Actor John Boles with extras from his latest musical, 'Redheads On Parade', 1935

The Rise of Hollywood’s “Extra Girls”

They didn't have to do anything besides stand around and look pretty. At least, that was the myth the studios wanted the public to believe.
Photograph: Female fans of Frank Sinatra gaze adoringly at a picture of him in a copy of Modern Screen magazine, c. 1950

Source: Getty

How Teenage Girls Invented Fandom

They were mocked for their obsession with movies. But the fan culture they constructed help build Hollywood.
Attack and take of the Crête-à-Pierrot (4 - march 24, 1802). Original illustration by Auguste Raffet

Sergei Eisenstein and the Haitian Revolution

Why was the legendary Soviet filmmaker rebuffed in his vision of putting history's most consequential slave revolt on screen?
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.
Hortense Powdermaker

When Hortense Powdermaker Studied Hollywood

This anthropologist's research on contemporary American society probes the tensions between business and art in the film world.
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.
Anna May Wong

Hollywood’s Asian American Heroes

Asian American detectives played by actors Anna May Wong and Keye Luke had a minor but notable place in 1930s and 40s Hollywood.
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.