CMBA profiles one member every month. This month's interview is with Meredith's Riggs Vitaphone Dreamer.
If you love musicals, if your love movie fashions there is plenty for you to see. But wait, there's more! Vitagraph Dreamer, while focusing on the classuc era, covers films from just about every decade. It's a must stop on the film blog highway.
What sparked your interest in classic film?
I grew up watching a lot of classic films as child, especially musicals like Meet Me in St. Louis (my favorite film to this day), The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, Singin' in the Rain, and Fiddler on the Roof. Sometime in my elementary school years, I pretty much stopped watching old movies; for some reason I just kind of lost interest. But when I took a film class in high school, we watched a lot of old movies and by the time we got around to watching Singin' in the Rain, I was smitten. I've never lost that love; it only grows.
What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
At this point, I think a classic film is one that was released in the early '70s or earlier.
What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Fortunately, I don't think I've had anyone tell me that they hate old movies, but I'm used to being met with indifference toward watching them. I like to recommend classic films to some of my friends who haven't seen many of them. I've actually introduced several to Gold Diggers of 1933 and have received mostly really positive reactions. It might be an odd choice to show someone who hasn't delved into the really old stuff, but I get excited about exposing them to Busy Berkeley's amazing musical numbers and the witty dialogue, which is full of Pre-Code greatness. (I really get a kick out of seeing their reactions to the "Shadow Waltz" number when the violins light up.) I also enjoy showing people Meet Me in St. Louis and have shown a couple of non-cinephile friends The Women, which they really enjoyed.
Why should people care about classic film?
I think people should care about classic film because a lot of the films that were made in the early and mid 20th century were entertaining in a way that most films aren't anymore. Film also makes up a huge part of culture worldwide, and has for over a century, and we can learn so much about various eras in history by watching old movies.
What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The most rewarding thing about blogging, for me, is having the ability to write and publish anything I want and share it with a potentially large crowd. Something that gives me a great amount of joy is interacting with people who comment on my blog posts. For example, I actually met a man who was an extra in a lot great films, including The Apartment and East of Eden. We ended up corresponding by email for a brief period beginning in 2015; he sadly passed away in early 2016. Now I make sure to spot him in the films he appeared in.
What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Consistency is my biggest challenge. I can't tell you how many posts I've started that end up in my draft folder for eons. I'm working on that, though. It's tough to write a lot when you've constantly got a full schedule, but it's possible. I just have to find quiet time.
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
I would say this: Write about what you're passionate about...subjects that you're excited to share with others. People will love reading what you're passionate about the most. Also, unless you dislike socializing on social media, try to make friends and connections with people in the online classic film community. There are a lot of classic film buffs on Twitter and Facebook, etc. who are active and great to engage with.
What is one blog post that you would like to share on your profile – and why?
This one. I spent a good amount of time digging for as much information as I could find for this post; there's not a lot of information about Robert Williams out there, but there was enough to make a tiny biographical post. I fortunately learned more about a man who intrigues me and I wanted to share my findings with people who read my blog.