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There are many old movies not widely known outside the classic film realm that I feel should have a wider audience. Some of these pictures have no headline-grabbing stars and may be so bad in parts that they plainly mesmerize me. Others are guilty pleasures, pure and simple. Regardless, there is something special about each of them that has me hooked. Many of these flicks are readily available on DVD or play occasionally on TV. In sharing these films with the real people and/or robots on the web, I hope to pass on the love so others can discover their appeal and become as obsessed with them as I am.
August 10, 2020
In early 2018, a post in a classic film Facebook group I’m part of announced that Barbara Stanwyck’s former home, Marwyck, would be open for tours right before TCMFF. I knew Stanwyck lived in the San Fernando Valley in the late 1930s, but I had no idea her house still stood – or was a registered landmark!
February 24, 2020
This year, Noir City Hollywood is going all out – and international! In the past, fans were usually treated to two movies per night across the 10-day extravaganza, sometimes with a triple or quadruple feature throw in for max noir effect. But this year’s calendar blows that out of the water.
August 19, 2019
Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and in the classic movie world, that signals one thing: Cinecon! For the last two years, out of town weddings have prohibited my full attendance at the fest, but this year I am FREE! (Well, save for work on Friday.) Cinecon 55 will present 46 programs, with many of the films projected on 35mm. I’ve only heard of about 5 of those selections, which is roughly 10%.
March 18, 2019
Noir City Hollywood is finally of age! In honor of their 21st year, the fest continues a theme they’ve celebrated previously, showcasing A and B films released in the same year—this time focusing on the 1950s. The program features a hearty mix of very well-known pictures (that I haven’t yet watched) and a handful of new-to-me rarities, which I always love. That said, below is my preview of Noir City Hollywood 21!
March 11, 2019
Besides the incredible guests TCM assembles for each film festival, my favorite moments are the exceptional programs they bring to Hollywood. As we inch closer to TCMFF #10, below is a list of my top 10 favorite TCMFF special presentations from years past.
February 18, 2019
Over the past nine years, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with TCMFF from a number of different angles: I volunteered in 2010 and 2013, accessed the fest through the standby line from 2010-2014, worked as a Social Producer in 2015 and 2016, and attended as a member of the media in 2017 and 2018. As TCMFF #10 looms on the horizon, I thought I’d share more about these rich and varied festival experiences.
January 28, 2019
Every other year, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presents the Festival of Preservation, and every other year, I eagerly wait for UCLA to unveil the lineup.
In years past, the Festival of Preservation has spread over the month of March. That said, this year I was both surprised and relieved to read that the event would take place over a weekend in February… until I saw the schedule, and my relief morphed into slight apprehension.
September 17, 2018
Cinecon 54 was a whirlwind for me! Despite a jam-packed weekend, I fit in six features and five shorts across three days of the festival. I was fortunate to catch several rare, must-see pictures, while also discovering a few new gems, which is what Cinecon is all about to me.
First day’s first: Thursday!
April 2, 2018
2018 is a milestone year for Noir City Hollywood, with the festival celebrating its 20th edition in Los Angeles. To commemorate two decades in the City of Angels, Noir City 20’s theme is – surprise! – the city itself. Having grown up in northern New Jersey where my first urban interaction was the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I've never come to think of Los Angeles as a city, but rather a series of interconnected suburbs, save for downtown.
February 26, 2018
“This story has been sitting in Van Nuys for 90 years,” Jason Wise, director of Wait for Your Laugh, declared of his subject, Rose Marie, at a Q&A at the Egyptian Theater on November 18, 2017. I for one am certainly glad that the almost century-long story was captured on film (actual film – both 35mm and 16mm) and even more so that Marie was able to witness its release and appreciate all the lovely praise the movie received before she passed away on December 28, 2017.
December 18, 2017
For a while, I've wanted to interview silent film accompanist/composer Cliff Retallick. Since I still haven't gotten around to actually inquiring about an interview, I was pleased when the Voyager Institute, "a lecture series that educates, invigorates, and exhilarates," announced that Retallick would participate in a silent film composition Q&A this past September.
November 13, 2017
Well, another successful UCLA Festival of Preservation wrapped... over seven months ago. (Better late than never, right?) Of the movies I saw, I'd call roughly one quarter of them gems and another quarter thoroughly entertaining. The rest? Some were so screwy that I found it hard to suppress my unintentional laughter, while others were simply, well, lackluster. So this year I decided to break my recap down into the good, the bad and the ugly/oddly compelling messes. Yup, just two. First up: the good!
May 8, 2017
The fabulous folks at Flicker Alley are at it again. And by 'it,' I mean creating and distributing a gorgeous box compilation, Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology, full of rare and many unjustly forgotten works by some of cinema's earliest female pioneers across the globe.
I'm excited to announce that I'm one of several bloggers participating in a giveaway of this brand new set. Want to win a free copy? Read on!
February 13, 2017
I can always count on TCM to throw some rare gem(s) almost no one knows about into their TCMFF schedule: at the 2014 festival, it was On Approval (1944); in 2015, Why Be Good? (1929) and in 2016, One Potato, Two Potato (1964).
As I noted in one of my wrap-up posts, a fire alarm interrupted the final few minutes of One Potato, Two Potato. Though the emotional impact of the uninterrupted picture would have arguably packed a stronger punch, the gut-wrenching ending nonetheless hit hard.
November 23, 2015
This piece was written for the fourth annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon hosted by Kellee (Outspoken and Freckled), Paula (Paula's Cinema Club) and Aurora (Once Upon a Screen). Please feel free to check out any of their sites for links to more pieces on character actors, classic and modern!
When you use the word 'character' in reference to Marsha Hunt, the discussion can veer in two very different directions. On one hand, her film work naturally comes up, for which she was once termed the "youngest character actress in America."
September 14, 2015
Each year, Cinecon Classic Film Festival takes place at the Egyptian Theater over Labor Day weekend. And each year, I'm out of town.
Despite this being Cinecon 51, and despite me being an American Cinematheque volunteer for the past three years (Cinecon takes place at the Cinematheque) I sadly never hear or see much marketing for the festival, which is a shame.
August 17, 2015
On a few rare occasions, I've loved watching a movie so much that I've had the urge to sit through the entire thing again. Immediately.
One of those films is 1935's Romance in Manhattan, which I first saw several years ago on TCM. The film stars Ginger Rogers and the relatively forgotten (today) Czech actor Francis Lederer. Perhaps because it was released at the beginning of a year that included, for Rogers, roles in Roberta and Top Hat, the movie is sadly not as well remembered today, though it's charming, funny, and quietly moving.
July 27, 2015
Every two years, when the UCLA Film and Television Archive hosts their Festival of Preservation, I can always count on a few rare pre-code selections. The pre-code screening I enjoyed most at the 2015 festival was 1932's Bachelor's Affairs, boasting a director I had never heard of, writers I didn't know, and a main cast consisting of actors usually billed at least 3rd or 4th in the credits.
This is a film capable of catching an audience off guard, and boy did it ever!
June 29, 2015
Obviously, it was not, but when I saw the movie, I had my suspicions.
The first time I watched Why Be Good? (original title: That's a Bad Girl) was at the 6th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival this year. Immediately after reviewing the schedule, this film made my must-see list for several reasons: 1. the film was thought lost for decades and only recently made available, 2. it was made in 1929 (you know what that means: PRE-CODE!) and 3. it's a sound/silent hybrid (no spoken dialogue but synced soundtrack and sound effects).
May 11, 2015
...Well, they did bet on women. Or more accurately, woman. Just one.
As I've mentioned several times, pre-codes always register on my must-see TCMFF list.
This year, I happily had the chance to watch three pre-codes on the big screen, including 1931's Don't Bet on Women, which saw enough of a crowd for its first screening that the film was given a second one.
Feburary 9, 2015
This post is part of the 3rd Annual 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken & Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club. It runs Feb. 2-24 and there are many, many participants, so please visit any of the three sites to expand your Oscar knowledge!
Irene Dunne enjoyed a career on screen which lasted from 1930-1952. Her movie career began a bit differently and later than most: Hollywood beckoned after she had a successful career on the stage in several musicals at the ripe old age of 32.
Feburary 2, 2015
Back in November 2014, the fine folks at Black Maria announced that they would be hosting their first ever classic film screening in Los Angeles on January 30, 2015. The movie: Libeled Lady (1936). The venue: The Silent Movie Theatre, aka The Cinefamily.
In addition to the fantastic venue and film, which happens to be one of my favorite classic comedies and one that I rarely see being screened, the Black Maria staff put together a truly wonderful evening.
August 11, 2014
For those who don't know, a movie exists in which Elizabeth Bennett/Madame Curie/Mrs. Miniver/Mrs. Parkington makes her entrance in a bath tub, dons a leotard for a musical number, AND shamelessly flirts with a number of men while legally married. Those reasons alone make Julia Misbehaves a must see for any Greer Garson fan, but beware: this isn't your grandmother's Greer Garson. It's 1948's, very much a reflection of that time in Garson's career and personal life.
June 23, 2014
Speaking from her home in California, Ms. Hunt graciously shared memories of her MGM days, which she calls the "happiest years" of her career. During our conversation, she discussed a variety of topics, including what it was like working at the famous studio, the types of roles she played while under contract, the one MGM movie she wished she'd been cast in but wasn't, and what crowd she hung out with most on the lot (hint: it wasn't her fellow actors).
May 19, 2014
Harry Mork: You get a kick out of people, don’t you?
Evie Jackson: As much as they let me.
Note: I got a BIG kick out of this delightful movie, and the word count reflects that. Spoilers may also abound.
April 21, 2014
“The children are possessed. They live...and know...and share this hell.” So believes Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) in Jack Clayton’s 1961 psychological thriller The Innocents. Anthony J. Mazzella, in his wonderful piece on the film in Henry James Goes to the Movies, remarked that The Innocents is “a never-ending nightmare” (29). If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know he means that in more ways than one. If you haven’t, proceed with caution (and then see the movie).
March 31, 2014
I See a Dark Stranger is a British movie made in 1946 starring Scottish actress Deborah Kerr as a naïve Irish girl who grew up hating the British so much that she accidently becomes a Nazi spy during WWII.
In case you were wondering, yes, it is a comedy.