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 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 Film Fanatic Gear, Series, You Know You're a Film Fanatic When Tags: 56, afternoon, afternoons, American International Pictures, Bela Lugosi, Ben Chapman, Boris Karloff, Boston, Bride of Frankenstein, channel, classic, classic film, Claude Rains, clip, clips, Creature from the Black Lagoon, director, Dracula, Elsa Lanchester, film, film fan, film fanatic, film fanatic gear, films, Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Monster, gear, Hammer Studios, horror, Lon Chaney, Lon Chaney Jr, monster, monsters, movie, movies, mummy, Phantom of the Opera, producer, productions, Ricou Browning, Rock Rebel, Roger Corman, Saturday, t-shurt, tee, The Bride, The Creature Double Feature, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, The Wolfman, Toho Studios, Universal, Universal International, vampire, werewolf, WLVI, Wolf Man
I can’t resist showing my movie love when at my new gym. Since I’m only a beginner, its circuit training sessions are grueling, but I keep myself peppy by wearing film-related tees. Today’s reflected my lifelong enjoyment of the Universal Monsters series.
Starting as a tot, I’d tune in to local station WLVI for The Creature Double Feature every Saturday. The show didn’t have the typical costumed horror host, but the announcer was enthusiastic, and he never talked down about the material. The program’s introductory sequences built anticipation of what was to come by containing horror clips, sometimes altered in psychedelic ways, accompanied by electronic music and vocal effects.
I credit The Creature Double Feature as one of the influences that turned me into a film fanatic. It was pure cinema of entertainment until commercials temporarily interrupted whatever was onscreen. Besides Universal, the program showcased Toho Studio‘s giant monster movies, American International Pictures‘ fifties films, Hammer Studios, and Roger Corman‘s sixties horror flicks.
Mention The Creature Double feature to anyone who grew up watching it, and you’ll get a smile from someone eager to chat. The name acts like a secret handshake. If you search the web, you’ll find fan pages and a message board run by people nostalgic for the show. I even found a list of every movie it ever played. That’s a great help because I know I’ve watched Hammer movies, but sometimes I can’t remember which ones. I enjoyed them, but the melancholy monsters of Universal Studios stuck with me.
By msbethg in Classic Film, Film Festivals, Genres, Series, TCM Film Festival, The Road to TCMFF 2017 Tags: 2017, blog, classic, classic film, classic films, classic movie, classic movies, critic, film, film blog, film blogger, film bloggers, film critic, film exhibition, film fanatics, film fans, film fest, film festival, film festivals, film fests, film writer, film writers, films, Hollywood, LA, Los Angeles, media credential, movie, movie blog, movie blogger, movie bloggers, movies, press, press credential, press pass, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, TCM, TCM Classic Film Fest, TCM Classic Film Festival, TCMFF, TCMFF 2017, TCMFF17, TCMFF2017, The Road to TCMFF, The Road to TCMFF 2017, Turner Classic Movies, Turner Classic Movies Film Fest, Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, Woman writer, women writers
Wonderful news! For the second year in a row, I’ve been awarded an official media credential to the TCM Classic Film Festival. I’m excited to return to the premiere classic film gathering in the United States. I can’t wait to meet up with fellow film fanatics to experience the camaraderie, special guests, movies, and other events TCM is organizing. Prior to the festival, I’ll be releasing more The Road to TCMFF 2017 pieces. Once the festival goes live, I’ll have daily diaries on this blog; I’ve invested in a digital recorder for on-site interviews; and I’ll be sharing live reactions on Twitter and Instagram. Post-event coverage will include detailed reviews. Prepare to be inundated with updates!
By msbethg in Classic Film, Film Historians, Genres, Remembrances, Robert Osborne, Series Tags: 2007, Beth Ann Gallagher, book, book signing, Camille, Castro, Castro Theatre, classic, classic film, classic films, classic movie, classic movies, classics, exhibition, film festival, film festivals, film historian, film writer, host, In Memoriam, journalist, Karie Bible, mezzanine, movie, movie theater, movie theaters, movie theatre, movie theatres, movies, preservation, remembrance, restoration, Robert Osborne, San Francisco, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, SF Silent Film Fest, SF Silent Film Festival, SFSFF, signing, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, TCM, Turner Classic, Turner Classic Movies, writer
Late Monday morning I was crying. A quick look at Twitter let me know something I hoped wouldn’t happen yet had. TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne had died. He’d been on extended medical leave, so I knew he wasn’t well, that he must have been seriously ill to stay away from the network and the job that meant so much to him. He was the rare person who created his own career around what he loved, film. Since he was the even rarer public person who kept his personal life private, fans didn’t know more about his condition than that. I wished like many he’d rebound.
I’m not the sort of person who jumps on the celebrity mourning bandwagon. I don’t write about someone’s passing simply to get blog hits. When I feel the loss of someone like Robert, and I’m going to be presumptuous and call him by his first name since he’s been in my living room many times, I really feel it. Chief among his many gifts was being able to connect and engage with an audience. He made me feel like he was excited to share what he knew and thought about a film because he cared–and he truly did. He wanted to pass on the knowledge and the joy of classic film. Whether you met him in person or watched him on TV, he gave you a personal experience.
I was lucky enough to meet Robert at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2007. He was there to accept an award from the festival for TCM for its contributions “to the preservation, restoration and exhibition of silent film.” He, also, introduced CAMILLE (1921). I didn’t approach him when I saw him in the Castro Theatre‘s auditorium. I don’t think he would’ve minded, but I try to be considerate of famous people’s moments of downtime. My friends and I made sure to go up to the theatre’s mezzanine for his book signing, and that’s the first and last time I met him.
Some of us bought his book, and some didn’t, but that didn’t seem to matter to him. He was friendly and chatted with all of us, and he quickly and happily said yes to a group picture. While we started posing for the picture, I wanted to let him know how much I appreciated him and his work. I don’t remember what I said to him, but whatever I said and how I said it, he paused for a moment and tilted his head, and then he responded with something nice back. I’m sorry to be vague, but I remember the quality of the moment and my emotions more than the words used by either of us.
Robert exemplified generosity. He was a consummate gentleman to all who approached him. He left people feeling good after they interacted with him. He wasn’t only an ambassador for TCM or classic film. He was someone who radiated happiness at his good fortune at being able to live the life he wanted, and he shared that happiness by making himself available until he wasn’t able to anymore.
Thank you, Robert, for giving more than you took, for being an educator and an inspiration, and for being you. You leave behind a rich legacy.
By msbethg in Classic Film, Film Festivals, Genres, Series, Silent Film, TCM Film Festival, The Road to TCMFF 2017 Tags: Abbott and Costello, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Alice Howell, Bebe Daniels, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Bud Abbott, Buster Keaton, Carole Lombard, Clara Bow, classic, classic film, classic films, classics, comedian, comedians, comedienne, comediennes, comedies, comedy, Constance Talmadge, David Stenn, Dean Martin, duo, Elsa Lanchester, Fatty Arbuckle, film, film festival, film festivals, films, Flora Finch, Get Your Man, Gloria Swanson, Good References, Harold Lloyd, Hollywood, In the Heat of the Night, Jerry Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, Library of Congress, LOC, Los Angeles, Lou Costello, Louise Fazenda, Mabel Normand, Make 'Em Laugh, Marie Dressler, Moonstruck, movie, movies, Norman Jewison, Oliver Hardy, Patsy Kelly, Polly Moran, preservation, reconstruction, Red Hair, restorations, restored, Robert Woolsey, short, shorts, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Stan Laurel, Suzanne Lloyd, TCM, TCM Classic Film Festival, TCM Film Festival, TCMFF, team, Thelma Todd, Turner Classic Movies, Wheeler and Woolsey, William "Bud" Abbott, William Abbott, Zasu Pitts
Since only a portion of the TCM Classic Film Festival offerings has been revealed, I’m going to fantasize about what else the festival programmers could schedule. In making my ideal list, I’ll pretend rights or physical print restrictions don’t exist, and I’ll stick to this year’s theme of MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: COMEDY IN THE MOVIES. I’m sure some of the programs and films I’d like to see at the festival will surprise you!
Long-term readers and Twitter followers know I’m a silent film buff, and I know the perfect gateway to introduce others to the medium is comedy. I have multiple suggestions in this category. Harold Lloyd will be shown, but due to his granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd‘s activism in preserving and promoting his work, his work screening at the fest is usually likely. I’m a fan, so I don’t object. I’d like more silents at the festival!
I’d love TCM to put together a program of silent film comediennes’ shorts. That way the audience could get exposure to or reacquaint themselves with multiple women stars from that era. There have been recent restorations, including some recently screened on the network, that could help fill the bill. Gloria Swanson, Louise Fazenda, Mabel Normand, Bebe Daniels, Flora Finch, Carole Lombard, Alice Howell, Marie Dressler, and Elsa Lanchester are all comediennes with existing silent shorts. If looking for a longer bill, shorts could be paired with Constance Talmadge‘s hour-long, recently found and restored comedy GOOD REFERENCES (1920).
Clara Bow‘s GET YOUR MAN (1927) provides the perfect excuse for a spotlight on the jazziest silent film comedienne. More exposure for Bow, especially with an introduction by her biographer David Stenn, will spotlight why America’s former favorite redhead deserves to be remembered as a talented comedienne whose onscreen naturalism belied self-aware technique. Discussion of how an incomplete film was reconstructed by the Library of Congress using “still photographs and inter-titles from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to fill in the narrative gaps” would be a mini-course in film preservation. If the program needs filling out because GET YOUR MAN is fifty-seven minutes long, short materials like the fragment of RED HAIR (1928) can be screened.
I’m divided whether I want a program of comedy duo shorts or one featuring duos whatever the length of their films. Shorts duos I’d be delighted to watch at TCMFF included Thelma Todd and ZaSu Pitts, Todd and Patsy Kelly, Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle, and Laurel and Hardy. If the fest highlights comedic duos’ best moments even from longer fare, I’d want to see added Marie Dressler and Polly Moran, Abbott and Costello, and Wheeler and Woolsey. I’m sure including Bob Hope and Bing Crosby along with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis would make even more fans happy!
With Norman Jewison already in attendance for the fiftieth anniversary of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967), I hope another one of his films celebrating its thirtieth anniversary gets snuck onto the schedule–MOONSTRUCK (1987). It’s laugh out loud funny in an idiosyncratic way, and it celebrates life and the mistakes that make it interesting with no cynicism. It, also, captures an old New York City that’s been disappearing via gentrification, displacement, and the passing of the older generations.
Now that you’ve read my picks, what films or programs would you like to see at TCMFF?
By msbethg in Actresses, Bette Davis, Costume Designers, Costuming, Genres, Movies, Of Human Bondage, Orry-Kelly, Series, Susan Sarandon, TV Biopics, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Women He's Undressed Tags: actress, actresses, Baby Jane, Baby Jane Hudson, Bette, Bette Davis, bra, braless, bras, brassiere, brassieres, buttons, child star, costume, costume designer, costume supervisor, costuming, Crawford, Davis, documentary, Feud, foulards, FX, Gillian Armstrong, gothic, Hollywood, Hollywood gothic, Jane Hudson, Joan, Joan Crawford, Mildred Rogers, miniseries, Of Human Bondage, Orry-Kelly, pockets, premiere, red carpet, show, suit, Susan Sarandon, television, The Calling, TV, TV show, underwire, uniform, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, Women He's Undressed
FEUD premieres tonight on FX, and like many classic film fans, I’m watching to see how legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are portrayed, and I’ll be paying particular attention to one area of costuming.
Susan Sarandon plays Davis. The latter actress, while capable of glamour and being beautiful onscreen, always favored her performances over the strictures of the star machine that led more wary or canny actresses to compromise on characterization in favor of not lowering beauty standards too far. Davis felt no restriction. She wanted her Mildred Rogers in OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1934) to look as sickly as possible when the script called for that, and she pushed for her WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962) costume to be more extreme than as originally designed.
Sarandon has shown a willingness to deglam onscreen for the right roles, but offscreen she’s been a poster girl for not looking her age or letting it determine whether she should be sexy on the red carpet and how. A favorite outfit of hers to wear to movie launches, so much so it’s almost a uniform, is a suit with no shirt worn underneath its jacket, often leaving a pretty bra visible for all to see. If her bra isn’t in view, its push-up effects leave no doubt of its presence.
I’m finding it ironic that an actress sartorially famous for her bras and gravity defying chest is playing one who eschewed underwire bras, despite being as generously endowed. As the recent Orry-Kelly documentary, WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED (2015) revealed Davis was convinced wearing underwire caused breast cancer. The costume designer was left having to camouflage that the leading lady was undersupported or braless by “using foulards, pockets, buttons, and other visual tricks.”
So while I’m watching FEUD, I’m going to be looking at Sarandon’s silhouette to see if series costume supervisor Katie Saunders incorporated this particular quirk when approving designs. Like Davis knew, it’s paying attention to the little details that help a performer build and inhabit a character.
By msbethg in Film Festivals, Series, TCM Film Festival, The Road to TCMFF 2017 Tags: 2017, 3-D, 3D, Adolphe Menjou, Alan Bates, Angela Lansbury, Anne Bancroft, Arsenic and Old Lace, Barbra Streisand, Beau Bridges, Bette Davis, Beyond the Mouse, Billie Dove, Bogart, Born Yesterday, California, Carole Lombad, cartoon, cartoons, Cary Grant, Casablanca, Chester Morris, classic, classic film, classic films, Claudette Colbert, Cock of the Air, Dan Duryea, Danny Kaye, Debbie Reynolds, Detective Story, Donald O'Connor, Donna Pescow, Dr Strangelove, Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Dustin Hoffman, festival, festivals, film, film festival, film festivals, films, Fred MacMurray, Gene Kelly, Gene Wilder, Geneviève Bujold, Ginger Rogers, Harold Llloyd, Henry Fonda, High Anxiety, Humphrey Bogart, In the Heat of the Night, Ingrid Bergman, Irene Dunne, Jean Harlow, Jeff Bridges, Jezebel, Joel McCrea, John Barrymore, John Travolta, Judy Holliday, King of Hearts, LA, Lee Grant, Linda Darnell, Los Angeles, Make 'Em Laugh, Mel Brooks, Meryl Streep, movie, movies, musical, musicals, Norman Foster, Pat O’Brien, Peter Sellers, Postcards from the Edge, pre-code, pre-codes, precode, precodes, Rafter Romance, Red-Headed Woman, Rex Harrison, Rhonda Fleming, Rod Steiger, Rudy Vallee, Ryan O'Neal, Saturday Night Fever, Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Poitier, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Singin' in the Rain, Speedy, TCM, TCM Classic Film Festival, TCM Film Festival, TCMFF, TCMFF17, TCMFF2017, Teresa Brewer, The CourtJester, The Egg and I, The Front Page, The Graduate, The Great Nickelodeon Show, The Landlord, The Last Picture Show, The Palm Beach Story, The Underworld Story, Theodora Goes Wild, Those Redheads from Seattle, Timothy Bottoms, Turner Classic Movies, Twentieth Century, Ub Iwerks, Unfaithfully Yours, vaudeville, western, What's Up Doc, William Holden, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
When the TCM Classic Film Festival announced a smidgen of its schedule, fans poured over the listings to see what movies were included and did they fit their definition of classic. TCM fans are vocal on social media praising the network when pleased and passionately-yet-constructively criticizing it whenever they think their definition of classic has been strayed from. From what’s been released, I see a good mix sure to make a lot of fans happy. When I was considering whether to attend this year, I definitely felt the pull of the schedule. Let’s review what’s being offered together!
Since so many TCM film fans want to see classic era (i.e. studio era) movies, here’s how the offerings break down by time period. Of the thirty-two films or programs announced so far, twenty-four of them were made before 1970. Seven are from the 1970s or later.
The silent era (1910s-1920s) has two offerings:
The 1930s has eight offerings, half of which are pre-codes:
The 1940s have five offerings:
The 1950s have six offerings:
The 1960s have four offerings:
The 1970s have six offerings:
The 1980s have no offerings.
The 1990s have one offering:
While the bulk of the schedule fulfills the most traditional and constrictive definition classic film, the 1970s, the post-studio era, is very strongly represented. Only the 1930s has more selections; the 1950s ties with the 1970s. Obviously later made films are more likely to have guests that can attend the festival, but I don’t see that as the single motivation for programmers to include such movies. If we go by a broader definition of classic, something that is of its time yet timeless in its ability to be enjoyed repeatedly now and for years to come, then almost all the 1970s programming can be defined as classic. THE LANDLORD sticks out as rediscovery championing.
The post featuring my TCMFF picks will go live soon! In the meantime, feel free to comment on the 2017 schedule’s classic credentials.
By msbethg in Series, Throwback Thursday Tags: Alabama Hills, B movies, battle, Bs, classic, classic film, classic films, cowboy, cowboys, film, film history, films, gun, Gunga Din, gunplay, guns, history, Inyo County, location, locations, Lone Pine, Lone Pine Film Festival, movie, movie location, movie locations, movies, prestige, programmers, shooting, shooting location, shooting locations, site, TBT, temple, Throwback Thursday, western, westerns
The Alabama Hills are a photographer’s delight. When I visited, no matter what direction I looked in, I was surrounded by majestic and extremely photogenic beauty. All around me were rock formations that varied in shape and height, even within clusters. As morning turned into afternoon and the sun changed its angle in the sky, light slid across the landscape and highlighted formations in new ways. A formerly familiar spot could feel like a fresh discovery.
It’s no wonder filmmakers from the silent era to the present have been enchanted by the hills. They’re a gorgeous, natural backdrop that requires no painting or CGI. They are scene ready. Nearby spots can bear little resemblance to each other. What looks like a long journey onscreen might only have required careful editing after a cinematographer’s camera was moved mere yards and pointed in another direction.
Because the hills are a protected habitat, they remain unchanged, except by the light and the elements. That gives the place a feeling of timelessness. If you’ve ever seen a movie shot there, it’s very easy to recognize locations. You simply have to go in search of them. If you let your imagination run while you wander, you could expect to see cowboys on horseback or hear a gun battle or stumble upon a temple.
By msbethg in Actresses, Audrey Hepburn, Before They Were Stars, Series Tags: 1949, 1951, actress, Audrey Hepburn, Before They Were Stars, British, cigarette girl, classic, classic film, classic films, comedy, costuming, film, films, Laughter in Paradise, movie, movies, musical, photo, photograph, pre-fame, promo, promotional, publicity, publicity still, revue, Sauce Tartare, star, Terence Pepper
In Audrey Hepburn‘s third film, the British comedy LAUGHTER IN PARADISE (1951), she played the part of “Cigarette Girl” She was cute and memorable in a role that gave her more than one scene and multiple lines. Costuming treated her body as something to be made more stereotypically sexy, so they padded and pointed her chest.
In the above picture from her London revue days, she was starting to make a name for herself, but the costuming plan was corrective as well. The long legs are shown off, but her hips are made to look fuller by tacking on a partial skirt which in turn makes her waist look more nipped. Her bust line is obscured by an asymmetric neckline and shoulder, and her elegant “swan neck” is shortened by a ruffled collar.
Her gamine figure was not yet receiving the tailored looks best suited to it. Audrey’s impact on style and acceptable body types would come after better roles.