Two police officers in full riot gear arrest a Black man during a breakout of rioting and looting on the West side of Detroit, Michigan, July 23, 1967.

The Detroit Rebellion

From 1964 to 1972, at least 300 U.S. cities faced violent upheavals, the biggest led by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, in Detroit.
A still from Princess Nicotine

The Exploding Women of Early 20th Century “Trick Films”

In “trick films,” women were shown literally exploding over kitchen accidents—the early 1900s way of mining humor out of human tragedies.
A protest of Gone With the Wind organized by the D.C. chapter of the National Negro Congress

White Hollywood’s Romance with the N-Word

It would have been easy for censors to just ban the racist epithet during the classical era of film. Here's why it didn't happen.
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.”
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?
From an advertisement for a model kit tie in for the film The Silent Star, also released as First Spaceship on Venus

Socialist Sci-Fi Reimagined the Future

The 1960 East German film The Silent Star provided a significant cautionary tale for the Cold War era.
Greta Garbo

Makeup in the Technicolor Age

When Technicolor changed the face of the film industry, it also altered the cosmetics industry, sparking the great Hollywood Powder Puff War of the 1930s.
Phantasmagoria

The Magic Lantern Shows that Influenced Modern Horror

Eighteenth and early nineteenth century audiences were delighted and horrified by these spectral apparitions conjured in dark rooms.
Mae West Belle of the Nineties

The End of American Film Censorship

The Hays Code, a censorship system that saw movies as "business, pure and simple," kept Hollywood on a short leash... until a 1952 Supreme Court decision declared it unconstitutional.
America Under Communism

How Hollywood Thrived Through the Red Scare

A young Richard Nixon started asking studio executives why they didn't produce anti-Communist movies. The studios quickly responded with anti-Red films.