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 jaws (4)


February 10

Alexander Payne is born in Omaha, Nebraska, 1961; Laura Dern is born in Santa Monica, California, 1967. Their careers converged in the mid-1990s for Citizen Ruth (1996), a black comedy about abortion that became director Payne’s first major film. Dern starred as pregnant huffer Ruth Stoops alongside her mom, Diane Ladd, who played Ruth’s long-lost mother. Payne closed the loop 17 years later by directing Laura’s father, Bruce Dern, in the spare black-and-white drama Nebraska (2013).

Roy Scheider dies of multiple myeloma in Little Rock, Arkansas, 2008. Four years prior to the shark movie, he came to prominence in The French Connection (1971), his biggest film to date and the one that earned him his first Oscar nomination (for Best Supporting Actor). “I got inundated with cop scripts after that,” the actor recalled. “It was the same role over and over, and every cop movie was a cheap imitation. I'd get this script and every one had a chase sequence, every scene was either set in a garage or a vacant lot or a warehouse with everybody getting gunned down.”

Four years after the shark movie, his biggest role came when Richard Dreyfuss bowed out of the cast of Bob Fosse’s sexy, darkly autobiographical tale All That Jazz (1979). Scheider gave his take on the director’s outlook: “Fosse, I think, came to a high point in his life, with an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy, and asked himself, ‘Do they think I'm really that good? They don't know I'm really a sham, a hoax, a phony, a lousy human being, not much of a friend to anybody and a flop. They don't know I'm covered with flop sweat.’ That's an expression Bob uses a lot—flop sweat.” The film’s central character, choreographer Joe Gideon, would become his favorite character, and the one that gave him his second Oscar nod.

“I've been fortunate to do what I consider three landmark films,” the actor said. "The French Connection spawned a whole era of the relationship between two policemen, based on an enormous amount of truth about working on the job. Jaws (1975) was the first big, blockbuster outdoor-adventure film. And certainly All That Jazz is not like any old MGM musical. Each one of these films is unique, and I consider myself fortunate to be associated with them.”


Steven Spielberg on The Sugarland Express (1974)

[I]t wasn’t a box office success. It cost $1.8 million, but even with television sales it’s barely going to break even. I averaged about four printed takes per shot, which meant we went over budget in raw stock and printing by $50,000. But it was important for Goldie [Hawn], because she had never played a consistently dramatic role before, and I had to print a lot of takes to get rid of all her cutesy-pie crust, and then select the most subtle ones in the cutting room. I must say that she’s totally different than she’s ever been before. I wanted to do anything possible to keep the Goldie Hawn Tinkerbell-light away from her, and in the end she really did keep all that sugarplum stuff to a minimum. I even thought that if I shot the whole picture during overcast weather, the look of the shots would play against the lightness of the script and the fluffiness of Goldie’s images. I think I was right.

There are many reasons why the film wasn’t a success, not the least of which is that the Goldie Hawn fans didn’t want to see her in that kind of movie and the non-Goldie Hawn fans weren’t willing to give her a shot in a dramatic role. Audiences fell right through the cracks. I also have a feeling that the down ending turned a lot of people off, certainly in light of things like American Graffiti and The Sting and other films that premiered months before us that were kind of lighthearted and carefree. Audiences weren’t expecting Goldie to be in a motion picture in which one of the major actors is shot and killed and the film ends on a low note. They wanted her to go off into the sunset.

Beyond that, the distribution wasn’t good. The ad campaign sold Goldie Hawn with a smile on her face and a teddy bear next to her. It looked like a romp in the woods. When the film opened in New York there was a line of kids waiting to see the picture. The movie was misrepresented more than anything else, and when it came time for the studio to back up their mistake with money, that’s when the distribution men at Universal got cold feet and said sort of sotto voce, “We’ll allow it to play out its Easter run and let it close out.” That’s exactly what happened. The film opened and closed in three weeks. It was very disappointing for me. Later Universal rereleased the film, using another tactic that I wasn’t amused with: “From the director of Jaws.” The film still didn’t do well.

Excerpt from The Great Moviemakers: The Next Generation, compiled and edited by George Stevens, Jr. 


Oscars 2013: A Few Casual Remarks

In many a movie fan’s universe, almost two things are assured: avid viewership of the Oscar ceremony and ensuing comments—each and every year—that the show is too long, the host isn’t hitting it out of the park, attractive people sometimes wear ugly frocks, and so on. Here are a few of our random observations on this deeply flawed circus that was short on surprises and, indeed, long in duration.

Beards are in.

Seth MacFarlane has a very nice singing voice, a great smile and an easy charm about him. Nevertheless, I felt nothing. His humor is a bit sophomoric and reaching for my taste, and the opening segment—in spite of a lovely pas de deux from Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum as well as a nifty soft shoe routine by MacFarlane, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Daniel Radcliffe—fell flat and could have used some serious editing.

Almost everyone looked terrific, though Quentin Tarantino looked a tad untidy. And I confess to not understanding what was going on with Kristen Stewart. She’s attractive, she’s a movie star, she’s at the Oscars—why does she look so bored and unhappy? And sleep deprived?

Great Sound of Music gag.

The salute to musicals was a mixed bag, with Catharine Zeta-Jones’s oddly aggressive performance of “All That Jazz” and audio balance problems for the Les Miz cast’s “One Day More.” But all is right with the world when Jennifer Hudson opens her mouth to sing.

Best dressed: Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston. Not so best dressed: Melissa McCarthy. And Halle Berry’s outfit seemed more appropriate for an older woman.

Thank heaven for Shirley Bassey, who considerably elevated the otherwise weak Bond music segment.

I’m sure the concept of using the theme from Jaws to play off long-winded award winners was funny. The execution? Not so funny. I particularly would have liked to hear what the one of the winners for Visual Effects was about to say about the industry.

Why did they omit Andy Griffith, Ann Rutherford and Susan Tyrrell from the In Memoriam segment? Barbra Streisand did a nice job remembering Marvin Hamlisch.

Mark Andrews, director for the Best Animated Feature Brave, rocked the kilt.

Jane Fonda is 75 years old. And she looks like that. What a world.

If Hitchcock were alive and working today, he would hire Charlize Theron in a heartbeat.


Twelve Wildly Successful Novels Adapted for the Screen

It’s a natural progression for freak successes of the publishing world to become fodder for motion picture audiences. (The Catcher in the Rye remains a stubborn holdout.) Many of these surprise bestsellers, like Peyton Place, are potboilers; a few, like To Kill a Mockingbird, are great literature. Whatever their merits, these works captured the public’s imagination and spurred many a casual conversation. Here are 12 books that became the talk of the town and, occasionally, a hit movie.

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