Scary Movie Suggestions

October 23, 2012

I hope everyone on the east coast is doing okay this week! I'm typing this up and scheduling it now (Monday night) since our power has been browning out and I'm sure we're going to lose it pretty soon. I'm actually surprised it's held up this long, since it's been rainy and SUPER windy for almost 24 hours now.

If you DO have power, this is kind of a good time to watch scary movies, yes? Me and my family have been watching our favorites for the last two days while the wind is howling outside. Here are some eerie flicks I highly recommend:

+ Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and Doctor X (1932) - Both of these movies were filmed in a two-strip technicolor that looks really, really creepy. The subject matter is spooky enough, but the murky greenish tint really adds so much scary oomph! Both star Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill and if you like classic horror (as opposed to blood-and-guts horror) they'll definitely scare your pants off!

+ The Vampire Bat (1933) - Another Lionel Atwill movie (he was in some really scary films!) that spooks me every time. I think this one is more unsettling than Dracula (even though I do love that one, too!)

+ Scream of Fear (1961) - I wrote a blog post about this one last year, here. It's a Hammer film, so I was a little wary about watching it (I'm really not big on gore, and in my experience Hammer films usually come with buckets of it) but it's more of a psychological twisted sort of horror. Not gory but DEFINITELY scary!

+ The Innocents (1961) - Just the opening credits of this movie creeped me out so much that I had to make my brother keep me company for the rest. It's a gothic, atmospheric thriller based on The Turn of the Screw. It's one of those movies where what you *don't* see is scarier than what you do!

+ The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) - This is more of a murder mystery than a horror film, but it definitely has the feeling of a scary movie! And I have goosebumps just thinking about the painting they show in the film (you'll know it when you see it!) eek! Also, it has Barbara Stanwyck (my favorite actress) so that's always a plus!

+ The Body Snatcher (1945) - Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without at least one Val Lewton film, and my favorite is The Body Snatcher. This movie also proves that Boris Karloff could be pretty scary even without the Frankenstein makeup ;) Maybe even scarier.

Scratch that, new plan!

September 24, 2012

I've been sticking with my one film a day challenge for a little over a week, but I decided I'm not going to blog about each movie. The main reason being that some movies just don't inspire much thought outside of "I liked that movie" and that doesn't really constitute a blog post. I also feel like one post a day is just going to annoy the heck out of anyone who is still reading this blog (if there is, in fact, anyone still reading this blog lol)

Anyway! I'm going to make a list to keep track of the films I'm watching instead. Sometimes I'll still post about a movie if I feel like I have something to write about, but otherwise I'll just be adding it to this list here. Also I decided that if I'm really short on time, an Alfred Hitchcock Presents (hereafter referred to as AHP) episode will suffice as a movie.

1. Come Blow Your Horn (9/15/12)
2.  The Honey Pot (9/16/12)
3. The Lady Vanishes (9/17/12)
4. Theodora Goes Wild (9/18/12)
5. The Birds (9/19/12)
6. AHP: Premonition [S1 E2] (9/20/12)
7. Hot Enough for June (9/21/12)
8. Aladdin (9/22/12)
9. Hercules (9/22/12)
10. Sabrina (9/23/12)

Theodora Goes Wild and The Birds

September 20, 2012

On Tuesday night I watched Theodora Goes Wild with Irene Dunne and Melvyn Douglas. It's a really fun screwball comedy from 1936 about a girl from a stuffy town who secretly writes a risque best-seller, and the big city cover artist who tries to save her from her small town chains. I've seen this one countless times, and I think I love it more with each viewing!

My favorite Irene Dunne film is The Awful Truth, and my favorite scene in the movie is when she pretends to be Cary Grant's sister. Well in Theodora Goes Wild she spends a good deal of the movie acting the same way she did in that scene. It's absolutely marvelous!

For yesterday's movie I went to see The Birds on the big screen! I'm sure pretty much everyone with a classic film blog did the same ;) It was so exciting!! I was bedecked in birds to suit the occassion... a bird dress, a bird necklace and a bird from the craft store affixed to my bun. I wrote a little bit more about my fantastic movie-going experience on my other blog, here :)

The Lady Vanishes

September 18, 2012

Last night I watched The Lady Vanishes (1938)

I'm incredibly ashamed to admit that I've never seen the whole movie! I always seem to come in at the end, so yesterday was the first time that I saw the beginning. I absolutely loved it! I'm completely worn out and a little brain dead today so that's about all I have to say... I just wanted to at least make a record of the fact that I watched it ;p

Come Blow Your Horn and The Honey Pot

September 17, 2012

Something really bad has happened to me over the last two years. I've stopped watching movies as often as I used to and that is catastrophic. Ever since I was 13, my world has revolved around movies. I didn't start a classic film blog because I sort of like them... I started it because I'm obsessed with them.

So the fact that I've probably watched only a couple dozen films in the last 20 or so odd months is really earth-shattering. And I need to do something about it. No matter how busy I am, no matter how tired, worn out, overworked or stressed I am, I want to watch at least one movie a day. It can be a re-watch (both of the ones I've started with fall into this category) or something new, but I need to watch one a day. I'm going to try to hold myself to this by blogging about each movie as well. Here goes nothing!

I started yesterday with Come Blow Your Horn (1963)

The film is about a young man (did I just say young man? eww) who breaks away from his parents to go live in the big city with his big brother, a swingin' sixties bachelor in a swingin' sixties bachelor pad. That hep cat with the awesome digs is none other than Mr. Frank Sinatra.

I've been a serious Sinatra fan since February of 2000 (I remember these things) and this had always been one of my least favorite of his films. I'm not going to lie... it's because I thought he looked like he was getting older. Don't judge, one of the main reasons I'm a serious Sinatra fan is because I have a serious crush on the guy.

Since the last time I watched it, however, something has changed. I'm getting older myself and my eyesight isn't quite what it used to be. Now that I'm no longer 20/20 I discovered something absolutely mah-velous: Sinatra in Come Blow Your Horn looks like Sinatra in The Tender Trap if you don't wear your glasses! ;D So this improved my opinion of the movie considerably.

Aside from Frankie's wrinkles and receding hairline I was never quite fond of Lee J. Cobb's blusterous performance or Tony Bill's neurotic, nervous turn as the younger brother. They didn't bother me too much this time though. I'm still not super fond of either of them, but it wasn't like "please kill off this character already!!" anymore.

Ok, enough about what I didn't like. What I did like: THAT APARTMENT, all the orange everywhere, the theme song (of course!), Frank Sinatra's blurry face, Barbara Rush being her amazing self, Jill St. John's makeup and the line about artificial fruit: "it's like the fruit version of The Picture of Dorian Gray!"

Today I watched a personal favorite, The Honey Pot (1967)

I'm pretty sure that I forced somebody to watch this once and they hated it, because every single time I watch it now I think "how could that person have hated this?!?!" although I completely forget who it was.

The plot is a little hard to describe without giving things away, since it's very Agatha-Christie-esque with lots of twists and turns. Basically a very, very rich man decides to play a little trick on three of his old girlfriends by sending them each a letter summoning them to his (fake) deathbed. The very, very rich man is Rex Harrison and the ladies are Susan Hayward (I love her to pieces, but her fake Texas accent was a little grating) Capucine and Edie Adams. The cast also includes a young Maggie Smith and my beloved Cliff Robertson.

Except for the phony Texas draw, I love everything about The Honey Pot. I think the twisty plot is exceptional, the acting is phenomenal and, well, Cliff Robertson ♥

psst! Come Blow Your Horn and The Honey Pot are both on Netflix instant if reading my jumbled thoughts has made anyone want to watch them :)

Romantics Anonymous

August 05, 2012

My parents watch A LOT of Netflix and every time that they enjoy whatever they watched, they recommend it to me. I don't usually take them up on their suggestions since my own to-watch list is so overwhelmingly long, but when my dad mentioned this quirky French film, and I realized it was already in my own Netflix queue, I bumped it up to the top.

It's the story of two "emotional" people. In other words, very very very shy. I don't think I've ever found a movie where the main characters are this introverted, and it was absolutely delightful! I'm quite "emotional" myself, and it was so refreshing to see people onscreen exhibiting the same embarrassing traits that I show when I have to engage in any kind of human interaction.

The girl, Angelique, attends AA-style meetings for people who have uncontrollable shyness. The boy, Jean-Rene, is seeing a therapist to help get over his anxieties. When he hires her to work at his floundering chocolate shop, it makes for one of the cutest boy-meets-girl stories I've ever seen. We're all familiar with movies where the heroine is incredibly timid, but overcomes her shyness with the help of an overly-confident, handsome, dashing man. But what if the boy is just as paralyzed with fear as she is?! It's a brilliant concept, and it's well written and well acted to boot.

A lot of people say they're shy, but they don't suffer from paralyzing shyness the way me and the characters in the film do. Like Angelique, I think I'm relatively talented at what I do (well, in the movie she's a lot more talented than me, but let's just ignore that for a second) but if I have to explain my work to somebody else --be it a judge in an art competition, or during a job interview, etc.-- my mind goes completely blank from fear. Every time I've ever been asked out, I've sabotaged it somehow. Like Jean-Rene, I've never been in a relationship because of my fear of both kinds of intimacy -- physical and emotional. I'm pretty sure if I ever found myself on a date, I'd need to make like Jean-Rene in the film and bring along a suitcase of extra shirts to change into as I sweat my way through each one.

I usually grumble when people complain that they couldn't relate to characters in a film, since that isn't a necessity for me when I watch a movie. I enjoy films where everyone is a louse with no redeemable characteristics. I like movies with unhappy endings or movies where the only good person ends up dead by the time the credits roll. But. I will admit, it is incredibly nice to be able to relate to a film this much. I obviously felt emotional; my overactive empathy gland made me feel just as the characters did in each scene. (I'm a little surprised I didn't need to change shirts just watching it!) I knew exactly what they were going through, and I could feel their pain, heartbreak and elation.

And because this is, after all, a movie with a happy ending... I can feel hope.

Roxy's apartment

July 22, 2012

Hi! It's been a while... whoops! :)

This week I took my mom and grandmom to New York City for a girls' day to celebrate their birthdays (my grandmom's birthday was Monday and my mom's was Friday) and the highlight of our trip was a behind the scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall! I was so excited when I found out that they hosted tours... it's seriously an art deco paradise!

The stage and foyer were amazing (as were the bathrooms or "lounges," which were included in the tour lol!) but I thought the best part was the apartment. Roxy, the manager (at least I think he was the manager, I was a little unclear about what his actual position was) of Radio City during its heyday, lived in the building in a lush art deco apartment. They've kept two rooms -- the living room and dining room-- exactly as they were in 1932!

Gary Cooper visited here!! As did Alfred Hitchcock and I'm guessing lots of other classic film stars as well -- the tour seems to be geared towards impressing modern audiences, so their list of important guests goes right from Hitch to people like Oprah and Lady Gaga...

I wish my photos of the dining room could have captured the grandeur. It doesn't look as amazing here as it did in person.

I kept wishing all of the other tour members would disappear so I could wander around the room and pretend I was on a lavish Cedric Gibbons set! I mean, look at these windows! If I wasn't surrounded by other modern tourists, I would have half expected Joan Crawford or Robert Montgomery to waltz in and ask if I cared for a drink.

2012 in film: February (super late!)

March 28, 2012

Whoops! I didn't expect it to be almost April by the time I finally got around to writing about the movies I watched in February! I guess it's a good thing I'm writing everything down or I totally would have forgotten which movies I saw ;p

February: 7 new-to-me movies / 11 total (wow, same exact count as January!)

My favorite new film: Agora (2009)

I don't usually watch newer films, but this was a must-see since it's based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria, my cat's namesake! I really enjoyed the movie, although it wasn't historically accurate. I'll admit half of the reason I loved it was just hearing them say "Hypatia" throughout the film, lol!

My new least favorite film: Sliding Doors (1998)

Do you ever watch movies just because you remember seeing previews for them when you were little? For some reason I had this vivid image in my mind of Sliding Doors previews on tv, so when I saw it pop up on Netflix I decided to give it a try, and I ended up hating it. I had much better luck with Milk Money (another watch-it-because-the-previews-looked-good-when-I-was-little movie) last year.

Best movie title: English Without Tears (1944)

Best cast: My Fair Lady (1964) - Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Gladys Cooper, Stanley Holloway and Wilfrid Hyde-White (I love Pickering!)

Worst cast: Well I think this just HAS to go to The Black Swan (1942) simply because Tyrone Power was in it, right? ;)

They made me watch it: I was forced to watch watched The Black Swan upon threat of death at Millie's suggestion, and while the movie was good I still don't like Tyrone Power (sorry guys!) and I also watched Union Station (1950), which Casey suggested after I asked for some good noir suggestions! That was a really good movie!

Strangest movie: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) I watched this entirely for John Kerr and wasn't disappointed, but I think Vincent Price's mere presence and the kooky story definitely put it in the "strangest movie of Februrary" spot!

February's tv obsession: I didn't breeze through a dozen seasons of any tv show in February, but I did download and catch up on all of the New Girl episodes, and I'm pretty smitten! I had watched the pilot when it first aired and really didn't care for it. But I decided to give it another shot, and I'm glad I did because I think it's really cute.

Films by decade:

1940's: 4/3 new
1950's: 1/1 new
1960's: 2/1 new
1980's: 1/0 new
1990's: 1/1 new
2000's: 2/1 new

Millie made me watch it: The Black Swan

February 29, 2012

Millie has been pestering me for THREE YEARS about watching The Black Swan. Every time she brought it up, I resisted and after about 20 more minutes of pestering she moved on. I thought I was safe. Then one day, there was a knock at the door, and when I opened it, there stood a person dressed head to toe in black, wearing a ski mask, and wielding a skein of rope and a package shaped like a DVD. Before I knew it I was being gagged and tied to a chair! Horrible thoughts were swirling through my mind... kidnapping, robbery, murder... but no, it was worse. Much worse.

This mystery intruder forced me to watch The Black Swan.

Now, I should probably explain that my aversion to this movie is rooted entirely in the fact that the star is Tyrone Power. It's not that I hate him or anything, I just don't get why he was so popular. Give me Dirk Bogarde or Cliff Robertson instead ;) Anyway, I'm not his biggest fan, and I've never had any desire to watch his films. But Millie (and her cohorts, Casey and Terry) have always been convinced that The Black Swan would change my mind.

Sorry guys... you were wrong. The movie was good and I definitely enjoyed it! I liked Maureen O'Hara (except at the ending I sort of wanted to slap her) and George Sanders was amusing with his strange little beard/mustache/crazy eyebrow situation. And frankly, I love the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney World so much that any movie about pirates will induce a happy Disney haze. I still don't like Tyrone Power, and I still don't get his appeal at all. But the movie itself? Pretty darn good!

When I was done watching the movie, the person in black untied me, took their DVD and disappeared into the night. And I could have sworn I heard a faint asthmatic evil laugh as I picked up the trail of ricola cough drops they had left on my driveway.

The time machine in The Time Machine

February 05, 2012

When I was little, I can remember watching The Time Machine with my dad and absolutely hating it. We thought the Morlock scenes were really stupid, and for years we made fun of the movie so much that it ended up becoming an inside joke. We'd act like the world was ending if we saw it pop up in the tv guide, and avoided seeing it again like the plague.

Then about five or six years ago I realized that Rod Taylor was pretty darn awesome (do not dare argue with me on this point. He is amaaaazing.) and I decided to revisit The Time Machine. I gave it a second chance, and absolutely fell in love with it. I lectured my dad on why it was actually a pretty stupendous movie, and then made him re-watch it too. And he changed his mind as well.

I can't tell what about the movie would have seemed so terrible to 7 year old me, but current me thinks it's one of the best movies ever made. I love the story (even those Morlocks who aren't so stupid after all) and I think the commentary on our never-ending state of war was brilliant. And Rod Taylor is, of course, his usual fantastic self, galavanting through time in one of the most beautiful gadgets Hollywood has ever created.

A couple months ago I was watching an episode of the show The Big Bang Theory in which the main characters bid on ebay for what they thought was the miniature version of the time machine, but was in fact the authentic full-size prop from the film. It got me thinking about the whereabouts of that prop, and whether or not you could actually bid on miniature versions of it on ebay!

I found out that the real prop from the movie is owned by actor Bob Burns, but the photos above show an exact working replica made by fan Carl Piermarini. His website includes a breakdown of each step, and behind the scenes photos of the work in progress. Honestly, if I had the money to make it and a place to put it I'd be over at Home Depot picking up the supplies to make one myself.

As for the miniatures, I found one pre-assembled miniature on ebay for a whopping $500, and a DIY 1/6 scale model version for about $100 here. Although I'm sure with a little ingenuity and lots of time you could probably make one from scratch for less.

It's kind of funny to me that if I had seen Time Machine miniatures 10 years ago, I would have sent the link to my dad with "LOL" in the subject line, and now I would do anything to own one.

2012 in film: January

February 01, 2012

I thought it would be fun to totally rip off sort of copy Millie's 2011 in film series and keep track of my own movie viewing in 2012! I didn't get to watch as many movies in January as I originally planned, but it was a pretty hectic month so I'm glad I was able to watch any at all!

January: 7 new-to-me movies / 11 total

My favorite new film: Dear Murderer (1947)

I loved this movie so much! It's a fantastic British film noir, with lots of deceit, intrigue and unexpected twists! I've had this one on my "to watch" list for over a year and I'm so glad I finally got around to seeing it, because it's definitely a new favorite!

My new least favorite film: Enchanted April (1992)

I might have enjoyed this if I hadn't been watching it *entirely* for Michael Kitchen. I spent most of the movie just upset that he wasn't in it enough, and resenting all of the other actors for being onscreen when he wasn't. Also two of the ladies' voices drove me nuts, but if Michael Kitchen had been the main star they probably wouldn't have annoyed me as much as they did.

Best movie title: The Wind Cannot Read (1958) yup, Dirk.

Best cast: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Natalie Wood and Edna Best (Herbert Marshall's wife!)

Worst cast: Hmm... I don't think I watched any movies with an overall bad cast. I would have re-cast Louis Hayward's part in Ruthless (1948) but I guess that's it!

They made me watch it: It's my goal to watch at least one movie every month that one of my friends suggests, and this month I watched Love Letters (1945) at Casey's suggestion! I loved it! I'm not usually a big Jennifer Jones fan (although I love her in Madame Bovary!) but I really enjoyed her performance in this movie and the plot was terrific! And any movie with Gladys Cooper in it is usually a good movie in my book. Thanks for the recommendation, Casey!

Strangest movie: Heaven Can Wait (1943) I LOVED Charles Coburn in this movie and I can finally understand why Nicola loves Don Ameche so much ;) but the plot was truly bizarreness personified!

January's tv obsession: I seem to get hooked on a new show almost monthly... this month it was LOST. I started it about 2 weeks ago, and I only have 10 episodes left. Tv eats into my movie watching time, but I kind of like that when I get wrapped up in the plot & characters I get to spend more than just 2 hours with them ;)

Films by decade:

1940's: 5/4 new
1950's: 1/0 new
1990's: 2/2 new
2000's: 3/1 new

ps. The image I used in my graphic is from my classic film scans blog, and the font is a hand-drawn typeface that I made myself! It's for sale in my etsy shop here.

The Bradford Dillman blogathon

January 22, 2012

Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to watch any new movies/tv shows in preparation for the Bradford Dillman Blogathon: A Jazzier Kind of Noir so instead my contribution is these scans.

I purchased the above photo on ebay recently, and the rest were scanned from two movie photo books I got at a flea market last year. You can view them larger here! Oh, and here is my contribution to last year's Bradford blogathon!

Disney, Busby Berkeley style

January 20, 2012

I went to see Beauty & The Beast 3D last weekend! It was my favorite movie when I was a kid, so I was incredibly (maybe overly) excited to see it in theaters again, and it was even better than I imagined. I kept hearing people say how disgusted they were that it's in 3D, but seriously the effects are so subtle you hardly even notice! It's like the animation has multiple layers. Nothing pops out at you.. it's not gimmicky, just really pretty, especially the forest scenes! I'm really not a big fan of the 3D phenomenon, but getting a chance to see one of my all time favorite movies in a theater was something I couldn't pass up, and I definitely wasn't disappointed!

Anyway, the reason I bring this up on my classic movie blog (since I'm 25 I'm not going to let 1991 count as classic just yet, lest I feel too old) is because I realized for the first time that the Be Our Guest number is a tribute to Busby Berkeley! Once it hits you, it's so obvious!

By the by, today marks my 3rd Silents & Talkies anniversary (whoa!) ... it's been a bumpy road and I've shuttered the doors numerous times in fits of "nobody reads this, why do I bother?!" hysteria, but I want to say "thank you!" to everyone who has stuck around, to the few people who have encouraged me to keep writing, and to my dear friends that I've met through blogging. I can't even imagine my life without some of you, and to think we wouldn't have even met if I hadn't started Silents & Talkies... it's just mind-boggling.


Rare Sunday in New York photos

January 13, 2012

I recently purchased a couple of original proof sheets from a Sunday in New York promotional photo shoot, and scanned them for my Classic Film Scans blog! The one above is my favorite, but they're all exceptionally cute! You can view the rest of them here.

I haven't updated the CFS site in a little while since I've been in the process of changing hosts for all of the 1,000+ photos already up, and didn't want to add new ones while I was switching. But this particular set was too good to hold onto, I just had to share them!! I'm really close to having the site ready for more uploads, though, so keep an eye out if you're interested in gawking at classic movie stars ;) I have a huge stack of things to scan and I'm planning on updating it pretty regularly once I get the hosting all sorted out.

Oh, and by the by -- if you still haven't seen Sunday in New York (or if you love it and want to see it again!) it's playing on TCM today at 11:15AM est!