The Masculinization of Little Lord Fauntleroy

The 1936 movie Little Lord Fauntleroy broke box office records, only to be toned down and masculinized amid cultural fears of the “sissified” male.
Jeanne Cagney in Quicksand

How Film Noir Tried to Scare Women out of Working

In the period immediately following World War II, the femme fatale embodied a host of male anxieties about gender roles.
Frank Sinatra, Kim Charney, Nancy Gates & Sterling Hayden in Suddenly, 1954

The Sinatra Movie Some Blamed for JFK’s Death

In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra starred in Suddenly, a movie that happens to depict a plot against the President.
Madame Sul-Te-Wan (left) in Maid of Salem, 1937

Madame Sul-Te-Wan’s Forgotten Brilliant Career

The mysteriously named Madame Sul-Te-Wan was the first black actress to land a Hollywood studio contract.
Lloyd Corrigan (left) and José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac

McCarthyism at the Oscars

As José Ferrer was being handed his Oscar—making him the first Latino actor to win—he was being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
A still from The Lodger, 1927

Hitchcock’s Transition from London to Hollywood

In England, Alfred Hitchcock cultivated a comedic sensibility that shines through in his Hollywood thrillers.
Employees of the Fleischer Studios picket the New Criterion Theater in New York to protest against the showing of Popeye and other cartoons drawn by striking Fleischer artists, 1937.

The Great Animation Strike

Animation workers took to the streets, carrying signs with bleakly humorous slogans. One read: “I make millions laugh but the real joke is our salaries.”
A scene from The Christmas Angel

The Theatrical Magic of The Christmas Angel

The silent film director Georges Melies made a unique and wonderful Christmas film by borrowing the theatrical techniques of French “feeries.”
from The Battle of San Pietro

The War Documentary That Never Was

John Huston's 1945 movie The Battle of San Pietro presents itself as a war documentary, but contains staged scenes. What should we make of it?
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

How Local TV Made “Bad” Movies a Thing

Weekly shows on local TV stations helped make the ironic viewing of bad movies into a national pastime.