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TCMFF Day 2: The Power of the Pre-Codes

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 14, 2019

As any longtime festival attendee knows, a seat at one of the pre-code films at the TCM Classic Film Festival is akin to a ticket for the hottest show in town. Passholders line up hours in advance, hoping to secure a good line number–if they’re lucky and get there early enough, they mi read more


Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 12, 2019

From the start, day 1 of the TCMFF was the one I was most excited about. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy’s beautiful Technicolor tribute to the Hollywood musical, is one of my all-time favorite films–one whose complete score I have downloaded in my iTunes. As all dialogue is s read more

Lara’s 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule

Backlots Posted by Lara on Apr 2, 2019

Dear readers, it is quite hard to believe that the TCM Classic Film Festival is just over a week away. Like other festival attendees, I have been busy creating my festival itinerary, doing my yearly grumble over time slot conflicts, and comparing overlaps with my friends’ schedules. I thought read more

TCM Classic Film Festival Gears Up for April

Backlots Posted by Lara on Mar 10, 2019

It’s getting to be that time of year again–when film fans from around the globe descend on Hollywood Boulevard to attend the TCM Classic Film Festival, a classic Hollywood celebration of epic proportions. This will be the 10th year of this highly anticipated festival, held between Apri read more

Noir City 17: BREATHLESS (1960)

Backlots Posted by Lara on Feb 14, 2019

Two weekends ago, I braved rainy San Francisco weather and a quickly dying cell phone to attend Noir City 17’s presentation of À Bout de souffle, also known by its English title as Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece of New Wave cinema, it is widely credited as having invented read more

FANCHON THE CRICKET (1915)–Restoration by the Mary Pickford Foundation and the Cinémathèque Française

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jan 13, 2019

When we speak of “lost films,” we never mean really lost. The significance of that phrase is to say that no copies are known to have been preserved in any archive , museum, or collection–and thus, the film in question hasn’t been seen publicly since around the time of its r read more

Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Olivia de Havilland Case

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jan 7, 2019

I received confirmation this morning from Olivia de Havilland’s counsel, Suzelle Smith, that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of Havilland v FX, Olivia de Havilland’s petition to the court to hear her case against FX. It is a disappointing decision, but de Havilland has read more

Supreme Court to Decide Whether to Take Up Olivia de Havilland Case Today

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jan 4, 2019

Hello readers, just a very quick update for those following the Olivia de Havilland case. Today, the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not they will take up her petition. If you would like to follow the case on the SCOTUS blog, here is the link to the petition page. I will update as m read more

Searching for Mary Poppins in 2018

Backlots Posted by Lara on Dec 27, 2018

  When I first heard that there would be another Mary Poppins movie made in 2018, I wasn’t sure what to think. Being a lifelong devotee of the original film, I was hard-pressed to imagine anyone who could fill the gigantic shoes of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, or if anyone even had read more

How Popcorn Saved the Movies

Backlots Posted by Lara on Dec 18, 2018

  Apologies for the delayed post, readers. Holidays and other necessities of living have gotten in the way of a timely posting since the California wildfires of early November. We’re still recovering as a state but the good news is that we’ve had some rain, the smoke has cleared, read more

California Fires Are Burning Hollywood History

Backlots Posted by Lara on Nov 10, 2018

Image of the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles, courtesy of ABC7 New York As I write this post, I’m looking out the window into a haze of smoke, blowing down to the Bay Area from the Camp Fire in Chico. California is fighting several severe wildfires right now, and as of this writing, the entire ci read more

Coverage of Olivia de Havilland vs. FX Wins 2018 CMBA Award for Best Classic Movie Series

Backlots Posted by Lara on Oct 21, 2018

Hello dear readers, Just a quick note to let you know that Backlots’ coverage of Olivia de Havilland vs. FX won the CMBA Award in the category of Best Classic Movie Series. It has been a marvelous run–and it’s not over yet! Stay tuned for more coverage as we wait to see if the Un read more

Backlots Up for Three 2018 CMBA Awards

Backlots Posted by Lara on Oct 8, 2018

Each year in September, the Classic Movie Blog Association gives out awards for standout classic movie writing online during the past year. I’m happy to say that this year, Backlots is nominated for three CMBA awards–one for “Standing Up for What’s Right: The Friendship of read more

Olivia de Havilland Case Will be Filed With Supreme Court Within the Next Week

Backlots Posted by Lara on Oct 3, 2018

Hello dear readers, the month of September seemed to whiz by so quickly that Backlots went without an update. But here we are at the beginning of October and I’m here to report that we have movement on the Olivia de Havilland case. De Havilland’s lawyer, Suzelle Smith, has informed me read more

Olivia de Havilland Case Headed to the Supreme Court

Backlots Posted by Lara on Aug 27, 2018

Armed with the rejection of the California Supreme Court in her case against FX, Olivia de Havilland is to file her case with the United States Supreme Court this September. This is a huge undertaking, and while the SCOTUS only takes a small fraction of the thousands of cases filed with them every read more

Remembering Mary Carlisle, 1914-2018

Backlots Posted by Lara on Aug 1, 2018

This morning while checking in with mutual friends, I was sad to hear that Mary Carlisle, one of the last remaining stars of the 1930s, died today at the age of 104. She lived at the Motion Picture & Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, and to her very last days loved receiving guests of ev read more

Olivia de Havilland Court Update: CA Supreme Court Denies Review

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jul 13, 2018

Dear readers, I’ve been waiting to post about this until I got details from Olivia de Havilland’s lawyer regarding next steps, but a few days ago we got word that the California Supreme Court has declined to review de Havilland’s case against FX. For those of us who have been adv read more

Scarlett Johansson and Minority Representation on Film

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jul 5, 2018

A few days ago, Scarlett Johansson was announced as the lead in a new movie called Rub & Tug about Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man who owned a massage parlor and became involved in mob crime. The casting has generated an angry buzz, only heightened by a Johansson rep’s rep read more

Standing Up for What’s Right: The Friendship of Grace Kelly and Josephine Baker

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jun 25, 2018

In response to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ ousting from the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, VA on Friday, I wrote a tweet detailing one of my favorite Hollywood stories about standing up for core principles and values. To my great pleasure and surprise, the tweet has gone legitimately viral. Re read more

Movies and an Unmanageable World

Backlots Posted by Lara on Jun 22, 2018

Dear readers, if you’re at all like me, you’ve been having a hard time with the news lately. Unimaginable things are happening in this country and the world, and in our current digital landscape, there seems to be no escape. Each day we’re bombarded with images, sounds, and feelin read more