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 the grapes of wrath (7)


Oscars 1940: Black and White and Color

The newspapers weren’t happy about the latest development at the Oscar ceremony—the sealed envelope. It meant, of course, no advance word on who the winners were, resulting in missed deadlines for the dailies and more hours of competition-free reporting for radio. It was also the first year that the category of Interior Decoration was split in two, one set of nominees for black-and-white films and another for movies shot in color. Cedric Gibbons and Paul Groesse took the black-and-white prize for Pride and Prejudice; Vincent Korda won the statuette for his work on Alexander Korda’s vibrant The Thief of Bagdad. “The particular glory of this film is its truly magnificent color,” wrote New York Times critic Bosley Crowther about the British fantasy adventure. “No motion picture to date has been so richly and eloquently hued, nor has any picture yet been so perfectly suited to it.”


John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath

James Stewart, The Philadelphia Story

Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle

Walter Brennan, The Westerner

Jane Darwell, The Grapes of Wrath


May 16

Henry Fonda is born in Grand Island, Nebraska, 1905. The actor made nine films with director John Ford, including The Battle of Midway (1942), a documentary narrated by Fonda and his costar in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Jane Darwell. “He would never rehearse, didn't want to talk about a part,” Fonda said about his frequent director. “If an actor started to ask questions he'd either take those pages and tear them out of the script or insult him in an awful way. He loved getting his shot on the first take, which for him meant it was fresh. He would print the first take—even if it wasn't any good.” Among their collaborations were Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), which Fonda turned down until Ford convinced him otherwise after making him do a screen test in full make-up, My Darling Clementine (1946), with Ford overruling Darryl F. Zanuck’s choice of James Stewart in favor of putting Fonda in the lead and Mister Roberts (1955) for which Ford was replaced by Mervyn Leroy reportedly due to conflict between the director and his longtime star. “He had instinctively a beautiful eye for the camera,” Fonda recalled. “But he was also an egomaniac.”


May 3

Beulah Bondi is born in Chicago, 1888. She made her movie debut at age 43 in Street Scene (1931) and went on to play some of the greatest mothers on screen. In particular, she played James Stewart’s mom five times: in Vivacious Lady (1938), Of Human Hearts (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (above, with Stewart and Guy Kibbee), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and on an episode of  television’s The Jimmy Stewart Show in the early 1970s. “What distinguishes the real actor from the pseudo is the passionate desire to know what is going on in the hearts and minds of people,” the actress once remarked. That philosophy was put in motion when Bondi, who had tested for the role of Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), went to live among migrant workers in Bakersfield to get into the proper mindset for the role she thought she had. Bondi experienced her greatest disappointment when she learned that the role had been given to Jane Darwell instead.


Twelve Wildly Successful Novels Adapted for the Screen

It’s a natural progression for freak successes of the publishing world to become fodder for motion picture audiences. (The Catcher in the Rye remains a stubborn holdout.) Many of these surprise bestsellers, like Peyton Place, are potboilers; a few, like To Kill a Mockingbird, are great literature. Whatever their merits, these works captured the public’s imagination and spurred many a casual conversation. Here are 12 books that became the talk of the town and, occasionally, a hit movie.

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John Qualen

“Rosalind Russell was afraid of me,” actor John Qualen told Jordan Young, author of Reel Characters. Qualen, who played accused killer Earl Williams opposite Russell in His Girl Friday (1940), explains, “She told [director Howard] Hawks she didn’t want me to have any bullets. She thought I was a little off.” Qualen began acting on Broadway in 1929 in the role of a Swedish janitor in Street Scene, which he reprised for the movie version two years later. After the film's release, Qualen caught the attention of director John Ford, who cast him in Arrowsmith—the first of eight collaborations between the actor and director. Brief but memorable portrayals followed in Nothing Sacred (1937), Casablanca (1943) and The Searchers (1956). Adept at both comedy and drama, his specialty was a Sandinavian accent, which he employed often during his 137 film appearances. Here are five of our favorites.

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