Friday, November 2, 2018

CMBA Profile: Viv and Larry

CMBA profiles one or two members every month. This edition features Kendra Bean who blogs at Viv and Larry. 

Kendra Bean’s Viv and Larry is a treasure trove of information on Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier. Launched in 2007, Viv and Larry is the go to website for everything you need to know or want to know and discuss about these two immortals. But wait, there’s more! Kendra is an author, historian and museum curator. She is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait and co-author with Anthony Uzarowski of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies. There’s more to say about this California girl now living in England, but I will let her tell you.

What sparked your interest in classic film and particular Vivien and Larry?

I credit the film Gone with the Wind for sparking my obsession with classic cinema. I first saw it (and read the book) when I was 18 and became obsessed, not only with the story, the costumes, and all filmic elements, but with the life stories of the main actors as well. I started reading any biography I could get my hands on and I found Vivien Leigh’s life to be extremely interesting. It was through learning about Vivien that I became interested in Laurence Olivier and things just snowballed from there.
During my freshman year in college I took a general film history course and knew than that I wanted to go on to study film history – which I did at both the BA and MA level.

You have had quite a journey in life. How did you go from being a small town California girl to living in England?

Thanks! Well, I did grow up in a small town in Northern California but went to university in Orange County and stayed down there for about four years after graduating. I knew I wanted to do something in film history and didn’t know how to get into archiving or writing. Lots of my Film and Media Studies friends from college moved to LA to work in film production, but I knew that wasn’t for me. Finally, after working as an administrative assistant at UC Irvine for a few years, I decided that if I was serious about being a film historian I’d better go to grad school.
I’d always wanted to live in London for a while. Being young and with no real obligations tying me to CA, I applied to the Film Studies MA program at King’s College London. And then I was accepted and received a couple of scholarships to help with overseas tuition. I graduated with my MA in 2011 and a lot has happened since then. Aside from a couple of years when I had to move back home due to my work visa expiring, I’ve lived in England ever since. I’m now married to an Englishman and have a permanent job here so I’m assimilating!

Your website mentions you are currently working as a Collections Assistant at the National Science and Media Museum. Can you tell us about what that entails? It sounds mysterious!

Yes, I love my job! It’s essentially the equivalent of being an assistant curator. I work behind the scenes and am responsible for facilitating access to the museum’s collections of photography, film, and television objects. For example, I run our monthly Research Week sessions where I help members of the public research our archives. I also manage the Royal Photographic Society volunteers who are currently cataloguing the archive of photographer Tony-Ray Jones. Cataloguing objects (I’m Currently working my way through interesting subjects in the Daily Herald newspaper picture library), giving tours of the collections stores, assisting the rest of the curatorial team with accessions and other projects, and promoting the museum via social media and appearances on BBC radio (for example) are also things I partake in.

You have written two books, Vivian Leigh – An Intimate Portrait and Ava: A Life in Movies (co-written with Anthony Uzarowski). Can you tell us a little on how they came about?

The Vivien Leigh book was a passion project that germinated about 9 years ago and grew out of my work on I really wanted to put together a nice coffee table book about Vivien as there hadn’t been one since Angus McBean’s Vivien: A Love Affair in Camera (1989). So, I figured, why don’t I just do it? Of course, at the time I had no idea how to go about getting a book published and the process was a steep learning curve. But I was very lucky to make connections in the publishing and writing fields who encouraged me along the way and gave me tips.
The Ava book came about due to the success of the Vivien book. In 2015 I was chatting with my agent about what to do next and she suggested – rightly – that I should do a different subject before returning to Vivien. I had known a lot about Vivien before I started researching that book and Ava would be a different process. Anthony, who I’d known for several years and who also has an MA in Film Studies, runs an Ava Gardner Facebook page with over 200K fans. We got to talking and decided to team up to celebrate Ava’s life and legacy.

I know a lot of research was involved with both books. What were the most interesting facts you learned about Leigh and Gardner while doing research for your books?

The most interesting thing about researching the Vivien book was having access to Olivier’s archive at the British Library and getting a sense of just how very intertwined their lives and careers were between 1937 and 1960, and even after their divorce. With Ava it was a joy discovering her ribald sense of humor, her worldliness, and her great capacity for friendship.

What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?

I don’t think a film is necessarily “classic” just because it’s old. To me a classic implies longevity and staying power. It needs a compelling story, good acting, well-formed characters.

What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?

Considering I used to be that person, I’d say ‘You’ve got to give them a chance’. Films I’d recommend include: Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights (1939), City Lights, Psycho, The Wizard of Oz, etc. Start with the big names and work your way inward.

Can you share any projects you are currently working on?

In the past year I’ve acquired some major pieces of Leigh and Olivier memorabilia, including personal photo albums from the Vivien Leigh estate sale at Sotheby’s in 2017, and a massive Laurence Olivier ephemera collection which I’m currently cataloguing and repackaging. I’ve recently started a Patreon page for where people can help me purchase archival storage supplies and to help keep the site online. I’m also working on a book project do with the snapshot albums and will hopefully have more to share about that in the not-so-distant future. And finally, my Vivien book is currently being developed into a mini-series with actress Natalie Dormer. Exciting things ahead!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Outlaws - The 2018 Fall CMBA Blogathon

The Classic Movie Blog Association presents its 2018 Fall BlogathonOutlaws, running from November 15th to November 19th. Outlaws of all types: gangsters, cowboys, bikers, rural outlaws and more are acceptable. CMBA member submissions will be accepted on first come basis. No duplicate films

Send  your submission, your name, blog's name and web address along with one of the four dates above. A link to your blog, along with all participants, will  published on this blog.

Send an e-mail to:

In subject line be sure to say Outlaws Blogathon.

Any questions please feel free to ask. 

Contributors will be listed below. We look forward to your participation.

Thurs. Nov. 15th
Caftan Woman: Yellow Sky (1948)
Louise Brooks Society: The City Gone Wild (1927)  
The Movie Night Group: Jewel Robbery (1932)
Silent-ology: The Miracle Man (1919)
Movies Silently: Children in the House (1916)
Backstory: A Guide to Classic Films: Seven Samurai (1954), The Magnificent Seven (!960 and 2016) 
Another Old Movie Blog: The Desperate Hours (1955)

Fri. Nov. 16th 
Old Hollywood Films: Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo (1948)
A Person in the Dark: The Producers (1967)
Make Mine Film Noir: The Prowler (1951)
Anybody Got a Match: The Petrified Forest (1936)

Sat. Nov. 17th
Classic Film Obsession: Warpath (1951) 
Film Fanatic: China 9, Liberty 37 (1978)
Speakeasy: Four Guns to the Border (1954)
Cary Grant Won't Eat You: My Little Chickadee (1940)

Sun. Nov. 18th
Twenty Four Frames: Point Blank (1967)
Four Star Films: Pretty Poison (1968) 
The Lady Eve's Reel Life: Underworld (1927)
Hometowns to Hollywood: Talk of the Town (1942)

Mon. Nov. 19th
Once Upon A Screen: The Career of Yosemite Sam
Stardust and Shadows: Wild Boys of the Road (1933)
Outspokened and Freckled: Three Godfathers (1948)
Le Critica Retro: I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)  
Stars and Letters: The Gunfighter (1950)

Below are banners that can be freely used to advertise the blogathon.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Coming Soon! CMBA's 2018 Fall Blogathon

The Classic Movie Blog Association is proud to present its 2018 Fall Blogathon. The Subject is  Outlaws. Outlaws of all types are acceptable: gangsters, rural outlaws, thieves, cowboys, anyone who lives outside the law. Keep in mind that the same film cannot be submitted by more than one blogger. So, plan to have a backup. Its first come, first served. Get your thinking caps on! The blogathon will run from November 15 - 19.

An official invite via email will be sent out later this month asking for submissions.

Below are some banners you can now post on your blogs for the event.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Introducing the winners of the Classic Movie Blog Association's 2018 CMBA Awards. Links to the winning entries are included. Thank you to all members who participated in the awards competition, every entry was exceptional! And thanks, too, to all members who voted.

Best Film Review/Drama: The Beautiful Refugees of Casablanca by Silver Screenings

Best Film Review/Musical or Comedy: "On the Town," in Celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s Centenary by Lady Eve’s Reel Life

Best Profile of a Performer: A Mesmerizing Talent: The Life and Career of Conrad Veidt by Silent-ology

Best Classic Movie Article: Fascism, Nationalism and the Banned Films of Marlene Dietrich by Lady Eve’s Reel Life

Best Classic Movie Blog Event: The Food in Film Blogathon co-hosted by Silver Screenings and Speakeasy

Best Classic Movie Series: Olivia de Havilland vs. FX: Backlots at the Courthouse by Backlots 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


The final ballot for the 2018 Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA) Awards has gone out to all members, and the nominees for this year's awards are listed below. Congratulations and best wishes to everyone nominated!

Monday, October 1, 2018

CMBA Profile: 4 Star Films

CMBA profiles one or two members every month. This edition features Tynan Yanaga who blogs at 4 Star Films.

Tynan Yanaga’s blog 4 Star Films is not just a celebration of classic films, he dives in deep as the blogs sub-title states (Looking Deeper at the Best Classic Films). Like many of us, the more he looks the more films he find. But it’s more than that, and I am going to let Tynan speak for himself. The following is from his introduction page.

“True, I want to preserve a love of film as an art form, understand their historical context, and acknowledge their value as pure entertainment. But most importantly, there’s the human component to movies that is so important. I’m constantly drawn back to them, like so many others, because they bring us together and act as an imperfect reflection of our imperfect lives.”

Saturday, September 8, 2018


It's CMBA Awards time again and an email went out to all members last night soliciting awards submissions. Entries are due by the 15th of September. Preliminary voting should be done by the end of the month and the final ballot will follow. If any member hasn't received last night's email, please advise by commenting here. Thanks!

~ Sept. 16: The deadline for entries has closed. Thanks to members for participating!  ~

Thursday, September 6, 2018

CMBA Profile: Cinema Crossroads

CMBA profiles one or two members every month. This edition features Julia Ricci who blogs at Cinema Crossroads.

Julia Ricci’s  Cinema Crossroads is both smart and entertaining. Take a look at her review of the cleanest condemned film in history, The Moon is Blue.  One of my own favorite post's is Julia's take on  J.D. Sheldrake, the villainous womanizer in Billy Wilder's The Apartment.  In 2017, Julia, like many other CMBA members, attended the TCM Film Festival (she returned again in 2018). Julia is also a Film Programming Coordinator for Heartland Film in Indianapolis, Indiana, but I will let her tell you more about that in the interview below.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

CMBA Profile: A Viewer's Guide to Classic Films

CMBA profiles one or two members every month. This edition features Linda J. Sandahl who blogs at A Viewer’s Guide to Classic Films.

A Viewer’s Guide to Classic Films is filled with backstories, analysis, film, and book reviews. In many cases, Linda takes a look at what these classic films say to us both then and now. Check out Linda's post The Fight for Truth: Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur. Linda has worked as an associate editor on Steven H. Scheuer’s Movies on TV, a precursor to Leonard Maltin’s similar Movies and Video Guide series. Linda is also the author of A Viewer’s Guide to Rock and Roll Films 1955-1985, now available as an ebook.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

CMBA Profile: Apocalypse Later

CMBA profiles one or two of our classic movie bloggers every month. This week, we're featuring Hal Astell, from Apocalypse Later!

Apocalypse Later is a site with a lot going on. In addition to posting reviews, some quite in-depth, Hal covers a variety of events and festivals, often making appearances or running "mini-festivals" within established Cons, and even runs an Apocalypse Later Film Festival of his own. Under the imprint of "Apocalypse Later Press," he's published books on a variety of film related subjects: everything from Chaplin's years at Keystone to the work of buxom bombshell Tura Satana. Hal is nothing if not surprising, and also dedicated - the sheer volume of his work is overwhelming.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CMBA Profile: Crítica Retrô

CMBA profiles one or two of our classic movie bloggers every month. This week, we're featuring Letícia Magalhães Pereira, or "Lê," of Crítica Retrô!

Crítica Retrô bills itself as "Classic Film with a Tropical Twist." Coming to us out of Brazil, it appears bilingually in Portuguese and English, and may give readers a cultural perspective we don't often see on the history of film. Despite her tender years (she tells us below she started the blog while still a teenager!), Lê offers us fascinating insights into movies older than her own parents.
She'd like you to take a look at a piece she did on Brazilian-born director Alberto Cavalcanti. She says, "I did a big research to write it, and could also have fun and improve my skills at working with info graphics with all the pieces I've done for the post." We agree that it's great fun and new information for most of us who thought we knew it all about classic film. You can read the post here.
Here are her answers to our questions:
What sparked your interest in classic film?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

CMBA Profile: Whimsically Classic

CMBA profiles one or two of our classic movie bloggers every month. This week, we’re featuring Kayla Rhodes, of Whimsically Classic.

Kayla, who writes the "Whimsically Classic" blog, describes herself as an "old soul," which may explain how she has so much to say about classic film. Her posts tend to be very detailed and informative, and her responses to our questions are no exception to her verbosity and wit. She would like readers to take a look at this post, her entry in last year's "National Classic Film Day" blogathon. She reviews her five favorite classic movie performers and shares why they mean so much to her. She also admits to using the opportunity to re-post favorite images of Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly, because, as she says, "If you can't post (and re-post) beefcake photos on your blog, where can you post them?" 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

CMBA eBooks Available on Amazon!

Last year, CMBA hosted two great blogathons: Underseen and Underrated and Banned and Blacklisted. We had a number of really fine entries for both events and these essays have been collected and edited by Annette Bochenek into two new ebooks available for purchase on Amazon and for free on Smashwords.

You may have seen them being promoted on Facebook at the CMBA Private Screening Room, but if not, here is some more detail about them.... please check them out!

Underseen and Underrated: Celebrating Lesser-Known Classic Films

This collection of ten essays turns the spotlight on rare films including Afraid to Talk ( 1932 ), Carrie ( 1952 ), Simon and Laura ( 1955 ), A Majority of One ( 1961 ), and Between the Lions ( 1977 ). John Greco, Patricia Schneider, Jocelyn Dunphy, and Ivan G. Shreve Jr. are among some of the contributors.

All proceeds from Amazon sales go towards the National Film Preservation Foundation.



Banned and Blacklisted: Too Hot to Handle 

This collection of thirteen essays explores the films and actors who were affected by censorship, whether it be the result of the Hays Code, racism, or the McCarthy-era blacklist scare. Contributors to this ebook include Lara Fowler, Annette Bochenek, Danilo Castro, and Kellee Pratt among others.

All proceeds from Amazon go towards the National Film Preservation Foundation.



Thursday, March 15, 2018

CMBA Profile: Chaplin Film by Film

CMBA profiles one or two of our classic movie bloggers every month. This week, we’re featuring  Brian J. Robb, of Chaplin: Film by Film
Chaplin: Film by Film is a project after our own heart. On the centenary of the release of each of Charlie Chaplin's movies, blogger Brian J. Robb posted an homage to that film. This gave him a very busy 2014, but as Chaplin's output slowed down, Robb opted to surge ahead of him (he's all the way up to September, 1918, now!). In general, each post includes a synopsis, basic production information, stills, historical background, film analysis, and some excerpts from contemporary reviews. Whether you're a complete novice or a Chaplin expert, you're bound to learn something and have fun doing so. 

Brian would like you to take a look at this post, in which he discusses Chaplin's historic contract with Mutual Film Company for $670,000, which made him the highest paid film maker at the time. It's an original write up of a much-reported event, one that contributed to the rise of the Hollywood "star system" that followed. According to Brian, "It’s a nice, self-contained story covering a pivotal period in Chaplin’s professional and personal life, and a good jumping on point for readers keen to discover more about Chaplin, including his two years of filmmaking prior to that point and everything that followed from it."

Thursday, March 1, 2018

CMBA Profile: Classic Film Observations and Obsessions

CMBA profiles one or two of our classic movie bloggers every month. This week, we’re featuring Jocelyn Dunphy, of Classic Film Observations and Obsessions:

Classic Film Observations and Obsessions is the expression of one woman’s fixation on classic film. Jocelyn likes to focus on one actor, director, or theme in films and run through as many movies and as much reading as she can, until she moves on to another focus. In 2016, for example, she put a lot of time into Van Heflin, a one time winner of Best Supporting Actor who shows up in a surprising range of movies. More recently, she’s been looking at Werner Herzog, who she got to see live at a screening. When Jocelyn sinks her teeth into something, she doesn’t let go easily!

Jocelyn would like you to take a look at this post, from the centennial of the birth of actor Robert Mitchum. It’s another example of her going in depth into the workings of an actor who fascinate her. It’s a review of the 1973 Mitchum movie “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” a lesser-known movie she was lucky enough to see screened in a theater in Boston. She tells us of the post, “I think it captures my own voice well, in how I logged my own reactions to the movie.  I think those who read it will get a good sense of who I am as a blogger and film enthusiast.” We would have to agree!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

CMBA Profile: Louise Brooks Society

The CMBA profiles one of our classic movie blogs each month. This month we're featuring Thomas Gladysz, of the Louise Brooks Society:
The Louise Brooks Society is one of the most prolific and professional of the blogs in CMBA. Almost every day, there are updates on the site, and the writing and information is top-notch. It's a blog with a very specific focus - a silent film goddess with a short career but an iconic image. Author Thomas Gladysz has been running the society for over twenty years now, and he never seems to run out of things to say or images to share Louise and her world. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

CMBA Profile: Classic Movie Man

The CMBA profiles one of our classic movie blogs each month. This month we're featuring Stephen Reginald, of Classic Movie Man
A look at Classic Movie Man is like being invited to a great film festival. Stephen Reginald, the writer of Classic Movie Man, posts news about local screenings in Chicago, meetups, and presentations he's giving, and his love of classic film comes across in everything he writes. One section, "The Film Club," is dedicated specially to these kinds of local events. Stephen has also lectured on classic movies at the Facets Film School, and this article in Chicago Magazine makes it sound like these discussions were too fun to miss out on.