Wednesday, June 14, 2017

CMBA Blog Profile: GlamAmor

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Kimberly from GlamAmor.

Kimberly of GlamAmor is a true CMBA celebrity.

Not only is she the manager of marketing at Sony Pictures Television, she's a popular lecturer at the historic Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica with her series on "History of Fashion in Film".

Kimberly has spent her time in the trenches doing research on – and writing about – fashion and film history, and she acts as a consultant for several organizations including TCM, BBC Worldwide, Christie's Inc., and the Los Angeles Tourism Board.

GlamAmor is a fascinating site with articles, event coverage and taped interviews. One of her favorite interviews is with Monika Henreid, the daughter of an accomplished Hollywood actor.

"I thoroughly enjoyed doing my interview with Monika Henreid," says Kimberly. "It offered the opportunity to put a spotlight on costume designer Orry-Kelly as well as delve into the backstories of both Now, Voyager and Casablanca with the daughter of Paul Henreid. I also want to work more in front of the camera, so this was a great experience to both host and produce the project."

You can watch Kimberly's interview HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
GlamAmor: Like so many, my interest began with my family. My father was a police officer and would watch film noir when he came home after work – The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and many others. As a child, I came to love them, too. Then when I was older, the Hitchcock films became another gateway into more and more classic cinema.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
GlamAmor: Of course there's much debate about this. I tend to think of movies from the dawn of Hollywood through 1979 as being part of classic cinema. But there are movies beyond that timeframe that have a high quality about them – from direction to acting to production design – as well as a timelessness that can qualify them as classics, too.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
GlamAmor: Oh, the Hitchcock movies are an easy way to address this. They have a certain style about them that appeals to most people. I see people light up when I mention them.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
GlamAmor: This is my mission in life, really, teaching and reminding people why they should care about classic film. Those movies are the originals – so much of what we see coming from Hollywood today relate in some way to those classics. This is also true in something that I focus on in my work, which is the costume design and overall style. The fashion industry draws inspiration from classic cinema all the time. Really, for anyone in the arts, classic cinema remains a source of inspiration. It proves the ongoing relevance of these films.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
GlamAmor: Sharing what I know and love about classic film, and being able to reach an audience around the world.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
GlamAmor: I don't think the website itself has presented challenges, other than the technical ones we all deal with.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
GlamAmor: Make sure you write about something that you truly know and love, not what you think you should be writing about for the audience or advertising, for example.  Also make sure you pick a pace - how often you post - that's something that you can do without it overwhelming you. It's not as much about quantity as it is about quality.

Thank you for joining us, Kimberly! You can visit GlamAmor HERE.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

CMBA Blog Profile: Speakeasy

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Kristina from Speakeasy. 

As an enthusiastic supporter of classic movies, Kristina not only writes about film on her website, Speakeasy, and in The Dark Pages Newsletter, she co-hosts numerous blogathons including the annual Great Villains Blogathon and the O Canada! Blogathon.

She's introduced many well-known films to new classic movie fans, but you might say her speciality is discovering and promoting lesser-known gems. One such film is Highway 301.

"The 1950 crime movie Highway 301 is a good example of all the reasons I do this," says Kristina. "It's the excitement of discovering a new favourite, of seeing some memorable technique and style, spotting connections to iconic and modern films, and the fun of highlighting underrated and overlooked people and movies."

You can read Kristina's review of Highway 301 HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Speakeasy: Seeing Hitchcock movies for the first time was big, so was watching the wonderful Elwy Yost talk about classics on TV (in Canada). Really there was no one spark, since my family liked all movies, new and old, so I grew up being interested in everything, and learned not to be a snob, curmudgeon or closed off to any era, country, genre or subject of movies. I love new ones as much as classics, I just like to blog classics because they can always use more attention, and I like to get people interested enough to look at them without snark or cynicism.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Speakeasy: No matter when it was made, it still has power to move you, it says something relevant about life today, has lasting value in storytelling, acting or filmmaking, was groundbreaking, or perfectly captures a universal experience. To me there’s no strict cut-off date, and there are B’s, guilty pleasures and recent movies I think are as classic, entertaining and valuable as pre-1960, art films or Oscar winners. 

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies? 
Speakeasy: Depends on what they like and what their complaints are about old movies. Pre-Codes are a good eye-opener for people who think oldies were tame and prudish, or didn’t address the realities of life and society. So movies I recommend are: Three on a Match, Baby Face, Trouble in Paradise, Invisible Man, Horse Feathers, Scarface – there are tons from that era. Other good gateway movies: The Thin Man, Gun Crazy, Rear Window, Nightmare Alley, Rio Bravo, My Darling Clementine, Adventures of Robin Hood

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Speakeasy: Because a good movie is a good movie, forget what year it was made. If you call yourself a movie fanatic then you should be open-minded and curious, eager to explore and see how we got here. 

Because they’re fascinating looks into history and how acting and filmmaking developed. 

For the thrill of discovery, because most things have been done before, and it’s always fun to have those eureka moments when you watch something old and see where Tarantino, DePalma, Scorsese, Miller, Mangold or whoever, got that thing you like.

For the joy of falling in love with some new-to-you director, actor, genre or country, and wanting to eat up everything else they did.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Speakeasy: Bringing attention to overlooked movies and, in my case, the comments section, because I’m lucky to have many commenters who know tons about movies. They point out things I didn’t know, and suggest what I should see next. 

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Speakeasy: Finding time and desire to stop and write something when I’d rather use my free time to watch another movie. Also, since I’m no expert or critic, I often feel I have nothing new or important to say and I’d rather think and learn more instead of rushing to do an insta-review – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I love to tell people about a cool movie I just saw, so that enthusiasm is always good motivation. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Speakeasy: Write what the movie made you feel or think, and what point it's trying to make, don't just sum the plot. Do a blog your way, your voice, your pace, your taste. That’s what keeps it from feeling like a chore, makes it something worth writing and reading among the millions of blogs out there. 

Thank you for joining us, Kristina! You can visit Speakeasy HERE.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Underseen and Underrated, the CMBA Spring Blogathon!

The Classic Movie Blog Association is proud to present its spring blogathon, Underseen and Underrated, running from May 15th through 19th. Please tune into the blogs below on the dates listed to read some writers stumping for a few hidden gems!

May 15th 

·         24 Frames – Between the Lines ( 1977 )
·         A Person in the Dark – Carrie ( 1952 ) 

May 16th 

May 17th

May 18th 

·         Caftan Woman – Simon and Laura ( 1955 ) 

May 19th 

·         Pre-Code.Com – Rafter Romance ( 1933 ) 
·         Second Sight Cinema – Peter Ibbetson ( 1935 ) 
·         Backlots – The Dark Mirror ( 1946 ) 

And here are other banners for members to choose from:

This page will be updated as we get closer to the date.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

CMBA Blog Profile: Old Hollywood Films

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Amanda from Old Hollywood Films.

Amanda at Old Hollywood Films brings a clear-eyed, journalistic approach to classic film.

Like any good journalist, Amanda concentrates on the important or most interesting aspects of a film she's reviewing. Her posts are lively and informative.

In addition to film reviews, she presents a weekly TCM Viewer's Guide that includes celebrity birthdays, TCM daily highlights, and a helpful feature entitled "Best Day to DVR".

Old Hollywood Films provides historical context with film reviews, which reflects Amanda's interest in history. One example is The Grapes of Wrath (1940).

"I think this film is a good illustration of films depicting history (in this case the Great Depression)," she says. In her review she notes, "[N]o one experienced more misery than those Americans who survived the Dust Bowl, which was one of the worst environmental disasters in American history."

You can read Amanda's post on The Grapes of Wrath HERE

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Old Hollywood Films: I've loved classic movies since I was a child. The local PBS station used to air a rotation of classic movies every Saturday night that included Maytime, Wuthering Heights, West Side Story, Summer Stock, Citizen Kane, The Third Man, and An American in Paris. My dad also had a collection of home videos that included most of the best John Ford films.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Old Hollywood Films: For the purposes of my blog, I consider a "classic" movie anything made between roughly 1927-1970. I mostly write about sound films made within the old Hollywood studio system, but I do sometimes write about silent movies and foreign films. Of course, the quality of these "classic" films vary, but, because of the manner in which the studio system operated, most of the movies are well-made and entertaining. Even the B pictures are better than some of the Hollywood product released today.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Old Hollywood Films: His Girl Friday because it's fast-paced and has modern gender roles and The Spiral Staircase for horror/suspense fans. For those who don't like black-and-white movies, I would pick late fifties Hitchcock (To Catch a Thief, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest).

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Old Hollywood Films: No. 1, classic movies are an art form. In my opinion, the movies of the old Hollywood studio system represent one of the greatest artistic achievements in history, right up there with the painters of the Italian Renaissance and the 19th century English novel (I know that sounds grandiose, but I think it stands up to scrutiny). Second, the movies are a living history of the 20th century from World War I right through to the atomic age. If you want to learn about Prohibition watch the gangster movies of the thirties, or if you want to understand nuclear paranoia watch the sci-fi movies of the 1950s.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Old Hollywood Films: I enjoy the creative process of writing the articles, but the best part is when people say that my articles have encouraged them to watch a classic movie.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Old Hollywood Films: I never have enough time to write all the articles I want. I haven't figured out a solution to time management yet, but that's life.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Old Hollywood Films: First, watch as many movies as you can and pay attention to the films while you are watching them. You will learn so much by simply being observant to camera placement, dialogue, style, etc. Second, go to the library and read as many books about classic movies as you can. There's a treasure trove of material out there about classic movies.

Thank you for joining us, Amanda! You can visit Old Hollywood Films HERE.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Five Stars Blogathon - Celebrate National Classic Movie Day

Celebrate National Classic Movie Day with the Five Stars Blogathon! 

For the third consecutive year, the Classic Film & TV Café will celebrate National Classic Movie Day on May 16th by hosting a blogathon. This year, it will shine the spotlight on those actors and actresses that made the Golden Days of Hollywood glitter brightly.

The Five Stars Blogathon invites bloggers to list their five favorite movie stars and explain why you love them. It's that simple.

If you want to participate, click here for more information and leave a comment with your blog's name and URL.

You can also just send the information to:

Friday, April 14, 2017

CMBA Blog Profile: The Blonde At the Film

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Cameron from The Blonde at the Film.

Cameron from The Blonde at the Film is like a gemologist who examines precious stones and determines their worth.

Her site evaluates a film and, much like a jeweler, places it in a setting to show us its unique characteristics.

Cameron provides an impressive amount of research, which helps readers see why so many classic films are noteworthy. Her research also highlights social conventions that reflect the times in which these films were made.

She's enthusiastic about classic Hollywood films and actors, especially when it comes to Esther Williams.

"With classic films," she says, "context is key, and this is especially true with a star like Esther Williams who was so 'of her time' and whose movies can seem dated and only 'classic' in the academic sense (though I disagree, of course!). I tried to make Williams and her movies more accessible and relevant by showing what a talented athlete she was and that it wasn’t so crazy for MGM to come calling."

You can read Cameron's post on Esther Williams HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
The Blonde at the Film: When I was really young we didn’t have cable, so we would go to the public library and borrow kid-friendly shows and movies for my sisters and I to watch. One day when I was four years old, we brought home a VHS tape of That’s Entertainment! (1974). I was hooked immediately—I loved it so much that my mom recorded my delight in my baby book! My obsession with classic Hollywood was born that day and only grew as I exhausted the library’s collection before moving on to my local Blockbuster and then TCM. Looking back, I think That’s Entertainment! was the perfect introduction to classic Hollywood for a little kid who had never seen black and white movies or old musicals. The bite-sized excerpts helped acclimate me to the “strangeness” of old movies and also helped them seem less foreign; for example, by the time I watched Broadway Melody of 1940 in its entirety, I had already seen Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell dance so there was some built-in familiarity.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
The Blonde at the Film: As many of my fellow bloggers have said, I have two definitions: the first is the academic designation that dates “Classical Hollywood Cinema” from 1917-1960 according to the studio system’s rise and fall (but my heart belongs to the films made between 1934-1960, though I love reading about early cinema and silent films). I’m fascinated by the studio system, so that definition of a “classic” is useful to me. The second meaning is the more personal idea of movies that remain timelessly wonderful no matter when they were made. I love writing about those films, but I also enjoy taking another look at movies that haven’t necessarily worn as well. They might only be classics in the first sense of the word, but I think it’s interesting to examine what made them popular, or entertaining, or unusual at the time even if they aren’t in the canon today.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
The Blonde at the Film: I actually think about this a lot because one of my goals is to make classics accessible and entertaining for people who are new to Old Hollywood or even predisposed to dislike old films. I’ve had good luck recommending Casablanca (1942), Roman Holiday (1953), Stagecoach (1939), and Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Those films continue to astound me by how relevant, entertaining, and moving they are even to people watching a classic for the first time. They’re just great films! 

Once I’ve got someone on the hook, I might try Double Indemnity (1944), The Lady Eve (1941), The More the Merrier (1943), or Bringing Up Baby (1938), but only after the person has eased into Old Hollywood or at least seems interested. I’ve found that those movies can be almost too “weird” or “difficult” for someone who is already prejudiced against classic films.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
The Blonde at the Film: Classic films are a huge part of our history and cultural heritage. Hollywood ruled the world’s screens and influenced other national cinemas, art movements, technology, and almost every aspect of culture. To dismiss classic movies is to ignore an incredibly powerful force and rich art form. Also, they’re absolutely fascinating from a historical point of view. I try to demonstrate that in my “History Through Hollywood" series, which are some of my favorite posts to write. For instance, I had no idea that Prohibition essentially destroyed the American wine industry until I looked into why characters in old movies drink so many cocktails but so little wine. You can learn so much about our past through old movies, which is one reason I continue to be obsessed with classic Hollywood. And last but not least, so many classic movies are absolutely amazing films and are worth attention simply for their entertainment value!

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The Blonde at the Film: Blogging has been great because it keeps me researching and writing about some of my favorite things, pushes me to keep watching and learning, and puts me in contact with other bloggers and readers who love old movies, too. The community is really wonderful!

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
The Blonde at the Film: Sometimes there is just not enough time! I try to stay consistent and active by setting a post calendar for the next few months and having a few finished posts waiting in the wings, but of course that doesn’t always happen and I end up scrambling! I find it helpful to have a few different types of posts available so that when I can’t devote the time to a traditional review or a “History Through Hollywood,” my longest, most time consuming posts, I can write about classic movies available on Netflix or do a “Great Classic Films” post for an upcoming holiday. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
The Blonde at the Film: When you're first starting, I think it’s really helpful to spend some time looking at what is already out there. Then you can zero in on your niche and what you do that’s different. But don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t know what your “thing” is—your blog will evolve over time and you’ll figure out your focus. And don’t get discouraged if you feel as though you’re shouting into a void. No one read my blog for months and months, but if you keep posting, keep refining your style, and keep interacting with other bloggers online, you’ll find readers. Also, proofread! It takes a lot of time, but makes a big difference.

Thank you for joining us, Cameron! You can visit The Blonde at the Film HERE.

Friday, March 31, 2017

CMBA Blog Profile: Silver Scenes

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Constance from Silver Scenes.
Silver Scenes is like a treasure hunter, uncovering little-known jewels overlooked by popular culture.

"Our focus is on underrated films, British classics, and rare television shows," says Constance, who curates the site with her sister, Diana.

This engaging site offers more than film reviews. Constance and Diana feature books, mini biographies and a new series entitled "Did You Know...?" that uncovers little-known facts about classic movie celebrities, such as Jane Russell and her singing quartet.

Yet, Silver Scenes has an overriding passion for lesser-known films, such as Above Suspicion (1943).

"This is a perfect example of the type of film I love to write about most: underrated gems," says Constance. "This MGM production often gets mixed reactions from critics, but since I rarely pay attention to critics, I just wrote about how entertaining Diana and I found the film to be."

You can read the review of Above Suspicion HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Silver Scenes: My sister and I grew up watching classic films so they have always been a part of our lives. Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (1968), The Gnome Mobile (1967), and Blue Hawaii (1961) were some of our special favorites as wee ones, and then our dad introduced us to all the films he grew up with and loved : The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), To Catch a Thief (1955), the Ray Harryhausen pictures, the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies, etc. However, it wasn't until we were in our teens that we started exploring films of the 1930s and 1940s on our own. Now, we just need something to spark an interest in modern films! 

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Silver Scenes: If a film was made before 1970, than in our book it's a "classic"...regardless of how good or bad the film is. A better definition of a true classic is a film that generations of fans have enjoyed (it holds up well over repeated viewings) and one that features all the elements of a great film (good acting, great script, great production). Fortunately, classics are plentiful. 

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Silver Scenes: It depends on what interests that person has. Our uncle loves action/adventure films, but rarely watches "old movies", so, every time he visits us, we introduce him to a classic in that genre - King Solomon's Mines (1950), The African Queen (1952), The Time Machine (1960), Marooned (1969), Airport (1970). He's loved them all, so far! 

If a person has an interest in a genre (e.g. sci-fi, musicals) they should be able to enjoy all films in that genre, regardless of the year it was made. I think too many people put a limit on the entertainment available to them. Disney Corporation is very clever : their DVDs never state the initial release year. Children would probably refuse to watch any of the Disney classics if they knew what year they were made! 

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Silver Scenes: Ah, now this question is dear to my heart. Classic films are a reflection of America's history (any country's history, for that matter). No other medium captures the speech, the dress, the interests and the lifestyles of the people of every era like film does. Old movies give us viewers a comprehension of these people and the events of the past 100 years that a history textbook could never offer. 

Also, films expose you to different viewpoints, making you see things from a fresh perspective, and to different modes of living, whether it be suburban life (Good Neighbor Sam), houseboat living (Dear Brigette), the elite Continental life (The Pink Panther, James Bond), or life in rural Britain (Whistle Down the Wind). Classic films constantly ring forth the idea that there is a world out there meant to be tasted and enjoyed!

Want more reasons? Pardon our promotion, but we wrote a post about this very topic: What Have We Not Learned from the Movies?

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Silver Scenes: The knowledge that one of my reviews may introduce a reader to a film they never considered viewing before....or one they simply did not know existed. The same "Top 100" classic films are constantly garnering attention while hundreds of lesser-known, but equally entertaining, films are getting washed into the sea of obscurity. If one reader discovers a forgotten gem through Silver Scenes, and leaves a comment telling me so....that is immensely satisfying!

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Silver Scenes: Writers block. Ideas for posts are plentiful, but the enthusiasm to write those posts waxes and wanes. What is the magic elixir that cures this confounding malady? Blogathons, of course! The deadline element of them gets my little grey cells revitalized every time. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Silver Scenes: Avoid in-depth plot descriptions. That's the biggest mistake I see new bloggers make. It turns potential readers into impatient skimmers hesitant to come back to your blog. If the reader did not see the film yet, then your job is to give them a teaser (they don't want to read the whole plot because there won't be any reason to watch the film); and if the reader saw the film already then they don't want to read the plot either....they know it already! Either way, they become skimmers. Give them your viewpoint of the movie instead. That's what makes you unique, and that's what your readers want to read about. 

If you just launched a blog, then write often about the films and topics that interest you most. Right off the bat this gives your future audience a taste of what you will be covering. Slpel cehck yur wiritng too. It shows you care. After a few months, you can sign up for your first blogathon....then make sure you're stocked up on popcorn, because you'll be having a full audience pouring in!

 Thank you for joining us, Constance! You can visit Silver Scenes HERE.