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.


  1. Forever more this shall be called Kristina's Complaint. Ha!

    "Finding time and desire to stop and write something when I’d rather use my free time to watch another movie."

    Speakeasy is a fun place to visit on the 'net. I can't tell you how many times I'll watch a movie by saying to the title card, "Kristina sent me".

  2. Kimberly has a fascinating and informative bog and is an expert on the influence of classic film costume on fashion. Her talks and presentations extend her knowledge to many and should not be missed by anybody who has a chance to attend. She is a real asset to the CMBA.