CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Be My Guest: Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Due to the Classic Actress tourney in March, there was no guest done during that time. So this month we get two fabulous guests. Valarie Joyce already dropped by and had a crazy good time. Now comes Ivan G, who I think everybody will just love. Take it away Ivan.

1. What made you start blogging? 

There are two responsible for inspiring Thrilling Days of Yesteryear—the first was an online friend of mine of many years who asked me one day when I was planning to start a blog.  “As soon as I find out what you’re talking about,” I told her.

But the biggest influence on the blog was the political snark site World O’Crap, who featured a reference to an old-time radio soap called Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories in one of their posts.  Since I knew a little bit about the subject, I kind of filled in a detail or two on Aunt Jenny’s history and frequented WO’C quite often until one day I said: “How hard could this be?”  As it turns out, it wasn’t easy because my first blog, Weapons of Mass Detraction, was around for a week or two before I vaporized it…I just wasn’t that good at being snarky about politics.  But I did know a bit about OTR, and so I started TDOY in November of 2003.  It focused a good deal on that for a while but gradually morphed into a classic film and television blog.

2. Who are your favorite classic film stars? Name as many as you want

Among the male stars, I like Bogie, Cagney, Eddie G., John Garfield, Roberts Mitchum and Ryan, Charles McGraw, Boris Karloff, Joel McCrea, Orson Welles…and many of the great comedians like Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, the Marxes, the Stooges, W.C. Fields, etc.  On the distaff side: Jean Arthur, Ingrid Bergman, Gloria Grahame, Judy Holliday, Celeste Holm, Mercedes McCambridge, Agnes Moorehead, Maureen O’Hara, Maureen O’Sullivan, Marie Windsor, Lee Remick, Claire Trevor, Thelma Todd, Jan Sterling.  That should do for starters.

3. What are some of your favorite films?

Casablanca is probably my favorite film—but I really have a megaton of movies that I love to revisit over and over again.  Winchester ’73, Touch of Evil, The Glass Key, North by Northwest, To Be or Not to Be, 3:10 to Yuma, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, All About Eve, Bad Day at Black Rock, Born Yesterday, Call Northside 777, Citizen Kane,City Lights, Curse of the Demon (Night of the Demon), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying the Love the Bomb, Duck Soup, Force of Evil, Foreign Correspondent, Freaks, Gun Crazy, High Noon, His Girl Friday, His Kind of Woman, Horse Feathers, I Walked with a Zombie, In a Lonely Place, In Cold Blood, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, It’s a Wonderful Life, Johnny Guitar, King Kong, Kiss Me Deadly, Man on the Flying Trapeze, Medium Cool, Miracle on 34th Street, Modern Times, Monsieur Verdoux, Murder My Sweet, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, A Night at the Opera, Nightmare Alley, Out of the Past, Pandora’s Box, Paths of Glory, Petulia,Quatermass and the Pit, Rear Window, Ride the High Country, Road to Utopia, Sailor Beware, Safety Last!, Salt of the Earth, Seconds, Shadow of a Doubt, Sherlock Jr.,Shock Corridor, Singin’ in the Rain, Some Like it Hot, Sons of the Desert, Stalag 17, Stars in My Crown, Strangers on a Train, Sullivan’s Travels, Sunrise, Sunset Blvd.,Sweet Smell of Success, Targets, The Breaking Point, The Court Jester, The Freshman, The General, The Grapes of Wrath, The Gunfighter, The Kid Brother, The Killing,The Lady From Shanghai, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Maltese Falcon, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Pawnbroker, The Searchers, The Set-Up, The Swimmer, The Talk of the Town, The Third Man, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Wizard of Oz, Thieves’ Highway, Way Out West.  (Just the tip of the iceberg, I should add.)

4. Describe your first classic movie experience. Like where and when…at a cinema, on TV, etc…

Probably my earliest exposure to classic films had to do with all the cartoons I watched as a kid—though at the time, I wasn’t aware that these shorts had originally appeared in theaters and were made for audiences of all ages.  I also watched a lot of the two-reel comedies like Our Gang and Laurel & Hardy…with a specific emphasis on a lot of the Columbia product.  Columbia had a reputation for hiring either people who were on their way up or on their way down—I saw a lot of the comedies with Buster Keaton, Charley Chase and Harry Langdon as a little sprat.  These movies are hardly these gentlemen’s best work…but it encouraged me to seek out more and more of their movies.

I was thirteen years old when our public library sponsored a showing of King Kong—an event that some 300 people turned out for (in a town that numbered about 4,000).  It made a tremendous impression on me (it’s still one of my all-time faves) and I think that and showings of Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (which the library showed chapter-by-chapter every week) kind of put the ring on my finger as far as classic movies went.

5. What films upon first viewing did you not like, then later on when re-watching them, loved them?

I know quite a few movies that haven’t aged well since the first time I saw them…but I’m kind of stymied as to whether there’s every been a situation in reverse.  The only movie I can think of—and whether or not it can be called a “classic” is certainly debatable—is Animal House.  I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was all about when I watched it the first time (probably late-night on cable) but on subsequent viewings I started to see why it’s a cult favorite.  (Seeing it with drunk fraternity types helps, too.)  There are probably some more movies I’ve changed my opinion on after a second or third viewing but I’m drawing a blank.

6. Describe the perfect way for you to watch a classic film.

Ideally, it would be inside a real movie theater with an audience.  But since that opportunity doesn’t come around too often, I generally enjoy just watching them late at night by myself, with a nice snack at the ready because… (see next question)

7. How many friends, family member or co-workers share your love of classic films?

In terms of friends I see every day—there aren’t many.  (I have to exclude folks from the Classic Movie Blog Association, since I interact with them mostly online.)  And my family is even worse.  My sister Kat derisively refers to my obsession as “my black-and-white.”  My mother will on occasion sit down and watch one with me—she likes the Universal horror films and the Warners gangster movies in particular.  My father avoids classic films unless John Wayne is in one or someone’s seated on a horse.  (And if it’s a movie we’ve already seen, he likes to wisecrack: “That one turned out the same as it did last time.”)

8. What is your favorite time period: the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's or 60's?

I always answer the 20s for a couple of reasons.  Silent filmmaking was an amazing art form.  There were so many amazing films made at that time—Sunrise, Docks of New York, Pandora’s Box, etc.  Many foreign directors were making some of their finest works at the time, too: Lang, Murnau, Pabst.  It was also the time when the great movie comedians were at the peak of their powers: Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc.

9. What are some of your favorite film quotes?

"...if I always knew what I meant, I'd be a genius..." – Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell), Murder My Sweet (1944)

"I'm just tryin' to get along without shovin' anybody, that's all..." – Tom Joad (Henry Fonda), The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

“I’ll see ya all of a sudden, Sam…” – Dan Milner (Robert Mitchum), His Kind of Woman (1951)

“In the world of advertising there’s no such thing as a lie—there’s only expedient exaggeration…” – Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), North by Northwest (1959)

“I’d horsewhip you if I had a horse…” – Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho Marx), Horse Feathers (1932)

“Drown in a vat of whisky…death, where is thy sting…?” – The Great Man (W.C. Fields), Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

“Ice cream, Mandrake?  Children’s ice cream?” – General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying the Love the Bomb (1964)

10. What classic films have you yet to see for one reason or another?

Jill at Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence asked this on Twitter sometime back.  I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie in its entirety.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for their terpsichorean talents, but they’re just not my particular cup of Earl Grey.

Other films I’ve not made appointments to see: Mutiny on the Bounty (both 1935 and 1962), Wuthering Heights (1939), Fantasia (1940), Watch on the Rhine (1943), The Constant Nymph (1943), Since You Went Away (1944), The Red Shoes (1948), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), The Ten Commandments (1956), The Diary of Anne Frank(1959).  There are also a number of foreign film classics I’ve not yet watched—but I’ll refrain from listing all of those.

11. What is your favorite genre?

I really enjoy getting my classic movie groove on with a good film noir flick…but it seems a shame to limit it to just one since I also enjoy horror movies, westerns, screwball comedies, etc.

12. If you threw a movie theme party, describe how you would do it. The costumes, decorations, food, etc.

Well, to be honest—I’m not much of a partygoer; I prefer more intimate settings where I can have conversations with one, two or maybe three people.  But I’d love to throw a dinner party in the mold of The Thin Man at some point in my life: all the guests would be gathered because they’re suspects in a murder, and as they dine on splendid cuisine and drink the finest wines I’ll eventually finger one of them as the guilty culprit.

13. What are some films that are widely loved that you couldn't care less about?

Gone with the Wind would be at the top of the list.  I saw it once and honest to my grandma, I don’t get the love for the movie.  I’m also not particularly wild about The Philadelphia Story or The Best Years of Our Lives.  The More the Merrier and The Lady Eve are two screwball comedies that have their fans but I’ve never cottoned to them.  And don’t get me started on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

14. Who’s the biggest film fanatic that you know? Besides yourself of course.

If we were to define a fanatic as someone who genuinely loves movies—and not in a film critic sense or scholar or anything like that—it would probably be Laura G. at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings.  She just really seems to have an unabashed affection for all things cinematic, and rarely has anything bad to say about any film.  If we’re talking about a fanatic as a person who has movies on the brain 24-7-365…well, then that’s Stacia at She Blogged by Night.  (She’s been seeking help for this, by the way.)

15. And finally who are some of your favorite film characters?

Just about anyone W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx played in films—I love the anti-authoritarian bent of Groucho’s characters, and the fact that the Fields on film was able to get away with so many vices that are frowned upon in polite society: drinking, gambling, etc.  I also like most of Bogart’s anti-heroes, like Rick Blaine in Casablanca…and yet his villains are a lot of fun, too (Fred C. Dobbs, Captain Queeg, etc.).

Thanks to Ivan for being my guest this month with some wonderful responses and now we all know Ivan just a little bit more.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Childhood Crushes #8 - Judi Bowker

I haven't done a post on this series in awhile and thanks to my friend Valarie for mentioning Clash of the Titans on her facebook page when I commented on a recent pic. Made me think of my next choice for my childhood crush...Judi Bowker. Unlike previous crushes of mine, Clash of the Titans marks the only thing I ever saw Judi in but it was love at first sight. She played the princess Andromeda who was to be sacrificed to the Kraken unless her hero suitor Perseus (Harry Hamlin) could retrieve the head of Medusa and face the Kraken in a well, umm, Clash of the Titans.

Titans came out in 1981 and it promptly hit HBO by 1982 and I know I saw it a hundred times during my teen years. Bowker was only 26 when she made this movie and she was gorgeous. With her long flowing tresses of hair and lithe body, you couldn't take your eyes off of her. Any man would face numerous tasks and risks his life for this lovely lass. Well I know I would. 

Like I said before, Titans was the only thing I have seen her in. But she has done a few other things.. Most notably a TV adaption of Anna Karenina (1985) playing Kitty and a TV series based on Black Beauty during the mid 70's. But I will always remember her as Andromeda. It would have been cool if they offered her a part in the recent remake. She could have played Andromeda's mother. Oh well at least I still have the original film to remember.

The lovely Judi today

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Be My Guest: Valarie Joyce

1  OK, I know I didn't do a be my guest post last month due to the favorite actress tourney taking up all my time, but here we are in April and my good friend from the west coast by way of Detroit, Valarie Joyce, comes in to get things back on track. We became fast friends on Facebook back in 2011 through the love of classic movies and oh yeah Game Of Thrones! Take it away Val! And let me tell everyone something..Valarie originally sent me her answers in a nice table format which was beyond awesome. But Blogger wouldn't let me copy and paste it here so the trooper that she is, Val resent it in word document and here we are.
     What made you start blogging? 

Valarie: I don’t, but I like reading yours (and FlickChick’s)!

 Me: Awww, thank you Valarie

2.      Who are your favorite classic film stars? (Name as many as you want)

Charlie Chaplin                      
Marion Davies
Dolores del Rio
Sessue Hayakawa                  
Harold Lloyd                         
Paul Robeson 
Rudolph Valentino                
Anna May Wong

Anne Bancroft
Dorothy Dandridge
Bette Davis
James Dean
Clark Gable
John Garfield
Katharine Hepburn
Lena Horne
Gene Kelly
Jack Lemmon
Anna Magnani
Rita Moreno
Sidney Poitier
Barbara Stanwyck
Mae West
Natalie Wood
…and The Little Rascals

Me: I like that you added the Little Rascals in there...

       What are some of your favorite films?

“The Kid”
“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
 “The Immigrant”
“Modern Times”
Honorable Mention:
“A Woman of Paris”

 “1:00 A.M.” and “A Night Out”

“It Happened One Night”
“A Night at the Opera”
“Three on a Match”
“Gone With the Wind”
 “The Postman Always Rings Twice”(Garfield and Turner version)
“Penny Serenade”
“A Place in the Sun”
 “Night of the Hunter”
 “All About Eve”
 “Rebel Without a Cause”

“Imitation of Life”
“A Summer Place”
“The Miracle Worker”
“Romeo & Juliet”
(Franco Zeffirelli’s version)
“To Sir with Love”
“The Birds”
“It’s A Wonderful Life”
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
“A Face in the Crowd”
“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”
“The Graduate”
“The Great Escape”
“The Magnificent Seven”
“The Bad Seed”
“Wild Strawberries”

Honorable Mentions:
“The Corn is Green,” “Roman Holiday,” “The Sweet Smell of Success,” “Baby Face,” “Stella Dallas,” “Paper Moon,” “The Sting,” “The Third Man,” “12 Angry Men,” “10 Little Indians,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Bridge on the River Kwai,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Lolita,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Rich and Strange,” and “Salt of the Earth”

“West Side Story”                  
“Singin’ in the Rain”
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”
“Porgy and Bess”
“A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Forum”
“Fiddler on the Roof”

Honorable Mention:
“King Creole”(not a musical per se, but my favorite Elvis’ film)

“The Great Race”
“Young Frankenstein”
“Some Like it Hot”
“A Shot in the Dark”
“Rock-a-Bye Baby”
“The Nutty Professor”
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”
 “Bringing Up Baby”
“Yours, Mine, and Ours” (Lucille Ball/Henry Fonda version)

“Fantastic Voyage”
 “Robin and the Seven Hoods”
“A Pocket Full of Miracles”
“The Bad News Bears”
“House of Wax”
“Dazed and Confused”
“This is Spinal Tap”
“Weird Science”
“16 Candles”
“Team America”
...and anything with Danny Kaye!

Honorable Mention:

“The Godfather Saga”
(I and II edited together in chronological order, but, if I have to choose, then “Godfather II”)
“Apocalypse Now”
 “The Princess Bride”
“When Harry Met Sally”
 “Do the Right Thing”
“The Elephant Man”
“The Color Purple”
“Sophie’s Choice”
“In the Name of the Father”
 “Kramer v. Kramer”
“Presumed Innocent”

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
“The Breakfast Club”
“Boogie Nights”
“Best in Show”
“The Basketball Diaries”
“Boyz-N-the Hood”
“Dog Day Afternoon,”
“In Bruges”
“The Devil’s Backbone”
“Abre Los Ojos”
“Grave of the Fireflies”
“Whale Rider”
“City of God”
“Muriel’s Wedding”
“Waking Ned Devine”
“Rabbit Proof Fence”
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
“Hot Fuzz”
…and the “Star Wars” saga (no prequels)

Honorable Mentions:
“Dangerous Liaisons,” “Home for the Holiday,” “Rory O’Shea Was Here,” “Heathers,” “The Magdalene Sisters,” “Run, Lola, Run,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “The Doors,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”

 Me: Good lord...what a list of films and loved that you broke them down by genre. Val, you are bucking for guest of the year ain't you?

4.      Describe your first classic movie experience (where and when…at a cinema, on TV, etc.).

Valarie: It was "Gone With the Wind.”  I remember watching that film at the age of 4-5 at my grandmother's house one evening while lying on her green couch and thinking, "This is a very long show." 

However, Mr. Gable must have made a huge impression on me, since, one afternoon very soon thereafter, my family was discussing a picture of a couple in one of my grandma's photo albums and I said, "That guy looks like Clark Gable.” (He even had Clark’s signature mustache and side-parted, slicked hair.)  They asked me, “How do you know who Clark Gable is?"  "Oh, I know," I said, "I know..." and I never forgot him…how can one?  ;) 

 Me: GWTW has been a lot of my guests first classic movie experience.

5.      What films upon first viewing did you not like, then later on when re-watching them, loved them?

I racked my brain for an answer to this one and I have come up with nothing.  Usually when I watch a movie, my opinion of it doesn’t change no matter how many times I view it.  Yet, I do remember that, when I was little, I often laughed at some of the dance sequences in both “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “West Side Story” (now two of my absolute FAVORITE musicals) just because it was funny to see mountain men and tough gang kids pirouetting across the screen.  However, as I got older, I came to appreciate those films and the dynamics of musicals (you can pretty much get away with anything as long as the script, talent, and music are amazing – and all of that is present (and then some) in each of those films.  In fact, I think that “West Side Story” has one of the best musical scores of all time.  The music is gripping one moment, funny the next, and then pulling at your heart strings at another.  I also think it is a testament to Stephen Sondheim’s brilliance and chutzpah (meant in the most positive of ways) by not listening to all of the naysayers who thought the music was awful and so radical on the ears that the show would close opening night.  Thank goodness for artists who follow their hearts…and ears – whatever the case may be.

 Me: Awesome answer Val..and I agree with you but I'm still not crazy about West Side Story.

6.      Describe the perfect way for you to watch a classic film.

Valarie: Either alone or with other classic movie fans who appreciate the film and know that starting to talk about one's day is not the time when watching a classic…or any movie for that matter.  Drives me c-r-a-z-y…especially since, 9 times out of 10, they will begin asking me what is going on and to explain this or that…and, when that occurs, missing something essential – some key info the writer and/or director wanted the viewer to know and experience – is often lost. 

Me: Oh I know that feeling all too well...

7.      How many friends, family member or co-workers share your love of classic films?

I grew up with classic films always on the TV:  My dad was a huge movie nut and my mother had great taste in classic cinema – she turned me on to many wonderful movies and talented actors. 

In Detroit, where I grew up, every 1:00 p.m. during the week a man by the name of Bill Kennedy would host a show called, “Bill Kennedy at the Movies,” that screened classic films whereby I was continually exposed to that type of cinema.  When I was 7 or 8, I would look through the TV Guide (yes, the one made out of paper) for the upcoming week and see if there were any good movies being shown on Kennedy's show, and, if so, I'd fake a sickness to stay home from school...if it was a two part-er (Bill only had about 2 hours to show a film, including commercials, so, if he was showing, "A Summer Place" it had to be over a two-day period), then my sickness would be a bit more "grave." (Let it be known that I don't condone kids faking sicknesses to stay home and watch classic films, but I must say in my defense that I did well in grade school, so missing a day or two wasn't going to academically set me far behind…and my mom knew it too – my “fake” sicknesses, that is!). J 

On the flip side, I, unfortunately, was home from school with a lot of real sicknesses, so I did catch many classic films that way (in between coughs, colds, and tonsillitis bouts).  In fact, Detroit had quite a few time-slots for screening films of all genres:  “The 4 O’Clock Movie” each weekday, often having theme weeks (like “Elvis Week,” or “Natalie Wood Week);” “Creature Feature” (where I first saw, “Creature From the Black Lagoon”); “Saturday Afternoon Shocker” (my first viewing of, “The Beast With Five Fingers”); both “Sir Graves Ghastly” and “Count Scary” would also show a great (or not-so-great) vintage horror flick; and there was also a “1:00 a.m. Movie” (where I got to see Zeffirelli’s, “Romeo & Juliet” for the first time, which became one of my top five favorite films). 

Me: Awesome!

8.      What is your favorite time period: the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, or 60's?

Valarie: Both the 1920's and 1950s resonate with me, as well as the early and mid-60s.  As for film, there are great films in each decade that I love, so I would not be able to single out any era as my favorite cinema-wise.

Me: very true about great films being in each decade

9.      What are some of your favorite film quotes?

The Godfather II:
“Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry.”
~ Michael Corleone / Al Pacino

“I’m rich, Bick!  I’m a rich one.  I’m a rich boy.  I’m gonna have more money than you ever THOUGHT you could have.  You and the rest of you stinking ‘sons of Benedicts.’”
~ Jett Rink / James Dean

The Godfather I:
 “You can act like a man!”
~ Vito Corleone / Marlon Brando

All About Eve:
“Fasten your seatbelts.  It’s going to be a bumpy night.” 
~ Margo Channing / Bette Davis

The Great Race:
“Up and at ‘em…UP AND AT ‘EM?!”
“YOU rise: YOU shine!”
~ Professor Fate / Jack Lemmon

It Happened One Night:
(Claudette Colbert’s character’s dad says:  “I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?”)
YES!  But don't hold that against me.  I'm a little screwy myself.”
~ Peter Warne / Clark Gable

Young Frankenstein:
“Honey, did you see I put another hamper in the bathroom?  This one's for your shirts, the other's just for socks and poo-poo undies.”
~ Elizabeth / Madeline Kahn

“I was gonna make…espresso.”
~ The Blind Man / Gene Hackman

~ The Monster / Peter Boyle

The Princess Bride:
“My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.” 
~ Inigo Montoya / Mandy Patinkin

“Have fun stormin’ the castle!”
~ Miracle Max / Billy Crystal

“Stop it right now, I mean it!  ~ Vizzini / Wallace Shawn   (trying to stop Inigo and Fezzik from rhyming)
“Anybody want a peanut?       ~ Fezzik / Andre the Giant

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
“I stand with Adam.”    ~ Gideon Pontipee / Russ Tamblin
“Don’t stand so close.”  ~ Adam Pontipee / Howard Keel  

“Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha” (“The Charm of Making”)
~ Morgana / Helen Mirren

“I’ll be your huckleberry.”
~ Doc Holiday / Val Kilmer

Rebel Without a Cause:
“You’re tearing me A-PARTTTTT!”
~ Jim Stark / James Dean

A Night at the Opera:
“How do you sleep with those big buttons on your pajamas?”
~ Otis B. Driftwood / Groucho Marx

“Someone tell a joke.”
~ The grandfather / Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.

~ Dominick / Dom DeLuise

“My baby brother.”          ~ Dominick / Dom Deluise
“I’m his baby brother.”    ~ Frankie / Ron Carey
(This is a great scene between the two of them when Dom is relapsing, and without seeing it, the quotes just don’t do it justice)

Forget Paris:
“You want it, you got it, To-yo-taaaaa” (x1000)
~ Ellen’s dad / William Hickey

The Nutty Professor:
“Actually, I, uh…”
~ Professor Kelp / Jerry Lewis

“What’ll it be…hmmm?”
~ Buddy Love / Jerry Lewis

Auntie Mame / Mame:
"Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
~ Auntie Mame / Rosalind Russell and Lucille Ball

“They’re all gonna laugh at you…They’re all gonna laugh at you”
~ Carrie’s mom / Piper Laurie

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?:
“…but ya are, Blanche…ya are in that chair.” 
~ Baby Jane / Bette Davis

Of Human Bondage
“…and after you kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth…WIPE MY MOUTH!”
~ Mildred Rogers / Bette Davis

“You see…If you weigh me by gain, I weigh very little and so I am not enough…and so I release you with a full heart for the love of him you once were.  You may, for a little while, have pain, but it will pass, and you will dismiss the recollection of it gladly as an unprofitable dream from which it happened well that you awoke.  Be happy in the life you have chosen.”
~ Isabel Fezziwig / Suzanne Neve

One of us! One of us! Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble!"
~ All of the wedding guests (except two)

♫“Show me the way to go home / I'm tired and I want to go to bed / I had a little drink about an hour ago / and it went right to my head."
~ Quint / Robert Shaw, Hooper / Richard Dreyfuss, Brody / Roy Scheider

The Hangover:
♫“We're the three best friends / that anyone could have / we're the three best friends / that anyone could have / we're the three best friends / that anyone could have / and we'll never ever, ever, ever / leave each other…”
~ Alan / Zach Galifianakis

 “In the fa-a-a-ace…in…the…FACE!”
~Officer Franklin / Rob Riggle

There’s a sale at Penney’s!”
~ Johnny / Stephen Stucker

~ Johnny / Stephen Stucker

Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy…”
~ Judge Smails / Ted Knight

Well…We’re WAITING!”
~ Judge Smails / Ted Knight

“It’s in the hole…It’s in the HOLE!”
~ Carl / Bill Murray

Dazed and Confused:
Gotta keep L-I-V-I-N’”
~ David Wooderson / Matthew McConaughey

This is Spinal Tap:
These go to 11.”
~ Nigel / Christopher Guest

My name's Francis, but my friends call me Psycho.  Any of you call me Francis, and I'll kill ya…and any of you touch my stuff, and I'll kill ya.”
~ Francis / George Jenesky

The Doors:
I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.”
~ Jim Morrison / Val Kilmer

Paper Moon:
I want my 200.00!”
~ Addie / Tatum O’Neal

The Breakfast Club:
Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?”
~ John Bender / Judd Nelson

A Mighty Wind:
Wha’ happened?”
~ Mike LaFontaine / Fred Willard

Team America:
Act, actor, ACT!”
~ Spottswoode / Daran Norris

1  What classic films have you yet to see for one reason or another?

“The Grapes of Wrath” (It is recorded on my DVR though, but, the next five movies, I have no good excuse for not seeing yet.)
“Gunga Din”
“Ben Hur”
“Lawrence of Arabia”
“A Clockwork Orange”
“The Deer Hunter”

Me: Oh my have to see Gunga Din and Ben Hur definitely!

     What is your favorite genre?

I don’t have one:  Seriously, I am not giving a cop-out answer.  I like all genres equally and I even like documentaries…and, of, course, MOCKumentaries! 

 Me: I like all genres too..but I kind of lean toward screwball comedies as my fave!

 .  If you threw a movie theme party, describe how you would do it.  The costumes, decorations, food, etc.

I would have everyone just come as their favorite film character – no limitations – anyone (or thing) from the beginning of cinema to present day.  I would probably have the, “Phantom of the Opera” (Lon Chaney version) playing his organ as the guests arrived and would throw in a little TV nostalgia by having Lurch from, “The Addams Family” answer the door.  However, “what goes on ‘inside,’ stays ‘inside.’”  Don’t worry, Monty:  You and your wife are already on the guest list. J

 Me: Thanks for the invite Val! Can't wait for your party!

 What are some films that are widely loved that you couldn't care less about?

Before I start getting “death threats:” I do acknowledge that there are those who absolutely LOVE the films I am about to name below and (if they are even bothering to read what I think J), they have already let out a resounding GASP at seeing the list with their mouths still agape right about now.  Some people probably have even taken offense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a few “death threats,” since I realize that is how serious some fans take their movie preferences.  When we love a film, we hold it close – like it’s a part of who we are, and any attack on it feels like an attack on us, personally.  In my opinion, if that is happening, then the filmmaker has done something right…something to arouse good (or even bad) feelings about the cinematic work.  She or he made you feel…make you think…and maybe even brought about some type of positive change, even if it is slow at first.  Therefore, what I like or love for that matter in regards to film is inconsequential.  It doesn’t make it right or wrong, or even absolute:  It is just different from the person standing next to me – and that’s okay.  That is what’s great about the movies:  There is something for everyone, and, if it isn’t out there, then you can strive to make it yourself.  We all have our go-to movies.  Mine may not be the same as yours, but it doesn’t need to be, and any movie that reaches out to everyone in the same exact way, I find suspect because it most likely was watered-down to appeal to the masses (for the sole ambition, or at least the main one, to make money).  Give me a film that incites something: Love, hate, anger, laughter – something that gets the wheels turning for self-introspection, societal observation, or the much-needed comic relief from the stressors and tragedies of everyday life – anything but boredom or indifference.  If it does the latter, then what’s the point?  Go watch the grass grow instead.  It will cost you nothing and probably do you some good to get some fresh air.  Having said all that, and the fact that I am an avid movie lover myself, “fighting” for one’s films should be within reason.  There are so many other important issues in our world today to be fighting for and all too often do not get the attention they deserve to make the necessary changes that movies cannot achieve.   

DISCLAIMER:  If you read further, then prepare to potentially be offended, annoyed, have a huge spike in your blood pressure, and/or feel the intense need to comment extensively in order to discount every one of my points. 

Citizen Kane
While most will find this answer “blasphemous” in regards to penultimate filmmaking, I have always felt that this movie was a difficult watch…and I LOVE Orson Welles (I think he was a radio and cinematic genius.)  Aside from some great acting from Joseph Cotton and others; the film being groundbreaking as far as innovative camera shots being used, etc.; and a great moral theme tied in at the very end via a sled, it is lackluster in my opinion.  I wish Welles would have waited at least 10 years before making this film – I feel it would have come out much differently and we would have seen a seasoned Orson at the helm.  However, I do understand the rush (since someone else might have beat him to the punch in creating a William Hearst-esque movie), as well as his need for complete control of the production sans any film executives (the goal of most – if not all – directors and writers).  Unfortunately, since he didn’t have the ammunition of an array of solely Orson-controlled, successful films under his belt at the time of “Kane”, it was his undoing with the studio “suits” then becoming too involved in his subsequent projects or barring them all together.  I think it goes without saying that his masterpiece deserves a longstanding place in AFI’s “Greatest American Movies of All Time,” but it has well worn out its welcome at no. 1.  The movie that I think should take its place may never make it, since some people cannot see it simply as a reflection of a particular segment of society, without erroneously attaching the belief that to exalt the film is also to bolster the lifestyle of those characters on the screen, as well as in real life.   That film is “Godfather II,” but I also believe that “Godfather I” deserves the honor just the same.  Both are perfect films in my eyes…except for Sonny’s hair (it’s too 70s!), but that’s another story altogether). J

An American in Paris
Anyone who knows me KNOWS that Gene Kelly is my guy – my song and dance man who can do no wrong – except for this film.  While the “dancing through the paintings” concept was a great idea, for me, that’s all it was – “a great idea.”  I felt it was too long and left a bad taste in my mouth – like an overcooked soufflé.  Not to mention, that I can’t sit through Gershwin’s, “I Got Rhythm” because the kids screaming “I GOT” ruins the song and is too abrupt for Kelly’s soft singing style.  Don’t get me wrong:  The children are cute and the dancing is GREAT.  However, if I listen to it for too long, I find myself unintentionally hearing “I GOT” in my head over and over and end up driving myself nuts.  As far as the leads go, I would have liked Kelly and Caron to have more onscreen discovery with them realizing they are attracted to each other:  One minute they are “in hate” and, the very next, they are in “I-can’t-live-without-you love.”  It isn’t believable, even for the low threshold of “movie believability.”  It’s as if an entire scene where this occurred was deleted and is still on the cutting room floor somewhere.  Of course, all is forgiven when I watch, “Singin’ in the Rain,” that, for me, is Gene Kelly at his best!

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Not a fan of this film.  I get the iconic images of Audrey Hepburn that came out of this movie –both stunning and beautiful.  However, I sympathize with Truman Capote and believe that Marilyn Monroe should have played the role (and is who that part was written for by him).  In watching film, there is never a moment that I believe Audrey Hepburn is a call girl – no matter how many blonde stripes she has in her hair – and she neither exudes the raw sexuality required for Holly Golightly nor the vulnerability, especially when looking for “Cat” in the alley.  Not to mention, the “drunk scene” is overacted and not carried through to the following dialogue, and her southern accent almost makes my ears bleed.  OUCH!  Not my ears, but my criticism.  I know…I know…but Audrey Hepburn is STELLAR in “Roman Holiday.”  I think that role not only plays on her strengths, but shows her versatility.  No one in Hollywood could have done that part better than Audrey Hepburn in that film, which she stole from Gregory Peck (Go Audrey!).

Birth of a Nation
Where do I begin?  I guess “incredibly racist and sexist” would be a good start.  The depiction of African-Americans was an abomination, atrocious, and I take considerable offense to the female slaves being shown as temptresses, an unwarranted title they were forced into by their owners.  So much is wrong with this film that I am getting agitated as I type this, so I am going to have to cut it short…just like I didn’t when watching this movie because I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I literally almost left, but realized it was my own living room and all we (myself and a friend at the time) had to do was shut it off.  We did (thankfully), but (unfortunately), put in…

I understand and agree with the cinematic brilliance of Federico Fellini, but this movie is him on a really…bad…day.  It’s incredibly disjointed and is gratuitous is so many ways – just for shock value’s sake – that it is best viewed as “background” on your TV set while you are throwing a party.  Don’t worry about following the storyline – believe me, even if you sat down and watched it without distraction, it would be difficult – and the excessive scenes are sure to strike up some interesting conversations!

The Women
I am not a Norma Shearer fan – or Joan Crawford, for that matter – by any means, but was willing to give this movie a fair shot.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time liking a film that plays up all the negative female stereotypes and then wants me to be happy that a wife went back to cheating husband.  Boo!  All he did was get sick of “the other woman.”  There was no real transition for him or believable moment of enlightenment through self-introspection into his own cheating ways.  Having said all that, the acting by many of the stars was wonderful – even the little girl was a joy to watch.   However, getting back to being annoyed…

I also have a hard time enjoying a film that glorifies courtesans (and, even worse, the “courtesan-to-be” is expected to follow suit by her own family) and wants me to be happy that the male lead didn’t actually want the woman to be a glorified prostitute after all.  (Gee, thanks there, big guy.  How nice of you.)  By the way, there are those who make the argument that the song, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” (sung by Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille to give him more screen time) is an innocent medley, and there are visual aspects of him singing it on-camera that bolster than stance.  However, it is just too double-entendre to not think it is also alluding to “little girls” growing up into sexual playthings for men, especially with prostitution as the underlying theme of the film.  As Chevalier’s character says, “…but in Paris, those who will not marry are usually men, and those who do not marry are usually women,” meaning, the choice lies solely with the man.  During one of his sung lines about Gigi’s eyes, “they will flash and send you crashing through the ceiling,”♪ he makes a hand gesture that traditionally and multi-culturally means, “too hot to handle,” essentially, but of a sexual nature.  The song is meant to mean both, so people can argue over it – with one side wanting to see only what it wants it to mean and, the other, just the opposite.  It’s smart on the studio’s part and Mae West was brilliant at it.  She got mostly everything she wanted into her films because she was the Queen of the Double Entendre, and could argue with the censors and Hayes Code people that her self-written, sexually-charged lines always had non-sexually infused meanings instead.  However, there is no way Chevalier is making the too hot to handle hand gesture about “little girls” in an innocent manner.  I am not arguing pedophilia.  I am saying it’s directly associated to those little girls growing up into adult women for the disposable of men – men like just like Honoré Lachaille, who are happy they are “getting bigger every day.” 

Harold and Maude
I know people who absolutely LOVE this film:  I just don’t connect with it.  That’s all. 

Bonnie and Clyde
I don’t like it when movies transform a period piece into the stylings of the current era the movie was shot in.  This film makes Bonnie and Clyde look they stepped right out of the ‘60s, except for their clothing, plus, it is said the real Bonnie Parker was a red-head – not blond like Faye Dunaway.  I also have a problem with the film taking liberties with Clyde and making him impotent, which supposedly was not case.  Unfortunately, many believe everything that happens in movies as it is presented on the screen to them without trying to find out the facts.  However, the performances by Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, and the brief one by Gene wilder were all EXCELLENT!

42nd Street
My only criticism is BeBe Daniels, but she was enough to ruin the film for me.  Her acting reminded me of a palm tree with tap shoes on – she was very malleable, swaying this way, that way, or the other.  I thought the roll called for a little more of a go-getter (in the acting style) and that needed to be apparent on-screen.

Love Story
Too cheesy (and I’m not taking the mac-n-cheese kind)!  “Love ‘DOES’ mean having to say you’re sorry”…it should be the first thing that rolls off your lips, if you are in the wrong.  It also annoyed me that she didn’t even look sick when she was in the hospital bed dying and even minutes before she was dead.   It’s Hollywood trying to “keep pretty” right up until the very end. 

I have no criticisms of this film.   It’s just a preference thing and I don’t like it.  Just not my taste, but I know people who have it in their most favorite films list. 

The Way We Were
I like Barbra Streisdand and Robert Redford, but this film is annoying!  Katie and Hubbel => Cop-outs (both of them)!   If you are soul mates, then fight for the relationship!  (Oh, and I could care less about her brushing his hair off his forehead, no matter how many iconic stills of that scene are shown.) 

Let me preface this by saying, I had been following the actual search for the Titanic as shown on various TV specials when I was younger.  I remember being very excited when they did find it, but then, as the camera panned over the ocean floor, and I saw that boot and the face from a doll, I quickly fell grief-stricken.  Lives were lost and that doll face, so closely resembling a child’s, really brought it home.  It’s not that I ever forgot this tragic event resulted in a huge loss of human life, it’s just that the “found” articles where once worn, or once held, by those who suffered that incredibly unfortunate fate.   When that real film footage was incorporated into the opening credits of the movie, I have to admit I had to hold back some tears.  However, that was the only time I did so during this movie. 

I don’t like that Rose, the smart woman ahead of her time, got “stupid” when she fell into the water, believing that Jack would still be alive after only trying ONCE for both of them to get onto the “make-shift raft.”  Show the audience you are willing to fight for life for the both of you…for love!..for survival!  For me, Rose and Jack had no sexual chemistry.  (James Cameron’s, “The Abyss,” is one of a few perfect cinematic examples of a couple – who I believe to really be in love in the film – has to watch the other die.  The film’s content may not be the most realistic – with water aliens – but that scene and their love story truly is.)   Additionally, it didn’t help that I knew Jack was literally “dead in the water” 20 minutes into the film, when Rose’s granddaughter had no clue who the heck Jack Dawson was to her grandmother.  It bothers me that the Strauss couple, the true love story of the ship (since she wouldn’t leave his side as the boat went down) were given such little attention, so as to not take away from the Rose and Jack relationship.  When Rose died, I could already see Jack’s leg at the top of the spiral staircase waiting for her.  I would have liked it to be a bit more inconspicuous.  This is a big one here:  The fact that Molly Brown, who ended up saving the women in her life boat from freezing by fighting with the sailors to allow them to row for a while to generate body heat, was made to look a fool and told to shut “her pie hole.”  Shameful!  

On a positive note, the movie is visually stunning.  I love the attention to prop detail and scenery, and the special effects were out of this world!  Oh, and Billy Zane should have gotten an Oscar nomination for his role.  You just loved the hate Cal Hockley.  However, just because “Titanic” is not on my Top Movie List, it does have a scene that would make it to my “Best Film Scenes of All Time” category.  When the ship has just been hit and water starts spewing into the boiler rooms, the combination of the music and action on the screen is STUPENDOUS – and that is not an overstatement.  It was directed, written, acted, scored, and edited so brilliantly, and incites so much vigor, that I literally want to get out of my seat and run around the block a couple of times…and then want to jump inside the screen to help everyone below get above the water.  If only…

WOW!  After that, I won’t have to do that full-body cleanse after all. J

 Me: Some notable films there Valarie but I agree with you on Citizen Kane, An American in Paris, Breakfast at Tiffany's (ugh!), Gigi, Birth of A Nation. But I know there are some fans of these they may voice their opinions as well.

    Who’s the biggest film fanatic that you know?  Besides yourself, of course.

Aside from my father (when I was growing up), my friend, Jono – who heads up a classic film lovers group – is my answer.  Not only is he a film fanatic, but he has worked in the industry during certain times in his life and has some amazing back-stories.  He's a walking and breathing classic cinema history book…and a really great guy to boot.

    And finally who are some of your favorite film characters?

Annie Sullivan – “The Miracle Worker”
~ Anne Bancroft

Michael Corleone – “The Godfather I & II”
~ Al Pacino

Jett Rink (minus the racist attributes) – “Giant”
~ James Dean

Peter Warne – “It Happened One Night”
~ Clark Gable

Rhett Butler – “Gone With the Wind”
~Clark Gable

Professor Fate / Crown Prince Frederic Hapnick – “The Great Race”
~ Jack Lemmon

Pseudolus – “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”
~ Zero Mostel

Stephen (The Crazy Irishman) – “Braveheart”
~ David O’Hara

Margo Channing – “All About Eve”
~ Bette Davis

Mercutio – “Romeo & Juliet” (Franco Zeffirelli’s version AND Baz Luhrman’s as well)
John McEnery AND Harold Perrineau

Bernardo – “West Side Story”
~ George Chakiris

Anita – “West Side Story”
~ Rita Moreno

Gideon Pontipee – “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”
~ Russ Tamblyn

Virgil Tibbs – “In the Heat of the Night”
~ Sidney Poitier

Mark Thackeray (“Sir”) – “To Sir, With Love”
~ Sidney Poitier

Daniel – “My Sister’s Wedding”
~ Giovanni Ribisi

Buddy Love / Professor Kelp – “The Nutty Professor”
~ Jerry Lewis

Sylvester – “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”
~ Dick Shawn

Johnny – “Airplane!”
~ Stephen Stucker

David Wooderson – “Dazed and Confused”
~ Matthew McConaughey

…and last, but definitely, not least,
“The Tramp” – All of Chaplin’s films and shorts
~ Charlie Chaplin (whose comic stylings have endured the test of time)

Thanks, Monty!  This was fun…you really made me think about my film-loving experience. 
 Me: Oh no..thank you Valarie for being my guest and with all these amazing answers. You are quite the movie fan for sure.


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