Black Friday Sale!

November 24, 2017



My Black Friday sale is going on now through Monday night! Use code "MISTLETOE" to get 25% off any order of $15+. Plus get free worldwide shipping on all orders of $20+

I have a TON of classic movie related items in my shop, including lapel pins, patches, button sets, pocket mirrors, Christmas cards, and art prints. You can find all of it right here, or you can also view my personal recommendations in my classic film gift guide right here.

Happy Birthday, Alain Delon!

November 08, 2017



Today is Alain Delon's birthday! I've planned a few things to celebrate, starting with a brand new tribute video! This one took me WAY longer than any other one I've ever worked on. Normally I knock them out in 1-2 sittings but I've been fiddling with this one for about two months, adding clips and replacing clips here and there until I thought it was perfect. It's VERY fangirly but I think that just makes it more fun to watch. I hope you enjoy it! :)



I also rounded up a list of a bunch of Alain Delon movies currently streaming online in the US. I can't vouch for how long these movies will be available (for instance, the FilmStruck ones have been on the service since July so they may be expiring soon) but if you want to celebrate his birthday tonight, here are some movies you can stream instantly:

DEUX HOMMES DANS LA VILLE
Filmstruck | YouTube

LE SAMOURAÏ
Filmstruck | Amazon | YouTube

UN FLIC
Filmstruck | Amazon | YouTube

LE CERCLE ROUGE
Filmstruck | Amazon | YouTube



FAREWELL, FRIEND
Filmstruck | YouTube

L'ECLISSE
Filmstruck | Amazon

PURPLE NOON
Filmstruck | Amazon

ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS
Filmstruck | YouTube | Watch TCM (until 11/13)



CHRISTINE
Filmstruck

SPIRITS OF THE DEAD
Filmstruck

SWANN IN LOVE
Filmstruck

THE SICILIAN CLAN
Amazon | YouTube

MORT D'UN POURRI
Amazon



TEXAS ACROSS THE RIVER
Amazon

BORSALINO & CO
Amazon

ZORRO
Amazon | YouTube

THE CONCORDE: AIRPORT 79
Amazon

NOUVELLE VAGUE
YouTube (no subs)



THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE
Amazon | YouTube

THE LEOPARD
Amazon | YouTube

POUR LA PEAU D'UN FLIC
Amazon

GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE
Amazon



LA PISCINE
YouTube (no subs)

L'INSOUMIS
YouTube (no subs)

THE ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY
YouTube

PAROLE DE FLIC
YouTube



FLIC STORY
YouTube

RED SUN
YouTube

ONCE A THIEF
YouTube

BORSALINO
YouTube (no subs)

LE TOUBIB
YouTube (no subs)



There might be some that I'm missing (and I don't have Fandor or Mubi accounts to check those sites) but I think that's a decent amount to start with! :) And if you're not already following me on twitter, be sure to drop in today to see my day-long salute to one of my favorite stars! I have lots of images, gifs, and movie recommendations scheduled throughout the day. You can follow me @kategabrielle.

Happy Delonday!

Tobe Hooper and Poltergeist (1982)

October 26, 2017



Today I have a special guest post from my friend Ana Roland, who wrote an in depth, fascinating report about Tobe Hooper's work on the 1982 film Poltergeist. The movie is airing on TCM at 6PM EST on Halloween. I personally haven't seen the film yet, but now I'm looking forward to watching it with this production backstory in mind! - Kate



"Just don't ask me about Poltergeist..." ~Tobe Hooper

"Poltergeist is what I fear and E.T. is what I love" ~Steven Spielberg

In Memoriam: Tobe Hooper known for his sweet, gentle Texas reserve died of natural causes on August 26 of this year at the age of 74.

William Tobe Hooper born on Jan. 25, 1943, in Austin, Texas is best known for turning the horror genre upside-down and influencing future generations of horror directors. He conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film that are still enduring. Among his most recognized films are low-budget cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which has a print stored in the Library of Congress and Poltergeist, a box office hit, which received three Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Effects Editing. Fun fact, Poltergeist was beaten in all three categories by E.T., which was of course directed by Steven Spielberg. Nothing like beating yourself!

What I didn't know before, but while researching for this post I discovered, is there was a controversy over whether Hooper or writer/producer Steven Spielberg directed Poltergeist. The rumors were so rampant even before the film was released that the Directors Guild of America did open an investigation. Spielberg insisted that Hooper deserved sole credit on the film. The Hollywood Reporter printed an open letter from Spielberg to Hooper in the week of the film's release. "Regrettably, some of the press has misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship, which you and I shared throughout the making of Poltergeist." Author Warren Buckland wrote an in-depth study on Spielberg's technique and choices in his book "Directed by Steven Spielberg." He comes to the conclusion that in the aggregate Poltergeist is very much a Tobe Hooper film. John Kenneth Muir did something similar for Tobe Hooper in his book, "Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre" and he reached the same conclusion

Some backstory on this controversy. Spielberg always had an eye for talent and was eager to mentor young directors. Spielberg hired Tobe Hooper after being impressed with his film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974.) Spielberg offered "Night Skies," a script written by John Sayles which would later evolve to become E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to Tobe Hooper, but Hooper felt the alien aspect wasn't really his thing, telling Spielberg he'd like to do a ghost story instead. Hooper claims to have pitched Spielberg on an idea he had been developing off and on for the past few years at Universal. According to Hooper, initially he worked with William Friedkin (The Exorcist) to try to get Universal interested in the project. Hooper and Spielberg collaborated by mail on a treatment while Spielberg was shooting "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Spielberg wanted Stephen King to write the script but King claims he asked too much money because he didn't want to be the hired help.

Poltergeist was Tobe’s first studio movie. Spielberg is a consummate filmmaker and was a very hands-on producer. E.T. and Poltergeist were filmed in the same neighborhood at the same time. Both films were made to complement each other. E.T. represented suburban dreams, and Poltergeist represented suburban nightmares. Hooper submitted his cut of the film, he withdrew from the production and Spielberg finished the post-production (editing, music and effects.) Time and Newsweek tagged the summer of 1982 "The Spielberg Summer" because E.T. and Poltergeist were released a week apart in June.

There is no doubt it must have been daunting for Tobe to direct with Spielberg (a film he wanted to make) at the height of his popularity. My belief is that Spielberg would have never taken the film as far in the horror and violence, not wishing to alienate his core audience. The MPAA initially gave Poltergeist an R rating. Spielberg lobbied the MPAA board stating that he made PG movies not R ones, and successfully got it changed. This film collaboration has haunted Hooper's film legacy, although they did work together again on other projects.

Thanks for the scares Tobe. One of the highlights of his life was receiving the Texas Hall of Fame Award which honors those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Texas film industry.



I am providing a link to one of Tobe’s early panels at the Austin Film festival, THE SCARE TACTIC: THE DYNAMICS OF HORROR WRITING, which he spoke on with fellow horror master Wes Craven in 1996. It is available here On Story show and podcast: http://www.onstory.tv/listen/

Poltergeist airs on TCM October 31 6PM (EST) HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Donna Lamour's Hollywood Take @donnalamour on twitter

New classic movie Christmas card designs!

October 23, 2017



My 2017 Christmas card designs are now available in my shop! I had a ton of fun making these this year! I haven't sent cards myself for the last couple of years but I think I might have to start again this Christmas, just so I can mail some "Clark! the herald angels sing" cards. That pun is cracking me up SO much!

You can find all of my new cards (and my old designs, too!) in my shop right here.









La veuve Couderc (1971)

August 25, 2017



For the Journeys in Classic Film 2017 Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, I decided to write a bit about La veuve Courderc, a quiet French drama starring Alain Delon and TCM's star of the day Simone Signoret.

La veuve Courderc begins with a mustached Alain Delon wandering into town, just as Simone Signoret is attempting to carry her heavy egg incubator to her farmhouse down the road. Signoret is "La veuve" --or the widow-- of the title. She lives with her grumpy (and, if the subtitles on my copy are an accurate translation, abusive) father-in-law, and just across the river from her judgmental sister-in-law. When she takes on Delon's mysterious drifter as a hired hand on her farm, it stirs up trouble with the sister-in-law and her young attractive daughter, played by Ottavia Piccolo.

That might all seem like a pretty soapy plot but overall it's actually a very soft, slow-paced movie with nuanced, sensitive performances. Delon plays a very Delon-like character -- enigmatic, morally ambiguous, and quiet yet volatile. Even when he finally shares his secretive backstory you're still not entirely positive that he's telling the truth. And when the widow takes a liking to him, you're never quite sure if his reciprocated feelings are genuine.

While Delon is -- unsurprisingly -- my favorite part of the movie, Simone Signoret does most of the heavy lifting here. The events of the movie may be set into motion when Delon arrives in town, but his role is mostly that of an object of desire and an enigma that nobody can quite figure out. Signoret bears the brunt of the town gossip, and she endures the heartbreak when the drifter favors her young niece over her, even telling her to her face that he preferred the niece because of her youth. The film really tries to play up the age difference (in real life Signoret was 50 while Delon was 36) with Signoret's graying hair, matronly nightgowns, and world weary composure; juxtaposed against her mischievous, spirited niece exposing her chest to breastfeed her infant in front of an attentive Delon.

Signoret may be playing up the age with her appearance, but inwardly her performance is that of a lovestruck teenager. She is glowing and giddy when he pays her attention, but she is quick to turn to vindictive acts of jealousy or get snippy with him when she suspects he's playing around with her niece. She embodies the role so well, fluctuating between girlish emotions while still somehow maintaining that cool, unflappable Signoret veneer. It's kind of like she's playing the hardened city girl with a soft center, just transposed to a French countryside setting. It's brilliant.

Finally, let's circle back to that mustache and ask the question on everyone's mind: "Is that mustache really necessary?"



I don't think it's necessary to his face, but it's probably necessary to the movie. He shaves it off about halfway in, the timing coinciding with his piqued interest in the niece. I'm not exactly disturbed by its presence during the first 45 minutes but I'm always happy to see it go ;)

Unfortunately this movie only seems to be available in DVD boxsets, most of which are region 2. It's available in this Alain Delon boxset which is a little pricey but I highly recommend it if you're a fan of his work. It contains a few other movies that are difficult to find in America and it's region 1 so it will play in American DVD players!

Alain Delon on FilmStruck

July 19, 2017



FilmStruck is currently running a feature on Alain Delon, so I thought it would be fun to make a little guide to their lineup. I decided to divide my recommendations into two separate lists. The first is the Fangirl Kate list, the second is the Serious About Cinema list.

If you're interested in watching his films because you want to gawk at his icy blue eyes and unreal bone structure (have you seen those cheekbones?) then the Fangirl Kate list is the one for you. If you're more set on checking out his impressive filmography, seeing his perfect performances in films by the likes of Antonioni, Visconti, and Melville, then you'll want to scroll down to my Serious About Cinema list. And if you're interested in both (*raises hand*) then you can just watch them all! I should note that neither of my lists include the film Swann in Love (1984) since it's one of the few remaining Alain films that I have yet to see. I should also note that these recommendations are only based on the films FilmStruck is currently offering, not Alain's full filmography.

Before I begin, here is the list of films currently streaming as part of FilmStruck's Alain Delon feature: Le Samourai, Rocco and His Brothers, Purple Noon, Spirits of the Dead, Christine, L'Eclisse, Farewell Friend, Le Cercle Rouge, Un Flic, Deux hommes dans la ville, Swann in Love. Of these films, only Le Samourai, L'Eclisse, Purple Noon, Spirits of the Dead, and Swann in Love are part of the permanent Criterion Collection. The rest will expire when the feature ends so if you're interested in those, watch them quickly! If rarity is a factor, try to check out Christine and Rocco and his Brothers while you can because they can be hard to find.





1. Purple Noon (1961) The original film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley with Alain in the role of Tom. He slides so effortlessly between playing a meek tagalong and a brooding pillar of confidence, it's terrifying and wonderful at the same time. If I had to pick one movie in which this beautiful actor looked his MOST beautiful, it would probably be Purple Noon. Like, if you've seen photos of him on twitter or tumblr and thought "man, that guy is HOT, I should check out his movies sometime based on this one factor" this is your movie, and it WILL get you hooked for life. Everybody has their own preferences and favorites but personally I cannot think of any movie I've ever seen where a man looked better than Alain does in Purple Noon.

I was torn between including this in my "fangirl" section or my "serious" section since it's really an A+ movie, one of my favorite foreign films, and a super taut thriller, but one look at this face and there's really not even any question. I mean...



2. L'Eclisse (1962) I once read a review of this film that said something like "If two people as beautiful as Alain Delon and Monica Vitti have trouble finding love, there's no hope for the rest of us." L'Eclisse follows their doomed love affair from its slow awkward start to its sudden fizzle, while we absorb all of the sad beauty from the comfort of our own average lives. This could easily fit into my "serious about cinema" category as well. But even if you're not really into Antonioni movies and all the symbols and existential emptiness that come with them, it's worth it for this face.



3. Christine (1958) baby Alain Delon and baby Romy Schneider in their first film together! *aww* This is a tragic love triangle (actually more like love polygon!) period drama, and Alain is so beautiful here it's really hard to believe he's actually the same species as the rest of us. This isn't one of my favorite Alain films, but it's fun to watch since it's the film where Alain and Romy met and fell in love. And I have to recommend it if only because I spent two years trying to find a copy of the film with English subtitles. And now it's streaming on FilmStruck, so you can easily watch it! Don't pass up that opportunity!



4. Farewell, Friend (1968) This is, strangely, one of my favorite Alain Delon movies. The film starts off kind of weird (There's a bunch of rich men pretending a prostitute is a pull-string doll? It's... uncomfortable) but it's not long before Alain and Charles Bronson are stuck in a room together after Alain's reverse heist (that's when you plan an elaborate break-in to return something, not to steal something!) goes awry. I love a good heist movie, whether that involves stealing something or, in this case, not, and I love it even more when you pare down the cast and have two actors carry the whole movie. Finally, the reason this one got sorted into the Fangirl Kate section:







1. Le Samourai (1967) This movie is in my top 4 films of all time. Alain's first teaming with frequent director Jean-Pierre Melville, this is often considered (and rightly so) the best movie either of them ever made. This is a very quiet movie (literally no dialogue for the first ~20 minutes!) about a lone assassin and a hit job gone wrong. Every single move -- of the actors, of the camera -- is meticulous. It's just such a perfectly constructed movie, reminiscent of film noir but with a decidedly 60's French touch. Not only is this a great introduction to Alain Delon's filmography, I think it's a great introduction to French cinema as a whole.



2. Deux hommes dans la ville (1973) Alain plays a reformed criminal who wants to go straight, but keeps getting harassed by the guy who locked him up a decade earlier. It's clearly inspired by Les Miserables, but set in a modern-day France that was still, horrifyingly, using the guillotine. I've written about this one on my blog before, and you can read the post here. I mention this in the other post but it bears repeating -- Alain Delon's eye acting here is just The Tops. Towards the end there's a whole scene that relies on him and Jean Gabin exchanging looks, no words, and it pierces your heart.



3. Le Cercle Rouge (1970) One of the best heist sequences in the history of film. I personally think it outdoes Rififi, it's that good. This was Alain's second collaboration with director Jean-Pierre Melville after Le Samourai, and it's just as taut, with painstaking attention to details and a plot that comes full... circle. Alain is a tour de force of calm and cool, and Yves Montand turns in a meaty performance as a former cop with a case of DTs, who has to get clean to help with the heist.



4. Rocco and his Brothers (1960) Here Alain plays the most pure, sweet thing that's ever lived, who falls for his brother's former flame. It's got boxing, heartbreak, and everything in between. I've revisited almost every Alain Delon film that I've watched so far, but I have yet to revisit this one. It's a good movie, I recommend it, and it's quality with a capital Q. But it's so brutal. You guys know I'm not a happy ending girl, I love movies that are sad and depressing, but this one is like the cinematic equivalent of a gut-punch. I'd suggest watching it if you've never seen it before, if only to see Alain Delon and Annie Girardot give exquisite performances, but man. It's been almost two years since I saw this for the first time and I still get sad thinking about it.





Lastly, a few notes about the other films in the feature:

Spirits of the Dead (1968) This is an anthology film based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, where each vignette was directed by a different director. Louis Malle helms the Alain Delon/Brigitte Bardot story, and it's very good (plus you get Alain Delon x2!) It just made me wish that Malle and Delon had teamed up for a full-length feature! But I am scarred for life by the Roger Vadim segment which pairs Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda as lovers. I can't unsee it.

Un Flic (1972) A heist film where Richard Crenna is a nightclub owner/robber, and Alain Delon plays the friend/cop who has to catch him. It's very good and Catherine Denueve is the third part of the love triangle in the film. (ps. Another great Delon/Denueve pairing is Le Choc, which I wrote about here.) This was Alain's third teaming with Jean-Pierre Melville, and Melville's last film. I personally think it's the lesser of the three, but it has another fantastic heist sequence and even Melville's lesser films are greater than most directors' best films.

And that wraps up my recommendations! I hope if you haven't dabbled in Delon before that this post will spark some interest, or at least help you decide where to start. In the future I'll try to do a similar post with his films that are available on DVD for anyone who misses out on this FilmStruck feature.