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 montgomery clift (10)

Friday
Jan292016

January 29

Jimmy Durante dies of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California, 1980. “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are” was the comic actor’s standard sign-off for his television, radio and nightclub appearances. Who Mrs. Calabash was, exactly, was a mystery to his audiences for the bulk of his career. One theory was that it was in reference to Lurlene Calabash, a character played by Billie Dove in Blondie of the Follies (1932), in which Durante starred. Other speculation drifted towards a favorite restaurant of Durante and his wife Jeanne that was located in Calabash, North Carolina. As the story goes, the actor wished to publicly honor the owner, whose name he never learned, and thus “Mrs. Calabash” was born. In 1966, Durante finally revealed that his catch phrase was a tribute to Jeanne, who died in 1943. It remains unclear if Calabash refers to the Carolina town they both liked, or his wife’s alleged mispronunciation of Calabasas, a town about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles where the Durantes resided the final years of Jeanne’s life.

Alan Ladd dies from a combination of alcohol and sedatives in Palm Springs, California, 1964. “Introducing Alan Ladd as Raven” is how he was billed in This Gun for Hire (1942), Ladd’s 34th feature film and the one that made him a star. What followed were a series of similar tough-guy roles, six more opportunities to work with Veronica Lake and an immense popularity that lasted throughout the ‘40s. His last big hit was Shane (1953), a role he won after Montgomery Clift and William Holden proved unavailable. As the decade progressed, Ladd’s career waned and his drinking increased. In November 1962, a suicide attempt left him unconscious with a bullet wound in his chest. Speculation continues over whether his fatal overdose in 1964 was deliberate or accidental.

Wednesday
Jan272016

January 27

Sabu is born in Karapur, Mysore, India, 1924. At age 12, the elephant stable boy attracted the attention of director Robert J. Flaherty, who cast him in the title role in Elephant Boy (1937). A natural in front of the camera, Sabu was quickly awarded a contract with Alexander Korda and grew popular in the forties with the films The Thief of Bagdad (1940) and Jungle Book (1942). His acting influence even stretched to a movie he wasn’t actually in. For Gunga Din, director George Stevens wanted Sabu for the pivotal title role, an idea quashed when Korda refused to loan him out for the 1939 RKO release. The part instead went to Sam Jaffe (an actor 33 years older than Sabu), who was well aware of Stevens’s first choice. Jaffe’s audition was an exercise in channeling the Indian youngster, with Jaffe’s mantra during the shoot becoming, “Think Sabu.”

Donna Reed is born in Denison, Iowa, 1921. She projected wholesomeness and Midwestern good sense in film after film until she was cast against type in From Here to Eternity (1953), playing a prostitute who romances Montgomery Clift (above, with Reed). If her character was a little too refined, blame the Hays Office, who kept a sharp eye on screenwriter Daniel Taradash’s adaptation of James Jones’s racy, robust novel. Like many spicy tomes of the times, the book was considered unfilmable, and Taradash, assigned to scrub up the story for polite audiences, reached a creative impasse. The breakthrough came while he was under the influence of a local anesthetic for a sore tooth he experienced during a drive through the southern United States. In the end, Taradash delivered a script that simultaneously retained the power of the book and appeased the censors. On Oscar night, From Here to Eternity won eight awards, including Best Picture, Fred Zinnemann for Best Director, Frank Sinatra for Best Supporting Actor, Taradash for Best Writing and—as one of the loveliest whores on the silver screen—Donna Reed for Best Supporting Actress.

Sunday
Jan242016

January 24

Gordon MacRae dies of oral cancer in Lincoln, Nebraska, 1986. The star of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (1955) got a chance to headline another of their film musicals when Frank Sinatra walked off the set of Carousel (1956). The picture was to be shot in two different formats, CinemaScope and CinemaScope 55, requiring each scene to be shot twice. When Sinatra arrived on the set and learned of the situation, the actor left immediately, opening the door for MacRae to assume the part. "Some of my friends have jokingly accused me of sticking pins into an image of Frank Sinatra or exercising some other kind of voodoo charm to get him out of the role of Billy in Carousel so that I could inherit the role…His decision on this matter, however, was reached without assistance—mystic, telepathic or otherwise—from me.”

Raintree County has its first preview at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theater, 1957. As sometimes is the nature of these things, it was a bumpy night for the 187-minute Civil War saga, which afterwards underwent judicious editing to bring the running time down to 168 minutes and retakes to smooth out the story. To appease some exhibitors, a trim, 151-minute version was offered to allow for more showings during the day. In the end, the movie proved to be no Gone With the Wind, and audiences and critics failed to embrace the Elizabeth Taylor-Montgomery Clift vehicle. Location footage was shot in Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana, but a gussied-up western set on MGM’s Backlot #3 served as the town of Freehaven in the film. In the early 1970s, the backlot was demolished and replaced with a series of condominiums known as Raintree Estates.

Wednesday
Jul232014

July 23

Montgomery Clift dies of a coronary occlusion in New York City, 1966. He was often compared to Marlon Brando and, in 1958, the two shared the big screen for the first and only time in The Young Lions, an adaptation of Irwin Shaw’s novel about three World War II soldiers from different backgrounds. Dean Martin, in his first major dramatic role, rounded out the cast and was ably assisted by Clift, who helped him rehearse his big scenes. Clift and a grateful Martin would remain close friends, with Martin bringing the actor along with him to social functions after Hollywood gave the troublesome Clift the cold shoulder. 

Though some attacked the film for featuring a sympathetic Nazi (Brando), Variety praised the performances, stating that “Marlon Brando’s interpretation of Anhalt’s modified conception of the young Nazi officer; Montgomery Clift, the drafted GI of Jewish heritage; Dean Martin as a frankly would-be draft-dodger until the realities of war catch up with him are standout all the way.” Bosley Crowther of The New York Times saw Clift’s performance differently, writing “Mr. Clift is strangely hollow and lackluster as the sensitive Jew. He acts throughout the picture as if he were in a glassy-eyed daze.” No less an authority on Montgomery Clift performances than Montgomery Clift weighed in as well, saying, “Noah from The Young Lions was the best performance of my life. I couldn't have given more of myself. I'll never be able to do it again. Never.”

Tuesday
Apr242012

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.