A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch Grand Hotel (1932)

"Grand Hotel...always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens."Grand Hotel took home the Best Picture Oscar for MGM in 1933, beating another MGM release, The Champ, as well as Samuel Goldwyn's Arrowsmith, Fox's Bad Girl, First National's Five Star...

Disembodied: Waldo Lydecker, the Voice in the Dark in Laura (1944)

 "McPherson, if you know anything about faces, look at mine. How singularly innocent I look this morning. Have you ever seen such candid eyes?" "Laura considered me the wisest, the wittiest, the most interesting man she'd ever met. I was in complete accord with...

In Their Own Words: Joseph Cotten on Tallulah, The Third Man, Citizen Kane, and his friendship with Orson Welles

Joseph Cotten, who was born May 15, 1905, appeared in some of the best films of the 1940s, including Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Shadow of a Doubt, Gaslight, Portrait of Jennie, Lydia, and The Third Man. In 1982 he wrote a memoir, Vanity Will Get You...

TCMFF 2016: Recap of Saturday, Day 3: Vitaphone, Reiner, Gould, Karina

From my comfortable perch back at my friend's house in North Hollywood,  the intensity, mad dashes, glorious experiences, and occasional frustrations of TCMFF 2016 seem rather remote, Gentle Reader, but at this time a little over one week ago I was watching Dead Men...

Anatomy of a scorcher: Mary Astor on Filming the Steamy Kiss in Red Dust

Mary Astor's memoir A Life on Film is fantastic—she's a wonderful writer, and her sharp observations on the industry and what went on behind the cameras are fascinating and incredibly useful to anyone who writes about classic film.Astor writes of being asked by a bank...

Elizabeth Taylor’s Best Actress Oscars: BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Elizabeth Taylor won two Best Actress Oscars, for BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). The first she perhaps rightly dismissed as a pity vote. The second she won fair and square, and I hope it meant something to her. Until fairly recently I...

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch the Cinematic Collaboration of Humphrey Bogart and John Huston

John Huston and Humphrey Bogart made six movies together, six points of intersection over their long careers. Three of the six were crucial in the careers of both men: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), and The African Queen (1951)....

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch The Gang’s All Here (1943)

Fasten  your seat belts. The Gang's All Here is too much. It's the thrill ride of Hollywood musicals. If you've not seen it but have seen other Busby Berkeley movies you're thinking, Yeah, got it. But all the fabulous excesses of Berkeley in black-and-white pale in...

Dickie Moore (1925-2015), Lost and Found

Where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved... —H.I., Raising Arizona https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHbExzVqYZM It's an intense little face. The Cupid's Bow mouth and tiny, turned-up nose sit beneath large, dark,...

Strangers in a Strange Land Pt II: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Part II Deceit, Desire, and Survival: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934) A missionary wins the heart of a poetic warlord, a woman of mystery wins back her untrusting lover, and a promiscuous princess wins...

Strangers in a Strange Land: The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932), Shanghai Express (1932), and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Here are three pre-Code films about women from the West who find themselves in dangerous situations in exotic lands (China in two, Russia in the other). The women are thrown upon their own resources, their ability to adapt and survive, with little or no support or...

The Clock (1945)

The Clock (Vincente Minnelli), starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker, with scenes in the Central Park Zoo, Penn Station, The Astor Hotel, and atop a double-decker bus, a slightly surreal but benign after-hours interval in which Garland and Walker finish injured...