February 2016: A WRAP-UP AND WHY THINGS ARE QUIET

Hard to believe that another month has gone by!  But here we are once again for the monthly wrap-up!

Book Banner

Beyond The Cover Blogathon: The big news around the blog is obviously the Beyond The Cover Blogathon which is being hosted by Kristina of Speakeasy and me!  You can find the announcement post here, along with a handy dandy form made by Kristina so you can sign up to join in the fun in case you haven’t already!  We are really excited for this event as we are not only getting interest from classic film bloggers but from book tubers/book bloggers as well!  Stay tuned in April when you will get to see all the literary adaptation goodness!

hqdefault1

Films I Watched and Favorite Film Discovery of the Month: I finally got to watch the Criterion Edition of THE BROWNING VERSION and I was quite surprised at what a moving and intelligent film it was.  One of the great things about the Criterion Collection is that you can find films that you might never have heard of before, but ones that are great pieces of art and filmmaking.  My favorite film I saw this month was definitely THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET.  This was a film that started out as one thing and became something I totally did not expect!

Why Things Are Quiet: So, as you probably noticed things have been a little quieter around the blog lately.  The reason is two fold.  One, things personally have been a bit busier for me.  Family responsibilities along with a shortened nap time (which was when I used to watch most of my classic movies) lead into sort of a film watching slump for me.  To be honest, I had periods where I didn’t feel like watching anything and so I decided not to force myself because I want classic films and this blog to be something fun that I enjoy, not a chore.  Second, my film watching slump lead me back to my other favorite hobby which is reading.  All my life there are really two things that I like to do for fun…watching classic films and reading…and playing The Sims, but that is another story.  Anyway, instead of watching movies I have been reading more and watching movies where and when I can.  Apologies for the lack of posts of late but I didn’t want you to think I had abandoned this blog.  Of course if you want to know about what I have been reading just let me know!

Classic Film Blogger Shout-Out: You have heard her name and you probably know her awesomeness…but this month I am spotlighting Fritzi of Movies Silently.  She is amazing and her vast amount of knowledge and enthusiasm for silent films make her blog a place you must visit and subscribe to.


 

You can catch up on all my other monthly wrap-ups here!

December 2015: A Wrap-Up

This month was busy for me, especially with the holidays, so I didn’t get to as many movies as I wanted but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch some great things in the month of December!

86d8a66044f04f3db34760c0c15a675b

Blogathons: This month I took part in the Try It You’ll Like It Blogathon hosted by Sister Celluloid and Movies Silently.  This was a great event that had bloggers write about what films they thought were the perfect gateway for non-classic film lovers.  I chose THE PALM BEACH STORY, a movie that I showed to my husband and one that he actually laughed out loud during!

agent-carter

Agent Carter: OK, I realize that this is not a classic film per se.  However, this month I watched Season One of Agent Carter (Season 2 starts on January 19th at 9PM EST on ABC) and I absolutely loved it!  Not only is it a fantastically written and acted show, but Peggy Carter is such a rich and vibrant character that I found myself wishing there were more movies, television shows, books, pretty much anything about her because I just loved the character so much!  You don’t need to be a fan of Captain America or comics to enjoy this show, though of course there are references and in-jokes for those who are, just a fan of 1940s style action and adventure as well as one incredibly smart and courageous woman.  Agent Carter not only deals with the effects of World War II, the return of men to the workforce,  and the struggle of women for equality in said workforce, but it also name drops classic film stars like nobody’s business!    This is a show that deserves a wider audience and I think that the classic film community is just the group of people to do it!

Fathom Events: This month I was lucky enough to win tickets from Classic Movie Hub to the Fathom Event Screening of Miracle On 34th Street.  My husband and I had an afternoon date to the theater and, along with about twenty other people, had a wonderful time watching a Christmas classic!

layout-6

Twelve Classics for 2016: I did not manage to complete my list from last year but that hasn’t stopped me from joining The Blindspot Series for 2016!  This time I decided to pick some truly classic classics that I have not seen yet.  You can check out my list here and please, don’t judge me too harshly!

Classic Film Blogger Shout-Out: This month I want to spotlight Aaron of Criterion Blues.  Aaron is a terrific blogger who writes about all things Criterion!  He also co-hosts a terrific Criterion themed podcast!  And in case you missed it, he was part of the triumvirate that hosted the hugely successful Criterion Blogathon last month.  Be sure to go over to Criterion Blues and check him out!

carol2bfor2banother2bchristmas2b1

Favorite Film Discovery of the Month: A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS.  This was a new Christmas movie for me but it was a major revelation when I saw it.  Seemingly even more timely today than when it was first broadcast, A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS was rescued from obscurity by TCM and hopefully will begin to find a wider audience.  It certainly deserves one.


In case you are curious, you can find my other monthly wrap-ups here!

 

A November Wrap-Up

So November was a bit of a crazy month!  The holidays definitely cut down on my movie watching but I still managed to see a few films and take part in some excellent blogathons!

hitchcockturk1

Blogathons: I took part in three blogathons this month which were The Swashathon, The What A Character! Blogathon, and The Criterion Blogathon!  These were all such great events from some fabulous people and I really enjoyed getting to see some new films and talk about them with other fans!  Also, in case you missed it I am helping Cinema Dilettante host her very first blogathon!  Come January we are celebrating the lovely Loretta Young so if you are of the notion please join us!

Thelma Todd: My big discovery this month came thanks to a book called THE ICE CREAM BLONDE.  I had never heard of the life of Thelma Todd and was only minimally acquainted with her work.  Thanks to the excellent biography by Michelle Morgan, I came away with a much greater appreciation for this sadly forgotten actress.  THE ICE CREAM BLONDE piqued my interest and is in my top three biographies of the year!  Highly recommended!

51nz2oofhgl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Other Items of Interest: I did manage to add to my classic film library thanks to another library book sale!  I had to put the Gloria Swanson autobiography on hold but hopefully I will get back to it soon!

Classic Film Blogger Shout-Out: I am going to try to make this a monthly thing and give at least one fellow film blogger a shout-out just because I think they are awesome!  This month I am going to recommend that you check out Kristina of Speakeasy because she is one of the bloggers that inspired me to start my own site!  She is truly one of the nicest, most knowledgeable, and all round best people on the blogging scene today, and I am truly in awe of her prolific postings!

Dem-3 Photo. Helene Jeanbrau © 1996 cine-tamaris.tif

Favorite Film Discovery of the Month: RIDE THE PINK HORSE.  This one hands down was the best thing I saw all month.  Thanks to the Criterion Blogathon I finally got an excuse to watch and write about this terrific, if slightly odd, film noir from Robert Montgomery.  Just a great film that has stuck with me all November long.

Thoughts On My Month of Silents and Other Things; An October Wrap-Up

The month of October has come to an end and with it so has my month-long viewing of silent movies. Overall, I have to say that I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this month. As I said, going in I had a very limited experience with silent films. My main exposure had come from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.  I had never seen silent dramas or even other comedies.  I knew the names of people like Lillian Gish and Louise Brooks but I had never seen them on film.  And I have to admit that I probably was suffering under the delusion of several common myths about silent films.  Well, this month changed all that for me.  Here is some of what I learned.

Frame Rate and Silent Films – Going in I had no idea that many silent films were shown at incorrect, or sound film, frame rates.  This means that the reason people in silent films used to look jumpy and twitchy was because the film was being played at too high a rate of speed.  It would be like watching a movie on fast forward the whole time.

Women in Silent Films – Women were kind of awesome during the time of silent films.  Not only were they directors, writers, and editors, they were also actors playing roles that allowed them to be smart, strong, and funny.  Of course you still can find examples of the weepy damsel in distress but I was pleasantly surprised just how many of these films allowed women to be just as tough as the men.

Colleen Moore and Lon Chaney – No this is not Hollywood’s newest power couple.  This was my first time seeing either of these actors in any film and I was hooked!  Colleen Moore is a fabulous comedienne and from the brief bit that I have read, a smart and capable lady in her own life.  When people think of dark haired silent film actresses with a bob most will think of Louise Brooks but I will think of Colleen Moore and her dance in ELLA CINDERS.  As for Lon Chaney…man oh, man.  I am STILL not recovered from watching THE PENALTY.  That man is amazing.

Silent Films and Your Brain – This is something that I realized over the course of the month and I feel like it is important.  Silent films require your brain.  They require your attention.  We’ve all done it, started watching a movie on TCM or on a DVD and then done something else.  We’ve checked our phones, our email, our Facebook or Twitter.  We’ve gone into the kitchen to get a snack or check on dinner.  All the while we are keeping half an ear out for the dialogue of the film we are “watching” in order to keep tabs on what is going on.  But with silent films you can’t do that, if you aren’t paying attention you miss dialogue and plot.  You miss the film.  And it was an adjustment at first, the urge to check stuff is hard to resist, but after a time I found that not only was I able to pay attention without wandering off but it was also nice to do so.  These days we are given so many options for input that we often split our attention twenty times or more without realizing it, and often to our deficit.  Watching silent films was a respite from that and it felt nice to finally block everything else out and just watch the movie.  It is a habit that I am going to strive to carry over into my daily life.

Sherlock Holmes and TwitterFlicker Alley recently organized a live tweet during the TCM premiere of the 1916 Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette.  Not only was the film enjoyable but the experience of watching a newly discovered silent film with a community of classic film lovers was even better.  I hope that Flicker Alley and TCM collaborate again in the future!

My month of silent films was really enjoyable and I can say that I think I have become a silent film junkie.  I’m almost sad to leave the world of strictly silents.  But never fear!  I will now be making a point to watch more silent films, along with my talkies, so you will see more posts on the blog for sure!

Other Things of Interest – I have just started reading Swanson on Swanson written by (you guessed it) Gloria Swanson.  I am only about a chapter and a half in but really enjoying it so far.  I am looking forward to learning more about Gloria Swanson as when I think of her now my first thought is SUNSET BOULEVARD.  My Dad sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal about why we keep physical copies of media in the age of the cloud.  This was an interesting read to me as I am the sort of person who will read an article online or watch a movie on my iPad, but still prefer print books and DVDs (and Blu Rays).  Also, if you are looking for an introduction to silent films, Fritzi of Movies Silently is running a series of articles providing just that.

Favorite Film Discovery of the Month – This was tough but I would have to say THE PENALTY with Lon Chaney.  While I saw a lot of great films this month this is the one that has stuck with me the longest.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when the film started but by the time my husband came and found me at the halfway point I was totally hooked.  I think my exact words to him were, “This film is CRAZY!  You have to see it!”.


That was my month of October!  How was yours?  Any new discoveries?