CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with London based Carol Saint-Martin's The Old Hollywood Garden. The title says it all. Carol focuses on the Hollywood of old taking fascinating looks at screenwriters, comedy, film noir and much more. Carol recently published an article in the online Noir City Magazine on character actor Neville Brand, and also began a Facebook page for London based film bloggers.
What sparked your interest in classic film?
Honesty, it was Madonna's song Vogue! There's that rap in the middle where she talks about all those movie stars and so I decided to look them up. Then my first classic film was Gilda, which is still one of my favorites to this day.
What film genre(s) do you favor?
My favorite is film noir, followed by screwball comedy and Pre-Code.
What is you “go to” film when you need something to lift up your spirits?
Hum, there are a few, but I'd say Some Like it Hot and The Philadelphia Story.
Name three films that most classic film fans love, but you hate, and if you can tell us why?
Not a big fan of His Girl Friday (I know, I know!), and the thing is, I can't really put my fnger on it, but I've been meaning to watch it again because I really want to change my mind about it. Street Scene hasn't aged very well, I don't think, but I don't hate it necessarily. And Kiss of Death is just a little too slow, but I do love Richard Widmark's performance!
What makes a film "classic" in your opinion?
I think there's a distinction between classic and from the Golden Age of Hollywood. A film can be a classic even if it was made in the 80s or 90s, but I just use the word 'old' when talking about classic films to make it easier to differentiate. But strictly speaking, I'd say if people are still watching it years after its release and it's still widely beloved for the most part, that's a classic.
Your article on the low-budget film Detour is particularly fascinating. You seem to have a love for noir. Can you tell some of your other favorite noir films and stars?
Thank you so much!! My all-time favorite is Double Indemnity, then Laura, The Big Combo, Out of the Past, Sunset Boulevard, The Killers, The Asphalt Jungle, Where the Sidewalk Ends, T-Men, among many others. As for stars, I love Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame, Robert Mitchum, Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis O'Keefe, Lizabeth Scott, Charles McGraw... and so many more!
You have written various articles on screen writers. How important do you think the screenplay to a movie?
It's where it all starts! There's no movie without the screenplay. The screenwriter is literally the person who comes up with it in the first place.
Do you have interest in any other arts that you can share?
I love music, television, theatre, writing and literature.