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 walter brennan (5)


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


Oscars 1938: One Performance, Three Oscars

Spencer Tracy’s performance as Father Flanagan—the priest who founded a home for orphaned boys in Nebraska—became, through a series of errors, a windfall where Oscar statuettes were concerned. In the day or two following the ceremony, an Oscar arrived at the Tracy home with the name “Dick Tracy” inscribed on it. Sent back for the proper inscription, the award was then, without Tracy’s knowledge, promised by an MGM publicist to be dedicated to Father Flanagan and donated to Boys Town. Tracy agreed only if the Academy would give him a duplicate to keep. The Academy acquiesced and everybody won.

You Can’t Take It with You

Frank Capra, You Can’t Take It with You

Spencer Tracy, Boys Town

Bette Davis, Jezebel

Walter Brennan, Kentucky

Fay Bainter, Jezebel


Oscars 1936: Acting Firsts

Oscars for supporting performances were a new thing at the eighth annual Academy Awards ceremony—an attempt by Academy President Frank Capra to appease actors in general and the Screen Actors Guild in particular. The first Best Supporting Actress Oscar went to Gale Sondergaard for Anthony Adverse, her screen debut. The inaugural Best Supporting Actor trophy went to character actor Walter Brennan who, over the course of the next four years, made collecting Oscars a habit—after Come and Get It, he won again for Kentucky (1938) and The Westerner (1940).

The Great Ziegfeld

Frank Capra, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Paul Muni, The Story of Louis Pasteur

Luise Rainer, The Great Ziegfeld

Walter Brennan, Come and Get It

Gale Sondergaard, Anthony Adverse


Howard Hawks on Red River (1948)

In Red River, I wanted [John] Wayne to get his finger caught between the rope and the saddle horn and come in with it all mangled. Then Walter Brennan would look at it and say, “That finger isn’t going to be much good to you.” Wayne says, “No, it isn’t.” Brennan would say, “Get a jug and build the fire up good and get me a chopping block.” They’d start feeding him some liquor, and Brennan would say, “I guess he’s ready,” and he puts Wayne’s finger on the block and Brennan sharpens up the knife and cuts it off. Wayne wasn’t even supposed to know that it was cut off. But then his line was, “Where’s my finger? A man ought to be buried whole.” The scene ended with a bunch of fellows looking through the ashes for the finger. Wayne said to me, “You think that’s funny?” “Yeah,” I said, “but we don’t have to do it.” He said, “I don’t think it’s funny.” I said, “Okay, I’ll do it with some actor who’s better than you are.” And I did it with Kirk Douglas in The Big Sky, who isn’t nearly as good as Wayne. I think it’s the only time they laughed at Douglas. Wayne saw it and came around and said, “Well, I was wrong again. If you tell me a funeral is funny, I’ll do it.

When I hired [Montgomery] Clift he’d never made a picture before, and we took a look at him and Wayne said, “”Couldn’t you have gotten somebody who could stand up to me a little bit?” I said, “I think he can stand up to you pretty well.” We made the very first scene and he came over to me and said, “That kid is going to be good.” He said, “He looks like he’s just figuring that he can take me apart at any time and isn’t worried about it. One thing thoughwe can’t have a fight. It would be silly.” “Well,” I said, “you’re a lot bigger and it would be silly, but it wouldn’t be silly if you tripped and he kicked you in the face first.” “Okay, let him kick me in the face.” And we did it that way and it made a perfectly good fight. We had an awful time because Monty Clift couldn’t throw a punch. It took us three days.

[Clift] had something you rarely see todayhe really wanted to work. He went out for two weeks with a box lunch and a cowboy and they didn’t come back all day. At the end of those two weeks he could ride a horse, he could handle a gun and he could even make a special little mount to get into the saddle. He worked like the devil.


September 21

Walter Brennan dies of emphasyma in Oxnard, California, 1974. The character actor was Academy Award-nominated four times for Best Supporting Actor. He won three times, all within a five-year span: for Come and Get It (1936), Kentucky (1938) and The Westerner (1940). Though Jason Robards and Shelley Winters came close, no other actor has won as many supporting performance Oscars.