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?
The Lumpy Pearls That Enchanted the Medicis
There’s a specific term for these irregular pearls: “baroque,” from the Portuguese barroco.
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.
The Incredibly True Story of Fake Headlines
Are you still reading? Editors frequently use this space to include important contextual information about a news story.
What Happened to Tagging?
Tags decentralized and democratized the organization of information. What became of "social tagging?"
In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red
The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.
The Man Whose Face Got Stuck Like That
No one could have predicted Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s turn to the bizarre.
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.
“Meet John Doe” Shows the Darkness of American Democracy
Meet John Doe, Frank Capra’s 1941 drama, carries forward the populist themes of his other movies, only with a much darker premise.
A Roman Feast… of Death!
The banquet hall was painted black from ceiling to floor. By the pale flicker of grave lamps, the invited senators coud make out a row of tombstones.