Forgive my diversion into TV for a moment, but like a lot of you, I’ve gotten hooked on the new season of TWIN PEAKS. I coveted the silk robe Agent Cooper‘s former secretary Diane Evans wore in Part 7. Its colors and floral pattern look like something I’d wear because of my vintage sensibilities. When I went hunting for a good image of it, I stumbled across the photo of Cooper in his bathrobe in an earlier season. Again another red robe, but his looks like a Pendleton with abstract snow-capped mountains. Two red robes reflecting their wearer’s tastes and gender, but seemingly calling out to each other between seasons, symbolically marking each for the other half of the pair they once were. The more concrete print of her robe is a stronger image for a woman who wears bold clothes, maybe once simply for fashion, but perhaps now they buck her up and distract her from the bitterness and pain of her broken heart.
By msbethg in 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, Alice Guy Blaché, Claire Parker, Classic Film, Contests, Directors, Documentaries, Dorothy Arzner, Drama, Era, Experimental, Foreign, French, Genres, Germaine Dulac, Leni Riefenstahl, Lois Weber, Lotte Reiniger, Mabel Normand, Madeline Brandeis, Marie-Louise Iribe, Mary Ellen Bute, Maya Deren, Mrs. Wallace Reid, Olga Preobrazhenskaia, Series, Silent Film, Women Film Directors 4 Comments Tags: #52FilmsByWomen, Alice Guy Blaché, American, An International Anthology, animation, anthology, Blu-ray, cinema, Claire Parker, classic, commercial, contest, director, directors, doc, documentaries, documentary, Dorothy Arzner, Dorothy Davenport, dvd, Early Women Filmmakers, experimental, experimental film, feature, feature films, features, female, film, film history, filmmaker, filmmakers, filmmaking, films, Flicker Alley, Frederick Hodges, French, Germaine Dulac, German, international, Judith Rosenberg, Kate Saccone, Leni Riefenstahl, live-action, Lois Weber, Lotte Reiniger, Mabel Normand, Madeline Brandeis, Marie-Louise Iribe, Mary Ellen Bute, Maya Deren, Milestone Film, Milestone Film and Video, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, movie, movies, Mrs. Wallace Reid, narrative, narratives, new releases, Olga Preobrazhenskaia, rare, restoration, restored, Rodney Sauer, Russian, Sergei Dreznin, set, Shelley Stamp, short, shorts, silent, Silent Film, silents, Tamar Muskal, TCM, Trailblazing Women, Turner Classic Movies, woman, women, Women Film Pioneers Project, World
Flicker Alley, a boutique distributor of classic and rare films, contacted me about another great contest they’re running. Of course, I said yes to spread the word of their brand new release I thoroughly believe in, and I’m going to give you a chance to win a copy. It’s called EARLY WOMEN FILMMAKERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY.
Projects like #52FilmsByWomen and TCM‘s TRAILBLAZING WOMEN have drawn attention to the often forgotten, neglected, underpromoted, and underseen works of women directors. These are contemporary problems. Women were involved in every aspect of the nascent film industry. Early women filmmakers made product intended to be consumed by an audience comprised largely of female peers, and stars of their movies were usually women, who were paid higher salaries than their male acting counterparts.
Despite their achievements, many early women filmmakers have been written out of film history, and their contributions have been undervalued or misattributed. As in the case of Alice Guy-Blaché, their “firsts” may have been given away to now more famous males. Flicker Alley’s new release EARLY WOMEN FILMMAKERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY will be a resource for those wanting to learn more about the talented women of world cinema. New audiences, no matter where they live, will have a way to see and experience these movies, which is much better than possessing only academic knowledge of them. Restoring films to the canon requires accessibility.
On May 9, Flicker Alley releases EARLY WOMEN FILMMAKERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY on dual-Format edition Blu-ray/DVD. The set showcases fourteen of early cinema’s most innovative and influential women directors, rewriting and celebrating their rightful place in film history. The directors are Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Mabel Normand, Madeline Brandeis, Germaine Dulac, Olga Preobrazhenskaia, Marie-Louise Iribe, Lotte Reiniger, Claire Parker, Mrs. Wallace Reid (Dorothy Davenport), Leni Riefenstahl, Mary Ellen Bute, Dorothy Arzner, and Maya Deren.
The directors are represented by ten hours of material restored to high definition. Their twenty-five films span four decades (1902-1943). Many are rare titles not widely available until now. Expect shorts to feature films, live-action to animation, and commercial narratives to experimental works. These women’s technical and stylistic innovations pushed boundaries of subject matter, narrative, aesthetics, and genre. For a complete list of films included on the set, please visit Flicker Alley here.
Bonus Materials include:
- New Scores by Sergei Dreznin, Frederick Hodges, Tamar Muskal, Judith Rosenberg, and Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
- Booklet Essay by film scholar and Women Film Pioneers Project Manager Kate Saccone.
- Audio Commentary For Lois Weber’s THE BLOT (1921) by author, professor, and expert on women and early film culture Shelley Stamp, courtesy of Milestone Film and Video.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of EARLY WOMEN FILMMAKERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY from Flicker Alley! The giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada, and the contest ends on May 22, 2017. To enter, comment on this post and then fill-out the form below. Tell me which early woman filmmaker you admire or want to learn more about!
By msbethg in 1940s, Actresses, Ann Miller, Easter, Era, Holidays No Comments Tags: actress, American, Ann Miller, bonnet, dancer, Easter, Easter bonnet, Easter Parade, hat, hats, holiday, holidays, rabbit, singer, surreal, Tap, tap dancer, Top Hat, unique, unusual, white
Easter greetings from Spellbound HQ! I hope yours was lovely. For a last moment of celebratory fun, here’s Easter Parade star Ann Miller wearing a truly unique variation of the Easter bonnet. Inside her floral, hinged top hat sits a real, living rabbit. Miller and rabbit look nonplussed, and the actress does her best to make the look chic.
By msbethg in 1920s, Actresses, Cecil B. DeMille, Chicago (1927), Directors, Era, Film Festivals, Frank Urson, Genres, Movies, Phyllis Haver, Silent Film, Toronto Silent Film Festival No Comments Tags: 1920s, 1927, 20s, Beulah Annan, Bobby Franks, Canada, Cecil B. DeMille, Chicago, Chicago Tribune, drunk, drunks, Eugene O'Neill, film fest, film festival film festivals, film fests, flapper, flappers, Flicker Alley, Fox Theatre, Frank Urson, George Pierce Baker, Jordan Klapman, Leopold and Loeb, lover, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Maurine Watkins, murder, Murderess Row, Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr., Nathan Leopold, newspaper, Phyllis Haver, Prohibition, reporter, reporters, Richard Albert Loeb, Richard Loeb, Roxie Hart, shooting, shot, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Toronto, Toronto Silent Film Festival
A newspaper photographer poses a pretty flapper with platinum curls wearing not much more than a peignoir over a man’s lifeless body. Don’t worry. He’s not really dead. He’s playing her real victim, who’s lying cold elsewhere. Welcome to CHICAGO where a girl gunner gets priority in print over her victim! She was the one who was going to sell papers, and she did. In the movie, her name is Roxie Hart, but in real life her name was Beulah Annan, and she would take her place on “Murderess Row” where she awaited trial and attempted to maximize her beauty and newfound fame into an acquittal. Reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins covered Annan’s case. If Annan was an angel of death, then Watkins wanted to be an avenging angel with her words as her weapon.
Watkins didn’t start out wanting to be a reporter. She intended to live a quiet academic life of language and religious studies, but she changed her mind after her short stories earned her a place in George Pierce Baker‘s prestigious playwriting workshop. Baker, a mentor of Eugene O’Neill, encouraged Watkins to go out and experience life for her work. Suddenly her purpose crystallized for her; she felt called to engage evil, and she’d do it through her writing. Like O’Neill, she became a reporter, and she chose to work in Chicago since she saw it as a hotbed of sin, and she applied to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE because it was “a real hanging paper—out for conviction always.”
Watkins was sure Annan was guilty. She had shot her lover in the back after drinking two quarts of wine with him, so her defense of preventing dishonor didn’t seem believable. Watkins wrote biting and acerbic pieces mocking Annan and the attitudes that might free her. Annan would be audacious enough to claim to be pregnant, but cynical Watkins feared Annan’s being a woman was enough to avoid conviction. Juries were only composed of men, who held Victorian views of women. As a youthful and beautiful woman, Annan might walk away from her crime. The prosecutor entreated the jury not “to let another pretty woman go out and say ‘I got away with it!’” Since Annan and Hart received the same verdict, you’ll have to watch them film to find out what it was!
Watkins covered crime for six months. Her last case was the Bobby Franks murder. She interviewed Leopold and Loeb and provided pre-trial coverage of the pair. She suddenly switched to movie reviews. She may have burnt out on covering murders, but she definitely was biding time until she could reunite with Baker to work on a play she had started, one ultimately called CHICAGO. Watkins distanced herself from her newspaper work, and no mention of it was made to promote her play. Her play was a hit, and when the offer came in to adapt it for the screen, her services were declined. She wrote other plays and eventually screenplays, including LIBELED LADY (1936).
By msbethg in 1910s, Behind the Door, Contests, Era, Genres, Movies, Revenge, Series, Silent Film, Themes 15 Comments Tags: 1919, Academy Award, American, Behind the Door, Blu-ray, classic, classic film, classic films, contest, dual format, dvd, film, films, Flicker Alley, German, giveaway, Gosfilmofond, Gosfilmofond of Russia, Hobart Bosworth, Irvin V. Willat, Jane Novak, Jay Weissburg, Kevin Brownlow, Library of Congress, LOC, movie.movies, Oscar Krug, outtakes, Patrick Stanbury, restoration, restored, revenge, Robert Byrne, Russia, Russian, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, SF Silent Film, SF Silent Film Fest, SF Silent Film Festival, ship, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Stephen Horne, submarine, Thomas H. Ince, U-boat, vengeance, Wallace Beery, World War I, WWI
As promised, here are the details on the Flicker Alley contest this blog is participating in. You’re getting the chance to win a brand new dual-format edition Blu-ray and DVD. Flicker Alley and a group of amazing sites for fans of silent and classic film are proud to bring you this giveaway for BEHIND THE DOOR (1919).
I missed the movie when it screened at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2016, so here’s more on the film and set from the Flicker Alley press release:
Legendary producer Thomas H. Ince and director Irvin V. Willat made this—͞the most outspoken of all the vengeance films according to film historian Kevin Brownlow—during the period of World War I-inspired American patriotism.
Hobart Bosworth stars as Oscar Krug, a working-class American, who is persecuted for his German ancestry after war is declared. Driven by patriotism, Krug enlists and goes to sea. However, tragedy strikes when his wife (Jane Novak) sneaks aboard his ship and is captured following a German U-boat attack. Krug’s single-minded quest for vengeance against the sadistic German submarine commander (played with villainous fervor by Wallace Beery) leads to the film’s shocking and brutal climax.
This newly restored edition represents the most complete version of the film available since 1919, thanks to the collaboration of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Library of Congress, and Gosfilmofond of Russia.
Sourced from the only two known remaining prints and referencing a copy of Willat’s original continuity script, this edition recreates the original color tinting scheme and features a new score composed and performed by Stephen Horne. Flicker Alley is honored to present BEHIND THE DOOR on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time ever.
Bonus Materials Include:
- Original Russian version of BEHIND THE DOOR: The re-edited and re-titled version of the film that was distributed in Russia, with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.
- Original Production Outtakes: Featuring music composed and performed by Stephen Horne.
- RESTORING IRVIN WILLAT’S BEHIND THE DOOR: An inside look at the restoration process with the restoration team.
- KEVIN BROWNLOW, REMEMBERING IRVIN WILLAT: Directed by Patrick Stanbury, an in-depth interview with renowned historian and honorary Academy Award® winner Kevin Brownlow on the career of director Irvin Willat.
- Slideshow Gallery: Original lobby cards, production stills, and promotional material.
- 12-page Booklet: Featuring rare photographs and essays by film historian Jay Weissburg, film restorer Robert Byrne, and composer Stephen Horne.
The set’s official release date is April 4, 2017. Readers of this blog who pre-order now using this link receive a special sale price of $29.95 for a limited time!
Here’s the film’s trailer:
Giveaway Hosted By: Flicker Alley
- Silent Era
- Once Upon a Screen
- Ferdy on Films
- Caren’s Classic Cinema
- Toronto Film Society
- Spellbound By Movies
- A Classic Movie Blog
- Second Sight Cinema
- Sister Celluloid
- Cinematic Catharsis
- Classic Movie Man
- Old Hollywood Films
- Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
- True Classics
To enter, comment on this blog what is your favorite revenge movie or cinematic scene of revenge, and then submit your contact information to Flicker Alley using the form below.
By msbethg in 1930s, Actors, Alfred Hitchcock, Directors, Era, Jamaica Inn (1939), Movies, Norman Lloyd 2 Comments Tags: Alfred Hitchcock, BAFTA LA, Cohen Film Classics, Cohen Media Group, Flicker Alley, granddaughter, granddaughters, Hitch, Hitchcock, Hollywood, interview, interviews, Jamaica Inn, Katie Fiala, KCET, KCETLink, Link TV, Los Angeles, Norman Lloyd, party, premiere, red carpet, Tere Carrubba
I’m back in after the JAMAICA INN (1939) premiere party, winding down and thinking abut what a great night it was. My first red carpet went well. Norman Lloyd, Tere Carrubba, and Katie Fiala were generous interviewees. They were eager to talk about and connect over Alfred Hitchcock. I recorded our conversations, so I may release the audio at some point, but look for a write-up of the event and a review of the film soon. First I’ll be co-hosting a Flicker Alley Blu-ray/DVD contest. Details will go live at 9 AM PDT!
By msbethg in 1930s, Actresses, Alfred Hitchcock, Directors, Era, Maureen O'Hara, Screening Alert, Series 3 Comments Tags: A Mighty Wind, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, BAFTA LA, Best in Show, Charles Laughton, Charles S. Cohen, Cohen, Cohen Film Classics, Cohen Media Group, family, Fred Willard, granddaughter, granddaughters, Hitch, Hitchcock, Hollywood, Katie Fiala, KCET, KCETLink, Link TV, Los Angeles, Margaret Herrick Library, Mary Stone, Mary Yellen, Maureen O'Hara, Norman Lloyd, redhead, redheads on film, Saboteur, spellbound, Tere Carrubba
Sharing a black and white picture of Maureen O’Hara after and not on St. Patrick’s day might seem like a mistake. The Irish-born actress’s trademark was her flame red hair crowning her head in glory in technicolor pictures, so sharing a color photo of her to celebrate the holiday would’ve been festive, but that’s not what I’m celebrating today.
Tonight I’m in Los Angeles to watch JAMAICA INN (1939) for the first time. I’ve been invited as press to cover a special screening organized by KCETLink, the Cohen Media Group, and BAFTA LA. It celebrates KCET and Link TV’s broadcast premiere of the movie, the last one Alfred Hitchcock shot in the United Kingdom.
As part of the festivities, there’ll be a red carpet, which I’ve been credentialed for, so that marks a first for this film writer and her blog. Celebrity guests include Norman Lloyd (SABOTUER, SPELLBOUND, and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS) and Fred Willard (BEST IN SHOW and A Mighty Wind). There’ll be an exhibition of behind-the-scenes photographs of Hitchcock organized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library. All three of the director’s granddaughters will be in attendance, and they’ll participate in a panel discussion moderated by host of the COHEN FILM CLASSICS series Charles S. Cohen.
When I heard that last fact, I had to rearrange my schedule to attend. I’m not sure how often his granddaughters (Tere Carrubba, Katie Fiala and Mary Stone) are in one place, and I can’t wait to hear what they share about their grandfather. I’ll be sure to share what live experiences I can on my Instagram and Twitter accounts, and you’ll definitely find more in-depth coverage here at a later date.
For now enjoy this picture of O’Hara as JAMAICA INN’s Mary Yellen. Even after a sub-par screen test, its male lead and producer Charles Laughton insisted she be cast as his co-star. He was bewitched by her eyes, and it’s easy to see why.
By msbethg in 1950s, 1960s, Actresses, Directors, Era, John Cassavetes, Judy Holliday, Nightmare in Wax (1969), Roger Corman, Series, The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956), Vista Theater 18 Comments Tags: 1950s, 1956, 1960s, 1967, 1969, 50s, 60’s, Art Deco, Cassavetes, Devil's Angels, end, fifties, film, film leader, film leaders, film stock, film title, film titles, films, found, found film, frame, frames, Gladys Glover, head, It Should Happen to You, John Cassavetes, Judy Holliday, movie, movie theater, movie theaters, movie theatre, movie theatres, movies, Nightmare in Wax, nitrate, nitrate film, prize, prize night, Rio Vista, Rio Vista Museum, Roger Corman, safety, safety film, safety stock, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, sixties, The Solid Gold Cadillac, theater, theaters, theatre, theatres, Vista Theater, Wednesday, Wednesday prize night
Living in a former movie theatre, it was the architecture of the place that connected my home to its former function–until this week. This week I went up into my attic, the former projection booth, to see how its roof has been holding up under the recent barrage of rain. My landlord was too good at clearing away the materials associated with movie exhibition. Most of the items in my attic were from recent tenants who used it as a dumping ground. I happened to notice a plastic shopping bag that hadn’t caught my eye before, and I picked it up to see what was inside. I found film!
As you can see above, the film isn’t in great shape. I stuck my nose in the bag to sniff. I was looking for a vinegar odor. That’s what decaying nitrate film stinks like. No such luck or peril! Touching the film, it felt like plastic. It must be safety stock. You can see the pieces vary in length, but all are short, and some have masking tape notations, which state the names of the movies they were once attached to. I had found mostly film leaders, the heads and ends of film used to thread movies into projectors.
I sorted through all the pieces to see if any contained images of interest. Most did not. I found some pieces with their titles imprinted on their frames, and I found three fragments of one theatre-specific film. I’ve included pictures of the ones that caught my attention the most in this post.
Two things I love about the above film leader–my home started as a silent movie theatre, so it’s fun to find a piece labelled sound, and the stencil font used is striking and vintage.
NIGHTMARE IN WAX (1969) was a low budget horror movie that revisited the mad man populating his wax museum with stolen bodies plot.
Long-term readers of this blog know I am a Judy Holliday fan. I was smiling almost as big as Gladys Glover when she sees her first billboard when I found part of THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC (1956) in my hands!
The above is my favorite! I’m guessing it is the oldest I found since it touts a Wednesday prize night, and it sports an Art Deco motif under the text. I’m going to take a closer look at it for dating. A visit to my town’s museum might help me find out what years the theatre ran their promotion. I’ve been meaning to go anyway!
By msbethg in 1940s, 1980s, Actresses, Diane Lane, Era, Moira Shearer, Movies, Series, The Fabulous Stains (1982), The Red Shoes (1948), Times Square (1980) No Comments Tags: 1940s, 1948, 1980, 1980s, 1982, artists, ballet, cult, cult films, dancers, Diane Lane, eyeliner, eyeshadow, female, females, feminist, girl punk, girl punks, Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains, make-up, makeup, mascara, Moira Shearer, musicians, performance, performance makeup, proto, punk, punks, red lipstick, riot grrrl, stage, stage make-up, stage makeup, teenaged, teenager, The Fabulous Stains, The Japan Times, The Red Shoes, Times Square, woman, women
THE JAPAN TIMES published a good article on how mainstream cinema virtually ignored punk. Those kind of pieces always prompt someone to name films missed. This time that someone was I! I noticed a lack of female-centric films on the list.
I would’ve added proto-riot grrrl flicks TIMES SQUARE (1980) and LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS (1982). They’re important works in the punk screen canon for females, even if written and directed by men. Perhaps being overlooked gives them greater cult status by keeping them films you have to be in the know to seek out. They’re treasured by those who find them when needed.
Picturing teenaged Diane Lane‘s makeup in THE FABULOUS STAINS–the bleached streaks in her hair giving her a “skunk” look and the dramatic eye make-up, I thought how arty punk looks evolve from other influences, sometimes surprising. In this specific case, I focused on the make-up of a classic film, THE RED SHOES (1948).
I don’t have printed proof Lane’s makeup artists were inspired by Moira Shearer’s, but when you juxtapose the two images together like above, similarities become apparent. The angled slash of eyeliner beneath both women’s eyes. Eyelashes that curl dramatically upward despite being thick and heavy with mascara. Lips painted red and in shades and shapes of each woman’s era.
There’s one major difference. The small flashes of red painted near each corner of Shearer’s eyes to increase the drama of a look designed for the stage become flames or wings on Lane. I like to think of them as wings. While Shearer’s dancer, torn between love or her career, loses everything, Lane’s musician dumps her lothario to ultimately triumph on her own talent.
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 No Comments 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.