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.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent responses! Cameron's blog is one of the most delightful to read and her research is always uber impressive. I especially enjoy her History Through Hollywood series...which should be edited into book format ( hint-hint! ).

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