psycho ended up being less than $1 million. It grossed $32 million in its first year of release.

Hitch's tale of a boy and his mommy earned mostly raves, though Time Magazine noted “a blow is dealt to mother love from which that sentiment may not recover.” To test the impact of Norman Bate's (Anthony Perkins) mummified mom, Hitchcock placed it in Janet Leigh’s dressing room and listened for her screams—the louder the better. In the close-up that ends the film, the director had Mother's skull briefly superimposed onto Norman's face. 


October 3

Janet Leigh dies of vasculitis in Beverly Hills, 2004. As the story goes, Leigh was discovered when Norma Shearer visited  a ski resort where her parents worked, saw a photo of Leigh on her father’s desk and arranged a screen test for the young girl. Leigh was signed at MGM and starred in her first movie, The Romance of Rosy Ridge, in 1947. She went on to do Little Women (1949), My Sister Eileen (1955) and Touch of Evil (1958), but it was a 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film that provided her with her most memorable role. “Psycho gave me very wrinkled skin,” the actress recalled. “I was in that shower for seven days—70 setups. At least [Hitchcock] made sure the water was warm.”