Monday, January 2, 2023

CMBA Profile -- Real Weegie Midget Reviews


Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Gill Jacob, who writes at Real Weegie Midget Reviews.

CMBA: Why do you blog?

Gill Jacob: As a lifelong movie and TV lover, my first blog post was a review of Love and Mercy (2014), a mental health-themed biopic. The review was written for my Darlin Husband while he was away on a work trip overseas. It then kind of snowballed from there. I love how supportive, caring, and friendly the blogging community is, and I have met so many wonderful people -- famous and non famous -- who have distracted me with their friendship and friendly comments and blogathons, which have helped me with my on/off homesickness for Scotland and its people. I still have pangs but not as much now, so thanks!!!. 

As a classic blogger, I love finding obscure films from a star's career and tributing stars in all sorts of ways. I also love to give something back to those stars that I have enjoyed in movies and TV, from childhood favorites to beyond. I always tag them on social media. I'm thrilled if I get a personal reply or a like (see my Starry Mentions pages). I guess it reminds me of the excitement I used to get when I asked for signed photos as a child and an envelope with a reply came through the letterbox. I love reviewing for others and am constantly touched that many of those filmmakers and authors that I have written for have returned to ask me to review more of their content. I've also made a few good friends that way, too.

I love the entertainment blogging community and through entering those blogathons, I have met some lovely bloggers and discovered lots of great movies and TV. I also love interviewing filmmakers and I've made good friends with a few filmmakers. My childhood self has to pinch herself as I've had so many lovely likes, follows, and comments from stars I adored then and still do now, such as Judy Matheson (Jarvis), Morgan Brittany, Joan Collins, Lee Grant, Emma Samms, and William Shatner.  My most personal thrill to date was writing a recent movie review for Valerie Perrine on her documentary about her current personal experience of  Parkinson's Disease. I was deeply touched when she asked me to do this for her. I also interviewed her friend and the director of this movie, Stacey Souther, and it was lovely to learn more about this wonderful and inspiring actress from a best friend.

CMBA: Besides classic movie blogging, what are some of your other passions?

Gill Jacob: I adore reading entertainment-themed books, memoirs, and biographies. I have a huge collection at home (mostly unread) and I particularly enjoy audible autobiographies (which are read by the person who wrote the book). I prefer autobiographies, as you have that person's view on their life and not the gossipy version. Dallas (1978-91) is another obsession, and I have a big post planned about one of the cast members coming up next year. But even if it doesn't happen, I am super excited about what has been happening behind the scenes with this lovely cast member so far . . . this will make sense when I reveal all.

I also am passionate about mental health issues. I used to work in mental health and chose this career after seeing One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I disliked Nurse Ratched and was at first a staff nurse running activities with patients. However, I had wanted to work in mental health in more of a Jack Nicholson role, as the person who took them fishing, and this prompted me to train as an occupational therapist. I also get passionate about putting right misconceptions about mental health, as more than a few people can justify.

I am also passionate about my Darlin Husband, as he is my best friend and the love of my life. He is also generous, fun, supportive, caring, and one of a few people who make me laugh out loud. He can make a bad movie good with his riffling and can do many retro impersonations such as Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, and Sean Connery. What's not to love???

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

Gill Jacob: Now that's a toughie . . . these are pretty random (and all have been reviewed on my blog):

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - I LOVE Richard Burton and I adored watching him with his then-real life wife, Elizabeth Taylor. His character is wonderfully played and no one can insult in films as beautifully as Burton. 

Endless Night (1972) - Favorite film adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel, with a fabulous Bernard Herrmann score, Hywel Bennett, and as the trailer says, "a love story."

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Favorite role with Jack Nicholson and has a fabulous behind-the-scenes story and ensemble performances.

Somewhere in Time (1980) - A timeless and sumptuous time travel romance with a fabulous John Barry score (and Christopher Plummer at his most on-screen villainous).

Fedora (1978) - an underrated Billy Wilder movie and a wonderful satire on the film industry and I love it!.

Sunset Boulevard (1950) - another film satire from Wilder, fantastically immersive until the final shot. 

Airport 77 (1977) - my favorite disaster movie (as I said in my review, "It's a soap in the skies") with an amazingly silly plot including the Bermuda Triangle, an all-star cast -- shoutouts to Christopher Lee and Lee Grant -- and some wonderfully intriguing cut scenes that suggest a completely different plot.
 
CMBA: What is a classic movie that you love, but most people don't know about -- and what do you love about it?

Gill Jacob: I adore the British black and white movie, Whistle Down the Wind (1961). It has a teenage Hayley Mills as one of three siblings who find a man (played by Alan Bates) in their barn and think he is Jesus. They don't realize that he's actually a fugitive who is on the run. The children in the film are beautifully cast and the movie is based on a credible plot written by Hayley's mother. It's a really sweet and touching film. I read it does have religious themes but as a kid, I only noticed the more obvious ones, I love the innocence of the kids in this movie and their Northern English (Lancashire) accents add to the ambience.

CMBA: What is something that most people don't know about you?

Gill Jacob: When I was wee and painfully shy, I entered a debating competition where you had to choose a real-life person or fictional character and argue why you should be the only person to stay in a sinking hot air balloon heading towards the sea. I entered as Sue Ellen Ewing (from Dallas), then launched into my impersonation of her and won hands down. Years later, I also entered this true tale in a Dallas-themed competition, as my reason to see Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy interviewed on a TV show and won two tickets!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

CMBA Profile -- Ben Model's Blog

 



Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Ben Model, who writes at his self-titled blog.

CMBA: What makes a film a “classic” in your opinion?

Ben Model: I think timelessness is a big factor. A film whose story, filmmaking, and performances entertain and move viewers regardless of how long ago the picture was made. This is a tricky question because people of all ages have their own sense of how long ago a film was made in order to classify it as “classic,” but I think applying the term to anything made in the first half or two-thirds of the last century covers it.

CMBA: Why should people care about “old” black and white films, and about silent films in particular?

Ben Model: The entirety of cinema language was created and developed during the silent era, mainly from the early 1910s through the end of the 1920s. This is what I cover in the silent film course I teach at Wesleyan University. We watch how people making movies gradually developed visual storytelling in a way that gradually left more bits and pieces out of what was being shown and leaving it to us in the audience to fill these in. Silent movies are not merely “early film” – they are, in terms of when they were made, but primitive or underdeveloped they’re not. I believe silent cinema is its own medium, one with its own rules of expression, one where a key component is our imagination. There is much to be learned from the poetry-like elisions of information that allowed people of all ages anywhere on the planet to be able to understand and enjoy the same films in the 1910s and 1920s, and today as well.

CMBA: Is there a classic film or a silent short that you find yourself watching again and again?

Ben Model: Only in terms of when I accompany silent films for shows or educational programs. Keaton’s One Week is my go-to for first-timers, especially student groups from elementary through college. But I don’t have a “favorite film” or films that I watch – this is a question someone invariably asks me at nearly every show and every time I am interviewed.

CMBA: What classic films, silent or sound, do you recommend to people who may not have seen many older films?

Ben Model: My recommendation for silent films is usually Keaton shorts, or a feature like Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). Harold Lloyd’s films are great as well, although they’re best encountered in a theater with live music. For dramas, I’d recommend Douglas Fairbanks’s The Mark of Zorro (1920) and F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927).

CMBA: What is most rewarding about blogging for you?

Ben Model: Blogging has been a great way for me to connect with fans – folks may know my work as a silent film accompanist-presenter – in long form, as opposed to the snippets you have to constantly feed with social media. It’s been a way to develop my teaching and writing skills. Getting an idea that’s floating around in my head somewhere out onto the page or screen has been a great way to define for me things I believe in as far as my understanding of silent film as well as with silent film scoring. The latter gets fleshed out in other ways in my “Silent Film Music Podcast,” which grew out of my blog 10 years ago. Last year I made a point of blogging a lot more regularly, and I published a series of 65 posts on my thoughts about the way the language of silent film works and how it unwittingly engages our imaginations to create its own world of slightly altered or enhanced realities. Having gotten that out of my system and into writing has enabled me to create a book called The Silent Film Universe, which I am hoping will be out next year.

Monday, November 7, 2022

It's Time for the Fall 2022 CMBA Blogathon: Movies are Murder!

 


The Classic Movie Blog Association is pleased to invite you to stroll down shadowy streets and encounter cutthroat characters at our fall 2022 blogathon, Movies Are Murder! From November 7th through November 11th, our bloggers will explore the seedy side of cinema with films and stars involved in all sorts of homicidal happenings. The entries submitted by our CMBA members can be accessed below  please stop by their blogs to read and comment on these offerings. And be careful out there . . .

Monday, November 7, 2022

Confidentially Yours (1983) – 4 Star Films

Clue (1985) – Whimsically Classic

Detour (1945) – Cary Grant Won’t Eat You

The Canary Murder Case (1929) – Louise Brooks Society

Movies are Murder: Ava GardnerThe Ava Gardner Museum

Endless Night (1972) Real Weegie Midget Reviews

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Public Enemy (1931) – A Person in the Dark

A Shriek in the Night (1933) Filmland Follies 

The Fallen Idol (1948) – Cinematic Scribblings

A Thematic Look at Murder in Film NoirSilver Screen Classics

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Lodger (1927) – Silent Cinema School

Hidden Fear (1957): Murder in CopenhagenMake Mine Film Noir

They Won’t Believe Me (1947) – Top 10 Film Lists

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Twenty-Four Frames

The Bat (1959) Watching Forever

The Scarlet Hour (1956) Shadows and Satin

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Nancy Drew: Reporter (1939) – Silver Screenings

We’re No Angels (1955) – Another Old Movie Blog

Night and the City (1950) – Critica Retro

The Bride Wore Black (1968) – The Last Drive-In  

Dolores Claiborne (1995) Rick's Real/Reel Life

Monsieur Verdoux (1947) – The Everyday Cinephile

Friday, November 11, 2022

Murder By Death (1976) – Thoughts from the Music(al) Man

Angela Lansbury Noir: A Life at Stake (1955) and Please Murder Me! (1956) – Lady Eve’s Reel Life

The Cat and the Canary (1927) – Strictly Vintage Hollywood

Murder at the Gallop (1963) Silver Scenes

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

CMBA Profile -- Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors


Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Wendy Whittick, who writes at Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors.

CMBA: What makes a film a “classic” in your opinion?  

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: I probably have a more narrow view of a classic than most people. To me, classic film refers to films made during the Golden Age of Hollywood (beginning of film to 1965, by my definition).  

CMBA: Why should people care about “old” black and white films?

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: Black and white films mark the beginning of film; they are the building blocks by which current films are made. There are many pioneering techniques in black and white films, and the artistry in some of them is unparalleled, even with modern technology. Black and white was often an artistic choice that gave different dimensions to the film and a certain ambiance. 

CMBA: Is there a classic film that you find yourself watching again and again?

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: I will watch almost any David Lean film over and over. I am always picking up something new in his films; there is an endless amount of symbolism if you just take the time to look for it.  For a feel-good film, I will often turn to Frank Capra films or The More the Merrier, which I still love every time I see it.  

CMBA: What classic films do you recommend to people who may not have seen many older films?

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: I try to start people out with films that have stood the test of time, such as Casablanca or Alfred Hitchcock or a film with Cary Grant or Marilyn Monroe.  If you can get people to love the more mainstream films and actors, then you can maybe pull them in further to the more artistic films of the era.  

CMBA: Your blog title mentions Montgomery Clift specifically; which of his films would you recommend to people who are unfamiliar with his work?

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: From Here to Eternity is a great film to start with because it’s somewhat more well known. I personally love him in The Misfits. He’s a little lighter and less serious than most of his films. Montgomery Clift never gives a bad performance, but he is probably most noted for his work in A Place in the Sun.  

CMBA: What is most rewarding about blogging for you?

Classic Film: Montgomery Clift and Other Great Actors: Bringing forgotten actors, films, and directors back into public awareness and hopefully educating the public on this wonderful era of film.  Any time I get a comment or message from someone thanking me for providing them with information about a certain actor, it makes all the work and effort so worthwhile.

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Fall 2022 CMBA Blogathon: Movies are Murder!

The leaves are starting to turn and the weather is cooling off, so you know what that means -- it's time for the CMBA Fall Blogathon! This year's topic is "Movies are Murder." Topics can be on anything related to murder in film, whether they're dramas or comedies, silents or talkies, or hailing from the U.S. or a foreign shore. There’s a wide-open field of homicidal happenings to explore! 

The blogathon, for CMBA members only, will run November 7th through November 11th. To promote the blogathon on your blog, take your pick from any of the banners below.

Our participants to date are also listed below. If you haven’t yet picked a topic, there’s still time to join in the deadly fun! Just email the CMBA Board (classic.movie.blog.assoc@gmail.com) with your topic choice, blog name, and preference date for posting, if any.

We look forward to another great blogathon!

Monday, November 7, 2022

Confidentially Yours (1983) – 4 Star Films

Clue (1985) – Whimsically Classic

Detour (1945) – Cary Grant Won’t Eat You

The Canary Murder Case (1929) – Louise Brooks Society

Movies are Murder: Ava Gardner – The Ava Gardner Museum

Endless Night (1972) – Real Weegie Midget Reviews

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Monsieur Verdoux (1947) – The Everyday Cinephile

The Public Enemy (1931) – A Person in the Dark

A Shriek in the Night (1933) – Filmland Follies 

The Fallen Idol (1948) – Cinematic Scribblings

A Thematic Look at Murder in Film Noir – Silver Screen Classics

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Lodger (1927) – Silent Cinema School

Hidden Fear (1957): Murder in Copenhagen – Make Mine Film Noir

They Won’t Believe Me (1947) – Top 10 Film Lists

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Twenty-Four Frames

The Bat (1959) – Watching Forever

City Streets (1931) – Shadows and Satin

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Nancy Drew: Reporter (1939) – Silver Screenings

We’re No Angels (1955) – Another Old Movie Blog

Night and the City (1950) – Critica Retro

The Bride Wore Black (1968) – The Last Drive-In  

Dolores Claiborne (1995) – Rick's Real/Reel Life

Friday, November 11, 2022

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) – Once Upon a Screen

Murder By Death (1976) – Thoughts from the Music(al) Man

Please Murder Me (1956) – Lady Eve’s Reel Life

The Cat and the Canary (1927) – Strictly Vintage Hollywood

Murder at the Gallop (1963) – Silver Scenes
















Saturday, October 1, 2022

CMBA Profile: Watching Forever


Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Toni Ruberto, who writes at Watching Forever.

CMBA: What makes a film a “classic” in your opinion?

Watching Forever: I have very strong feelings about this word in reference to films. In a generic sense, a classic movie is one that stands the test of time (this should be at least twenty years). But when I talk about my love of classic movies, those are films made during the time called the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Studio Era, up through the 1970s. There was a look, feel, and often glamour to these movies that has not been replicated. They didn’t have actors; they had stars. These films also created a new art form with innovations over decades that helped mold what we are watching today. It's important to protect them and introduce them to new generations.

 

CMBA: Why should people care about “old” black-and-white or color films?


Watching Forever: There are thousands of movies that fit into that category, and they should be watched for the same reasons we watch any film: they are entertaining, funny, emotional, thought-provoking, and scary. Many films we watch today have surprising similarities or owe something to movies that came decades earlier. If a person likes vampire films, for example, they will see how much modern vampire movies have drawn from the silent film Nosferatu and Universal’s 1931 Dracula. The “old” movies are also a window to a world we didn’t live in, so they show us how people dressed, lived, and interacted.

 

CMBA: What genres do you favor?


Watching Forever: My favorites are classic horror films, especially the Universal monsters, and the B-movies of the 1950s. I can’t get enough of the big bug films. Those were the movies I watched on TV with my dad as he taught me important facts like Clint Eastwood was the fighter pilot in Tarantula. I adore romances, no matter how schmaltzy. (The more violins playing in the background, the better.) It’s not a genre, but if I see “Technicolor” pop up in the opening credits of a film, I sit right down and watch without caring what the movie is about.

 

CMBA: Is there a classic film that you find yourself watching again and again?


Watching Forever: Absolutely. There are a few that if I see them on TV, I watch even if it is halfway over or I own it on physical media. Picnic with Kim Novak and William Holden is tops on the list because of the music, romance, and all the great characters and actors. Mysterious Island and the fun creatures from Ray Harryhausen always got my imagination going. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Random Harvest, The Uninvited, and The Best of Everything are four more that I can’t stop watching.

 

CMBA: What classic films do you recommend to people who may not have seen many older films?


Watching Forever: As a horror fan, I have to recommend the original Universal monster films. If someone prefers a comedy instead of horror, they can try Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Laura is another recommendation because it is so well done, has a marvelous cast, a great mystery and that fantastic twist. I would also suggest a Hitchcock film since his name recognition can get people to watch something out of their comfort zone.

 

CMBA: What is most rewarding about blogging for you?

Watching Forever: Feedback from a reader means the world to me. I know it’s not unusual for people to share their opinions about a film, but I was not expecting readers to share their personal experiences about seeing a movie or what a film means to them. That emotional connection is the reason many of us watch movies, so to have this interaction with other film fans is very rewarding. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

CMBA Profile: The Classic Movie Muse


The CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members each month. This month, we’re featuring Ari, who writes at The Classic Movie Muse.

CMBA: What makes a film a “classic” in your opinion?

The Classic Movie Muse: A “classic” defies age with a timelessness that captures the imaginations and hearts of audiences and the appreciation of which grows the more it is seen and explored by historians and fans.

CMBA: Why should people care about “old” black-and-white or color films?

The Classic Movie Muse: People should care about old movies because they are an important and revealing part of our culture and history. Each movie provides a glimpse back in time and in its own way is a history lesson into the dress, behavior, and zeitgeist of the era. 

Also, these films have been and continue to be a never-ending source of inspiration for creatives, artists, and filmmakers. Realizing this connection enriches our understanding and appreciation of both the past and the present. 

In addition to the fabulous personalities and exquisite artistry on display, viewers also discover stories that find a place not only in their mind, but in their soul.

CMBA: What genres do you favor?

The Classic Movie Muse: Genre is secondary to story for me. As long as I am invested in the story, I am along for the ride.

CMBA: Is there a classic film that you find yourself watching again and again?

The Classic Movie Muse: There is a film that is not far from my mind at any given moment. I find myself endlessly fascinated by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo

The performances by James Stewart and Kim Novak are visceral and powerful, the other-worldly score by Bernard Herrmann haunts the viewer long after the ending, and each shot could be framed and placed in a museum. In my opinion, filmmaking doesn't get much more beautifully striking than Vertigo.

CMBA: What classic films do you recommend to people who may not have seen many older films?

The Classic Movie Muse: For those who haven't seen many older films I would recommend a smorgasbord of classics: North by Northwest, Rear Window, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Bringing Up Baby, Casablanca, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, Sunset Boulevard, Roman Holiday, Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

CMBA: What is most rewarding about blogging for you?

The Classic Movie Muse: For me, there is nothing more rewarding than connecting with others who love classic movies as much as I do. 

Hearing their enthusiasm for these films and their fond memories associated with them brings me such joy. I have learned so much from this wonderful community and am grateful for the opportunity to share along with them.