Thursday, April 29, 2010

RIP Hitch: 30 Years

Alfred Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980. He is one of my all time favorite directors. Tied for first with Billy Wilder. He died before I was even born. Instead of mourning the death, I'm celebrating by watching some of my favorite movies. I decided to start with my all time favorite Hitch movie: Rear Window (1954). What ones will follow? Probably Notorious (1946) and maybe The Lady Vanishes (1938).

R.I.P. Hitch! Your movies still rock! I've posted some random pictures of Hitch below:

Hitch with Ingrid Bergman. 

Hitch hiding.

Hitch loved food.

Hitch and Monty Clift. 

Hitch and a cute silly dog.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday: Shirley MacLaine

Happy 76th Birthday to another one of my favorites: Shirley MacLaine! Ok, so it's officially April 25 right now, but only by almost an hour, so we'll pretend it's still April 24th.

The Apartment (1960) and Terms of Endearment (1983) are my personal favorites of hers. Both of these films had fantastically written screenplays, great casting, and amazing directors. Shirley was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Fran Kubelik, but the award went to Elizabeth Taylor for her role as Gloria Wandrous in BUtterfield 8. It wasn't until 1984 that Shirley won an Oscar and it was for her role as Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

So, finally, I have watched a movie with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Now I'm wondering, what had I been thinking waiting this long?! Bette Davis may be a new favorite of mine. I loved What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and she was brilliant as Baby Jane Hudson. Bette really made Baby Jane seem horrifically unstable. The doll of her child-self freaked me out! Her dancing and singing in the mirror like she was still a child star was really disturbing, as well as depressing. Her makeup, hairstyle, and clothing added to this unstableness beautifully.

Being a fan of horror films, I am happy I watched this one. I'd categorize it more as dramatic-horror, than full-blown horror though. Meaning, I think that people who aren't fans of the horror genre itself would still enjoy this film. I don't think it would cause terrible nightmares for anyone. You've just have to remember: It's only a moooovie! Hitchcock knew what he was saying when he said that! Trust me! If you haven't seen this movie and you plan on it, then don't read anything below! 

After watching the movie, I have a question for those who have watched it. Who is more insane, Jane or Blanche? I honestly cannot decide after thinking it over. Blanche wasn't the innocent victim by a long shot. Why? Well, it seems to me that she enjoyed the fact that Jane thought it was her fault that Blanche was paralyzed. Also, Blanche seemed to think it was a good idea to not tell Jane how she had been intending to kill her, but she missed her and rammed into the gate instead, causing her own paralysis. Jane was mentally disturbed to a higher degree because her sister never told her the truth about this accident. It made her become an angry, evil, and deranged drunk, who lived in a fantasy world and often times did not think over the severity of her actions. If Blanche had admitted the truth, as well as gotten help for her sister, then maybe she wouldn't have been tortured by her? Blanche obviously caused a lose-lose situation for both of them by not attempting to help cure her sister's mental health. She could have saved herself from being tortured by her sister! She could have saved Elvira! She could have saved Jane from being psychotic!

Don't get me wrong, I still felt awful for Blanche. Who couldn't? She grew up being treated like she meant nothing to her father. She watched as her sister danced and sang, while tons of people flocked around her for attention. Blanche had an awful childhood because of this and she suffered a large amount of neglect and jealously. Also, Jane treated her just terrible once they got older and Jane became her nursemaid after the accident that led to Blanche's paralysis. As I explained before, she could have put an end to this if she would have just told her sister the truth and gotten her the proper care that she obviously needed to restore her mental health! She didn't though, so she was tortured by Jane. Jane withheld her fan letters, she killed her pet bird, she gave her the dead bird for lunch, she gave her a dead rat for a different meal, she starved her, she kicked her and dragged her across the floor... I could go on and on! She could have prevented it though! Thankfully though, this is only a moooovie (and a novel, but that's a different medium to discuss).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to William Holden and Me!

It's my birthday and I'm excited because it's also William Holden's. He is one of my favorites! Maybe I'll watch Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, or the Country Girl now. I won't have time to tomorrow! I'm hoping the weather is beautiful tomorrow. It should be a fun time anyway!

This is one of my favorite scenes with Bill Holden and of all the "I Love Lucy" episodes.  This episode is called "LA at Last." In the episode, the Ricardos and the Mertzes arrive to Hollywood. While Ricky is off rehearsing, Lucy and the Mertzes end up going to a restaurant called The Brown Derby, which is a popular spot where celebrities hangout and dine. There, they end up being seated next to William Holden. Watch the scene to see what happens!

I learned something new about Bill Holden. He was very passionate about the conservation of wildlife. I found an adorable picture of him with his friend Batian, who is a cheetah. Unfortunately, I am not able to post the picture. However, you can learn more about Batian the cheetah by clicking here. This website also has the cute picture that I was talking about! There is a Wildlife Foundation that was made to continue Holden's support of wildlife, if you would like to learn more about it or would like to donate to the foundation, click here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random Post: Billy Elliot

Earlier today and last night, I was working on a ton of homework. Having completed all that is due, excluding having to study for a quiz, I decided it was time for a break. Turned out to be a sensational idea! Yes, sensational! Why? Well, because I ended up seeing Elton John as he arrived for the premiere for the Billy Elliot musical! I don't understand why the premiere was officially today, seeing as it started showing March 18, but I guess I won't question it anymore. Definitely didn't expect this to happen today, which is why it's gloriously random and fantastic! Never been so happy for taking a study break! I took a picture of him on my phone:

I got super close to him because people kept pushing me forward! That was fun! I haven't seen the musical yet, but I really want to see it. The dancing is awesome! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday: Gregory Peck

Happy Birthday, Gregory Peck! Definitely the best choice for playing one of my favorite characters of all time: Atticus Finch. He portrayed him perfectly by putting real feeling into the role. I like to think that he was like Atticus in real life.  

"If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."-Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Birthday: Heath Ledger

Happy Birthday, Heath! I was working on an animation project the day that Heath died. I remember my professor telling me that he had heard that Heath died after I asked him why the Internet was moving much slower than usual. I didn't believe him and told him that he must have gotten the name confused, seeing as Heath was only 28. However, my professor was extremely insistent that he heard it was him. He went to his own computer in his office to look because it must have been on a different Internet connection. I knew that it was true before he came back because a webpage finally worked and Heath's death was the first news story.

I first saw Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). I had a huge crush on him after that! He was adorable in that movie. How he sang to Julia Stiles' character and the date scene with the paintballs! Definitely one of my favorite movies back in Junior High.

As for Heath's best role, I'd have to say, he was brilliant as the Joker in Dark Knight. I saw the film in the IMAX two or three times, when it first came out. The insane laugh and the mannerisms were fantastic. I was thinking about his mannerisms and voice and I think that he was influenced a bit by Jack Lemmon's character as Daphne in Some Like it Hot (1959). Does anyone else recognize any similarities?

Yay! An Award!!!!

I received my first award from ClassicFilmFan! Thank you! I'm very excited about it!

As part of receiving the award, I have been asked to give 7 random facts about myself. Here they are:

1. I can speak, write, and read in Spanish. My class was the first ever to be taught Spanish in our school   district beginning in Kindergarten. I love learning a language and about different cultures. I would love to learn more languages in the future. 

2. I love meeting people from different countries. I have friends from all over the world: Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, India, Africa, Lithuania, Denmark, and Brazil. Like I said before, I love learning about different cultures. My friends and I learn about each other, our families, and our cultures. It's interesting to learn about how we are different and also similar. I also love to try to learn my friends' language, so they'll try to teach me. I can actually understand my friends from Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Brazil because I've watched foreign films and have read a lot of books that have included different languages. I like finding the similarities that exist within different languages. 

3. I came in third place in a tournament that Blockbuster held for Mario Tennis when it first came out for N64, I think I was in the 5th grade. The crazy thing is, I didn't think I had a chance to place at all, since I had never played the game before. I remember that I had to make my character shoot tennis balls through various hoops. I was sent a hideously fantastic Mario Tennis sweatshirt that is still too big to fit me. Not that I would want to wear it anyway! haha I do love it though; it's hilarious. 

4. I love haunted houses! Seriously, if anyone knows of a haunted house that is open year round, I want to hear about it! I only know of one and it's a haunted theater located on Mackinac Island. The Haunted Mansion in Disney World doesn't count! I always love watching the Travel Channel specials about haunted house attractions. 

5. I love Halloween! It's the best holiday ever created! Not because of the candy and not because of dressing up. I'm all about the horror stories and films. I also love when the leaves change colors and delicious apples are out. Apple Cider and Apple Crisp, um, yes please!!!! Honey Crisp apples are also tasty all by themselves. I love pumpkins, too. I draw jack-o'-lanterns, ghosts, and skeletons in my notebooks on a daily basis. 

6. I love animals! I can't even tell you what kind is my favorite! I'm the type of person who tries to save spiders and bees find a home outside instead of in the house. I name random pigeons, squirrels, and other animals that I encounter. Yes, I have even named spiders. I named one Lady Lavender, another Victario, and one Sir Sebastian. 

7. I wear a contact in only my left eye. I was the first child that my doctor gave a contact. I was 6 years old. I was also the only patient that he has ever had that has taken the contact from him and put it in my eye without asking for any assistance. 

I also get to nominate others for the award! I don't think I know 15 blogs well enough, so I'll give it to 7:

1. Millie: ClassicForever
2. Kori: Blonde Episodes
3. Joel Gunz: Alfred Hitchcock Geek
4. Monty: All Good Things

Thursday, April 1, 2010

North by Northwest

A couple of days ago, I had a random and fun night. Before that, I must tell you about something that occurred earlier in the year. There was a film festival in Chicago in the fall that I went to and I saw the newly restored North by Northwest on the big screen. Since I'm an insane Hitchcock fan, meaning that I will get into arguments with people if they say anything remotely negative about his films, I was ecstatic when I saw it. However, not so ecstatic that I was an obnoxious movie watcher, you know, the ones who loudly repeat the lines they know or laugh before the funny scenes are about to occur. Also, I'm in love with Cary Grant, so seeing him on the silver screen just made my entire week. Wow, was he gloriously handsome! Besides watching the film for the billionth time, I also got to listen to Martin Landau! He came for a Q&A session!

Martin told us all about how it was working with Hitch. He explained how prepared Hitch was with his movies and had rooms set up with storyboard layouts! He told us how he was brought from room to room to look at these storyboards and how incredible they were because they were of the entire movie. Martin was terribly funny because he would tell us conversations that he had with Hitch. He'd change his voice to indicate when Hitch was talking during the conversations. He did the accent and all and it was a pretty good impression! Especially when he said, "It's only a moooovie!"

After the Q&A, I decided that I would be brave and go meet Martin. Once I walked down there, I was feeling nervous because I wasn't sure if I was allowed to approach him. No one tried to stop me, so I just kept going. As I walked closer, I started to feel even more nervous because I hadn't realized how tall Martin was before! I'm pretty sure the man was about a foot taller than me and I didn't think he would be able to hear me or see me while he was walking! Well, I went to him and got his attention, I then introduced myself and shook his hand. He was a very nice man. Since he talked about Cary Grant a lot during the Q&A, I decided to ask him about how he prepared for his role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. I secretly wanted to ask him to say my favorite line from the movie, but I decided against it. He said he'd have to talk to me for hours to explain all what he did to prepare for the role. He quickly went into how he had to move his face differently and then we got to talking about Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. He said that he's friends with both of them and sees them once in a while. He seemed to talk more about Johnny, so I think he's closer to him. We talked for a bit more and this other guy started to chat with us about Ed Wood. It was fun!

Now, to earlier this week. I was sulking a little because I heard that they were showing North by Northwest at a theater for the TCM film festival and that Eva Marie Saint and Robert Osborne were going to be there, but that all of the tickets had already been given away. Also, the day before, I saw on a tweet on TCM that said that the first five to re-tweet it would receive a VIP pass to meet them! I was the 7th person, so I lost. However, I decided that the next day, I would just go to the theater to see if I could somehow get inside. Maybe someone wouldn't show up or I would be able to see Eva Marie Saint and Robert Osborne entering the theater.

My mom was in town visiting and I talked her into going to the theater. We went to dinner beforehand and they had a special going on with free wine and appetizers. Also, she ended up getting a free ride on the train that we took to the theater because someone had extra. Once we got to the theater, I was feeling optimistic that we were going to get in. We asked a woman if there were any more seats open and she said that there were!!! I was so excited and my mom was excited because I was. We quickly went inside and found some seats.

As we were sitting, a little blonde woman walked down the middle aisle just as Robert Osborne was about to be brought up on the stage. Since everyone else was sitting, it was a little distracting. Then I realized, it was Eva Marie Saint! I nudged my mom and I'm like, "Mom! That's her! Right there!" She looked and others started to notice behind me. She then turned and walked back up the aisle. A lot of people didn't realize it was her at first! It was so funny once they did! They did double-takes and then stood up and clapped. She ended up sitting down by some fans and listened to Robert as he introduced himself and talked a bit about the TCM festival. Then, he introduced her, and she actually commented on how she tricked some of the fans when she walked to the front at first!

Robert and Eva were both awesome! Eva was hilarious. Robert asked her what she thinks of when she thinks about North by Northwest. Her reply, "Jumping into bed with Cary Grant... That's for Twitter!" She commented more on Cary, saying that he was very generous, kind, and beautiful. Of course, someone in the audience asked if he was a good kisser. Personally, I think that it's obvious that he's not good, he's insanely good! Come on, doesn't everyone think it's obvious?! It's still fun to hear about he he kissed though from someone who actually got to kiss him! She is so lucky! Eva said basically the same as me, Cary Grant was an insanely good kisser, of course, she didn't use the same words as I did. Instead, she decided to tell us a little story. She told us about how it was filming the kissing scene in the train and how it was choreographed to look like the train was moving. She remembered being nervous about something at first and then forgot all about it once he kissed her!

Like Martin Landau, she also commented on Hitch's storyboards for the movie, however, she said they were on little pieces of paper, like index cards. She said it was amazing to see because Hitch already had the entire film in his head. She recalled seeing the storyboards in New York at a museum and how crazy it was to see that Hitch really had followed all of the storyboards exactly as he had planned them from the beginning!

The entire Q&A session with both Robert Osborne and Eva Marie Saint was spectacular. I'll remember that for the rest of my life. My mom will, too. She doesn't like classic films like I do, but she did enjoy listening to those two.