Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Classic Film Lovers Guide to Hulu

If you missed an episode of Family Guy or Dollhouse, chances are you'll run to Hulu.com to watch said episode online. Full-length TV episodes are what this site is most known for. But did you know Hulu has a big selection of full-length classic film features available for viewing?

I ran across the full-length video of Pleasure Seekers (1964) on Hulu a few months ago, purely by accident. I was doing research on Pamela Tiffin who had been my main interest at the time and who happens to be in that movie. I had caught the last 40 minutes or so on the Fox Movie Channel and wanted to see the whole thing. That's where Hulu came in and I got a chance to see the whole movie!

Fast forward a few months later and I took a couple hours to do some real digging. I went through Hulu's vast collection of full-length movies and grabbed links to any films from the 1920s to the 1960s. I created a guide to the Classic Films on Hulu (see below). I tried to organize them by categories so it's more user friendly.

This list is only temporary as a lot of films on Hulu have expiration dates. In fact, Pleasure Seekers expired today! (boo). So if there any films on here you are interested in, watch them now.

Creme de la Creme

Charade (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/94303/charade (with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn)
His Girl Friday (1940) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63243/his-girl-friday (with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell)
Captain Kidd (1945) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70587/captain-kidd
Dillinger (1945) http://www.hulu.com/watch/66708/dillinger
The Stranger (1946) http://www.hulu.com/watch/34115/the-stranger (with Orson Welles, Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson)
Inherit the Wind (1960) http://www.hulu.com/watch/65442/inherit-the-wind (with Spencer Tracy)

Alfred Hitchcock
The 39 Steps (1935) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63055/the-39-steps
Sabotage (1937) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63051/sabotage
The Lady Vanishes (1938) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63050/the-lady-vanishes

Hidden Gems

Blackmail (1929) http://www.hulu.com/watch/66718/blackmail
Dead End (1937) http://www.hulu.com/watch/39077/dead-end (with Humphrey Bogart)
Moon Over Miami (1941) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80543/moon-over-miami (with Betty Grable and Don Ameche)
Rings on Her Fingers (1942) http://www.hulu.com/watch/64844/rings-on-her-fingers (with Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney
Thunder Birds (1942) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80728/thunder-birds (with Gene Tierney)
Woman's World (1954) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80727/womans-world (with Fred MacMurray and Lauren Bacall)
Big Noise (1944) http://www.hulu.com/watch/81275/the-big-noise (with Laurel & Hardy)
Man in the Middle (1964) http://www.hulu.com/watch/82140/man-in-the-middle (with Robert Mitchum!)
The Train (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70571/the-train (with Burt Lancaster)
The Chairman (1969) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80546/the-chairman (with Gregory Peck)
A Hole in the Head (1959) http://www.hulu.com/watch/88202/a-hole-in-the-head (with Frank Sinatra and Edward G. Robinson)
Bachelor Flat (1961) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70068/bachelor-flat

Film Noir

99 River Street (1953) http://www.hulu.com/watch/95974/99-river-street
Crime Against Joe (1956) http://www.hulu.com/watch/95972/crime-against-joe
Cop Hater (1958) http://www.hulu.com/watch/88185/cop-hater

General

Cynara (1932) http://www.hulu.com/watch/95167/cynara (with Ronald Colman and Kay Francis)
The Last of the Mohicans (1936) http://www.hulu.com/watch/61166/the-last-of-the-mohicans-1936
Secret Agent (1936) http://www.hulu.com/watch/62721/secret-agent
The Little Princess (1939) http://www.hulu.com/watch/66720/the-little-princess (with Shirley Temple)
Earthbound (1940) http://www.hulu.com/watch/66803/earthbound
Happy Land (1943) http://www.hulu.com/watch/64845/happy-land
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943) http://www.hulu.com/watch/81702/sherlock-holmes-and-the-secret-weapon
Love From a Stranger (1947) http://www.hulu.com/watch/61165/love-from-a-stranger
The Noose Hangs High (1948) http://www.hulu.com/watch/75331/the-noose-hangs-high (Abbott & Costello)
Africa Screams (1949) http://www.hulu.com/watch/67432/africa-screams
Prince of Foxes (1949) http://www.hulu.com/watch/69521/prince-of-foxes
Anne of the Indies (1951) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80851/anne-of-the-indies
Fixed Bayonets (1952) http://www.hulu.com/watch/65861/fixed-bayonets
Night People (1954) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80550/night-people (with Gregory Peck)
Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954) http://www.hulu.com/watch/71578/captain-kidd-and-the-slave-girl
Big House, U.S.A (1955) http://www.hulu.com/watch/95170/big-house-usa
Untamed (1955) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80537/untamed (with Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward)
Dance with me, Henry (1956) http://www.hulu.com/watch/31470/dance-with-me-henry (Abbott & Costello)
Time Limit (1957) http://www.hulu.com/watch/73938/time-limit (with Richard Widmark)
Counterplot (1959) http://www.hulu.com/watch/97582/counterplot
The Son of Robin Hood (1959) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80850/the-son-of-robin-hood
Circle of Deception (1960) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70078/circle-of-deception
Anatomy of a Psycho (1961) http://www.hulu.com/watch/38088/anatomy-of-a-psycho
Boy Who Caught A Crook (1961) http://www.hulu.com/watch/95973/boy-who-caught-a-crook
Sniper's Ridge (1961) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80725/snipers-ridge
Hero's Island (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/88187/heros-island
Incident in an Alley (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/75334/incident-in-an-alley
Mr. Arkadin (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63043/mr-arkadin (Orson Welles)
California (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/85350/california
Sergeant Deadhead (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/88200/sergeant-deadhead
The Knack, and How To Get It (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/30657/the-knack-and-how-to-get-it

Westerns

Angel and the Bad Man (1947) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63052/angel-and-the-badman (with John Wayne)
Blue Steel (1934) http://www.hulu.com/watch/62722/blue-steel (with John Wayne)
'Neath the Arizona Skies (1934) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63038/neath-the-arizona-skies
The Desert Trail (1935) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63047/the-desert-trail
The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1952) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80882/the-outcasts-of-poker-flat
Duel at Diablo (1960) http://www.hulu.com/watch/46783/duel-at-diablo (with Sidney Poitier and James Garner)
Zane Grey Westerns: http://www.hulu.com/zane-grey-westerns

Horror Flicks

Terror in the Haunted House (1958) http://www.hulu.com/watch/37957/terror-in-the-haunted-house The Devil's Hand (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70585/the-devils-hand
The Giant Gila Monster (1959) http://www.hulu.com/watch/38082/the-giant-gila-monster
Atom Age Vampire (1960) http://www.hulu.com/watch/39995/atom-age-vampire
Black Sunday (1961) http://www.hulu.com/watch/85377/black-sunday
The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/73925/the-brain-that-wouldnt-die
The Devil's Hand (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70585/the-devils-hand
The Crawling Hand (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/38782/the-crawling-hand
The Terror (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/73924/the-terror
Taste of Terror (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/82877/tales-of-terror
Carnival of Souls (1962) http://www.hulu.com/watch/37958/carnival-of-souls
House on Haunted Hill (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/70582/house-on-haunted-hill

B-Movies

Reefer Madness (1936) http://www.hulu.com/watch/63039/reefer-madness
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955) http://www.hulu.com/watch/38781/the-phantom-from-10000-leagues
It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) http://www.hulu.com/watch/65658/it-the-terror-from-beyond-space
Attack of the Puppet People (1958) http://www.hulu.com/watch/12210/attack-of-the-puppet-people
Frankenstein's Daughter (1958) http://www.hulu.com/watch/39996/frankensteins-daughter
The Wizard of Baghdad (1960) http://www.hulu.com/watch/80726/the-wizard-of-baghdad
The Last Man on Earth (1964) http://www.hulu.com/watch/46780/the-last-man-on-earth
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine http://www.hulu.com/watch/13465/dr-goldfoot-and-the-bikini-machine
Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) http://www.hulu.com/watch/13462/dr-goldfoot-and-the-girl-bombs
The Night of the Living Dead (1968) http://www.hulu.com/watch/41065/night-of-the-living-dead

Frankie & Annette Movies

Beach Party (1963) http://www.hulu.com/watch/81684/beach-party
Muscle Beach Party (1964) http://www.hulu.com/watch/81693/muscle-beach-party
Pajama Party (1964) http://www.hulu.com/watch/92145/pajama-party
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/27808/beach-blanket-bingo
How To Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) http://www.hulu.com/watch/59316/how-to-stuff-a-wild-bikini

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt

My Judy Garland Life
A Memoir
by Susie Boyt
ISBN: 978-1-59691-666-1
$25.00
May 2009
Bloomsbury

A memoir that takes readers through the mind of the ultimate Judy Garland fan. In it's chaotic and sometimes unapproachable form it gives us an honest look at a true fan.

What does it mean to be obsessed about a classic film star? You may have your top, all-time favorite actor or actress whose films you devour as though they were the most delicious desserts on the planet. But are you really obsessed with them? Has that person become an intricate part of your life? Do you worry about that person even though they are no longer around? Does every artifact of their legacy become interwoven with memorable moments of your life?

Author Susie Boyt is obsessed with Judy Garland. There is no doubt about that. Her memoir My Judy Garland Life is just that, a memoir about her Judy Garland life. Reading this book is like taking a look into the chaotic thoughts of an obsessed fan. Not to say that Boyt is a lunatic fan, sacrificing her well-being and the well-being of others for her obsession. Rather Judy Garland has such a profound influnce on Boyt and Boyt feels such a strong connection that their lives sort of intertwine. And what's interesting is that Boyt never met Garland, nor even lived during Garland's lifetime. Yet Garland becomes an important figure in Boyt's life. What I think is admirable about Boyt, is that she unabashedly delves right into her obsession with Judy Garland. Reading it, I didn't feel that anything was missing; as though she was being brutally honest and revealing everything she could about how she worshipped Garland. I thought that kind of honesty and frankness was very admirable.

While the topic was interesting, I didn't much care for the book. It was very disorganized and difficult to read. However, that same disorganization that I criticize I also think lends to the element of the book of exploring the author's brain. Whoever said thoughts had to be organized? My biggest problem is that I'm not all that interested in Judy Garland. This lack of interest may have been my downfall. I had hoped to enjoy the memoir given my interest in the personal experience as it relates to classic fim. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Even though I didn't enjoy the book, doesn't mean I don't think others won't. In fact, I would recommend this book to many folks. First are the Judy Garland fans; I think they would appreciate reading about another Garland fan's experiences and how they were affected by the star. If you are intrigued by fandom and obsession, I would also recommend this seeing as it's a peak into the brain of a fan. If you are a fan of Dirk Bogarde, you might enjoy the plethora of instances in which he is mentioned. If you generally gravitate towards memoirs and want something unique and different to try out, this books really stands out amongst the other memoirs out there.
--------------------

Out of the entire book, there was one section that really quite struck me. It was when the author discusses the differences between good and bad Judy Garland fans. Boyt says:

Good fans consider that bad fans seek to denigrate Judy Garland's achievements by dwelling first and foresmost on her personal suffering... Bad fans prize embarassment and feelings of excruciation above all other sensations because these are the kinds of strong feelings they prefer.

Just some food for thought...

Special thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book for review!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bye, Bye Birdie (1963) & Mad Men

This film has been on and off my Netflix queue for goodness knows how long. I was interested in watching it but would always push it off to the side (I do that a lot it seems). However, a few weeks ago on a lazy Sunday evening, I was watching my favorite TV show Mad Men and Bye Bye Birdie (1963) was an important part of the storyline. The folks at Sterling Cooper (the fictional advertising agency at the center of the TV show) were given the assignment to come up with a commercial for Patio Cola. The opening sequence of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) is shown to the board. It features the bubbly '60s icon Ann-Margret in front of a blue screen singing the title song "Bye Bye Birdie". What seems to be a very plain set up, is actually quite alluring. Ann-Margret's vivacity, the shock of the blue and the catchiness of the tune gets you all riled up for the movie that follows.



Beware of Mad Men spoilers below!




The men are captivated by the clip and enamored by Ann-Margret and how she oozes youthful sexuality. They want to do a spoof-type commercial for the soda Patio Cola based on this clip. Everyone thinks it's a great idea except for the one lone female in creative, Peggy Olson, who thinks it won't work. Patio Cola is a diet soda with the intended target of young women who are trying to maintain their figures. Recreating the vivacious reprise into commercial form is selling sex to a male audience, who wouldn't necessarily want to buy the soda anyways. No one listens to Peggy and they continue with the project.

Salvatore, the repressed gay man in a sham marriage, is put in charge of creating the commercial. He's an illustrator in a time when the public demands more and more photography, so this is a great way for him to use his creative juices. He puts together the concept and explains the project to his wife. This results in probably one of my favorite scenes of the show. The subtlety and the indirectness of this scene says so much! Just look at his wife's face as the scene progresses. Genius!





Well the commercial fails big time. The Patio Cola people just don't like it. There is something off about the commercial. If you get a chance to see it, you might know what their talking about or you might be confused. I thought there was something off about it too. As though the girl in the commercial was trying too hard to be Ann-Margret. As though this commercial was trying to be sexy, but it just came out seeming forced. As though you feel a little molested after watching it! When everyone leaves the boardroom, Peggy has a very triumphant look on her face because she knew the whole time that this would be a complete failure!

So after all of this, I was DYING to see Bye, Bye Birdie. I put it at the top of my Netflix queue and it was sent to me almost immediately. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The musical numbers were good and even the bad ones were still enjoyable. What I like most about it is that it explores teen culture as well as the effects of the burgeoning pop culture amongst youth. Conrad Birdie is a popular, hip-swinging singer who has all the girls swooning. In a not-so-very-veiled reference to Elvis Presley, Birdie is being shipped off to war and his music company wants one last chance to make some money off him. A big media appearance is just their meal-ticket. Starry-eyed Kim McAfee (Ann-Margret) wins a contest to get a kiss from Birdie live on the Ed Sullivan show. A whole media-storm infiltrates Kim's town and everyone comes down with Conrad Birdie fever. The women are all flustered and the men are all disgusted. Hilarity inevitably ensues.

I think that it was very wise for Mad Men to include Bye Bye Birdie (1963) in the show's plotline. If the film both spoofs and exemplifies pop culture, then an advertising agency in the 1960's would definitely look to it for inspiration, especially if the film itself becomes part of the contemporary culture that it mocks/explores. If you are a fan of Mad Men and haven't seen this film yet, please take some time out to watch it! In fact, make sure you research any cultural references you see on the show. Even if you don't watch Mad Men (and I know some of you out there even dislike the show), watch the film anyways!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Movie Watching Efficiency

I have been overwhelmed lately with too much to do and too little time to do it in. Or so I thought...

I haven't been very efficient lately in many aspects of my life. When I do get free time, I tend to squander it away instead of using it to be productive. This has interfered with my movie watching lately, Netflix being the main culprit. I have many movies to watch (but don't we all). I have borrowed DVDs, DVDs I have purchased but haven't seen, DVDs given to me as presents, taped movies from TCM (recent and old) and rented Netflix movies. This is in addition to great classic films being shown at local repertory houses and the occassional interesting contemporary film at my local first-run or second-run theater.

Since Netflix is a paid service, I make priority to watch those films first and return them as quickly as I can to get the most out of my money. However, this interferes with me viewing my stash of DVDs and tapes. As soon as I finish of the 3 Netflix movies, I already have 3 more waiting for me. Since I know that the other films can wait, Netflix rentals get first dibs on my free time.

What ends up happening is that I borrow a film from a friend and return it to them months later because I never get a chance. Poor Frank, my fellow employee and classic film enthusiast, is still waiting for his Criterion Collection DVD boxed set of Amarcord (1973) back after lending it to me months ago. Or that tape of Jean Harlow films I taped off TCM months ago, collects dust in my entertainment center. The real shame is all those wonderful rare Norma Shearer films my friend Jonas (of All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing! fame) sent me from Sweden are sitting nicely in their sleeves, just waiting for me to watch them.

At first I wanted to discontinue Netflix once I got through the 30-40 films on my queue, but since I keep on adding films to the queue, I don't see an end any time soon. So I have formed a plan to help me be more efficient in my movie watching.

For every 1 Netflix movie I watch, I have to follow it up with 1 borrowed movie and 1 taped movie/owned DVD. I won't be taking full advantage of the rental service but at least I will be making a dent in my collection of movies. If push comes to shove, I might go on a different rental plan with Netflix so that I don't feel overwhelmed.

Do any of you have methods to maintain the efficiency of your movie consumption? Doesn't that last question make movie watching sound terribly trite? Thoughts?

Friday, September 4, 2009

You Got a Little Something There. No there... and there... and well all over really




Can someone tell me what the name of this type of college sweater is? Someone?! Anyone?!

It was common during the 1920s and 1930s. The pictures above are from Good News (1947) which is based on a musical from the late 1920s and the setting is 1927. I researched sweatshirts and they were sports/collegiate wear that came about in the 1920s. I couldn't find anything on these.

What's unique about these sweatshirts is that they have all sorts of writing and drawings on them. Notes, signatures, drawings, fun quips, colloquialisms and my favorite 1920s slang!

I would really like to do some research on this particular clothing fad but I need some direction to go on as I'm coming up blank.

Help?!

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