Sunday, September 23, 2012
Be My Guest: Jessica Ellen Rowe
So I know I have been slacking of late here on my blog but thanks to friend Jessica Ellen, who hails from Australia and who I met on Facebook, she graciously accepted my invite to be my guest this month, to put be back on track. Which is perfect since she is one of the biggest Joan Crawford fans I know, and Joanie is my classic movie goddess for the month. So here's Jess to get this party started....Oh and here's a link to Jessica's awesome Tumblr page: http://theclutteredclassicattic.tumblr.com/
1. What made you start blogging?
Jessica: Well I’m not really a blogger per say, but I do have a tumblr page on which I post Classic Hollywood photos and do a lot of reblogging. There are such amazing photos being posted every day by other Classic Hollywood fans, it’s hard not to become addicted. I’ve spent many a glorious hour drooling over black and white (and Technicolor!).
Me: Yes, your Tumblr page is awesome and your page is what made me start one of my own. So thank you for that Jess!
2. Who are your favorite classic film stars? Name as many as you want
Jessica: Oh gosh, never give me free reign like that Monty! You have been warned!
Bette Davis is my favourite actress of all time (the greatest of them all!) but coming a close and equal second are Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn and my current obsession, Lucille Ball.
I also adore Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Swanson, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr, Greta Garbo, Miriam Hopkins, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Jean Arthur, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Norma Shearer, Lana Turner, Olivia de Havilland, Jeanette MacDonald and Claudette Colbert.
As for male stars, I love Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, Melvyn Douglas, John Barrymore, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and William Powell.
But I’m SURE I'm missing people.
Me: what an awesome selection of faves!
3. What are some of your favorite films?
Jessica: ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950) is my all time favourite. I saw it first on the big screen in one of my very first film classes at university back in 2007. It blew my mind and it’s never been topped since. Although films that have come close are ‘All About Eve’ (1950) and ‘Humoresque’ (1946). And I also have a very strong bond with ‘The Women’ (1939).
My guilty pleasure favourite films are ‘Torch Song’ (1953) and ‘Mame’ (1974) but you can’t really call that last one a classic film, I know.
Me: I love Sunset Boulevard!
4. Describe your first classic movie experience. Like where and when..at a cinema, on TV, etc..
Goodness, I’ve told this story a thousand times when asked this question, haha! I think it was some time in either 2004 or 2005 when I was in my last years of high school. It was late at night, past midnight, and everyone had gone to bed but my Mother who stayed up to watch TV. I’d just gotten to sleep when I heard this roaring laughter coming from the lounge room. I had no idea WHAT my Mum was watching but with such intense laughter I HAD to find out! So I got up out of bed and stumbled sleepily into the living room, plonked myself into the arm chair beside the couch where my Mum was sitting and began to watch with her. It was an old, crackly black and white film being screened on ABC (Australia) in which a man and a woman were standing on a golf course arguing profusely over true ownership of a golf ball. From then on, I couldn’t stop laughing and to this day, nothing has made me laugh so hard as ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (1938) starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn! Such amazing comic timing and ridiculous yet extremely witty and intelligent situational humour! Comedy doesn’t get much better than that!
Me: Ahhhh what a cool story. And Baby is my second favorite film of all time!
5. What films upon first viewing did you not like, then later on when re-watching them, loved them?
Jessica: Eeeek! I’m having trouble answering this one because I don’t often re-watch films I didn’t like the first time. Actually ‘Double Indemnity’ (1944) seems to come to mind. I think, the first time I watched it, I may have been a little too ignorant to the workings of Classic film and the Film Noir movement. But I was ‘forced’ to watch it again in my Film Noir class a couple of years ago and really thoroughly enjoyed it. A very impressive film.
And actually ‘Mildred Pierce’ (1945) I didn’t think much of at first either. But again, I think I was too ignorant to appreciate it back then and have since written on it several times. There’s so much more to it than I thought!
Me: I see...I have from a few people they didn't care for Double Indemnity but I like it.
6. Describe the perfect way for you to watch a classic film.
Jessica: That’s easy! It sounds corny, but I love being snuggled up on the couch in the middle of the day, poring rain outside, with a blanket and a bowl of pop corn.
Me: Sweet! Sounds great to me!
7. How many friends, family member or co-workers share your love of classic films?
Jessica: My Nana has always adored them and is just ecstatic that I love them too. She still finds it wonderful that someone so young (I’m 24) can love “the oldies” so much. Says it brings back her childhood and it makes me happy that I can make HER happy that way.
My friends like Classic films but only because I’ve introduced them to the fact that they’re not all crackly and poppy with bad over exposure and jumping film. One of my best friends even thanked me for showing her that a lot of them have been beautifully restored and that they would have originally been stunning to watch. She thought they must have always been crackly! The horror!!
And lastly the person I think adores Classic film the most that I know is my thesis supervisor. He is so enthusiastic and got really excited the first time I met him that someone actually wanted to study classic film and not just be a filmmaker or writer like all the rest. I love his passion.
Me: I have a few friends that are into the classics but not too many of my family members or co-workers do.
8. What is your favorite time period: the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's or 60's?
Jessica: The 1940s is most definitely my favourite decade. I believe black and white was at it’s most beautiful then and even Technicolor was at it’s most glorious. But I also love it for the fashion. I adore vintage fashion and the 1940s was such a glamorous decade for women with both feminine and masculine elements in their clothing. I love 1950s fashion too but the 40s had a bit of a rebellious side to it that the 50s did not. After the war, the 50s stressed the feminine mystique and the importance of soft, obedient femininity. I can be a bit of a feminist sometimes.
Me: Mine is the 30's but the 40's was amazing as well!
9. What are some of your favorite film quotes?
Jessica: “And by the way… there’s a name for you ladies but it isn’t used in high society; outside of a kennel” – Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) in ‘The Women’ (1939)
“All the religions of the world rolled into one and we’re gods and goddesses” – Margo Channing (Bette Davis) in ‘All About Eve’ (1950)
“Now it isn't that I don't like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you, but - well, there haven't been any quiet moments” – David Huxley (Cary Grant) in ‘Bringin Up Baby’ (1938)
“One can feel nostalgia for places one has never seen” – Queen Christina (Greta Garbo) in ‘Queen Christina’ (1933)
“I AM big! It’s the PICTURES that got SMALL!” – Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950)
And oh so many more!
Me: Some good choices there Jess! Can't go wrong with The Women!
10. What classic films have you yet to see for one reason or another?
Jessica: A whole lot! I’m very close to owning 1000 Classic films on DVD but there are so many in my collection that I haven’t watched. Too many to even begin to name!
Me: Haha..sounds like me. I stopped counting once I got to 800 and that was about 5 years ago. So if I had to guess I am close to 1100 now.
11. What is your favorite genre?
Jessica: Those wonderfully emotionally intense films that cross women’s melodrama with Film Noir. I love to feel completely emotionally drained after a film; preferably due to a good cry. The best feeling!
12. If you threw a movie theme party, describe how you would do it. The costumes, decorations, food, etc.
Jessica: Hmmmm… Everyone would have to come as they’re favourite actor, actress or film character (I would come as Lucille Ball!) and there would be film based games like charades, ‘name that quote’ and pictionary (Oh yeah, I’m cool). Then perhaps a film screening if we’re not all too hyped up to sit around and ignore each other for two hours. Oh and the food would be based on party food that was eaten during in the Golden Age. What that would be though, I have no idea. I just thought it sounded inventive, heehee!
Me: Sounds fantastic! I would come as Cary Grant.
13. What are some films that are widely loved that you couldn't care less about?
Jessica: Please don’t hurt me…
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961)
‘West Side Story’ (1961)
And anything with Judy Garland (except ‘The Wizard of Oz’)… sorry folks!
Me: Oh you just named two films I can't stand either...Tiffany's and West Side Story!
14. Who’s the biggest film fanatic that you know? Besides yourself of course.
Jessica: One of my best friends, Emily. She especially loves Asian cinema and in particular horror and anime which I can get into occasionally too. We used to have horror movies nights were we’d go to the video store and hire out whole bunch of whatever looked like horror films (no matter how cheesy the cover!) and watch for hours and hours at night. We’d go from a really top notch horror film and being genuinely terrified, to a ridiculously low budget horror with blood so bright it HAD to be made of tomato sauce! Really fun nights. She does enjoy a good Classic too.
Me: I love watching horror movies. Every October that is all I watch. Emily sounds cool!
15. And finally who are some of your favorite film characters?
Norma Desmond from ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Margo Channing from ‘All About Eve’, Crystal Allen from ‘The Women’, Helen Wright from ‘Humoresque’, Susan Vance form ‘Bringing Up Baby’, Julia from ‘Julia Misbehaves’ (1948), Nick and Nora from ‘The Thin Man’ films, Terry McKay played by both Irene Dunne and Deborah Kerr in ‘Love Affair’ (1939) and ‘An Affair to Remember’ (1957) and lots more!
Oh, and I know it’s not technically film but can I add Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) from the ‘I Love Lucy’ (1951-57) series? I just adore her with all my heart!
Thanks Monty!! =) xx
Me: Oh some good choices once again Jess. Oh and thank you for be my guest this month and getting me and my blog back on track. And I hope everyone enjoyed having Jessica drop by this month. Please remember to check out her amazing tumblr page.