Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Be My Guest: Rachel (The Girl With The White Parasol)
A new month means a new guest. For July, it's Rachel who writes the wonderful blog The Girl With The White Parasol. Here's the link to her blog so can visit it if you have never been to it: thegirlwiththewhiteparasol
Now onto the questions and her terrific answers.
Rachel's profile icon
1. What made you start blogging?
Rachel: I think it all started a few years back when I started reading classic film blogs and realized, “Hey, there are people out there thinking about the same things I am.” I’d been sliding into a classic film obsession for awhile, but I’d pretty much given up on trying to talk about old films in the real world. Then I discovered the online community and felt right at home. Took the plunge during a lull in my real-life activities and haven’t regretted it since.
2. Who are your favorite classic film stars? Name as many as you want
Rachel: Humphrey Bogart, Jean Simmons, James Stewart, Gene Tierney, Barbara Stanwyck, Dana Andrews, Joseph Cotton, Thelma Ritter, Paul Newman, Fredric March, Katharine Hepburn, Dan Duryea, Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Teresa Wright, Joan Bennett, and so many others. That’s just skimming the top of the list.
Me: Some excellent choices there Rachel.
3. What are some of your favorite films?
Rachel: Double Indemnity, Vertigo. Rear Window, The Magnificent Seven, Groundhog Day, 12 Angry Men, Witness, The Apartment, Midnight, Letter to Three Wives, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Heiress, Laura, The Lady Eve, Sunset Boulevard, Bringing Up Baby, Holiday,.Ninotchka, My Fair Lady, Shadow of a Doubt, The Letter, I Walked With a Zombie, The Unknown, Say Anything, When Harry Met Sally, Airplane!, Black Narcissus, The Reckless Moment, The Maltese Falcon…I could keep going.
Me: The one film on your list that stood out was Airplane...it's one of the funniest movies ever!
4. Describe your first classic movie experience. Like where and when..at a cinema, on TV, etc..
Rachel: Probably one of the Disney films was my chronological first. In addition to the animated ones, I really loved some of the live action ones like The Parent Trap or those swashbucklers with Richard Todd. Our VCR saw a lot of use in those days and I ended up with a whole library of VHS copies. But I think the first time I became consciously aware that a classic film was something to seek out was when my parents rented Stage Fright, telling me that Alfred Hitchcock always made good movies. Little did they know what they started that day…
Me: Cool story
5. What films upon first viewing did you not like, then later on when re-watching them, loved them?
Rachel: Well Vertigo, for one. Saw it when I was 12 and didn’t know what I’d just seen. It gave me uneasy dreams for the rest of the night and years later, I would hear the music and the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up. It wasn’t until I got old enough that I realized it was a masterpiece. Hmm, I also didn’t think much of Holiday when I first saw it. And I’m slowly working up a love for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Very slowly. When I was a kid, I despised John Wayne’s character so much that it ruined the whole movie for me. But my family loves this film dearly and repeated viewing have given me a lot more empathy for the characters and the story.
Me: I wasn't too crazy about Vertigo the first time I saw either. Over time and repeat viewings and I like a little bit more than the first time I saw it.
6. Describe the perfect way for you to watch a classic film.
Rachel: I guess outside, lying on a blanket. It would be a quiet evening with perfect weather and I’d be gazing up at a huge screen, in the midst of an enthusiastic, classic-loving audience. My second place be alone and snug on the couch while the fire’s crackling and the snow’s beating the windows.
Me: Sounds great either way!
7. How many friends, family member or co-workers share your love of classic films?
Rachel: My parents always liked old films for the most part although there were certain kinds they would not touch (silents, melodramas, anything with Robert Mitchum). My mom is probably my favorite person to discuss films with. As for my friends and co-workers, they’re more likely to dip into a few films here and there rather than seek them out as a rule.
8. What is your favorite time period: the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's or 60's?
Rachel: The 40s are my number one. After that, the 30s and the 50s are roughly in second place.
Me: the 30's are my favorite era
9. What are some of your favorite film quotes?
Rachel: “I didn’t want to be an old maid. Not in Kansas!”
~Heaven Can Wait
“Then she tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.”
~The Big Sleep
“A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl.”
~Citizen Kane (well anyone who knows my blog could see that one coming)
“They’ve been like that all down through the ages. Especially in a spot like this.” ~Plan 9 from Outer Space
“I am married to an American agent.”
“Walking through life with you, ma’am, has been a very gracious thing.”
~They Died With Their Boots On
Me: Some good quotes there Rachel!
10. What classic films have you yet to see for one reason or another?
Rachel: This is really embarrassing, but I haven’t seen Taxi Driver. Let me explain that one. My dad never wanted to watch it, got an idea in his head that he would hate it. So my mom never saw it. Then, when I got old enough to see it, Mom and I planned to finally see it together. Except one thing or another always came around to prevent us from watching it. And I would feel wrong if I saw it without her by this point so I guess it’ll have to wait until we can finally make that movie date. Oh, and I haven’t seen Jules and Jim, An American in Paris, Tokyo Story, Night of the Living Dead, or Blow-Up, to name a few other shameful gaps.
Me: Taxi Driver is pretty good. Intense but really good!
11. What is your favorite genre?
Rachel: I don’t know how to answer this one. I love film noir. I love screwball comedy. I love the romantic fantasies like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir or Portrait of Jennie. But I also really love some of the straightforward dramas and historical films. Maybe it would be faster to say what I least like which is most of the 60s comedies (too bloated and mean-spirited) and pretty near all slasher and horror films. I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to horror.
Me: I love screwball comedies...but I also love the comedies of the 60's as well.
And horror films too.
12. If you threw a movie theme party, describe how you would do it. The costumes, decorations, food, etc.
Rachel: Probably a film noir party. We could dress up to the nines, stage a murder in one of the cars, have a Guess Which Elisha Cook Jr. Movie This Is contest, have the couples pose for dramatic, dip-and-kiss homages to old film stills. And then in the morning, after waking up from a marathon drinking and film viewing session, the guests would confer on who had had the weirdest dreams.
13. What are some films that are widely loved that you couldn't care less about?
Rachel: Well, I wouldn’t say “care less” because I always feel uneasy when they’re a film that others claim is great and I can’t see it. For classic films, I struggle with The Leopard, Sansho the Bailiff, and Spirit of the Beehive. All renowned films that have been praised to the skies by people I deeply admire…all films that bore me or numb me by turn. I’ll keep trying, maybe someday the switch will flip. As for popular films, I’m pretty indifferent to The Dark Knight, Avatar, The Matrix. But I don’t lose any sleep over not liking those ones.
14. Who’s the biggest film fanatic that you know? Besides yourself of course.
Rachel: Huh. Lot of choices there. I think Nathanael over at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear (http://www.forgottenclassicsofyesteryear.blogspot.com) and Nate’s Mini Reviews (http://www.natesminireviews.blogspot.com ) must watch 1-2 films a day, judging by the rate of his film commentary. And I’m always left in awe by his determination to leave no genre, style or stone unturned.
15. And finally who are some of your favorite film characters?
Rachel: Oh man. Well, I love Bruno Anthony from Strangers on a Train and Harry Lime from The Third Man, to start with a few villains. I love Bree Daniels from Klute, George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life, Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard, and Ninotchka from well, Ninotchka. I guess for me, I know that I love a film character when I really want to follow them home at the end of the movie and see what happens next.
Me: I love Norma Desmond and Ninotchka too. Good choices Rachel. And that wraps up my interview with Rachel this month. I want to thank her for accepting my invite and answering my questions. Hope everyone enjoyed her stay here as well. And please check out her wonderful blog when you get a chance.