Tag Archives: tag

Elizabeth’s Two Sisters Tag

Hello dear friends! It’s seems ages since I wrote a blog post! But, never fear – I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. ;) And I haven’t lost interest in blogging, either. (I have so many ideas for posts I think I’m stuck with blogging for a good 6 more years!) I’ve simply entered back into service for my coveted degree, often times feeling like my head will explode with ideas, deadlines and lists of supplies I must buy or bring to class. (Don’t tell my profs, but I shouldn’t even be writing this now – I’ve got several projects I should be working on! Shhhh!)

Anyhow, my lovely friend Kate has kindly tagged me to participate in Elizabeth’s Two Sisters Tag. Here goes:

  1. Do you like Greta Garbo? In general, like will I watch anything she’s in just because she’s in it? No, probably not. Even though actresses with accents are a huge favorite of mine, something about GG rubs me the wrong way. Must say though, before I get too much fruit thrown at me, I totally love Ninotchka. She’s brilliant in the comedic scenes- especially the one where Melvyn Douglas pops the cork on the champagne bottle and she falls to the ground blindfolded as if she’s been shot. I burst out laughing every single time I watch that.
  2. In Buster Keaton’s MGM films, do his gestures and his plots resemble those of Harry Langdon? Elizabeth will be very disappointed in me when I say I have never seen a Harry Langdon film. But! Don’t feel too bad yet, Elizabeth because I did my homework and looked up Harry on Youtube. I see what you mean about his style and how it is choppy and staccato. I also watched a clip from The Cameraman (made by Buster Keaton at MGM) and I do see a resemblance in the physical styles. I think it’s highly believable Buster was channeling (subsciously or otherwise) Harry for his MGM films. We’re all inspired by everything around us all the time, so why couldn’t Buster be inspired too?
  3. Who is your favorite director of silent dramas? Fritz Lang – just for Metropolis.
  4. Do Harold Lloyd’s movies (movies, not shorts) drag along? Absolutely, positively not! Harold is my favorite of all the slient era comedians. He’s so sweet and kind. And I never felt his chase scenes dragged on. My favorite HL film is The Cat’s Paw. The last scene where he tricks all the bad guys with the magic secrets is totally priceless. I’m always spellbound during that scene. I love seeing the bad guys get their due!
  5. Who made better silent shorts, Mack Sennett or Hal Roach? Hal Roach, no doubts at all.
  6. Is Al St. John a genuine heavy, or a baby heavy? (This is based on the idea of the “Baby Vamp”, which was the character of the girl who was vampish, but not a vamp.) Although I have never seen Al St. John in a film, I say genuine heavy. Elizabeth says “heavy” means the villain, and in this case, I think it fits. Al St. John was rather handsome (in some of his early photos I found, he was quite good looking). A good villain should always have some appeal of some sort – he’s all the more dangerous for it! (by the way is St. John pronounced as it looks or in the English fashion: “sinjin”?)
  7. Do you like 1920s musicals? In theory, yes. Sadly, I’ve seen very few. Just don’t have Joan Crawford dancing and we’ll be fine. ;)
  8. Do you like Al Jolson’s movies? No, no, no – a thousand times NO! Al Jolson is one of those people I simply cannot stand. In particular, his voice and conceited attitude grate on me to no end. I’ve seen The Jazz Singer and have a very hard time seeing why everyone holds him as a fine example of a classic film star. It looks like I agree with Elizabeth’s sister and Kate’s mom on this one.
  9. Who is your favorite animal star? This is an incredibly tough one! And not because there are so many animals I love, but because I’m trying not to copy everyone else! First, I’ll just say I’m not a big fan of either Lassie or Toto. I hate crying over Lassie and worrying she’s going to die every 5 seconds and Toto was just not cute enough to be given such a major role. Asta from the Thin Man films would have been my first choice for this honor, but since I’m trying to be original here I’m going with choice #2: Bonzo from Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronald Reagan. I’ve talked about this film before, trumpeting the fact that it is an amazingly good film despite all the ridiculous bad press it has received. Besides dear Ronnie, Bonzo is one of the major reasons why it works. He’s adorable! I had no idea I could love a chimpanzee so much. Monkeys are usually not my cup of tea.

So! Many thanks to Kate for tagging me and Elizabeth for creating such a twister of a tag. :) You made me work hard for these answers, and now I’m just a little bit smarter about silent films, so thank you very much for that, too!

If you have a couple minutes you really should click through the links above and read the other responses to the tag. They’re marvelous! Happy day, my dears and I hope to have a new post for you soon!

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Filed under Film Bloggers, Pick-me-ups, School, Tags & Awards

Marilyn Monroe {180 Tag}

My friend Kate of Silents and Talkies started a tag last week that I think is pure genius.  I liked the idea so much, I’ve decided to tag myself with it.

Here’s Kate’s criteria: “Name an actor, actress or director that you started out despising (or just really not liking) but ended up loving. Or vice versa, someone you started out loving and ended up despising (or just really not liking) — and explain why.

I’m sure I’m going to shock some people with my choice for this tag, but I love shocking people so here goes – My choice is Marilyn Monroe, “a star I started out despising and ended up loving.”

“But how can you dislike Marilyn?” you cry incredulously, the indignation rising. I’ll try to explain.

When I was a budding early teen film fan, I saw snippets of Marilyn in Bus Stop and Clash By Night. I don’t think I ever watched either film totally through until much later. I did make it through Some Like It Hot, and while boosting my crushes on Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, it did nothing to alleviate my prejudice against Marilyn.  When I saw Marilyn on screen, her sexy whisper grated on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. The dumb blonde image she often embodied offended me to no end.  The entire idea of Marilyn as nothing more than a sex symbol put me off in every way. I’m a modest creature by nature (probably very modest according to modern standards) so at the time, the whole “in your face” sexuality Marilyn oozed just made my skin crawl. She reminded me too much of the modern culture I was vigorously fighting against.

After many years of living in “Marilyn Despisal,” I had my epiphany last year. The Film Noir Classic Collection box sets were on sale at Amazon, so like a good Noir fan, I snatched them up right away. Looking over the films included in each set, I saw Clash By Night was in Volume 2. It was disappointing, not only because it wasn’t a favorite of mine, but because I couldn’t understand how it was considered Film Noir. Despite these objections, I bought it anyway. My mom and I made our way through each box set, one by one. When it came time to watch Clash By Night, I wasn’t expecting much but decided to give it chance. The result was a complete turnaround on my views of Marilyn.

Maybe it happened because I have matured, maybe I was just in a weak moment, or maybe it was just my time to become a Marilyn fan. No matter what the reason, Marilyn disarmed me with her fresh honesty, sweetness, and down to earth manner. Marilyn was gorgeous, but she acted like she didn’t know or care. She was (or at least seemed) blissfully ignorant of her physical beauty. It’s a truly remarkable quality found in few. I get so annoyed with modern female film stars who walk around virtually screaming “Hey, look at me, I think I’m drop dead gorgeous!” And, it’s practically never true, anyway.  Marilyn comes up tops against them all.

Clash By Night is one of my favorite Marilyn films for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned plus one more.  The chemistry she has with Keith Andes is electric. If you ask me, Marilyn and Keith steal the whole film from Barbara Stanwyck and Paul Douglas (I say this even as a huge Paul Douglas fan). It’s obvious Marilyn and Keith’s characters have a strong physical attraction to each other, but they also share a meaningful friendship which allows them to kid around and just be silly. It’s easy to imagine their characters having a successful marriage, still being able to laugh with each other even 50 years on.

So, now as a Marilyn Monroe convert, I seek out every film she made, finding that each and every one has merit of some kind and is a wonderful film. She’s one of those actors who guarantees the success of a picture by her very presence. I recommend all of her films I have mentioned in this post. Her whisper has grown on me over time, and I now see it as a reflection of her shyness. The dumb blonde cliche which offended me so much before now only serves to remind me of the real Marilyn, who was not dumb at all. In fact, she was smart enough to figure out a way to escape her type-casting that studio heads would be forced to accept. And while I can recognize the image of Marilyn as a sex symbol, I have learned to look past it and see her as the kind hearted, fragile person she actually was. I suppose, in the end, Marilyn has the last laugh on me. And you know what? I don’t mind a bit.

And with that, I hereby tag the following bloggers with the 180:

Nicole at Classic Hollywood Nerd

Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings

Matthew at Movietone News

(Have you ever noticed how I tag a lot of the same people? I hope they don’t get mad at me!)

If you would like to do a 180 of your very own, go ahead! Don’t be shy: write it up, post it and let me know. I’ll link it for you here as one of my tag-ees.

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Filed under Film Bloggers, Noir, Tags & Awards