Monday, August 3, 2020

CMBA Priofile: Rudy Vitkauskas






CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with  Rudy Vitkauskas whose blogs about movies at   Rudolph Vitkaukas. You will also find plenty of posts on Old Time Radio programs and more.



How did you become interested in film and silent film in particular?

I BELIEVE LIKE MOST PEOPLE, FROM A FAMILY MEMBER. MY FATHER WATCHED LOTS OF OLD 1950S CLASSICS, I WOULD WALK PAST THE TV SET, CURIOUS ABOUT THE BLACK AND WHITE WORLD I WAS VIEWING. BY THE AGE OF EIGHT I WAS ROUTINELY VIEWING THESE PICTURES, SPENDING HOURS BECOMING MORE AND MORE INTERESTED IN NOT THE PICTURES BUT THE TIME PERIOD ITSELF. AND ONCE I TURNED TEN, THE QUESTIONS TO MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WHO WAS BORN IN 1926 NEVER STOPPED, I WANTED A FIRST-HAND RECOLLECTION OF SOMEONE WHO SAW THESE FILMS WHEN THEY FIRST PREMIERED, WHO WORE THE HAIRSTYLES AND DROVE IN THE CARS THAT I SAW IN THE BOGART PICTURES.
SILENT FILM WAS A SELF-DISCOVERY. NO ONE IN MY FAMILY WATCHED THEM. I BECAME INTERESTED IN THE SILENT PERIOD AFTER DISCOVERING THAT LOTS OF ACTORS AND ACTRESSES IN TALKING PICTURES HAD ONCE BEEN IN SILENTS. I KNEW OF CHAPLIN OF COURSE, BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL DOING MY OWN RESEARCH AROUND FOURTEEN THAT I STARTED TO DISCOVER A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF FILMS. THEY ALSO HELD THE SAME MAGIC AS THE FILMS FROM the 30S, 40S, AND 50S, BUT WITH AN ADDED TOUCH THAT DREW ME IN, I SUSPECT IT'S THE CREATIVITY AND KNOWING THAT THIS WAS THE START OF IT ALL.

I noticed you have a section on your website dedicated to John Gilbert. What is it about John Gilbert that attracted you?

AH, JOHN GILBERT. I DISCOVERED GILBERT DURING SOME RESEARCH ABOUT GARBO SOME YEARS AGO. I HAD READ HIS NAME AT THIS POINT A DOZEN OR SO TIMES, THOUGH NEVER THOUGHT MUCH OF IT. IT WASN'T UNTIL I HAD WATCHED QUEEN CHRISTINA, THAT I STARTED TO LOOK MORE INTO HIS ROLES. AFTER I WATCHED HIM IN THE 1924 SILENT HE WHO GETS SLAPPED I BEGAN TO DIG EVEN DEEPER. I ALSO WAS INTERESTED IN THE IDEA OF HIM BEING THE RIVAL OF RUDOLPH VALENTINO, WHO I HAD ALREADY SPENT MONTHS RESEARCHING AT THAT POINT.
THOGH I CANNOT REALLY TELL YOU HOW I CHOOSE A PERSON TO DEDICATE MORE TIME TO, IT'S AN ODD INTUITION I SUPPOSE, THE SAME HAPPENED WITH HUMPHREY BOGART, JAMES CAGNEY, AND BUSTER KEATON. THOUGH I CAN SAY THAT ALL OF THESE ACTORS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON, THEY ALL BROUGHT SOMETHING NEW TO THE ART OF FILM, NO MATTER IF THAT BE WITH ACTING, DIRECTING, OR THE START OF A NEW FILM PERSONA. AND I AM SURE THAT THERE WILL BE MORE IN THE FUTURE.
ONE MORE POINT ABOUT GILBERT THOUGH. I WAS DETERMINED TO DEBUNK THAT OF WHICH HE HAS BECOME, THE POSTER BOY OF THE FORGOTTEN STAR, WITH A SWIFT OVERNIGHT FALL AT THE HANDS OF THE TALKING PICTURES.
RUBBISH IF YOU ASK ME.

Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd? Why?

KEATON. THOUGH ALL OF THEM ARE ABSOLUTE GENIUSES.
I PICK KEATON BECAUSE I WAS DRAWN TO HIM FROM AN HISTORIAN POINT OF VIEW MORE THAN THE OTHERS. PLUS, I ADORE HIS PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT WISE OVER THE OTHERS, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY, ONE CAN SIMPLY NOT HAVE A BAD TIME WATCHING CHAPLIN OR LLYOD. I DO ALSO ADORE KEATON'S PERSONA MORE, THE DEADPAN STYLE OF COMEDY AND THE PORK PIE HAT ALWAYS STAYED WITH ME MORE THAN CHAPLIN'S MUSHTASCHE OR LLOYDS GLASSES.
PLUS TWO OF HIS FILMS ARE IN MY TOP TEN, SHERLOCK JR,. AND THE GENERAL, THE TECHNIQUES IN THESE PICTURES OUTSTAND ANYTHING MADE TODAY. PLUS, I AM STILL AMAZED THAT HE MADE SUCH A LIVELY, COMIC PICTURE ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR.

Why should people care about silent film?

A SIMPLE REASON. HISTORY AND ENTERTAINMENT. FROM A HISTORICAL POINT OF VIEW IT IS INTERESTING, ESPECIALLY FOR AMERICA WHO SPENDS BILLIONS ON ENTERTAINMENT A YEAR, TO LOOK BACK AND SEE WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.
ENTERTAINMENT WISE, I THINK THESE FILMS HAVE BEEN PROJECTED FOR LOTS OF PEOPLE TO BE BORING AND OR OUTDATED. WHILE OF COURSE SOCIETY CHANGES AND SO DOES OUR ENTERTAINMENT, LOTS OF SILENT FILMS ARE JOYS TO WATCH.
PLUS, THESE FILMS HAVE BECOME ARTIFACTS OF HISTORY. THE JAZZ AGE, THE GREAT DEPRESSION, WORLD WAR II. THEY SHOW HOW WE CAME TOGETHER, WHAT KEPT US FIGHTING, OR HOW WE SIMPLY RELAXED AND ESCAPED FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD, EVEN JUST FOR A FEW HOURS A WEEK.
ALL OF THESE REASONS ARE WHY WE NEED TO KEEP SEARCHING FOR LOST FILMS AND RESTORING THE ONES WE HAVE, AS WELL AS MAKING THEM MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ENJOY.

Name three films Silent Films you would recommend to the uninitiated.

SHERLOCK JR,. 1924 - A CLASSIC AND INNOVATIVE PICTURE AS WELL.
METROPOLIS 1927 - ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES. A MARVEL OF THE ART OF FILM.
SAFETY LAST! 1923 - A WONDERFULLY TIMED COMEDY.
ALL THESE THREE ARE RECOMMEND OFTEN, BUT FOR GOOD REASON. I ALSO BELIEVE ONE SHOULD START WITH "CLASSICS" WHEN STARTING TO WATCH ANY DECADE OF FILM. IT'S EASIER TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIME AND THE KIND OF PICTURES THAT WERE MADE.

I don’t want readers to get the impression your website is strictly for silent film lovers. I see plenty of posts on the early days of sound. Can you tell us what genres you favor? 

EVEN THOUGH I DO WRITE ALOT ABOUT SILENT FILMS, MY ALL TIME FAVORITE GENRE OF PICTURES ARE THE GANGSTER AND NOIR PICTURES OF THE 1930S AND 1940S. THE 1930S IS ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE DECADE FOR FILM, EVEN AFTER THE CODE WAS ENFORCED.
THE CAGNEY AND BOGART PICTURES OF COURSE. LIKE THAT OF THE MALTESE FALCON, 1941 - THE ROARING TWENTIES, 1939 - SCARFACE, 1932.
OTHER FILMS FROM THE "SOPHISTICATED 30S" AS WELL. LIKE THAT OF ERNST LUBITSCH PICTURES: TROUBLE IN PARADISE, 1931, AND DESIGN FOR LIVING, 1933 ARE THE MOST WICKED AND GENTEMANLY ELEGANT FILMS I HAVE EVER SEEN.
REALLY TO MANY TO COUNT WHEN IT COMES TO THE 1930S.

You have a section on Old Radio programs. How did you get interested in it?

WHEN WATCHING OLD FILMS AS A CHILD I REMEMBER HEARING THE OLD RADIO ANNOUNCER VOICE, WHICH I ALWAYS LOVED AND STILL WISHED WE USED.
I WAS ALWAYS READING ABOUT STARS DOING RADIO PROGRAMS OR READING ABOUT WEEKLY RADIO SHOWS. BUT IT NEVER DAWNED ON ME UNTIL I WAS ABOUT SIXTEEN THAT YOU COULD STILL LISTEN TO THEM. AFTER STUMBLING UPON OLD RADIO WEBSITES, THAT INTEREST TOOK OFF, I NOW LISTEN TO OLD RADIO PROGRAMS ON A DAILY BASES, AND WHERE OTHERS PUT ON PODCASTS, I HAVE THESE 60+ YEAR OLD RADIO SHOWS TO KEEP ME COMPANY. ANYTHING FROM WEEKLY COMEDY SHOWS OR HOUR-LONG NOIR ADAPTATIONS WITH BOGART AND LAUREN BACALL. 

Do you have an interest in any other arts that you can share?

YES, PAINTINGS AND STATUES.
I LOVE STUDYING ART FROM ALL DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS.
AND I AM NOT SURE IF ARCHITECTURE COUNTS AS AN ART, I THINK IT DOES, BUT I HAVE A REAL KEEN INTEREST ON OLD BUILDINGS AND HOMES. VICTORIAN PROPERTIES TO THE ALL FAVORITE ART DECO.



Saturday, June 27, 2020

CMBA Profile: Pale Writer


 

CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with  Gabriela Masson whose blogs about movies at Pale Writer. The blog's subtitle says it all: Classic and Horror Unite.  Gabriela is currently hosting "The Queen of Sass: The Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon" running from July 17h thru July 19th. here is still time to participate.



The sub-title of your blogs reads “classic and horror films unite.” Which came first classic or horror?

Classic films came first. I was three years old when I first watched Gone With the Wind, which surprises quite a few people, although I’m not really sure why, as many people are introduced to classic films, and film in general, at a fairly young age. I watched my first horror movie when I was fourteen or so with my older brother, Damien, who thought it was hilarious how I was so petrified of Freddy Krueger’s long arms in A Nightmare on Elm Street. But like most horror fans, I was immediately hooked probably because of how terrified I had been.

Besides horror films, what other genres do you favor?

I adore film noir (which I know is under constant debate concerning whether or not it’s actually a genre), musicals, romantic comedies and dramas. For me, film noir is one of the most magnificent stylistic achievements in film with its use of chiaroscuro shadow, and often very innovative camera work and direction.

Why should people care about “old” black and white movies?

Because we should care about the history of the film industry. It’s not coincidence that some of the finest directors, actors and screenwriters today say that they were and are influenced by classic cinema. I think we still have so much to learn from silent film, which is erroneously called boring when it has so many fabulous creative elements to it. I recently saw that wonderful tracking shot from Wings (1927) circulating the twitterverse again, and as the person who posted the shot said, silent film is still so fresh and exciting, and it shows us the roots of so much of what we see in cinema today. Classic films also often lack the retention of new films. People go mad about how auteurist and original modern film makers are, but guys like Hawks, Hitchcock and Hathaway were doing it decades ago already.

Who are your favorite filmmakers?

Oh gosh, I could list so many people, but I’ll say my five favourites:
1. Alfred Hitchcock, who some people have begun to feel is overrated, but I strongly disagree with that because he was such a brilliant innovator and we cannot appreciate the enough
2. Billy Wilder, who made such a wide scope of films. He’s best remembered for the incredible Double Indemnity today, but he made so many wonderful films like Midnight, Witness for the Prosecution, Love in the Afternoon and Avanti!
3. Dorothy Arzner, who was one of the female directors who really proved that women were as good or even better than their male contemporaries. She made a film called Dance, Girl, Dance starring Lucille Ball and Maureen O’ Hara, and O’ Hara gives this incredible speech about the double standards men put onto women
4. Michael Curtiz, who made so many of my favourite films, chief among them Mildred Pierce, which really showcased what an incredible adaptive talent, Joan Crawford, my favourite actress, was
5. Kathryn Bigelow, who made one of the finest action films ever in Point Break, and smashed the assumption that women couldn’t direct action films

You have hosted and participated in many blogathons. What is the attraction?

I LOVE writing about classic film, but sometimes I lack the motivation or focus to really do it justice, and blogathons provide me with both of those things. Through blogathons I learnt how to write about classic films better, and I met some of my closest online friends that way, people who have taken a chance on a South African kid and treated me as one of the gang. Blogathons have allowed me to connect with so many amazing people, who have time and time again reinforced how wonderful the classic film community really is.

Name three films Obscure Horror films you would recommend to the uninitiated.

Well, that is a tough question, but I think:

1. Murders at the Zoo (1933), because a lot of people outside of the classic film community don’t know about it and really deflates assumptions about the “tameness” of classic films
2. Burnt Offerings (1976), which I was convinced so many people knew about, but it seems to really only be people who saw it on TV or who love Bette Davis’ later horror films who know about it. My mom first introduced me to it, and I can tell you, that ending is a zinger!
3. Society (1989), even one of my friends who hosts a horror podcast hadn’t heard of this one. It’s a film that really does defy expectations, especially because the lead actor was and is best known as a soap opera star. So you’re in for a real treat!

What do you think of modern cinema?

Just because I like classic films, doesn’t mean I dislike modern cinema. I feel that there are a lot of talented people who are producing great films. I just wish that there was more room for smaller films and also shorter films. Hollywood seems to currently be obsessed with making their films as long as possible, and it just makes me want to go and watch a Warner Bros quickie when these new films are so long. But I’m incredible excited about watching the new James Bond film, because I’m also a huge fan of those films, and I loved Call Me By Your Name and the new adaptation of Little Women.

Do you have interest in any other arts that you can share?

I really love reading. Like films, books made me feel accepted and understood by something as a rather awkward, misfit of a child. My favourite novel is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but I love so many different kinds of books. I also love music, and I took part in operettas and the choir when I was in school. And I also really enjoy podcasting, and currently have three podcasts: You Won’t Forget Me: The All About Joan Crawford Podcast, The By Projection Light Podcast (which is about films made between the 1930s and 1970s, with classic radio thrown in), and Here Lies Amicus, which I do with my good friend, Cev, and we chat all about the films made by Amicus Productions.






Saturday, June 20, 2020

CMBA Profile: The Last Drive In




CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with  Jo Gabriel whose blogs about movies and her music at The Last Drive In blog. Jo's blog is nostalgic with a taste toward the cultish and gothic, but there is plenty of classic Hollywood, both the famous and the forgotten. Jo is also a musician, a singer/songwriter, but read on she reveals more.


You mention in your blog’s About page that your first interest was in horror and Sci-fi films. What sparked your interest?

I was raised by a very theatrical mother who exposed me to great films, actors, musical theater, and dramatic arts. In fact, she was a phenomenal painter. Mom never tried to squelch my imagination, but encouraged me to reach outside myself. I also began to express myself musically at the age of 8 writing music on piano.

I grew up as a very inspired little girl but I was bullied terribly by the neighborhood kids who saw me as an oddball. They could smell difference on me like sharks are drawn to blood. And, because of my love of classic horror films, they called me Monster Girl. I wear that name now as a badge of honor and courage to be myself, always. Their little persecutions drove me deeper into the dream-like fantastical world that was cinema. In particular classical horror and science fiction films spoke to the sense of “otherness” installed in my psyche. That does not mean that I viewed things through a dark lens, but classical horror and science fiction are effusive metaphors and inherently philosophical. Their use of mythic undertones and symbolic context afford so many of us with a psychic release and catharsis.

I related to the “monster,” because they were different and misunderstood like me. I started to expand my love of film and as I got older, gravitating towards other genres. Now I am as passionate about film noir as I am about horror, fantasy and sci-fi. This passion led me to start my blog in 2006, where I focused initially on classic television (e.g. Boris Karloff’s anthology series Thriller), but widened my scope to explore cinema spanning all genres from the critical and often quirky perspective of The Last Drive in.

What other film genres do you favor?

I’ve found myself as drawn to film noir as classical horror films. I’m mesmerized by mystery/suspense films of the 1940s. And there is nothing quite like movies from the 1970s — the gritty realism, in particular, of those set in New York where I was born and raised, and proud of it!

Why should people care about “old” black and white movies?

Classic black and white films possess an eternal soul. They have a visual contemplative style that endures the ages. The pure essence of black and white films is that their framework is built on atmosphere. In a world of shadows and light the focus is on the flow of the storyline and not always on the action. There are perceptive silences and moments of unforgettable performances.

‘Old’ films create and project a glamour and ritual of allure and mystique. They bear illusory revelations with depth and distinctive contrasting tones. Impressive actors reigned with an undeniable substance. Classic films embrace intricately detailed storylines by masterful screenwriters, and visionary meditative cinematographers. They were forged by keen-eyed set designers, editors, and inspired fashion designers. Even the low budget artifacts of the time can leave you with a wistful impulse to delve in and be surrounded by uncomplicated diversions. 

As Norma Desmond put it, “We had faces then!” Besides the stars who’ve become iconic, classic black and white films are inhabited by something that is lost today— the character actors who brought so much distinctive vitality and heart to the story. And of course there is the immortal romance, suspense, theater, brilliant comedic timing, incomparable pathos, intrigue and even at times collective Schadenfreude. Classic films truly are the stuff that dreams are made of. Even B-movies have an unselfconscious charm, and that is why we can revisit these films over and over.

Who are your favorite filmmakers?

Billy Wilder, Sam Fuller, Jules Dassin, Val Lewton, Jacque Tourneur, Robert Siodmak, Sidney Lumet, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, Robert Aldrich, Robert Wise and Curtis Harrington.

One of the features on your blog is titled “Life Lessons from Barney Fife.”  What can we all learn from Barney?

Barney Fife is a high-strung guardian of the Law. He goes by the book, sometimes to a fault and most of the time to his embarrassment. But he is always well-meaning and extremely ethical. And he’s only allowed to carry one shiny bullet in his pocket. The main artery of Barney’s humor is is his neurotic spirit and need to adhere to the rules. Even if it means giving old ladies tickets for jay walking.

The underlying message behind this wonderful character (brought to life brilliantly by Don Knotts) is don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Knotts created one of the most inimitable, iconic television characters in history. His body comedy is pure genius, perfectly positioned against Andy Griffith’s folksy-wisdom straight man.

Barney thinks he’s an expert in the art of love. He’s also a progressive thinker. He dabbled in Judo, ESP, Gypsy tarot cards, and psychology. He’s read up on hand washing compulsions and mother issues (because “you’re a rotten kid”) and letting emotions out because it’s “therapetic.” He’s even savvy about criminal profiling and rehabilitation in the penal system, giving metal craft sets and Mr Potato Heads to the prisoners.

And, remember Barney will tell you “It’s not a whim if you put on clean underwear.”

Name three films Obscure Screen Gems you would recommend to the uninitiated.

Sam Fuller’s radically transgressive feminist passage The Naked Kiss 1964.
Nicholas Roeg’s sublimely beautiful horror film based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel Don’t Look Now 1973.
And Robert Siodmak’s psychological noir gem Phantom Lady 1944.

You also mention on your About page that you are a singer/songwriter. What can you tell us about your music and where can we find out more?

I grew up in New York during the 60s and 70s, so I was surrounded by powerfully cultural and creative influences that emerged from both decades. I am a singer/songwriter pianist who has lived my entire life expressing my sense of otherness and passion to live my truth through my music. For my 8th birthday my parents bought me  a piano and I started writing little complex progressions, that revealed themselves as classical, singer/songwriter, musical theater, and pop music. People often assume I am classically trained, but I am entirely self taught. My music has always been cathartic and a way to reach out emotionally to connect with the world.

I performed live shows in the New York City area, and eventually was signed to an International Indie label. They released two albums and I subsequently became an internationally revered artist. I founded my own label called Ephemera Records. I produced and recorded Fools and Orphans, which is one of my most beloved albums and has been met with critical praise. It’s a very evocative body of work with a lyrical, haunting vibe.

My work has been categorized as gothic/ethereal, melodramatic pop, heavenly voices, and dark wave. I am proud that my music is frequently compared to Kate Bush. In fact, I have the honor of being included in the internationally recognized book Rhapsody in Blue, featured as one of the foremost Indie artists who possesses an essence similar to the Iconic Kate.

The Last Drive In has become a branch of my creativity. My love of classical film and literature inspired my musical expression, reflected in my revelatory music and lyrics. I’ve made many film mash ups with my music — essentially I’ve taken scenes from much loved classic films and underscored them with my music. Some of these can be found on my blog.

People can visit my blog and or my official music page JoGabriel.com where they can read reviews of my work, watch videos of my performances see my mashups, and purchase my albums. My work is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. 


Some reviews of my music —

"It is first Jo’s voice that drives shivers through you. She’s like the musical miracle of Kate Bush, or Tori Amos. Her piano is dreamy and opulent and always in harmony. A touch of Romantic Dark Wave that strokes the soul." -- Amboss Magazine review of the album- Island

"Fools and Orphans is a beautiful album, as fine as the finest Abyssinian – go explore and lose yourself in it, go and treat yourself. She's from New York, she's like that person you find singing in secret in an old dusty theatre when she thinks no one is listening and this is why we do this Organ thing, this sets things on fire and makes me feel... this is a wonderful album." -- Organ Magazine~ review excerpt Fools and Orphans~


Do you have interest in any other arts that you can share?

Cat husbandry! LOL… Over the years I’ve done a lot of cat rescue. I always imagined having a cat sanctuary and I’ve managed to fulfill that dream by caring for a tribe of felines. Cats are incredibly complex spirits. I’ve had the benefit of cats teaching me a philosophy on how to live and love better in my life. To me, developing a relationship with their enigmatic personalities is truly an art form. There is an imaginative artistry and continual discovery in how to relate to them and it is a profound inspiration to living with felines. Each one supremely individual in nature. I am privileged to be able to explore the sacred task of caring for them and investing my time bonding with these beautiful and wild souls.  From the ones I raised as babies, to the wild ones who rescued me…

Thank you so much for this chance to give people a little insight into The Last Drive In. Cheers, Joey



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

CMBA Classics for Comfort Blogathon - May 19 - 22




Hello everyone,

We hope all are safe! These days are trying and many of us are looking for comfort.  There are many terrific classic films our there that can soothe and comfort us. Whether it's a dreamy musical, a breezy fun plot, or something a bit darker. Movie magic soothes the soul. With that in mind, the CMBA presents its annual spring blogathon - the CLASSICS FOR COMFORT Blogathon.

The CMBA Classics For Comfort Blogathon runs from May 19-22.

CMBA MEMBER CONTRIBUTORS

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

CMBA Profile: In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with  Crystal Kalyana Pacey who blogs at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood. Crystal recently completed studies in Freelance Journalism and is now a registered journalist.


What sparked your interest in classic film?

My fascination with the golden age of Hollywood dates as far back as 1999. I was 12 years old, and in my final year of primary school. Midway during that year it was announced that “us” the graduating students were going to do The Wizard of Oz for the end of year graduation play. This meant that we had to undergo many hours of rehearsal, as well as sitting through repeated viewings of the film. As a result, I developed an extreme obsession for Judy Garland, and I was on the quest to find out as much about her as I possibly could. Although she had piqued my curiosity, I was still too young to prolifically research her life and dig deep into her filmography. My method of study was to flood my Mother and Grandmother with questions pertaining to Garland. The one aspect that shocked me the most was when I discovered that Dorothy ( Judy Garland ) had died in 1969 of a prescription pill overdose. The fact that Judy was no longer alive upset me greatly. I suddenly realized that I would never have the opportunity of meeting the woman that I idolized immensely, but I was richer for having discovered her and I knew that a world full of Garland treasures were awaiting me.

My interest in Judy Garland escalated during high school when my Grandparents gifted me her movies on DVD. While watching Garland's films, I began to take notice of her co-stars and I would collect their films whenever I could. This exposure led me to pursuing the likes of the other stars from the golden era, and gradually I broadened my horizons and branched out of the Judy Garland circle. It also helped that my Mother, Grandmother, and my Late Great Aunty Pat supported me on my journey into the world of classic cinema. They have fond memories of watching the old movies on television when they were young and they were constantly giving me recommendations and telling me which actress or actor I should discover next. I could go on and on telling you my discovery story, but I'm afraid I'm boring you all – so I will end it there.




What other film genres do you favor?

I love classic films in general, but like most people I have my favorite genres. Usually, I tend to watch more drama, comedy, Film Noir, and thriller/mystery type productions, but I am occasionally in the mood to see a great western. It depends on the films synopsis and what I feel like watching at the time.  

Name three films that most classic film fans love, but you hate, and if you can tell us why?


My answers could have me dodging bullets. I understand that the films that I'm about to list are high on everyone's radar – so the fact that I dislike them will probably shock most people, but please remember that this is just my opinion. Without further ado, here are the movies that I find terribly overrated and downright boring:

It's A Wonderful Life ( 1946 )
Double Indemnity ( 1944 )
His Girl Friday ( 1940 )

I know you are a big admirer of Katharine Hepburn. What is it about Hepburn that connected with
you?

I think what initially connected me with Katharine Hepburn was her films and her indomitable presence on screen. I first discovered her during an interstate visit back home. I remember my Great Grandmother watching On Golden Pond in the back room of my grandparents house. I wandered in to see what she was doing and she automatically summoned me to sit on the bed with her and watch the movie that was about to commence on the television. My initial reactions were filled with enthusiasm. I had no idea what the movie was about, but the thought of cozily snuggling up in bed and drinking cups of tea and eating deserts with my beloved Great Grandmother thrilled me. As soon as the film started, I instantly knew that it was going to draw my attention, and needless to say, I was right. It would be an understatement to state that I was immersed in the story alone. I was also impressed with Katharine Hepburn and even then I had a slight inkling that she would one day become my all-time favorite. At the time of my introductory, I had just finished year 10 – so I had not yet read any biographies on Hepburn, nor did I know anything about her. Less than a year later a news flash ran across the television announcing her death. I was saddened to learn of her passing, but it made me want to discover her even more. Shortly after, I purchased a Hepburn biography that was reduced in price at my local Borders book store. Upon reading about her life, I realized that my connection with her was much deeper than what I had initially witnessed on the exterior. To my surprise, many of Katharine's personality traits closely mirrored mine, and we actually had a lot in common. I also admired her for making pants fashionable for women, and even to this day I'm still in debt to her for that.


  
I know you’re working on a book about Hepburn. Is there anything you can reveal to us about:
biography, photo-book, look at her films, etc. ?

Writing a book is a lengthy process. The most important step is research and assuring you have amassed enough information. Never rely solely on the internet or media as your major source. In order to produce an accurate and loving biography is to interview family members, former co-stars and those closest to the person you’re writing a book on. I also strongly advise any aspiring authors to detour away from the myths. If you are writing a biography on a person who has had previous books published on them, it is essential to approach a different angle and try to unleash all the rare stories pertaining to the actor or actress. During the research stage for my Katharine Hepburn book, I've managed to tap into unknown sources by reaching out to people who have not been interviewed for any previous biography on Hepburn. I've also learnt to never leave a stone unturned. As I've discovered, you can attain really interesting and unique stories in the most unusual places.

At the moment I'm not going to reveal any of the rare information that I've uncovered. I would much rather keep everyone in suspense until my book is published. All I will say is that the research phase is very rewarding. I've spoken to some renowned people on the phone, and I have many more interviews lined up. I feel honored to be writing the Great Kate's life biography. Moving forward, my publishing company has assigned me my next book project, and I'm beyond thrilled to announce that Lucille Ball is the subject for my next biography. Stay tuned.



What do you find is the most rewarding thing about blogging?

For me, the most rewarding thing about blogging is the recognition. I'm a person who yearns for feedback, but unfortunately, I find that my articles receive very little comments, which can be very frustrating when you spend hours researching and writing an article. The most important thing however, is that I enjoy writing about classic cinema. I also find it a bonus when I give the criminally underrated and lesser-known films more exposure.


What movies would you recommend to someone who “hates” classic films?

This depends on each individual taste. If the person was more into comedies, the first film I would recommend is Bringing Up Baby. However, I would also urge them to delve into Lucille Ball's filmography and television series, for example I Love Lucy. I think Lucy would serve as a great stepping stone into the world of classic cinema. But if their preferred genre was thriller, I'd strongly advise them to watch The Spiral Staircase, or a great Film Noir title starring Joan Bennett or Barbara Stanwyck. Another movie that stands as the perfect introductory to the golden age is Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, which in my opinion is quality entertainment that everyone can enjoy.

  
What makes a film "classic" in your opinion?

I consider any film made during the silent era right up to 1969 a classic. In my opinion, movies that were made in 1970 and onwards lack the quality and aesthetics that the films from the golden age possessed.


Do you have an interest in other pop culture arts?

Yes. I have a diverse range of interests. While classic cinema is the main foundation of my obsession, I am also passionate about the golden age of television, and music – especially Judy Garland, Petula Clark, Mario Lanza, Neil Diamond, and Nat King Cole – though my music tastes transcends many genres.  In addition to that, I have a great interest in cooking and travelling. 



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Books, Books, Books 7th Edition

This is the  7th edition and last in our series on books published by our fellow members. You can check out our previous post by clicking here.  Please note if I missed anyone or you have a new book coming in the future, let us know.
A couple of things to point out.

I will be doing one post per week, so please be patient.

Each post will feature one to three authors depending on the number of books in their catalog.

The CMBA ebooks are not included. All CMBA books are listed on a separate page on this blog.

If I miss a book of yours, fret not. Let me know and I will add to a new future post.

In the future, If you are working on a new book, or will have a book “coming soon.” Let us know and we will announce it.

This edition features Thomas Gladyz who blogs at the Louise Brooks Society Blog

Thomas' author page can be viewed here.


Available at Amazon as a paperback.


Available at Amazon as a paperback


Available at Amazon as a paperback



Available at Amazon as a paperback

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Books, Books, Books 6th Edition

This is the 6th edition in our series on books published by our fellow members. You can check out our previous post by clicking here.

A couple of things to point out.

I will be doing one post per week, so please be patient.

Each post will feature one to three authors depending on the number of books in their catalog.

The CMBA ebooks are not included. All CMBA books are listed on a separate page on this blog.

If I miss a book of yours, fret not. Let me know and I will add to a new future post.

In the future, If you are working on a new book, or will have a book “coming soon.” Let us know and we will announce it.

This edition features Hal C F Astell who blogs at Apocalypse Later.
 Hal's Author page can be viewed here.



Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K.


Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K.


Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K.



Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K.


Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K.



Available as a paperback at Amazon and Amazon U.K





Monday, April 13, 2020

Books, Books, Books 5th Edition

This is the 5th edition in our series on books published by our fellow members. You can check out our previous post by clicking here.

A couple of things to point out.

I will be doing one post per week, so please be patient.

Each post will feature one to three authors depending on the number of books in their catalog.

The CMBA ebooks are not included. All CMBA books are listed on a separate page on this blog.

If I miss a book of yours, fret not. Let me know and I will add to a new future post.

In the future, If you are working on a new book, or will have a book “coming soon.” Let us know and we will announce it.

This edition features Karen Burroughs-Hannsbury who blogs at Shadows and Satin and John Greco who blogs at Twenty Four Frames.


First up is Karen Burroughs-Hannsbury.
You can view Karen's Amazon Author page here.



Available at Amazon.



Available at Amazon


Available at Amazon

.

Available at Amazon

Next up is John Greco
John is also the author of several short story collections. His author page can be seen here.


Available at Amazon