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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Hi everyone! I just wanted to write a more personal blog sharing some of my recent adventures in classic film that didn't take place on the silver screen. :D

What I got for Christmas. Since my lovely family knows me so well I got a bunch of Classic Hollywood things for Christmas, so I thought I'd share! By the way, this is in no way bragging. What I was most thankful for on Christmas was to my have my family with me. (It's a cliche but true). Anyways, here's what I got!

  • [BOOK] Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado
  • [BOOK] Frankly, My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited
  • [BOOK] Ingrid: A Personal Biography
  • [BOOK] A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson
  • [BOOK] Laughs, Luck, and Lucy
  • [BOX SET] Tracy & Hepburn: The Definitive Collection
  • [MOVIE] The Valley of Decision (1945)
  • [MOVIE] Julia Misbehaves (1948)
  • [MOVIE] Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (1993)
The Tracy & Hepburn boxset, which was in my holiday gift guide, is wonderful. It was at a really really good price on Amazon - $17!!! - and it contains all nine films, plus a tenth disc: The Spencer Tracy Legacy, narrated by Kate. I was so excited when I saw it. I just adore it. It's so beautifully put together and I really recommend it.

I'm currently reading the Greer Garson biography, I'm not all that far in but I think it's going to be good and I'm excited to learn more about Greer. I was thrilled when I saw Julia Misbehaves of course, because I've been wanting to see it since - well, since I became Greer obsessed (which was maybe a little over a month ago), BUT I'm quite an impatient person. Anyways, I saw it the other day and I just LOVED it. I plan to do a review for it soon. I haven't seen The Valley of Decision yet but I want to before my break finishes.

Then there's Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie - at three and a half hours long, it's just about as long as Gone with the Wind, which makes me really happy! The longer the better! I started it the other night and haven't finished it yet but so far I just love it. It's turning out to be all I expected and then some. I can't wait to watch the rest of it!

I also got one more vintage thing for Christmas, and honestly it's probably one of the best presents I've ever received. It's:

A vintage telephone! The candlestick type, like in His Girl Friday! I love it to pieces!! It even has a vintage ringing sound, and it clashes with the more modern shrill of the other phones in the house, but whatever. Listening to it is music to my ears - I actually came this close to recording its ring for you all but I was too lazy. ;) Anyhow, I'm one of those rare teenagers who doesn't talk on the phone all that much but now I'm using every possible excuse to make a call! Even if it's just to order Chinese takeout I'm getting a kick out of my vintage phone! :)

On Christmas Day, we had dinner at my aunt and uncle's house, and Classic Hollywood filtered into the conversation several times. My uncle is a HUGE Jimmy Stewart fan and he has his autograph. He got it when he met Jimmy in the 90's, it was at a local signing at a bookstore. My uncle had to wait in line for a really long time and when he got up there he told Jimmy how he was his favorite actor of all time. Jimmy was pretty old by then, and all he could manage really was a friendly grunt to my uncle, but it made my uncle happy anyway. He claims that he didn't grunt at anyone else and so it was a big deal. ;) Can you imagine, getting to meet a Classic Hollywood star in person? Well, a girl can dream.

The Artist (2011). It was a long time coming, but I finally was able to see The Artist (2011). I went with my dad and I was the only young person in the theater but that was okay.

I have been anticipating seeing this film since I first heard about it back in September. And it was worth the wait - this didn't disappoint! It was one of the best moderns I've seen in a long while. Elements of this film reminded me a lot of Singin in the Rain (1952) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), and the final dance sequence seemed to be a Fred and Ginger homage. But it was original enough to still be good and I had a lot of fun watching it. It was even filmed in the vintage 35 mm, and the print even contained the good old burst of double black dots, signaling the time to change the reel.

The actors were very good, too. Something I often find when watching moderns that take place in the 20's, 30's, 40's, etc. is that the actors simply don't appear to look vintage, more like modern actors playing dress up. This film, however, definitely did not have that problem. The main actor looked a lot like Gene Kelly and though the actress was not as spot on, she did make a convincing flapper type.

Speaking of the actors, both of them did a good job working without sound. My favorite character, actor, whatever of all though was definitely Uggie, the faithful dog. He's nominated for some canine awards I believe, and he should carry them all. He was wonderful.

So the bottom line is I really suggest you go out and watch this film.

I Love Lucy exhibit [and then some]. This was a local tribute to the "American dream" show, and it's been up since August but I didn't get to see it until Wednesday! I decided to take my camera so I could take photos, but I really pulled a Lucy: I put the battery in for charging and grabbed my camera, but it wasn't until I got there that I realize I'd forgotten to put the battery back. >.< Yeah, I know, quite smart. Anyway, I had to take photos with my cell phone camera then, so I'm sorry if they're blurry. Also, I didn't take too many photos because no one else was and I didn't want to look weird. :D

It was small, actually, and it wasn't exactly filled with novelties but I enjoyed it anyway. It was mostly a lot of pictures (that I'd seen before - "That's amateur stuff," I scoffed), newspaper articles from the time, and one or two script pages. It was nicely put together though and it's always fun to see a tribute to the classics.

There was a small module displaying clips from different episodes, and most people were crowded around there. It was fun to listen to bits and pieces of their conversations and correct them in my head: for example, one person wondered aloud if "enceinte" (in reference to the title of the episode in which Lucy tells Ricky she's pregnant), was the Spanish word for pregnant. It's actually the French word.  Another person knowingly rattled off that Lucy had children at the age of 40 and 42, which was "quite unpopular at the time," but technically, that's wrong, too. Lucy was 39 when she had Lucie and 41 upon having Desi, Jr. But, hey, not everyone can be a Lucy fanatic. :)

Here's the photos I took:

A display of articles about the show, circa 1957. 

One of the script pages that was framed and displayed. This one is from "The Great Train Robbery", 1956.

Since this exhibit was so small and we had time to kill afterwards, we checked out this thing called "The Bob Hope Gallery." This was bigger and a lot of fun. There was a sign asking for no photography so I took no pictures, but it was basically many photos, articles, newsreels, etc. about Bob poking fun at politics, being a Yankee during World War 2, and the like. Also included in these were other celebrities like Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Robert Taylor, and many more. It was great fun and I enjoyed seeing the looks on adults' faces as I pointed out Claudette Colbert in a photo of a bond tour to my dad. There was also some things about McCarthyism.

We also stepped by "The Gershwin Gallery," which contained George Gershwin's piano and typewriter among other things. There was a lot of Fred and Ginger in this exhibit, mostly "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" from Swing Time (1936), which is one of my favorite Fred and Ginger sequences.

It was fun to see all of this, I just love seeing Classic Hollywood in public places!

Well, that's what I've been doing over my break. And since today is New Year's Eve, this is my last official post of 2011. I thought of doing a end of the year wrap up post like many other blogs are doing, but the thing is, I've technically been only blogging for half a year, this blog started in July, and therefore... maybe we can try an end of the year wrap up thing next year! As for now: A big thank you to all of you that have read this blog this year. I appreciate it so much and I'll see you all in 2012! Keep reading and have a Happy New Year's!

I'll leave you with the traditional New Year's song, sure to be found in 95% of New Year's scenes in movies, old or new -

NOTE: Tomorrow being New Year's Day, I'm using that as a valid excuse to skip the Sunday Movie Review. It'll be be back the following Sunday, January the 8th, with the first review of 2012!


Carmen said...

Wow Rianna. How lucky you are!!!!!!! Your gifts are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! The telephone... speechless. Wow. And how great that you got to see The Artist. I've been waiting for it to arrive here. I think it will be out next week. I'm dying to see it!
Happy New Year!!

Sophie said...

You got some really lovely presents! I also received Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado and am enjoying it so far. The Greer Garson biog. is wonderful, let us know what you think of it when you finish! :) It's been a few years since I read the Ingrid biog., but I remember I really enjoyed it. I'm so glad you like Julia Misbehaves - it's one of my favourite Greer films. I'm sure you'll love TVoD too! And, finally, alksdhj;aslkdjasd THE TELEPHONE! You're so lucky! :D

Happy New Year! :)

Rianna said...

Carmen: Aw thanks, I got some pretty nice things :) The telephone is one of my favorite things. I think you'll like the Artist a lot, let me know what you think of it if you see it! Happy New Year! :)

Sophie: Thank you! I haven't started in on the Carole biography yet but it looks good. And yes, I plan to do a review of the Greer biography once I'm finished. :) I read one Ingrid biography over the summer but I wasn't really satisfied with it so hopefully this one will be better. Julia Misbehaves was awesome, I wish Greer had done more screwball comedy, and I can't wait to watch The Valley of Decision. Greer and Gregory Peck = swoon! And yeah, I just love the telephone... Happy New Year! :)

Irene Palfy said...

haha.. I also received INGRID : A PERSONAL in December.. ;")

Rianna said...

Oh, neat! I read Donald Spoto's book on her last summer and I wasn't crazy about it. I hope this is better. I haven't started reading it yet but here's to hoping we both enjoy it :)

Martin Turnbull said...

I don't know which I love more: (a) the fact that you got a candlestick phone, (b) the fact that you love a candlestick phone, (c) that someone actually thought to buy you a candlestick phone, or (d) your candlestick phone actually works. Either way, I'm jealous!

Rianna said...

Yes, my parents are used to my obsession with anything vintage by now! I absolutely love that it actually works. After all, there's only a handful of us that would have preferred a candlestick phone to an iPhone!

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