Fun Ways to Learn About the History of Fashion in Film

Grace Kelly Jimmy Stewart

If you’re like me and you like to learn about your favorite topics in a variety of ways such as reading blogs or articles, listening to audio recordings, or watching videos, and you are also interested in the topic of fashion in film, then I have some great resources to share with you.

I’ve been following the blog GlamAmor for a while now, and have really admired both the incredible knowledge and style of its creator, fashion expert Kimberly Truhler. Kimberly has been studying film and costume design history for more than 20 years and along with being a teacher and frequent guest presenter around Southern California, has acted as an expert for Turner Classic Movies and Elle Canada among others.

She has a real passion for preserving the history of fashion in film, sharing how costume design from the past continues to influence fashion today, and making sure the costume designers receive the credit they deserve for their important contributions to the world of fashion. Be sure to check out her blog if you’d like to learn more about these fascinating topics.

She is also currently in the process of conducting a 6-part webinar series called The Style Essentials: History of Fashion in Film, which is an online version of a course she teaches. Each webinar covers a different decade in film from the 1920s through the 1970s, and includes stills from movies and images from today’s fashion accompanied by discussions about film history, costumes, and their designers. Continue reading »

CMBA Blogathon: Film Passion 101: The Philadelphia Story

FilmPassionBlogathon2

This post is part of the Film Passion 101 Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. Be sure to head over there and read all the other great posts!

I have a bad habit of saying I don’t like things when I haven’t even given them a try. I’m sure that habit has caused me to miss out on some great things in life, and I really should learn to break it. Well, except maybe when it comes to beets it would have been wiser to stick to the stubborn “I don’t like them even though I’ve never tried them” declaration that I made for so long. Beets really are gross! :-)

_Theater for Twitter

On a serious note, that habit did almost cause me to miss out on something that I now love dearly and that has had a profound impact on my life, watching classic or “old” movies. For the longest time I insisted that I didn’t like old black and white movies when I had never even tried watching one. I just knew they would be boring, outdated, and corny and I wouldn’t like them. There wasn’t much anyone was going to say or do to get me to watch them. Or so I thought!

Unlike many of the other participants in this blogathon, I wasn’t exposed to old movies very much when I was growing up. My dad watched things like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy (thanks for the reminder, Ruth!), and maybe a western here and there, and I have vague memories of my mom watching Gone With the Wind at some point, but that’s about it. Of course I did watch The Wizard of Oz quite a few times as a kid, but I honestly thought at the time that it was a current movie, not an old classic. Continue reading »

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Concert

Earlier this year ISaxophone3 mentioned that I play the saxophone in a community band and had a great time at our spring concert playing the tune “But Not for Me,” which was composed by George Gershwin. Yesterday during our fall concert, we played two more pieces by Gershwin so I thought why not do what I did then and discover what, if any ties they had to classic movies.

I hope you won’t mind though if I share a little story with you first. As I was getting ready for the concert, I was feeling way more nervous than usual (I could barely eat my lunch!) and was not feeling at all confident in my playing abilities.

But a funny thing happened as soon as we walked onto the stage, sat down, and started playing our first piece. All my nervousness seemed to vanish in an instant, and I realized that I love to perform on stage in front of an audience!

Now that might not sound like a big deal, especially to those of you who have any kind of stage experience, but as a once extremely shy introvert who has struggled my whole life with social awkwardness, unhealthy perfectionism, and a fear of doing pretty much anything in front of large groups, I never would have expected to find myself in that situation, especially since I don’t exactly possess a ton of musical talent. I’m not quite sure why I never felt that way at previous concerts, but it was quite an exhilarating revelation and now I can’t wait for our next one!

As for the two Gershwin pieces we played, the first was actually a medley of the songs “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Bidin’ My Time” and the other one was “Strike Up the Band.” They weren’t quite as fun to play as “But Not for Me” but it is always satisfying to play tunes that I am familiar with, so I really enjoyed performing them. Continue reading »

The Best Oldies to Watch When You Need Cheering Up

Sunshine

Are there any movies you like to watch when you’re feeling happy, sad, bored, etc.? For me, it’s rarely my emotions that determine the movie I watch, although sometimes the time of year or even the weather can play a part. I mean, who doesn’t love to watch a good mystery when it’s storming outside?! Well, I do anyway! :-)

But when Frances stopped by my Facebook page and suggested I create a list of the best oldies to watch when you need cheering up, I thought it was a great idea. Even though I don’t usually pick a movie for that reason, I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a few titles handy just in case I’m ever in need of some good cheer myself.

So after going through the list of all the classic movies that I have seen so far, I came up with the following movies that I think would put a smile on just about anyone’s face. (To learn more about each movie, click on the title which will bring you to its summary page on IMBd.com)

Laughter is the Best Medicine – Classic Comedies

It Happened One Night Hitchhiking Scene

It Happened One Night (1934) One of the first classic movies I ever watched, the hitchhiking scene with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert showed me early on that old movies can be just as laugh out loud funny as current movies. I never would have believed that before I discovered my love for classic film.

The Thin Man (1934) and the entire “Thin Man” series. This movie is just so much fun. I love the mix of comedy and mystery, and the wonderful chemistry between its two stars William Powell and Myrna Loy make them one of classic film’s greatest on-screen couples. Continue reading »

Saturday State Post: Classic Movie Actors from New Jersey

My inspiration for choosing which state to cover next in this series was Joan Bennett, who starred in a few movies I’ve watched recently including, Secret Beyond the Door (1947) earlier this week. She was born in the state of New Jersey so that is the state I’m covering today.

A few of the actors and actresses from the state of New Jersey are:

Actor Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell

Born: July 11, 1892 in Elizabeth, NJ

Died: December 17, 1962 (age 70)

Married twice

Known for the Movies: Lost Horizon, The Hurricane, Make Way for Tomorrow, Stagecoach, Only Angels Have Wings, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone With the Wind, The Dark Mirror, It’s a Wonderful Life, High Noon

My Favorite Thomas Mitchell Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Interesting Facts About Thomas Mitchell:

  • A very versatile performer, Thomas Mitchell worked on Broadway in various capacities for almost 20 years before starting his very successful film career. He then worked extensively on television in the 1950′s and early 1960′s.
  • When he won the Tony Award for his performance in the musical Hazel Flagg in 1953, he became the first actor to win the “triple crown” of acting awards. He had previously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie Stagecoach (1939) and an Emmy for his performance as Father Devlin in The Good of His Soul on “The Ford Television Theatre” in 1953. Thomas Mitchell is the second actor I’ve featured in this series to have won the triple crown. Melvyn Douglas from my post about the state of Georgia also accomplished the feat in 1967.
  • In what is often considered the greatest year of movies, 1939, he starred in three of the films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Gone With the Wind. Continue reading »
My Top 10 Favorite Classic Movie Actors

Jimmy-Stewart

I’m spending this summer day inside due to the unseasonably cool and cloudy weather we’re having here, so I thought this would be a good time to follow up my top 10 favorite actresses list with the list of my favorite actors.

As promised, Jimmy Stewart is firmly planted in the top spot. :-) And as with my actresses list, after number one these are not necessarily in an exact order because I love them all so much, but it’s pretty close.

 

 

My top 10 favorite classic movie actors are:

  1. Jimmy Stewart
  2. Cary Grant
  3. James Cagney
  4. Gene Kelly
  5. Joseph Cotten
  6. William Powell
  7. Robert Taylor
  8. Claude Rains
  9. Tyrone Power
  10. Clark Gable

Honorable mention: Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy. I didn’t do an honorable mention for actresses, but I just had to for actors. Leaving Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy off my list almost felt like a crime, but I simply ran out of spots. :-)

Who is your favorite classic movie actor? Your top 10?

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