Revue: The Brides of Dracula (1960)

brides-of-dracula-blu-ray-movie-title-large.jpg

las_novias_de_dracula

The decay rate of Hammer films was such that by the time a picture was successful enough to warrant sequels, the quality would drop so low that the actors would refuse to speak. Such was the case for Christopher Lee, who despised the writing in subsequent Dracula pictures to the point where he spoke not a single line in Dracula: Prince of Darkness

So you’d expect a sequel without Christopher Lee in it at all to be the lowest of lows for Hammer’s reputation. Then again, you’d be surprised by the thrilling and sometimes haunting nature of The Brides of Dracula which, outside of title and a reference, contains no direct connection to Dracula nor his brides.

Continue reading “Revue: The Brides of Dracula (1960)”

Advertisements

Top Hats & Twirls: An Ode to Astaire/Rogers

Fred-and-Ginger-Swing-Time.jpg

They’re considered the most iconic dance partners on film. Their classiness transcended their films and their romantic lullabies created a space for elegance to thrive in a world depressed by war. We are talking, of course, of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose multiple film collaborations made them the most iconic male-female musical duo of their time, my pick for this month’s Dynamic Duo in Classic Film Blogathon.

Continue reading “Top Hats & Twirls: An Ode to Astaire/Rogers”

Revue: An American in Paris (1951) 🇫🇷

an-american-in-paris.jpg

an-american-in-paris-poster

Often overlooked and often compared to its more iconic counterpart, Singin’ in the Rain, is one of my favorite pictures to watch on days when there’s nothing to do or when there’s too much to do. If Singin’ in the Rain is that classic Hollywood romp you watch late at night until 1:30am in the morning (and what a lovely morning!), then An American in Paris is its daytime Parisian companion piece.

The charm and positive attitude of An American in Paris is what always gets to me. Hollywood will always be Hollywood with its sawdust soundstages and thin wooden sets, but the old-world charm of the Paris setting completely transports you to a world of culture where everyone is either in the arts or sipping espressos in the Latin Quarter.

Continue reading “Revue: An American in Paris (1951) 🇫🇷”

Grazing the 2018 TCM Film Festival

Image result for tcm classic film festival

Despite the ease of access – and despite being so in love with classic cinema – I have never been to the TCM Film Festival until this year. After starting this blog, I decided I probably should immerse myself in the classic film community and share the joys of watching the likes of Gable and Garbo onscreen.

This year, I decided to test the waters and graze the movie screenings and free events at the TCMFF. The level of passion in classic movie fans is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. There’s so much respect in the movie palaces – nobody checks their phone or whispers to each other. It’s immersive and transformative, an intimate relationship between the screen and the audience-goer.

Continue reading “Grazing the 2018 TCM Film Festival”

Revue: A Trip to the Moon (1902) 🌝

There must’ve been something pure about making movies back in the 1900s. There was no structure put in place that demanded certain expectations of what a motion picture was, no ego involved that required the creation of celebrity, or the net profits reaped from the industry of filmmaking.

george-melies-mephisto-de-faust

In the days of Georges Méliès, filmmaking wasn’t even an “art form”, it was a plaything. The movie camera was a new toy for magicians and engineers to fool around with. They used it to record performances – and when they realized the potential of technical, visual trickery, they began using the movie camera to manipulate the proscenium arch, devising realms of impossibility. In those days, a filmmaker was a cinémagicien.

Continue reading “Revue: A Trip to the Moon (1902) 🌝”

He Wants Me to Like Him: Chaplin the People-Pleaser

Chaplin portraits / CC_206.jpg

“He was someone – more than anyone, more than any artist I know – he loved people. He was such a generous man, and he loved people. That’s what his films are about. They’re about people and a love for humanity, and an optimism for humanity!”
— Geraldine Chaplin

One of my favorite podcasts is Maltin on Movies, a discussion of movies by film critic Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie. I was happening upon one of their latest episodes in which they interviewed comedian Bill Hader at SXSW when their conversation turned towards the eternal Chaplin vs. Keaton debate. This succinct conversation seemed, in my mind, to have encapsulated the hundreds of books and articles written comparing the two titans of silent film comedy, exploring their craft, sense of humor, and styles of performances.

Continue reading “He Wants Me to Like Him: Chaplin the People-Pleaser”

Footlights: In the Shoes of the Tramp 👣

Roy Export Company Ltd.

Having lived in Los Angeles for a while and being always humbled that I get to walk through Hollywood history on a daily basis, I sometimes forget that the most average streets may hold some kind of connection to yesterday’s Golden Age.

As a history buff, my love of classic movies runs deeper than just the content of the pictures and the people involved – I love the vintage culture of L.A. back in those days and the early history of Hollywood, when Echo Park was Edendale and Tudor Revival was all the rage with the movie stars.

For this month’s Charlie Chaplin Blogathon, I decided to do a semi-exhaustive location scout of some of the more prominent houses and studios Charlie Chaplin reigned over – and see what they look like now. I wanted to limit my adventure to Los Angeles itself, and the important locations he lived and worked at.

Continue reading “Footlights: In the Shoes of the Tramp 👣”

The Lovely Haute Couture of Liza Minnelli

2018-PaleyExhibit-LoveLiza-Banner.jpg

This Wednesday, I went to the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills to check out Love, Liza: The Exhibit, a showcase of over 1,000 items by showbiz entertainer Liza Minnelli. It would be a disservice to the skills of the lovely Liza to boil her down to “actress”, “singer”, or “performer”. As the kind of shooting star who lights up the screen with her very presence and attitude, Liza Minnelli is nothing less than a born entertainer, regardless of career or medium.

Continue reading “The Lovely Haute Couture of Liza Minnelli”