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.