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 wyler (6)

Sunday
Jan172016

January 17

Shooting ends on Jezebel, 1938. The antebellum drama earned Bette Davis her second Oscar, elevated the career of Henry Fonda, and was well received by audiences and critics. But getting there was an exercise in patience, as delays seemed to plague the production at every turn. A chief cause was director William Wyler’s nature to shoot multiple takes. On the first day, for example, a dress shop scene was filmed 28 times. Another shot where Bette Davis lifts her skirt with a riding crop took 45 takes. And the Olympus Ball scene, scheduled for a half-day shoot, took Wyler five days to finish. Jane Fonda caused one of the interruptions simply by being born and pulling papa Henry away from work for a while. For a week and a half, Wyler had to wait before he could shoot any close-ups of Bette Davis due to an ill-timed pimple on her nose. And, finally, Davis was out sick on what was supposed to be the last day of filming, dragging the production a total of 29 days over schedule.

James Earl Jones is born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, 1931. Though the acclaimed actor is famous for his resonant, sonorous voice—as Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy, Mustafa in The Lion King (1994) and that fellow on TV who says “This is CNN!”—his ability to speak fluently was a challenge. “One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter,” said the actor about the stutter that plagued him throughout his life. As a schoolchild, he dealt with it by writing poetry that he would read aloud to the class. Acting lessons later in life helped him further control the problem and, in 1964, Jones made his movie debut as a bombardier in Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. He reprised his 1969 Tony Award-winning performance as boxer Jack Jefferson in the 1970 film version of The Great White Hope (above, with costar Jane Alexander). The performance earned him an Oscar nod as Best Actor. Jones has worked steadily in television and theater and, to date, has made more than 70 films.

Friday
Jan022015

Myrna Loy

As Milly Stephenson in the acclaimed post-war drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Myrna Loy was the embodiment of patience and understanding as her returning-soldier husband Al (Fredric March) adjusted to civilian life. The William Wyler film represented the zenith of her “perfect wife” persona, an identity the actress gracefully cultivated years earlier in the Thin Man movie series opposite screen husband William Powell.

“Some perfect wife I am. I've been married four times, divorced four times, have no children and can't boil an egg.”
— Myrna Loy

Wednesday
Dec192012

Oscars 1942: World at War

Thoughts about World War II colored the evening, as attendees were told to eschew formal garb for the second year in a row. Privates Tyrone Power and Alan Ladd opened with show by unfurling the American flag while Jeanette MacDonald sang the national anthem. Mrs. Miniver, a William Wyler-directed drama about a British family during the early years of the war, took many of the top honors, including Best Picture, Director, Actress and Supporting Actress. And the Academy saw fit to recognize all the allied countries, military branches and studios that produced a documentary about the war, resulting in a record 25 nominees for Best Documentary. In an equally unusual move, there were four winners: The Battle of Midway (above), directed by John Ford for the United States Navy, Kokoda Front Line! from the Australian News and Information Bureau, Moscow Strikes Back from Artkino and Prelude to War from the United States Army Special Services.

BEST PICTURE
Mrs. Miniver

BEST DIRECTOR
William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver

BEST ACTOR
James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy

BEST ACTRESS
Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Van Heflin, Johnny Eager

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Teresa Wright, Mrs. Miniver

Tuesday
Apr032012

William Wyler on The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

I have to have a script. I need a story that I like and that I think will make a good picture. I don’t go out improvising scenes as a rule, though if I can think of something that’s better than what was written, of course, I’d do that. But you’ve got to have a basis for what you’re going to do if you don’t get a better idea. I think a director is bound to make small changes, contributions to the screenplay, without necessarily being a writer. I’m not a writing director, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make changes.

An example is in The Best Years of Our Lives where we had Dana Andrews walking around the airfield seeing all these obsolete airplanes, which never saw action. All the script said was, “He walks around thinking of how the war had done him in.” But it’s because I did The Memphis Belle and rode in a bombardier’s compartment on a few missions that I got the idea that he would climb up into his own plane and have a dream and lose himself in the dream, or rather in hallucination. It was all invented on the spot because the airfield, those obsolete planes, were conducive to the basic idea of the film, of the man feeling lost. It would all come back in his mind, and he would hear in his mind’s eye the motors going, even though there were no motors there. It occurred to me that it would be good to hear each motor start, as before takeoff, over shots of the empty nacelles, as part of his hallucination. If I made the picture today, I would end it right there. I think it would be a better ending.

Tuesday
Mar272012

March 27

This is the last day the Hollywood Production Code prohibited the depiction of policemen, detectives and other crime fighters dying at the hands of criminals, 1951. The amended Production Code allowed for Detective Story, a film adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s 1950 Broadway play, to keep its original ending—the murder of shamus Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas)—as long as it was “absolutely necessary to the development of the plot,” according to the powers that be. William Wyler directed the 1951 film noir, which also starred Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O’Donnell and, in her first movie, Lee Grant. Wyler, Parker, Grant and writers Philip Yordan and Robert Wyler all received Oscar nods.