Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blog News

June is guest blogger month. I have recruited several people to submit a piece to me and I will post their submissions over the next few weeks. They have free reign to submit anything their heart desires on whatever subject as long as it's classic film related. In fact, depending on when the submissions come in, I will probably be posting into July as well.

If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please e-mail me your submission (my e-mail link is to your right). Feel free to include photos. You can come up with a pen name if you so desire.

Also, I have joined The Golden Age of Hollywood (as some of you friends who were coerced... ahem encouraged to join already know). It's a social networking site for fans of classic films. It's a great way to meet other like-minded people as well as share your interests in films. If you join, please make sure to add me as a friend.
I've added some links to other cool new blogs. Check them out.

Finally, Out of the Past ~ A Classic Film Blog has received a rating of 9.1 on My blog was critiqued based on 4 categories: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style.

Out of the Past at Blogged

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raquelle's Favorite Genres

I got to thinking about genres and types of movies I like to watch. And I have to say, I have a very unique taste. Very specific things excite my wonderment and curiousity. I have talked about a few on here, but there are others, some of which I made up terms for, that I haven't really delved into. Do you have any very specific types of films that you enjoy? Please feel free to share!

Here is my list (some genres overlap with each other). Each category links to one of my favorite films in that given genre.

Contemporary French Films


'60's Sex Comedies & Romantic Comedies

Film Noir

'40s Romances

Screwball Comedies

Mormon Cinema

Controversial '50s Films

'90s Period Pieces

Visually Stylized Films

Contemporary Romantic Comedies

Office/Workplace-based Comedies

Book Industry-related Films

Literary Adaptations

Dating/Relationship Movies

Sweltering Deep-South Dramas

Americans Abroad - Comedies

Monday, May 26, 2008

Unseen Noir

The Harvard Film Archive had an Unseen Noir series over the long holiday weekend, showcasing numerous noir films that were not available through regular channels. This was a great opportunity for me and my friend Kevin to watch some unique film noirs!

On Friday night, Kevin and my new friend Bob and I watched a double feature of He Ran All the Way and The Sound of Fury. On Sunday night, Vivienne and Nate joined us for a screening of Pitfall. The place was packed on both nights, which gave me all sorts of warm proud feelings inside. To see so many people come out to watch these movies when they could be spending their money on some brainless blockbuster. Below are my thoughts and reactions or interesting information on each of the films.

He Ran All the Way (1951) - John Garfield plays Nick, who is running away from the police after accidentally killing a cop. Is he genuinely evil or is he a good guy gone bad due to circumstances? He romances Shelley Winters, as Peg, only to sequester her and her family in their apartment as he grows ever anxious of being caught. Peg is caught between her growing affection for Nick and her love and devotion for her family. And time is running out.

~ Why isn't this on DVD? Garfield + Winters + Noir = $$$
~ John Garfield's last film.
~ classic gutter scene. Every film noir should have one.
~ great camera angles and shots. Lots of focus on Garfield's face.
~ One scene, Garfield's face is half in shadow, showing how he's split between good and bad.
~ low-budget, short, so the focus is on the story and the rising tension.
~ Suspense was well-done. As the plot progresses, Garfield's character becomes less patient and more suspicious.
~ My favorite line was a suggestion made to Winters character about how a little lipstick, a hairdo and a nice dress can make a man do anything you want!

The Sound of Fury (1951) ~ Based on a true story, this is an interesting study in journalistic sensationalism and the violence that can erupt from mob mentality. Frank Lovejoy plays a family man, desperate for cash for his wife, kid and baby on the way, who gets entangled in a kidnapping gone wrong with the charismatic Llyod Bridges. The media and community are hungry for blood.

~ Why isn't this on DVD? Bridges + Mob Mentality + Noir = $$$
~ Uncomfortable to watch because it was so poignant. Left me somewhat depressed.
~ Wow. Llyod Bridges. Wow. Double wow.
~ Reminded me of the equally uncomortable They Won't Forget (1937).
~ Didn't help that they kept talking about how people won't forget.
~ Several funny moments helped us feel the intensity of the tragedies to come.
~ Kathleen Ryan reminded me of Melanie Lynskey.
~ Mob riot/jail scene was breathtaking!

Pitfall (1948) ~ Dick Powell is a jaded insurance man who is bored with his job + wife + kid = safe life scenario. He meets Lizabeth Scott who's boyfriend is in jail for stealing insured jewelry. Biggest mistake, sending a detective, played by Raymond Burr, over to Scott. Sadistic Burr wants Scott but so does Powell and the love triangle gets ugly.

~ Why isn't this on DVD? Powell + Young Raymond Burr + Noir = $$$
~ Raymond Burr gave me the chills. Burrrr...
~ Lizabeth Scott is like a combination of Lauren Bacall and Susan Peters!
~ One of a few great movies based on insurance companies. The Apartment, Double Indemnity.
~ My first Jane Wyatt film.
~ Any film with a fashion scene is a-okay with me.
~ Some of the story, especially dialogue, seemed to much like filler. Could have been more tension build up.
~ Dick Powell can do it all, in my honest opinion. He was superb in this.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tammy Tyree

I had so much fun watching Sandra Dee's 2 Tammy movies. They were campy and sweet and Sandra Dee was just as loveable and vibrant as I like to see her in films. Although not by any means a sex comedy, these films I group in that wonderful category of '60s Romantic Comedies. A genre I have come to love.

The Tammy films are quite formulaic, watching both was like watching the same film twice. They feature Tammy Tyree, that's short for Tambrey which means "immortal", who was raised on the river and doesn't know much about book-learning or talking like folks of the world or even what that box TV is. But man can she fry up a mean catfish.

1) Love Interest - must have personal crisis to overcome before he can love Tammy.
2) Ridicule - Others laugh at Tammy but she puts them right at the end with a big speech.
3) Grumpy Old Person - Tammy makes person less grumpy and gives them a friend.
4) Job - Tammy fails over and over again much to our amusement.
5) Troubled Couple - Tammy helps them overcome their issues and fall in love all over again.
6) Body of Water - Preferably a river, but Tammy will do with a mason jar of water or the ocean.
7) Catch Phrases - Tammy must utter such phrases as "monstrous kind" throughout movie.
8) Failed Kisses - Tammy has to beg for a kiss numerous times until she finally gets a good one towards the end.
9) Acquaintance - Takes a liking to Tammy and shows that not everyone is disdainful.
10) New Experience - Tammy does something she's never done before and we are amused at her wonderment.

Tammy Tell Me True (1961) - This was my favorite of the two. Tammy is in her element on the River and out of her element at college where she is falling in love with Public Speaking teacher Tom, played by the hunky John Gavin. She helps Beulah Bondi's character live again and escape the greedy clutches of her inheritance-hungry niece. I loved Tammy's dialogue. My favorite line, paraphrased badly, was when she was talking to a catfish in the river saying "You are going to be breaded and fried in fat and ate my two lovely ladies and that's a mighty wondrous end for you". My only gripe is that the film overcompensates for Tammy's being dumped by the previous film's love interest Pete, who's name is so often brought up that I feel he was a ghost character.

Tammy and the Doctor (1963) - Because of the formula, I felt like I was watching Tammy Tell Me True again. This time, Beulah Bondi (Mrs. Call) is sick and Tammy who refuses to leave her side takes a job at the hospital. Peter Fonda is just not right for this movie. Poor guy. He stood out like a sore thumb. I felt like there were better things waiting for him. It didn't help that they gave him wrotten dialogue. He couldn't compete with Tammy's unique language. He had sexy lines such as "You can find her address at the personnel's office" or "I'll be back as soon as I wash up." Groan! And also Tammy belongs by the river! In a hospital she was just out of her element too much. We really forgot what she was like. But I have to say, I enjoyed the film nonetheless which in the end is what counts the most.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Queen Norma Shearer Viewing

I thought after yesterday's post, that I should probably track my progress on here. This list is only 58 movies. I think I may have removed some lost or destroyed ones when I originally made this list.

Norma Shearer

The Flapper (1920)*
Way Down East (1920)*
The Stealers (1920)
The Man Who Paid (1922)
The Bootleggers (1922)
Channing of the Northwest (1922)
Lucretia Lombard (1923)
A Clouded Name (1923)
Man and Wife (1923)
The Devil’s Partner (1923)
The Wanters (1923)
Pleasure Mad (1923)
Trail of the Law (1923)
The Snob (1924)
The Wolf Man (1924)
Broadway After Dark (1924)
Broken Barriers (1924)
Married Flirts (1924)
Empty Hands (1924)
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) ~ seen part then misplaced tape!
Excuse Me (1925)
Lady of the Night (1925) *
Waking Up the Town (1925)
A Slave to Fashion (1925)
Pretty Ladies (1925)
The Tower of Lies (1925)
His Secretary (1925)
The Devil’s Circus (1926)
The Waning Sex (1926)
Upstage (1926)
Too Many Wives (1927)
The Demi-Bride (1927)
After Midnight (1927)
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1928) *
The Latest From Paris (1928)
The Actress (1928)
A Lady of Chance (1928) *
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929)
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929)
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) ~ coming up!
Their Own Desire (1929) ~ taped!
The Divorcee (1930) *
Let Us Be Gay (1930) ~ coming up!
Stolen Jools (1931)*
Strangers May Kiss (1931) *
A Free Soul (1931) *
Private Lives (1931) *
Smilin’ Through (1932)
Strange Interlude (1932)
Riptide (1934) *
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) *
Romeo and Juliet (1937) ~ can't quite finish this for some reason.
Marie Antoinette (1938) *
Idiot’s Delight (1939) *
The Women (1939) *
Escape (1940) *
We Were Dancing (1942) *
Her Cardboard Lover (1942) *

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lifetime Achievement Viewing

Some time ago I had made set goals to watch every single film which feature my top favorite personalities. I say personalities because these are people I am captivated by and it extends beyond any acting abilities or their appearance in good stories (sometimes they lack both!). Hunting for those films reach makes watching their work even more enjoyable.

Norma Shearer ~ 17 out of 61
Bobby Darin ~ 5 out of 14
Sandra Dee ~ 10 out of 24
Marilyn Monroe ~ 25 out of 29
Blonde Bette Davis ~ 14 out of 33
Doris Day ~ 17 out of 39

Lately I've come across a few more opportunities to advance towards my final goal. Sandra Dee's Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Tammy and the Doctor (1963) were released on DVD a few months ago and Netflix just added it to their extensive library. I immediately added it to my queue, bypassing the original film Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with Debbie Reynolds, which I guess I really should have seen first to fully understand the storyline. But while Debbie Reynolds is cute, I've always found Sandra Dee even cuter and much more fun to watch on screen!

With The Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 2 I got an opportunity to see The Divorcee (1930) and A Free Soul (1931) in their entirety. Two marks on my list. But these I knew would eventually turn up on DVD. However, two more even rarer opportunities presented themselves recently. My friend Frank is a Laurel & Hardy fan and let me borrow one of his DVDs which contains the short film Stolen Jools (1931) a comedy which features many MGM stars, including Norma Shearer. And TCM recently had a Robert Montgomery marathon (one of Norma's best-known leading men), and they showed Their Own Desire (1929), (which I taped) an elusive film I know very little about but am very happy to see.

There are other actors whose film work I'd like to view in their entirety, but making a goal of it would be quite a feat, and very likely impossible (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, etc). Those whom I think may be manageable and whom I would like to add include:

Kim Novak
George Sanders
Tom Conway
Dennis Morgan
Bonita Granville
Susan Peters
Richard Barthelmess

Do you have anyone whose life's work is your goal to consume? Or have you already seen the entire canon of films of a favorite star? Let me know!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Graduate... Me, not the Movie

Yesterday, I sort of kind of graduated. With a star my name on the program, I walked across stage and got a diploma... folder (empty). I have 4 more credits left, one more class, and I'm done. But instead of waiting until next year's commencement, my school let me "graduate". I got to wear a funky robe with flippy flaps and a cool white, purple, yellow and black hood (which none of knew how to wear!). It was a great psuedo-moment spurring me on to finish that one last class so I can receive my diploma and validate that experience (which was genuinely great).

When I got to work this morning several presents were awaiting me. My department got me flowers, a card, a plush and a cake for congratulations. I was truly honored!!! The other present was very unusual. So unusual, but so great that it merited a post on this blog. Alongside a musical card that played graduation music, was seemingly inconspicuous wrapped present. As I tore off the beautiful wrapping paper, my jaw dropped as I saw what was inside. It was the Billy Wilder Film Collection Boxed Set. My colleague and friend Susan has given me this amazingly thoughtful gift. It came complete with a gift receipt which I promptly ripped into pieces and threw away because there was NO WAY I would ever return this. I now own Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966) and Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). Yay!

Thank you Susan!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dinner and a Movie and a Nightcap

I've been out of the loop lately, hence no recent posts. Ever since classes ended I've been watching contemporary movies such as 300 (2006), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), The Condemned (2007) (I know I'm sorry, I was sucked in by the concept) and La Vie En Rose/La Môme (2007).

Yesterday, however, I treated myself to something really special. My friends Kevin and Dana and I went out for dinner and a movie. We went to Harvard Square and stopped at Veggie Planet for some vegetarian pizzas. It's a really cool place that not only serves delicious food but also makes a point to be mindful in how they run their business. They donate to worthy causes, use cheeses with vegetable renet and organic produce on their pizzas and they support a non-profit bakery by exclusively using their dough. A pizza you can feel good about eating. And that's what we did.

Afterwards we headed to the Brattle Theatre for a 7 pm showing of The Apartment (1960). The Brattle is another local gem. This theater shows a variety of classic films (one of the reasons why I love them so) as well as indie and foreign flicks. Their schedules are based on themes, concepts, particular actors or directors, marathons, etc. (I bet you are seething with jealousy right about now, wishing you had a place like this nearby). Yesterday night, they were featuring two films by director Billy Wilder, (the other one being Some Like it Hot).

I LOVE The Apartment. This is one of my top favorite films ever. I like to consider it one of the original romantic comedies. But calling it a romcom is also doing it a disservice. It's a comedic romance with a dramatic edge. It's an office drama with something extra. I love the chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Shirely Maclaine. They are both lovable pushovers that you root for until the end. And you cheer for them when they tap into that inner strength they never knew they had! I think Jack Lemmon was just absolutely adorable (he reminds me somewhat of my dad) and Shirley Maclaine is arguably one of the most captivating women on screen. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Irma la Douce so I can see these two in action again.

Watching this film on the big screen was a genuine treat. There were things I got to experience (dramatic music and spotting a clever positioned product placement!) that I couldn't watching this film at home. Aftewards, Kevin and Dana and I headed further into Harvard to find ourselves another treat for a nightcap. We went to the BerryLine which was highly recommended by the blog of all blogs

Even at 9:30pm, this little shop had a line out the door! They have the most amazing frozen yogurt. You can build your own treat by selecting one, two or three toppings from an array of fresh fruits or other sweet selections. I ate my mango & strawberry topped yogurt with absolute delight. The perfect nightcap to a great outing. I could definitely get used to this!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'm Back and I love Cabin in the Cotton (1932)

I've been MIA for a while working on the truckload of homework and projects that my professors have unloaded upon me. Now I'm done for a few weeks, before I start a new semester, and I should keep up posting. Right now I don't have much to say, so I will just share another design of mine (which is of course a cool image someone else designed and I just layered text over it). Enjoy!

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