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. The event will be hosted by this blog and Silver Screen Modes. Originally set for Sunday, August 25, we have expanded the event and added Monday, August 26, to better accommodate all the bloggers who have signed up to participate.  Our subject is broad and includes just about "everything" France/French-related. For example, French films, movies set in France, films or profiles of stars and directors and writers and cinematographers, etc., of the French cinema, as well as French actors, directors, etc., who would have major Hollywood (and/or international) careers, a few of whom, like Claudette Colbert, were born in France but raised in the U.S.

Other possible subjects could be different aspects of the history of French cinema: at the beginning and the Lumieres and Melies, the avant-garde filmmaking of the '20s, the classic era of the '30s, the German occupation and its impact on filmmaking/filmmakers, Cahiers du cinema and the "auteur theory," the era of the French New Wave/Nouvelle Vague...and so on. There are so many possibilities. See Silver Screen Modes' announcement post for more background on French cinema.

To join in or if you have questions or suggestions, contact or; you can also comment below. Banners to be used are scattered around this post.

Though we hosts of Vive la France! are members of the Classic Movie Blog Association and all members are welcome to participate, this blogathon is also open to non-member classic film bloggers. As is often standard, we're restricting submissions to one entry per topic (a particular film or subject).

As of this date, these are the participating blogs and subjects being covered:
  • 4 Star Films: Leon Morin, Priest (1961)
  • Anybody Got a Match?: Funny Face (1957)
  • Caftan Woman: Paris Blues (1961)
  • Cinematic Scribblings: Jean-Pierre Léaud
  • Classic Film & TV Café: The Bride Wore Black (1968)
  • Critica Retro: Faces of Children/Visages d'enfants (1925)
  • Lady Eve's Reel Life: The French Roots of Noir: Two Films by Marcel Carné with Jean Gabin 
  • Lady Eve’s Reel Life: Hitchcockian: Francois Truffaut's The Soft Skin (1964)
  • Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Five French Classics You Should See
  • Make Mine Film Noir: Merci pour le chocolat (2000)
  • Midnite Drive-In La Planete Sauvage (1973)
  • Mike's Take on the Movies: Farewell, Friend (1968)
  • Motion Picture Gems: Small Change (1976)
  • Movies Silently: Madame du Barry (1919)
  • Old Hollywood Films: All This and Heaven, Too (1940) 
  • The Old Hollywood Garden: Les Diaboliques (1955)
  • Once Upon a Screen: The Aristocats (1970)
  • A Person in the Dark: Lilliom (1934)
  • Realweegiemidget Reviews: Leon (1994)
  • Retro Movie Buff: The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
  • A Shroud of Thoughts: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
  • Silver Screenings: The Baker's Wife (1938)
  • Silver Screen Modes: Z (1969)
  • The Stop Button: Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
  • Strictly Vintage Hollywood: Gay Purr-ee (1962)
  • Twenty Four Frames: Repulsion (1965) 

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 the 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.