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Meeting Marilyn at Universal Studios

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on May 27, 2024

This spring has been one thing after another! Family travel, a totaled car, an actual tornado that hit my neighborhood, and a couple of bouts of minor illness have kept me away from the blog for too long. I hope to get a full movie review up soon, but to make up for my absence here's a highlight fro read more

Rough and Dirty Girlhood in ANNIE (1982)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Mar 8, 2024

In his original review of the 1982 film musical, Roger Ebert offers qualified - and often rather faint - praise for Annie but says he doesn't know if kids will actually like the movie. Ebert doesn't find the story's heroine very compelling or believable, but it's noteworthy that all of the other chi read more

Modern Movies: HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS (2022)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 25, 2024

I often tell people that I love "weird movies," and Hundreds of Beavers (2022) is definitely one of the weirdest, wackiest, and most purely delightful movies I have seen in a long time. This festival darling from Mike Cheslik (writer and director) and Ryland Brickson Cole Tews (writer and star) puts read more

Classic Films in Focus: MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 8, 2024

Director Joseph H. Lewis is best remembered today for his influential noir classic, Gun Crazy (1950), but he also brings great tension to My Name is Julia Ross (1945), an atmospheric thriller from Columbia Pictures that stars Nina Foch as the titular heroine. Despite its modern day setting, Julia's read more

The Colors of Contagion in JEZEBEL (1938)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 30, 2024

Bette Davis won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for the Civil War melodrama, Jezebel (1938), which took advantage of the cultural mania over Gone with the Wind by using many of the same plot elements and beating the 1939 blockbuster to theaters. Like Gone with the Wind, Jezebel tells the s read more

2023 Movie Log in Review

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jan 1, 2024

Happy New Year! Here's hoping that 2024 brings you good moments and many great movies. It's time again to look back at the last year of my movie viewing and make the final tally of films watched. My classic movie choices for 2023 were heavily affected by the many great collections on the Criterion C read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE CHEAT (1931)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Dec 2, 2023

I decided to watch The Cheat (1931) knowing that other classic movie bloggers have found the picture merely mediocre, but with Huntsville native Tallulah Bankhead in the starring role I felt obligated to give it a try and see for myself. Sadly, this Pre-Code drama deserves the lukewarm reviews other read more

Classic Films in Focus: MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Oct 15, 2023

On paper, Universal's 1932 Murders in the Rue Morgue sounds terrific; it adapts a chilling story from Edgar Allan Poe, stars Bela Lugosi, and offers Expressionist cinematography by Karl Freund, complete with all the lurid sensibility that Pre-Code horror can provide. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't read more

Classic Films in Focus: BLANCHE FURY (1948)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 27, 2023

Of all the films I have watched so far in the Criterion Channel's Gaslight Noir collection, Blanche Fury (1948) is the darkest, even though it's also the brightest thanks to its use of gorgeous Technicolor. This adaptation of the 1939 novel by Marjorie Bowen (under the pseudonym Joseph Shearing) emp read more

My Criterion Closet Wish List

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 6, 2023

I really enjoy watching the Criterion Closet Picks videos where various actors and filmmakers get to choose movies to take home with them. Their selections reveal interesting details about their tastes and experience with film, although they do tend to favor certain genres, decades, and directors, p read more

Gaslight Noir on the Criterion Channel

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Sep 1, 2023

While many of the Criterion Channel's featured categories highlight newer or international films, the lineup for September 2023 also includes one of my favorite classic sub-genres, "Gaslight Noir." If you love films like Gaslight (whether the 1940 or 1944 version), this is a collection sure to send read more

Classic Films in Focus: LADIES IN RETIREMENT (1941)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Aug 29, 2023

If Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) were a tragic drama instead of a screwball comedy, it might play out something like Ladies in Retirement (1941), in which a desperate young woman goes to extreme measures to protect her psychologically complicated sisters. We talk about insanity and mental health very read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE MAD MISS MANTON (1938)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 19, 2023

Although it's not on the same level as their later collaboration, The Lady Eve (1941), The Mad Miss Manton is still an amusing outing for stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. It's a goofy mix of romantic comedy and murder mystery, with Stanwyck leading a pack of socialite sleuths and Fonda fallin read more

A Vivien Leigh Tribute in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Jul 10, 2023

 As I was walking from the Royal Shakespeare Company to Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon, I came across this sweet little tribute to legendary actress Vivien Leigh. Best remembered today for Oscar winning film roles as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939) and Blanche DuBois in read more

Wanting More: The Open Ending of THE DAMNED DON'T CRY (1950)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on May 23, 2023

WARNING! This post contains major spoilers for THE DAMNED DON'T CRY and other classic noir films. Proceed at your own risk. When I showed The Damned Don't Cry (1950) to my lifetime learners as the final film of our Joan Crawford series, they were especially struck by the open ending of the story, wh read more

Big Stars on the Small Screen: THE MUPPET SHOW

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on May 15, 2023

This post is part of the CMBA Spring Blogathon - Big Stars on the Small Screen: In Support of National Classic Movie Day. Check out all of the participating blogs and posts by visiting the Classic Movie Blog Association's post about the blogathon!Big Stars on the Small Screen: Classic Movie Guest St read more

Classic Films in Focus: WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? (1957)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Mar 22, 2023

The 1950s proved a challenging time in the movie industry as television became a full-fledged competitor for audience attention, and Frank Tashlin confronts the issue with satiric glee in his 1957 comedy, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, which Tashlin wrote, directed, and produced with only the most read more

Time to Quit Twitter

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 20, 2023

It's time to quit Twitter.I joined Twitter over a decade ago to connect with classic movie fans, writers, fellow LEGO enthusiasts, and other people who shared some of my eclectic interests. It was, for many years, a satisfying experience that introduced me to films, books, and people I would not oth read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1949)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 20, 2023

Once considered lost, The Queen of Spades (1949) is an example of buried cinematic treasure that was luckily rediscovered so that we can enjoy it again today, an ironic twist since it's a tale about the fickle turns of Fortune's wheel. The plot comes from a short story of the same name by Alexander read more

Classic Films in Focus: THE SUSPECT (1944)

Virtual Virago Posted by Jennifer Garlen on Feb 9, 2023

Warning: This review contains spoilers for The Suspect (1944). Director Robert Siodmak weaves Victorian sensibility with noir energy in the justifiable homicide story of The Suspect (1944), which sees a mild-mannered Charles Laughton driven to murder by his extremely disagreeable wife. It's an unusu read more
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