Thursday, November 21, 2019

2020 TCM Classic Film Festival Tickets On Sale


The much anticipated 11th annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival is now gearing up, set to happen in Hollywood April 16 - 19, 2020. The year's theme is "Grand Illusions: Fantastic Worlds on Film" and tickets are on sale now at several price points:

Spotlight $2449
Essential $999
Classic $749
Palace $349

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019


Parlez vous French noir? 

Three years ago I discovered French film noir thanks to Don Malcolm and his annual "The French Had a Name for It" film festival in San Francisco. Don heads MidCentury Productions and since 2014 MCP has presented yearly - and, lately, more frequent - noir screenings at the city's Roxie Theater. This month brings "French 6," the last in MCP's series of French noir fests 'til further notice.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bridging Old Hollywood and New: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

This post is my entry for the Classic Movie Blog Association's Fall 2019 Blogathon. This year we honor the CMBA's 10th anniversary with an "Anniversary Blogathon." Click here for links to other member posts on classic film and classic film-related anniversaries.

In this piece I take a circuitous look back at Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "the Citizen Kane of buddy films," on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.


It was during the 1950s that William Goldman, then a young novelist, first got interested in "the Butch Cassidy story." He was so fascinated with Cassidy, ringleader of a late 19th century band of outlaws, and one of his gang members known as the Sundance Kid, that he would research them off and on for another eight years.

It was also in the 1950s that young method actor Paul Newman left the Broadway stage and made his way onto the Hollywood sound stage. Once there, he would steadily be cast in leading roles in films like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), for which he received his first Oscar nomination, The Young Philadelphians (1959), and From the Terrace (1960).

Monday, August 26, 2019

Hitchcockian: François Truffaut 's The Soft Skin (1964)

 ...For the Vive la France Blogathon...

35 years after his death in 1984, François Truffaut is best known today as the most successful of the youthful filmmakers to emerge from the nouvelle vague (New Wave) movement that swept French cinema in the late 1950s. But before he would write and direct his first full-length feature in 1959, Truffaut would make his name as an enfant terrible critic at the influential post-war film journal Cahiers du cinema (Notebooks on Cinema). It was Truffaut who authored a famous/infamous January 1954 article, an impassioned and polemic piece, that advanced the “auteur theory.”  This theory maintains that auteur films reflect the filmmaker’s personal/artistic vision and possess an identifiable style along with recurring themes and motifs. Alfred Hitchcock, a director revered by Cahiers’ young critics, personified the auteur concept and Truffaut was one especially smitten with his work. He would author 27 articles on Hitchcock over the course of the 1950s.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

"Vive la France!" - the Blogathon

Welcome to the Vive la France! blogathon. My co-host, Christian Esquevin of Silver Screen Modes, and I have been thrilled that so many joined in with us to celebrate the films of France along with non-French films set in France. Our participating bloggers have chosen an exciting range of subjects - covering nine decades - we know you will enjoy.

Blog post titles in bold contain links to each piece - click-and-read on!

A very big thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who took part in our blogathon. Who knows, maybe we'll do it again next year - on Bastille Day...

The members of the Classic Movie Blog Association have honored the Vive la France! blogathon with the 2019 CMBA Award for Best Classic Film Blog Event.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The French Roots of Noir: Two Films by Marcel Carné with Jean Gabin

...For the Vive la France Blogathon...

In 1946 four relatively recent American films inspired Italian-born French film critic Nino Frank to pen an article for the August 1946 issue of the newly launched film periodical L'Écran français. Titled “A New Kind of Police Drama: the Criminal Adventure,” the article pointed out that these films - The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Laura and Murder, My Sweet - seemed more concerned with psychological motivations and undercurrents than crime solving. In his piece, Frank would use the term film noir and from then on be given credit for coining the phrase.

The research of film studies professor Charles O’Brien, among others, many years later would reveal that the term film noir had been in use in France since the late 1930s in reviews and articles written about a new trend in French films.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Coming August 25 & 26: The Vive la France! Blogathon

On July 14, France's Bastille Day, the Vive la France! blogathon was officially announced. Hosted by this blog and Silver Screen Modes, the event was originally set for one day, Sunday, August 25. We are excited to announce that we've had to add a day, Monday, August 26, in order to accommodate all the bloggers who are participating.  Our subject is broad and includes just about "everything" France/French-related. For example, French films, movies set in France, etc. etc. There are so many possibilities. See Silver Screen Modes' announcement post for more background on French cinema.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

5 Favorite Films of the '50s for Classic Movie Day

The Final Five

Who among committed classic film bloggers could possibly resist the chance to join a blogathon honoring National Classic Movie Day? I couldn’t, but this year’s blog-fest posed a tough challenge.

The Classic Film and TV Café aka/Rick, its founder, is once more hosting a National Classic Movie Day Blogathon. This year participants were challenged to choose and elaborate on their five favorite films of the ‘50s. Only five. From the ‘50s. Impossible. I made the effort and eventually whittled my list down to 10 or so films, but other titles continued to pop into my head, so I decided to go at it from another angle.

What I’ve done is take a look at the films of two popular stars, two filmmakers and a studio that were all at their peak during the decade and then selected one favorite from each out of their 1950s filmographies. Here goes… 

Friday, May 3, 2019

For Those Who Think Noir: Where to get your film noir fix this Spring

Sketch for Mildred Pierce (1945) by Warner Bros. Art Director Anton Grot

Don Malcolm, long-time festival programmer of film noir from every corner of the globe, is of the strong opinion that "any time of year is a good time for noir." I agree. And so, though it is sunshiny and balmy where I live, with blossoms blooming everywhere, I have scoured the Internet and my email inbox to see what's to be found lurking in the dim-lit dark alley of film noir this Spring.

Monday, April 8, 2019





Audrey Hepburn. One of the most beloved stars in the history of Hollywood. An Oscar winner at age 25, she took the Best Actress award with her first starring role, as a runaway princess in Roman Holiday (1953). She would be nominated in the same category four times more and be honored, in 1993, with the Academy's Jean Hersholt humanitarian award. She was and is, 26 years after her death, a revered international style icon. And she has long been admired around the globe for her philanthropic work on behalf of the children of the world; in 1988 she embarked on her first mission for UNICEF, to Ethiopia, and in 1989 she was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Friday, March 22, 2019



On a Wednesday afternoon at the end of February, I slogged through the rain, my car moving at a crawl across a bridge mired in traffic, to the east side of the San Francisco Bay. Into wild and woolly Berkeley, California, I drove. Berkeley, that university town known far and wide for its political uprisings, fine school and lingering spirit of the late 1960s. But my visit on that rainy day had nothing to do with politics or school, though it did have something to do with a bygone era. I was on my way to see a movie, a very special screening at Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive of one of Hollywood’s great classics, a quintessential romp of a romantic comedy released at the tail-end of the Pre-Code era, It Happened One Night (1934).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Movie Music, the Communicating Link

Bernard Herrmann, likely the most celebrated of classic era film composers today, who wrote the scores  for Citizen Kane, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho and Taxi Driver among countless others, once said of the function of the film score:

Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock
“I feel that music on the screen can seek out and intensify the inner thoughts of the characters. It can invest a scene with terror, grandeur, gaiety, or misery. It can propel narrative swiftly forward or slow it down. It often lifts mere dialogue into the realm of poetry.”

This is surely true of Herrmann’s own remarkable work for Welles, Hitchcock, Scorsese and others, as it is of the contributions of Max Steiner to films like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The Letter and Now, Voyager and David Raksin’s work on such films as Laura and The Bad and the Beautiful. Herrmann’s contention has been borne out over the decades through scores by the likes of Franz Waxman, Miklos Rozsa and all of Hollywood’s “big five” Golden Age composers. Beginning with Jaws and Star Wars, the prodigious work of John Williams continues to prove Herrmann’s point as do the scores of modern era film composers such as Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel.