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 kirk douglas (7)


Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Out of the Past (1947)

The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) made audiences notice actor Robert Mitchum, Crossfire (1947) made him a star and Out of the Past (1947) cemented it. In Out of the Past, Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, a gas station owner with a former life that menacingly resurfaces. It was a part Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield and Dick Powell all turned down. Flashbacks within flashbacks reveal racketeer Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) on the hunt for his mistress Kathy Moffat (Jane Greer), who took off with $40,000 of his money. Sterling hires Bailey to track her down and get the dough, but not to fall in love with her, which is exactly what he does. Sterling eventually tries to frame Bailey, resulting in a lakeside standoff unique for its imaginative use of a fishing pole to kill a bad guy.


Oscars 1949: Kirk's Knockout Punch

Though he lost the Oscar to Broderick Crawford, 1949 was a very good year for Kirk Douglas, who broke out of the supporting roles he had played since his movie debut, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), and became a star. The part was Midge Kelly, a troubled, ambitious boxer; the movie was Champion, based on a Ring Lardner story. Critics cheered, audiences raved, and Warner Bros. signed Douglas to a rich contract. He has been a star ever since. Said the actor at the time, “Everybody thinks now I’m sexy and tough all of a sudden—even my agent’s nicer to me.”

All the King’s Men

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives

Broderick Crawford, All the King’s Men

Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress

Dean Jagger, 12 O’Clock High

Mercedes McCambridge, All the King’s Men


Howard Hawks on Red River (1948)

In Red River, I wanted [John] Wayne to get his finger caught between the rope and the saddle horn and come in with it all mangled. Then Walter Brennan would look at it and say, “That finger isn’t going to be much good to you.” Wayne says, “No, it isn’t.” Brennan would say, “Get a jug and build the fire up good and get me a chopping block.” They’d start feeding him some liquor, and Brennan would say, “I guess he’s ready,” and he puts Wayne’s finger on the block and Brennan sharpens up the knife and cuts it off. Wayne wasn’t even supposed to know that it was cut off. But then his line was, “Where’s my finger? A man ought to be buried whole.” The scene ended with a bunch of fellows looking through the ashes for the finger. Wayne said to me, “You think that’s funny?” “Yeah,” I said, “but we don’t have to do it.” He said, “I don’t think it’s funny.” I said, “Okay, I’ll do it with some actor who’s better than you are.” And I did it with Kirk Douglas in The Big Sky, who isn’t nearly as good as Wayne. I think it’s the only time they laughed at Douglas. Wayne saw it and came around and said, “Well, I was wrong again. If you tell me a funeral is funny, I’ll do it.

When I hired [Montgomery] Clift he’d never made a picture before, and we took a look at him and Wayne said, “”Couldn’t you have gotten somebody who could stand up to me a little bit?” I said, “I think he can stand up to you pretty well.” We made the very first scene and he came over to me and said, “That kid is going to be good.” He said, “He looks like he’s just figuring that he can take me apart at any time and isn’t worried about it. One thing thoughwe can’t have a fight. It would be silly.” “Well,” I said, “you’re a lot bigger and it would be silly, but it wouldn’t be silly if you tripped and he kicked you in the face first.” “Okay, let him kick me in the face.” And we did it that way and it made a perfectly good fight. We had an awful time because Monty Clift couldn’t throw a punch. It took us three days.

[Clift] had something you rarely see todayhe really wanted to work. He went out for two weeks with a box lunch and a cowboy and they didn’t come back all day. At the end of those two weeks he could ride a horse, he could handle a gun and he could even make a special little mount to get into the saddle. He worked like the devil.


April 17

William Holden is born in O’Fallon, Illinois, 1918. In February of 1952, the actor reunited with his Sunset Blvd. director, Billy Wilder, for the film version of the stage play Stalag 17. It wasn’t an easy “yes” for Holden to get to, as he had seen the play—a comedy/drama about a motley group of POWs and their growing suspicion that one of them is an informer—and walked out after the first act. Charlton Heston was intended for the lead character of role of Sergeant J.J. Sefton; he dropped out when Sefton was made more cynical and less heroic. Kirk Douglas said he turned down the role because, like Holden, he didn’t like the play. Ultimately, Holden was forced by Paramount to take the part. For the year 1953, William Holden took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sefton.


Stanley Kramer on The Defiant Ones (1958)

A film like The Defiant Ones was merely an inadequate attempt by a white filmmaker to deal with a contemporary problem. James Baldwin has been very critical of me, and though it hurt, what he said is true. He said I captured all the intellectual and moral viewpoints of my age but didn’t capture the soul of the black man. Well, who the hell does he think I am? I’m not black. The fact is that I am a white man who made films about human beings who happened to be black. I understood the problems of black men and women morally, socially and intellectually, but the damn soul kept slipping between my fingers. It had to be spoon-fed to me secondhand because I didn’t feel it or know it enough.

There are so many areas into which I’ve stepped under the umbrella of what is sometimes amusingly called the Establishment, Hollywood style. The reason I’m defensive about my films is that sometimes—just to get the job done—not enough of the artist and too much of the political tactician and social worker prevailed. That’s where my area of sensitivity is. It’s just like undressing in front of you and saying, “Well, look, this is where I’m vulnerable. Stab me there.”

I’ve always been what is laughingly called an independent. I say “laughingly” because latitude is comparative. I have usually had some latitude when casting, something I enjoy doing, but sometimes the distributor screams that you have to do something. The Defiant Ones was written for Brando and Poitier. But Brando got tied up in Mutiny on the Bounty. I wanted to go with Poitier and a new actor, but United Artists said, “You’re chaining two guys together and one of them is black. You’ve got to give us some stars.”

At the time I approached Lancaster, Douglas, Mitchum. You know, I went down a lot of the guys. It needed to be a pretty big guy opposite Poitier. Time went by and we just couldn’t wait, so I ended up with Tony Curtis. Now, that didn’t seem to be a particularly brilliant piece of casting to anyone, including me, but I couldn’t get anybody else to play the role. I cut Tony’s hair, we straightened his nose. I think he did very well with the role, but it certainly wasn’t written for him.