Thursday, December 31, 2015

CMBA Blogger Profile: The Lady Eve's Reel Life

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're spotlighting Patty from The Lady Eve's Reel Life.

When you think about it, classic film is an iconic documentation of society. Which makes it utterly cool.

The Lady Eve’s Reel Life captures the zeitgeist of classic film, and shows us why these films are important. Patty's blog is like hanging out with the coolest prof in film school, the one who never talks down to you and is excited to share new discoveries.

"Since movies were a part of my life from the beginning, is it any mystery that I knew who Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Tyrone Power were before I knew the names of some of my relatives?" she writes. "I recall noting in my diary when I was about nine that I had watched The Great Lie, 'starring Bette Davis.'"

One film that impacted Patty's love for the classics is the Astaire & Rogers classic, The Gay Divorcee. You can read about her passion for this, and classic films in general, by clicking HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: I was raised on the films of Hollywood’s Golden Age thanks to TV, plus my mother grew up in that era and loved movies, so it was a combination of nature and nurture, I think.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: A “Classic” in my world is a film that remains interesting and/or relevant no matter what year it’s from. Generally, films that stand the test of time are blessed with a strong director, screenwriter, composer and other technical elements; they are always well cast (with or without stars) and tend to deal with universal themes.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: Years ago I wanted to introduce one of my young godsons to classic film. This was in the “Little Mermaid,” “Ninja Turtle” era and VCRs were still in common use. I thought Hitchcock might be the way to go, particularly some of the films from his Technicolor years in the mid/late ‘50s. Rear Window was the first, and I made a point of trying to emphasize the mystery. For example, at the moment when the sound of a glass shattering and Mrs. Thorwald’s scream is heard I asked him, “Did you hear that? What do you think happened?” He was intrigued and re-wound the tape of that scene over and over (of course). In the end, it worked, he loved it. Next came North by Northwest.  I think most of Hitchcock’s best American films, from Rebecca to Psycho, would be good introductions for those who say they don’t like “old” or “black and white” movies.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: You can’t make anyone care about a subject they have no interest in, but if a person has any level of passion for movies, delving into the classics will enrich that passion a thousand-fold.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: Well, I love to write and I love to research and I love classic film, so combining all those loves into one process is very rewarding. What makes blogging even more worthwhile is the response of those who comment on my blog posts – I always answer comments, by the way.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: To avoid getting stale I began to mix things up on my blog by focusing on different approaches and subjects: reviews, profiles, interviews, covering film festivals and events, and trying the occasional slightly unconventional piece. One off-the-wall post I enjoyed doing evolved into a look at the career of Hollywood hairstylist Sidney Guilaroff. It began when I read a short article on the popular French stylist who created Marie Antoinette’s outrageous hairdos in the ­­­­18th century. I was able to take that bit of French history and make my way to the MGM spectacle, Marie Antoinette (1938), on which Guilaroff worked, and then take it from there to briefly profile his career as well as the history of a couple of iconic hairstyles. It was a lot of fun.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: Work on developing your own distinct voice and look for fresh perspectives. So many of these films have been written and written and written about over the decades that it can seem there’s nothing new to say. Good example: I wanted to tackle Vertigo a few years ago. Even though it hadn’t yet been selected by Sight & Sound’s critics as the greatest film ever, it had already been sliced and diced to pieces for decades. So, I decided to create a month-long event; it wasn’t exactly a blogathon, though many bloggers participated. Each blogger approached the film from a different angle: its roots as French roman noir, the major and minor performances, Bernard Herrmann’s score, etc.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

CMBA Blogger Profile: ClassicBecky's Brain Food

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th. Today we're spotlighting ClassicBecky's Brain Food.

Reading ClassicBecky's Brain Food is like spending time with a smart and witty friend. You know such a friend will always give you good advice, and will usually make you laugh while doing so.

She recently celebrated her sixth blogaversary. "It's hard for me to believe I've been around that long," says ClassicBecky. "I started out with a small group of wonderful people, guided by our Fearless Leader of the Classic Movie Blog Association, Rick Armstrong, and eventually branched off to my own blog."

Her site is full of fascinating and amusing posts on films and classic movie stars, along with personal observations that will make you think.

One example of ClassicBecky's savoir faire is the well-researched and detailed Mobsters, Pals and Skirts – The Golden Age of Gangster Movies – The Complete Series – 1930 Through 1949. "I actually won a CMBA award, of which I was very proud," she says. "I love the old gangster movies...Cagney, Bogart, Robinson...they were the best!  These movies are some of the greatest of the classic era. " 

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: My father was a great fan of classic film, and I began watching them with him on TV when I was very young.  We would stay up for the late movie just to catch these wonderful films. The first one I remember watching was Captain Blood with Errol Flynn, and that began a lifetime of love for the classics.  My Dad and I watched The Maltese Falcon, The Public Enemy, Citizen Kane, Now, Voyager ... so many others. I was hooked from the first. Dad was also a lover of Shakespeare, and I remember watching Olivier's Hamlet and Richard III. I have a particular love for those.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: When I think of classics, I think of silent movies up to and including the 1950's. Warner Brothers is my favorite studio, but of course all of them produced great movies. Obviously, wonderful movies have been made since then, and to be considered a classic by me, they must be unique, character driven, directed by strong filmmakers and, of extreme importance to me, have great scores.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate
old movies?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: I would say The Maltese Falcon, one of the best of the first film noir genre. I would recommend The Adventures of Robin Hood with The Great Flynn (that is how I always refer to him!), Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, the 1939 original version of Of Mice and Men, The Letter with Bette Davis (well, ANY movies of the Great Bette would be good), Key Largo with Bogart and Robinson, and Cagney's White Heat. I think they would pique the interest of even the most reluctant classic movie audience.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: Classic film reflects the history of American culture, and I believe this is a very important function. Many of the old movies are not exactly historically accurate in their telling of true stories, but that also shows us what audiences were interested in and what they loved. I also believe that the incredible music written for the screen in the classic era cannot be topped, and it is important to see just how important great music is in the telling of a story. The wrong music can harm even the best movie.  I think this was proven during the 1960's and 70's, in which some movies were scored horribly, and it lessened their impact.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: What could be more rewarding than writing about what I love, and it's great to know that my readers are just as enamored of great movies as I am. Conversations that begin with comments can be a lot of fun!  I write serious pieces, but I also enjoy snarking even movies I just adore! Stories about the great actors, directors, composers are all fascinating to me, and it's just plain fun!

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: I have periods in which I am faced with writer's block, which I know is shared by most writers. Sometimes I feel that I have to be inspired to write something, and I forget that it is not necessary to wait for the Great American Novel in order to be a good writer. Most challenging to me, there have been times of illness or injury in which I have not been at all prolific with my blog, as has been the case in the last year or so.The biggest challenge I face is just plain remembering that writing is my first love, and that making myself do it is a necessary part of who I am.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
ClassicBecky's Brain Food: A new blogger should find their own unique voice and follow it. Some people are better with serious pieces, others with amusing articles. Some love to review films, others to write about the background trivia. Whatever you love, write about it! Also, use social media to spotlight your blog – Facebook, Twitter, whatever is available. Look for good organizations like our own CMBA, begin to follow the members, and put in an application to join. Tell your friends, including your cyber-friends. Get the word out!

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Announcing the Oscars Snubs Blogathon!

Announcing The Oscars Snubs Blogathon!  (Feb 26-28, 2016)

It happens every year.  Until recently 5 nominees vied for such varied categories as Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director, among others.  We as fans are not part of the process of choosing, and sometimes we think our choice was better.  This is a chance to make your case heard.

Think Double Indemnity should have beaten out Going My Way for Best Picture in 1944?  Was Rex Harrison really the Best Actor of the bunch in 1964, or were either Richard Burton or Peter O'Toole more deserving?  And, really, seriously?  WasMarisa Tomei really the Best Supporting Actress of 1992?

The rules are simple here.  You can pick any category.  You can pick any year.  The only stipulation is the picture (or person) must have been one of the other nominees in that category for that year, but didn't win.  Otherwise I'd be getting some quack choices like "Plan 9 from Outer Space should have won Best Picture of 1959..."

Let's not fight over topics!

I'd like to have variety so only one person can do a specific movie or an actor in a movie, but I will stretch a point.  If someone wants to pick, say, The Hustler as Best Picture of 1961, someone else could still pick Paul Newman as Best Actor in The Hustler, and make an entirely different case.

Let's have some fun with it.  The blogathon will be scheduled to go live on Oscar weekend 2016.  (Feb. 26-28)  You can pick any of those three days.  Post your choice in the comments below or stop by either The Midnite Drive-In or Silver Scenes. Then grab one of the banners below to post to your blog. Simple? Then let's get the ball rolling! 

Need some inspiration, first? Check out this list of Oscar nominees by year :




Note: This blogathon and the hosting blogs are in no way affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscars is a registered trademark of the Academy Awards.