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Nominations for the 2017 National Film Registry

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 11, 2017

A classic movie friend let me know that we still have a few days left to make nominations to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry for the 2017 year. You can make nominations until September 15, 2017, so if you want to contribute to this year's list you should head on over to the website t read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1948)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Aug 31, 2017

The 1948 adaptation of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White features some notable character performances and plenty of Gothic mystery, but it isn't an ideal picture or a very faithful treatment of its source material. Its appeal depends mainly on its sinister figures, particularly the always memorable read more

Classic Films in Focus: WEST OF ZANZIBAR (1928)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Aug 1, 2017

Tod Browning's silent 1928 story of revenge in the African Congo provides a challenge to modern viewers, given that it relies on hyper-racist stereotypes and deeply rooted misogyny for much of its horror, but if you're looking for something truly horrifying then West of Zanzibar (1928) certainly fit read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (1947)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 24, 2017

Director Peter Godfrey's modern Gothic offers two iconic stars - Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck - as its leads, which is reason enough to see The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) in spite of its flaws. Bogart, who played heavies off and on throughout his career, is back on the dark side as a painter w read more

The First Time: Memorable Movie Introductions

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 19, 2017

In my last post I talked about the first time I saw George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), which got me thinking about the other movies I remember seeing for the first time. If you're like me, you watch so many movies that a lot of the viewings run together (which is why some of us have fi read more

My First Summer of Cinema - 1988

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 18, 2017

George Romero's death this week has left me feeling nostalgic about the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead (1968), which was also the first time I heard of Romero, saw a zombie film, and found out that movies were something people could take seriously and discuss as forms of art. Almost thirt read more

Making a Hollywood House in Alabama: Movie Posters and Art

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 16, 2017

Errol Flynn is in the bedroom, of course. As part of an ongoing effort to make our house a more interesting and personally relevant space (as opposed to a collection of things other people chose for us or handed down), I finally got frames for the posters I bought at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Los A read more

12 Mummy Movies Worth Watching

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jun 12, 2017

At an abysmal 17 %, the Rotten Tomatoes rating of the new version of The Mummy (2017) might have you hiding in your sarcophagus instead of rushing to the theater, but, luckily for mummy lovers, Hollywood has produced plenty of better pictures in the genre. You can save your dollars for another round read more

Orry-Kelly and WOMEN HE'S UNDRESSED (2015)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on May 29, 2017

Gillian Armstrong's 2015 documentary film about Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly is currently streaming on Netflix, and it offers an intriguing look at the life of the three time Oscar winner, who dressed stars as iconic and diverse as Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, and Natalie Wo read more

Cult Classics: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Apr 28, 2017

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) is Brian de Palma's musical cult tribute to a number of iconic horror tales, most notably The Phantom of the Opera and Faust, although it also functions as a scathing satire of the music industry and its obsession with sex, fame, and eternal youth. As both writer and d read more

California 2017: Highlights from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Apr 6, 2017

We spent spring break in Los Angeles and Anaheim this year, ostensibly to tour colleges for our teenager (whose dream school is Cal Arts). While I was once again too early to revel in the delights of the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood, I did manage to enjoy plenty of movie buff destinations, from Ho read more

My Life in Films: Favorite Movies by Year

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Mar 21, 2017

Film Twitter has prompted me to join in on the recent lists of people's favorite movies for each year of their lives. At 45, I feel like that's a lot of territory to cover, and of course a lot of the movies I watch these days came out long before I was born, but I have seen most of the big hits for read more

Classic Films in Focus: EACH DAWN I DIE (1939)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 13, 2017

As its grim title suggests, Each Dawn I Die (1939) is an explosive drama awash in death and violence, as only Warner Brothers' 1930s gangster and prison films could deliver them. William Keighley directs the parade of brutal injustice with James Cagney and George Raft as the chief victims of a horri read more

Reel Resistance: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 27, 2017

When it comes to movies that deliver on vicarious Nazi punching, it's hard to beat the original Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). The third installment of the trilogy is good for that, too, but the 1981 picture features all the adventure of a classic serial and all the patriotic ve read more

Classic Films in Focus: LISA AND THE DEVIL (1973)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 23, 2017

Lisa and the Devil (1973) is certainly one of the weirder Mario Bava films, and with Bava that's saying something, given that the Italian auteur made horror pictures like Kill, Baby, Kill (1966) and Baron Blood (1972). This darkly dreamy meditation on death struggled to find a distributor and ended read more

Classic Films in Focus: A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 13, 2016

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives (1949) sets up its domestic drama with a perpetually absent antagonist who forces a trio of women to consider the central problems of their marriages. This approach makes the homewrecker as mysterious as she is troublesome, but it frees up th read more

75 Years in CASABLANCA (1942)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 5, 2016

It's December 1941 when Ilsa walks into Rick's Cafe Americain. "In all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world," he complains, "she walks into mine." It is not, however, simply chance, since Rick's Cafe occupies a border space between European chaos and American safety. Through that space I read more

Classic Movies for Courage

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Nov 17, 2016

It's easy to think that art doesn't matter in the face of fear and oppression, but sometimes art can change the world, whether for better or for worse. Charles Dickens secured the future of Christmas with A Christmas Carol, while Leni Riefenstahl shored up Hitler's regime. Uncle Tom's Cabin helped t read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE TINGLER (1959)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Nov 14, 2016

The Tingler (1959) is one of William Castle's most famous horror gimmick pictures, partly because of its star, Vincent Price, and partly because of its wacky use of wired seats and paid plants to elicit screams from the theater audience. Sadly, the modern home viewer can't enjoy the weird thrills of read more

Domestic Madness in MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Nov 7, 2016

As I watched Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) again the other day, several things struck me that I hadn't given much thought to on previous screenings. One was that director H.C. Potter might have sped things up a bit, especially in the first quarter, where the scenes run more like docume read more
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