10 Classic Hollywood Screen Tests

Sometimes, in this age of gratuitously 3D movies, third-time-around remakes, and Saw IV, we look back with longing at the Golden Age of Hollywood, when the stars were glamorous, talented and tiger blood-free and studios were willing to take a chance on films that were more art than blockbuster. As far as we’re concerned, nothing’s better than a peek behind the scenes at an industry and time period we love, so we’ve been thrilled to see a lot of classic Hollywood screen tests pop up recently (especially over at Open Culture). In the interest of amateur film study and thinking about the good old days, we thought we’d compile a few of the best here for your old Hollywood dreaming and black and white swooning. So without any further ado, we present ten classic Hollywood screen tests, from Brando to Hepburn to Garland.

Marlon Brando as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause

In the mid 1940s, Warner Brothers started developing the film that would become Rebel Without a Cause, based on Robert Lindner’s book Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath. In 1947, they called 23-year old Marlon Brando in for a screen test, reading from a partial script. Though he’s pretty phenomenal in it (of course), the studio wasn’t ready to move on the project — in 1950 a new script was written, and in 1955, as we all know, James Dean appeared in the iconic film. Which brings us to…