By msbethg in Actresses, Anouncements, Carole Lombard, Patreon Tags: blog, blogger, blogging, blonde, blondes, blondes in film, Carole, Carole Lombard, classic, classic film, classic films, classics, cost, expense, film, films, Lombard, movie, movies, paid, Patreon, patron, pay, pencil, photo, photograph, process, publicity, publicity still, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, sponsor, typewriter, typing, write, writer
I’ve been getting ambitious about Spellbound by Movies. There’s so much I want to do with my blog, I want to invest more time in it to promote classic and silent films. While I say Spellbound is sometimes irregularly, but always lovingly updated, I’d like to get on a regular schedule.
I have expansion ideas. There are more post types I’m itching to get to like more interviews, lists, or my usual obsessive reviews. The last can take my eight hours or more. I watch every film more than once if I can; I start with a rough draft I craft into final form; and I fact check every line I can, including describing action in the movie.
But my expansion ideas go beyond what’s on a page. Eventually I’d like my interviews not just to be conducted via email, but also done over Skype or in person. I want to record those conversations and take their recordings and turn them in a companion podcast called SIT A SPELL.
Even without adding on the cost of podcasting, there are costs associated with my blog. There are the annual hosting, URL, and WordPress redirect fees. While I’m comped some festival passes and books, I pay to attend other screenings and festivals, and I buy books to review and to build my film reference collection. Some of the festivals I attend require travel and/or hotels. All of these costs add up.
Here’s what pushed me over the edge into creating a Patreon account. In the last six months or so, I’ve been hit with two major and unexpected expenses–a large vet bill for a beloved and now passed away cat and losing my apartment to my landlords, who resumed personal occupancy. Having to incur moving costs and suddenly paying current San Francisco Bay area market rent was a double whammy.
I don’t want either to detract from my blogging or from me being able to travel to film festivals and bring you coverage. Between my blog, my Twitter account, and my Instagram, I try to share generously my movie experiences and love. There are two film festivals I’d like to attend in April. Schedule-wise I’d have to choose one or the other. Because of recent expenses, I think I should choose neither.
I blog because I love the process, love sharing my point of view, love lifting some of the movies out of obscurity, and love the community writing connects me to. I blog without pay, but isn’t it better to pay writers than not? Is it egocentric to consider if someone else values my work, then maybe they’d like to be a Patron to help it to continue? I’ve gotten some very nice unpaid opportunities, which I’m extremely grateful for. Maybe some day my blog will lead to a paying gig.
Whatever happens my blog will continue to freely accessible to all, but for the few who become Patrons, you have my sincerest thanks and gratitude. I am the sort who will pay it forward when she can. My most immediate way will be writing more regularly.
To check out my Patreon page, please click the banner below!
By msbethg in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, Actresses, Cyd Charisse, Era, Evelyn Brent, Fashion, Holidays, Kay Francis, New Year, New Year's Eve, Susan Hayward Tags: 1920s, 1920s fashion, 1930s, 1930s fashion, 1940s, 1940s fashion, 1950s, 1950s fashion, b&w, black and white, black dress, butterfly, classic, classic film, classic films, classical, classical motif, classics, column dress, costume, Cyd Charisse, dress, dresses, Eugene Robert Richee, Evelyn Brent, fantasy, Fashion, fashion designer, film costume, glove, gloves, gown, gowns, hostess gown, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Instagram, Interference, Kay Francis, lbd, msb3thg, New Year, New Year's, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, NYE, opera length, outfit, outfits, print, Richee, Silent Film, Susan Hayward, vintage, vintage style, wardrobe
In the United States we’ve been lucky to have two New Year’s Days this year–Sunday the actual day and Monday the legally recognized holiday. Before both have been departed too long, I’d like the glamour of the holiday to linger a little longer, at least on the pages of my blog. New Year’s Eve I had fun on Instagram sharing fantasy party outfits worn by actresses of the silver screen. Let’s step into 2017 together by reveling in their fabulous.
Here’s Cyd Charisse in a gorgeous floral print gown that pops in black and white, but leaves me curious to see it in color. Love the unusual decision to place the bold print on opera length gloves to match them exactly to the dress! They elevate the look into something memorable and high impact. Cyd’s glowing. She knows she looks great.
Susan Hayward looks fiercely glam in a publicity still for I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE (1951). She plays a ruthless fashion designer who claws her way up in the industry, from working for a copyist to her own haute couture label. Of course, her character’s wardrobe becomes more fashionable and breathtaking the higher she climbs.
Model tall, Kay Francis had the frame and poise to wear clothes well and earned a reputation as a clotheshorse because costume designers knew she could wear a variety of styles and looked divine in evening wear. The photo’s photographer, Eugene Robert Richee, plays a visual joke. Francis wears a column dress in front of a literal column.
The final outfit earns its spot by being a showstopper! Actress Evelyn Brent wears a sapphire blue and silver butterfly hostess gown in INTERFERENCE (1928). The dress’s detailing must have been even more impressive in person. Brilliants and crystals were sewn onto its surface to reflect light back at the camera and make her glow like a goddess.
By msbethg in 1920s, Actresses, Anouncements, Chicago (1927), Era, Film Festivals, Genres, Movies, Phyllis Haver, Publication, Silent Film, Toronto Silent Film Festival Tags: #SilentsInTO, 1920s, 1920s fashion, 1927, 2017, 20s, April, Ben Model, book, booklet, Canada, Chicago, film, film festival, film festivals, film writer, films, flapper, girl gunner, girl gunners, Jazz Age, movie blog, movie blogger, movies, murder, murderesses, Phyllis Haver, program, programme, Roxie Hart, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Toronto, Toronto Silent Film Festival, TSFF, TSFF2017, twenties, vintage lingerie, woman film writer
The Toronto Silent Film Festival is selling early bird passes for its 2017 edition. Get yours before they run or time out! While things didn’t work out for me to attend in 2016, I’ll be there at least in published word in April. I’m very excited to be contributing a piece about CHICAGO (1927) and Jazz Age murderesses to their programme book.
By msbethg in Actresses, Fifi D'Orsay, Holidays, Thanksgiving Tags: actress, Broadway, Canadian, Canadian actress, Canadian actresses, Fifi D'Orsay, film, Follies, Follies Bèrgere, French persona, French-Canadian, grateful, Greenwich Village Follies, holiday, holidays, Mademoiselle Fifi, Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier, movie, movie theater, movie theatre, musical, ou-la-la, ou-la-la girl, pseudo French, publicity, publicity still, showgirl, Solange LaFitte, Sondheim, stage, Stephen Sondheim, television, Thanksgiving, The French Bombshell, theater, theatre, TV, vaudeville
Things have been hectic at chez Spellbound. We’re moving! As I pack today, my husband’s been cooking our Thanksgiving dinner. While we hadn’t planned to move yet (our landlords are resuming occupancy of our apartment), something stressful has turned into a blessing. We’re relocating to a cool, new home–a loft on the second story of what used to be a movie theatre. We’re grateful for the family and friends who have been supportive through all parts of this process, and we can’t wait to settle into our new home.
I, also, can’t wait to take our turkey out of our oven like Fifi D’Orsay above. Marketed “The French Bombshell,” D’Orsay never set foot in France. She was born in Montréal, and her real name was Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier. D’Orsay was clever. When auditioning for the Greenwich Village Follies, she sang her song in French to make herself stand out. She reinvented herself as an ex-Follies Bèrgere showgirl, and the Parisian persona stuck! Her career stretched from vaudeville to Hollywood movies to television to a final return to the stage, only on Broadway. She played Solange LaFitte, a former Follies star, in the Sondheim musical, FOLLIES. A perfect role to cap her career!
While I eat my meal tonight, I’ll take a moment to think of D’Orsay. I’m inspired by her ingenuity and drive, and those are traits I’ll call upon as Hubbs and I make a new home.
By msbethg in 1920s, Actors, Actresses, Available on DVD, Blogathons, Children of Divorce (1927), Clara Bow, Divorce, Era, Esther Ralston, Flicker Alley's Children of Divorce, Gary Cooper, Genres, Hedda Hopper, Holidays, Movies, National Flapper Day, Silent Film, Sisterhood, Themes Tags: #NationalFlapperDay, 1920s, 1927, 20s, abandoned, abondonment, Blu-ray, child, childhood sweetheart, childhood sweethearts, children, Children of Divorce, Clara Bow, class, classism, convent, divorce, drama, dual format, dvd, edition, Esther Ralston, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, flapper, flappers, Flicker Alley, Frank Lloyd, Gary Cooper, gold-digger, gold-digging, Hedda Hopper, husband, husbands, Jazz Age, Josef von Sternberg, Joyce Coad, marriage, melodrama, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, National Flapper Day, neglect, Paramount, Paramount Studios, romance, silent, Silent Film, twenties, wife, wives, Yvonne Pelletier
Before they were jazz babies, they were jazz orphans. Their parents’ marriages dissolved under the influence of new post-war mores, and childhoods became a belated war casualty. Lacking role models, another generation seems doomed to repeat their elders’ mistakes. That’s the world CHILDREN OF DIVORCE portrays, and at its center are two women who share an unbreakable bond of sisterhood forged by the shared trauma of neglect.
If the movie sounds like a weepie, be warned, it is! Heartstrings are pulled starting when cherubic Kitty Flanders (Joyce Coad) is left at a Parisian convent by her mother (Hedda Hopper). Only one girl, Jean Waddington (Yvonne Pelletier), befriends Kitty. When she’s terrified her first night, Jean shelters Kitty in her bed, and a precedent is set for their relationship. Jean becomes an adoptive and protective big sister.
A second precedent is sent when the girls meet Teddy Larrabee (Don Marion). He climbs over the grounds’ wall one day. He’s escaping bickering grown-ups and a woman mockingly flirting with him. He’s, also, a child of divorce. When the close-in-age Teddy and Jean meet, they are smitten. Sad and envious, Kitty laments she has no one. Kitty will continue to see others’ happiness and want it.
Kitty’s a classic little sister. Since Jean was slightly older than Kitty when her parents divorced, Kitty doesn’t have the background of family stability, albeit brief, Jean had. Jean easily slips into the caretaker role, and Kitty assumes the one of needing help and understanding. Jean loves Kitty, but that can’t cure her hurt.
Since Jean’s rich after her parents’ divorce, and Kitty isn’t, she must find a way to afford remaining in elite social circles. As she grows up, Kitty’s taught by her mother that money comes before love. There’s an implication that her mother isn’t simply concerned for Kitty’s well-being, but also that Kitty’s mother will use her daughter to achieve security. Jean can marry at her leisure.
Under such circumstances, it’s easy to see why Kitty ages into a partying, gold-digging flapper (Clara Bow) and Jean grows into a noble patrician (Esther Ralston). Despite their differences, the women are delighted when life reunites them. Their bond has lasted. Their relationship becomes complicated because of Teddy, now going by Ted (Gary Cooper).
When Jean bumps into him at a party of Kitty’s, old attractions resurface, but Jean disapproves of his hedonistic lifestyle. She encourages him to get a job in order to become worthy of being her husband. Love reforms Ted, but it can’t save him from Kitty’s machinations. He’s wealthy, and he’s wanted by someone Kitty admires. Once she gets Ted drunk at a party, he doesn’t stand a chance. He wakes up tousled and married—to Kitty!
This is the biggest test of Jean and Kitty’s love. Of course, Jean is angry about Kitty’s betrayal and Ted’s haplessness and unfaithfulness. Perhaps Jean sees this as an indicator she and Ted weren’t meant to be, but Kitty comes first when Jean makes her decision of what to do.
As the movie’s moral voice, Jean doesn’t believe in divorce, and she can’t deny Kitty a shot at happiness. Jean naively believes her friend and sweetheart can make a marriage work despite their incompatibility and lack of love. When Kitty insists that she will be a good wife, Jean relents and gives Ted to Kitty by not fighting for him—a decision that will lead to misery and tragedy.
Despite the love triangle, the movie’s central relationship is clearly Kitty and Jean’s. They get the most screen time. For one, Bow and Ralston were the experienced performers. Ted was Cooper’s first major role, one he was cast in at his lover Bow’s insistence. While in the final product he’s handsome and charismatic, on the set he was unsure and afraid, and he blew many takes. Panicked, he even fled filming and had to be brought back. He couldn’t be trusted to help carry the picture.
The result was the actresses were given the opportunity to explore their characters’ dualities. Ralston’s role is not as flashy as Bow’s. Ralston has to be the perfectly good friend. She has to be beautiful yet believably tossed over for Bow. She manages to be a strong, sympathetic presence. It would’ve been easy for Bow’s character to simply be the manipulative vamp, but she makes sure the audience knows every bad, later-regretted act comes from Kitty’s place of pain.
There’s symmetry in imagery emphasizing the women’s relationship. A powerful, early shot shows young Jean comforting young Kitty in bed at the convent. A second, equally affecting shot reminiscent of the first occurs near the film’s end. A grown-up Jean comforts a grown-up Kitty in bed. We never see either woman in bed with a man. For the women, the bed isn’t a sexual place, but a shared place of refuge. Whether escaping adult-caused problems or their own adult problems, it’s a place they return to together. Whatever happens, each has a sister to love her no matter what.
By msbethg in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1990s, Actresses, Carmen Miranda, Cry-Baby, Directors, Era, Film Fanatic Gear, John Waters, Movies, Series, Traci Lords Tags: 1930s, 1940s, 1990, 1990s, bobbypinsco, Brazillian, California, Californian, Carmen Miranda, collectibles, collecting, Cry-Baby, Fashion, fifties, film fan, film fanatic, forties, gear, John Waters, line, Luso, Luso-Brazilian, memorabilia, Miss Ladybug, Miss Ladybug California, nineties, nostalgia, pin-up, pinup, Pinup Girl, Pinup Girl Clothing, Portuguese, PUG, repro, repro vintage, reproduction, reproduction vintage, t-shirt, t-shirts, tee, tees, thirties, Traci Lords, vintage, vintage style, Wanda Woodward
Today I’m giving you a peek at two recent acquisitions. As we know, it’s very hard for film fanatics to resist collecting all sorts of memorabilia, and I’m no exception. I tend to amass movie books to build my own reference library, but my latest pieces are both items I can wear. I bought them from Californian repro vintage company Pinup Girl Clothing.
Do you recognize the woman portrayed by the pin? She’s Wanda Woodward, the desperate to be bad suburban girl from a loving and supportive home in John Waters‘ Cry-Baby (1990). Waters has written of how he admired the tough girls at school, and Wanda is a fifties embodiment of them–big hair, bright red lips, winged eyeliner, tight clothes, and fierce attitude. Twenty-six years from the movie’s release, she’s having a pop culture resurgence. There are t-shirt lines featuring at least her famous line, “Beat it, Creep!” One of the tops is even by her portrayer Traci Lords, so of course her visage is on those tees. I like this pin from bobbypinsco. It’s pretty and subtle. You’re either in the know about who the woman is or simply assume the wearer has vintage tastes.
I’ve written about Luso-Brazilian entertainer Carmen Miranda before, and now I get to sport a shirt showing my fondness for her and my love of retro design. This tee is by Miss Ladybug California. I suspect they use found graphics. Doesn’t Carmen look like she was drawn in the late thirties to early forties? The fabric is a slightly yellowish off-white, and like a lot of pinup lines the top runs small. It has a straight up and down slim cut. Anyone interested in getting her own, I’d advise the shirt has some stretch, but not a lot, and the fabric is thin. Buy by your chest size, and size up if you’re in between sizes. I’m going to be hand-washing and line drying my shirt to make it last!
Disclosure: I bought these items, and I am not receiving affiliate program compensation for my post.
By msbethg in Actresses, Carmen Miranda, Dress Up Friday, Fashion Tags: #dressupfriday, 1930s, 30s, actress, Annemarie Heinrich, Argentina, Argentinian, Bahia, Bahian, Brazil, Brazilian, Carmen Miranda, costume, Dress Up Friday, emigré, Fashion, fruit, glamor, glamour, hat maker, immigrant, Latin, Luso, milliner, performer, photographer, Portugal, Portuguese, singer, The Brazilian Bombshell, The Lady In The Tutti Frutti Hat, thirties, woman photographer, woman singer, women photographers, women singers
For this installment of Dress Up Friday, here’s an image of Carmen Miranda that’s pure 1930s glamour. The performer was born in Portugal, but immigrated to Brazil as a child, and she considered herself Brazilian at heart despite maintaining her Portuguese citizenship. The woman, who would become famous for her Bahian costume featuring headwear adorned with fruit, was a successful milliner before her singing career took off.
The photograph is by Annemarie Heinrich, a European emigré to Argentina. Her family fled WWI Germany for safety in South America. Heinrich is best known for her portraits, often featuring stars of Argentinian cinema, and her nudes.
By msbethg in #52FilmsByWomen, #52FilmsByWomen, Actresses, Bettie Page, Biopics, Directors, Drama, Fandoms, Genres, Gretchen Mol, Mary Harron, Quick Reviews, Series, Viewing Campaigns Tags: #52FilmsByWomen, Bettie Page, biographies, biography, biopic, biopics, bondage, director, directors, fetish, film, filmmaker, filmmakers, glamour, Gretchen Mol, icon, icons, Mary Harron, model, models, movie, pin-up, pin-ups, pinup, pinups, Playboy Playmate, Playboy Playmates, The Notorious Bettie Page, tigers, woman, women
Last night I watched The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) because it was her birthday. Gretchen Mol does a great job in embodying Bettie, which took guts. Mol had to know what scrutiny she’d be under to look like the famous model, replicate her ease and joy in posing, and radiate a personality that made much of her more extreme work seem like softer, campy fun, but still sexy. Mary Harron makes sure there’s a humor to the film, and she showcases many of her actresses’ work over the supporting male actors’. The soundtrack and visuals are of the era. The living magazine covers are a nice touch. For feminists the movie will have an empowering, sex positive appeal. Bettie is shown having agency to pose or to retire into her Christian faith without regretting her life or actions and without her beliefs being knocked. Her journey is respected. The movie ends early in her life with no hint of her later mental health struggles. A positive portrayal of a woman, whose later years I wish were as happy as many scenes in this film.
More about #52FilmsByWomen here.
By msbethg in 1950s, Actresses, Appreciations, Bird of Paradise (1951), Debra Paget, Delmer Daves, Directors, Guy Maddin, Moments, Movies Tags: 1932, 1951, 2015, BAMPFA, Clara Furey, Debra Paget, Debra Paget For Example, Delmer Daves, Dolores del Río, dream, dream-like, Guy Maddin, indigenous, island, King Vidor, natives, offering, oversaturated, Pacific Film Archive, PFA, Polynesian, sacrifice, sacrificial, South Sea, surreal, Technicolor, The Forbidden Room, valcano, volcano
When watching Debra Paget, For Example (2015) and seeing clips of the actress‘s work, I was struck by the beautiful colors and dramatic shots that could be found in many of her films, which I had presumed to be mostly B movies. Maybe they weren’t all quality or fully successful pictures, but I caught myself finding aspects of them to admire.
Bird of Paradise (1951) stood out in this regard. I’ve only seen King Vidor‘s 1932 version starring Dolores del Río in its entirety, not the Delmer Daves‘ remake starring Paget. Dolores looked beautiful in her film and played her part well, but Paget had an acting advantage to make her character’s tragic ending even more impactful–Technicolor and framings like below. The intensity of color suggests the intensity of the heat and flames she’s walking through and the intensity of the lava she will be leaping into..
The colors and subject matter connected me back to another film I’d seen in February at the BAMPFA, Guy Maddin‘s The Forbidden Room (2015). His dream-like mix of genre stories within genre stories connecting to other genre stories that fade in and out of each other as one takes momentary prominence also featured island sequences with their not-so-indigenous-looking natives, volcano shots and flames, and another sacrifice. A Grantland interview cites Vidor’s movie as an influence, it was part of an earlier wave of Polynesian pictures, but it’s easier to see Daves’ movie as having greater influence. It’s in the oversaturated colors; it’s in the shots of another dark-haired woman’s flame-framed face. A great moment will make a film live on–in memories, in the subconscious, in dreams, and maybe once again on the screen. Reinterpretation is a compliment.