Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Anniversary to me!

Today is the day: my one-year anniversary for Love Letters to Old Hollywood. I’m glad I’ve been able to keep this venture up, especially since when it comes to actually writing a piece out instead of outlining it, I tend to get lazy and push it off for as long as I can. (This is why I don’t publish posts nearly as much as I’d like to.) I really enjoy having a classic movie blog—but I’m not so sure anyone else does. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s like shouting into a void here. I started this blog so I would have people to discuss my passion with, and so far, no takers. I want to make it to many more anniversaries, but if it is all going to be me giving and no one taking, I may have to call it quits. It just isn’t any fun. Sorry for bringing the party down, but when you’re a super shy person like me, sharing ideas and thoughts about my deepest love in life and not getting a response feels an awful lot like rejection. Anyway, on to other things…

Tomorrow is my first day as a college sophomore. I’m so nervous, I keep giving myself stomachaches. Interacting with new people and having a totally different daily routine freaks me out, and I’ll admit it, living away from my parents and my adorable poodle gives me a lot of anxiety. The sad thing is I'm not even that far away from home and I come home every weekend for my job. I didn’t say I wasn’t pathetic. But I’m excited because I have a cinema class this semester in the IU Cinema (which is my favorite place on campus, of course). It’s called “Sound and Cinema,” which is basically as it sounds—focusing on music and whatnot in films. The list of films we’re concentrating on is nothing to sneeze at, either: Now Voyager, The Royal Tenenbaums, Psycho, and others that I was excited for but can’t remember.
Because I’ve been so busy moving in to my new on-campus apartment (exhausting!) and getting ready for the school year, I missed my darling Gene Kelly’s birthday yesterday. I’ve been a fan of Gene’s for a long time, and he never fails to make me gush like an idiot. The first time I watched The Pirate, I immediately had to tell my sister about his absolutely scandalous short shorts during the fantasy sequence. (I tend to act very grandmotherly towards these kinds of things—sue me, I’m a prude.) When a professor of mine last year dared to say that Gene didn’t have a great singing voice, I had to fight the urge to jump up and yell “It’s not true!” As you can see, I’m pretty protective of Mr. Kelly. He wasn’t modest, I know. And he could be seen as a little gruff (re: cruel) to some of his co-workers, like Esther Williams and Debbie Reynolds. But he furthered the movie musical and brought to dancing a sexiness and masculinity that challenged the ideas of what dance could be for people and how it could be presented. He and Astaire didn’t just add their talent to musicals, they gave it a whole different kind of legacy.

To celebrate the late great, I’m going to close this post with some quotes and pictures. Enjoy. 
 “I wasn't nice to Debbie [Reynolds]. It's a wonder she still speaks to me.”

 
“There was no model for what I tried to do with dance . . . and the thing Fred Astaire and I used to bitch about was that critics didn't know how to categorize us. They called us tap dancers because that was considered the American style. But neither of us were basically tap dancers.”

“If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando.”

"There is a strange sort of reasoning in Hollywood that musicals are less worthy of Academy consideration than dramas. It's a form of snobbism, the same sort that perpetuates the idea that drama is more deserving of Awards than comedy."

"As one of the handful of girls who worked with both of those dance geniuses, I think I can give an honest comparison. In my opinion, Kelly is the more inventive choreographer of the two. Astaire, with Hermes Pan's help, creates fabulous numbers – for himself and his partner. But Kelly can create an entire number for somebody else ... I think, however, that Astaire's coordination is better than Kelly's ... his sense of rhythm is uncanny. Kelly, on the other hand, is the stronger of the two. When he lifts you, he lifts you! ... To sum it up, I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on screen. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious." – Cyd Charisse

With love,
Michaela

P.S. I'm thinking of changing the background and colors again. This one seems to keep messing up my spacing and whatnot. What do you all think? And remember, I am completely inept at this kind of stuff, so explain it to me like I'm five.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Betty.

"Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete: if you're alive, it isn't."

It was Tuesday night, and I was finally going to watch Murder by Death, a comedy spoof on classic detective mysteries that had an abundance of talent in the cast. I had only gotten a few minutes into the film when my mom called me back to her room and told me: “Lauren Bacall died.”

I was stunned. I quickly went back to the deserted living room and promptly sobbed for 20 minutes. I was at a loss. One of my favorite actresses—hell, one of my favorite people—was gone. She was tough and vibrant and gorgeous and amazing. Despite her age of 89, I honestly thought she’d be around for so many more years. She represented more than that edgy broad who wiggled into Humphrey Bogart’s life and filled the air with the sound of her husky voice. She was one of the last living legends, a true connection to the Golden Age of Hollywood. She made the movies she starred in seem brighter and yet tougher than they were.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happy 115th, Hitch!

I’m feeling a lot of mixed emotions today. Yesterday, the incredible Lauren Bacall passed away, but today is Alfred Hitchcock’s 115th birthday. I wanted to write a post for both occasions and after trying to figure out a fitting way to honor both icons, I decided that today I would post about Hitch (albeit a little late in the day) and later this week, I’ll post my tribute to Betty. That’ll give me some more time to pull my thoughts together—after James Garner, Robin Williams, and now Betty, I’m feeling a little shaky. I hope you guys understand my decision. In no way am I brushing aside Ms. Bacall; I just want to celebrate Hitch for a few minutes.

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As you all probably know, Hitchcock is my absolute favorite director. To Catch a Thief did a multitude of things for me (as talked about before), and I’ve seen almost every film the Master has made. It’s amazing to me that during the studio days, this incredibly creative and subversive man was able to do all that he did. The homosexual subtexts, the sexy dialogue, the subtle yet still disturbing murders…I could go on. So, to toast Hitch on his birthday today, let’s take a look at my personal list of Hitchcock favorites. As you can imagine, this list originally started at ten films and then ballooned. I realized I forgot the movies Tippi Hedren starred in, and I couldn’t bring myself to knock off two other films to make room, so I expanded the list to twelve. Then I noticed that four more were missing (believe me, I freaked out—I really shouldn’t do lists because I panic). I finally had to draw a line somewhere and stopped my list at number seventeen, as in Number Seventeen, a Hitch film I’ll admit I haven’t seen. Anyway…

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Getting to Know You--I Mean, Me. Not You. Me. Or Both?

Don't panic. I've changed the background, the colors...and pretty much nothing else because I have no clue how most of this stuff works. I realized I have had this blog for almost a year now (whaaaat?) and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s been a great outlet for me to gush about films and every day I’m thinking about some new post idea or I’ll be watching a movie and suddenly decide to take notes for a review. Although you wonderful readers out there haven’t been as vocal as I’d like (I like discussing things…you like reading things…let’s get together), I’m not just going to shut down this whole enterprise and become disheartened. Mostly because the ghost of Kate Hepburn would kick me and tell me to stop being such a sap. So, in honor of my upcoming one-year anniversary, I thought I’d tell you all some things about me (all classic film-related, of course).

1. I love coffee table books.
They’re big. They’re gorgeous. I could just stare at them all day. It saddens me that brand-new ones are almost always expensive, but fortunately, I seem to get older ones that just fall into my hands without me looking for them. Just yesterday, my brother-in-law gave me a book about Warner Bros. films that he found in his grandmother’s shed. A few years ago, I went into a vintage shop and stumbled upon a great book about movie musicals for just $8. Feel free to donate to the cause.