Showing posts from August, 2019

What the Code Means to Me

Some months ago, I was asked by Pure Entertainment Preservation Society to contribute to their ongoing series "What the Code Means to Me." Because PEPS' mission is to honor the legacy of the Production Code and Joseph Breen, this particular series is about explaining how you feel about the Code and its influence. To read more about "What the Code Means to Me" and to check out what others have had to say, click here . __________________ There are a million things that make classic Hollywood the incredible and unique period that it is. We can all agree that we will never see the likes of it again, but not everyone agrees on just what it was that made classic Hollywood special. For example, the studio system. Some people believe that it was a crazy, manipulative means of controlling actors, directors, etc. and that it stifled creativity. Others, however, argue that the studio system was a major reason why the Golden Age of Hollywood earned its name. Anothe

The Third Van Johnson Blogathon has arrived!

It's one of my favorite times of the year: my annual Van Johnson blogathon! For the next three days, a wonderful group of bloggers will be joining me to honor this delightful man and his 103rd birthday. If you're a participant, please leave me the link to your post below and I'll update the roster as quickly as I can! Love Letters to Old Hollywood | The ABCs of Van Johnson Realweegiemidget Reviews | The Kidnapping of the President (1980) Poppity Talks Classic Film |  Van Johnson's Hollywood: A Family Album The Stop Button |  A Guy Named Joe  (1943) Musings of a Classic Film Addict |  Weekend at the Waldorf  (1945) Critica Retro |  The Bottom of the Bottle  (1956) Champagne for Lunch |  The Bride Goes Wild  (1948) Pure Entertainment Preservation Society |  Brigadoon  (1954) The Midnite Drive-In |  The Pied Piper of Hamelin  (1957) Screen Dreams |  In the Good Old Summertime  (1949) Pale Writer |  The End

The ABCs of Van Johnson

On August 25, Van Johnson would have been 103 years old. There are few people from classic Hollywood that I love more than Van. Last year for his birthday, I wrote about why I fell for him , but it feels like I still didn't even scratch the surface of what it is about Van that makes me swoon over him as much as I do. Because of this, I thought it'd be fun to share some of the facts and stories that contribute to what makes Van so special.

The Film That is Like My Home Away From Home

I think all film lovers can agree: naming your favorites can be hard. If someone asked me to do a top ten list, I think I would break out in hives. However, if you were to ask me my absolute favorite movie, the one I could never live without, I would say, with no hesitation, The Wizard of Oz . I’ve loved this 1939 classic practically my whole life. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Dorothy and her friends travel to find the Wizard. To this day, there isn’t one line, one musical cue, or even one stitch of clothing that I haven’t memorized. There is something about The Wizard of Oz that transcends genre. I honestly never thought of it as a musical or a fantasy film until I became fascinated by film history and noticed that other people labelled it as such. The Wizard of Oz was always just The Wizard of Oz to me. I took all of its genre conventions for granted. Oh, they’re singing? Well, of course! Dorothy is transported to a magical land? Obviously, that’s what thi

"Anything Can Happen in the Dark!": The Spiral Staircase (1946)

In a small Vermont town in 1906, a mysterious killer is on the loose, targeting young women with disabilities. Although she fits the MO because of her muteness, Helen (Dorothy McGuire) doesn’t seem worried, despite the numerous warnings she receives from the police, her beau (Kent Smith), and everyone she works and lives with at the foreboding Warren estate (Elsa Lanchester, George Brent, Rhonda Fleming, and Ethel Barrymore). Over the course of one evening, Helen slowly finds herself in incredible danger as the unknown murderer quietly stalks her, all of it building to a remarkable climax. The Spiral Staircase is a film I’ll never forget. Within the first few minutes, you’re confronted with a woman being strangled in broad daylight, her horrified face reflected in her killer’s eye. This isn’t a gory film, though. The Spiral Staircase is all about dread and uneasiness. Mel Dinelli’s script and Robert Siodmak’s astounding direction bring in the clich├ęs we know — isolated old hous