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Classics for Coronavirus: Robinson Crusoe

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Mar 21, 2020

The world is staying home this spring as a pandemic spreads through our countries, leaving many people to cope with the unfamiliar experience of social isolation. Literature and film are suddenly lifelines to adventure, community, and knowledge, and some of them can really teach us a few things abou read more

Classic Films in Focus: OLD ACQUAINTANCE (1943)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 7, 2020

Old Acquaintance (1943) is primarily famous today for a scene in which Bette Davis violently shakes her off screen nemesis Miriam Hopkins and then offers a very insincere "sorry" to her victim, but if you watch the entire film you'll be completely on Bette's side about Miriam needing to be shaken. D read more

Reasons to Keep a Movie Log

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 4, 2020

A page from my movie log Do you keep a record of the movies you watch? Should you? A movie log is a great way to keep track of your viewing over time, and it can be a helpful memory jogger when you're trying to think about which Oscar contenders you saw as soon as they came out and what year you fi read more

Cozy Up with Acorn TV

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 22, 2020

When I'm not watching movies, there's a 90% chance that I'm watching a cozy murder mystery. I'm obsessed with them; I read a lot of cozy mystery series and enjoy them, but I love seeing the characters and stories embodied in television series. For the most part, the murder mysteries that I like best read more

Classic Films in Focus: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 21, 2020

Marilyn Monroe became a true star thanks to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), the Howard Hawks directed adaptation of the Broadway musical hit in which Carol Channing had originated the role of Lorelei Lee. Monroe's take on "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" remains one of her most memorable moments read more

Ida Lupino and THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 9, 2020

Ida Lupino is not as familiar today as screen icons like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, but classic film fans know and love her work as both an actress and one of the few women directors working in Hollywood during the mid 20th century. If you're not familiar with Lupino in either capacity, you can read more

2019 Movie Log in Review

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 1, 2020

2019 was a year for big changes. My only child turned 18, finished high school, and headed off to college, a process that took up much of my mental energy as we finished our last year together. We moved to a new house in a new neighborhood and added a new kitten to our house cat collection. The disa read more

Classic Films in Focus: BUNDLE OF JOY (1956)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 12, 2019

If you've already watched all of your regular Christmas classics, you might consider trying out some less familiar holiday fare, including the 1939 comedy Bachelor Mother and its 1956 musical remake, Bundle of Joy. Although the original movie is generally considered the better picture, Bundle of Joy read more

Silver Screen Standards at Classic Movie Hub

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 4, 2019

If you enjoy my classic movie posts here at Virtual Virago, you might also enjoy my new column, Silver Screen Standards, at the fabulous Classic Movie Hub. Each month I have a new post there about a different film, star, genre, or other topic. So far I've written about The Wizard of Oz (1939), Marga read more

Tallulah Bankhead's Huntsville Roots: Maple Hill Cemetery

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 21, 2019

Tallulah Bankhead was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on January 31, 1902, and evidence of her Huntsville roots can still be seen around town, even though the infamous stage and screen star is long departed. There are numerous places and historical markers bearing witness to her family's impact on the read more

It's Alive! Touring the Kirk Hammett Collection

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 2, 2019

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is a dedicated classic horror and science fiction fan who is sharing his love for these movies through a touring exhibit of posters and other artifacts from his personal collection. "It's Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection" is curre read more

Classic Films in Focus: HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 26, 2019

Hands of the Ripper (1971) is a gory Hammer horror foray into the much visited territory of Jack the Ripper mythology, this time focusing on the serial killer's imaginary daughter and the effects of being a witness to acts of extreme violence. While it has many of the customary elements of classic H read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1962)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 17, 2019

I'm a sucker for early 60s Gothic horror, whether it's Corman, Hammer, or Bava, which means my opinion of a picture like Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) is inclined to be positive in spite of its shortcomings. Yes, it's about a necrophiliac surgeon who like his bedmates totally inc read more

A Quick Trip to TIFF19

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 16, 2019

I've always wanted to attend film festivals, but they're few and far between where I live, and the timing has never worked out for me to get to the big one for classic movie fans, TCMFF. Luckily, my visit to my sister's new home in Toronto this month coincided with the second weekend of the Toronto read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 4, 2019

Of course it's a dark and stormy night when Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart, and Melvyn Douglas stumble into a strange old house whose occupants are even more menacing than the raging floods outside, and director James Whale milks the atmosphere for all it's worth in this delightfully dire horror come read more

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE on Shudder

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Aug 14, 2019

I first saw Phantom of the Paradise (1974) a few years ago and immediately became obsessed with it; I downloaded the entire soundtrack and listened to it constantly for weeks. I was delighted to be able to revisit the film this week thanks to the Shudder streaming service, where the film is currentl read more

Three Favorite Movies in STRANGER THINGS 3

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 9, 2019

*Warning! Mild spoilers ahead, but only related to minor incidents. No major plot points are discussed. The third season of Stranger Things continues its love affair with all things 80s, including the movies of that decade and the heyday of the local video rental store, which gives the final episod read more

Classic Films in Focus: CASANOVA BROWN (1944)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 1, 2019

What does a viewer expect going into a movie that features multiple marriages, a burning mansion, a kidnapped baby, and a clueless new father on a crash course in infant care? Hilarity seems like a reasonable answer, but that's not what we get with Casanova Brown (1944). While its plot summary sound read more

Classic Movie Style: Cary Grant's Sunglasses

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jun 12, 2019

On my way home from a trip to the UK last week I happened to flip through the Holland Herald on our KLM flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam, and I was delighted to find this little article about chic sunglasses inspired by those worn by Cary Grant in the 1959 film, North by Northwest. Cary Grant is s read more

Richard III and Disinformation in TOWER OF LONDON (1939)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on May 8, 2019

One probably doesn't go looking for timely political commentary in a film like Tower of London (1939), which offers a mashup of history and horror in its retelling of the bloody rise and fall of England's most reviled monarch. Much of the plot is familiar to viewers thanks to broad cultural awarenes read more
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