Grand Illusions

By the time L. Frank Baum introduced the world to Dorothy and the gang, he’d already made his name as a shop window dresser par excellence.
From the 1923 film, Love, Life and Laughter

How “Talkies” Disrupted Movies for Deaf People

The years of silent films are sometimes described as a "golden era" in the cultural history of the American Deaf community.
From THEM!, 1954

Fear of an Insect Planet

"Big bug movies" of the 1950s have been interpreted as projections of nuclear anxieties. But what if they were about...actual fear of bugs?
Martin and Osa Johnson

How Two Kansans Invented the Safari Documentary

Martin and Osa Johnson were celebrities in their day, but their vision of Africa was way out of touch with reality.
An illustration from the Bantam edition of Graham Greene's The Quiet American

When the CIA Was Everywhere—Except on Screen

Hollywood was just fine avoiding all portrayals of the Central Intelligence Agency for years after the agency's founding in 1947.
A still from The Private Life of Cats

The Private Life of a Cat

Maya Deren was a fringe filmmaker who existed far outside the Hollywood machine, but she often borrowed its tactics to promote herself and her movies.
A poster for FluxFest

You, Too, Can Screen an Experimental Film

In the 1960s and '70s, where and how a film was shown was often as important as the work itself.
Johnny Cash poses for a portrait for a publicity shot for his movie debut in "Door-to-Door Maniac" aka "Five Minutes To Live" on Auust 3, 1960 in Los Angeles, California.

The Complications of “Outlaw Country”

Johnny Cash grappled with the many facets of the outlaw archetype in his feature acting debut, Five Minutes to Live.
A photograph of Terry Southern and a still from Dr. Strangelove

Terry Southern’s Lucid Absurdities

From his novels Candy and The Magic Christian to his work on Dr. Strangelove and Barbarella, Terry Southern sought to expose madness.