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 judy garland (30)

Monday
Mar142016

The Wilhelm Scream

A simple sound effect—a man's brief, agonizing cry while being attacked by an alligator—has become a Hollywood in-joke, a stock piece of audio for science fiction and western movies, a good luck charm for various filmmakers and has even inspired the name of a Massachusetts-based rock band.

The Wilhelm Scream, as the sound effect is known, was first used in the film Distant Drums (1951), which featured the aforementioned alligator attack (above). It is actually one of a series of six screams the movie’s sound department recorded with singer and actor Sheb Wooley at Warner Bros. Wooley’s distinctive “ah-AYE!-uh” was subsequently used for—and got its name from—The Charge at Feather River (1953), in which a character named Private Wilhelm is shot with an arrow.

The scream was used throughout the 1950s in westerns like The Command (1954), science fiction tales like Them! (1954), war movies like The Sea Chase (1955) and even a big-budget musical. In A Star is Born (1954), the scream is heard twice—in a screening room where studio head Oliver Niles (Charles Bickford) is watching a western and in “the production number to end all production numbers,” Judy Garland’s around-the-world song “Somewhere There’s a Someone.”

In later years, the audio effect was revived by sound designer Ben Burtt and used in Star Wars (1977), every Star Wars sequel and every Indiana Jones film. To date, the Wilhelm Scream has been heard in more than 200 movies and television shows.

Here’s a sampling of its use over the years.

Monday
Jan182016

January 18

Cary Grant is born in Horfield, Bristol, England, 1904. “I've worked with [Ingrid] Bergman. I've worked with [Katharine] Hepburn. I've worked with some of the biggest stars,” Grant once remarked, “but Grace Kelly was the best actress I've ever worked with in my life. That woman was total relaxation, absolute ease—she was totally there.” If their one movie together, Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955), was not one of the director’s greatest works, the film was nevertheless a class act, buoyed by locations shots of the French Riviera and the cool chemistry between the two leads. Grant was 50 years old when he made the film (his character was 35 on paper) and Kelly was only 24, but any concerns the studio had over their age difference fell away when audiences responded enthusiastically their romantic shenanigans. “She was an extraordinarily serene girl,” Grant said of Kelly. “Both she and Hitchcock were Jesuit-trained. Maybe that had something to do with it.”

The Harvey Girls opens in theaters throughout the United States, 1946. The MGM film about entrepreneur Fred Harvey’s chain of restaurants and lodges was first conceived as a drama with Clark Gable and Lana Turner. With Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! all the rage on Broadway, producer Arthur Freed decided to make The Harvey Girls into a musical with Gable and Judy Garland heading the cast. John Hodiak took over to perform opposite Garland when Gable was channeled by the studio into the drama Adventure (1945). The Harvey Girls enjoyed great box office and good reviews, but the lion’s share of praise was heaped upon its musical centerpiece, the long, elaborate production number “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” With music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, the catchy tune became a big hit in the six months prior to the release of The Harvey Girls, enjoying a 16-week run on the Billboard singles chart and reaching number one for seven of those weeks. Its staggering popularity spread, as three other successful versions of the song hit the airwaves during the same period. The cherry on top came on March 13, 1947: “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” took home the Academy Award for Best Song.

Wednesday
Jan132016

January 13

Sinbad the Sailor is released by RKO, 1947. Originally scheduled to hit theaters in time for the 1946 holiday season, the picture hit a snag when workers at Technicolor staged a strike and thus prevented prints of the film to be made in time. To fill the gap, RKO went with an unassuming little Frank Capra drama called It’s a Wonderful Life. Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, the picture went on to receive five Oscar nominations and, of course, become nearly unavoidable at Christmastime.

Ernie Kovacs is killed in a car accident in Beverly Hills, 1962. Though he made a handful of movies in his brief career—including Bell Book and Candle (1958), North to Alaska (1960) and Pepe (1960)—the multi-talented comedic actor made his biggest impact on television with his groundbreaking series, The Ernie Kovacs Show (1961–1962). When it came time to film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), director Stanley Kramer considered casting Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the roles of Melville and Monica Crump. Complications with her television show, however, caused Garland to turn the part down. Rooney then took over the character of of Ding “Dingy” Bell and Kovacs and wife Edie Adams moved into the Crump roles. Before shooting began, however, Kovacs lost control of his 1962 Chevrolet Corvair at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Boulevards and hit a power pole, killing him almost instantly. Sid Caesar stepped in to assume the role.

Tuesday
Mar242015

Four Feet in the Air

Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire jump for publicity for Ziegfeld Follies, 1944. Their musical number in the film, “The Babbitt and the Bromide,” would mark the first time the two would dance together and the second time Astaire would do the piece, having performed it with his sister Adele in 1927’s Broadway musical Funny Face. Ziegfeld Follies was a star-stuffed MGM musical extravaganza directed by Vincente Minnelli and propelled by a corny plot: A dead Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell) looks down from heaven to oversee a new version of his legendary Follies.

Along with Kelly and Astaire, the film featured Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton, Keenan Wynn, Fanny Brice (in her final film), Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Esther Williams, Lena Horne, Lucille Bremer and James Melton and clocked in at a staggering four hours and 27 minutes. A slimmer 173-minute version previewed in November 1944, ultimately followed by a 110-minute final print released nationwide on April 8, 1946. The film’s North American profits of $5.3 million failed to cover production costs, causing a quarter-million-dollar liability to the studio. Kelly and Astaire’s number, said New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, “settles one point of contention: Mr. Astaire has the reach.” The two would reteam in 1976 for the compilation film That’s Entertainment, Part II.

Sunday
Mar012015

March 1

Gregory La Cava dies of a heart attack in Malibu, California, 1952. Beginning in 1916, he directed dozens upon dozens of short films, eventually hitting his stride in feature films in the 1930s. His more popular titles include such middling efforts as The Age of Consent (1932), Gabriel Over the White House (1933), The Affairs of Cellini (1934) and She Married Her Boss (1935), along with the very good Stage Door (1937). The high point came in 1933 with the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey (above, on the set with Alice Brady, Carole Lombard, Mischa Auer, William Powell and Gregory La Cava).

Written by Morrie Ryskand and Eric Hatch and based on Hatch’s novel 1101 Park Avenue, My Man Godfrey is the story of madcap socialite Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) and Godfrey (William Powell), the “forgotten man” she hires to become her eccentric family’s new butler. Shortly after Powell was cast, he suggested former wife Lombard for the part of Irene, citing similarities between their past real-life romance and the courtship they eventually portrayed on the big screen. Filling out the cast were a handful of the best character actors around: Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Mischa Auer and—in a bit part—the terrifically fussy and flustered Franklin Pangborn.

Any problems La Cava had with his two leads were minor. With Lombard, La Cava often had to reshoot a number of scenes where she ad-libbed using language that would never get by the Production Code. Powell’s problems ran deeper, as both director and actor disagreed about the way Godfrey should be played. A long talk in Powell’s dressing room compounded with a bottle of Scotch resolved the dilemma between the two men, though, the next morning, the actor sent a hung-over La Cava a telegram that read,” We may have found Godfrey last night but we lost Powell. See you tomorrow.”

The first soundtrack album made for a live-action movie musical is released by MGM Records, 1947. The film was Till the Clouds Roll By, a loose account of the life of composer Jerome Kern and a great excuse for MGM to trot out all their major musical players. Though the cast is littered with greats like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Angela Lansbury, June Allyson, Tony Martin, Dinah Shore, Van Johnson and Kathryn Grayson, not everyone appeared on the initial recording, which consisted of four 78-rpm records. Lansbury and Johnson went missing, along with Sinatra and Shore, both of whom were under contract to Columbia Records. In later years, the film fell into public domain, and no authorized version of the film’s soundtrack has been released on CD.