Monday, January 1, 2024



Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we are featuring Kellee Pratt, who writes at Outspoken & Freckled. 

1. Why do you blog?

Likely like everyone else in the CMBA, I love classic film and I truly enjoy enjoy writing, as well. I love where researching a film, its cast and crew, and the background history leads me. A fascinating pursuit each time and I hope that my enthusiasm comes through in my writing. As a result, I've become part of a wonderful community of fellow classic film bloggers of whom many are dear friends. 

2. Besides classic movie blogging, what are some of your other passions?

My passion for old movies has lead me to a career in teaching others. Many years ago, I began teaching through a city program where I live (... in the small college town of Lawrence, Kansas, the home of a few universities including my alma mater, the University of Kansas). My educational background is in public speaking so in addition to my series of classes, I have other speaking and teaching engagements- at community lunch-and-learns, at the local history museum, and this spring I will be teaching a series on Censorship in Early Hollywood through the Osher Institute at the University of Kansas.  

One of my other passions is gardening. There's so much to learn in the vast topic of gardening. So I decided to expand my knowledge by becoming a Master Gardener through my county's extension office. I completed my basic training this month and I will continue my education and volunteer hours every year going forward. I have a special interest in native plants, especially pollinator plants, and in supporting wildlife and biodiversity. I am registered nationally as a Monarch Waystation and I am certified as a Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Additionally, I'm an amateur birder. I love to watch a variety of birds flock to my feeders and trees in my yard- including hummingbirds, woodpeckers, owls, hawks and so many more. 

Otherwise, I am drawn to architecture, history, politics, social causes, interior design/home improvement projects, tennis, cooking/baking, and college basketball (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) I am fiercely loyal to my friends and family. My immediate family includes my husband, our 4 grown kids, and our 2 dogs and kitty.   

3. If you could program a perfect day of classic movies for TCM, what would be the seven films on your schedule?

This question is difficult because I have very eclectic taste in film. It depends upon the day and my mood. It's also like asking which is my favorite child. (My husband would whisper, "oh just admit that it's Murphy.") I do have a special fondness for Film Noirs, Pre-Codes, and Comedies. But really, I love every genre and subgenre. Here are some long-standing favorites, in no particular order.


Cary Grant is my favorite actor and, in my personal opinion, Irene Dunne was his ideal co-lead actress of his comedy films. This was their best film together and I wish they had made even more than only three.

GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933)

Every time I watch this, I escape into another world of song, dance, humor, and fantastic spectacle. The creativity of costumes and choreography is breathtaking. Incredible cast, and what a pulse on the Great Depression. You feel your worries melt away entranced by each musical number; undoubtedly that was true for movie goers of this time, too. If only until reality hits after the closing credits.    


Talk about a mind-blowing feast for the eyes. The visual effects and story-telling are outstanding. Not just for a silent film, but for any film. I'm so lucky to live in an area where there are great opportunities for silent film with live music (yes, right here in Kansas), as such I've screened my share of some silent film gems. There's good reason that this film is likely in the top three of silent films that most people who are less experienced with silents. It's not just mainstream, it's a masterpiece.   


This film is a nod to classic comedy in every way. The opening credits tell us it's Blake Edwards' tribute to Laurel and Hardy. No, this is not a biopic of their lives. But you'll find a lot of slapstick- by a hilarious duo of Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk. In addition to humor, you'll find adventure, swashbuckling, romance (with yummy Tony Curtis and drop-dead gorgeous Natalie Wood), and even a pie fight so grand in scale that it does bear tribute to a particular Laurel and Hardy gag- yet in technicolor.  


I know what you're thinking. Why not OUT OF THE PAST, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, or some grittier Warner Brothers B noir? From high-brow to low-brow, I love so many. MMS has all the right ingredients for a memorable noir. But there's also something so cheeky about it, too. It's those unforgettable "Philip Marlowe" lines, delivered by Dick Powell. He dives right into those bottomless black pools. 

BABY FACE (1933)

A Pre-Code essential. There's no subtlety in Barbara Stanwyck as Lily Powers' intentions. Just like there's no subtlety in the bleak world she must navigate. She is a rags-to-riches survivor. A feminist powerhouse. 


But Kellee, you always rattle on and on about how THE QUIET MAN is a Maureen O'Hara favorite for you and served as your Irish family's unofficial manual growing up to describe your heritage and ancestral homeland. What gives? True, true. But like I said, depends upon the day and mood. Today, I'm thinking of this beautiful film. From the performances, to the cinematography, to the storytelling itself, this is indeed a uniquely beautiful film. Did it 'rob' great films like CITIZEN KANE, SERGEANT YORK, and THE MALTESE FALCON for Best Picture Oscar? I love those incredible films, but the Academy got this right.  

4. What is a classic movie that you love, but most people don't know about -- and what do you love about it? 

If you're discussing most people within our community of classic film bloggers and fans, I find it difficult to name one that most are not already well aware. We have some incredibly astute fans in our community! But if I expand that 'most people' to mainstream film viewers, I can think of several Noirs and Pre-Codes that are off the beaten path. One that comes to mind is FINISHING SCHOOL (1934). On the surface, it's a coming-of-age story about boarding school girls trying to fit in, break rules, and explore their blooming sexuality. Frances Dee couldn't be more adorable. But WOWZA, there are some Pre-Code moments that literally pack a punch. I love it because the jaw-dropping scenes are so unexpected, especially from angelic-faced Dee. I saw it first at TCM Film Festival years ago, so I love the memories of that initial screening experience, too. 

5. What is something most people don't know about you? 

Another tough question. I'm such a broadcaster, an over-sharer, that I'm straining to think of anything someone wouldn't already know about me (that isn't too personal, or private). Here's a couple of tidbits about me, anyway. 1) I love decorating the house for the holidays, but especially for Christmas. I have 4 Christmas trees that I leave up year-round, including a retro pink one in our bathroom that matches the original 1956 pink tub. The real tree is up from Thanksgiving to almost the 2nd week of January. 2) I grew up in a very colorful childhood in Taos, NM. My beautiful, hippie mother befriended many celebrities and artists that would visit or lived in Taos during that time, including - Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, Michael Martin Murphey, and Neil Young. For a time, we lived with another family - another mom with 2 kids, similar ages as us. They had a big house and were British. They had recently moved to Taos from London and later moved to LA, where they had big dreams for the daughter's acting career. The daughter, who was a couple years younger than me, her name- Olivia d'Abo. You may know her from "The Wonder Years" and other films/TV. Her mom- Maggie London, was a hugely successful model for Vidal Sassoon in the swinging sixties London. She had uncredited acting roles in A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (dancing with Ringo Starr), and in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (she speaks the first line in the film, in the elevator of the space station.) Maggie's husband at the time, composer/singer Mike d'Abo, was busy during the 60s and 70s as a popular British rock singer in bands like Manfred Mann. Mike's first cousin is Maryam d'Abo, a 'Bond girl' in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. Olivia's brother Ben, who also lived with us and was slightly older than Olivia, was very sweet and loved to dance around pretending to be Rod Stewart. 

We thank Kellee for participating in our Q&A profile and encourage you to visit OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED. 




  1. What a fun interview to read! Thanks for sharing so many candid thoughts and memories, Kellee! - Sylvia (

  2. Lovely movie line up Kelly, and in awe learning about your early claims to fame.

  3. I second your championing of THE QUIET MAN as an all-things-Irish manual. :-D

  4. Nice to get to know you, Kellee! Fun interview.

    - Aurora

  5. I loved reading your responses, Kellee! How cool about Olivia d'Abo -- and you've totally convinced me to seek out Metropolis!