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 sidney poitier (6)


February 20

Sidney Poitier is born in Miami, 1927. He made history on April 13, 1964, by becoming the first black person to win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963). He wasn’t nominated at all in 1967, though not for lack of cinematic effort. In that year, no less than three Sidney Poitier films were released, all to solid critical and popular acclaim.

To Sir, with Love led the way, finally released on June 14, 1967, after sitting on the shelf for more than a year. Set in London’s East End, the film is noteworthy for Poitier’s cool-headed teacher of unruly teens as well as the title tune sung by Lulu, which raced up the pop charts to number one. As New York Times critic Bosley Crowther noted at the time, “there is little intrusion of or discussion about the issue of race: It is as discreetly played down as are many other probable tensions in this school.”

In the Heat of the Night hit movie theaters shortly afterwards, premiering in New York on August 2 and in Los Angeles on August 23, 1967. The racially charged murder mystery costarred Rod Steiger as a bigoted Chief of Police in a small Mississippi town, a role that won him an Oscar for Best Actor. In his review, Crowther wrote of ‘the magnificent manner in which Mr. Steiger and Mr. Poitier act their roles, each giving physical authority and personal depth to the fallible human beings they are.” The film also won Oscars for Best Picture, screenplay, sound and editing and ranks as Poitier’s favorite among his films.

Capping the year was a groundbreaking mainstream movie about interracial romance called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which rolled out on December 12, 1967, nationwide. Poitier later said how intimated he was to share the screen with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, citing a preference to performing to empty high-backed chairs instead of the legendary pair. About his acting, Crowther proclaimed him “splendid within the strictures of a rather stuffy type.”


April 23

Otto Preminger (above, flanked by Sammy Davis Jr. and Sidney Poitier on the set of 1959’s Porgy and Bess) dies of lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in New York City, 1989. The Great Love (1931), shot in his native Austria, was the notoriously difficult director’s debut film. In 1936, Preminger immigrated to the United States and shortly thereafter helmed his first American picture, Under Your Spell (1936), a comedy about a disillusioned singer (Lawrence Tibbett) and the dame (Wendy Barrie) who tries to lure him back into the spotlight. Eight years later came his breakthrough—the romantic mystery Laura (1944), starring Gene Tierney, Vincent Price, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb. It would mark the start of a decades-long run of films that were a mix of popular entertainments, critically acclaimed dramas and interesting failures.

Among his better-known titles are Daisy Kenyon (1947), Carmen Jones (1954), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Exodus (1960) and Advise and Consent (1962), with the prize for his most dreadful movie likely split between the turgid terrorist kidnapping saga Rosebud (1975) and a humorless collision of flower power, mobster shenanigans and aging movie stars called Skidoo (1968). Of the latter film, New York Times critic Vincent Canby called it “something only for Preminger-watchers, or for people whose minds need pressing by a heavy, flat object.” The cast included Carol Channing, Jackie Gleason, Frankie Avalon, Mickey Rooney, George Raft and, as a character named God, Groucho Marx in his final film role. Said Preminger about the movie: “I don't think many people adore it. Except my wife, who adores all my pictures, because that's what you get married for.”


Twelve Random Thoughts about This Year's Oscars

The Oscars don’t simply honor the best of the year, they unleash a carnival of criticism about the host, the speeches, the parade of glamorous frocks, the show’s performances and the ceremony at large. And who am I not to offer my own bombastic pronouncements on what transpired? Here are a few observations and opinions I just have to get off my chest.

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June 12

The United States Supreme Court rules unanimously that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional, 1967. The landmark case, called Loving v. Virginia, was decided during post-production of a movie about interracial marriage―the Stanley Kramer-directed Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967) starring Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier (above) as the couple and the venerable pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in their last film together. Even with the court’s new ruling, Kramer decided to leave in a line where one character says to the pair, “In 16 or 17 states you'll be breaking the law. You'll be criminals.” In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert praised the film as entertainment in spite his observation that “Kramer has taken a controversial subject…and insulated it with every trick in the Hollywood bag…glamorous star performances…shameless schmaltz…[and] minor roles are filled with crashing stereotypes.”


Stanley Kramer on The Defiant Ones (1958)

A film like The Defiant Ones was merely an inadequate attempt by a white filmmaker to deal with a contemporary problem. James Baldwin has been very critical of me, and though it hurt, what he said is true. He said I captured all the intellectual and moral viewpoints of my age but didn’t capture the soul of the black man. Well, who the hell does he think I am? I’m not black. The fact is that I am a white man who made films about human beings who happened to be black. I understood the problems of black men and women morally, socially and intellectually, but the damn soul kept slipping between my fingers. It had to be spoon-fed to me secondhand because I didn’t feel it or know it enough.

There are so many areas into which I’ve stepped under the umbrella of what is sometimes amusingly called the Establishment, Hollywood style. The reason I’m defensive about my films is that sometimes—just to get the job done—not enough of the artist and too much of the political tactician and social worker prevailed. That’s where my area of sensitivity is. It’s just like undressing in front of you and saying, “Well, look, this is where I’m vulnerable. Stab me there.”

I’ve always been what is laughingly called an independent. I say “laughingly” because latitude is comparative. I have usually had some latitude when casting, something I enjoy doing, but sometimes the distributor screams that you have to do something. The Defiant Ones was written for Brando and Poitier. But Brando got tied up in Mutiny on the Bounty. I wanted to go with Poitier and a new actor, but United Artists said, “You’re chaining two guys together and one of them is black. You’ve got to give us some stars.”

At the time I approached Lancaster, Douglas, Mitchum. You know, I went down a lot of the guys. It needed to be a pretty big guy opposite Poitier. Time went by and we just couldn’t wait, so I ended up with Tony Curtis. Now, that didn’t seem to be a particularly brilliant piece of casting to anyone, including me, but I couldn’t get anybody else to play the role. I cut Tony’s hair, we straightened his nose. I think he did very well with the role, but it certainly wasn’t written for him.