Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars...

The project for which I started this blog is due tomorrow, so this will likely be my last entry before I get graded. I'm still going to try and keep posting here even after I turn in the project, but I thought this would be a good time to stop and discuss some of the movies that first captured my interest in classic films. You may have noticed the badly-photoshopped banner at the top of this page. I made it a few months ago for another blog layout, and each frame in the film strip is a still from a movie that I've seen. My tastes have changed a bit since I put it together, so this isn't exactly a list of my favorite films, but I'll go through the banner from left to right and try to give you an idea of why I picked these movies.

Penny Serenade was the first black-and-white film I ever saw (willingly, that is; the usual holiday classics don't count). It was on PBS or a similar station one night when I couldn't sleep, and it was the first time I realized that movies without Technicolor contained actual plots and could even be entertaining. I was still in high school, and had no idea what I'd just seen or who had been in it (now, of course, I can't imagine not being able to recognize Cary Grant on sight), and it took two or three years before I was even able to track down the title of this film. After this I went quite a while without seeing another classic, but Penny Serenade is definitely the movie that opened my mind toward movies older than myself.

Top Hat was one of the first talking pictures we watched in my Film History class last year. After half a semester of silent films, a musical felt positively modern. Like Penny Serenade, Top Hat made me realize that old movies weren't nearly as outdated as I'd always assumed.

Notorious was my first Hitchcock film, and it's still among my favorite movies. The final scenes, in which Alicia is slowly poisoned by her mother-in-law and Devlin whisks her away right in front of them, still keep me glued to my seat every time.

It Happened One Night was my introduction to screwball comedy, and one of the first classic films I ever owned on DVD. I paid a tribute of sorts to this movie during last year's National Novel Writing Month; none of my friends got the reference, but it was my favorite thing that I wrote all month.

Now, Voyager is my second-favorite Bette Davis movie. Her willingness to appear completely unattractive for the sake of a role makes Charlotte Vale's transformation wholly believable. It gets sappy a times, such as the voice-over in Tina's room at Cascade, but it's still a film I never turn down the chance to see.

A Bill of Divorcement is the only film besides Penny Serenade on this list that I've only seen once. The plot is admittedly outdated, but Katharine Hepburn's performance is an early indicator of her outstanding career. I honestly can't remember why I included this movie, but I do remember that it's worth watching again to find out.

I probably should have done this post earlier, but better late than never and all that. At least now, if anyone's actually reading this, you'll have a better idea of where I'm coming from as far as my early experiences with classic films. Hopefully I'll get to do full posts on each of these movies at some point. That point, however, is not tonight.


A Bill Of Divorcement (1932). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022685/

Carrie. (20 April 2007). Photo Friday - Notorious. from Classic Montgomery: http://classicmontgomery.blogspot.com/2007/04/photo-friday-notorious.html

It Happened One Night (1934). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025316/

Kuersten, Erich. (3 May 2008). Mother's Day Salute to Cinematic Blonde Moms... of DEATH!. from Bright Lights After Dark: http://brightlightsfilm.blogspot.com/2008/05/mothers-day-salute-to-cinematic-blonde.html

Notorious (1946). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038787/

Now, Voyager (1942). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035140/

Penny Serenade (1941). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034012/

Top Hat (1935). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027125/

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beer drinking don't do 'alf the 'arm of love-making...

When I think of Alfred Hitchcock, the first images that come to my mind are of absolute terror. When digging through a $5 DVD bin at Wal*Mart several months back, I pulled out a boxed set of 20 films from early in the Master of Suspense's career. Admittedly, at this point the only Hitchcock movie I'd ever seen was Notorious, but since I don't happen to live under a rock, I was of course familiar with the famous shower scene from Psycho and the basic plot behind The Birds. This was all I knew of Hitchcock, so naturally I was surprised to see that there was very little actual horror in his earlier works. There are some suspense films in the collection, such as The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, but the movies that most surprised and interested me were the silent romantic comedies. The first of these that I watched was 1928's The Farmer's Wife.

I should start by saying that, although I enjoy silent films, I lack the patience to watch them as closely as they need to be watched. For all my love of classic films, I am a thoroughly modern viewer; I've grown so used to multitasking that I'm almost incapable of sitting down to watch a movie without playing a video game or surfing the internet at the same time. With sound films this isn't much of a problem, because although I may occasionally miss some vital or artistically nuanced action on the screen, I can keep up with the movie's plot simply by listening. Dividing my attention between the TV and my laptop is a lot dicier during a silent film, because all of the information is presented visually. Thus, the first time I watched this film I missed a lot of important parts, such as the farmer's dying first wife reminding Minta, the maid, to hang her master's pants to dry. This seems like a frivolous request to make from one's death bed, but it lets the audience know that the soon-to-be-late wife of the farmer wants him taken care of after she's gone, and that she approves of Minta being the one to do it. This bit of foreshadowing sets up the relationship between Minta and Samuel that doesn't fully develop until the end of the film.

Luckily for me, the film as a whole doesn't rely too much on title cards. Hitchcock lets his actors do the talking, telling the story through actions and emotions rather than words. The audience doesn't need to be told that Samuel is lonely -- we can tell by the way he gazes at the empty chair in front of the fire. Likewise, it's clear from Minta's disapproving expressions, even before the text reveals what she's thinking, that she finds fault with each of the women on his list, perhaps because she herself is not among them. Thirza Topper's vanity, too, is established not by what's said about her but by the sheer amount of time it takes for her to get ready to receive Samuel.

The plot itself is trite but amusing, and I think most audiences would enjoy watching the arrogant Samuel Sweetland rejected again and again. The lack of sound doesn't detract from the clever writing, as Samuel finds new and inventive ways to insult each of the women he proposes to. Overall, it was worth seeing once, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again.


Hitchcock, A.(Director). (1930 January 4). ['Movie']. The Farmer's Wife. British International Pictures.

The Farmer's Wife (1928). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 25, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018876/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I could'a been a contender...

Thanks to some extremely fortunate timing, I get to continue my recent gangster theme with Elia Kazan's 1954 classic On The Waterfront. I just saw it for the first time, and having last night's documentary and crime-movie-marathon still fresh in my mind made for a very interesting experience.

A lot of the post-WWII changes to gangster films that the documentary talked about were evident in On The Waterfront. The genre had moved on from its bootlegging roots and, like real gangsters of the time, the primary characters in On The Waterfront were racketeers who controlled the longshoremen's union. The corrupt union bosses (led by Lee J. Cobb's Johnny Friendly, who was named by TCM's Movie Morlocks as one of the most memorable mob characters off all time) were no less violent than the bootleggers in The Public Enemy, but in some respects On The Waterfront had to be a lot more subtle than the pre-code films that came before it.

The relationship between Terry Malloy and Edie Doyle seemed surprisingly chaste after watching Tom Powers shove a grapefruit in Kitty's face last night. Terry, though a former prizefighter and a lackey for the local mob boss, demonstrated a much gentler side with Edie through much of the film. One of my favorite scenes was when, prompted by Father Barry, Terry confessed to Edie his part in her brother's murder. Rather than having a dramatic argument, Terry's speech and Edie's reaction were drowned out by the sound of the steamboats in the background. This had a very comedic effect -- the other students I was watching this movie with all laughed out loud at this scene -- but I thought it also had a deeply metaphorical aspect. Edie literally couldn't hear him because of the steamboats, but on a symbolic level, the noise didn't start until after he told her that Jimmy's death was his fault; she wasn't emotionally capable of listening to his explanations after that point.

I also found it interesting that Terry redeemed himself in the end, and it went along with what the documentary said about later gangster films, that for every "bad" main character there has to be an even worse character as a counterpoint. It wasn't as harshly realistic as, say, The Public Enemy, but it fulfilled the audience's sense of justice to have Terry rise up from what seemed to be a near-fatal beating in order to turn against the ultimate union boss.


On the Waterfront (1954). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 22, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047296/

Smith, Richard Harland. (8 June 2007). Not for nuthin'. from TCM's Movie Blog: http://moviemorlocks.com/2007/06/08/not-for-nuthin/. retrieved October 22, 2008.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beer and blood...

I've seen The Public Enemy at least three or four times now, but it's one of those movies that's always worth watching again. Since my most recent viewing came right after a documentary on gangster films, I've noticed a few things about this movie that I hadn't paid attention to on earlier viewings. In particular, I find the movie even more interesting now because I'm able to put it into proper historical context.

The Public Enemy was one of the first and most influential gangster films of the sound era. Released during the Depression, it provided audiences with a means of escapism that was relevant to their own lives. Tom Powers, thanks in large part to Cagney's performance, is a charismatic and even likeable character, to the point where moments such as the famous grapefruit scene which remind the audience how corrupt he truly is seem jarring. Part of what makes me, as a viewer, want to watch The Public Enemy again and again is that Tom is presented as being a regular guy, the product of a violent and twisted environment who has more or less the same goals as anyone else. He tries to do right by his mother, he competes with his older brother, and he values his independence; granted, he also shoots people for a living, but the character is so relateable that it's almost easy to overlook that minor detail.

It's very important that audiences can connect with the main character because of the violent nature of the film. Had Tom been played by a different actor, the violence may have felt gratuitous, but Cagney portrays Tom's motivations so clearly and the world that he lives in is so precisely rendered that each shot feels necessary. As a Pre-Code film, The Public Enemy had a lot of leeway as far as graphic bloodshed goes, but I don't feel that director William A. Wellman abused that freedom. According to the documentary, he did have to fight to keep the now-iconic final scene, in which Tom's body is left to fall forward into the hallway as soon as his brother Mike opens the door, but I think the fact that this scene in particular is still embedded in the public consciousness over 70 years later is proof that the censors were wrong. It isn't violent for the sake of being violent, such as Scarface, for example, which was made at the same time but held up by censors for two years according to This Distracted Globe. Rather, I think that the final scene of The Public Enemy is violent because it needs to be in order to dramatize the end to which every criminal will invariably meet. Of course, in real life justice often isn't served, but I don't think that audiences would have stood for such a lapse in fiction. Because Tom Powers was such a charismatic character, his death had to be gritty and hard to take, in order to make certain that the audience knew in the end that he was a terrible person.

Of course, not every filmmaker had the luxury of such a forceful ending. Tomorrow (well, tonight if I'm being precise) is the first screening in Rowan's Honors Film Series, and it just so happens to be a gangster film made under the Production Code. I'm going to take advantage of this excellent timing to take a look at On The Waterfront.


The Public Enemy (1931). (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 22, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022286/

Valdez, Joe. (29 August 2006). Scarface. from This Distracted Globe: http://thisdistractedglobe.com/2006/08/29/scarface-1932/. retrieved October 22, 2008.

Wellman, W. A.(Director). (1931 April 23). The Public Enemy. Warner Bros. Pictures.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Remember this, boys: You gotta have friends...

I just finished watching The Public Enemies: The Golden Age Of The Gangster Film, a documentary about the Warner Brothers gangster flicks. A variety of directors, actors, and film historians whose names unfortunately flashed by too quickly for me to catch (with the notable exception of the professor here at Rowan who taught the class that first sparked my interest in classic movies) discussed the rise and fall of the gangster genre, and the legacy that continues through today.

One interesting aspect that the documentary covered was the social context of gangster films. The genre really took off during the Great Depression, because gangster characters were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as the saying goes, and turn a profit even in the face of widespread poverty. To a degree, the general public emulated these characters, although it was important that every criminal "got his" in the end. Audiences were able to fantasize for the duration of the film that they too could create a more prosperous life for themselves by living outside the law, but by the end of the picture justice had been served and they could go back to their own lives content with the fact that crime doesn't pay.

There were a few real-life events that made storytelling more difficult for filmmakers in the gangster genre. First, the end of the Prohibition took the most cinematically-exciting form of crime (that is, bootlegging alcohol) away from the real gangs. Art was very slow to imitate life in this instance, as producers kept churning out films set during the Prohibition. When they did move on, they tried to adapt by blending gangster films with other genres, such as comedy and horror. When the U.S. entered World War II, gangsters in movies took on a more all-American quality, compared to the immigrant and ethnic gangsters that were originally the genre's focus. Finally, in the post-war era, the genre took on a grittier and more psychological film noir quality before burning itself out entirely. Raoul Walsh's White Heat is considered the last of the classic gangster films.

The documentary covered a lot of other interesting topics, but unfortunately I can't possibly get into all of them here (seriously, I took five Microsoft Works pages of outline-style notes). According to TCM's website, it isn't due to air again until January 10th at 4:30 in the morning, but if you happen to be the type of person who plans things that far in advance then I would definitely recommend setting your DVR (or VCR, if you're old-school like me) for it now. I found the information presented very interesting, and I'd probably watch it again. If you don't want to wait until January for another gangster fix, join me in a day or so when I'll discuss some of the gangster movies I'm watching right now.


Public Enemies, The: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) Overview. (2008). TCM Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from Time Warner Web site: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=728304

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn...

Did you know that this parting shot from Gone With The Wind is considered the best movie quote of all time, according to AFI's "100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes" list? I didn't until I looked it up just now, although I figured it would be in the top ten. I find it interesting, though, that there's such a definitive ranking for something that seems entirely subjective. What makes Rhett Butler's famous line better than, say, "Here's looking at you, kid," from Casablanca, which came in at number 5?

The subject of movie rankings is on my mind because last night I went to the first meeting of an Honors film series at my school. It's the club's first year, and it took us about an hour to decide which movies to see. The theme we ultimately decided on was "Movies Everyone Should See" -- the classics that are so embedded in our cultural lexicon that we can all recite lines and recognize allusions without ever having seen the original film. Using the aforementioned AFI lists, we picked about a dozen movies that seemed too important to pass up, but that someone most or all of us had managed to miss out on. Of course, the fact that there are only eight weeks left in the semester presented a problem, and we had to have a second round of voting to further narrow the list. In the end, we came up with:

  • On The Waterfront
  • 12 Angry Men
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Godfather
  • Blade Runner
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Tommy Boy

  • This list actually works out well for me, because I've never seen any of these movies. However, the voting process was definitely influenced by members' likes and dislikes, and what each of us personally wanted to see instead of what we considered the truly classic must-see movies. I was certainly guilty of this -- I lobbied for Adam's Rib purely because I keep missing it on TCM -- but by the time we were finished, I noticed that the movies generally considered to be among the very greatest, such as Casablanca and Citizen Kane, had been knocked off our list. Looking at the eight movies that are left makes me wonder how certain films came to be considered the best of all time, and why our list looks so different from the ones I usually see.

    A Google search for "best movie ever" turns up 5,810,000 hits. The first three are lists from IMDb, Wikipedia, and The New York Times. The last of these three does not give films individual rankings, but instead serves as a guide to movies that are all considered great. I think that this is the best and least subjective way to do it. The IMDb list is based on user votes, with results that I found somewhat surprising. The Dark Knight, for example, has already cracked the Top 5 despite being released only a few months ago. The Wikipedia list is broken down by genre, and includes many of the same titles as the AFI list.

    A "Starter Kit" from the Movie Morlocks was put together based on process of elimination, and is narrowed down not to the definitive dozen best movies of all time, but to twelve films that the author feels all new fans of classic movies should see. This is very close to the same process we used, and in fact one film, 12 Angry Men, wound up on both lists. Adam's Rib would have made our cut as well, if we hadn't needed to narrow our selections down to eight. This list, put together by one blogger rather than the votes of an entire user base, is perhaps more subjective than Wikipedia's or IMDb's, but I find it interesting that it came the closest to what we came up with on our own.

    Since these lists seem based on public polls, I'd like to conduct a very unscientific one of my own. What criteria do you use to rank films? Are your favorite films ones that you would consider classics, or would you have two seperate lists for movies you most enjoy and movies you feel everyone should see? Finally, what do you think is the best film ever made?


    AFI's 100 YEARS... 100 MOVIES. (2008). AFI.com. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from American Film Institute Web site: http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/movies.aspx

    Film Critics of the New York Times. (2004). The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.nytimes.com/ref/movies/1000best.html

    Films considered the greatest ever. (2008, October 15). Wikipedia. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Wikimedia Foundation Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Films_considered_the_greatest_ever

    IMDb Top 250. (2008). IMDb. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/chart/top

    Rambeau, Mark. (August 17, 2008). A Classic Movie Starter Kit. from Movie Morlocks. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from TCM's Movie Blog Web site: http://moviemorlocks.com/2008/08/17/a-classic-movie-starter-kit/

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    That would solve none of their problems, because actresses never die...

    (Continued from my last post...)

    The beginning of Margo and Addison's conversation is cut off in this clip, but in the first sixteen seconds the audience gets a clear picture of both characters: Addison delights in revealing to Margo that Eve is her understudy, and a very good one at that, whereas Margo can barely contain her displeasure while trying to appear wholly unsurprised. Addison's seemingly casual revelation that Margo wasn't mentioned at all during Eve's audition is very telling, both to Margo and the audience. It marks the first time that Margo truly realizes how easily she could be replaced by a younger actress. Miss Casswell's entrance is perfectly timed, both to disrupt the tension between the scene's two principal characters and to give Margo a way out of the conversation.

    Her entrance into the theater says a lot with little dialogue. Notice how she dismissively throws her coat over Max's head. His reaction reveals quite a bit about his relationship to Margo; instead of getting angry, he interprets it as a warning sign of the tantrum to come, and signals to Bill, Lloyd, and Eve that they should prepare themselves, then squirms uncomfortably low in his chair when Margo addresses him directly. She cheerfully feigns ignorance, passive-aggressively dropping hints about her conversation with Addison (including, of course, my favorite phrase of the movie, which is used several times). She let's the act drop slowly, picking a fight with Lloyd over her age in relation to the characters he writes for her -- something that's been an issue, first in her own mind and later between the two of them, throughout the film -- until Bill realizes that Addison has already told her everything.

    In the background, Eve slowly backs up as the fight escalates, a move that on first viewing made her seem frightened and innocent, but after having seen the entire film now appears more calculated, as if she deliberately set the argument in motion and now intends to leave before the others pick up on that fact. Bill, meanwhile, is strangely calm, perhaps foreshadowing his own argument with Margo later in the scene. He casually tosses his cigarette pack aside and lays down on the bed, patting the dog statue on his way down. That action, juxtaposed against Margo's raving in the background, is one of those small moments in the film that I think completely makes the movie. His exaggerated state of relaxation provides some measure of comedy in an otherwise dramatic scene, but it also hints to the audience that Bill is at the end of his proverbial rope.

    Meanwhile, the argument rages on as Lloyd finally stands up to the diva, as Hugh Marlowe and Bette Davis deliver some of the best lines in a script known for its sparkling wit. Max Fabian intervenes only when Margo suggests that she might not perform that night, reminding her that she is bound by a legal contract, but she easily calls his bluff and he leaves the theater. Lloyd stays to get in one last parting shot, comparing Margo to a piano that can only play the music he writes for it. He leaves before she can reply, and so she turns on Bill, continuing the metaphor by asking if he is the pianist in this scenario.

    The tone of the scene changes abruptly. Margo is clearly still hurt and angry, but she's far more gentle with Bill and he flat-out refuses to engage her. She notices that Eve has left, and Gary Merrill again successfully combines quiet exasperation with comic relief as Bill looks around, checks under the bed, and shrugs his shoulders. His passivity as Margo rants about Eve, Lloyd, and Addison doesn't spare him. She pauses and sweetly acknowledges how patient he's being, but in the next breath tries again to goad him into an argument.

    He takes the bait when she accuses him of having directly been involved in hiding Eve from her. Eve has been a sore point in their relationship for some time, as Margo has started to sense something sinister in the girl's hero-worship of her, while Bill sees her as an innocent kid. This is made worse by Margo's insecurity about her age and the eight-year gap between them, something that Bill can more easily dismiss because he is the younger one. There are also eight years between Bill and Eve, but because Eve is younger than Bill, Margo fears that he finds her more attractive.

    Bill tries desperately to convince Margo that her jealousy is unfounded, in a physically tense moment that would have much different connotations in a contemporary film, if it were included at all. There's no air of violence in this scene, however, even as Bill overpowers Margo. She squirms beneath him out of anger and denial, not fear, laughing in his face when he declares his love for her.

    Bette Davis does an amazing job of portraying Margo's vulnerability through the rest of the scene, starting with the moment that Bill lets go of her. She lays still for a second, defeated, then rolls over and refuses to face him while she collects herself. She makes it clear, through her words and tone of voice, that her pride remains intact, but when Bill mentions Eve, Margo's voice softens and her insecurity becomes almost palpable. She won't even look at Bill as he begs her to put the subject of Eve to rest, and even has he breaks up with her she remains stoic, though intensely sad. It's not until after he's nearly gone that she turns and, with a fleeting, childlike smile, asks if he's going to find Eve. The scene ends with Margo sobbing alone on the stage, having lost the most important people in her life to her own pride and jealousy.

    This is probably the longest blog entry I will ever write, but if you got this far then I hope you can see why I didn't want to leave anything out -- and in fact, still feel like there's so much more I could say about just those ten minutes of film.

    Mankiewicz, J. L.(Writer/Director). (1950 October 13). ['Movie']. All About Eve. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.

    All playwrights should be dead for 300 years...

    I want to use my first post to take a closer look at my favorite film, All About Eve. In particular, there's one ten-minute section of the movie that I consider to be possibly the greatest thing ever captured on film. I was lucky enough to find those exact scenes in one YouTube video, and I'll get to that in a second, but first, some background information. Spoilers below.

    All About Eve is considered by many to be among the best movies of all time. The American Film Institute ranked it #28 on their list of the 100 greatest films ever made. Of course, the opinions of critics would mean very little if the film couldn't still find an audience. Why are modern filmgoers still drawn to a movie that was made over half a century ago? I think the answer lies not in the overall plotline, but in the small touches that writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz and his all-star cast put into each scene. Not a frame of this movie is wasted; I think you'll see what I mean after watching the following clip.

    Eve Harrington is an adoring fan that aging Broadway star Margo Channing has taken in. By this point in the movie, Eve has been far too attentive for Margo's liking, especially where Margo's director-fiancé Bill is concerned. She tried to pawn the girl off on her producer, Max Fabian, but Margo's close friend Karen took pity on Eve and arranged through her husband, playwright Lloyd, for Eve to assume the role of Margo's understudy at the theater. Margo is completely unaware of this until she shows up late for a reading, which was to be an audition for Miss Casswell (a small part played by then-unknown Marilyn Monroe), and the manipulative critic Addison DeWitt informs her that Eve read in her place.

    Follow me to my next post, where I'll take a (very) detailed look at this section of the movie.

    (1990-2008). All About Eve (1950). Retrieved October 14, 2008, from International Movie Data Base Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042192/

    (1998-2008). All About Eve movie reviews, pictures - Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from Rotten Tomatoes Web site: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1000626-all_about_eve/?critic...

    Mankiewicz, J. L.(Writer/Director). (1950 October 13). ['Movie']. All About Eve. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    All that meaning, fire and music...

    My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theatre. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre.

    ...Well, no, not quite. My name is Caitlin. My native habitat is on my living room couch in front of a TV that's perpetually tuned to Turner Classic Movies. I'm not a film major, nor an aspiring actor. I have no connection to classic films beyond an almost obsessive enjoyment of them. I am essential to the film industry only insofar as an audience in general is essential.

    I am a junior at Rowan University, and this blog is part of a class project. I'm a Writing Arts major with a French minor, an Honors concentration, and I'm looking into adding a Creative Writing concentration -- none of that has anything to do with classic movies, but I hope that it demonstrates my passion for learning about the things that interest me.

    I'm relatively new to the world of classic cinema. Last fall, as part of my Honors concentration, I took a Film History course that introduced me to everything from the very first moving images recorded on film to the great screwball comedies of the 1930's. That class taught me to appreciate the films of my grandparents' and even great-grandparents' generation, and since then I've been watching every classic I can find. My favorite, if you haven't guessed by now, is Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve (1950), but I've enjoyed a wide variety of movies and hope to see many more; anything older than my parents is fair game.

    In addition to watching movies, I'd like to really study them as the art form that they are. In this blog, I'll be sharing any information I kind find about what went into making these films, and why they've stood the test of time.