When the Army-McCarthy hearings convened, on April 22, 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) was one of the most powerful and feared men in the United States. He had charged the military with “coddling Communists” within its ranks, while the Army countered that Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s chief aide, had threatened to “wreck” it. The battle was televised live across the country—a first for the new medium. 

John Cazale made only five movies in his brief, brilliant career, but man, what five movies: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter. Five movies. Five best picture nominations. Three best picture wins. Cazale’s films racked up a total of 40 Oscar nods, with 14 for his fellow actors. Yet Cazale himself was never nominated for an Academy Award. Now that Leonardo DiCaprio has won his overdue Oscar, perhaps it’s time for the Academy to correct another egregious oversight and award an honorary posthumous Oscar to the actor whose work defined 1970s cinema.

Truman Capote’s discovery that his mother was reading his private letters was the last straw. At 22, the writer packed his bags and left his home at 1060 Park Avenue in Manhattan for two rooms in 17 Clifton Place in the Borough of Kings. His 1946 rent: $10 a week. As he told the poet John Malcolm Brinnin, “I have changed addresses, have moved to a little lost mews in darkest Brooklyn.” After a subsequent decade of bouncing from address to address, Capote found the stability he craved in a beautiful basement apartment at 70 Willow Street, exclaiming to a reporter, “I love Brooklyn Heights. It’s the only place to live in New York.” 

As the lonely teen Plato in Rebel Without a Cause, Sal Mineo reminded the film’s director, Nicholas Ray, of his own son“only prettier.” Ray’s screen test of Mineo, James Dean and Natalie Wood, his Rebel leads, pulses with sexual heat between the two male stars. Audiences in 1955 might not have realized it, but Plato was the movies’ first gay teenager.

At the end of The Misfits, an aging cowboy and a former dancer have found each other and are heading home in the night. The final lines of the film, the last ever spoken by Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe on-screen, are a beautiful elegy for two of Hollywood’s greatest stars:

“How do you find your way back in the dark?”
“Just head for that big star straight on. The highway is under it. It’ll take us right home.”