Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Bob is coming coming back! Bob is coming back! Hip Hip Hooray!

For those of you who belong to the tight-knit, little community of true classic movie fans and specifically, hard-core TCM followers;you know exactly what this arrival of "Bob" means. I'm speaking of the 5 month agonizingly long wait for the return of TCM's beloved host, Robert Osborne.

I've had a obsessive love for classic movies since a young child. I would say it started with an introduction from my grandmother. She was a spirited, fiery red-headed Irish woman who told me amazing stories of the days of being an officer's wife of a WW2 bomber pilot stationed in England. I was intrigued by her fascinating stories- it all seemed so romantic and colorful. In addition to her stories, she also introduced me to the world of classic film. I was hooked instantly. And I soon began to think of my grandmother as a hybrid of Maureen O'Hara & Lucille Ball.

Time marched on, and my love for classic cinema deepened. I even got married in an ol' movie theatre with a classic movie theme-which even included showing a 'movie of movie clips, that my groom made for me along with place cards with infamous Hollywood couples' names. But somewhere along the way, I discovered TCM. Like my groom, I luckily stumbled upon another perfect match for me.

While classic film and TCM have been like old dear friends to me all these years, the host and steward Robert Osborne has been too. As the always amiable and expert companion, Robert is there for the journey. He's like an encyclopedia of classic cinema (oops- probably not the most current reference- okay, let's say 'google of current cinema.') I've truly missed seeing Robert as my constant comforting guide through Hollywood's golden ages. In less than 48 hours, Robert returns again; hopefully fit as a fiddle, as primetime host. And I for one, couldn't be more thrilled. #WelcomeBackBob

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Another blogathon!  One with character!

This summer is proving to be a landmark in the classic film blogosphere.  Events are planned covering an array of fabulous classic films, movie stars and topics on all things movies.
Borrowing a catch-phrase from our beloved, home of the classics, Turner Classic Movies, Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and (@IrishJayHawk66), Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and (@Paula_Guthat) and Aurora, of Once Upon a Screen and (@CitizenScreen) are dedicating an event to the great character actors that so enhanced our classic movies.  To the faces, the laughs, the drama presented by these wonderful actors whose names all too often go unrecognized we dedicate WHAT A CHARACTER!
  • Would Casablanca be as great without the laughs provided by S. K. Sakall?
  • Would we want to look out Rear Window if not for the warnings of Thelma Ritter?
  • Can you measure how much Edward Everett Horton added to the fabulous Astaire / Rogers pictures?
We think these and so many others deserve their due.  So, here we are with a blogathon in their honor.
The details:
If you are interested in contributing, please go to any one of the host sites and submit a comment with your choice.  Please include the title and link to your blog.  What or whom you choose to write about is open.  We’d love to have everyone choose different subjects and topics because there are so many great character actors that deserve attention.  But we’ll leave that up to you.  As submissions come in, we’ll update the list of entries to give everyone an idea of what’s been chosen.
Host sites and contact information:
Kellee – Twitter @IrishJayHawk66      email -    Blog - Outspoken and Freckled
Paula – Twitter  @Paula_Guthat      email -    Blog - Paula’s Cinema Club
Aurora – Twitter @CitizenScreen      email -    Blog - Once Upon A Screen
A couple of weeks before the event, we’ll post a submission schedule.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact any of us at any time.
We’re looking forward to a lot of great information on those considered WHAT A CHARACTER!

Characters already spoken for:
Aline MacMahon - Emma -  Let's Misbehave

Billie Burke - Janet Coulson
Charles McGraw - Ivan -  Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Eddie "Rochester" Anderson- Terry - A Shroud of Thoughts
Edward Everett Horton- Jill - Sittin' on a Backyard Fence
Eric Blore- Lindsey- The Motion Pictures
Erik Rhodes and Alan Hale - Annmarie - Classic Movie Hub
Eve Arden – Kellee – Outspoken & Freckled
Felix Bressart - Kristina -  Speakeasy
Frank McHugh - Dorian - Tales of the Easily Distracted 
Gail Patrick - Laurie - One Gal's Musings  
Grady Sutton - Jessica - Comet Over Hollywood
Hume Cronyn in "Shadow of a Doubt" - Jackie - jaxbra tumbler
John Qualen - Kristen Sales - SalesonFilm  
Lee J. Cobb in "We Raid Calais Tonight"- Ruth - Silver Screenings
Lew Ayres in HOLIDAY - Marya - Cinematic Fanatic  
Louise Beavers - Margaret - The Great Katherine Hepburn 
Lucille Wilson and Maude Eburne - Patricia Nolan - Caftan Woman (9/23)
Majorie Main- Lucy - Secluded Charm
Mary Wickes- Brandie - True Classics
Porter Hall - Joel _ Joel's Classic Film Passion
Richard Jaeckel- Jack Deth - *
Sam Levene -Duke - Picture Spoilers
S. Z. Sakall – Paula – Paula’s Cinema Club
Thelma Ritter – Aurora – Once Upon A Screen
Una Merkel - Kevyn - The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World
Una O'Connor- Anthony - Zeppo Marxism
Victor Jory- Jacqueline - Another Old Movie Blog (9/24)
Victor Moore - Kari
Virginia Weidler - Nikki Lynn - All Things Classic Film
Walter Brennan in "To Have and To Have Not" and Mercedes McCambridge - Le - Critica Retro
Ward Bond - Tonya - Goosepimply All Over

The event banner is the one you see in this post.  It wasn’t easy coming up with one face, one character to focus on – so, a myriad of wonderful faces.  It would be great if you can post one on your site to help us promote this event.

The faces on the banner:
Row 1: (L-R) Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Margaret Dumont, Edward Arnold, Albert Dekker, Ann Miller, Leon Errol
Row 2: (L-R) Dan Duryea, Eugene Palette, Aline MacMahon, Charles Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Billie Burke
Row 3: (L-R) Spring Byington, Walter Brennan, Hattie McDaniel, Gene Lockhart, Margaret O’Brien, Edgar Kennedy
Row 4: (L-R) Eric Blore, Franklin Pangborn, Frank Morgan, Guy Kibbee, Gloria Grahame, Jane Darwell
Row 5: (L-R) Judith Anderson, Edward Everett Horton, Eve Arden, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Thelma Ritter, Louis Calhern
Row 6: (L-R) Charles Lane, Kim Hunter, David Wayne, Louise Beavers, Cecil Kellaway, Shemp Howard

Monday, July 9, 2012

A night of Potemkin

Recently, I had the pleasure to experience a silent film landmark in a fun evening with friends. Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 infamous "The Battleship Potemkin" was showing with live orchestral accompaniment at the local arts center. A rare treat in such a setting to be certain. So, I contacted a friend and silent screen enthusiast from the twittersphere, Trevor aka @tpjost to set the wheels in motion.

My husband and I joined Trevor and a couple of his friends, whom all drove several hours from Newton, KS for dinner and drinks prior to the show. After sharing burgers, beers and stories, it was moments until showtime. We five settled into ideal seats up front and directly behind the orchestra pit. While my husband and Trevor shared that this was not their first time, it was mine and I couldn't wait to experience the legendary Russian propaganda classic for myself.  

"The Battleship Potemkin" is the stuff of legends. I was, if anything, anxious to see the film that so many of my fellow film buffs consider a basic prerequisite for any film fan. And frankly, I was curious about the iconic Odessa steps scene that inspired so many filmmakers- most paralleled in "The Untouchables". Originally intended as a propaganda film by leaders of the Russian revolution for the Potemkin uprising 20th anniversary, it resulted as Eisenstein's historically controversial masterpiece.

It's visually stunning and engages the audience with an editing technique that contrasts and juxtaposes startling images. The plot is itself is rather gut-wrenching throughout and wastes no time getting there. In the beginning we see a battleship who's crew is weary from a long and arduous journey. Overworked and malnourished, the crew is subjugated to a morning meal of rancid meat, crawling with maggots. Commanded to consume this foul meal unfit for any beast, a group of sailors stands defiant. Officers corral the rebels into a huddle, throwing a tarp over them as a firing squad assembles; ready to fire upon the helpless victims. Just as the firing squad is about to deliver their deadly shots, a lone sailor Vakulinchuk breaks the silence with "Brothers! Who are you shooting at?!" The firing squad lowers their weaponry and the uprising begins.

The most compelling sequence dramatically builds near the end of the film and is undoubtedly the Odessa steps scene. Onshore, this horrific massacre unfolds slowly down a sequence of wide steps as citizens flee for their lives, scrambling to escape their executioners' chase. A particularly emotional segment in the midst of this nightmare follows a woman desperately trying to save a vulnerable baby while also bravely attempting to plead for a truce to end the madness. Tragically, she was unsuccessful.

Silent film uses very little dialogue and with this film, its almost unnecessary as Eisenstein tells the story so brilliantly through his imagery. One of the best components of this cinematic experience was the live music in harmony to the dramatic images on the screen. This experience was thrilling and I look forward to my next silent big screen outing shared with friends.