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.

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.
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.
via Ernie Wolfe Gallery

How Ghanaian Artists Infused Hollywood with Spirituality

The cinema in 1980s Ghana was DIY. So were the movie posters, now the subject of an exhibition at the Poster House in New York City.
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.
Mary Pickford, 1916

Mary Pickford Knew Not to Take the First Offer

When the 17-year-old actress auditioned for her first film, director D.W. Griffith offered her $5 a day. That wasn’t good enough for Mary.