Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile: Shadows and Satin

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th of the month. Today we're featuring Karen from Shadows and Satin.

Shadows and Satin is one of those can’t-wait-to-see-what’s-happening-next blogs.

Karen’s site is dedicated to films noir and noir filmmakers, as well as pre-Code flicks, and she packs each post with juicy history and insightful commentary. As editor of The Dark Pages, she has an expert knowledge of film noir, even the more obscure films and actors in this genre.

As a pre-Code fan, she shares her infectious enthusiasm and considerable research with her readers.  One example is her essay on actress Lilyan Tashman.

I discovered Lilyan Tashman by sheer happenstance,” says Karen. “I was watching an extra on a DVD (she wasn't even in the movie!) when I saw Tashman and her husband, Edmund Lowe. And there was just something about her that captivated me. It took me several months to research and write the post; the more I learned about her, the more fascinated I became. I was really proud of the outcome – and one of the comments I received was from the granddaughter of Tashman’s cousin! That was the icing on the cake.”

You can read about Ms. Tashman HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Shadows and Satin: I wish I had a really cool story to tell – like, my great-grandmother's favorite movie was Miracle on 34th Street, and I fell in love old movies after she took me to see it one Christmas, or I was at home sick with the mumps and was totally mesmerized when 42nd Street came on TV after Bozo's Circus went off. But I don't. I've simply loved classic movies for as long as I can remember.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Shadows and Satin: Generally speaking, I believe that two characteristics make a movie a classic: passage of time and continued interest. More specifically, a significant amount of time has to have passed since the film's release, and it has to continue to foster interest and appreciation in ensuing generations.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Shadows and Satin: I don't actually know anyone who's ever said they "hate" old movies, but my niece's exposure to classic films is woefully lacking, and I recently showed her Leave Her to Heaven. She was quite taken with it.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Shadows and Satin: Classic films are just like any other part of history – we should care about them because they are us

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Shadows and Satin: For me, the most rewarding thing about blogging is the idea that someone out there might have derived as much pleasure from reading my words as I do writing them.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Shadows and Satin: My only challenge is dealing with the tendency of real life to interfere with my writing time. I try to overcome this challenge by signing up for blogathons and the annual month-long "Noirvember" event – these activities help keep me on my toes and force me to carve out the much-needed time to settle down in front of my computer. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Shadows and Satin: Keep a small notebook with you and whenever you get an idea, jot it down.
Thank you for joining us, Karen! You can visit Satin and Shadows by clicking HERE.

Monday, November 14, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile:

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th of the month. Today we're featuring Meredith from

Every great movie star deserves a website – especially a legend like the great Clark Gable.

Meredith of has created the ultimate online tribute to Gable, one that includes his filmography and brief reviews of every film he ever made, along with a listing of his radio show appearances, a photo gallery and biographical information.

Meredith also tackles the gossip that surrounded Gable’s career and personal life, even the rumors about his marriage to Carole Lombard.

“Other than his role in GWTW,” says Meredith, “the most popular subject when it comes to Clark Gable is his relationship with Carole Lombard. Tired of hearing people repeat unsupported rumors, I wrote a piece about their relationship a few years ago that has since become the number one hit on my site.

You can read Meredith’s findings on Gable and Lombard HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film? I'm one of those people who like to say I was born in the wrong era. As a child in the 1980's I liked Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty more than The Little Mermaid. When I was a preteen, I watched Nick at Nite endlessly – The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, The Donna Reed Show, Mister Ed. My grandparents used to show me 1950's musicals that they rented from the library. I've always been drawn to the past. 

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion? Not everything that is "old" is classic. A classic to me is a film that embodies its decade, that has a great script with a great cast and just plunks you down into their era.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies? Since my blog is focused on Clark Gable, I'll stick to his films. Everyone should see Gone with the Wind, absolutely without question. I know plenty of people who don't like classic films in general but appreciate GWTW. The film I always point people to after GWTW is It Happened One Night. You don't have to love classic film to appreciate the fantastic script and undeniable chemistry between Gable and Colbert. Both of those films are absolute musts.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film? In this day and age of sequels and re-dos, it's refreshing to go back and experience what Hollywood was like as it was just beginning. Those days of glamour and glitz are gone and, while I'm not one of those people that says everything Hollywood releases nowadays is junk, it's nice to go back and look at stars who didn't Instagram what they had for breakfast every morning. 

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging? The people I meet! I receive fascinating emails from people all over the world, some of which I've met in person. It's nice to know there are passionate fans like me out there.  Also, my blog has taken me on research trips to Ohio and Los Angeles, where I've really felt connected to Clark Gable as a person. There's something about following in someone's footsteps that makes that person more real to you. 

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them? When I started my blog in 2009, I bought a book on coding and literally coded the entire website from scratch. I was very happy to move over to WordPress later! I also have a photo gallery and a Facebook page in addition to trying to research material for the blog, and at times it can be overwhelming, but at the end of the day it's a hobby that I truly enjoy. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger? You definitely have to have a passion for your subject – whatever that may be. It'd be hard to keep churning out new information if you don't have that motivation. It will be difficult to continue year after year. 

Thank you for joining us, Meredith! You can visit by clicking HERE.

Monday, October 31, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile: Once Upon a Screen

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and 15th of the month. Today we're featuring Aurora from Once Upon a Screen.

The site Once Upon a Screen is like an online film festival, organized and presented by writer and Movies and More co-host Aurora.

Aurora presents a stunning variety of films – plus celebrity bios and classic radio/television shows – with a wealth of knowledge and a delightful sense of humour. Like most people who organize film festivals, she clearly has a passion for movies and the stories behind them.

One example is her recent spotlight on the Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon collaboration.

The blog posts that are most memorable to me personally are the ones I had the most fun writing, such as ‘The Wilder-Lemmon Affair’,” says Aurora. “They are one of my favorite directors and one of my favorite actors. I enjoyed reading (again) how two people whose work I admire also admired and appreciated each other. Together these two men encompass what I love about film – when the heart and the intellect coalesce to form the perfect whole.”

You can read her post HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Once Upon a Screen: It’s rather strange I think that I was drawn to classic movies on my own, naturally, as a matter of circumstance. I arrived in this country at age five. A relative gave us an old TV and I just gravitated to old movies. I credit them with teaching me the English language much more so than I do going to school. These movies – MGM musicals in particular – were a welcoming to my new home where for a time I thought people actually danced in the streets. It was after I’d discover each movie and actor that I realized my parents knew them also, having seen them in theaters in Cuba. I remember seeing Delmer Daves’ Dark Passage and running to my mother after it was over to ask, “Do you know an actor named Humphrey Bogart?” She replied as she would countless times thereafter with a shout out to my father, “Oh, for heaven’s sake. Did you hear what she asked me?” I had no idea at the time that my parents were slightly cool or that these were old movies. To me, they were of the moment and, in some ways, remain so.

CMBA: What makes a movie a “classic” in your opinion?
Once Upon a Screen: A classic is timeless. It is forever relatable in some way or possesses a level of entertainment that can be enjoyed by all people for all time. A classic is, in my mind, story and character-driven. And yes, there is a year stamp associated with classics although the year is not etched in stone. For me it is approximately 1968. Although I enjoy many movies made after that year, some of them timeless in their own right, “classics” for me are older, made during the studio system and/or its immediate remnants.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Once Upon a Screen: Billy Wilder. Wilder's movies are universally-themed, fast-moving and compelling. From his impressive filmography I’d recommend Double Indemnity, because who doesn’t love getting caught up in the sexy mystery of it all? Straight down the line. It’s impossible not to be affected by all of it. Back-ups would be Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious and Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve. Both of these "dreaded black and white movies" allow for quelling the initial curiosity of a newbie who wants to watch screenland’s biggest stars, while offering interesting stories that grab you from the get-go.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Once Upon a Screen: Film is our greatest, most influential art form. It has – throughout its history – held up a mirror to society in a way no other medium has done. As such, it must be preserved as carefully as all historical artifacts. More importantly, perhaps, is the medium’s ability to transport and entertain us, a value that will never go out of style. I’ll add one more thing: People should care to take a look at classic movies because so many things we see in movies today have already been done before. And they've already been done better.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Once Upon a Screen: By far, the community it has introduced me to and the ever-present opportunities to learn more about movies and Hollywood history in general. Before I started blogging about classic movies, I had no idea so many others loved them as I much as I did. Being a classic movie fan had always been a rather lonesome endeavor until I realized that through my blog, and associated social media accounts, I had opportunities to “meet” like-minded people and learn from them. It’s turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Once Upon a Screen: There are two major challenges. I’d say the first is time. I wish I had more to spend on the blog, to offer something of value. The other is being unique; offering something other than your run-of-the-mill movie commentary, to stand out from the crowd. For instance, I’ve wanted to start a regular series for quite some time, but could only manage the Friday Foto Follies pictorials. While this series offers a means through which I get the images I love out of my system, it does little more than that.  Maybe someday I can do something along those lines of greater value.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Once Upon a Screen: (1) Have fun. Blogging can become work all too easily, which can be overwhelming for those of us with full-time jobs, families, etc. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.
(2) Whatever you share, let it be your voice and no one else’s. 

Thank you for joining us, Aurora! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hollywood on Hollywood, the CMBA Fall Blogathon!

The Classic Movie Blog Association is proud to present its fall blogathon, Hollywood on Hollywood, running from October 17th to 21st. Please tune into the blogs below on the dates listed to read some writers discussing how the movie capital of the world has turned its lens in on itself!

October 17th

October 18th

October 19th

October 20th

October 21st

And here are other banners for members to choose from:


This page will be updated as we get closer to the date.

For CMBA members who wish to participate in the eBook for this blogathon, please email the CMBA account with their entries in either plain text or a Word document. Please, no footnotes, links, or images. Entries will be due on October 22nd. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The 2016 CMBA Awards - Results

The 2016 CMBA Awards came and went in a flash this year, but, nevertheless, our members submitted a number of great entries, all of which are available to view and read through the links posted below. 

Speaking on behalf of the CMBA board, I would like to thank all of the members who took the time to read these entries and vote for their favorites. And a hearty congratulations to all of our winners!!

Winning entries are denoted with a **. 

Best Film Review

Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) - CAFTAN WOMAN **

My Darling Clementine (1946) - ONCE UPON A SCREEN


The Damned Don't Cry (1950) - SHADOWS AND SATIN

Star in the Night (1945) - ANOTHER OLD MOVIE BLOG

Best Film Review ( Musical )

His Girl Friday (1940) - OLD HOLLYWOOD FILMS

Ziegfeld Follies (1946) - THE BLONDE AT THE FILM

The Gang's All Here (1943) - SECOND SIGHT CINEMA **

The Pirate (1948) - JAVA'S JOURNEY

Make Mine Music (1946) and Melody Time (1948) - ANOTHER OLD MOVIE BLOG

The Moon is Blue (1953) - CINEMA CROSSROADS

Best Classic Movie Article

Trumbo and the Black List - VIENNA'S CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

The Films of Powell and Pressburger - SILVER SCENES

Hal Roach and the "Lot" of Fun - CAFTAN WOMAN **

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Hitchcock on a Train - ONCE UPON A SCREEN

Jean Arthur and Frank Capra: A Symbiotic Collaboration - CINEMA CROSSROADS

Best Classic Movie Series

History Through Hollywood - THE BLONDE AT THE FILM **

The Treatment of Fascism in Classic Films - ANOTHER OLD MOVIE BLOG
(Entries to Consider: Seven Days in May (1964), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Storm Warning (1951), Address Unknown (1944), The Mortal Storm (1940))

(Note: The entries eligible for submission are from "Mae West Schools the Teacher" onward)

The 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival - JOURNEYS IN CLASSIC FILM
(Entries to Consider: Ten Movies Worth Screening, My 2016 Festival Must-Sees, Pre-Fest and Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

Katharine Hepburn in the 1930s - OLD HOLLYWOOD FILMS

Best Profile of a Classic Movie Performer or Filmmaker

Harry Carey and Harry Carey, Jr. - CAFTAN WOMAN **

Allyn Joslyn - Pompous but Adorable - SILVER SCENES

The Rotund and Gravel-voiced Ol' Reliable, Eugene Pallette - ONCE UPON A SCREEN


Musings on Clarence Muse - SHADOWS AND SATIN

History Through Hollywood: Esther Williams, Swimmer - THE BLONDE AT THE FILM

Best Blog Event

The 2016 TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon - JOURNEYS IN CLASSIC FILM **

Best Classic Movie Blog Design

Journeys in Classic Film

Java's Journey

Cinema Crossroads **

Sunday, September 25, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile: The Man on the Flying Trapeze

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th of the month. Today we're featuring David from The Man on the FlyingTrapeze.

If you remember the Spike Jones version of the song “The Man on the Flying Trapeze”, you’ll recall the mixture of admiration and humour in the lyrics. The song is kind of a reluctant love letter to a venerated trapeze artist who has stolen the songwriter’s girlfriend.

The blog, The Man on the Flying Trapeze, is an unabashed love letter to classic Hollywood film. David writes with admiration and wit about the films from the Golden Age, especially pre-code films. These he's chronicled in his "Pre-Code vs Post-Code" series.

“I love pre-code movies,” says David, “and I love to dig into how they were ‘cleaned up’ (and usually made worse) to meet a set of silly standards.”

One example compares Grand Hotel to Week-End at the Waldorf. You can read this post HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: When I was a kid, my cousins lived across the street and I was over there a lot. My uncle was a fan of Warner Brothers gangster movies, and in those days (late 1960s) a local TV station showed them every night at 6:00. So instead of playing with my cousins I’d find myself in front of the TV watching people shoot at each other with tommy guns in black and white, and to this day the experience remains magical to me. (Those Warner gunshots have a sound all their own!)    

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: A great script, classic dialogue, terrific performances, striking photography or an intangible something that captures the zeitgeist of the moment and yet still seems timeless. 

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: I don't know if it's his cynical outlook or his contemporary storytelling style, but I've had good luck introducing people to Billy Wilder movies – Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment and Double Indemnity.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: Because it helps explain us as a people and it demonstrates where our storytelling traditions come from. As a culture we are too fascinated with newness for its own sake. New automatically equals cool/good. That people can be reluctant to look at anything considered "old" makes no more sense to me than someone refusing to look at something just because it's blue.   

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: The illusion that everyone is paying attention to what you post – and the feedback that you get from a dedicated handful of people with the same obsessions as yours.

CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: I don't know why, but I always have a hard time figuring out what movie I'm going to write about next – sometimes to the degree that I just freeze up and don't write anything. I know this sounds weird, but I honestly think I'd be better off if there was someone standing over my shoulder telling me what movie to write about next. 

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
The Man on the Flying Trapeze: Don't knock yourself out at first – this is a marathon, not a sprint. Try to post regularly, but not obsessively. And don’t beat yourself up if a few weeks go by between posts.

Thank you for joining us, David! You can visit his blog by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CMBA Blog Profile: Spellbound by Movies

The CMBA profiles two classic movie blogs per month, on the 1st and the 15th of the month. Today we're featuring Beth Ann from Spellbound by Movies.

Beth Ann Gallagher knows how to "sell" classic film.

Her blog, Spellbound by Movies, is an eclectic collection of all things classic film – filmmakers, film events, and the films themselves. She's one of those bloggers who make classic Hollywood seem fresh and hip.

Her blog is like a vintage boutique that specializes in unique pieces. One example is a look at Alfred Hitchcock and his terriers.

“It remains my most popular one four years after posting,” says Beth Ann. “I love animals, and I'm a Hitchcock fan, so I had a lot of fun writing the piece, and I'm sure that shines through.”

You can read her post on Hitchcock and his terriers HERE.

CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Spellbound by Movies: As a child, classic film was around me and part of everyday life. It was readily available on TV, and my family watched it with me. On Saturday mornings, a local station called WLVI would run comedies like Our Gang/The Little Rascals, Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, and Laurel & Hardy. Comedy is a great entryway to classic film! Later that day, the network would run their Creature Double Feature and show films like King Kong, Universal's horror pictures, Hammer Studios flicks from the fifties, and Toho Studios giant monster movies like Godzilla. My mom would put the Million Dollar Movie on, and we'd watch classics together. I remember watching classics at her parents' place, like Yankee Doodle Dandy. I also grew up in a New England town with a lot of history in and around it. Classic movies don't seem old when your town history includes losing its Revolutionary War naval battle. As I got a little older, VHS and AMC made classic movies even more accessible before TCM came about. There was something wonderfully aspirational to me as a kid about the people in screwball comedies. I loved the glamour of the stars' clothes and stylings and the rapid-fire repartee.

CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Spellbound by Movies: I see the phrase “classic film” meaning different things in different contexts. There's the classic film era, which stretches from the silent
era to the 1960s. Something like The Torchy Blane film series was made in the era, but it's not well-known outside of film buff circles. Then there are classic films everyone agrees on. These are the movies that everyone agrees are part of the official canon, like Bringing Up Baby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Wizard of Oz. The final category of classic is personal. They're the movies someone loves and can watch over and over again without diminished enjoyment. These classics might not always have the quality of a prestige picture like Now, Voyager, but they pack as strong an emotional wallop. They may be "contemporary" classics, made outside of the classic film era. A Christmas Story is a great example of that kind of picture. It's become part of people's Christmas traditions due to its subject matter, the feeling of family and the holidays it shares, and how smart it is in depicting kids, their inner worlds, and the scrapes they get into. If a film is going to end up either type of classic, it has to have a strong emotional impact and material that appeals, that will remain of its time yet timeless, and that will endure repeated viewings.

CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old
Spellbound by Movies: I would find out what topics or genres of movies people like, and then I'd find a corresponding classic film to recommend to them. For example, if they like fashion or biting dialogue, I'd recommend The Women. If the person was a complete blank, I'd recommend a comedy. People are more open to comedies than other types of pictures. Laurel & Hardy's The Music Box would be a great one to start with. It's short, and slapstick is a universal visual language. If the person was up for something more verbal and anarchic, I'd suggest The Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers.

CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Spellbound by Movies: Some people are put off by black and white movies or the phrase "classic film", but the best of these films are wonderfully alive and engaging. They may show the people and fashions of their times, but they have a timeless quality. They preserve the culture of that moment which usually has something to say about this moment. People don't change that much at the core however more sophisticated education, media, and technology have made the average person. If you can be open to classic film you can be open to a lot of experiences in life, and you can have a lot of fun at the same time. You'll learn about yourself, too.

CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Spellbound by Movies: I love learning more about movies from writing about them. That makes me re-watch them more closely, research them, and better understand what works and doesn't work about them and how they affect me and other viewers. Writing is a type of thinking for me. Beyond that, I hope to connect with other people online about movies. I'm a relocatee to California, and my job as a field representative involves travel, so blogging and tweeting about films helps me with my online social life, which has solidified in some face-to-face friendships.

CMBA:  What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Spellbound by Movies: My job often can take up more than full-time hours in the week. Sometimes I'm travelling and sometimes I'm commuting. Either way that can be a lot of hours stuck in traffic. All of this can be very energy depleting, which affects how much I writing I can produce. I try to write more outside of my job's hectic periods. Another issue is making sure not every post has to be a big, obsessively detailed one. My goal is to fit in more shorter pieces into my blog along with the in-depth ones. I want to make sure my blog reflects more of what I'm watching and festival going-wise and to add some fun features like lists, which can be short and snappy.

CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Spellbound by Movies: A lot of people can seem like experts on classic film or film in general. That can be intimidating. Everyone started out watching and loving movies. Let that passion propel you into being an active blogger. Get well-versed in films from watching them and start forming your own opinions and reactions. Then read up on the movies and find out the histories behind them. With so many people blogging out there, your blog's biggest asset is what you feel and think, your individual reactions, and how you present them. If you can, never hit the post button the same day you finish a write-up. At least give yourself an overnight to see if any new ideas or changes come to mind. Re-read your posts before they go live. Then you can spot gaps in your explanations, factual errors, jumps in reasoning, or writing errors. Find a friend or family member who's a good at editing or commenting on your writing. No matter how good a writer is, she or he is better with constructive feedback. Join blogathons to get practice writing something you might not have, to meet other bloggers, and to promote your blog. You will grow a lot as a writer and as a person through blogging, but don't forget to have fun with all of this!

Thank you for joining us, Beth Ann! You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.