The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month. Today we're featuring Beth from Mildred’s Fatburgers.
Mildred's Fatburgers has the wise-cracking, fast-talking personality of a smart, 1930s kind of dame – one who doesn't miss a beat and is very, very witty.
For example, here's a introduction to the film Scaramouche: "The Marquis is the kind of guy who kills poor people for poaching, gets girls in trouble, and makes duel-able mountains out of molehills with other gentry. In other words, just your average late 18th-century French aristocrat."
Beth's site covers multiple genres, such as drama, musicals and animation. One could argue her particular area of expertise is comedy, as evidenced by her review of the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933).
"See Duck Soup again if you haven't in a long while," writes Beth. "It's only about an hour and 15 minutes, so your kids can watch it, too. Come for the spies, stay for the crazy."
You can read Beth's post on Duck Soup HERE.
CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: Classic movies were a staple in our household for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, it was possible to catch movies on the weekends on TV, either through local UHF or early cable options like WGN or NY Channel 11. My mother and grandmother were always good for filling in Hollywood backstories or to come up with suggestions for further viewing for me and my sister.
CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: That's a tough one. I think it's a combination of having a Studio sensibility and rewatchability factor. There are "new" classics that have that quality of being deeply rewarding and rewatchable, but the studios really define Golden Age classics for me. I separate silents from this period for that reason. Silent classics, for me, are international and not necessarily studio-oriented.
CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: Gosh. It depends on who's asking! For Rom-Com fans, I recommend The Philadelphia Story, because, obviously. For people who think they're too anachronistic or too stylized, I'd go for Baby Face, because Barbara Stanwyck will change their lives. For the indy or art film lover, maybe Black Narcissus.
CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: I think feminists should care about classic film, particularly. The parts for women were more complicated, meatier, and more multidimensional than most of the pictures out there now. They used to write women as having human motivations for doing whatever the script said they did, even if the roles themselves tended to be rigidly prescribed by gender.
Generally, classic movies can be a snapshot of our society from the time in which they were made – attitudes, social expectations, entertainment tropes, celebrity, and style – that should be interesting to anyone with an interest in our own history as Americans. Especially the egregious stereotypes and racism; it's important to experience the creepy things along with the entertainment value.
CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: I enjoy the process of trying to explain why I like or dislike a picture; it helps me organize my thoughts and even change my mind. I especially like getting feedback from other bloggers and general readers (who turn out mostly to be my sister).
CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: These days, I've had to put the blog on hold to handle issues with my autistic son and other family stuff. When I'm on my game, I found it extremely helpful to hammer out a schedule in advance. For a while there I was doing a "birthday of the week" and weekly profile of a child star. That way, I could write posts in advance of whatever birthday or mood I was in (for the child star) and post pre-written pieces to fit the time frame set by the schedule. Sometimes, though, I just dreaded having to write. The best thing I found to do was to power through, write SOMEthing, and push past the feeling. You have to not care about the quality in those situations and just be gratified you stayed on schedule. Not every post is going to be a gem.
CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Mildred’s Fatburgers: Make a realistic posting schedule and stick to it, even if you feel blocked. You'll feel better for having written something, even if it isn't as good as you'd like.
Thank you for joining us, Beth! You can visit Mildred’s Fatburgers by clicking HERE.