Thursday, July 14, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: Strictly Vintage Hollywood

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th. Today we're toasting Donna from Strictly Vintage Hollywood.

Donna at Strictly Vintage Hollywood has a thing for Rudolph Valentino.

But let's face it: who doesn't?

Not only does she curate a well-researched blog, she's written a book on Valentino, entitled Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs. She's now hard at work on a second book, tentatively titled The Films of Rudolph Valentino - A Chronological History.

"I have collected and studied Valentino for decades," says Donna. "I am still researching and learning; enjoying the process of research that I hope will result in an entertaining second book, my magnum opus on Valentino."

You can read more about Valentino, and his unique friendship with screenwriter June Mathis, HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film? 
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: I like to say I was born loving movies. My parents instilled in me the love of what are now referred to as classic films because we shared going to movies when I was a child; both at the Drive-In (how I miss that, Disney films in my jammies) and going to see first run films at Century 21 Dome (dressing up in our Sunday best the process). We also shared time watching classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Portrait of Jennie on television. For my parents, these were the films of their generation and they became mine. 

I also learned to love classic films by seeing them on television, late night television such as TV 36 in San Jose and KBHK where classics from 20th Century Fox, MGM, RKO, Paramount and Warner Brothers were on regular rotation. Once I got my library card and discovered the film history section, a whole new world opened up for me with film bios and film history.
Once I could drive, I became a loyal patron twice weekly at my local revival movie house (The Vitaphone). There I experienced familiar favorites, except they were Three Strip Technicolor prints newly struck from the camera negative. To seem them on the big screen changed my life. Films on television never looked like this!  Gob smacked is a good word to describe the feeling. For a film geek, it’s like a drug.
Getting to know the owners, working at the theater over a summer and learning how to run the large 35mm projectors; that was a thrill. It was also a thrill to stand in the back of the theater and watch the chariot race from the 1959 Ben-Hur six nights in a row. To see Random Harvest, a pristine new print, so clear you felt you could walk into it. The Garden of Allah, Dietrich and Boyer, impossible silly romance, in glorious Technicolor.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: Literally, to me a classic film is anything from 1900 to about 1965, the dawn of film to the end of the studio era in Hollywood. This would include foreign films, too. To me, a classic does not even really have to have the best script or acting. It is a film that stands the test of time and repeated viewings. 
CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain, just about any Laurel & Hardy film and the same for Buster Keaton, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Now Voyager, The Heiress, The Mark of Zorro (silent and talkie versions), The Son of the Sheik, North by Northwest, Rear Window, and Sunrise. (I could name a dozen more!) It is inconceivable to me that someone could actually say they “hate” old films. For those that do, I can only imagine that they have not really seen any. So many genres, gangster, musicals, comedies, drama, women’s pictures, adventure films, romance, sci-fi, you name it, there really is something for everyone if they could be introduced to seeing a film as it was meant to be seen, i.e. on the big screen. At the very least, on television without commercials, like TCM.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: In today’s world of instant news, the 24-hour news cycle and endless tweets and Facebook posts, sometimes I think people need to care about classic films as a way to let go, lose themselves and enjoy 90 minutes (or two hours) of solid entertainment. Any classic film is a reflection of the era in which it was produced, but, the bottom line is all are human stories. They can touch you, empower you and make you feel great just when the real world has got you down. In other words because they are so very entertaining.
Why should they care about preserving them? Cinema is the most American of art forms. Film can be a snapshot of the period. Once lost, they likely remain so and a part of our history is gone forever, except stills and lobby art. Can you imagine a world without Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz?

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: The best thing I have found in blogging and writing about film is the people I have met. I mean, I follow several blogs and I love to read other viewpoints and learn about films I have not yet seen. I enjoy writing, and blogging is a tool for me to improve my writing and to share about films I love. If I get one comment telling me they’ve loved a film I’ve written about, that’s the best icing on any cake, metaphorically speaking. This takes me back to seeing films with my parents. Blogging and classic film is a shared experience, and it’s wonderful. I’ve met some of my best friends this way.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: The biggest challenge is finding time, and trying to be regular in posting. A challenge especially now as I am researching and writing a manuscript. I am trying to be proactive this year and get in the habit of a weekly post, even a small one. For the manuscript, I'm taking inspiration from my friend over at Backlots, Lara, to write something every day on the manuscript no matter how small.
CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Strictly Vintage Hollywood: Write about what you love. That, to me, is the biggest motivation. Be receptive to constructive criticism and ignore the trolls. 

 Thank you for joining us, Donna! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: Movies Silently

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th. Today we're celebrating Fritzi from Movies Silently

Reading the blog Movies Silently is like visiting an amusement park. If you plan to drop by, it's guaranteed you'll end up spending the day. Better bring a lunch.

Fritzi's site is an adventurous look at silent film, as explored through reviews, Top 10 (or Bottom 5) Lists, amusing silent film gifs, and even vintage recipes. It is a celebration of silent film in all its forms – the serious, the witty, the tragic.

It's also a groundbreaking site that isn't afraid to attack cherished misconceptions.

"My review of The Cossacks is an example of what I most want to accomplish on my blog," says Fritzi. "It represents six months of research culminating in an epic takedown of a reasonably beloved film and an expose of its shameless plagiarism. Looking below the surface was rewarding in this case because it allowed me to both dig deep into film history and expose an injustice that has been ignored for almost eighty years."

You can read Fritzi's review HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Movies Silently: My parents were very anti-TV and we lived in a rather rural area because of my father's job so if we watched movies, they were VHS tapes from my parents' collection and they preferred the classics. Pretty much every movie I saw, except the original Star Wars trilogy, was at least three decades old so I don't really think of classic movies as odd. Modern movies are the weird ones, I tell you!

I particularly loved cliffhanger serials from the 1930s and 1940s. Flash Gordon, G-Men vs. the Black Dragon, Nyoka and the Tigermen and Buck Rogers are still among my favorites. They resembled Star Wars and I was addicted to their kitschy style. I also loved Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Our Gang, Charley Chase, the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy.

As for silent film, I was in my teens when I realized that my movie knowledge pretty much ended at 1930. I decided to remedy that and got a few silent films, one of which was a Charlie Chaplin feature. I was hooked! My favorite discoveries in my first year of silent film were Mary Pickford, Harry Langdon and Cecil B. DeMille. I was familiar with DeMille's cheesy sound epics, of course, but his tight, fast-paced silent films were a revelation.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Movies Silently: That's open to interpretation but I consider the classic era to be from the birth of projected cinema (1895) to the fall of the Code with the introduction of the modern ratings system in 1968. As to whether or not an individual movie is a classic, I think it's a matter of how memorable it is, even if the film itself is obscure.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Movies Silently: For silent films, I recommend shocking people with something like The Penalty or The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, which both contain rather extreme content. The latter film is a Sherlock Holmes spoof with a hero who powders his nose with cocaine. In 1916. I have also had good success with Ernst Lubitsch's quirky comedies, from The Oyster Princess to The Shop Around the Corner.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Movies Silently: For the same reason they should care about history, classical music and fine literature: it expands the mind while giving us a glimpse into the past. All modern movies owe something to the classics and it's always worth it to look and see what they have to offer.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Movies Silently: First, it really opens my mind and makes me watch silent films that I might have otherwise ignored. I like to hold reader request events and I am always thrilled with the wide variety of selections that my readers come up with. Second, blogging about silent films has put me in touch with producers, accompanists, authors and other silent film professionals whose work I have admired for years. I consider it a huge privilege to get to know them.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Movies Silently: The biggest challenge is that silent film scholarship tends to be a bit calcified. It is taken for granted that D.W. Griffith invented everything, all British silents are awful and that hardly any women were powerful behind the camera. All that is changing, of course, and I want to be part of the change. I consider it a duty to start smashing idols, questioning unimpeachable sources and generally raising hell. Of course, this can lead to a certain amount of resistance in some quarters but the tide is turning.

I always try to come up with a fresh perspective, a new angle for every film I review. I mean, what's the point of reviewing a film if I am just going to echo what everyone else says? If I can't find that angle, I put the film aside for a while and wait until I can think of one. This can take years but the wait is worth it. For example, I handled my review of the 1925 version of Ben-Hur by attempting to write the most comprehensive behind-the-scenes story possible.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Movies Silently: 1. Look at your writing objectively and determine your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Have someone whose opinion you respect read your writing and tell you whether or not it is interesting and fun.
3. Write about what you love with passion, don't just pick a topic because it seems popular. If your writing is entertaining, people will come.
4. All my favorite bloggers have this thing in common: they write highly subjective, highly opinionated content and they clearly articulate what they do and do not like.
5. If you are planning to blog about films, read, read, read and read some more. Read what? Film criticism and theory from every era. Study the critics, find out what makes their writing smart or amusing.
6. Don't take shortcuts. Don't just parrot what other people write. Step off the beaten path and try to share obscure picks. It will give your blog texture and variety.

Thanks for joining us, Fritzi! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: Classic Movie Hub

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th. Today we're toasting Annmarie from Classic Movie Hub.

The tagline for Classic Movie Hub is "The Classic Movie Cheerleader!"

Indeed it is. The site includes contests, classic celebrity birthdays and Top 100 movie lists – truly a hub of classic movie information. (Psst! It's also a great place to advertise your classic film blogathon.)

Classic Movie Hub features an intriguing blog that delves into a number of eclectic topics. Annmarie, the site founder, is a dedicated researcher who delights in the "odd things you can discover when you're blogging."

For example, Annmarie found buried treasure while working on a post about Kathleen Howard for the 2013 Funny Lady Blogathon.

"I chose Howard as my subject simply because I adored her in It's a Gift," says Annmarie. "Imagine my surprise when I started my research and learned that she was successful in three distinctly tough and impressive careers: opera singer, fashion editor, and actress. It was like hitting pay dirt -- finding mp3s of her voice, newspaper articles about her career moves, and a book she had written about singing. Such wonderful discoveries about an actress that I only knew as W.C. Fields shrewish wife!" 

You can read Annmarie's post HERE. 

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?

Classic Movie Hub: Well, to tell you the truth, it all had to do with my parents. I was very lucky in that both of my parents loved classic movies, and each shared their favorite films and stars with me. I can distinctly remember watching It Happened One Night and Wuthering Heights with my mother when I was a little girl, while she explained the overall stories to me, and told me about the actors. Of course I was too young to understand some of the implications, i.e. the 'Walls of Jericho,' but I loved the films just the same. My dad, on the other hand, introduced me to the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin. I can still remember laughing at the 'porch scene' from It's a Gift with him, as well as the hilarious 'cabin hanging on the edge of the cliff scene' from The Gold Rush (incidentally, my very first Charlie Chaplin film). As far as the Marx Brothers go, they were a staple for us, so I grew up with a deep appreciation for their slapstick, witty dialog and impressive musicianship. My love of classic films grew from there, but those early memories are still very special to me...and were the foundation for what was to follow.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?

Classic Movie Hub: For me personally, the film must stand the test of time, whether that means through message, plot, performance, innovation, craft or art -- and it must also somehow emotionally resonate with me (smile, laugh, cry, scare, anger, feel compassion, think, astound, etc). However, I also abide by the classic film definition as films belonging to the classic-era of film-making (up through the mid-to-late 1960s) although I can certainly understand why many fans would consider some later films 'classic' as well.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?

Classic Movie Hub: That's a tough question. I think it would have to depend on the person and their interests, as well as their open-mindedness. But some of my recommendations would be Casablanca, Some Like It Hot, It's a Wonderful Life, City Lights, How Green Was My Valley, Double Indemnity, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, North by Northwest and The Bridge on the River Kwai. 

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?

Classic Movie Hub: Well, because everything comes from something -- whether it's film, music, art, science, math, you name it... So, when you take the time to understand context and evolution, it makes everything much more exciting and interesting! How wonderful to be able to learn about the pioneers of film and their innovations, the studio system and its evolution, and all of the technical and artistic advances throughout the years -- and how they ultimately impacted contemporary films and film-makers.  I can't help but think of this in the context of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, and how his seemingly 'small' and 'uneventful' life impacted so many others; in the same way, a seemingly 'small' or 'uneventful' film or innovation (at the time) could have contributed to a chain of events that shifted or advanced the course of filmmaking in some small (or great) way. 
CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?

Classic Movie Hub: For me, it's two things... First, I always learn something new when I'm doing research for a post, and that immerses me even more into the classic movie world, which is always fun. Secondly (but not less important), I've met so many wonderful film-fan-friends during my years of blogging, and I am fortunate to count some of them as true friends now.  And, of course, it's always great to have a support group that really understands your passion and what you're trying to accomplish. 

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?

Classic Movie Hub: Honestly, it's tough to find the time.  But, once I get started...well, I just can't stop.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?

Classic Movie Hub: Don't be too critical of yourself and don't wait for the right time to write. I think it's more important that you just start writing, do your best with what you've got, and learn as you go. Over time you will find your style and your sweet spot...

Thank you for joining us, Annmarie! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: The Movie Night Group's Guide to Classic Film

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th. Today we're featuring Patricia from The Movie Night Group's Guide to Classic Film.

Patricia of The Movie Night Group's Guide to Classic Film is a dual-purpose film historian.

Not only do her posts include behind-the-scenes history of classic movies, she also records the discussions of her movie group – a group that's been meeting for over 20 years. (Patricia gives more detail on this in the discussion below.)

Her blog reads like a classic film catalogue, which covers several film genres. However, if there is one subject that resonates with Patricia, it's female doctors in classic film.

"Years ago, I became interested in the image of the woman doctor in classic film," says Patricia, "and I've actually presented a paper about it several times. For instance, Strange Lady in Town is a wonderful example of the trend I'd been seeing in earlier films. Plus, it stars Greer Garson, who is always wonderful."

You can read Patricia's post HERE

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: My parents were both classic film fans, and I was pretty much raised on "old movies".  I recall being fascinated by That Lady in Ermine when I was very tiny (like three years old). The Wizard of Oz was an annual event in our household – I'd watch it on a black and white TV, and was totally awed when I saw it many years later on a big screen, and watched the sepia turn to color.  Another big event was going to see Gone With the Wind with my mother at Radio City Music Hall for an anniversary re-release.  It hadn't been on TV yet, so it was a very exciting experience.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: A classic is a film you can watch over and over again, and always find something new in it. A classic is a film that generations can relate to – the people in it may dress differently, or speak differently, but the emotions, the reactions are the ones we feel as we live the story with the characters.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: I don't think there is a "magic movie" that will convert someone to loving classic films. I think it is often a case of finding something they already like, and recommending a film in the same genre.  That being said, I often recommend things like North by Northwest, The Searchers, The Enchanted Cottage, Singin' in the Rain, The Thin Man.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: Classic films are our history; they are the story of what people loved (and cared about) in the past. But they also tell us about ourselves now. Movies in general show us we aren't alone in the world – classic movies show us that what we feel now is not unique to just this generation – it's universal.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: My blog started because of our weekly movie group meetings.  We started over 20 years ago watching movies together in a group. That group has changed with the years, but now we do it remotely. We all watch the same movie, and we talk about it. I then blog our discussion of the films. They are, of course, colored heavily with my opinions – what I took from the discussion, but it provides us a record of what we watched, and also, I hope, introduces someone else to films we really loved.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: The biggest challenge is getting the time to write them. When I look at my older posts, I see that they are much shorter than they are coming out now. So, given that it seems we have more to say, it takes several days for me to put the post together.  But I enjoy doing it.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
The Movie Night Group's Guide: My advice would be to find your own voice.  Don't be too narrow in what you blog about, or you'll be bored. The thing about blogging is that you need a new topic every week or so. Don't box yourself in – find your comfort zone in your own writing. But I would also advise that you observe the niceties – spelling, grammar, the appearance of your blog are what make people come back to it. If it's hard to read, they won't revisit you.

Thanks for joining us, Patricia! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: Virtual Virago

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month – on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're honoring Jennifer from Virtual Virago.

Virtual Virago is one of those blogs that helps you see films a little differently.

It's no wonder, considering Jennifer Garlen taught English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville for several years. She is also the author of Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching.

Her blog offers thoughtful analysis of films you thought you knew, and she explores delightfully surprising territory such as Classic Movies for Cat Lovers and Southern Voices on the Silver Screen.

"One of the most successful posts on Virtual Virago is about Laird Cregar, one of my favorite actors," says Jennifer. "I think Cregar had tremendous talent, and he deserves to be remembered and more widely known. His story is so tragic and utterly Hollywood that it really ought to be the basis for a book or a film."

You can read Jennifer's post on Laird Cregar HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Virtual Virago: Like a lot of classic movie bloggers I grew up watching old films with my family, but I really became invested in them when I started studying film as part of my literature courses in college and graduate school. I remember watching Easter Parade in my senior seminar on comedy at Agnes Scott College and really being blown away by the treatment of films - especially older ones - as "texts" to study and think about seriously. I like movies of all kinds and from all eras, but something about classic film continues to draw me back to it. Partly it's the stars, but it's also the stories and wonderful dialogue. I especially love the films of the 30s and 40s.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Virtual Virago: It depends on the audience or the kind of conversation I'm having with someone. I generally think of classics as films made before the end of the studio era, but at this point a lot of pictures from the 80s could very fairly be said to have stood the test of time. Bringing Up Baby might be a classic in a somewhat different sense from, say, The Muppet Movie, but both of them have special places in my heart, and I think both of them deserve love and attention from future generations.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Virtual Virago: Gosh, I worry about people who say that! I used to teach film units to college freshmen, and I had great luck luring them in with classic film noir. Noir is sexy, violent, and often pretty short, and the stars have such smoldering appeal. It's hard to resist Mitchum in Out of the Past or Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. Other good starter films are the Chaplin and Keaton silents, Some Like It Hot, and, again, Bringing Up Baby. If you don't laugh at those you just don't have a sense of humor.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Virtual Virago: Like all narratives, films offer us a sense of what it means to be human, not only to be someone else but also to be ourselves. That's tremendously important. All art matters, but classic movies shed so much light on both the good and the bad about our past, sometimes unintentionally. I also love the way classic films rely on language and suggestion to convey complex, nuanced themes and concepts. So many modern films are tailored for the international box office and keep dialogue to a minimum in favor of big set pieces and explosions. 

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Virtual Virago: It's really reassuring when I have proof that someone actually read and liked a post, but sometimes I do it just because I enjoy putting my own thoughts together. I like writing. Getting a post up always feels like an accomplishment (and it's so much easier than finishing the most recent book project!).

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Virtual Virago: Finding time to watch and then write about the movies can be a challenge. I have a family, I do other types of writing, and I have a lot of irons in different fires. I'd love to have time to sit down with the really long films to watch them, take good notes, and put together thoughtful reviews, but sometimes I just have to go with the 90 minute picture because I know I can get through it before I'm interrupted!

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Virtual Virago: Think about the films you watch. Don't just summarize them or do play-by-play posts. Critical thought is more original, but it's also harder. A lot of other classic movie bloggers have already seen the movie in question, but they want to know what you think is going on in it. That might just be the English professor in me, but I really love to read thoughtful pieces about why a movie works or doesn't work for a particular viewer. I like to know how a writer sees a film; it might really be different from my own reading of it, and I learn something from that. Engage your text!

Thanks for joining us, Jennifer! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

CMBA Blogger Profile: Another Old Movie Blog

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month – on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're celebrating Jacqueline from Another Old Movie Blog.

Reading through Another Old Movie Blog is like sneaking into a film historian's library.

Here you'll find reviews and film history on subjects and actors not often discussed. Once you click on this site, you might as well get comfortable – you'll likely be perusing it for the rest of the afternoon.

In addition to her blog, Jacqueline is also the author of the recently released biography Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. This is the first published comprehensive biography of Ms Blyth. Jacqueline says the idea of a book began with the "Year of Ann Blyth" series on her blog.

"It prefaced a year-long fascinating journey for me," says Jacqueline, "and led to the publication of my book on Ann Blyth. That post started it all–where readers left comments suggesting that I write a book."

You can read the series introduction HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Another Old Movie Blog: I’ve always watched classic films, from my earliest memory.  There were four TV channels when I was a child, and old movies were a common filler on all networks. My parents and older siblings watched classic films, so I grew up in an environment where they were a normal part of my life. At some point I began to perceive that the things happening in the movie happened a very long time ago, and that intrigued me. I became aware this was a window to the past, and with every movie, I was a time traveler. 

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Another Old Movie Blog: Movies made before 1965, preferably before 1960. The “classic” in classic films, to me, has nothing to do with timeless quality. It is merely a time-stamp. There are classic films and post-classic films, just as there is the Renaissance and the Regency Period, the Antebellum years, and the Great Depression. Eras. That’s all, no judgment call as to whether one was better than the other. It’s just a category to define studio-era films.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Another Old Movie Blog: People who say they hate old movies should be kicked in the teeth.

Bawh-ha-ha-ha. There, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest. I suppose I would show them The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), because it appeals to both men and women, and reaches anyone from whatever perspective they carry. From the first moments when we see those prosthetic hooks on Harold Russell, the movie is gutsy and full of heart in an honest and forthright way. We are taken in by Dana Andrews’ post-traumatic stress, by his failure to fit in with the America he returns to after the war; with Frederic March’s restlessness and heavy drinking; with the women of the story who are real and torn, and brave. It breaks your heart. It’s romantic, and frank, and sentimental, but always unblinkingly serious and never asking for pity. I think anyone can relate to it and become interested.  You get sucked into the story from the first moments, and the hold it has over you lingers long after fade out.

Actually, I remember years ago, probably 30 years ago now, a woman I worked with told me about the plot of a movie she had seen very late the night before. She didn’t know the name, but she was up because she couldn’t sleep, and then the movie had her so riveted she just couldn’t get to bed until she’d seen the end of it. I listened, enjoying her description, watching the expressions change on her face as she told me the story. Then I replied,

“The Best Years of Our Lives. 1946.”

The thing that was so terrific was that she seemed overjoyed that I knew about the movie. She wanted to share it with someone in a way that was more than just talking about it. She wanted me to feel it the same way she did. She wasn’t a classic film fan, but we connected over a movie that was made before either of us was born, was in black and white, and had everything to do with our parents’ generation and not with ours. But that didn’t matter. It belonged to us now.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Another Old Movie Blog: Classic films are the primer on our history and our pop culture.  I discuss this, and how I feel classic films should be taught in school, in my post from January, the first in my monthly year-long series this year on the current state of the classic film fan.  I go into it more in depth there, but the upshot is we need to know who we are, and classic films show us a big part of who we are.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Another Old Movie Blog: Connecting with other film fans, or even newcomers to classic film. It’s a joy to read comments and to communicate through the blog and through email. I learn a lot.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Another Old Movie Blog: The biggest challenge is a lack of time. I blog once per week, and sometimes it’s difficult to get that in, especially when I write the longer, more in-depth posts. But there is no lack of subject matter. I have enough to write about for the next million years. I just need the time.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Another Old Movie Blog: Take care not to repeat “facts” that are not true, and not to treat tired old rumor as gospel. Check your facts, verify them. Classic film bloggers are replacing film historians as the chroniclers, even the arbiters, of film history. Take your responsibility as such seriously. Your words are going to bounce around the Internet forever. Make sure you’re right.

Thanks for joining us, Jacqueline. You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.