Silent Film Review – The Scarlet Letter (1926) – The Silent Movie Day Blogathon

I confess to having little appreciation for the classics of literature. I often find the stories to be long-winded, moralistic and rather dreary. However, thanks to my high school English class (I won’t mention how many years ago) I was exposed to some of these revered tomes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous tale of adultery, The Scarlet Letter is one I had a very strong reaction to. To this day, I clearly remember how angry I felt reading about Hester Prynne and the price she pays for having a daughter out of wedlock. I couldn’t understand why she would spare the father of her child by keeping silent. Nor could I forgive the minister for allowing her to bear the shame and scorn of their Puritanical community alone. It gave me a great disgust of human nature and the level of hypocrisy it can sink to.

Needless to say, it’s not a story I have desired to revisit. However, as so often happens with me, a case of serendipity had me willing to watch what is considered the best of the film adaptations of Hawthorne’s novel.  I’ve been intentionally delving more into the world of silent film. Recently I’ve read a handful of biographies of silent film stars which keep referring to Lillian Gish as one of the great actresses of that era. As it so happens, I also just recently watched Captain Salvation which starred Lars Hanson. When TCM decided to air The Scarlet Letter, which co-stars both Gish and Hanson in their first film together, well…I took it as a sign. Continue reading “Silent Film Review – The Scarlet Letter (1926) – The Silent Movie Day Blogathon”

Six Films Six Decades Blogathon

For the last several years, I’ve enjoyed participating in the blogathons hosted by Rick at Classic Film & TV Cafe to celebrate National Classic Movie Day. This year, Rick’s theme is six favorite movies in six different decades.

This may be among the most difficult choices I’ve yet made for his blogathons. Only one favorite film per decade? Gahh!! I’m not known for being particular about favorites and always have a hard time narrowing down for lists like this.

Hence why I decided to focus on favorites which may not be as famous as others I might have featured. Continue reading “Six Films Six Decades Blogathon”

6 From the 60’s – My Favorite Films of the Decade

I had so much fun participating in Rick of Classic Film and TV Cafe’s Five Favorite Films of the Fifties blogathon last year. So when he chose to continue that theme again this year with 6 From the 60’s to celebrate National Classic Movie Day, I didn’t want to miss out.

I honestly thought narrowing down my choices for this year’s post would be much harder.  After all, the Sixties are the decade of the romantic comedy. And indeed, a cursory glance at my list proves that my favorite genre is well-represented. Purely by chance, more than half of my choices were released in 1963. And I’ve also happened to fully review all but one of these.

But apart from the rom-com, it turns out that the Sixties, does not hold as many of my personal well-loved films as I thought it would. Still, there is much to love. Continue reading “6 From the 60’s – My Favorite Films of the Decade”

Butlers & Maids Blogathon – Imitation of Life (1934)

Most of the time those who serve are over looked and underappreciated. This is true in both life and art. So, I am thrilled that for once characters in service are getting the attention they deserve thanks to Paddy of Caftan Woman and Rich of Wide Screen World who are hosting the Butlers & Maids Blogathon.

It’s not very often that butlers or maids are more than a background character in film. Such is not the case with Imitation of Life which explores topics of race and gender through the prism of relationships. In the friendship between a white businesswoman and her talented black maid as well as the relationships between the two women and their daughters we see how these issues impact each character differently. Continue reading “Butlers & Maids Blogathon – Imitation of Life (1934)”

James Garner Blogathon – The Castaway Cowboy (1974)

I grew up with old school Disney. Though I never understood the appeal of Mickey Mouse, I adored Donald Duck. And thanks to a well-stocked local video store, I also watched many of Disney’s live action movies from the 1950’s on. Films like Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Monkey’s Uncle and others offered wonderful family entertainment for a girl whose mother was very careful about what she was allowed to watch. To this day these films also hold a high nostalgia factor for me. Which is why when choosing a film for the James Garner Blogathon, I had to pick The Castaway Cowboy.

The Castaway Cowboy is a movie I’m certain I’ve seen before, but couldn’t recall a thing about.  It’s the rare combination of Hawaiian meets Western. Continue reading “James Garner Blogathon – The Castaway Cowboy (1974)”

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Blogathon – Forever Female (1953)

It’s easy to write-off Ginger Rogers as the second half of a famous partnership with Fred Astaire. After all it is the ten films they made together which has helped cement her place in film history.

But she’s not just your typical classic movie star. No, she was a real working actress with talent. One who was equally at home in musicals, comedies and dramas. She held her own against respected actresses like Janet Gaynor and Katharine Hepburn and co-starred with in demand actors such as William Powell, Cary Grant & James Stewart.

Without intentionally planning it, I have seen a large majority of Roger’s films and was on the lookout for a new one to review for this blogathon. Forever Female perfectly fit the bill. It is one of her less discussed films, which is unfortunate given Rogers gives an excellent performance. It also boasts William Holden and Paul Douglas as cast members and talented screenwriting brothers Julius (who won and Oscar for Casablanca) & Phillip Epstein. Continue reading “Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Blogathon – Forever Female (1953)”

The Happy Holiday Blogathon – My Ten Favorite Christmas Films

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have always been a Christmas fanatic. Christmas albums comprise my largest collection of music which I listen to year round. I start my countdown in October. I buy beautiful holiday wrapping paper despite my hatred of wrapping gifts. I put my tree up before Thanksgiving. AND I adore Christmas movies, which is why I wanted to share a list of my favorites for this blogathon.

In speaking of this holiday, I must admit, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. No trendy flocked tree for me this year, I’m sticking with my favorite red and gold. I love the aspect of the holiday which celebrates family over busyness, thoughtfulness over commercialism. And I still believe that the real reason for the season is the birth of Jesus. Continue reading “The Happy Holiday Blogathon – My Ten Favorite Christmas Films”

Reel Infatuation Blogathon – Melanie Wilkes of Gone With the Wind

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Gone With the Wind over the years. In fact, it may be the film I’ve watched the most. Though it isn’t my favorite (that honor belongs to Bringing Up Baby), it never fails to entertain me with it’s drama, performances and costumes.

Gone With the Wind is clearly Scarlett O’Hara’s story. And though she’s a divisive character, I’ve always appreciated her more than Melanie Wilkes. Next to Scarlett, Melanie appeared to me to be bland, boring and weak. However, in my more recent viewings of this film, my opinion has changed dramatically. And that is why I chose her for my character crush for this year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Font and Frock and Silver Screenings. Continue reading “Reel Infatuation Blogathon – Melanie Wilkes of Gone With the Wind”

Rosalind Russell Blogathon – Tell It to the Judge (1949)

Rosalind Russell is one of the under-rated talents of classic film, in my opinion. In her forty year career, she played opposite some of Hollywood’s most popular leading men, appeared in more than one hundred films in a mix of genres and  was nominated for an Oscar four times. She also appeared on stage multiple times and even won a Tony Award.

But for some reason, she’s not often listed as anyone’s favorite actress or ranked among the great actresses of her time. Well, thanks to Crystal of In The Good Old Days of Hollywood, Russell is getting some well-deserved recognition and remembrance with her very own blogathon.

I’ve seen many of Rosalind Russell’s films knowing I can always count on her to give her best in any performance. Of course, she’s excellent in dramatic roles, but I often think she is overlooked as a comedienne and not just because of her stand-out role in My Girl Friday. I recently ran across one of her lesser known films Tell It to the Judge and found it to be an absolute delight. Continue reading “Rosalind Russell Blogathon – Tell It to the Judge (1949)”

5 Favorite Films of the 50’s Blogathon

I’ve always considered myself a fan of the pre-war films. In particular, I love the movies of the 1930’s. In my mind, 50’s films are more gritty, less hopeful as well as dramatic. As a fan of comedies and happy endings, I’ve kind of put films from this decade in a box to avoid.

No one was more surprised than me however to discover how many 50’s pictures I’ve seen and actually loved. Talk about preconceptions! I didn’t think I could find enough films to participate in this blogathon. When in reality my problem is that there were so many great pictures, that it about killed me to keep this list at five. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

There were so many films that I really love. But for the most part my deciding criteria was linked to nostalgia. The five movies on my list are ones I grew up watching. I’ve seen them all countless times and love them for their familiarity, the sense that I get that I’m re-visiting old friends and that happy cozy feeling of remembering my childhood experiences with them. Those that just missed the cut include Ivanhoe, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and To Catch a Thief. Painful, I tell you. Continue reading “5 Favorite Films of the 50’s Blogathon”