Hollywood

How does one choose a list of great historical films? Is the emphasis on great or historical? And how far should one be willing to compromise with either? Read more >>

What are the 10 greatest movies ever about the Civil War?

THE PLACE where the greatest early movie stars built their final homes is returning to life

All across America there are restaurants that serve up the spirit and conviviality of eras long past

Mr. Henry Erkins had a flash of inspiration in 1908. He could see every detail of it in his mind. Read more >>

A BOLD NEW KIND OF COLLEGE COURSE BRINGS the student directly to the past, nonstop, overnight, in squalor and glory, for weeks on end

For a century and a half Germans have been deeply ambivalent about the United States, and their contradictory feelings say much about their future in Europe and the world

In 1989 the Berlin wall came down. A year later the unimaginable had become a reality: Germany, divided in 1945, was reunified, and it was beginning to raise a major voice not only in Europe but also in world politics. Read more >>

Desperate improvisations in the face of imminent disaster saw us through the early years of the fight. They also gave us the war’s greatest movie.

America’s favorite World War II movie has led a charmed life. While it was being filmed, each looming disaster turned out to be a cleverly disguised blessing, and after its completion everything that could go right did go right. Read more >>

In 1932 the Communist International paid to send a cast of American blacks to Moscow to make a movie about American racial injustice. The scheme backfired.

In 1932, while Scarface, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Read more >>

No less a fan than President Wilson said “The Birth of a Nation” was “like writing history with Lightning.” Movies have taught everybody else history too.

When the 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty failed to enchant local audiences, a distributor begged MGM to make “no more pictures where they write with feathers.” Read more >>

It was a great life being a contract writer for a major studio during the high noon of the American movie industry—but it could also be a nightmare. A survivor recalls the pleasures and ardors of working at 20th Century-Fox forty years ago.

“COME ON OUT, DAD. SWANIE.” These homely words unlocked the gates of paradise, opened the road to fortune and easy living. They were from my West Coast agent, H. N. Read more >>

With the Depression pushing the studio toward bankruptcy, Warner Brothers had to resort to crime—and crime paid so well that the company was able to recruit the toughest guys that ever shot up a sound stage.

JACK WARNER RAN HIS organization the same way Al Capone ran his: ruthlessly. The problem was that, unlike Capone, he couldn’t simply wipe out the competition. Read more >>

It was a suburb of orange blossoms and gardens, of gracious homes and quiet, dignified lives—until a regrettable class of people moved in.

THE IDEA OF HOLLYWOOD as a boomtown would not have surprised those who lived there as this century began, for they worked hard toward that very ideal. Read more >>

The Dean of American Movie Men at Seventy-Five

Ragtime and Reds

Hollywood ordinarily leaves American history well alone. But two of the winter’s big movies turn out to be meditations on early twentieth-century America. Ragtime , drawn from E. L. Read more >>

The curious career of the Hays Office

The comparisons were inevitable. Just a year earlier, in 1921, organized baseball had tried to counter the effects of the Black Sox scandal by appointing the august Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to the newly created position of commissioner. Read more >>
The Plains Acrossi The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60 by John D. Unruh, Jr. University of Illinois Press Illustrations, tables, maps 565 pages, $20.00 Read more >>
Tallulah Bankhead called it “the most gruesomely named hotel in the western hemisphere.” Others, perhaps thinking of its curious architecture or the monumental hangovers that accompanied its boozy high life, called it simply the most gruesome hotel. Read more >>
The last of the major silent films, made shortly before sound engulfed the movie industry in 1928, may not have been golden, but they glittered brightly. Read more >>

Superstar of the Silents

In early Hollywood there lived a King. He was married to a Queen. Her name was Mary, and she was a Golden Girl. He was dashing and marvellously graceful and young—above all young. Youth was very American, and besides, it was essential to the King Read more >>

In his old age, William Randolph Hearst did a stately pleasure dome decree, and yet the secret river, youth, escaped him