Saturday, October 31, 2015

CMBA Blogger Profile: The Skeins

 The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're featuring Moira of The Skeins.

If you're not familiar with all the projects that Moira of The Skeins has been involved in, then you're really missing out on something.

In addition to writing and researching, Moira co-hosts a classic movie forum at Silver Screen Oasis. Guests on this forum include biographers Scott Nollen and Jeffrey Spivak, and the CMBA's own Jacqueline A. Lynch.

However, one of Moira's articles, published on TCM's Movie Morlocks site, has garnered a lot of attention over the years – a post about the pioneering African American actor, James Edwards.

"James Edwards' complex life and career continue to impress me," says Moira. "The subject for the post was suggested in a roundabout way by a thoughtful friend who is no longer living, Kyle Kersten. Though I wrote this post several years ago, it continues to attract the attention of individuals who knew or admired Mr. Edwards. I like to hope that it might inspire people to seek out James Edwards' films and to pay some attention to those many sterling actors whose presence on the edge of the spotlight makes movies truly classic."

The post can be seen HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
The Skeins: I think it began when I saw a syndicated program on television called Silents, Please as a small child. I can still remember the Gish sisters clinging to one another as history swirled around them in Orphans in the Storm (1921) on that show. Other early memories include numerous television viewings of Mighty Joe Young (1949), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Roaring Twenties (1939), Gunga Din (1939), and all the Our Gang and Shirley Temple movies I could see. Later, I was fortunate enough to live in a time when television stations showed dubbed movies such La Dolce Vita (1960) and Beauty and the Beast (1946) regularly along with scads of studio era product to fill airtime (and shape my imagination). It also didn't hurt to have a mother who had crushes on Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman, and Brian Aherne while she grew up (and never quite gave up).

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
The Skeins: A love of storytelling and a movie that relishes depicting human strengths and foibles in a graceful, concise manner,  often transporting the viewer to a time and place an individual may never experience first hand.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
The Skeins: Depending on the age and interests of movie-haters, I would recommend His Girl Friday (1939), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1937), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Random Harvest (1942), Adam's Rib (1948), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), A Letter to Three Wives (1947), and Casablanca (1943), as well as the movies mentioned above. I would also recommend that people see any movie showcasing Thelma Ritter or Peter Lorre, two remarkable, polar-opposite actors (or are they?).

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
The Skeins: It is a form of entertainment that encompasses every kind of artistry – visual poetry that can affect us in a visceral way, illuminating experiences and taking us completely out of our everyday life.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The Skeins: Three things come to mind:

  1. Searching for and occasionally finding ways to express my love of films (good and bad) and the people who made them. Analyzing my own reactions to films and realizing how everything in my real life has affected my perception and taste in movies
  2. Meeting and sharing impressions of films with others  online. Blogging has enabled me to interact with people from all over the world – most of whom I could never have met otherwise.
  3.  I also love research!  It is very exciting to learn more about films and filmmakers during research by reading the ballyhoo, controversy and hubbub that accompanied movies when they were first released.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
The Skeins: How to keep writing without repeating myself, and a desire to express myself as well as I am able. The latter urge has prevented me from inflicting myself on the reading public many times.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
The Skeins: Write about films that you love, not what anyone else tells you is good, fashionable or important.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's Time for the CMBA Fall Blogathon - Trains, Planes, and Automobiles!

The Classic Movie Blog Association is proud to present Planes, Trains and Automobiles, running from October 19th to the 24th. Please tune into the blogs below on the dates listed to travel around the world through classic film!







Selected pieces are available in the Planes, Trains & Automobiles eBook, available for free at Smashwords and on Amazon for $0.99, with all profits going towards the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

CMBA Blogger Profile: Classic Movies Digest

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs each month, on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're celebrating Rupert of Classic Movies Digest

If there were any one blog that could single-handedly convert people to classic movie fandom, it would be Classic Movies Digest. Posts combine fun facts about classic movie stars with thoughtful film reviews.

Rupert's site is also a great resource for long-time old movie fans who want to learn more about classic Hollywood. Links to books and movies are handily provided at the end of many posts, which saves the bother of an online search.

This blog isn't afraid to share an opinion. Check out the review of In This Our Life (1942), starring Bette Davis and Olivia deHavilland.  "In this Our Life is a hoot to watch," writes Rupert, "and never disappoints for a melodramatic funfest."

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Classic Movies Digest: I have loved classic movies since I was a kid, when I would watch my local weekend movie show called the Popcorn Flick, which featured Ma and Pa Kettle, Abbott & Costello, the Andy Hardy series and more.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Classic Movies Digest: For me, a classic movie is one made before 1960. Pictures made during the Golden Era of Hollywood, though movies made in Britain fit this category for me as well. Love those too.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies? 
Classic Movies Digest: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Great Lie (1941). The first because it is big, bold and colorful and includes a classic story with great and charismatic stars and sensational character actors, with a powerful score. The second because it is a great example of the "woman's picture" which made such an impact during the era. With Bette Davis and Mary Astor, who are both powerhouses of classic movie diva-dom, yet again with a sweeping musical score as backdrop with a wildly unlikely but highly entertaining story.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Classic Movies Digest: People don't have to care about classic movies. Some folks just don't like them and that is their prerogative. BUT those who do should cherish them, and spread the word to those who MAY enjoy them if given the opportunity. They are a window to our past, both in their content and as a form of entertainment from the times. 

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Classic Movies Digest: Blogging is a great way to share one's own feeling and interpretation of great old movies! And in my case, it brings together two of my favorite things: classic movies and writing!

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them? Classic Movies Digest: Finding the time and I can't always do it.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger? 
Classic Movies Digest: My advice to a new blogger is to write, write, write and post what you write. The more that is on the blog, the more opportunity there is for it to be read, as well as more for web crawlers to pick it up for online searches.

Thank you for joining us, Rupert! You can visit his blog by clicking HERE.