Friday, July 26, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen

A couple of months ago I attended Book Expo in New York City and I was on the look out for some good classic film books. Author Robert Mazen was there to promote his new biography on Audrey Hepburn. As a treat for my readers, I grabbed a sign copy to give to YOU!

About the Book:

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II 
by Robert Matzen
400 pages
GoodKnight Books
April 2019

From the publisher: Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. 

According to her son, Luca Dotti, “The war made my mother who she was.” Audrey Hepburn’s war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor’s assistant during the “Bridge Too Far” battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem’s most famous young ballerina. Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II. 

Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey’s personal collection and are published here for the first time.



  • Must be 18+
  • Open Internationally
  • Maximum 3 entries (one required and two optional) per person
  • Must provide e-mail address in comment.
  • False or incomplete entries will not be accepted.
  • Contest ends Wednesday July 31st at midnight EST.
  • 1 winner will be selected and contacted via e-mail. I will also announce the winner in this post.
  • Prize is one autographed copy of the book.

  • REQUIRED: Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Audrey Hepburn movie is AND why you love it. Make sure you leave your e-mail address too so I can contact you if you win.
  • OPTIONAL: For one additional entry, follow my movie themed Instagram @QuelleMovies and in your comment leave your Instagram user name.
  • OPTIONAL: For one additional entry, subscribe to my YouTube channel Out of the Past and in your comment leave your YouTube user name.

You can leave one comment with 1-3 entry options. Doesn't have to be a separate comment for each entry. I will edit out e-mail addresses and user names after the contest is over.

 Good luck!


The winner is Amanda O.! 

Thank you to everyone who entered. Disqus wouldn't allow me to edit out the information so I copy and pasted the valid entries below and deleted the comments.

Amanda O. - Honestly for me it’s a toss up between “Roman Holiday” and “Charade” for my favorite Audrey film. Roman Holiday was the film that really got me into classics. I rented it when I was probably 13 or 14 and just fell in love with it and Audrey. And it led to me watching other classic films and falling in love with other classic actors and actresses. So it will always be special to me. My other favorite, “Charade”, is a comfort movie for me. No matter what mood I’m in or how bad a day I’m having that scene when Cary Grant showers with his clothes on always cracks me up and makes me happy and my day better. I love it so much! Thank you for having such a fun and interesting blog! I always look forward to your posts! 

Gillian K. -  I LOVE all of Audrey's films but if I had to pick one, I'd say Sabrina as it has an interesting plot twist, her character is so adorable and what a wardrobe she obtains in Paris! 

Helena G. - Audrey Hepburn is my all-time favorite actress. I absolutely cannot pick just 1 favorite film, but for this contest, I will explain how much I love her first starring role: Roman Holiday. She played an enchanting princess who wanted to experience normal life and was able to do so briefly before returning to her duties. The final scene where she stops being diplomatic to tell the press that Rome has her heart (and to let her love interest in the film know her true feelings) is legendary. She held her own alongside Gregory Peck and won an Oscar for her portrayal of strength alongside vulnerability, which I feel is the hallmark of her acting career and explains her passionate advocacy for UNICEF, since she had to be strong while a most vulnerable child during WW2. 

debra512 - My favorite Audrey Hepburn movie (even though I love so many), is Two For the Road. I loved her chemistry with Finney, I loved how mature and different it was for the time and for her. I also loved the theme song. She was so natural and funny and lovely.. I wish I could enter the other two but I don't like giving out social media names on other forms of social media for contest purposes- so sorry! But I would love the book as I think that time in her life shaped her so much and want to know more. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Summer Reading Challenge: First Round-Up

This year's Summer Reading Challenge is off to a great start. 35 eager readers have signed up to participate and there are already some wonderful book reviews available for your perusal. While the deadline to sign up has now passed, I encourage you to read on your own or sign up next year. If you have already signed up, please make sure you submit your finished reviews in the official link form. Your reviews won't count for the challenge and the giveaway if you don't submit your links! Also make sure you share on social with the hashtag #classicfilmreading.

Now on to the reviews:

Aisha at Screen Dreams
Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin

Andy at
Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn's Night Movies and the Rise of Neo-Noir by Matthew Asprey Gear
Noir City Sentinel Annual 3: The Best of the Noir City Sentinel 2010 by Eddie Muller
RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan is Born by Richard B. Jewell

Christine at Overture Books and Film
Glenn Ford: A Life by Peter Ford

Donna at Strictly Vintage Hollywood
About Face: The Life and Times of Dottie Ponedel: Make-up Artist to the Stars by Dorothy and Meredith Ponedel

Erin at Always Classics
Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn in World War II by Robert Matzen
Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean

Lee at on YouTube
Kiss Hollywood Goodbye by Anita Loos

Raquel at Out of the Past
Dynamic Dames: 50 Leading Ladies Who Made History by Sloan De Forest (video review)
Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin (video review)

Rich at Wide Screen World
All About Eve by Sam Staggs

Robby on Instagram
The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot
Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson.
In Pieces by Sally Field

Sarah on Goodreads
Grace: Secret Lives of a Princess by James Spada
Such Mad Fun: Ambition and Glamour in Hollywood's Golden Age by Robin R. Cutler

Vanessa at Super Veebs
Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer
The Castle On Sunset by Shawn Levy
Norma: The Story of Norma Shearer by Lawrence J. Quirk
Olivia de Havilland: Lady Triumphant by Victoria Amador

Walter at WaltsPopcornBytes
Bring on the Empty Horses by David Niven
Fred Astaire by Stephen Harvey
Son of Harpo Speaks! by Bill Marx

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cinema Shame: Urban Cowboy (1980)

I'm chipping away at my 2019 Cinema Shame challenge. This year I gave myself the goal to watch 10 movies from my birth year 1980 for the very first time. I'm hoping I can tackle a few reviews this summer so I can keep up!

Oh boy. I'm not even sure how Urban Cowboy (1980) made it onto my Cinema Shame list. I'm just going to chalk it up to the fact that it met all of my criteria (film released in 1980 - check. film I haven't seen yet - check). But perhaps I should have skipped this one. It has NOT aged well and while I'm glad I watched it I'm not going to visit it again any time soon.

Urban Cowboy stars John Travolta as Bud, a small town cowboy who leaves for Houston to find a job in the oil business. He stays with his Uncle Bob (Barry Corbin) and Aunt Corene (Brooke Alderson) who take him out to the hottest club in town, Gilley's a hopping honky tonk bar where all the action happens. There he meets Sissy (Debra Winger), a bar regular with a spirited personality. They quickly fall in love and get married. Bud has his eye on mastering the mechanical bull at Gilley's and when former convict Wes (Scott Glenn) shows up at Gilley's Bud finds some competition for both the bull and Sissy. Bud and Sissy have a falling out driving Bud into the arms of the cowboy obsessed Pam (Madolyn Smith Osborne) and Sissy into the arms of Wes who teaches her how to ride a mechanical bull. As Bud trains for a mechanical bull riding competition, behind the scenes Wes is up to no good.

When Urban Cowboy hit theaters in the summer of 1980, critics called it the country western answer to Saturday Night Fever and they were not wrong. It definitely had that vibe even if the dancing wasn't as prominent. The film was directed by James Bridges and based on the real life story of Dew Westbrook and Betty Helmer, two Gilley regulars whose romance was profiled in an Esquire article. This movie just doesn't sit well in the 21st century and I found it off-putting. The domestic violence in particular is hard to swallow. Sissy, played by Debra Winger, has to endure a lot of emotional and physical abuse. Both Bud and Wes treat her like shit. Bud starts off as a total jerk and then comes around by the end. Wes seems okay but his criminal past and his flirtatious nature makes it apparent early on that he's not one to settle down with. Even so, both Bud and Wes' characters do a sudden about face that I didn't quite see coming and felt like a plot fix. In the end, I was only really invested in Sissy and everyone else (except for Bob and Corene!) could go to hell in a handbasket. I can see some of what people enjoy about this movie. It has a great cast, a great sense of place and time and plenty of dramatic tension throughout. The mechanical bull riding scenes were so much fun to watch. But for me the events in the story were either too predictable or came out of the blue. Overall the film left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you seen Urban Cowboy? What did you think? Did you like it more than I did?

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