Saturday, June 1, 2024


Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we are featuring Debbi Mack, who writes at I FOUND IT AT THE MOVIES

1. Why do you blog? 

There's a long answer and a short one to this. I'll give you the short one. Once upon a time, I had five blogs. On each of them, I reviewed books, educated writers, or talked about my life as a writer. Now, most of my blogging is either to review books and movies, talk about the writing life, educate people, and/or talk about my (somewhat bumpy) writing journey. 

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

First comes reading. I love to read almost anything. However, I'm partial to crime fiction (particularly involving private eyes-- male or female, although we can always use more females), contemporary or historical, sci-fi, and fantasy. And young adult and middle grade stories, in general. 

Also, watching movies of all sorts. I'm also a huge Doctor Who fan, as well as a fan of the show Red Dwarf, which I came to know thanks to late night showings on Maryland Public Television. 

Writing is another passion. Without question. 

Travel. I love travel, despite long lines, cancelled or redirected flights, and whatnot. I love exploring new places. 

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

Now, that's not impossible to answer at all, is it? ;)

Wow! My perfect lineup? So many choices!

Okay, at least one of them's gotta be a musical. And a silent. And, if you read my blog, you may notice I tend to like film noir. Movies from the 40s on get plenty of my attention. There are also more recent movies that I will always want to watch. 

Try these on for size (in no particular order). 
a. SAFETY LAST! I love Charlie Chaplin, I love Buster Keaton, but there's something about Harold Lloyd in this movie. There's the climatic scene with him scaling the side of the building, leading up the iconic "hanging from a clock" scene. But there's more than that. His expressions, the way his face tells you the story. 

And there's something about the glasses and overall nerdy look that appeals to me. 

b. SINGING IN THE RAIN. A film worthy of inclusion for many reasons. Gene Kelly's dancing, Debbie Reynolds' dancing, Donald O'Connor's launching himself against a wall and eventually through a window. There are memorable songs sung by talented people. And a love story, naturally. 

But it's also a movie about Hollywood. It's about a big disruption in the industry known as sound. It's interesting to look back on that era during our own times of disruption in the entertainment industry and think about that.  

c. THE MALTESE FALCON. Two words: Peter Lorre. 

Think about it. 
I was going to leave it at that, but Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstrret, and Elijah Cook, Jr. are all awesome in it. 

Plus, the story is practically copied from the novel, with the exception of the Flitcraft Parable, which digresses in a non-cinematic way from the plot. 

d. WHERE EAGLES DARE. I will never tire of seeing this movie. Not only is it a great action movie with great actors (Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, to name a few), but the plot is so full of twists that upon first seeing it, I was really shocked at some of the reveals. Which is why you should watch it at least twice, so you can revisit the joy of those reveals, knowing what's coming. 

Also, Mary Ure gets to kill Nazis, with an automatic weapon. She's a total badass. Not typical of most cinematic depictions of women in the late 1960s. And she doesn't seem at all threatened by the presence of the equally awesome Ingrid Pitt as Heidi, who assists with a high-risk WWII operation to infiltrate a German castle and rescue an American general with plans for a second front. Now, that's all I dare tell you. 

e. THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Great (satirical?) take on the hardboiled mystery genre. If you think about it, this movie took the 60s/70s hippie detective trope established by Robert Altman in The Long Goodbye and took it a step farther into the 90s with the slacker detective  archetype, the Dude. 

So many great characters. So many great lines. 

I love the Coen Brothers, but this one tops my list of favorite Coen Brothers films. 
f. SHADOW OF A DOUBT. One of my favorites by Hitchcock. I had to pick at least one of those.  

Joseph Cotten plays a killer named Charles who wheedles/seduces his way into moving in with his sister and her family in the small town of Santa Rosa. His niece, Charlie, adores him and fancifully thinks their common names provide a psychic link between them. You could say she's in for a rude shock. The movie also serves as a commentary on small town living, suggesting that darkness can dwell beneath the shiniest surfaces. 

Great story, great acting. Great movie all around. 

g. NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Yes, I am a Marx Brothers fan. (And, yes, I know. Duck Soup was better. But I still love this movie.) How can you not like the crowded stateroom scene? Or the scene where they keep moving beds from room to room? Or the contract negotiation between Groucho and Chico?  

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

One of my favorite old movies is What's Up, Tiger Lily? This film marks Woody Allen's directorial debut and I just love it. It's beens too long since I've seen it shown anywhere, so I'm overdo for a watch session. 

The technique of overdubbing a Japanese spy film with completely unrelated dialogue is so clever and (when you think about) so relatively cheap to produce. Exceptionally clever! 

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

I once drove my car in a traffic scene that occured in an episode of Homocide: Life on the Street. I recall Andre Braugher as Detective Pembleton giving me the once-over through the passenger window as I drove past him. 

It's the episode about the I-95 serial killer. Look for a very brief shot of a whte MR2 in a traffic scene on Route 40 (pretending to be an interstate highway). That's me at the wheel. 

We thank Debbi for participating in our Q&A profile and encourage you to visit I FOUND IT AT THE MOVIES.


  1. I enjoyed reading your responses, Debbi! How cool that you were in Homicide -- and I was very interested in your TCM line-up. I will definitely have to add Where Eagles Dare to my watchlist. And I will keep an eye out for What's Up, Tiger Lily, as I'm always in search of a new-to-me Woody Allen film.

    1. Both are great films!

      The gig on "Homicide" was unique. That's for sure. :)