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 mgm (16)

Thursday
Dec012011

December 2

Adolph Green is born in The Bronx, 1914. With longtime collaborator Betty Comden (above), the successful writer of songs, plays and screenplays actually tried to duck out of what became one of their greatest achievements. While under contract to MGM, the two were approached by Arthur Freed to write a movie called Singin’ in the Rain, with the plot built around songs Freed wrote with composer Nacio Herb Brown. Comden and Green refused, citing a clause in their contract stating that only they were to write the lyrics for any movie musicals to which they were assigned—unless the lyricist was Irving Berlin, Cole Porter or Richard Rogers. The problem was that no such clause existed. Stuck with Freed’s task—and an office cheerfully overlooking the Smith & Salisbury Mortuary— they begrudgingly set about creating out of whole cloth one of the greatest movie musicals ever made. “We knew one thing about the story,” Comden recalled. “There would have to be some scene where there would be rain, and the leading man would be singing in it.”

Sunday
Oct232011

MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot

The words "definitive" and "exhaustive" come readily to mind after reading this fascinating guided tour through a lost treasure.

In MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot, authors Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester and Michael Troyan focus on the physical set-up rather than the creative output of the late lamented studio, taking us through every building and down every street on each of the three major lots that comprised MGM proper. From the silent era to its sad decline, the studio and its geography are cleanly chronicled, with maps, countless photos and an impressive filmography sorted by streets and areas within the lots.

If you've ever been intrigued by how the MGM factory worked, if you've ever wondered how one of Hollywood's biggest movie studios was laid out, and if you ever wanted more than a just glimpse of the backlot—more than what you see in That's Entertainment! (1974), The Phantom of Hollywood (1974) or MGM movies themselves—then this meticulously researched tome is a must-have for your library.

Saturday
Oct082011

October 8

Fernando Lamas dies of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, 1982. Every inch the Latin lover, the Argentine-born Lamas was married four times and carried on affairs with many of his leading ladies. Signed by MGM in 1951, the actor—dubbed "First of the Red Hot Lamas"—appeared opposite Lana Turner in The Merry Widow (1951) and Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet (1953). On loan to Paramount, he appeared opposite Arlene Dahl in Sangaree (1953) and The Diamond Queen (1953). Williams and Dahl he would later marry; with Turner, one may assume he simply had a very nice time.

Thursday
Aug252011

August 26

Tex Avery dies of lung cancer in Burbank, 1980. The famed animator got his start in 1929 at Walter Lantz Studios, where he lost the use of his left eye in a rubber band fight with a colleague. In 1935, he went to work for Leon Schlesinger's studio, creating Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts for Warner Bros. He migrated to MGM in 1942, serving as cartoon director until 1954.

Throughout his career, he made films that appealed to kids and adults alike, sidestepping sentimentality and adding a heavy dose of irony and sarcasm to the action. His creations include Daffy Duck, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel and Chilly Willy, and he provided Bugs Bunny with his catchphrase and frequent inquiry, "What's up, Doc?"

Tuesday
Aug232011

August 23

Gene Kelly is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1912. "I never wanted to be a dancer," Kelly once said. "It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates." A handful of Hollywood studio moguls had other ideas after seeing the young hoofer's turn on Broadway in Pal Joey. Both David O. Selznick and Louis B. Mayer promised to sign him without a screen test. Mayer reneged; Selznick kept his word, so Kelly signed with Selznick. For lack of finding the proper role for the actor, however, Selznick ended up selling Kelly's contract to MGM. Tension between Mayer and Kelly lasted for years.