Tuesday, February 23, 2010


First of all, let us all congratulate Ferdy and The Siren for their magnificent management of the For the Love of Film blogathon. They raised a little over $10,000 which was their goal! It was iffy at first, but I am so proud to say that they made it. This amount of money will preserve one 3-reel film (that's feature length!). Hopefully we can find out what film is preserved with the money they raised. I am sorry to say that I was not able to contribute a second entry as I had originally planned, but I came down with a pretty nasty stomach bug, then I went out of town last weekend, so I never got to it. I guess I'll have to save it for next time.

Second, I recently installed a blog tracker, and I'm totally hooked to it. I can't believe that I am getting hits from Germany, Australia, Canada, and even South Africa! If you are an international visitor, please let me know. It's exciting to think that anyone is reading my blog, especially someone that far away.

And finally before i get to Actors number 5, My L.A. trip is officially officially on! It was tentative until my friend replied and said that we can stay with her, so now it is definitely going to happen. My best friend Paige is coming with me, and in addition to research I am going to do departmental visits at the UCLA school of Moving Image Archive studies and Critical Studies at USC. Plus all of the fun sightseeing! You have no idea how excited I am, especially since this semester is super busy and is driving me nuts. The only thing that sucks about my L.A. trip is that my 21st birthday is the day after I return, so no drinking (in bars, at least) while I'm there. boo.

Anyway, my #5 favorite actor is...Joseph Cotten! This is mostly because he is so dreamy (apparently I have a thing for butt chins...), but he was also a damn good actor.

Favorite roles: Zach in I'll Be Seeing You, Jed in Citizen Kane

(apparently I like posting What's My Line videos. They're just so fun!)

Number 5 is also Doris Day. Even on the worst day, she can make me smile. I like her persona on screen and off, and the two are very different. I recommend reading her biography, because she frankly discusses things you would never expect to hear from someone like Jan Morrow. She is also an extremely talented singer, definitely one of my favorite voices. I am going to go on video overkill here and bog you down with a few, because she really is a complex woman. Also, if you are as passionate about the rescue of animals as Doris and I are, please consider donating to her Animal Rescue Foundation.
Favorite roles: Jan in Pillow Talk, Lucy in Storm Warning, Cathy in That Touch of Mink

Monday, February 15, 2010

Les Six

If you are a fan of 20th century French classical music, you will understand that title. hehe. I love making jokes that no one understands.

Honestly, I can't remember the order, and the list I made was deleted. I remember the actress list, but I can't remember the boys after #2. Sad I know, but I guess I don't pay as much attention to actors, or I tend to watch movies starring the same people.

Ralph Bellamy: He is the king of whiny guys who don't get the girl. Even though he is sort of a cutie, he just doesn't have the skills that Cary Grant or Fred Astaire have. He was just like a puppy: really dumb, but too cute to leave behind.
Favorite Roles: Dan Leeson in The Awful Truth, Stephen in Carefree

Bette Davis: Talk about opposites. I love Bette in every stage of her career that I have seen. When she was young, she was harsh and a little overdone. Then by about 1938, she was perfect. Even in old age she knocked our socks off in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Alongside her rival Joan Crawford. I actually saw in a film about her that the reason Joan hated her so much was because Bette slept with her fiance, and many others as well. I haven't seen the movies she did when she was really old, but apparently she was a hoot.
Favorite Roles: Charlotte Vale in Now, Voyager, Jane in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Julie in Jezebel, Margot in All About Eve

My entry for the blogathon!

Film Preservation is something near and dear to my heart. I am even thinking of pursuing it as a career, but I'm not totally sure i'm cut out for it. Either way, I will support it for the rest of my life, because it literally pains me to see bad prints of films in wide circulation. The most recent one I can think of was Love Affair. There were huge scratches, dark spots, and brightness inconsistencies throughout the whole movie, and this was on TCM!

Right now the kid I am babysitting is watching Cars for about the billionth time. I too was an obsessive repeater: particularly Home Alone and The Addams Family. The advance of home video technology, and now DVDs, Blu-Rays and now digital copies ensure that no film will be lost again, even the terrible ones, because they are all distributed and archived in multiple formats. Many peoplewho see our work as less than urgent argue that "these were pretty bad films anyway, so who cares if they're lost?". Well if you don't mind, I'm going to go ahead and destroy all copies of From Justin to Kelly, since it wasn't very good anyway.

So what does a lost film like The Awful Truth (1929) and From Justin to Kelly have in common? They both paint an important picture in Hollywood history: one of how a single story can evolve in to several subsequent versions, and the other a commentary on pop-culture status. Who cares if The Awful Truth is terrible? I want to see it!

There are important lost films as well. Two early Hitchcock films are gone: one feature-length and one short. Fanny Foley Herself may not sound too intriguing, but it is a feature-length all-technicolor film from 1931! I'm sure you have all heard by now, but a more complete version of Metropolis was discovered a couple of years ago, and it was screened this weekend in Berlin. Expect a DVD in April.

This brings me to an important website that I just happened upon: Lost Films is an effort to catalogue and fin as many lost films as possible. They also post caps of unidentified films, in the hope that at least an actor can be identified. Please check it out and try to do some identification!

That's all for now, but expect me to come back this week to talk about preservation and the public domain, a growing problem.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. They work directly with archives to rescue endangered films that will not survive without public support.

The NFPF will give away 4 DVD sets as thank-you gifts to blogathon donors chosen in a random drawing: Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 and Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, 1947-1986.

If this post has inspired you, please consider donating to the National Film Preservation Foundation in honor or memory of your favorite film director or star.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another blogging award!

Meredith over at the wonderfully-titled Or Maybe Eisenstein Should Just Relax just bestowed upon me the Kreativ Blogger Award! It makes me feel validated to get these awards, like you guys care about what I'm writing almost as much as I do.

1. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. Done, because I am obedient, unlike my predecessors...
2. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
3. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers, and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
5. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Here Goes!
1. I am super tall, and I'm still not totally comfortable with it. I'm 6'1 1/2", and I think I may be still growing, because I grew about 3/4" inch last year. I'm ready
to be done!
2. I used to be really in to dog shows, but I haven't been to one in abou
t 6 months. For a long time, I wanted to own and show a Great Dane. Now that I'm living in a 350 square foot apartment, I'm glad I didn't take that plunge.
3. I do a lot of embroidery. It's turning in to a profitable hobby, since many of my friends have commissioned projects from me. Here are a couple of examples (and
if you want to order something, just let me know!)

4. I really like stand-up comedy. Eventually I would like to have a go at it myself, but that will take a long time, because...
5. I have a pretty bad case of performance anxiety. This was not a problem at all while I was active in community theatre, but as soon as my Music studies began here at OU, I started throwing up on a regular basis. I would get sick before each and every voice lesson, and it got old really fast. Last semester, I was advised to drop my music studies when I found a degree plan where I could continue studying film without my two years of music theory, piano, and voice lessons going in the garbage. Now that I'm done with classical performance, there is such a tremendous weight off my shoulders, plus I appreciate classical music so much more because I'm not being forced to perfom stuff I don't like.
6. I come from a family of race car drivers. Both grandpas, my Dad, and my Uncles race cars. My cousins also race motorcycles professionally. I've been going to the racetrack since I was just a wee one, and I'm so used to the loud noise that I can sleep through it, no problem.
7. Speaking of sleep, it's probably my second favorite thing in the world (I'm sure you can guess the first...haha) Every morning when I wake up I think "That was great! I can't wait for bed!" Buying an electric blanket only made it more difficult to get up in the morning. I sleep like a log, even through storms, which we get frequently here in Tornado Alley! The big ones like this usually don't come near me, but I bet one this big would wake me up.
Anyway, I am sure you are thoroughly bored. Here are the seven to whom I am passing the torch:
SassyGinger at My World Through the Lens of a Camera: she needs more followers!
Maria at Let Yourself Go: Her drawings are RIDICULOUS!!!
Huey at Gingerology: gotta support my fellow scientist!
Classic Movie Blog: I love the Classic Links and Daily Birthday posts!
Jenny the Nipper at Cinema OCD: She is doing what I hope to be doing!
Spiffy: Inspiring me to be a better vintage vixen.
Amy Jeanne at It'll Take the Snap Out of your Garters!: a great vintage sewing blog. I can't wait to learn how to sew, then I am going to EAT UP vintage dress patterns.

Well there ya go! Keep them coming!

Lucky Seven!

My number sevens have also appeared in a film together, and it was his first!
Fred Astaire should teach every man how to romance a woman. He is the greatest dancer in film history, and introduced to us some of the greatest standards of the American Songbook.
Favorite Roles: Lucky in Swing Time, Huck in Roberta.
This song means so much more with the intro. For some reason, very few people do it.

Joan Crawford was an enigmatic actress whose mystery made her attractive to everyone. Her career went through several evolutions, beginning as a silent siren and ending in B-movies. Although I have never seen any of her silent films, the stills I have seen are stunning. What I like most about Joan Crawford may be surprising to you: I think she looks terribly sweet. Yes, I know about Mommie Dearest, and I don't think it's true (why else would Christina wait to publish the book until after she died?). At least Bette Davis' daughter BD released her knock-off book while Bette was still alive to refute it. Actors are notoriously controlling, but I highly doubt that it was anywhere near as bad as Christina made it out to be. Even if she was a little crazy off screen, her films are fantastic and arouse great sympathy, especially in her mid-40s women's films. Oh yes, and she liked to slap people.
Favorite Roles: Mildred in Mildred Pierce, Blanche in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Unfortunately, embedding for these videos is not available, so you will have to open these links in a new tab.

You should also go back and look at the video I posted for Jack Carson. She's the real star of that video, taking a cameo in a late 40s musical to make fun of her persona. Hilarious.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My LA Trip Intenerary

My trip is just a little more than a month away! Here is a tentative list of things I plan on visiting:

1. 1605 Gilcrest Drive: Obviously, Ginger's big house in Beverly Hills. After doing some googling tonight, I discovered that the current resident, Tobey Cotsen donated $12,500 to Democratic Presidential candidates in 2008. Hilarious. Ginger would be soooooo pissed.

2. Oakwood Memorial Park: to see Ginger, Fred, and Gloria Grahame's graves.
3. Grauman's Chinese Theater
4. Forest Lawn cemetery: there are so many people I want to see here, so time is obviously an issue. I would hate to drage my friends through a cemetery for a whole day just to see random film composers.
They have: 2 of the Andrews Sisters, Lucille Ball, L. Frank Baum, Joan Blondell, Eric Blore, George Cukor, Michael Curtiz, Jane Darwell, Edith Head, Edward Everett Horton, Gus Kahn (lyricist for many standards including It Had to be You and Dream a Little Dream), Mervyn LeRoy, Ernst Lubitsch, Alfred Newman (composer of many Hitchcock films), Maria Ouspenskaya, Dick Powell, Max Steiner, Jimmy Stewart, Dimitri Tiompkin, William Wyler. Phew!
5. Museum of Contemporary Art: something I love almost as much as film is contemporary art.
6. My dear friend Paige has agreed to come with me, and we are going to try to get tickets for Chelsea Lately, one of our favorite shows!!
Please please please suggest more things! And if you will be in LA the 3rd week of March, let me know!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


My number eight male is William Powell, the debonair comedian with an admirable love of martinis. Equally admirable is his brief marriage to Carole Lombard. I would have loved to see them in an uncensored setting.
Favorite roles: Godfrey in My Man Godfrey, Nick Charles in The Thin Man series
Coincidentally, my number eight actress appeared in My Man Godfrey and Love Crazy with Powell. Gail Patrick is a terribly underrated character actress who never made it big, even though she definitely had the talent. She makes Bianca in My Favorite Wife (also known as My Favorite Movie) a sympathetic character, doing much better than the easily-hated Bianca played by Polly Bergen in the remake.
I've always thought that Gail looks a lot like Snow White, and since she was on the RKO lot in 1937 and in a very famous movie the year before, I wonder if she served as some inspiration. I also love her voice, it's so much lower than a lot of her ingenue counterparts, and very distinctive.
Favorite Roles: Linda in Stage Door, Bianca in My Favorite Wife

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Numbers 9

9. Jack Carson: He is great in almost everything I've seen him in. The Groom Wore Spurs is the exception. He played a wide variety of minor men, from the suave Connors in Carefree to the overexcited Mr. Milbank in Stage Door. He also did a great job in the late 40s musicals with his girlfriend (at the time) Doris Day.
Try not to watch this video without laughing so hard you cry (I did!)

9. Ann Miller: One of the greatest female tap dancers of all time. She is second in my book to Eleanor Powell. But she is a much better singer and actress than Powell. Plus she could hold her own with a mega star like Ginger at the tender age of 14!

Favorite Roles: Ann "String Bean" in Stage Door, Claire in On the Town

Something I Made!

It's not that impressive, just a screencap. I couldn't help it when I saw this last night:
I may have to print this off and stick it inside my notebook so I will smile during the classes that I intensely dislike.
How about some Ginger Trivia?
1. What color(s) is the "Yam" dress in Carefree?
2. Ginger turned down two films that eventually went to Olivia DeHaviland-both films have great legacies now. What are they?

3. Family on both sides created innovative things. What did Walter Owens and/or Dr. John Sappington develop?

4. For which film was Ginger nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe?

5. How many times does the word "beguiling" appear in The Major and the Minor?

I will post answers in the comments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Top 10 Actors and Actresses

To copy Hollywood Dreamland, I too am going to do a count down of my favorite actors and actresses. I know this is really supposed to be 20, but I honestly can't think of 20. Isn't that sad? Proof that I need to branch out more. Anyway, so begins the count down:

10. Franklin Pangborn: How can you resist? He is one of the few actors that makes me squeal when I discover that he is in a movie I'm watching. He rarely had a large enough part to garner a screen credit in his whopping 224 films, yet he is one of the best-remembered character actors among us classic film freaks. He often tackled gay stereotypes in pre-code and code-era films along with other character actors like Edward Everett Horton.
Favorite Roles: Harcourt in Stage Door, Herbert in Professional Sweetheart

10. Spring Byington: WHy not make it a character actor day? Spring Byington was a fantastic actresses who handled dizzy women perfectly. My mom particularly loves my impression of Spring as Rebecca Perry in Theadora Goes Wild, which is also my favorite role of hers. Other favorites are as Marmee in Little Women (1933) and Mary Sunshine in Roxie Hart.

(her part starts at 2:20)

Number 9 tomorrow!