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 nicholas ray (3)


Jeffrey Hunter

I was guilty of dismissing Jeffrey Hunter as just another pretty boy actor until a recent television broadcast of The Searchers (1956) revealed what a solid performer his is, able to hold his own with Natalie Wood, Ward Bond, Vera Miles, John Qualen and—no small feat—John Wayne himself (who, if one uses the Grauman's Chinese forecourt as a guide, had very small feet.) With an intensity and magnetism perhaps a level or two below Paul Newman or James Dean (still not a bad place to be), Hunter quite effectively put over his role as Martin, a young man who sets off on a mission with Wayne to find the abducted Wood. “I was told I had arrived,” Hunter recalled, “when, during the shooting of The Searchers, they gave me almost as much ammunition as they gave John Wayne.” In his New York Times review of the picture, Bosley Crowther called the actor  “wonderfully callow and courageous.”

Hunter is likely best remembered as the blue-eyed Jesus with shaved armpits in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings (1961), dubbed I Was a Teenage Jesus by the snarkier set. Hunter was, in fact, 35 years old when he shot the film, a good two years older than his character upon crucifixion. Reviews for the film and Hunter were mostly positive, and it has become a champion horse in the stable of biblical films that networks trot out every Easter.

Low-budget westerns and television appearances dominated Hunter's career in the years following, with a plum role as Captain Christopher Pike in the pilot episode of Star Trek. When NBC ordered more episodes, Hunter declined the part in order to focus on his movie career. He was replaced by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.

Death came shockingly early to Hunter, as a series of blows led to a debilitating stroke, followed by a fatal one. It began in Spain on the set of Viva America! (1969), where Hunter suffered facial lacerations and powder burns from an on-set explosion and a head injury from a fight scene. Stoke symptoms on the plane back to the United States landed him in L.A.’s Valley Hospital, where he spent two weeks in recovery. Dizziness and headaches plagued him until he suffered another stroke, resulting in a fractured skull from falling down stairs. He never regained consciousness and died following brain surgery on May 27, 1969, at the age of 42.


April 2

Alec Guinness is born in London, 1914. When it came time to adapt Pierre Boulle’s novel The Bridge on the River Kwai for the screen, producer Sam Spiegel envisioned Humphrey Bogart in the role of Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, with Nicholas Ray directing. That was just one of several director/star scenarios before David Lean was selected to helm the picture. With Lean on board, Spiegel turned to Laurence Olivier to play the lead; Olivier was busy preparing to direct and star in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and declined the offer. Guinness was an early choice as well, but turned it down after reading the screenplay. More names entered the fray—Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and James Mason, to name a few—before a rewrite made Guinness change his mind.

“The original script was ridiculous,” the actor contended, “with elephant charges and girls screaming round in the jungle. When David Lean arrived with a new screenwriter, it became a very different thing. I saw Nicholson as an effective part, without ever really believing in the character.” Part of the problem was that Nicholson, as written, was a bit of a bore. Guinness attempted to bring a little humor to the dull figure, against the wishes of Lean, who wanted Guinness to play it straight. "I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch a stiff-upper-lip British colonel for two and a half hours,” the actor remarked.

The film proved to be a hit and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1957. For his portrayal of the delusional officer and POW who oversees the construction of a bridge, Guinness was named Best Actor, his only Oscar.


October 5

Gloria Grahame dies of stomach cancer in New York City, 1981. She first hit the scene in Blonde Fever (1944) and made noteworthy appearances in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Crossfire (1947) and In a Lonely Place (1950). Her busiest year in movies was 1952, when she appeared in four films: The Greatest Show on Earth, Macao, Sudden Fear and The Bad and the Beautiful. For that last film, she played the ambitious, unfaithful wife of writer Dick Powell and took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She followed her Oscar win with The Big Heat (1953), The Cobweb (1955) and Oklahoma! (1955), but it was her personal life that made the headlines. As chronicled in Lawrence Frascella's book, Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause, Grahame, who was married to director Nicholas Ray, was home alone when Ray's estranged teenage son Anthony showed up unannounced. Grahame and the younger Ray hit it off, the older Ray came home, found them in a compromising position, and the marriage was over. The actress later wed Anthony, observing, "I married Nicholas Ray, the director. People yawned. Later on I married his son, and from the press's reaction you'd have thought I was committing incest or robbing the cradle!"