Tuesday, January 17, 2012

News on the March

"Are you one of those talkers or would you be interested in a little action--I mean, blogging?"  
Well, the holiday season is truly over. My bank account's been razed, the winter winds are howling at my door, and right now I feel like following Judy Holliday's example and just snuggling in bed with something to read. And William Holden's invited too, provided he keeps the glasses on. But while I may be fighting my own lazy instincts at the moment, that doesn't mean that other people haven't been keeping busy.  Here's some news that should be enough to warm any classic movie lover's heart, whether they're fighting the weather, fighting the blues, or fighting the urge to argue over whether the Golden Globes mean anything.

A Month of Vertigo Blogathon (January 1-31st), Hosted by The Lady Eve's Reel Life 
"Arriving with 2012 will be this blog’s first major event, A Month of VERTIGO.  The month will feature 10 bloggers and one ‘vlogger' reflecting on facets of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958).  Unpopular with critics and audiences when it was released, Vertigo has endured. Today it is generally considered the great auteur's masterpiece of masterpieces and is one of the most highly regarded films in movie history. Vertigo is an ambitious work of grand scale and reputation - a staggering review subject for the lone blogger. And so, we eleven have joined together to contemplate this masterwork from many angles."
I'm assuming most of you have already heard by now of A Month of Vertigo over at The Lady Eve's Reel Life. But that isn't going to stop me from telling you about it. The first time I heard about this, I thought it was an incredibly brilliant idea. To devote one month to a single film, looking at it from every possible direction, bringing in a talented group of commentators...I have to admit, I'm a little jealous the Lady Eve thought of it first. And it's Vertigo, one of my most cherished cinematic obsessions (well, Vertigo is a film you just can't be casual about). I've been happily basking in the entries thus far and there's still plenty to go, as A Month of Vertigo continues. Go check it out!

The Comedy Classics Blogathon (January 22nd-27th, 2012), Hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association 

The ever-diligent, ever-witty members of CMBA are at it again with another great blogathon, a salute to their favorite comedic films and the masterminds behind them. I've been going over the list of participants and already I can't wait. Hey, did you see that Dorian from Tales of the Easily Distracted is going to write about Ball of Fire? And the gals over at True Classics are going to tackle The Great McGinty? And hey look, Dawn from Noir and Chick Flicks is taking a look at Gene Tierney's romantic comedies and Monty's going to write about His Girl Friday and okay, I'm not going to type up the whole list. But seriously. I'm going to be glued to this blogathon and so should you be.

Movies from an Alternate Universe, from Peter Stults's Portfolio

Many thanks to Brian Phelan over at the wonderful blog The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of for linking me to this. Behold, an artist's reimagining of contemporary films with classic casts, complete with posters. Some of his choices are smack-your-head-and-shout-of-course obvious (James Dean in Drive) and some have a kind of gonzo inspiration to them (I particularly like the idea of Ken Russell directing The Big Lebowski). Hell, some of his choices sound preferable to the real films. I'm not familiar with Peter Stults's work, but I notice he also has a nice little entry of Classics Gone B-Movies. Anyone who can dream up a poster like this is a man after my own heart.

And coming to bookstores in February 2012, Dan Callahan's biography, "Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman"

I love entertainment biographies. Well, no scratch that, I love good entertainment biographies. And 2011 sure was a banner year for them wasn't it? Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, Steve McQueen, James Garner, Piper Laurie, Jane Fonda, and many others I'm sure I've overlooked. But the biography I've been looking forward to for awhile (seriously it's been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for the last few months) is Dan Callahan's upcoming biography of Barbara Stanwyck. I can't tell you how I've been pining for a in-depth, well-researched biography of my favorite actress. Considering the weight and longevity of Stanwyck's career, her flourishing fan base, and the many mysteries of her personal life, it amazes me that Stanwyck bios are few and far between. So, I'm really excited about this upcoming book and I could wish no better writer for it than Dan Callahan. This is a man who knows film, knows it and loves it and writes about it marvelously. I don't normally advertise books I haven't read yet, but in this case? I'm going to take a chance and say that this one's going to be a great read.

Fun times ahead, guys! Now if I could just work up the energy to leave my nice, warm apartment but like Judy, I just feel too darn comfortable. Here's wishing a few lazy days in your direction.


  1. I could not have loved those Alternate Universe posters more! Especially Superman (with Sal Mineo has Jimmy Olsen), Rushmore and Terminator 2 (with Christopher Walken and Danny Bonaduce). Inspired! Thanks for sharing.

    I look forward to the Stanwyck bio. I think she's having something of a renaissance after decades of being forgotten by but movie buffs, never enjoying the Davis/Crawford kinda fame I think she always deserved. I wonder if it isn't born of cable stations rerunning The Big Valley ...

  2. The Gal Herself: Thanks for commenting. I couldn't resist linking to those posters; they were a lot of fun. I think the comparison to Davis and Crawford is pretty apt. Though I wonder what Stanwyck's fame today would be if her son had decided to cash in on the tell-all biography like Crawford and Davis' daughters did. Fortunately for her, he didn't.

  3. Rachel,

    In case you're interested (I dunno- are you?), you can read a sample of Stanwyck's bio, here.

    Although, somehow, I could never get very excited about Callahan's work (he has this habit of passing summary dismissals of movies which irritates me). Oh, well. But I agree with you that Stanwyck bios are desperately needed.

    Great to see you post again after such a long hiatus.

  4. Shamus: Thanks for the comment and the welcome-back. I really want to get this blog on a regular schedule so hopefully there won't be another hiatus for a good long while.

    I did read the excerpt. I like Callahan for his passion and his knowledge and for the most part, his great sympathy for actors. Even when I don't agree with him, he makes a good case. If nothing else, it looks like he's going to take a good long look at a lot of Stanywck films I have yet to see.

  5. Hi Rachel-

    Thanks so much for writing about my Stanwyck book on your site. I hope you like it, and I hope it gets more people watching and writing and thinking about her. I think she's the best or close to the best there ever was in her chosen profession, in her era, and she deserves far more coverage than she has received.

  6. Dan: I'm glad. I'm flattered that you dropped by to comment and naturally, I'm in complete agreement with your assessment of Stanwyck.

  7. Thanks for your kind comments and enthusiasm for "A Month of VERTIGO" - which is going fabulously. Two new contributors (both experts on the subject) have joined in (the "month" is now about a month-and-a-week): Dan Auiler, author of the brilliant VERTIGO: THE MAKING OF A HITCHCOCK CLASSIC, as well as the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock Geek himself, Joel Gunz.


  8. Thanks for the updates and congrats to a new CMBA member! You know I love your blog!

  9. The Lady Eve: It's my pleasure to advertise for "A Month of Vertigo." I'll be sorry to see it go, but I'm really enjoying the ride so far.

    FlickChick: The love is definitely mutual. :)