Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Noir Year Begins...

January 2013 brings, at last, the much-anticipated Noir City XI, San Francisco's 11th annual film noir festival. Presented by the Film Noir Foundation at the city’s landmark movie palace, the Castro Theatre, the festival runs from January 25 – February 3 and will showcase 27 films!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Treats

Joan Carroll and Margaret O'Brien in Meet Me in St. Louis
The origins of Halloween go back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sowˊ-in). Samhain began on the eve of October 31 and heralded the Celtic New Year on November 1. The Celts believed that during Samhain the divide between the living and the dead vanished, allowing spirits of the departed to briefly visit the world of the living. With the advent of Christianity, the Celtic New Year was

Monday, October 29, 2012

You've Gotta Have Heart...Damn, Giants!

San Francisco's Coit Tower bathed in Giants orange on Sunday night  (photo by Luanne Dietz, SF Chronicle)

One of the best-known tunes from Damn Yankees (the 1955 Broadway hit and 1958 movie) is the catchy number "Heart," and it goes like this:

You've gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win
That's when the grin should start...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Prize Pack Giveaway this Weekend for Upcoming "To Kill a Mockingbird" Screening...Plus...

The Lady Eve's Reel Life is pleased to take part in a "prize pack" giveaway sponsored by Fathom Events and Harper Perennial books in celebration of the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1962 film version of Harper Lee's acclaimed novel.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Film to Watch for...on TCM Next Week

Actress Jeanne Eagels, one of the great legends of early 20th century American theater, became the toast of the New York stage by the time she was 30. She most famously originated the role of Sadie Thompson on Broadway in John Colton's Rain (based on a Somerset Maugham short story); the play ultimately ran for a record-setting 648 performances. Eagels appeared in only a handful films during her career, most of them silents. The two sound films she did make were both produced in 1929, and she received a Best Actress nod for her performance in the first, a film adaptation of Somerset Maugham's The Letter. But Eagels' contention for an Academy Award occurred posthumously, for she had passed away, at age 39, in October 1929.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One of Ours...on Turner Classic Movies

Moira Neylon, aka/moirafinnie, blogger on TCM's Movie Morlocks site and member of the Classic Movie Blog Association, will be a guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies next month. Moira and three other Morlocks will be featured in segments with host Robert Osborne on Friday, November 30; each will discuss a film they've chosen to be screened that evening.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Many Thanks

It was nearly a year ago that I began to think about hosting a blog event focused on Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. I had just read an English translation of the French noir novel the film was adapted from and wanted to blog about it. But to simply write a book-to-film piece didn't appeal. And a straight-ahead review struck me as not only daunting but - redundant - so much has been written on Vertigo by so many over the years, beginning with France's Cahiers du Cinema set 50+ years ago. So, I thought it might be interesting to try something different. What evolved was "A Month of Vertigo," a more-than-a-month-long meditation on the masterpiece from many angles by many bloggers. This turned out to be much more work than I ever anticipated - and much more rewarding than I ever imagined. The icing on the cake has been the honor of being voted a 2012 CiMBA for "Best Classic Movie Blog Event" by the Classic Movie Blog Association.

This award would never have come my way if not for the incredible contributions of the superb guest bloggers who joined me in celebrating Hitchcock's great masterwork (now, according to Sight and Sound, the best film ever). I owe a special debt of gratitude to Brandon Kyle Goco (of Brandon Kyle the Cinephile) who created this wonderful teaser/promo as the event prepared to launch:

I'd like to again thank each of the bloggers who participated - this award belongs to them as much as it does The Lady Eve:

  • R.D. Finch of The Movie Projector, who kicked off "A Month of Vertigo" on January 1, 2012 with "Deadly Obsession: Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo," a reflection on the film's structure and themes.
  • Whistlingypsy of Distant Voices and Flickering Shadows who offered her contemplation of "Bernard Herrmann ~ Composer of Haunting Music and Treacherous Dreams."
  • Blogger and author Christian Esquevin (Silver Screen Modiste is his blog,  Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label is his book) who explored "The Costumes of Vertigo."
  • Brandie Ashe of True Classics, who assessed Kim Novak's greatest role and performance with "Kim Novak in Vertigo: A Hypnotic Presence."
  • Michael Nazarewycz of Scribe Hard on Film, who considered the film's iconic setting with "More Than Just the Streets of San Francisco."
  • Author Steven DeRosa (Writing with Hitchcock), expert on the Hitchcock screenwriters and screenplays, who explored the story behind Samuel Taylor's best known screenplay with "An Inconsequential Yarn."
  • John Greco of Twenty Four Frames, who had recently interviewed award-winning biographer Patrick McGilligan about his new Nicholas Ray bio - and interviewed him again for our event on the subject Alfred Hitchcock, about whom McGilligan had written a 2004 biography, and Vertigo.
  • Allen Hefner of Bit Part Actors, a man who knows his supporting players well, who took a closer look at some of the film's unsung character actors (and more) with Vertigo, The Bit Players.
  • Brian/Classicfilmboy of Classicfilmboy's Movie Paradise, who examined one of James Stewart's greatest performances with "James Stewart: A Walk on the Dark Side."
  • Brandon Kyle Goco who contributed not only the promo but also the vlog (video blog), "Vertigo: Alfred Hitchcock's Edifice to Obsession."
  • Vertigo authority Dan Auiler, author of the definitive VERTIGO: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic, who wrote of the film's mesmerizing impact with "Vertigo for Life."
  • Joel Gunz aka/the Alfred Hitchcock Geek, who meditated upon one moment of the film with "Hitchcock's Most Beautiful Shot Ever; Or, A Single Frame So Good, 2,000 Words Don't Do it Justice."
(My own contribution, "A Month of Vertigo, The Final Chapter," contemplated the transformation of a genre novel into a cinematic work of art.)

Thank you to the members of CMBA for honoring the blog event, the contributors and Vertigo with this deeply appreciated award.

  Click here for the complete list of 2012 CiMBA award winners.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ticket Giveaway this Sunday for "Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Event" on October 4th

The 35th Academy Awards ceremony, honoring the films of 1962, took place at Santa Monica's Civic Auditorium on April 8th, 1963. Frank Sinatra, who nearly missed the event because he forgot his parking pass, hosted the festivities. The big winner that evening was David Lean’s epic production of Lawrence of Arabia, winner of seven golden

Saturday, September 22, 2012

328 Credits and Counting...Happy Birthday, Mickey Rooney!

Mickey Rooney, who celebrates his 92nd birthday on September 23, has spent 90+ of those years in show business. Born into a family of vaudevillians, he came closer to actually being "born in a trunk" in the back of a theater than even his frequent MGM co-star and pal Judy Garland. His stage debut came before he was 18 months old.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ticket Giveaway: "The Birds" is Coming!

The much-anticipated Turner Classic Movies/NCM Fathom Events presentation of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds screens in theaters nationwide next Wednesday night, September 19, and I'm happy to announce a random drawing for a pair of tickets to the event will be held here at Eve's Reel Life this Sunday, September 16.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Celebrating Choreographer Jack Cole

Turner Classic Movies honors jazz-dance pioneer Jack Cole on Monday night, September 10, with a five-movie tribute to his film work. The choreographer, credited with playing a key role in defining the onscreen personas of Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, has been the subject of several articles by noted Los Angeles Times dance writer and critic, Debra Levine, who co-hosts TCM’s tribute with Robert Osborne.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Five More Film Classics Coming to a Theater Near You

Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are about to begin a film series in celebration of Universal's 100th anniversary with special movie theater presentations of four newly restored Universal classics.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Remembering Tyrone Power

“There he was, dark-looking with black hair and eyebrows, and no man had a right to be that handsome.” So aviator Bob Buck remembered first meeting Tyrone Power. Buck, enlisted by his boss Howard Hughes, the owner of TWA, to pilot Power on a tour of South America, Africa and Europe, would spend three months with the actor and a small retinue on a trip that was set to begin in September 1947. The group would travel in Power’s plane, The Geek, named after a character in his latest film, Nightmare Alley.  At the time, at age 33, Tyrone Power was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, an adored “matinee idol,” but his straightforward, unassuming manner instantly disarmed the skeptical Buck.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gene Kelly's Brief Sojourn, "Let's Make Love" (1960)

The Classic Movie Blog Association is sponsoring the Gene Kelly Centennial Blogathon from August 20 - 25 and this is my contribution to the event. Please click here for links to the other participating blogs.


1960 was the year that

Echo I
  • an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia and its pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was imprisoned there
  • young Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) won the gold medal in the light heavyweight competition at the Summer Olympics in Rome
  • Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and John Updike's Rabbit, Run were published
  • NASA launched the first communications satellite, Echo I, into space
  • the first working laser was built by American T. H. Maiman
  • #1 hit songs of that year included the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown," The Drifters' "Save the Last Dance for Me" and Percy Faith's version of the theme from A Summer Place
  • on TV, Western series ruled the ratings, with Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Have Gun Will Travel ranked one, two and three for the year
  • Camelot, starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet, debuted on Broadway
  • John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The Misfits" and Me - by Christian Esquevin

Where does the first step begin on a journey to fate? For me it was sometime in August of 1960, just a kid on a camping trip with his parents and their friends. Lake Tahoe was the destination, with side trips to Squaw Valley, Reno, Carson City, and Virginia City, Nevada. Little did I know, nor anyone else in our little party, that we would run into the production of The Misfits, starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift, as directed by John Huston. It was clear from the entourage around Gable and Marilyn that this was a very big deal. And my father reinforced this message with his excited exclamation, “there’s Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable!” although he probably uttered this in French, my parents’ and their friends’ native language. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marilyn Monroe: Out of a Dream

photo by Jack Cardiff

One chilly winter morning in 1953, a 15-year-old boy took a bus from his home in New Jersey to New York City in search of adventure. Times Square epitomized his conception of the city at that time and so he roamed the neighborhood until daylight began to fade. As he made his way to the Port Authority Terminal and his bus trip home, he noticed a long black limousine driving slowly toward him. The limo came to a stop and its driver jumped out and opened the back door at the curb. As he did, he motioned the boy to stay where he was so his passenger would have a clear path across the sidewalk. Nearly 60 years later, the man who had been that boy remembered,"...a white-gloved hand reached out for help and it was given. Then came a face of dizzying beauty..." She was blonde and she wore a long gown that appeared to be made of "tiny white pearls seemingly flung at her in wild abandon and clinging to every pore. Around her neck, over her wrists and on her ears were brightly sparkling diamonds." The boy's heart was already pounding when, as she turned, the woman noticed him, smiled and whispered, "Hi."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Different Star Every Day in August...

Every year in August, Turner Classic Movies presents its popular month-long salute to 31 stars, each honored with a full 24 hours devoted exclusively to their films. August 2012 marks the movie channel’s 10th annual Summer Under the Stars celebration and among those being showcased for the first time this year are Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Anthony Quinn, Eva Marie Saint, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Kay Francis and Warren William.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A TV Tour of Hitchcock Film Locations and Edna May Wonacott's First On-Camera Interview

Bodega School House
Eye on the Bay, a feature of KPIX, CBS’s San Francisco TV outlet, was recently on the trail of director Alfred Hitchcock, traveling around the Bay Area to take an up-close look at locations used in his films. The 20-minute piece, Hitchcock Step-By-Step, focuses on sites featured in Shadow of a Doubt (1943), The Birds (1963) and Vertigo (1958). Aaron Leventhal, co-author of the definitive Hitchcock-in-the-Bay-Area guidebook, Footsteps in the Fog, discusses the director’s work in the region, providing fascinating production background as well as information on many locations. Hitchcock’s granddaughter, Tere Carruba, talks about her grandfather from a personal point of view and Edna May Wonacott, the last surviving featured cast member of Shadow of a Doubt, speaks on television for the first time about how she was chosen for the film and what it was like to work with Alfred Hitchcock.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Woody Allen, Master of Suspense?

This post is my contribution to The Best Hitchcock Films Hitchcock Never Made blogathon hosted by Tales of the Easily Distracted and Classic Becky's Brain Food. Click here for more information and links to participating blogs.
On the face of it, the only thing Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen seem to have in common is the distinction of being aknowledged as preeminent auteurs. As Michael Newton put it in The Guardian earlier this year, "Along with Alfred Hitchcock, Allen must be the most recognizable director in the history of cinema."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Singin' and Dancin' into a Theater Near You

Gene Kelly, "singin' and dancin' in the rain..."

In honor of the 60th anniversary of its original release, Singin’ in the Rain returns to theaters nationwide next Thursday, July 12, for one night only.

This perfect opportunity for classic film fans to see one of the great Hollywood classics on the big screen is presented by Turner Classic Movies, NCM Fathom Events and Warner Home Video. The festivities will begin with a special TCM original production hosted by Robert Osborne that includes behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Debbie Reynolds, who starred in the film with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. Next, Stanley Donen's Singin’ in the Rain will screen, fully re-mastered and it promises to be more dazzling than ever.


To further celebrate Singin’ in the Rain’s milestone anniversary, Warner Home Video will release a special 60th Anniversary Edition on July 17. The three-disc set will include the re-mastered film on DVD and Blu-Ray and will feature a new documentary entitled Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation.

This tribute marks the fourth classic movie anniversary event co-sponsored by NCM Fathom and TCM who have similarly commemorated the 70th anniversaries of Casablanca (1942) and The Wizard of Oz (1939) as well as the 50th anniversary of West Side Story (1961). 

First released in 1952 and nominated for two Academy Awards, Singin’ in the Rain ranks #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the “25 Greatest Movie Musicals.” Tickets for the July 12 screenings are available online at the Fathom Events website and through participating theater box offices.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

William Wyler's "The Letter" (1940) - Starting with a Bang


Of director William Wyler, Bette Davis once declared, “It was he who helped me realize my full potential as an actress.” Of the actress, Wyler would recall, “She was a director’s dream.” Together they made three very popular and critically acclaimed Hollywood films. The pair first collaborated on the 1938 Warner Bros. production of Jezebel. For her performance Bette Davis won the second of her two Best Actress Academy Awards. Davis was sorely disappointed that Wyler had not received a Best Director nod for his work on the film and would later credit her Oscar-winning portrayal to him, “It was all Wyler,” she wrote.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Songwriter Jack Lawrence: What Will I Tell My Heart?

Garbo Laughs is co-hosting the second annual Queer Film Blogathon starting today and running through June 22. This post, a snapshot of the life and career of composer/lyricist Jack Lawrence, is my contribution to the event. Click here for a link to more information and participating blogs.


Jack Lawrence, songwriter
Oscar-nominated songwriter Jack Lawrence was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 1912, and gained acclaim as a tunesmith during the halcyon days of "Tin Pan Alley" via the hit parade of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. His songs include signature hits for some of the most popular singers of the 20th century, and many of his tunes made their way onto the silver (and Technicolor) screen. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975.

I discovered Jack Lawrence through the Preston Sturges comedy, The Lady Eve. The film's main theme is the song "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair," a lyrical and wistful melody that lingers long after the final credits. In my quest to know more about the music, I came upon Jack Lawrence's website. There I found the story behind the song that was a big hit for Stan Kenton in 1940 and was covered by many others including Kay Kyser's orchestra with vocalist Ginny Simms.

Friday, June 8, 2012

50 Years Ago Today, in Hollywood...

Marilyn Monroe was scheduled to work on Something’s Got to Give, a George Cukor film in production for 20th Century Fox, on June 1, 1962, her 36th birthday. That Marilyn arrived on the set on time and worked all day, managing to complete scenes with leading man Dean Martin and co-star Wally Cox, was a cause for celebration in itself, considering Marilyn had worked on only a handful of the film’s 30+ days in production. At the end of the day, a birthday party was thrown on the set featuring a cake festooned with sparklers and Marilyn's favorite champagne, Dom Perignon. Afterward Marilyn attended a charity baseball game at Dodger Stadium and was serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” during the event.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Myth Making: The Misfits (1961)

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Arthur Miller traveled to Reno, Nevada, in the spring of 1956 to divorce his first wife. Fulfilling the state's six week residency requirement until the marriage was legally dissolved, Miller stayed at a cabin on Pyramid Lake, about 100 miles from "the biggest little city in the world." During his time in this "forbidding but beautiful place," he got to know a few modern-day cowboy types who made their living capturing wild mustangs and selling them to be butchered for dog food. Miller was invited to join them on one of these hunts. From his experiences in a "whole state full of misfits," Arthur Miller later fashioned a short story that was published the following year in Esquire magazine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Over the Rain-Forest and the Still Water Beach

Mismaloya Photos
Abandoned movie set, Mismaloya, Mexico: photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

The programmers at Turner Classic Movies may not have planned the schedule with me in mind, but they’ve lined up a fine mix of films for me on my birthday this year.

Bruno Ganz in Wings of Desire
I share my day with Sir Laurence Olivier (born May 22, 1907), and TCM has programmed some films of his that I haven’t seen, including Term of Trial (1962), co-starring the great French actress, Simone Signoret. Later on in the day my beloved San Francisco provides the setting for the 1955 sci-fi classic, It Came from Beneath the Sea, in which the city is attacked by a radiation-enlarged octopus. In the evening, this month's TCM guest programmer, Deborah Winger, is set to appear. Among her choices is one film I haven’t seen but have had on my to-watch list for a long time: Wim Wenders' 1987 classic, Wings of Desire, brought its director the Best Director prize at Cannes in 1987 and won or was nominated for a raft of other awards.

Winger has also chosen to spotlight John Huston’s masterful production of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana (1964), one of the great film adaptations of Williams' work.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tales of Hollywood: The Wild Ride of Preston Sturges

Turner Classic Movies began its salute to Star of the Month Joel McCrea on Wednesday, May 2, with two of his most enjoyable films - and two of the best films from writer/director Preston Sturges: Sullivan's Travels and The Palm Beach Story. Sturges was one of Hollywood's brightest lights during the early '40s, writing and directing in quick succession a unique and inspired string of spirited satires: The Great McGinty (1940) for which he won the first Oscar awarded for Best Original Screenplay, Christmas in July (1940), The Lady Eve (1941), Sullivan's Travels (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) and Hail the Conquering Hero (1944). His last great gem, the dark, deft Unfaithfully Yours (1948), was made during his fall from grace and was for years overlooked. The world of Preston Sturges was the definition of a "cockeyed caravan"* - onscreen and off...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Epics: I, Claudius

Josef von Sternberg, Merle Oberon and Charles Laughton
In 1934, British scholar/writer Robert Graves published his best known and most successful work, the sweeping historical novel I, Claudius, written in the form of an autobiography by the Roman Emperor Claudius (10 B.C. - 54 A.D.). 40 years later this classic work would receive plaudits and a new audience in an entirely different medium.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One of a Kind: Kay Thompson

Kay Thompson, born in St. Louis early in the 20th Century (1909 is the general consensus, but there is some disagreement), can be most easily be described as unique.

Eloise in Paris (1957)
On-screen she is remembered for her role as vibrant, sophisticated Maggie Prescott in Funny Face (1957), shown above, but Thompson was a woman of many talents: singer, composer, vocal coach, actress, comedienne, dancer, choreographer, author and clothing designer. She is perhaps best known today for the series of best-selling "Eloise" children's books she began writing in the mid-'50s about a precocious 6-year-old who lives at New York's Plaza Hotel.

Kay Thompson was born Catherine L. Fink, the daughter of a St. Louis jeweler...and she was always musical. She began her singing career straight out of college and by the time she was in her mid-20s she was working in radio as a singer and choral director. She toured with Fred Waring as a singer and arranger, and her group, The Kay Thompson Swing Choir, appeared in Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Break out the champagne (again), the '55 Hitchcock...

Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief screens today at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival. In celebration of the third annual greatest-classic-film-festival-in-the-world, I’m posting this new and improved version of a piece on To Catch a Thief that first appeared here on New Year’s Day 2011.

Traditionally, champagne is the drink du jour (or nuit) at New Year’s, and so champagne it shall be now. A bottle of ‘96 Dom Pérignon Rosé would be fitting, but I’m in the mood for something really special…an old favorite… Hitchcock’s distinctive ’55 vintage from the Cote d'Azur. To Catch a Thief (1955), a delectable “Hitchcock champagne,” boasts a rare combination of elegance and flair. Light-bodied with a smooth finish that lingers, it remains unmatched, though it has been imitated far and wide for decades.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Give 'Em the Old Pizzazz - Funny Face (1957)

Director Stanley Donen and actress Audrey Hepburn are being honored separately and together at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. The director, who will be making personal appearances at all screenings of his films, did some of his best work with the sublime Audrey as his leading lady. With a "happy birthday" to Stanley Donen who celebrates his 88th birthday today, this post is dedicated to them both...
Pizzazz! The very word came into being with Funny Face in 1957.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Celebrating the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood

Hollywood's legendary Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Just as Turner Classic Movies will pay on-air tribute to the films, talents and themes of the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood April 12 – 15, The Lady Eve’s Reel Life will also salute this year’s festival. From now until the 15th, TLE will feature posts and links to reviews of some of the 70+ film classics being shown in Hollywood and the end of this week.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Night is Still "Mad Men" Night

As the fourth installment (the 2 hour premiere covered two episodes) of Mad Men Season 5 approaches (see below for Episode 4 update), there are no signs of waning interest from its audience or the rapt media. In my travels through cyberspace over the past two weeks I've come upon a wide assortment of posts about the new season of this most intriguing series. Here is a sampling - click on titles for links...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Revisiting the "Youthquake"

Landon Jones coined the term “baby boomers” in his 1980 tome Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, but, as the book's title indicates, the great horde born in the years following World War II was already distinguished as more than just a baby boom – it was the baby boom. In fact, boomers had been the subject of intense interest and considerable attention from the beginning; Dr. Benjamin Spock’s runaway best-seller, Baby and Child Care, was first published in 1946.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Meditation on Mad Men

 "...nostalgia. It's delicate...but Greek, nostalgia literally means 'the pain from an old wound.' It's a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone."

Creative director Don Draper, of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, is pitching his promotional concept to Kodak, a prospective client, for its new product, a wheel-like slide projector. As images of his own young family flash by, one by one, on a projection screen, he continues his inspired dream-spinning:

"This device isn't a spaceship. It's a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lucky Seven

Over the past few weeks the 7x7 Link Award has been making its way across the classic film blogosphere. I’ve been kindly honored with this award by three of my favorite bloggers:  Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, FlickChick of A Person in the Dark and Whistlingypsy of Distant Voices and Flickering Shadows.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mad Men: Through a Glass Darkly

by guest contributor Motorcycle Boy

“A personality marked by traits of compulsive and habitual use of a substance or practice in an attempt to cope with psychic pain engendered by conflict and anxiety.”
~      definition of addictive personality, Mosby’s Medical Dictionary
Mad Men glorifies alcoholics.”  This statement was made to me by an acquaintance, clearly meant as a criticism of my favorite television series.  He went on:  “It seems the writers take every opportunity conceivable to shove a glass in the hands of the actors.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ernst Lubitsch does Noel Coward: Design for Living (1933)

Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March

Fredric March was already an Oscar winner and a newly minted Hollywood star when he co-starred with Miriam Hopkins and Gary Cooper in Ernst Lubitsch’s 1933 adaptation of the Noel Coward play Design for Living. In 1929, when all the major studios were scouring the Broadway stage for photogenic leading men with trained and mellifluous voices, March had been recruited and signed by Paramount Pictures.  He received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his 1930 portrayal of ‘Tony Cavendish’ in The Royal Family of Broadway, but it was his split-personality tour-de-force as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1931 that brought Fredric March his first Academy Award and movie stardom.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mad Men Style

by guest contributor Christian Esquevin

The thing that makes Mad Men such a perfect television series is its “all-of-a-piece” quality. It has all of its elements operating at a high level and fully integrated into a drama geared towards adults. This goes well beyond high production values, or even great writing – it is a seamless creation mixing fascinating characters, interesting plots, evocative sets and costumes, a down-to earth reality needing no gratuitous violence. It is a perfectly pegged recreation of the Zeitgeist - not just of the world of advertising - but of urban America at the turn of the 1960s. Despite its very real display of sexism in society and in the workplace, including the very negative consequences of that mindset, Mad Men is mainly the story of one man and his perilous perch high atop the hierarchy of a corporate ad agency. The series title is a play on “ad men” and Madison Avenue, where the big ad agencies were located.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coming to a Theater Near You: Turner Classic Movies Presents "Casablanca"

Turner Classic Movies, Warner Bros. and NCM Fathom have joined in celebration of Casablanca as it turns 70 with Turner Classic Movies Presents the Casablanca 70th Anniversary Event. On Wednesday, March 21, at 7:00 pm (local time), the film that topped the AFI's list of the "100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time," will screen at select theaters nationwide. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Feminine Mystique Of Mad Men

by guest contributor Whistlingypsy

Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern.”
 - Frank O'Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

Although the title might suggest the notion; this is not a discussion of feminism in Mad Men’s very male dominated industry. The inspiration is, in part, taken from the photograph above: a provocative portrayal of beautiful women and men perfectly accessorized and stylishly coiffed. The division of these individuals into feminine and masculine, light and dark, personal and professional, implies not only different natures and different worlds but a separate mystique.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" at Oakland's Paramount Theatre


Friday night, March 9, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) will screen at Oakland, California’s spectacular Art Deco movie palace, The Paramount Theatre, as part of its Spring Movie Classic Series. The ticket price is an amazingly low $5.00. And…Movie Classic Night includes a newsreel, cartoons and Jerry Nagano at the Mighty Wurlitzer. Kudos to the sponsors of the series, Vo’s Restaurant (authentic Vietnamese cuisine) and the Pacific Pinball Museum.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mad Men: Now and Then and Back Again

by guest contributor FlickChick

Watching Mad Men is a bit like time traveling with one foot dipped in the past and one firmly planted in the present. Viewing the actions of the "then", we can't help but measure them against the "now." The fact that things were like that in the past usually means things are not like that in the present. We judge if those things are better or worse now as the story of the Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) gang unfolds.