Geneviève Bujold is ISABEL (1968)

Paul Almond’s ISABEL (1968) begins with a train journey across a snow-covered landscape. We watch as the film’s star, Geneviève Bujold, sits awkwardly in her seat and squirms uncomfortably in front of the camera’s unrelenting eye. She is biding her time by shuffling through a small stack of books and papers in an effort to fend off … Continue reading Geneviève Bujold is ISABEL (1968)

CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

When Jane Birkin (Blow-Up [1966], Wonderwall [1968], La Piscine [1968], Don Juan (or If Don Juan Were a Woman) [1973], Je t’aime moi non plus [1976], Death on the Nile [1978], La Belle Noiseuse [1991])) was getting ready to celebrate her 40th birthday in 1986 she confessed to filmmaker Agnès Varda, that she had reservations about growing older. Varda, who was almost 60-years-old at the time, told Birkin … Continue reading CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST WOMAN OF PHOTOGRAPHY: RUTH HARRIET LOUISE

You might not be familiar with her name but you’re probably familiar with her work. Ruth Harriet Louise’s glamorous photos of classic movie stars have graced countless magazines and book covers. Her photos helped launch the careers of many beloved actors and they offered fans an intimate look at some of Hollywood’s most celebrated icons. … Continue reading HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST WOMAN OF PHOTOGRAPHY: RUTH HARRIET LOUISE

COURAGE CONQUERS DEATH IN CHRISTOPHER STRONG

I can still recall the first time that I saw Dorothy Arzner’s Christopher Strong (1933). I was just a teenager flipping channels one lazy afternoon and suddenly the opening credits appeared on my television. I noticed Colin Clive’s name so I paused. I was familiar with the actor thanks to his role as Doctor Frankenstein and I … Continue reading COURAGE CONQUERS DEATH IN CHRISTOPHER STRONG

IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

For decades screaming was often the weapon of choice for women in action, science fiction, and horror films. We were expected to shriek, shout, yelp, whimper, squeal and squawk in the face of serious danger and (hopefully) a man would eventually come to our aide. So you can imagine how frightened I was when I … Continue reading IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

JOAN BENNETT: FRITZ LANG’S MUSE

Joan Bennett got her start in Hollywood as a lovely, demure, fair-haired ingénue but made her mark as a sexy, feisty, dark-haired femme fatale. Her transformation was atypical in Tinseltown where many natural brunettes such as Carole Lombard, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Jayne Mansfield, found success after becoming bottle blonds. Bennett’s makeover happened during … Continue reading JOAN BENNETT: FRITZ LANG’S MUSE

HOLIDAY COOKING WITH THE STARS

In October I shared some of Vincent Price’s recipes and cooking tips in a post titled In the Kitchen with Vincent Price and the response was overwhelmingly positive. In celebration of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few holiday recipes from some of Hollywood’s most loved and admired stars. The recipes are variants of traditional dishes and … Continue reading HOLIDAY COOKING WITH THE STARS

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: L’ECLISSE (1962)

While recently rewatching Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse (aka The Eclipse, 1962) I received the sad news that George Romero had died. The celebrated Italian art-house auteur and the American director behind the hugely popular Living Dead franchise aren’t typically associated with one another but I suspect that Antonioni’s work may have inspired Romero early in his career. In The Cinema of George … Continue reading THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: L’ECLISSE (1962)

The Children Are Watching: Ruminations on The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

The term ‘auteur’ is rarely associated with Jack Clayton. When critics and film scholars refer to the British director by name they usually describe him as being a “talented craftsman” or “skilled technician.” Credit for the extraordinary look and feel of Clayton’s best films is typically attributed to the skilled cinematographers (Freddie Francis, Oswald Morris, … Continue reading The Children Are Watching: Ruminations on The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)

You may not recognize Donald Ogden Stewart’s name but if you are a classic film fan you’re probably familiar with his work. Stewart’s ability to write snappy dialogue and adapt popular plays for the screen made him one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. And throughout his career, Stewart … Continue reading Donald Ogden Stewart: Katharine Hepburn’s Secret Weapon in KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1943)

Surrealist Cinema: PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (1951)

“There was more surrealism rampant in Hollywood than all the surrealists could invent in a lifetime.” – Man Ray   In 1940, Man Ray fled war-torn France and arrived in Hollywood. The acclaimed surrealist, who was born in the United States but relocated to Paris in 1921, spent the next eleven years in California making … Continue reading Surrealist Cinema: PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (1951)