Classics for Comfort Blogathon

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This is my contribution to CMBA’s CLASSICS FOR COMFORT BLOGATHON.

A few years back, I wrote a post entitled Celluloid Comfort Food. My opening paragraph read like this, there is a certain reassurance in watching your favorite films over and over again. The act of repeated watching is like getting together with an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. You talk about the same old stories; you laugh or maybe even cry about those bygone glory days. Similarly, when watching a favorite movie, you know where the jokes are. You can expect those laughs long before they come on screen. If it’s an old gangster film, you know you have to watch just one more time as James Cagney takes that long last walk toward the electric chair. Either way, there is a level of contentment that flows in you with the familiarity of repeatedly watching a favorite film. You forget about the world outside, the troubles inside your head, for two hours, and relax with pure celluloid comfort food.

I wrote about five films that I found comfort in watching: Being There, Stagecoach, Buck Privates, Adam’s Rib, and My Favorite Brunette. During these days of “stay home, stay safe” I have had to look further into my cinematic archives and discovered I have many, many other films that I can find comfort in and shelter me from this ongoing pandemic storm.

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National Classic Movie Day: 6 From the 60s

Here is my contribution to the National Classic Film Days Blogathon: 6 From the ’60s.

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The 1960s was a wild decade filled with good times, (The British Invasion, classic rock and roll, the youth movement, a young invigorating President, and man landing on the moon. But there were plenty of bad things too.  Racial unrest, political assassinations, and the Vietnam War topping the list. The Times They Were A Changin’

Movies were changin’ too. The old Hollywood studio system was on its last legs. They were fighting TV and an advanced guard of new filmmakers influenced by European filmmakers. Here are six of my many favorites…

Rosemary’s Baby

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Motherhood can be a joyous thing; the miracle of birth, a child the result of a bond between two people. Watching the child grow and discover life can be heartwarming and reaffirming. Then again, the idea of a live organism, another person growing inside you, just might be a bit unsettling and disturbing as you watch your body change, and who knows what the child will be like. He/she could turn out to be a bright, upstanding member of the community. Then again, your little precious could turn out be another Al Capone or Jeffrey Dahmer or even worse.

Many films have focused on the dark side of motherhood: Psycho, Mildred Pierce, and Mommie Dearest. There are plenty of other films with motherhood gone wrong. Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate is another of the big bad mothers. On the other side of the fence are mothers who love too much; they are self-sacrificing and end up with a daughter like Veda in Mildred Pierce. Continue reading

Book Review and Interview: Hitchcock’s California

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Photographer Robert Jones, along with film writer Dan Auiler (author of Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic), and photographer Aimee Sinclair have compiled a stunning new book called Hitchcock’s California: Vista Visions from the Camera Eye. Years in the making, the book includes an informative and fascinating introduction by actor Bruce Dern and an afterward by Dorothy Herrmann, daughter of the late composer Bernard Herrmann. One of the highlights of the Dern introduction is when the actor writes about an absorbing short conversation that happened after he introduced Hitchcock to fellow film director, John Frankenheimer. For me, that short exchange that ensued is worth the admission.

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Maine, Money, Murder, and Mayhem

blow-the-man-down-BLOWTHEMANDOWN_JEONG_PARK_1_rgbMaine is one of my favorite states. My wife and I have visited there frequently: Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Portland, Kennebunk, Belfast, Eastport, and many other spots. It’s a state that is visually wide open and very much New England. I fell in love with New England about the same time I fell in love with my wife, she’s originally from Massachusetts. Over the years, every state that makes up New England, but the two we continue to return and visit are Vermont and Maine. Continue reading

Hard-Boiled Hammett

John Greco Author/Photographer

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Considered one of the founding fathers of hard-boiled fiction, if not the founding father, Dashiell Hammett is must reading for anyone interested in tough guy crime fiction. Detective fiction before Hammett came along the likes of Agatha Christie: conventional, polite detectives where few got their hands down and dirty were standard. Hammett changed all that. His Sam Spade was a cynical outsider who lived by his own personal code. The streets of crime were tough and Spade and other Hammett characters walked them with a new literary style. They called it “hard-boiled” and as The New York Times in their obituary, christened Hammett he was the dean of the “so called” hard-boiled school of detective fiction.

Hammett served in World War I, where he was rewarded by contracting tuberculosis. During his recovery, he met a nurse, Josephine Dolan, who became his wife. For a few years, Hammett became a Pinkerton…

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Anniversaries: New CMBA eBook

John Greco Author/Photographer

I have been working on editing a new collection of film essays for the Classic Movie Blog Association’s  (CMBA) ninth eBook. Each book has its own theme, Banned and Blacklisted, Underseen and Underrated, and Hollywood on Hollywood to name a few. This book is no different. The subject is Anniversaries. Why Anniversaries, you ask? Well, in October of last year the CMBA celebrated its 10th anniversary, so it seemed fitting.

Anniversaries Book Cover

The CMBA began in 2009 as a dream of Rick Armstrong who blogs as the Classic Film and TV Cafe. He was the organization’s first President and its guiding light. Today, there are close to 90 members and going strong.

This book contains 10 essays from celebrating how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and other films from 1969 bridged the Old And New Hollywood to how the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago affected the…

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New Interview!

I am interviewed by Rick Armstrong of the Classic Film and TV Cafe. You can read the interview here!  The Late Show and Other Tales of Celluloid Malice is available at Amazon as both an eBook and Paperback.The Late Show IMG_4005