Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edward_G._Robinson_and_Joan_Bennett_in_%27Scarlet_Street%27,_1946.jpg

How Fritz Lang’s Flight from Nazi Germany Shaped Hollywood

German expressionism--imported to Hollywood by Jewish exiles--brought a lasting tradition of shadows, duality, and mirroring to mainstream American cinema.
Thomas Edison's 1896 silent film "The Kiss" featuring May Irwin and John C. Rice.

The First Movie Kiss

The public fascination was so intense that fans soon started demanding live reenactments.
Reefer Madness

Marijuana Panic Won’t Die, but Reefer Madness Will Live Forever

Originally produced as an exploitation film that drew on racial stereotypes, the ironic revival of Reefer Madness made it a cult classic for stoners.
Laurette Luez

Hollywood Cast Laurette Luez as a One-Size-Fits-All “Exotic”

Like many actresses of her day, Laurette Luez was expected to be a beautiful siren in skimpy clothing who could be from almost anywhere—just not here.

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.