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 sunset blvd. (5)

Sunday
Jun142015

June 14

Alan Jay Lerner dies of lung cancer in New York City, 1986. The lyricist/librettist was often professionally tethered to Austrian-born composter Frederick Loewe (foreground, with Lerner), with whom he composed some of Broadway’s biggest hits—many which made it to the big screen. Success on Broadway earned him three Tony Awards—two for 1956’s My Fair Lady and one for the 1973 production of Gigi. Success in Hollywood earned him three Oscars—one for An American in Paris (1951) and two for Gigi (1958). And, in his personal life, his eight marriages put him in the same company as Hollywood heavyweights Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor and Lana Turner. One of his longest pairings was with Sunset Blvd. (1950) actress Nancy Olson, who he wed in 1950 and divorced in 1957. “All I can say,” wrote Lerner in his autobiography, “is that if I had no flair for marriage, I also had no flair for bachelorhood.” 

Thursday
Mar192015

March 19

Fred Clark is born in Lincoln, California, 1914. His characters were often gruff, commanding and, like the actor himself, bald. In 1947 he appeared in his first movie, The Unsuspected, and continued to grace the big screen in small parts until I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew, his final film in 1968. In between were a handful of major films with big stars, among them:

White Heat (1949)
Clark plays money launderer Daniel “The Trader” Winston opposite James Cagney in director Raoul Walsh’s classic crime drama.

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) tries to get Paramount film executive Sheldrake (Clark) to approve his script for production. “You’d have turned down Gone With the Wind,” Gillis tersely remarks to script girl Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson), who recommended against Sheldrake making the film. “No,” says Sheldrake. “That was me.”

A Place in the Sun (1951)
Clark plays a defense attorney named Bellows in George Stevens’s acclaimed drama starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Clark’s businessman Waldo Brewster attempts to cheat on his wife by whisking Betty Grable away for a weekend in a winter lodge, where she promptly catches measles, passes it along to Brewster and falls hard for forest ranger Rory Calhoun.

Auntie Mame (1958)
“I have the responsibility and your trustee has the authority,” laments Mame Dennis (Rosalind Russell) in a neat distillation of the film’s plot—the struggle for Mame to raise her newly orphaned nephew Patrick (Jan Handzlik) in her own free-thinking manner. Clark plays Dwight Babcock, the stern trustee appointed by the Knickerbocker Bank who makes it his mission to “turn this kid into a decent God-fearing Christian if I have to break every bone in his body!”

Clark died suddenly of a liver ailment in 1968. He was 54 years old.

Ursula Andress is born in Bern, Switzerland, 1936. No actress she, Andress was at least able to move her arms and legs and looked darned good doing it. She was primarily a sexy side dish, bringing a dull vivaciousness to 4 for Texas (1963), What’s New Pussycat? (1965) and Casino Royale (1967). Most notably, she emerged from the sea in a bikini in Dr. No (1962), the first James Bond movie to hit the silver screen, playing Honey Ryder opposite Sean Connery’s double agent. Cinema’s first Bond girl also had a long history of famous beaus, Jean Paul Belmondo, Ryan O’Neal, Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty among them. James Dean was another notch on her belt; the volatile nature of their relationship inspired one tabloid to report that Dean was learning German so they could argue in another language.

Sunday
Feb012015

February 1

Hedda Hopper dies of double pneumonia in Hollywood, 1966. She began her show business career as an actress, first in bit parts, then more bit parts, then in teensy supporting roles before making cameo appearances as her Hollywood columnist self in Breakfast in Hollywood (1946), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Pepe (1960) and The Patsy (1964). Extravagant hats became her signature style as gossip became her driving force. “Nobody’s interested in sweetness and light,” Hopper once remarked, honing her acerbic style for two years on radio before landing a newspaper columnist gig in 1938. Like rival Louella Parsons, Hopper set out to report industry goings on with seemingly little concern about making friends. Among her enemies: Joan Bennett, who sent Hopper a skunk for Valentine’s Day; Spencer Tracy, who kicked her rump after she printed a blind item about him and Katharine Hepburn; Joseph Cotten, who pulled a chair out from under her after she wrote that the actor and Deanna Durbin were having an extramarital affair; and Michael Wilding, who successfully sued Hopper for libel after she insinuated a sexual relationship between Wilding and Stewart Granger.

Clark Gable is born in Cadiz, Ohio, 1901. “I discovered that Rhett was even harder to play than I had anticipated,” the Gone With the Wind actor said about his most famous role. “With so much of Scarlett preceding his entrance, Rhett’s scenes were all climaxes. There was a chance to build up to Scarlett, but Rhett represented drama and action every time he appeared. He didn’t figure in any of the battle scenes…he wasn’t in the toughest of the siege-of-Atlanta shots. What I was fighting for was to hold my own in the first half of the picture—which is all Viviens’s—because I felt that after the scene with the baby, Bonnie, Rhett could control the end of the film. That scene where Bonnie dies, and the scene where I strike Scarlett and she accidentally tumbles down stairs, thus losing her unborn child, were the two that worried me most.”

Tuesday
Apr172012

April 17

William Holden is born in O’Fallon, Illinois, 1918. In February of 1952, the actor reunited with his Sunset Blvd. director, Billy Wilder, for the film version of the stage play Stalag 17. It wasn’t an easy “yes” for Holden to get to, as he had seen the play—a comedy/drama about a motley group of POWs and their growing suspicion that one of them is an informer—and walked out after the first act. Charlton Heston was intended for the lead character of role of Sergeant J.J. Sefton; he dropped out when Sefton was made more cynical and less heroic. Kirk Douglas said he turned down the role because, like Holden, he didn’t like the play. Ultimately, Holden was forced by Paramount to take the part. For the year 1953, William Holden took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sefton.

Tuesday
Oct042011

October 4

Buster Keaton is born in Piqua, Kansas, 1895. “Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot,” the actor/director once said. His comic genius was firmly established during the silent era in films he had complete artistic control over—Sherlock Jr. (1924), The General (1927) and Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) among the best of them. A move to MGM resulted in one more gem, The Cameraman (1928), before studio interference afffected the quality of his films and drove him to drink. Eleanor Norris, his third wife, got him off the booze, and he continued to work in movies and telelvision. He had a memorable cameo as himself in Sunset Blvd. (1950) playing bridge with Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), the real life Anna Q. Nilsson and H. B. Warner. He added a poignant touch to Charlie Chaplin's Limelight (1952). And he executed a masterful pratfall onto a supposedly rare Stradivarius violin in In the Good Old Summertime (1948).