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 mia farrow (5)

Monday
Feb092015

February 9

Shirley MacLaine appears on the cover of Life magazine with daughter Sachi Parker, 1959. Sachi would be the actress’s only offspring, the result of MacLaine’s 1954 marriage to businessman Steve Parker. Sachi was born in 1956; MacLaine divorced Parker in 1982. MacLaine would appear on the cover three more times to promote her current films—My Geisha in 1961, The Children’s Hour in 1962 and Irma la Douce in 1963. Life ceased publication in 1972.

Mia Farrow is born in Los Angeles, 1945. “Dear Bob, May I be your Daisy?” is what the actress wrote to Robert Evans in the early 1970s as he was assembling the cast for his production of The Great Gatsby (1974). The producer bought the rights in 1971 for wife Ali MacGraw to headline as the lost love of Fitzgerald’s title character. Script delays allowed MacGraw time to shoot The Getaway (1972), during which she promptly fell in love with costar Steve McQueen and ended her romance with Evans. According to the producer, the final Daisy candidates were thus Farrow, Faye Dunaway, Candice Bergen, Katharine Ross and Lois Chiles. Farrow ended up edging out Bergen, with Chiles given the smaller role of Jordan Baker, Daisy’s longtime friend.

Monday
Apr162012

TCM Classic Film Festival: Day Four

I’m not sure if attendance is down slightly from previous years or if my choices today were merely unpopular, but there were seats to be had in the programs I went to on this, the final day of Turner Classic Movies’s orgy of movie going. Here’s what today yielded.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Robert Evans, at age 81, is still tanned and handsome. This morning at Grauman’s Chinese, the famed producer introduced his first collaboration with director Roman Polanski and recalled the moment in the middle of the shoot when star Mia Farrow was served with divorce papers from Frank Sinatra’s lawyers. A factor in the break-up was Farrow’s refusal to leave the over-schedule production of Rosemary’s Baby in order to appear in Sinatra’s film, The Detective (1968). How Polanski would have completed Rosemary’s Baby without his Rosemary is anyone’s guess. Farrow, who appears in every scene, shows how tremendous she can be with the proper director, and this film joins Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and Alice (1990) as examples of her very best work.

The Brown Derby
Mark Willems, coauthor with Sally Cobb of The Brown Derby Restaurant: A Hollywood Legend, gave a dandy presentation on the history of the famed eatery—or, more accurately, eateries, as there were four of them throughout the Los Angeles basin. The photos accompanying his presentation were so detailed that I found myself paying more attention to the food, matchbooks, menus and tableware in the shot than I did the movie stars.

Black Narcissus (1947)
Adventure is in the air whenever a film festival guest takes questions from the audience. I remember a screening of Irma la Douce (1963) years ago where a moviegoer raised his hand and said to Shirley MacLaine, “I see you are wearing red. Do you like red?” She handled it like a pro, saying something about red being a powerful color and wanting to project a powerful image that day. Fortunately at the Black Narcissus screening this morning, all the audience questions host Robert Osborne elicited for guest Thelma Schoonmaker were thoughtful, even erudite. Schoonmaker, of course, is Martin Scorsese’s frequent editor and the widow of director Michael Powell, who codirected Black Narcissus with Emeric Pressburger. The story of a community of nuns in the Himalayas won well-deserved Oscars for Jack Cardiff’s cinematography and Alfred Junge’s art direction, both of which benefitted from the stunningly pristine print screened at Mann’s Chinese Six Theater.

The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
The Mont Alto Orchestra did a lot of heavy lifting tonight, accompanying all 160 minutes of the Raoul Walsh-directed fantasy starring a lithe and athletic Douglas Fairbanks. Though the actor and his zero body fat impressed, what really struck me in the sharply restored print was the art direction of William Cameron Menzies, an early effort in his 37-year career.

Thursday
Nov242011

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Woody Allen’s tale of three sisters and their intertwining relationships features no less than three Thanksgiving feasts in as many years. The film that Time Magazine critic Richard Corliss described as having “the elegant geometry of a Philip Barry play” became the biggest box office success of Allen’s career—since surpassed by Match Point (2005) and Midnight in Paris (2011)—and garnered Oscars for supporting performers Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest, as well as for Allen's screenplay.

The Thanksgiving dinner that opens the film sees oldest sister Hannah (Mia Farrow) fresh off a well-received run onstage as Nora in A Doll’s House. Her husband Elliott (Caine) pines for Hannah’s sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), who lives with her lover Frederick (Max Von Sydow), an artist and social recluse. Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband Mickey (Allen) continues to be connected to the family through his sporadic courting of Holly (Dianne Wiest), Hannah’s youngest sister, a caterer, struggling actress and budding writer. The ensemble is rounded out by Hannah’s parents, played by Lloyd Nolan and Farrow’s real-life mother, Maureen Sullivan. As it began, the film ends with a Thanksgiving celebration in Hannah’s Central Park West apartment. An upbeat twist involving Mickey and Holly serves as the final shot.

In his New York Times review, Vincent Canby waxed rhapsodic, declaring the picture “virtually nonstop exhilaration—a dramatic comedy not quite like any other, and one that sets new standards for Mr. Allen as well as for all American movie makers…With this film, it's apparent that Mr. Allen has become the urban poet of our anxious age—skeptical, guiltily bourgeois, longing for answers to impossible questions, but not yet willing to chuck a universe that can produce the Marx Brothers.”

Wednesday
Aug242011

Ten Screen Tests

Knowing what we know now, with Vivien Leigh's portrayal firmly established in our minds, it's rather entertaining to view how other actresses took on Scarlett O'Hara in their screen tests for Gone With the Wind (1939). Leigh, of course, beat out a legion of actresses who—Paulette Goddard excepted—barely came close to the bulls-eye. With that in mind, here are a handful of screen tests sure to elicit one of three responses: "No wonder they got the role," "Too bad they didn't get the role" and "Thank heaven they didn't get the role!"

Edith Head takes us through preperations for Roman Holiday (1953), including Audrey Hepburn's personality and wardrobe tests.

Marlon Brando's 1947 audition for Warner Bros. has him using a partially completed script for Rebel Without a Cause. Brando was not auditioning specifically for the movie, nor did the film, eventually completed in 1955, use any of the scripts written in the 1940s.

Ann-Margret's exquisite rendition of "It Might As Well Be Spring" serves as her first screen test for the remake of State Fair (1962). She landed the movie, but not the role of Margy Frake (who sings the song), which went to Pamela Tiffin. Ann-Margret instead played the more vivacious role of Emily Porter.

Sandy Dennis gave a remarkable screen test in the role of Honey opposite Roddy McDowell's Nick for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). She would go on the win the Oscar for her performance.

James Dean and Paul Newman team up for a personality test for East of Eden (1954)

Sharon Tate acquits herself well in this test for Valley of the Dolls (1967) with Tony Scotti.

Among the young actresses auditioning for the role of Liesl in The Sound of Music (1965) were, according to imdb.com, Liza Minnelli, Patty Duke, Kim Darby, Lesley Ann Warren and Sharon Tate. Here is Mia Farrow’s take on the role.

Marilyn Monroe plays a gangster’s girlfriend in a 1950 screen test for Cold Shoulder, a film that was never made.

Dustin Hoffman's screen and costume test for Tootsie (1982) reveal an early incarnation of the Dorothy Michaels character.

Joan Bennett, Melvyn Douglas, Lana Turner and others try, with varying degrees of success, to embody Margaret Mitchell's characters.

Tuesday
Aug232011

Ten Great Autobiography Titles

A chance revisit of Errol Flynn’s aptly titled autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, got us thinking about terrific names of other books penned by movie folk. Here are ten autobiographies whose titles we really dig.

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