Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Well, it's that time! Time for a complete list of the 12 Days of Christmas blogathon participants!
Thank you to everyone for participating! This was so much fun!

So, here is the full and complete list. I've had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to organize the list. But I've decided to go in chronological order - according to when the films were released.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
by Meredith

Holiday Inn (1942)

by Sarah

The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942)
by Monty

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

by Audrey

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

by Clara

Holiday Affair (1949)
by Emm

The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
by Java

Beware, My Lovely (1952)
by Jean Howard

White Christmas (1954)
by Sally

We're No Angels (1955)
by Frl Irene Palfry

Period of Adjustment (1962)
by Amanda Cooper

Thank you again to all who participated and who read and who passed on the word! This was my first time starting a blogathon and you all made it a success! Thank you all and Merry Christmas!

(P.S. Anybody who gets the slight weirdness/randomness of the semi-quote in my last statement gets bonus points)

Monday, December 13, 2010

45 minutes all to myself

I'm extremely excited because a movie theater near me is playing White Christmas this week. I get to see it on the big screen!!!! I'm so excited!! Now that I've found this out, people keep telling me about other venues. Today one of my friends said there's a movie theater that often plays old movies. I don't really understand why no one has ever told me this before! Oh well. Better late than never. In the meantime, I can't wait to see one of my favorite movies of all time on the big screen. I'm going tomorrow night at 11:30. It's so late! But I don't care!

Anyway, I just had to share the exciting news.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Almost there...

Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who has either claimed their choice for my holiday blogathon and to those who have already written one. I actually still have a couple of spots left. Here is the list of people who have made their claim. I've tried to comment on everyone's post so if I haven't commented, that means I haven't seen it yet so please let me know! I'd love to read it!!
I'll have a full and complete list as soon as everyone has written their post but, for the time being, here's what we have so far:
- Amanda Cooper chose Period of Adjustment
- Audrey chose Christmas in Connecticut
Monty chose The Man Who Came To Dinner
Clara chose It's A Wonderful Life
- Frl. Irene Palfry chose We're No Angels
- Sarah chose Holiday Inn
Kate Gabrielle chose Alistair Sim's A Christmas Carol
Java Bean Rush chose The Lemon Drop Kid
- Jean Howard chose Beware My Lovely
- and I chose White Christmas

There are still 2 spots open! If you want to join in then please let me know!
If you've already written a post and I haven't commented then please let me know and I will head over to your blog asap!
And, if you have multiple blogs, please let me know which blog your post will be on so that I can link it properly when I create a more complete and Christmas-y list.

And again, thank you so much!! This has been such an exciting project!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Despite the fact that I've used Christmas in Connecticut for the logo, my choice is actually going to be White Christmas.

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. (from IMDb)

Holiday Cheer: 6/10 Quite honestly, I've long argued that this movie is not strictly a Christmas movie. It can be watched at any time of the year. The Christmas part of the movie lasts for about 10-20 minutes in a two hour film. However, as the movie does begin and end on Christmas day, it counts!

Feel-Good feeling: 10/10 This movie is so fun and so funny. I laugh at the same lines every time and certain songs (cough cough "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" cough cough) make me feel all happy about life - which is perfect at Christmas time. Good humor, good romance, and good music blend together in a fantastic feel-good movie in time for the holidays.

Overall: 10/10. This movie is always a winner in my book. Definitely one of my favorite movies of all time.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays! I hope everyone is having a delightful and delicious Thanksgiving!

Now that the Christmas season is (almost) in full swing, I can begin a project that I've been itching to do:

The 12 Days of Christmas Movies

I had thought it would be barrels of fun if a bunch of us (12 to be exact) made a list of classic Christmas films. They don't have to be old movies but since we all like old movies I think that would be best. Here's how it will work: I'll start the ball rolling with my choice of favorite old Christmas movie and then whoever wants to join in can sign up now. Just write down what movie you're going to do so we can avoid duplicates. Please make sure you do your movie posting before December 23rd so that on December 24th, I can compile a list of all of the movies everyone did.

What do you think? Good idea? I'll write a new post with my personal choice and you can comment on either this post or that one with your choice of film.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something's gotta give.

Aaah!!!! November is over half-way done and I haven't written a post in a month!!

This is so depressing. And I really, honestly, truly wish I could say, "I'll do better this time" and actually do it. Ugh. I don't know what I need to do to fix this situation. Maybe a new format? Maybe my old format is getting stale. That's probably it. I just hate to start with something new when I have unfinished business. For starters, my top 100 list isn't anywhere near completion. Hm. I do have a little holiday project idea that I'm pretty excited about. I thought that I'd wait until after Thanksgiving to set it into motion though.

I need to figure out how to get my blog back up and kicking. You guys would know best because you're the ones reading it. What do you want to see? Is there stuff I've done in the past that you'd like to see more of? Please let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Married? Goody-two Shoes and the Filthy Beast?"

Quote of the week!!

I can't believe I went another week without posting. Argh! So frustrating! This week was pretty darn crazy though, honestly. I was barely on my computer this week. I shall try to do better next week.

Good job to Wendymoon, Javabean Rush, and Amanda Cooper for getting last week's quote of the week! Javabean Rush and Amanda Cooper were also able to name who said it so yay!!!

Now, for this week's quote:

"Married? Goody-two Shoes and the Filthy Beast?"

Friday, October 22, 2010

"We're not quarreling! We're in complete agreement: we hate each other!"

Quote of the week! Well done to Clara and VKMfan for correctly guessing last week's quote which was from Ninotchka.

Now, for this week's quote:

"We're not quarreling! We're in complete agreement: we hate each other!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've seen your pictures in the paper and I've wondered what you looked like.

Spotlight on a scene!!

Do you know something depressing? Every time I write a post, I think this is it. I'm going to get back into circulation. And then I don't write anything again for weeks. What's weird is that I don't know why. I'm busy. But I was busy at the beginning of the year and I wrote a lot then. Ever since I started this blog I've been busy but that hasn't stopped me from writing in it. So I don't know what the deal is. I intend to crack the case and figure out what is going on. Maybe I just need to get back into the swing of things. Anyway, we'll see.

So, spotlight on a scene. Last night I watched The Awful Truth with my sister. I love that movie. It was neat watching it with my sister because it gave me a whole new perspective on the movie. When I was a kid, I'd watch the movie and relate to Cary Grant's character because... well, it's Cary Grant. Then as I started watching it when I grew older, I began to relate to both characters a bit more. Well, last night, the whole movie changed. It wasn't about Cary Grant and how he tries to win Irene Dunne back after their divorce. It was about Irene Dunne and how spunky and spirited she is throughout the film. It tells about how her husband wants to divorce her even though she hasn't done anything (and even though he has) and how she eventually shows him that she was right all along. Watching through my sister's eyes was fascinating because she'd say, "Oh, that poor girl!" Her attention was entirely focused on Irene Dunne and, consequently, so was mine.

Anyway, for my spotlight I want to focus on quite possibly my favorite scene in the film: the scene where Lucy pays Jerry back for ruining her engagement by ruining his. It's side-splitting hilarious. I may have shown it on this blog previously but that's okay.

I hope you enjoyed the scene! Do any of you have movies that you've begun to see in a different light?

P.S. I'm always getting that silly "My Dreams Have Gone With The Wind" song stuck in my head. It's been in my head all morning!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Comrade, I've been fascinated by your Five Year Plan for the last fifteen years!"

Quote of the week (a little delayed)

"Comrade, I've been fascinated by your Five Year Plan for the last fifteen years!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Odds fish, m'dear!

Okay. Let's try this again. First off, I want to announce that I got to do a guest blog for one of my favorite bloggers, Emma Wallace. I wrote about Fran Jeffries. Yay Fran Jeffries!

So this week I want to talk about one of my absolute favorite films. It's not actually a contemporary film and it's really relatively obscure, I think. It's a movie that I'm always a bit wary to show around because if people don't love it, I take it personally or I get defensive. It's pretty silly. That's how I get around my favorite films though. Is anyone else that way?

So, for #33 on my list:

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

This film is based on two books by Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado. The basic plot (which is similar to the '34 version with Leslie Howard) is as follows: Sir Percy Blakeney is the most fashionable fop in London. What no one, including his lovely wife Marguerite, knows is that Sir Percy is also the mysterious hero, the Scarlet Pimpernel, who saves innocent French aristocrats from the guillotine. When Percy believes that his wife caused a man and his family to be executed, he is unable to trust her again. Will Marguerite be able to regain her husband's trust? Will Percy be able to rescue the dauphin, heir to the French throne?

It's all very thrilling. I love the Scarlet Pimpernel. I love the books. I love the movies. I love the Broadway musical. I'm basically smitten with Percy Blakeney. I'm collecting the books and I have 11 of the 12 Sir Percy books (that is, the Scarlet Pimpernel books that deal directly with Percy, not his predecessors or descendants. And it's not including Sir Percy Looks at the World, which is another one I want to own). I'm basically obsessed.

So, when I show this movie to anyone and they make fun of it or they say, "this movie is really silly," I get all upset because I've built it up in my mind to absolutely perfect. Do any of you have movies like that? It may not be the best movie ever but it's still a favorite and I will continue to preach its awesomeness. So, it absolutely must be on my top 100 movies list. And there you have it.

And here is one of my favorite promo pictures ever, which just so happens to be from this film!

Friday, October 1, 2010

"I ain't no native - I was born here!"

Quote of the week! In memory of the great Tony Curtis, this quote of the week is from one of his films:

"I ain't no native - I was born here!"

RIP Tony Curtis. You were truly a wonderful actor.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow...

Okay, it may be a little while for me since I live in Florida.

Hello all! I had the urge to blog today. I'm not sure this will fit into any particular segment and it won't be a 100 movies post. It's just a post about fall. I'm feel fall-ish today, how about you? I'm not sure if it was because it was actually chilly last night or maybe because I had a day off today but I woke up this morning with the distinct feeling that it's fall. And all of a sudden, I wanted to start drinking Starbuck's Toffee Mocha and wear sweaters and listen to Christmas music. It was slightly disappointing to walk outside to weather in the 90's. Ah well. I still got a Starbuck's Toffee Mocha. But no sweaters and not quite time for Christmas music.

But it doesn't stop me from wanting to pull out the holiday movies and begin dusting them off - just in preparation, of course. And it won't hurt for me to take my winter hats down from the shelves - just so they'll be handy when I need them, you understand. I suppose I tend to lump fall and winter together. When I think of fall, though, I think of October-December. I consider January-March wintertime because that's when it gets really cold over here.

Is anyone else feeling fall-ish right about now?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm feeling absolutely sklonklish!

I'm back, baby doll! Hopefully. Emma Wallace left a very kind note on my quotes post, asking me to come back. I was very touched! So, here I am! Every time I start getting back into the swing of things, I get slammed with a crazy week and then it all collapses. So frustrating.

Anyway, today I'm going to do a 100 movies post. A good while ago, I did a quotes post with this quote:
"Good work, Junior! Better than working for a living!"
Emma was the only one to guess and get the answer to this one - the movie is The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple. Which just so happens to be #32 on my count-up!

The film is pretty wacky so bear with me on this one. Bachelor Richard Nugent (Grant) has a tendency to attract trouble - not that he causes any and when he is brought before Judge Margaret Turner (Loy), he finds her narrow view of the facts rather frosty. But when Richard speaks at Margaret's sister's school, that's when the trouble really begins because Susan (Temple) falls head-over-heels for him! And when Susan sneaks up to Richard's apartment, claiming that he asked her to model for him, he finds himself in a pretty tricky situation.

Like I said, pretty wacky. I remember lending this one to my aunt and she returned it saying that it was a little "unrealistic." Well, of course it is! That's what makes it so fun! No one would ever actually sentence a bachelor to date a teenager in order to get him out of her system (this movie would really never work today). But, in the movies, it's fun! Especially with such a stellar cast.

As an adoring Shirley Temple fan, this is one of my favorites. The film was the studio's attempts to bring her back into the limelight. I really wish it had worked because I think she is fantastic in this one. (Plus, she's absolutely adorable - but in a different way. Check out her outfit in the clip below and her hair in this photo. How cute is she?)

And then, of course, you have the wonderful pairing of Cary Grant and Myrna Loy and they're wonderful. The storyline causes their relationship to be a little odd but I think they really make it work. I really enjoy Grant's humorous charm and Loy's wry skepticism. So much fun!

I really recommend you check the movie out for yourself but if you're not convinced yet, I'll post my favorite scene below to whet your appetite:

P.S. I feel that I should apologize for actually misquoting my own quote of the week. The original quote, now that I think of it, is actually, "Good for you, Junior!" not "Good work, Junior!"

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Good work, Junior! Better than working for a living!"

Quote of the week! Where is this quote from?

"Good work, Junior! Better than working for a living!"

Good job to Wendymoon and SassyGinger for getting last time's quote which was from Alice in Wonderland.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The safe and sane may choose mundane but let's effervesce!

Several months ago, I posted an interview with the fabulous Emma Wallace. Unfortunately, the interview got lost in the shuffle with the lists I was posting that week. So, I've decided to repost it this week in lieu of my (semi)regular segment post. Enjoy! Oh, and Happy September!!

Emma Wallace, a fellow blogger and incomparable musician, has just released her new CD - Temptation. This album transports you to a Parisian cafe with Emma's fun, flirty, and clever music. This new CD really renews my frustration that Emma is not more widely known. Her lyrics are so witty and relate-able and her tunes are so catchy and stick-in-your-head-able! I firmly believe that Porter and Gershwin would appreciate her talents (by the way, did I mention that she has a song entitled "Fred Astaire?" It's true!). I had the opportunity to interview Emma and ask her a the questions that I've had ever since listening to the CD:

Q: Which comes first - the lyrics or the tunes?

A: I find tunes muuuuch easier to write! I have a little treasury of tunes and then when I get an idea of some lyrics, I go through my tunes I've have already created and work them with the lyrics. Sometimes, like Fred Astaire or Stay With Me Tonight, they both come at the same time.

Q:I understand that you mixed this CD yourself, which means all of the instrumentation, the tempo, the volume were all arranged by you. I find that incredibly amazing! I love the way you incorporate different instruments into your music, for example, the accordion in "Connoisseur" and "Ambitious," the horn in "Song in My Head," the clarinet in "Fred Astaire," and the strings in "Mailbox." How do you know which instruments you'd like to add, when to bring in a crescendo, when to change the pace? What is the process for preparing the song for the CD?

A: The arrangement was one of the hardest things of my recording because I tend to either hear it just as the piano/voice or with a full band or orchestra! So I ended up finding songs that I liked that had a similar feel that I wanted to capture, and then using their instrumentation as inspiration. As far as volume, that wasn't too difficult to figure out because it doesn't change from when I just do piano/vocals. I recorded the piano first, then added the other instruments and last of all, added vocals.

Q: Is it harder arranging the music for the CD or writing it for the first time?

A: Well, arranging is very technical, so that was quite hard. There is sometimes a frustration when I try to figure out the perfect part of writing a song, but I think it's ultimately more enjoyable and I love when the creativity just begins to flow!

Q: If they were to make a biopic of your musical career, who would play you and what would be the title of the film? I'm wondering if you would follow in the line of other musician film titles like Beyond the Sea, De-lovely, Walk the Line, and La Vie En Rose - although, I expect your movie would be a lot sunnier.

A: Ooh! Fun question! I think Song in My Head would be a good title! Or maybe A Reason to Stay Up All Night. For modern actresses, I'd like to have Rachel Weisz or maybe Drew Barrymore. If I can pick from anyone, can I choose Ginger Rogers? Or maybe even Natalie Wood or Jane Fonda from Barefoot in the Park? Wait, wait - I've got it - I choose Julie Andrews. And, yes, I would definitely want a happier vibe!

Q: And because this is an old film blog, I'll ask some old film-related questions:
- Favorite actor?
A: I'm assuming classic film star so... Gene Kelly!

- Favorite actress?
A: I like both Kathryn Grayson and Ginger Rogers but Myrna Loy and Cyd Charisse are definitely up there. And read below for my rant about the marvelous Ms. Andrews.

- An underrated/overlooked actor/actress that you really like?
A: I think Kathryn Grayson could get more press. She's gorgeous and super versatile. Lena Horne is also fabulous and stunning. And Julie Andrews is so amazing at melting into whatever role she has. I don't think most people consider Mary Poppins or Sound of Music to be "Julie Andrews" films, because she simply becomes Mary Poppins and Maria. She's also so pretty and talented yet exudes niceness and intelligence. A winning combination (now does that make me picking her to play me a little narcissistic?!)

- Favorite dancer?
A: Umm... Gene Kelly

- Favorite singer in a film?
A: Hmmm... Gene Kelly! Really, though, he has such a smokey voice and I love his style. Julie Andrews, of course, is also marvelous.

Thank you so much, Sally, for interviewing me!

You're quite welcome! And thank you for answering! If you have not already done so, I highly recommend you go buy Temptation. And if you have already done so, do a good deed and buy it for somebody else! You may recognize the artwork above is by the fantastic Kate Gabrielle. Isn't it lovely?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's not that I don't like your charms but I'm liable to like 'em too much!

After my whole Gloria de Haven-related post, I decided to continue the theme in a 100 movies post. Yes! The 100 movies list is back!

#31 Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)

The film tells the story of two vaudeville actresses, Patsy and Jean Deyo (June Allyson and Gloria de Haven) who hold canteens in their apartment for servicemen. When a secret admirer, "Somebody," starts sending Jean orchids and, later, buys her the deed to an abandoned warehouse, Patsy sets out to discover his identity. Complications arise, however, when the two sisters fall in love with the same guy, a sailor named Johnny (Van Johnson).

In typical '40's musical fashion, this film is chock-full of songs, most of which have nothing whatever to do with the plot. There's a host of great actors making cameo appearances, which is a lot of fun: Jose Iturbi, Gracie Allen, Lena Horne, Harry James, and Xavier Cugat to name just a few.

This movie is tons of fun. There are lots of great lines and great songs. It's hard to find, unfortunately. I got ridiculously excited when I discovered it was offered in the WB Archives collection. I highly recommend it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Quiet, Bud!"

Quote of the week!

Okay so this one is really short but I'll give you a hint by way of this question: what is your favorite Disney quote?

Please feel free to respond to this post either by naming the movie or quoting your favorite Disney quote - or both!

You know, I rather see myself in tweeds for this number.

Spotlight on a costume! So, after all of these lists of 50 gorgeous people that I've been seeing lately, my sister and I were discussing who we thought were particularly beautiful and we thought it odd that Gloria de Haven never seems to be mentioned. In my opinion, she's absolutely stunning. I find myself loving her movies even though she often plays spoiled, bratty little sisters. She's so beautiful, though, she can get away with it.

Anyway, all of this lead up is to say that I decided to use a Gloria de Haven outfit for my spotlight today. I was trying to find something summery and Summer Stock seemed like a good place to look. I'd remembered a certain gingham dress. What caught my eye, however, is this totally cute little number that Gloria wears in the rehearsal scene.

I would love to wear this kind of outfit. How cute is that? The trouble is, mostly, that I don't really own shorts. I don't like shorts. They always seem to be too short or too awkward for me. I love these old-fashioned shorts that are sexy without being short shorts. And I think it helps to have a scarf as a belt. So cute. I love that she's wearing heels with this outfit. It's so wacky but it works! Well, I think it's wacky, probably because I never wear heels. Anyway, what do you think of this outfit?

Friday, August 20, 2010

There's something wild about you, child, that's so contagious.

Okay. So let me start off with the disclaimer that I realize this is very terrible what I am about to do. I have missed so dreadfully many birthdays (Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Fred Astaire to name just a small few) and yet here I am, about to celebrate the birthday of a non-classic, contemporary, and less well known actor. But there you have it, I'll do it anyway.

The fact is, I do like contemporary films as well as classic films and my favorite genres in contemporary films are a) family films and b) period films. Well, there's this one actor that I discovered in category a and then went on to find out that he'd made films in category b and, well, there was no hope for it... I fell in love. But, really, can you blame me?

Happy Birthday Ben Barnes! He turns 29 today. He was in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Easy Virtue. He is/was in other things too, of course, but those are the films of his that I have seen. I'm not sure if I'd like his other stuff. I'm a very picky fan. If I don't think I'll like a movie, I won't see it, no matter how obsessively, ridiculously in love with an actor I am. I'm pretty stinking excited about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is expected to come out in December. Can't wait!

And I know I've posted about this clip several times but I'm going to go ahead and post it again because it's one of those clips that makes me happy every time I watch it. And I have to add, on an unrelated note, that I absolutely adore the costumes, the sets, and the hairstyles in this movie (Easy Virtue). I also adore the music and Ben Barnes sings several times in the movie and they even feature him in a couple of songs in the soundtrack. Yay! So, what can beat a beautiful man singing Cole Porter songs?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How could ignorance be compared to bliss?

First of all, a big 'Well done!' to Mel for correctly guessing my quote of the week last week! It was from The Thin Man Goes Home. Hooray!

I'm slowly getting back into gear. I've finally caught up on reading everyone's blog posts. Hooray! Let's hope it lasts! I've decided to hold off on the 100 movies list for a little bit. I'm still hoping for a job that offers me a slightly more regular schedule. Last night, I worked until 10:30 and then had to get up this morning at 6 in order to be at work by 7:45. Yipes! I realize this isn't the worst possible schedule. In fact, I'm sure I've had worse myself. Just the same, I don't like it. I hate getting up early but I'm willing to do it if I get off early and can have my evenings free to do things: write, read, comment on blogs, write posts, watch movies, dance. I would love to get back into playing the piano. But, let's face it. That will never happen with the schedule I have now. At any rate, it's a work in progress. Hopefully I'll be able to get it all straightened out soon. In the meantime, I'm going to concentrate on 1 post a week, just until things calm down a bit more for me. The segment posts are the most fun and they offer more variety. So, here is a spotlight on a musical number:

"The Sadder But Wiser Girl" from The Music Man (1962).
(Sorry the clip is un-embeddable so I'm linking to it instead) I have memories of skipping this song when I was younger because my dad didn't approve of it. I'm not actually sure if it was true although it sounds about right. At any rate, I'm so glad I finally stopped skipping it and started listening. This song is delightful! It's so fun and funny. The words are clever and the tune is catchy. This Robert Preston at his finest (although, to be fair, the whole musical is incredible so it's kind of hard to say). About half of the songs in the movie are my favorites but this one is one of them. Have you ever found yourself going into a default mode? A default song that you get stuck in your head, a default scene that you think of all the time? Well, this song is my default whistle. If I get in the mood to whistle, I whistle the little bit that Robert Preston whistles after he says, "from what I heard..." which I know is part of the refrain. But still. This song is one of my defaults. What's your default?

I hope you enjoy it. If you have never seen this movie, go see it! It's so much fun!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"I feel it here, inside."

Thank you so much for commenting on my last blog post! I now know that Ginger's autobiography comes highly recommended. I will definitely try to get to that one very, very soon.

More exciting news, although not at all movie-related. I just joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators! So exciting! I can't wait to start going to critique groups and conferences and stuff. Woohoo!

Oh, and I threw in a quote of the week last week but I think I threw it in a little too invisibly and either no one caught it or no one recognized it. The quote ("Reading's good for you sometimes") was from Three Little Words.

So, new quote of the week!

"I feel it here, inside."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Reading's good for you sometimes."

This post is going to double up as a (belated) quote of the week post and also as a question. So, first, can anyone guess where this quote is from?

"Reading's good for you sometimes."

And now, the question. My to-read list is very long but I've been working through it more or less steadily. My two favorite genres are kid lit and movie history. In the latter category, I have less titles to choose from because I don't have much of an idea of what's out there. I've read TCM's three books on leads: Leading Men, Leading Ladies, and Leading Couples. I just finished Arlene Croce's The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book. Now, I'm curious as to what to read next. On my to-read list (and, incidentally, to-buy list) are the autobiographies of Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, and Errol Flynn, as well as The Thin Man Movies: Murder Over Cocktails by Charles Tranberg. I wanted to ask a few questions from you guys. First, have you read any of the titles in my to-read list? If so, are they good reads? Second, what else would you recommend? Is Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Pinache any good? Let me know! I'm currently in a reading frame of mind and am looking for more good picks.

P.S. I really appreciate your well-wishes on my job hunt!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Perfect! You can be Queen of the Fairies!

Spotlight on a scene! I've decided to get back into the groove of things slowly. I'm going to attempt to write a once a week. If I try to get back into the swing of things in one full swing then I'll keep putting it off. So, bits and pieces. In the meantime, a segment post.

These scene is from the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire. I've always lumped this movie into the old movies category despite its late date just because it has an older feel to it. This probably has to do with the fact that the film is set in the 1920's (the costumes are amazing). I was introduced to this film in a religious context, but don't let that throw you if you're not a religious type. It's a very enjoyable movie with or without the religion. It tells the true story of two British athletes during the 1924 Olympics, one Jewish and the other Christian, and how one must run as a fight against Antisemitism and the other runs to make a statement about Christianity. It really is very good. (By the way, the picture below is not of the two main characters but one of the main characters - Harold Abrahams on the left, and one of the supporting characters, Lord Andrew Lindsay on the right.)

Anyway, I wanted to show this scene because this is one of the first scenes I think of when I think of this movie. When I went to college I was very disappointed that club rush was not exactly like this because this looks incredibly fun - people standing around singing, music playing, people yelling in heated debate - so much fun! When I went to club rush, it was just people standing around offering candy if you signed up for their club and they just put up photos of past events - not as much fun. Also, the scene immediately afterward, the college dash, is incredibly enjoyable as well (Lord Andrew Lindsay is my favorite!). So enjoy! The scene actually starts at 4:10 in case you want to skip straight to the scene.

P.S. When I went to England, I spent a day in Cambridge and spent a good portion of the day looking for Gonville and Caius College. People kept saying, "Oh, you mean King's?" "No! Caius! You know, like Chariots of Fire." Sadly, the college was closed when I finally found it. More's the pity. Ah well. Some day.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anybody else you know you can't remember?

Hello everyone! My but it's been a long time. Well, first things first.

For those of you who guessed On The Town in my quote post from oh-so-long ago (that is, Meredith, Amanda Cooper, and emma wallace), congratulations!!

The results for the Mary Poppins poll were very interesting. Here they are:
"Chim Chim Cher-ee" won with 6 votes (54%). "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" was close behind with 5 votes (45%). "Sister Suffragette," "Jolly Holiday," and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" tied with 4 votes (36%). "Spoonful of Sugar" and "Let's Go Fly A Kite" both had 3 votes (27%). "The Life I Lead" had 2 votes (18%) while "A Man Has Dreams" and "Stay Awake" each had one vote (9%). "I Love to Laugh," "Fidelity Feduciary Bank" and "Step in Time" didn't get any votes, which is surprising to me. Thank you to everyone who voted!!

Well, I've been away for practically a whole month. I wish I could promise I'll be on top of things from now on, will read blogs in a timely manner, and post regularly. However, my schedule is still pretty crazy so I'm not sure how long it will take me to settle things down. Believe me, I'd like to have a calmer schedule. I'm working on getting a new job right now, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

While I have been neglecting my blog-writing and my blog-reading, I haven't been as neglectful in reading film-related books. This month, I read TCM's book 50 Leading Men of the Hollywood Era and I'm working on Arlene Croce's The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book. I've also been watching those Makings-of I decided to start watching way back when. And then I've been slowly chipping away at my 95-long Netflix queue. I've watched To Catch A Thief, Summer Magic, Dodge City, and The Happiest Millionaire. I have My Blue Heaven sitting on my desk right now but I'm not quite sure when I'll get to it.

Today, since I've been reading about Fred and Ginger, I decided to watch a bit of Roberta. It's a funny thing about those movies - no matter how stressed you are, how long it's been since you've watched them, whether or not you're watching them alone - they're delightful to watch every time. When they start dancing the "I'll Be Hard to Handle" number, I felt elated and calmed at the same time. There should be a study about the therapeutic qualities of Fred and Ginger films. And now, to pass on the joy, I leave you with this:

Thanks for loyally following me! I really appreciate it! I will endeavor to get back into the groove of things soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Gee, all my life I've wanted someone to love me for my sack of defalic head."

And now, the quote of the week! No one guessed the quote from several weeks ago which was from The Music Man. But, here's this week's:

"Gee, all my life I've wanted someone to love me for my sack of defalic head."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'd love to make a tour of you...

Yay! I get to write to do my compare/contrast segment post (also known as my Old Hollywood/New Hollywood post, also known as my musical remakes post). I've been wanting to do another one for quite a while. It's so exciting!

There are several that I want to do but I think I'll go with comparing Ninotchka (1939) and Silk Stockings (1957). I watched the original a few months ago for the first time. Although, now that I think of it, "a few months ago" may very well have been January. Ah well. The truth is, I saw the remake first. And the first movie is usually the most dear, if only for sentimental reasons. Sometimes there are exceptions, but I've found that people are usually more attached to the first version of anything they've seen. That said, you can probably guess which of the two I prefer.

I think the original has many marks in its favor. A brilliant cast, for one. Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas are in fine form in this movie and both are delightful to see. The movie also has the benefit of being the original and, thus, the jokes are fresher and newer than they are in the remake.

Now, here are my problems with the movie. I don't like Ninotchka's transition. I don't think there is enough leading up to her change. She laughs and then, suddenly, she's a new woman. I suppose the laugh is a magical moment for her, but I have a hard time believing her new love and her new free spirit after just one luncheon. And, although this may sound odd, I do believe it in the musical, where the change arises from a dance. Again, not exactly a realistic approach, but a lot can come from music and a lot can be expressed in a dance. The "All of You" number shows her loosening and changing and, by the end of the number, we're as transported by the music as she is. That is the benefit of musicals - they get music and music has a magic all its own. What's more, the musical has Cole Porter music, which is in a class all its own. There are some fantastic numbers in this movie which is one of the major reasons I enjoy it.

As much as I like Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas, I have to confess that I love Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse more. Not saying they're better actors necessarily; I just happen to like them better. I love Cyd Charisse and I think she is adorable in her role. Ironically, neither Fred Astaire nor Melvyn Douglas are exactly the handsomest men around (in my opinion), but if I were to choose between them, I'd pick Fred Astaire. This probably comes as no suprise, really, but there it is.

However, I will say this about the original. I absolutely love the scene when Ninotchka first meets Leon. I enjoy the way she tolerates his flirtation.

Which do you prefer? The original or the musical remake? I'm posting a poll to the side so you can tell me there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Coo! What a sight!

#30 Mary Poppins (1964)

I know I say this a lot, but this is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. It's so magical and beautiful and poignant and touching and fun. It's a masterpiece. When people ask me what my favorite movie is (and I work at Disney so this question does come up in conversation from time to time), I automatically think cartoons but then as I start listing them, I always have to throw this one in because I think it is one of the best made movies, and one of the best made Disney movies.

I don't think I have to give you a nutshell of the plot, so I won't. Phew! I'm off the hook for this one!

Reasons for why this movie is a masterpiece: 1) the story. It's really quite perfect. It has a complete arc that's filled with emotion and entertainment and poignancy and, importantly, it ends with hope (I like that Bert bids Mary Poppins farewell; it makes her character, and his, seem less lonesome). 2) the technology. I know that movie makers, and Walt Disney in particular, had been experimenting with combining cartoon and live action for decades before Mary Poppins (the Alice comedies of the 1920's), but the combination of the two blend so beautifully together, it's hard to imagine them separated. 3) the characters. Every one in the film from the practically perfect Mary Poppins, the mysterious but friendly Bert, jolly Uncle Albert, suffragette Mrs. Banks, stoic Mr. Banks, to the "adorable" children, the servants, the policeman, and the sweeps are colorful and thoroughly enjoyable characters. There isn't a dislikeable one among the lot. Although Mr. Bank has his moments, he is, in general, a pitiable character and he gets some fantastic numbers, which leads to #4.... 4) the music. You all know how much I love the Sherman Brothers. I think they were geniuses and I do wish they got more credit and recognition for their work. But, at the very least, they get a good amount of press for their work here. These songs are classic and they are classic Sherman magic. I love the way each song has a story behind it and every song has a philosophy or observation behind it. 5) the performers. this really goes hand in hand with #3, but I feel there should be something said about how amazing all of the actors are in this. There isn't a bad pick in the entire cast. Everyone is a perfect fit. 6) Finally, the magic. You just can't deny it. The movie is pure Disney magic from beginning to end. It's charming and touching, philosophical and entertaining.

Now, for some trivia. And these ones I know from watching documentaries and reading bits and pieces from time to time so I really can't cite them off-hand like I usually do. Like I said earlier, a lot of the songs have stories behind them which are very entertaining. One of my personal favorites is the story of "Sister Suffragette." When Walt Disney called Glynis Johns in to offer her the role, she thought he planned to make her the title character and was completely overjoyed. When he told her he actually wanted to make her the mother, she said she wasn't interested. So, Walt Disney told her that they'd written a song for her in this role and she told him that she'd think about it after she'd heard the song. So, Walt Disney called up the Sherman brothers and told them to think up a song for Mrs. Banks and fast. They had, luckily, already been playing with a tune for Mary Poppins about her being "practically perfect in every way." After changing the lyrics, it became "Sister Suffragette." The rest of the trivia that I know is in bits and pieces:
- "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" was Walt's favorite song
- "Step in Time" was more or less inspired by "Knees Up, Mother Brown"
- The Sherman brothers originally wrote a song for the character Admiral Boom but Walt requested the song be taken out. The tune of the song is still the Admiral's theme and you can hear it whenever he has a scene (sing to yourself "Admiral Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom Boom" when he comes on and you'll pick up on the tune).

I could go on and on. If I'm not careful, I will!! I'm having to stop myself from waxing too eloquent on this movie. I'm in no way an expert but I have watched the documentary on it and I read the book written by the Sherman brothers and paid especial attention to this chapter. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend both. I'll post a new poll up too - which is your favorite song in Mary Poppins?

I leave you with this little bit of silliness and one of my favorite quotes.

"There's the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And think of all of the fun if we played each other on repeat one...

Wow. Long time, no see! Same old excuse, I'm afraid: I've been crazy-busy with work, working 6 days/50 hours a week. I haven't had much time for blogging and blog-reading. I'm going to try and get back into gear with all that, slowly but surely. It's hard making a regular schedule for one's self when one's work schedule is totally irregular. I've finally gotten myself to clean the cat's litter box in a (more or less) regular manner.

Like I said, slowly but surely. Once upon a time, I used iCal and scheduled everything on my to-do list around my work schedule. It worked beautifully, if I remember correctly, so I don't know quite why I stopped. In any case, I may have to try it again and see if it works beautifully this go around. All this to say, it feels like it's been ages since I've been able to post about a movie in my 100 movies list, or a segment post, or a list, or a quote of the week. Today is my first day of in 12 days and I'm hoping to take full advantage of the opportunity and maybe pre-write a few posts in order to get back on track. However, I also need to go through the very un-fun task of shopping for work shoes. sigh. We'll see how it works. I may have too much fun relaxing to do anything productive.

In the meantime, I have managed to work on some projects when I'm off work. For one thing, I made a new banner. Do you like it? I'm prodigously proud of it! And, most recently, I finished a video for Emma Wallace's new cd. You can view the video on my YouTube channel but I'll embed it here to make things easier. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My heart wants to sing every song it hears

I think I sort of lost focus on my whole list project. You see, it all started out as this thing where I'd make a list every month. Just one post. Just one list. And then, when I started listing out my favorite dancers and linking to all my favorite dances, it occurred to me that no one would have the time or the inclination to watch all of those dances all at once, but they might watch them if I posted one post on each dancer. Anyway, then it sort of worked its way into this huge project where I was posting practically every day, and at least every week on these lists and I think I may have gotten a bit carried away. I like lists. I think lists are fun. I like reading them and I enjoy writing them. The whole point of this was to take the memes of Favorite Actors and Favorite Actresses one step farther and start more lists. I had hoped that maybe other bloggers would participate and then we could be listing our favorites and it would be barrels of fun.

So, I think I'm going to go back to my original intent. I'm going to write a list a month and let it go at that. Every now and again, I may move back into multiple postings and, at that point, I'll let you know. But I think that, for the most part, I'd like to just stick with lists. So, here is my list for the month of June:

Favorite female singers in movies:

20. Irene Dunne
Favorite song: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from Roberta

19. Jane Powell
Favorite song: "Goin' Cotin'" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

18. Shirley Jones
Favorite song: "Many A New Day" from Oklahoma

17. Kathryn Grayson
Favorite song: "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate

16. Ann Blyth
Favorite song: "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads" from Kismet (song clip starts at 1:42)

15. June Allyson
Favorite song: "Thou Swell" from Words and Music

14. Judy Garland
Favorite song: "Mr. Monotony" from Easter Parade

13. Frances Langford
Favorite song: "Over There" from Yankee Doodle Dandy

12. Marni Nixon
Favorite songs: "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story and "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady

11. Doris Day
Favorite song: "The Deadwood Stage" from Calamity Jane

10. Dolores Gray

Favorite song: "Not Since Ninevah" from Kismet (song clip starts at 2:11)
I love the way Dolores Gray belts. She has an awesome voice that is powerful and sultry at the same time. I'd like to see her in more films but I've only seen in her Kismet and It's Always Fair Weather. Any recommendations?

9. Rosemary Clooney
Favorite song: "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" from White Christmas

6. Annette Funicello
Favorite songs: "Strummin' Song" from The Horsemasters, "I Can't Do The Sum" from Babes In Toyland, and "I Think You Think" from Beach Blanket Bingo

7. Gloria de Haven

Favorite song: "My Mother Told Me" from Two Girls and a Sailor

6. Marilyn Monroe
Favorite songs: "Lazy" from There's No Business Like Show Business, "I Wanna Be Loved By You" from Some Like It Hot, "I'm Through With Love" from Some Like It Hot and... well, basically, I love her, so pretty much every song.

5. Ginger Rogers
Favorite songs: "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket" from Follow the Fleet, "Let Yourself Go" from Follow the Fleet, "We're In The Money" from The Gold Diggers of 1933

4. Ann Miller

Favorite songs: "Prehistoric Man" from On The Town, "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate (really weird vid, sorry! but the audio is good), and "Shakin' the Blues Away" from Easter Parade.

3. Lena Horne
Favorite songs: "Honeysuckle Rose" from Thousands Cheer and "Paper Doll" from Two Girls and a Sailor (I'm sorry that I have no YouTube vids to share. I couldn't find either of these online)

2. Fran Jeffries

Favorite songs: "Meglio Stasera" from The Pink Panther and "Sex and the Single Girl" from Sex and the Single Girl

1. Julie Andrews

Favorite songs: "I Have Confidence" from Sound of Music, "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" from Mary Poppins, and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" from Thoroughly Modern Millie