Sunday, April 21, 2013

Liebster Award

First off, I want to note how much I appreciate being nominated for this award.  Well here are eleven random facts about me:
   1.  My favorite song right now is probably "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller and his band.
   2.  I will be doing my student teaching in the fall and then hopefully teach US History to 11th graders.
   3.  I am a vegetarian.
   4.  I am reading Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers might actually be creeper in the book than in the film.
   5.  I like Bill Haley a lot more than Elvis and Buddy Holly.
   6.  I like Harold Lloyd more than Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
   7.  My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald. (My favorite thing written by him is the short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair.")
   8.  My favorite I Love Lucy episode is the one with William Holden and Eve Arden--"L.A. at Last."
   9.  One of my favorite museums is the Smithsonian American History museum.  I lived in Washington, DC one summer and that was my 'hangout.'  (For some reason, my room mates rarely joined me.)
   10.  I like Greta Garbo better in her silent films.  She plays too over the top for my taste in her talkies, though few things are as awesome as Garbo saying "Put that in your pipes and smoke it" in Anna Christie.
   11.  The reason I have written so little this semester is because I had two papers that I had to have original research for.  I wrote both on movie related topics; one about the generational conflict about movies in the 1920s between young women and their parents and the other about Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks' honeymoon and how it fits in the larger picture of the rise of honeymooning and companionate marriage.  I turned them in Tuesday, but I am kind of sad that I won't need to do any more official research on the topics.

Now for the questions provided by Aubyn at "The Girl with the White Parasol":

1. Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine?
    I prefer Joan Fontaine as an actress, but Olivia seems like she would be a more pleasant person to meet and talk to, as Joan seems kind of bitter.

2. What are your top 5 favorite movie scores? (I limited it to ones that I could remember what they sound like and ones that came to my mind first.)
        the traditional Metropolis score- it always gets stuck in my head
        It (the Kino edition)
        The Best Years of Our Lives
        The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (again Kino)
3. What film gets your vote for "most perfect casting?"
      Dinner at Eight (especially Billie Burke, Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, and Wallace Beery)

4. Do you watch the Oscars?

5. Mother's Day is next month. Name 5 of the most memorable movie mothers (note that I did not specify good or bad). [This is a very random list but these are some of my favorite mothers in movies.]
Cary Grant's mother in North by Northwest

     John Gilbert's mother in The Big Parade
     Mildred Pierce in, um, Mildred Pierce
     Irene Dunne's character in My Favorite Wife
     Myrna Loy's character in The Best Years of Our Lives
6. What is your favorite "comfort movie" for when you're feeling blue?

7. What is a movie star/director collaboration that you wish had happened but never did?
     Clara Bow and Ernst Lubitsch (in a silent film)
8. If you could choose any movie star, past or present, to star in the biopic of your life, who would you choose? 
     Well since about 3/4ths of my life has been spent in school, hopefully this biopic would significantly alter the story. But I'll say Myrna Loy.

9. Name an author that deserves more film adaptations of their work.
     I don't read much fiction so I'll go with Fitzgerald.  I wish there were more adaptions besides The Great Gatsby.  I like a lot of his other work more and wish it got more attention.

10. Do movie remakes make you cheer, shrug, or shudder?
     Shudder because I have had the experience that if someone sees the remake they will not want to see the original. Also remakes generally don't show any imagination, staying too close to the original and not being inventive enough.  They also choose peoples' favorite movies to redo, in lieu of something that could be improved upon.

11. What is your favorite "so bad it's good" movie-watching experience?
       I really don't like deliberately watching bad movies because it feels like a waste of my precious viewing time.  However very occasionally I will watch a poor movie, like 10,000 B.C. and Van Helsing with my siblings and make fun of it the entire time, which is pretty fun.

I am sorry, but I am not going to nominate anyone as I would spend too much thinking and worrying anxiously about it.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mary Pickford

     I clearly have not written for a while, but I can't pass Mary Pickford's birthday by without saying a few words about the woman who was born 121 years ago today.
     Mary Pickford was clearly an amazing woman.  She was one of the first movie stars and was at the top of the industry for nearly twenty years.  A producer, brilliant business woman, and a great actress.  Although it seems her business sense has been widely acknowledged, I think her acting appeal is often overlooked because she 'only played little girls.'  
      First off this is of course not true, as she played a much wider range than that, but secondly why does it even matter?  People get Oscars and other awards for playing old people, but it is for some reason 'disturbing' to viewers, even classic and silent film lovers that she sometimes played adolescents.  I don't really know why this is the case.  Actually I am incredibly tired of the cliched phrase that an actor or actress "is too old for the part".  It seems to me that a great performance is a great performance, whether it's Mary Pickford playing a teenager at the age of 34 or Bette Davis playing an old woman in her twenties.  

    Perhaps Mary Pickford makes it look too easy.  I am 20 years old (technically still an adolescent and will be for a few years as that age range goes to 25). I think she perfectly encapsulates the mixed emotions and potential of a teenage girl, which are still vivid and sometimes painful memories for me.  For example see how she reacts to the grown man in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm with an awakening sense of attraction, but underneath still unaware of what that means.  One of my personal favorite of moments in all film is the scene in Sparrows where her character realizes the baby has died.  Pickford plays it with sadness, but also understanding, as the her character, who has been through a lot, must have.  She always has such amazing fully thought out character portrayals, whether she plays a young girl or a young woman.  I recently watched My Best Girl where Pickford plays a grown woman.  It is one of the most complete characters I have ever seen in a film.  She is both excited about her new and probably first romance and burdened by her family.  Of course in the scene near the end she brilliantly shows this conflict, that must be seen several times to be appreciated.
     Let's put Mary Pickford where she belongs in the film history books, both as a pioneering film maker and a great actress and stop griping about age and give credit where it is so clearly due.