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 the best years of our lives (7)

Sunday
Jan312016

January 31

The Hollywood Reporter announces that Fred Astaire will costar with Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson in Funny Face, 1956. To get both Astaire and Hepburn to do the George Gershwin musical, each was told that the other was already on board, and the ploy worked. Hepburn turned down the title role in Gigi (1958) to do Funny Face and successfully maneuvered to have the Paris shoot coincide with husband Mel Ferrer’s Paris filming for Elena and Her Men (1956), a Jean Renoir picture starring Ferrer, Ingrid Bergman and Jean Marais.

Samuel Goldwyn dies of heart failure in Los Angeles, 1974. Hollywood’s top independent producer was famously known for his mishandled words and curious logic—Goldwynisms, as they came to be known:
“When you’re a star, you have to take the bitter with the sour.”
“Go see it and see for yourself why you shouldn’t see it.”
“I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.”
“Don’t pay attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them.”
“My wife’s hands are very beautiful. I’m going to have a bust made of them.”

But among the more humorous quotes are a few that reflect Goldwyn’s keen eye towards moviemaking and an affinity for what audiences want:
“It’s a mistake to remake a great picture because you can never make it better. Better you should find a picture that was done badly and see what can be done to improve it.”
“A producer shouldn’t get ulcers—he should give them.”
“Motion pictures should never embarrass a man when he brings his wife to the theater.”

The producer of Wuthering Heights (1939), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Guys and Dolls (1955) died of heart failure at the age of 94 and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetary in Glendale, California.

Friday
Jan012016

January 1

Dana Andrews is born in Collins, Mississippi, 1909. After the success of Laura (1944) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and his subsequent rise in fame, Fox suggested to the Collins’s mayor that they rename the actor’s hometown “Andrews” in his honor. “We will not change our name to Andrews,” the mayor responded. “Have Andrews change his name to Collins.”

Maurice Chevalier dies of cardiac arrest after kidney surgery in Paris, 1972. The French entertainer came to Hollywood in the late 1920s and began his first of four films with Jeanette MacDonald, 1929’s The Love Parade. “I later heard her referred to as The Iron Butterfly,” Chevalier said of his frequent costar, “although I was surprised to hear that she found that amusing. I never thought she had much of a sense of humor. When we worked together, she always objected to anyone telling a risqué story.” MacDonald once referred to Chevalier as “the quickest derriere pincher in Hollywood.” They would go on to make Love Me Tonight (1932), One Hour with You (1932) and The Merry Widow (1934). These last two movies were filmed twice—in English and in French. Chevalier had no problem with either tongue, of course, and MacDonald could successfully speak and sing in the language. Much of the American supporting casts, however, had to be replaced with French-speaking actors.

Friday
Jan022015

Myrna Loy

As Milly Stephenson in the acclaimed post-war drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Myrna Loy was the embodiment of patience and understanding as her returning-soldier husband Al (Fredric March) adjusted to civilian life. The William Wyler film represented the zenith of her “perfect wife” persona, an identity the actress gracefully cultivated years earlier in the Thin Man movie series opposite screen husband William Powell.

“Some perfect wife I am. I've been married four times, divorced four times, have no children and can't boil an egg.”
— Myrna Loy

Monday
Dec242012

Oscars 1946: Selznick's Folly

With Duel in the Sun, producer David O. Selznick aimed to equal or exceed the artistic and commercial achievement of Gone With the Wind seven years earlier. He spent more than $1 million to advertise the $7 million production and ran teaser ads 18 months prior to the film’s release. He missed the mark by a mile. The turgid tale concerns one Pearl Chaves (Jennifer Jones)—charmingly referred to as a “half-breed”—who shakes up a Texas family, including younger brother Jesse (Joseph Cotten) and older brother Lewton (Gregory Peck). The men battle over Pearl in a lengthy gunfight that climaxes the film, which also sees an overheated Peck and Jones shoot each other and expire together in a ridiculously erotic clinch. The epic, dubbed Lust in the Dust by industry wags, received Oscar nominations only for Jennifer Jones as Best Actress and Lillian Gish as Best Supporting Actress.

BEST PICTURE
The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST DIRECTOR
William Wyler, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST ACTOR
Fredric March, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST ACTRESS
Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Baxter, The Razor’s Edge

Tuesday
Apr032012

William Wyler on The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

I have to have a script. I need a story that I like and that I think will make a good picture. I don’t go out improvising scenes as a rule, though if I can think of something that’s better than what was written, of course, I’d do that. But you’ve got to have a basis for what you’re going to do if you don’t get a better idea. I think a director is bound to make small changes, contributions to the screenplay, without necessarily being a writer. I’m not a writing director, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make changes.

An example is in The Best Years of Our Lives where we had Dana Andrews walking around the airfield seeing all these obsolete airplanes, which never saw action. All the script said was, “He walks around thinking of how the war had done him in.” But it’s because I did The Memphis Belle and rode in a bombardier’s compartment on a few missions that I got the idea that he would climb up into his own plane and have a dream and lose himself in the dream, or rather in hallucination. It was all invented on the spot because the airfield, those obsolete planes, were conducive to the basic idea of the film, of the man feeling lost. It would all come back in his mind, and he would hear in his mind’s eye the motors going, even though there were no motors there. It occurred to me that it would be good to hear each motor start, as before takeoff, over shots of the empty nacelles, as part of his hallucination. If I made the picture today, I would end it right there. I think it would be a better ending.