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 john wayne (13)

Saturday
May072016

Jeffrey Hunter

I was guilty of dismissing Jeffrey Hunter as just another pretty boy actor until a recent television broadcast of The Searchers (1956) revealed what a solid performer his is, able to hold his own with Natalie Wood, Ward Bond, Vera Miles, John Qualen and—no small feat—John Wayne himself (who, if one uses the Grauman's Chinese forecourt as a guide, had very small feet.) With an intensity and magnetism perhaps a level or two below Paul Newman or James Dean (still not a bad place to be), Hunter quite effectively put over his role as Martin, a young man who sets off on a mission with Wayne to find the abducted Wood. “I was told I had arrived,” Hunter recalled, “when, during the shooting of The Searchers, they gave me almost as much ammunition as they gave John Wayne.” In his New York Times review of the picture, Bosley Crowther called the actor  “wonderfully callow and courageous.”

Hunter is likely best remembered as the blue-eyed Jesus with shaved armpits in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings (1961), dubbed I Was a Teenage Jesus by the snarkier set. Hunter was, in fact, 35 years old when he shot the film, a good two years older than his character upon crucifixion. Reviews for the film and Hunter were mostly positive, and it has become a champion horse in the stable of biblical films that networks trot out every Easter.

Low-budget westerns and television appearances dominated Hunter's career in the years following, with a plum role as Captain Christopher Pike in the pilot episode of Star Trek. When NBC ordered more episodes, Hunter declined the part in order to focus on his movie career. He was replaced by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.

Death came shockingly early to Hunter, as a series of blows led to a debilitating stroke, followed by a fatal one. It began in Spain on the set of Viva America! (1969), where Hunter suffered facial lacerations and powder burns from an on-set explosion and a head injury from a fight scene. Stoke symptoms on the plane back to the United States landed him in L.A.’s Valley Hospital, where he spent two weeks in recovery. Dizziness and headaches plagued him until he suffered another stroke, resulting in a fractured skull from falling down stairs. He never regained consciousness and died following brain surgery on May 27, 1969, at the age of 42.

Sunday
Apr052015

April 5

Producer Sam Goldwyn pulls Wuthering Heights from theaters throughout Canada’s Quebec province, 1939. The move was prompted by Goldwyn’s refusal to edit out references to and implications of infidelity and divorce, which raised objections from Quebec censors. A day later, Quebec censorship chairman Arthur Laramee clarified his position, denying that the movie was banned, yet confirming that certain cuts needed to be made before the darkly romantic film could be screened.

Gregory Peck is born in La Jolla, California, 1916. “Of the movies I've done, there isn't much I really like,” the actor said. “The Gunfighter (1950), Roman Holiday (1953) and Twelve O’Clock High (1949) I thought were my best.” Based on a real outlaw named John Ringo, the story of The Gunfighter was written with John Wayne in mind, who offered screenwriter John Bowers $10,000 for it. To Wayne’s dismay, Bowers went for the big bucks and sold it to Fox for $70,000. Peck got the part and set about growing a period-authentic moustache for the film. Shooting commenced while Fox head Spyros Skouras was out of town; when Skouras returned and saw Peck’s facial hair, he was none too pleased, but realized that reshoots of Peck sans ‘stache would have proven too costly. The movie’s weak box office prompted Skouras to quip, “That damn moustache cost us millions.”

Monday
Feb232015

February 23

Five US Marines and a US Navy corpsman raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, 1945. Photographer Joe Rosenthal received a Pulitzer Prize for his photo of the event, which became one of the most enduring images of World War II and served as the inspiration for a handful of well-made war movies. Two of the more recent films came from director Clint Eastwood: Flags of Our Fathers (2006), which followed the lives of the American men who raised the flag, and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), which focused on the experiences of the Japanese soldiers involved in the conflict. The very first film to tackle the subject was Sands of Iwo Jima, a 1949 picture directed by Allan Dwan starring John Wayne as John Stryker, a tough Marine sergeant who turns inexperienced fighters into hardened soldiers. Because of this film, Wayne received his first Oscar nomination and was invited to leave his hand- and footprints in cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. A special shipment of black sand from Iwo Jima was sent to Hollywood to be mixed into the cement.

Tuesday
Dec162014

Trojan Warrior

Offensive lineman Marion Morrison, the man who would become John Wayne, poses for the USC school photographer, circa mid-1920s. When actor Tom Mix asked for and received tickets to USC's football games, he returned the favor by hiring Wayne as a motion picture extra and prop boy. A broken collarbone from a bodysurfing accident would end Wayne’s athletic proclivities. A chance encounter with director Raoul Walsh while moving prop furniture at Fox Film Corporation would launch his movie career.

Thursday
Aug072014

Butterfly McQueen


On screen, she was sweet, daffy and slightly incompetent with a high-pitched, little-girl voice that set her apart—what a lamb might sound like if lambs could talk instead of bleat. Born Thelma McQueen, she was dubbed “Butterfly” after dancing the butterfly ballet in a 1935 stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The moniker stuck, and Thelma, who had always disliked her first name, eventually had it legally changed. She appeared in movies primarily from 1939 to 1947, at which point she retired, weary of playing stereotypes. A series of maids, servants and other small roles defined the career. A memorable turn in a monumental film immortalized the actress.

Essential Films
The Women (1939)
Movie audiences saw McQueen for the first time as Lulu, a department store sales assistant, in George Cukor’s opus about the modern female. She has little to do besides trade a few lines with Joan Crawford and Virginia Grey, and Grey’s character mouths a rather unfortunate remark based on Lulu’s race.

Gone With the Wind (1939)
Of all the secondary characters in this Civil War epic, the silly, thoughtless Prissy (McQueen) might be the most often quoted, simply for the line, “I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies.” Said McQueen decades after the film was released, “Now I am happy I did Gone With the Wind. I wasn't when I was 28, but it's part of black history. You have no idea how hard it is for black actors, but things change, things blossom in time.” 

Flame of Barbary Coast (1945)
Montana cowboy Duke Fergus (John Wayne) uses his poker winnings to buy a San Francisco casino and woo entertainer Ann “Flaxen” Tarry (Ann Dvorak). McQueen plays Beulah, Flaxen’s maid, in the first of two such roles she performed in 1945.

Mildred Pierce (1945)
Michael Curtiz’s meaty, irresistible film noir sees the title character (Joan Crawford) climbing the ladder from waitress to restaurant owner while dealing with her spectacularly spoiled daughter Veda (Ann Blythe). As Mildred’s success grows, she hires a maid named Lottie (McQueen), a role that was nothing new to McQueen or her fans. Nevertheless, it was a class production all the way and the actress brought her usual charm to the proceedings. Outside of Gone With the Wind, this is McQueen’s most critically acclaimed picture.

The Mosquito Coast (1986)
Peter Weir directed the film version of Paul Theroux’s novel about an obsessed inventor named Allie Fox (Harrison Ford) determined to build a new life in the Central American rainforest with his wife (Helen Mirren) and son (River Phoenix). McQueen plays Ma Kennywick, an eccentric lady living on Fox’s property. It would be her final screen appearance.