04:08 PM EDT 02/09/2016
Originally posted 01/10/2016 11:25AM
Though the new season began with a decidedly traditional event (fox hunting in 1925), even that aristocratic pastime was in flux. "After World War I, there were fewer hunters over smaller areas with considerably reduced prestige," Ruth Goodman, social historian and author of How to Be a Victorian, tells LIFE for its special commemorative Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes of the Iconic TV Show. "Great estates in financial trouble were being broken up into smaller units, and barbed wire was replacing traditional fencing and hedges."
Spoiler warning: If you don't want to know anything about what happens, skip this. Otherwise, read on!
Originally posted 12/18/2014 02:00PM
Dec. 15 marks the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind's premiere at the Atlanta Loews Grand Theater, and if you're a fan, LIFE's new book, Gone With the Wind: The Great American Movie, 75 Years Later, is exactly what you need in your life.
Originally posted 11/26/2014 03:30PM
The icon turned 75 on Wednesday
Originally posted 06/29/2013 10:30AM
Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of the end of an era – the day the larger-than-life Katharine Hepburn died. She was 96.
To mark her many great screen accomplishments – not to mention the influence she exerted on independent people in her lifetime – LIFE.com presents 29 photos of the iconoclast on location for her classic 1951 movie with Humphrey Bogart, director John Huston's The African Queen.
Over time, the characters behind the camera seem to have become more fascinating than those before it, but to recap: the movie is a down-river adventure pairing Charlie Allnutt (Bogie), a disheveled trader with a boat to match (The African Queen), and Rose Sayer (Hepburn), an English spinster missionary. (Director Huston told her to play the role as though she were Eleanor Roosevelt.) And, yes, this mismatched couple fall in love.
Originally posted 05/30/2013 08:20AM
He's remembered as the Master of Suspense, the commanding director of such classic thrillers as Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and Rear Window, but Alfred Hitchcock was also a patriot, and, in surprising news, a photojournalist.
In a 1942 photo essay the London-born Hitch did for Life magazine – and now appearing on LIFE.com (click here) – the respected filmmaker "directs" a riveting picture story about how wartime rumors can dangerously grow in small-town America.
"Between 1940 and 1945, Hitch made films for England's Ministry of Information as well as several excellent movies featuring plots that centered on the war," it is explained in the text accompanying the 18 photos.
Originally posted 12/23/2012 01:30PM
It's the sentimental family favorite that easily induces tears for its heartfelt final scenes, but when it came to creating a winter wonderland for his 1946 It's a Wonderful Life, producer-director Frank Capra was one tough taskmaster.
He wanted real snow – not the painted corn flakes Hollywood was accustomed to passing off as the white stuff – to blanket his setting, the town of Bedford Falls, reports Life.com in its special feature with never-before-seen on-set photos from the holiday classic.
To achieve his goal, Capra – who trained as an engineer as a student at Cal Tech before becoming the talkies' first true stylist, as an Oscar-winning director for Columbia Pictures – collaborated with RKO studio's special effects expert Russell Sherman.
Originally posted 02/25/2012 09:30AM
She went on to be nominated four more times – but Audrey Hepburn's first Oscars was the night she brought home the gold.
The actress, nominated for her royal role in the 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday, was named Best Actress at the 1954 Academy Awards. Now, Life.com has a look back at that night and many other glamorous moments from Oscars' past in a new gallery.
"I want to say thank you to everybody who in these past months and years have helped, guided and given me so much," Hepburn said on stage that night while accepting her award. "I'm truly, truly grateful – and terribly happy."
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