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 picnic (5)


January 26

Edward G. Robinson dies of cancer in Los Angeles, 1973. The actor was done a serious disservice in Trumbo (2015), a biopic of famed blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, which depicted Robinson (Michael Stuhbarg) naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It all began when California State Senator Jack Tenney, Chairman of that state’s Fact Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, claimed that Robinson was “frequently involved in Communist fronts and causes” and had him investigated. In reality, the actor ended up testifying four times in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, but, unlike what happens in Trumbo, Robinson never singled out any colleague as belonging to the Communist party.

Paul Newman is born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, 1925. His big acting break came in 1953 in the Broadway play Picnic, first as a minor player and understudy before taking over the lead role of Hal Carter, the drifter who arrives in a small Kansas town to look up his old college buddy. Newman’s first movie came a year later, an inauspicious beginning that the actor spent the rest of his life making fun of. “After the success of Picnic, I had a lot of offers from Hollywood and I never accepted any of them,” Newman said. “Finally, my agent said, ‘You know, they're going to keep knocking on your door and knocking on your door and at some point they're going to stop. So you better make sure you say 'Yes' before that stop occurs.’ That was when somebody sent me a copy of The Silver Chalice and I got talked into it. I knew that was going to be a bomb.” So embarrassed was the actor by the film, a costume epic about a Greek artisan selected to create the holy grail, that before it was broadcast on television in 1966, Newman took out an ad in Variety and apologized to the world for his performance.

“That I survived the first film I did was extraordinarily good fortune,” the actor said. “I mean, I had dogs chasing me down the street. I was wearing this tiny little Greek cocktail dress—with my legs! Good Lord, it was really bad. In fact, it was the worst film made in the 1950s. My first review said that ‘Mr. Newman delivers his lines with the emotional fervor of a Putnam stop conductor announcing local stop.’” During a home screening with friends, Newman handed out wooden spoons, pots, whistles and other noisemakers for his guests to audibly register their critical reactions. “I started my career giving a clinic in bad acting in the film The Silver Chalice and now I'm playing a crusty old man who's an animated automobile [In Cars (2006],” Newman remarked about the release of his final feature film. “That's a creative arc for you, isn't it?”


Oscar Royalty

Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait backstage at the 28th Annual Academy Awards ceremony at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater, March 21, 1956. The big pictures for 1955 were Mister Roberts, Picnic, East of Eden, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing and The Rose Tattoo, but it was a modest little drama about a lonely butcher looking for love that took the top prize. It was Hepburn, a previous Best Actress recipient for Roman Holiday (1953), who announced Marty as Best Picture. Just prior to that, Grace Kelly, the previous year’s Best Actress winner for The Country Girl (1954), handed Marty’s star, Ernest Borgnine, the trophy for the year’s Best Actor.


February 7

Nick Adams dies of a drug overdose in Beverly Hills, 1968. “I dreamed all my life of being a movie star,” the actor said. If he never really came close, he at least acted in some high-profile films with A-list actors. The mid- to late-1950s were especially good for Adams, who, in 1955 alone, appeared in Mister Roberts, Rebel Without a Cause and Picnic. A few years later came another spate of success, with the actor playing a dim-bulb draftee in No Time for Sergeants (1958) (above, with Andy Griffith), blowing up a plane in The FBI Story (1959) and putting the moves on Doris Day in Pillow Talk (1959). “Movies were my life,” Adams said. “You had to have an escape when you were raised in a basement. I saw all the James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield pictures. Odds against the world—that was my meat.” The peak of his career arrived in 1963 with the drama Twilight of Honor. For his portrayal of a man on trial for murder, Adams received the strongest notices of his career and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Dale Evans dies of congestive heart failure in Apple Valley, California, 2001. Her career with husband Roy Rogers began when both were otherwise engaged: Roy was married to Grace Wilkins (his second marriage), while Dale was hitched to Robert Butts (her third). They costarred in Cowboy and the Senorita (1944) the first of their more than two-dozen western movie musicals. In 1946, Roger’s wife died and Evans divorced Butts, paving the way for Roy and Dale to make it legal on New Year’s Eve 1947. They remained together until Rogers’s death in 1998.


Cliff Robertson (1923-2011)

“It’s like trying to stand up in a canoe with your pants down,” actor Cliff Robertson once said about show business in all its instability. After his first major screen role in Picnic (1955), Robertson acted opposite Joan Crawford in Autumn Leaves (1956), Aldo Ray in The Naked and the Dead (1958) and Sandra Dee in Gidget (1959). His career hit a new high when he won the role of John F. Kennedy in P.T. 109 (1963), a casting decision supported by no less than President John F. Kennedy himself (though First Lady Jackie Kennedy reportedly preferred to see Warren Beatty in the part). Robertson followed it up with decent work in Sunday in New York (1963), The Best Man (1964) and Charly (1968), for which he received a Best Actor Oscar.  Today’s movie audiences, of course, know him as Peter Parker’s uncle in Spider-Man (2002) and its two sequels.

Cliff Robertson died in Stony Brook, New York, on September 10, 2011, a day after his 88th birthday.


Picnic (1955)

William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play came to the big screen under Josh Logan’s direction, with a movie-star cast led by William Holden, Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson and Rosalind Russell taking over the roles created on stage by Ralph Meeker, Janice Rule, Paul Newman and Eileen Heckart, respectively. The tale, set during Labor Day in a small Kansas community, centers around a drifter (Holden) who hits town and, well, makes life interesting for a few of the town folk.

The shoot was not without its calamities, including Novak being stung by a bee, Holden gashing his leg on a railroad signal, Russell bruised from a very physical scene on a bridge, hail storms, bugs and one elderly extra who took a tumble down an embankment, breaking ribs and both legs. In addition, the town of Hutchison sustained major tornado damage shortly after filming was completed there.

Holden, who previously had to play characters pummeled in a boxing ring and beaten to a pulp in a POW camp, grew extremely nervous about his dancing scene with Novak at the Labor Day picnic. To help him out, Josh Logan arranged for Holden and choreographer Miriam Nelson to hit Kansas roadhouses and work out the movements. The actor told Columbia Pictures that he would do the dancing sequence on two conditions: 1) he receive an $8,000 stuntman premium and 2) he be intoxicated during the shooting of the dance. To his surprise, the studio acquiesced, and Holden performed the scene bombed.