I think I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that I lost both of my parents in recent years. I don’t mention it to elicit sympathy, it’s just that they were such a huge influence on my life and did so much to shape the person that I am today, that I can’t help but reminisce about them on occasion. I often get nostalgic for the past because I have so many great memories of spending time with them that I will always cherish.
One of the things I did a lot of growing up as an extremely shy kid without much of a social life was watch tv with my parents, especially my mom since my dad was often either at work or sleeping in preparation for his next work shift.
I can still picture the two of us sitting on the living room couch together watching one of our many favorite shows, which included (in no particular order and boy, am I dating myself!) Dallas, Falcon Crest, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, The Incredible Hulk, Knots Landing, Amen, Highway to Heaven, Remington Steele, Diagnosis Murder . . . Well, I could probably keep going, but let’s just leave it at that impressive list.
Usually when the nostalgia really kicks in I’ll get really sad and wish I was back sitting on that couch watching tv with my mom. Sometimes I’ll actually go ahead and watch one of the shows to relive some of my memories, something I did recently with another show that I often watched with her when I was a teenager, the soap opera Days of Our Lives. I’ve long since stopped watching it regularly, but one time I will watch it is around Christmas time when they sometimes include flashbacks to older episodes. Continue reading »
This post is part of the Val Lewton blogathon hosted by Stephen, aka Classic Movie Man & Kristina of the Speakeasy blog – see more posts at either Classic Movie Man’s Lewton page or the Speakeasy Lewton page.
When Kristina invited to me to participate in this blogathon honoring movie producer Val Lewton, my first instinct was to turn down the offer. The horror genre had never been a particular favorite of mine, and not only had I never seen a Val Lewton film, I had never even heard of him. But being someone who is always trying to expand my knowledge of film history, I decided to learn more about him and his movies before I made a decision.
The simple way I use to describe the type of movies I most like to watch would be those “about real people doing real things in normal settings,” and with names like Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man, the movies produced by Val Lewton didn’t exactly sound like they’d fit that bill and sounded like they’d be too strange for my tastes.
But when I watched clips of a few of his movies, I realized that they were more like the type of movies I usually like than I ever would have guessed based on their titles alone. In fact, the one Val Lewton movie that I have watched so far, The Seventh Victim (1943), had “normal” looking scenes set in restaurants, hotels, apartments, and even a school where the main character, played by actress Kim Hunter, worked as a kindergarten teacher. Had I not known better, I never would have guessed it was considered horror at all.
When I read that the great director Martin Scorsese described his movies as “wonderfully inventive, beautifully poetic and deeply unsettling . . . some of the greatest treasures we have,” I took it as a sign that I should find out more about those movies and the people who made them, which is why I decided to do this biography of Val Lewton. Continue reading »
On the first page of his book, Hollywood Movie Stills: Art and Technique in the Golden Age of the Studios, author Joel Finler says, “They (movie stills taken by studio photographers) are of historical interest as part of the extensive visual record documenting the styles and fashions of the times, the streets, houses and automobiles, the restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas in that tinsel town in sunny California, which claims the title of ‘movie capital of the world.’”
I’ve said it many times, probably to the point of exhaustion for anyone who reads my blog regularly, that one of the main reasons I love old movies is that I am fascinated by real life photos, videos, or depictions of what life was like back in the first half of the twentieth century.
It just happens to be the time period in history I most like to study, so given Joel’s description it was not surprising that his book was right up my alley and one I really enjoyed reading and viewing.
I knew a little bit about movie stills before I read this book, but I didn’t realize just how important of a role they played when movies were being made during the Golden Age of Hollywood and that they still hold much value today several decades later. Continue reading »
This post is an entry in the Universal Backlot Blogathon, hosted by Kristen at her blog Journeys in Classic Film. Please visit her site to read all the other great entries and let her know she’s doing a great job on hosting her very first blogathon!
“Black and white is more beautiful than color in my eyes.”
No, that’s not a quote from an actress, director, or fashion designer . . . it’s just a quote from me that I use as part of my Twitter bio. I have no idea if that’s corny or not, but it just came to me one day and I really liked it, so I’ve been using it ever since.
I’m referring to movies of course, and for me that quote applies probably about 95% of the time. I’ve come to love black and white movies so much that I just prefer them over color now.
But every once in a while I’ll watch an old movie in color that will be an exception to that rule. Such was the case recently when I watched All That Heaven Allows (1955), starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.
When I first started watching the movie, I was struck by how beautiful and vivid the colors were. I was also happy when I realized it was set in a small, scenic New England town for the same reasons I discussed in my review of the movie The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry.
All That Heaven Allows was directed by Douglas Sirk, and if you’ve ever read any discussions about this movie or any of his so called “melodramas” such as Magnificent Obsession (1954), Written on the Wind (1956), or Imitation of Life (1959), you know there is much debate about the quality of those movies. Some think they are nothing but corny, overly sentimental soap operas while others believe they are great movies that provide important social commentary on life in the 1950′s. Continue reading »
I was recently offered the chance to take a peak “Behind the Screen Door” and read about the life of Richard Gregson, a Hollywood agent and producer and former husband of Natalie Wood. Even though I had admittedly never heard of him before, I accepted the offer because the book sounded like it would provide an interesting glimpse into life in 1960′s Hollywood.
The 1960′s are not necessarily my favorite decade for movies, but I do enjoy hearing about the social scene from that time period, like for instance, stories about Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Just looking at this cool picture of the group standing in front of The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas makes me wish I could take a trip back in time and be a part of that scene.
As Richard Gregson discussed some of his encounters with Frank Sinatra and his relationship with Natalie Wood, the book did at times bring me back to where I could imagine myself being there with him as he socialized with some of Hollywood’s elite. However, that is not the main thing I took away from reading this book. Besides learning a lot about the ins and outs of working as one of Hollywood’s top agents, I also took away a couple of lessons that I think anyone can learn from and apply to their life. Continue reading »
This post is an entry in the Gene Kelly Centennial Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. Please visit the CMBA site to read all the other great entries.
I was fortunate to become a member of the CMBA earlier this year, and when I discovered they were hosting a blogathon honoring Gene Kelly, I jumped at the chance to participate.
I mean who wouldn’t want a ready made excuse to watch another Gene Kelly movie? Well okay, I guess people who don’t know or like Gene Kelly. But thankfully that’s not me. I love him as an actor, and he is my favorite dancer. I truly could watch him dance all day long!
When I saw that all of the Gene Kelly movies I was interested in covering had already been spoken for, I chose to watch the movie Deep in My Heart (1954) just because I had never seen it before. Excited to see Gene in something new, I was disappointed to say the least when I checked out the DVD from the library and realized that he is only in the movie for a whopping 2 minutes!
So I admit, I struggled with what to do for this post since it is meant to honor Gene Kelly, and to devote the whole post to a movie he barely appeared in didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Yes, I know I could have picked a different movie, but as long as I had it in my possession and didn’t have much time to find something else, I decided to stick with it, especially when I discovered all the talented actors, dancers, and singers that star in the movie.
So I decided to write the following review of the movie and then follow it up with a list of some of my favorite Gene Kelly dance partners. Continue reading »