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 killers (4)


Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: The Killers (1946)

In 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers, a short story about two guys putting a hit on a former boxer, was first published. In the movie version, directed by Robert Siodmak and adapted by screenwriter Anthony Veiller, the entirety of Hemingway’s tale is depicted in the first reel. In those ten minutes of celluloid, two tough guys (Charles McGraw and William Conrad) arrive in a small town to bump off the aforementioned boxer nicknamed “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster), a man who realizes that it’s the end of the road for him and rather casually accepts his fate. For the remaining 93 minutes, Veiller concocts a back-story that involves insurance investigator John Riordan (Edmond O’Brien), whose investigation of the Swede’s life insurance policy reveals the dead man’s complicated connection to organized crime and a mysterious woman named Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner).

For audiences that saw The Killers upon its release in 1946, this film contained two “Who the hell is that?” performances. One belonged to its star, 32-year-old Lancaster, a former acrobat who received first billing on this, his movie debut. The newcomer enjoyed a brief career on the New York stage before being snatched up by Hollywood, where a screen test impressed producer Mark Hellinger enough to take a chance on Lancaster over initial choices Wayne Morris and Sonny Tufts. Making a similarly strong impression on moviegoers was Gardner, who by that time had appeared in movies for five years in mostly decorative roles. The Killers gave her considerably more to chew on as Kitty, a gorgeous, duplicitous character tailor-made for film noir. As with Lancaster, her notices were glowing.


Christmas Holiday (1944)

It would be perfectly natural for someone to assume that a movie called Christmas Holiday (1944), starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, is a heartwarming, yuletide musical. That someone would be wrong—so very wrong.

Instead, the picture is a rather grim, workmanlike film noir, with a scene at midnight mass the only reference to the holiday of the title. Directed by Robert Siodmak, future director of The Spiral Staircase (1945) and The Killers (1946), the movie represented a radical, much-desired career departure for Durbin, Universal’s singing sweetheart, who considered it her best film.

The movie was based on a W. Somerset Maugham tale that took place in a Paris brothel; in Herman J. Mankiewicz’s screenplay, the Paris brothel became a New Orleans nightclub, and any reference to prostitution was thickly veiled. Durbin plays Jackie Lamont, a woman who marries a scoundrel (Kelly) whose crimes bring her down with him. He is arrested and receives a life sentence while she hits the skids and becomes a club “hostess.” The imprisoned husband escapes, is shot by pursuing cops and dies in Durbin’s arms.

Though a box office hit, it received mixed reviews, with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times viewing it as "the oldest sort of hat—the kind of dramatic farrago that was being played by faded stars ten years ago."


November 2

Burt Lancaster is born in New York City, 1913. The former circus acrobat shot to fame with his first movie, 1946’s The Killers, beginning a 43-year career on the silver screen. “I woke up one day a star,” Lancaster said. “It was terrifying. Then I worked hard toward becoming a good actor.” As evidenced by his performances in Criss Cross (1949), The Rose Tattoo (1955) and Sweet Smell of Success (1957), he became one. Oscar chimed in as well, validating his acting abilities four times: Best Actor nods for From Here to Eternity (1953), Bird Man of Alcatraz (1962) and Atlantic City (1980); he won by preaching fire and brimstone in Elmer Gantry (1960).

Regarding From Here to Eternity, Lancaster felt nervous acting opposite Montgomery Clift (above, left) who, Method to the core, actually got drunk in a scene where both he and Lancaster sat in the middle of a road, soused. Director Fred Zinnemann remarked, “Clift forced the other actors to be much better than they really were. That's the only way I can put it. He got performances from the other actors, he got reactions from the other actors that were totally genuine.” Lancaster recalled a moment early in the shoot: "The only time I was ever really afraid as an actor was that first scene with Clift. It was my scene, understand: I was the sergeant, I gave the orders, he was just a private under me. Well, when we started, I couldn't stop my knees from shaking. I thought they might have to stop because my trembling would show. I was afraid he was going to blow me right off the screen.”


August 28

The Killers opens in New York at the Winter Garden Theater in 1946. Based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, the film would see the debut of Burt Lancaster, with Ava Gardner on hand to ensure that the movie's sex appeal go through the roof. Prior to the movie's release, a special screening was arranged for Hemingway, armed a bottle of gin and a bottle of water to soften the impact of a bad movie. "Didn't need 'em!" he remarked, holding up the full bottles as he emerged from the screening.