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 william holden (8)

Friday
Jan292016

January 29

Jimmy Durante dies of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California, 1980. “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are” was the comic actor’s standard sign-off for his television, radio and nightclub appearances. Who Mrs. Calabash was, exactly, was a mystery to his audiences for the bulk of his career. One theory was that it was in reference to Lurlene Calabash, a character played by Billie Dove in Blondie of the Follies (1932), in which Durante starred. Other speculation drifted towards a favorite restaurant of Durante and his wife Jeanne that was located in Calabash, North Carolina. As the story goes, the actor wished to publicly honor the owner, whose name he never learned, and thus “Mrs. Calabash” was born. In 1966, Durante finally revealed that his catch phrase was a tribute to Jeanne, who died in 1943. It remains unclear if Calabash refers to the Carolina town they both liked, or his wife’s alleged mispronunciation of Calabasas, a town about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles where the Durantes resided the final years of Jeanne’s life.

Alan Ladd dies from a combination of alcohol and sedatives in Palm Springs, California, 1964. “Introducing Alan Ladd as Raven” is how he was billed in This Gun for Hire (1942), Ladd’s 34th feature film and the one that made him a star. What followed were a series of similar tough-guy roles, six more opportunities to work with Veronica Lake and an immense popularity that lasted throughout the ‘40s. His last big hit was Shane (1953), a role he won after Montgomery Clift and William Holden proved unavailable. As the decade progressed, Ladd’s career waned and his drinking increased. In November 1962, a suicide attempt left him unconscious with a bullet wound in his chest. Speculation continues over whether his fatal overdose in 1964 was deliberate or accidental.

Thursday
Jan142016

January 14

Ronald and Nancy Reagan screen Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) at Camp David, 1989. It is almost certain that the Reagans would have screened a different movie—or no movie at all, perhaps—had the studio’s first choice for the male lead accepted the part. Robert Mitchum ended up passing on the project, leaving Barbara Stanwyck top-billed with Ronald Reagan in this Allan Dwan-directed drama about ranchers and stolen cattle in Montana. It would be the last movie the President and First Lady would see during Reagan's administration, which would end six days later when George H. W. Bush assumed the White House.

Faye Dunaway is born in Bascom, Florida, 1941; Peter Finch dies of a heart attack in Beverly Hills, 1977. Both actors had lead roles in Network (1976), writer Paddy Chayefsky’s satire of television, though neither Diana Christensen, Dunaway’s driven, deeply neurotic TV executive, nor Howard Beale, Finch’s unhinged evening news anchorman, ever communicated directly with one another over the course of the story. The Beale role was a challenge to cast, with Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, George C. Scott and Gene Hackman all turning it down. Australian actor Finch went after it, finally convincing director Sidney Lumet that he could affect an American accent by sending him tapes of himself reading The New York Times. Receiving stellar reviews, the film raked in 10 Oscar nominations, including nods for actors Dunaway, Finch, William Holden, Beatrice Straight and Ned Beatty. The day after appearing on The Tonight Show to promote the film, Finch collapsed and died in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. On Oscar night, Chayefsky, Dunaway, Finch and Strait were all awarded statuettes, with Finch become the first actor to receive one posthumously.

Monday
Sep292014

Upper Crust / Lower Manhattan

A dapper William Holden, as wealthy playboy David Larrabee, poses with a Nash-Healey sports car during the shoot of Billy Wilder's romantic comedy Sabrina, 1954.

Friday
May232014

Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2014: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Boulevard is a beautiful example of why I love motion pictures, the most freakishly collaborative popular art form going. At the front end of the moviemaking beast there are writers, producers, agents, casting directors, costumers and set designers. Then cast and crew show up to shoot the darn thing. And bringing up the rear are editors, musicians, marketers, distributors, exhibitors and, of course, audiences. If any one of the creative components falls short, the results are often less than thrilling and sometimes downright horrible. When it all comes together, with everyone involved at the top of their game and every element expertly crafted, you get Sunset Boulevard.

Actress Nancy Olson, who plays script reader Betty Shaefer opposite William Holden’s out-of-work writer Joe Gillis, talked to moviegoers after the screening about the making of the film and, in the process, showed the audience that it is possible for a woman in her eighties to look at least 20 years younger than she is. Age is a theme of the movie, certainly, as 50-year-old silent screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) hitches her star to the much-younger Gillis in a deluded effort at a big screen comeback in a vehicle better suited for an actress in her late teens or early twenties. The character of Norma Desmond has been reinterpreted often, parodied by Carol Burnett on her 1970s TV show and, in the 1990s, portrayed by the likes of Glenn Close, Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Petula Clark, Diahann Carroll and others in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical version. But it’s tough to improve on the towering performance by Swanson, who strikes a fragile balance of theatricality, humanity, desperation and grit. She’s simply breathtaking.

Sunday
Aug252013

Stars on Stars: 30 Candid Opinions Of and By Famous Movie Folk

Any film buff worth a bag of beans knows full well the scope, richness and value of the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb.com. There, one can pick up dry statistics—like Wilson (1944) costing $4 million to make and raking in a mere $2 million—or juicier tidbits like Jayne Mansfield having to guzzle champagne before doffing her garments in Promises! Promises! (1963), “the first movie in which a mainstream actress appeared nude.” Our favorite part of the site, however, is Personal Quotes, found within the Biography section, wherein an actor or director remarks about their upbringing, work philosophy, on-the-set experiences and so forth. The quotes are undoubtedly culled from interviews and biographies, and one can be certain that a few are misquoted or the product of reputation and myth. Nevertheless, here is a small selection that caught our eye—30 candidly specific and entertaining snippets from actors discussing their peers.

Bing Crosby on Judy Garland
There wasn't a thing that gal couldn't do—except look after herself.

Joan Crawford on Greta Garbo
She's let herself go all to hell. She walks along the sidewalk and runs across the street through the cars when somebody notices her, like an animal, a furtive rodent. It's a wonder anybody notices her—she looks like a bag lady. I heard that she's simply stopped bathing.

Cary Grant on Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean
I have no rapport with the new idols of the screen, and that includes Marlon Brando and his style of Method acting. It certainly includes Montgomery Clift and that godawful James Dean. Some producer should cast all three of them in the same movie and let them duke it out. When they've finished each other off, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy and I will return and start making real movies again like we used to.

Robert Mitchum on working with Faye Dunaway
When I got here I walked in thinking I was a star and then I found I was supposed to do everything the way she says. Listen, I'm not going to take any temperamental whims from anyone, I just take a long walk and cool off. If I didn't do that, I know I'd wind up dumping her on her derrière.

William Holden on Humphrey Bogart
I hated that bastard.

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