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 miracle of morgan's creek (2)

Tuesday
Jun282016

Betty Hutton

Betty Hutton is not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure. When she performs, she seems to employ every molecule in her body and play to the very back row of the theater—the one across town. Called “a vitamin pill with legs” by Bob Hope, she makes those around her seem sedate and sluggish by comparison. Hutton has torn through a total of 22 movies throughout her career, with her most famous role being Annie Oakley in the MGM musical Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Her portrayal of Trudy Kockenlocker in The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) runs an arguably close second.

Born in 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan, Hutton was two years old when her father bolted. Mother took Betty to Detroit and found work in the automobile industry before opening her own speakeasy. When she discovered that Betty could sing, she pushed her into any opportunity that would allow the youngster to display her pipes, and, by the age of 13, Betty was singing with local bands. She was still a teen when she hit Broadway in Panama Hattie, starring Ethel Merman. It is unclear what happened early in the run of that show—whether Hutton had one of her numbers cut, and if Merman was behind it—but Buddy DeSylva, the show’s producer, saw great promise in her and vowed to have Paramount Studios take a look.

She could toss off a novelty number with gusto, but she also had a lovely way with a ballad, delivered tenderly in her smoky, slightly raspy voice. Paramount signed her and put her in a couple of musical shorts before she made her first feature-length picture, The Fleet’s In (1942). A proven musical talent, Paramount threw a screwball comedy her way, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944), and confirmed their suspicions that she could make an audience chuckle. “Nobody ever let me act except Preston Sturges,” Hutton once remarked about her Morgan’s Creek director. “He believed in me.”

Audiences believed in her, too, and the Sturges comedy was followed by a string of hits throughout the 1940s, marred only by the critical and box office flop Dream Girl in 1948. She bounced back quickly, though, and by 1950 she was back on top, famously replacing an erratic Judy Garland in Annie Get Your Gun. Hutton’s success in the Irving Berlin musical would be one of her last, and, by the mid-1950s, her career had quieted down significantly.

In her book, The Star Machine, author Jeanine Basinger neatly sums up the actress’s uniqueness: “Hutton keeps nothing in reserve. She hops, she leaps, she mugs, and she grimaces. She throws herself on the floor, jumps up and down, and emits war whoops. She twitches and she tics, but you don’t have to worry that she’s going to fly apart on you the way you fear Judy Garland will…Betty Hutton is many people’s guilty pleasure, but some feel the need to explain her or even apologize for her. Why not just say it right out? She’s nuts, and I love her.”

Here are a dozen pictures that reveal what Betty Hutton the Movie Star is all about.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep122011

Dialogue by Preston Sturges

There is a kind of gentle, eccentric raucousness running through the best of Preston Sturges's movies, from The Great McGinty (1940), whose prologue we posted a while back, to a half dozen films that continue the charming, absurdist tone: The Lady Eve (1941), Sullivan's Travels (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) and Unfaithfully Yours (1948). Here are a few snippets of dialogue from those films.

Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck): I need him like the ax needs the turkey.
The Lady Eve (1941)

Wienie King (Robert Dudley): Cold are the hands of time that creep along relentlessly, destroying slowly but without pity that which yesterday was young. Alone our memories resist this disintegration and grow more lovely with the passing years. Heh! That’s hard to say with false teeth!
The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Sir Alfred De Carter (Rex Harrison): Have you ever heard of Russian Roulette?
Daphne De Carter (Linda Darnell): Why, certainly. I used to play it all the time with my father.
Sir Alfred De Carter: I doubt that you played Russian Roulette all the time with your father!
Daphne De Carter: Oh, I most certainly did. You play it with two decks of cards, and…
Sir Alfred De Carter: That’s Russian Bank. Russian Roulette’s a very different amusement which I can only wish your father had played continuously before he had you!
Unfaithfully Yours (1948) 

The Girl (Veronica Lake): I liked you better as a bum.
John Lloyd Sullivan (Joel McCrea): I can’t help what kind of people you like.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert): Don’t you know that the greatest men in the world have told lies and let things be misunderstood if it was useful to them? Didn’t you ever hear of a campaign promise?
The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Constable Kockenlocker (William Demarest): The trouble with kids is they always figure they’re smarter than their parents. Never stop to think if their old man could get by for 50 years and feed ‘em and clothe ‘em, he maybe had something up here to get by with. Things that seem like brain twisters to you might be very simple for him.
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)

Gerald (Melville Cooper): I can’t understand how the horse ran fifth!
Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck): There were only five horses in the race. What do you expect when you bet on a goat called “After You?”
The Lady Eve (1941)

[discussing a prior “serious” film]
Mr. LeBrand (Robert Warwick): It died in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Hadrian (Porter Hall): Like a dog!
John Lloyd Sullivan (Joel McCrea): Aw, what do they know in Pittsburgh…
Mr. Hadrian: They know what they like.
John Lloyd Sullivan: If they knew what they liked, they wouldn’t live in Pittsburgh.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Sergeant Heppelfinger (William Demarest): I guess you never got to know your father very well, eh?
Woodrow Truesmith (Eddie Bracken): Well, not exactly…as he fell the day I was born.
Sergeant Heppelfinger: That’s right. It’s hard to realize. He was a fine looking fellow. He didn’t look anything like you at all.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

Detective Sweeney (Edgar Kennedy): You handle Handel like nobody handles Handel. And your Delius—delirious!
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

J. D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee): That’s one of the tragedies of this life—that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous.
The Palm Beach Story (1942)

John Lloyd Sullivan (Joel McCrea): I want this picture to be a commentary on modern conditions. Stark realism. The problems that confront the average man!
Mr. LeBrand (Robert Warwick): But with a little sex in it.
John Lloyd Sullivan: A little, but I don’t want to stress it. I want this picture to be a document. I want to hold a mirror up to life. I want this to be a picture of dignity! A true canvas of the suffering of humanity!
Mr. LeBrand: But with a little sex in it.
John Lloyd Sullivan: [reluctantly] With a little sex in it.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)