Monday, November 21, 2011

GIVING THANKS: Movie-wise, that is

Since it is Thanksgiving, and it is a time to reflect on all of the things we are thankful for, I figured I'd compartmentalize my thankfulness categories and stick to all things movie here. I'll leave other things (like the start of Daylight Savings Time now being pushed back a few weeks) to my diary. And, since 10 is such a nice number, I'll limit my movie-wise thanks to that nice round number. In no particular order, the 10 Movie-wise things I give thanks for are:

1. Film Preservation
It's true - nitrate won't wait. And I am thankful to those wonderful pioneers and film-lovers who stepped in and saved our treasures  - or have worked to restore them to their original glory - before it is to late. Imagine in not being able to see Chaplin, Keaton, Garbo, Pickford, Valentino and so many more. 
And here's hoping that somewhere out there even more "thought to be lost" treasures will be found and rehabilitated. 

2. Turner Classic Movies
Ah, who does not LOVE TCM? For those of us who depended on late-night showings on local TV stations and bad VCR copies of obscure and no-so-obscure films, TCM has been a blessing. Sometimes, I find myself getting a little miffed at them because their programming sometimes dictates the conversation among film fans, but that is really my problem and not theirs. Their library is amazing, their programming rich and evolving and their outreach to the classic film community is important and exciting. And still no commercials. 
Best of all: Robert Osborne will be back on December 1st!

3. Blogging and Facebook connections
As one who did not easily embrace blogging or Facebook, I must say that both venues offer a tremendous way for classic film fans to connect. I mean, if you like baseball, there are probably tons of people with whom to share that passion. However, if you like Buster Keaton, most of us don't know too many people that care. 
So, how wonderful to connect on both the blog level with writers who not only enlighten but encourage, and on the Facebook level with folks who are longing to share their love of cinema. Truly, it is like finding an oasis after almost dying of thirst. Thank you to all of my blogging and Facebook friends who allow me to share this journey though the wonderful world of classic film.

4. Billy Wilder
Just going on the record to say that I am so grateful for the man behind (among others) "Sunset Boulevard," "The Major and the Minor," "The Apartment," "Double Indemnity," "The Lost Weekend," "Stalag 17," "Sabrina," "Love in the Afternoon," "The Fortune Cookie," "Witness for the Prosecution," "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like it Hot." 
That's the way the movie crumbles - Wilder-wise
Is there any more to say - gratitude-wise - other than "thank you, Billy"?

5. Alfred Hitchcock
Another big thank-you owed to Sir Alfred. Without him there would be no "Rear Window," no "Vertigo," no "Notorious." Not to mention no "Spellbound," no "Suspicion," no "North By Northwest," no "Rebecca," no "Rope," no "Shadow of a Doubt," no "Strangers on a Train," and no "The Birds," or "Psycho." 
No endless hours of beautiful entertainment and mystery, no fun looking for those fabulous cameos and no endless references to eating a leg of lamb as part of the perfect murder. Can you feel the love?

6. Kenneth Brownlow
Does this man look like a hero to you? Well, if a hero is considered to be one who bravely goes where none other has dared and who has made life better for doing so, then Kevin Brownlow certainly qualifies in my book. There is so much to say about this great man!

My first encounter with the great Mr. Brownlow was when, at about age 16, I found a book entitled "The Parade's Gone By" in a reduced bin at a local book store. I scooped it up and became hooked on all thinks silent (film-wise, that is!). However, it was Brownlow's collaboration with the late David Gill on the landmark 13-part series "Hollywood," was well as "Unknown Chaplin," "Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow," and "Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius," that makes me follow his every move. His recent Academy Award was much deserved. All I can say is "thank you, Kevin Brownlow, thank you, from the bottom of my movie-loving heart." Oh, and when will "Hollywood" be available on DVD? Please, please, please resolve all of those nasty copyright issues or whatever holds this up. We need it!

7. Million Dollar Movie
Without WOR Channel 9 TV's "Million Dollar Movie," I would have missed such classics as "King Kong," "Godzilla," "Mighty Joe Young" and "Mothra." Before TCM, this was all we had, folks! But, if the caliber of film was not always the highest, it provided me with something that the classic film nut needs - repetition! "Million Dollar Movie" played the same film every night. So, if you loved it, you could watch it all week. And you know, if you love a movie, you can watch it countless times. Don't ask me how many times I sat on the living room floor and watched Abbott and Costello's "The Time of Their Lives."
Every night after dinner several times a year
An added bonus was the gorgeous theme song. The first time I saw "Gone With the Wind," my first comment upon hearing the overture was "that's the theme from Million Dollar Movie!" I've grown since then!

8. eBay

The marketplace to the world! Before eBay, I only dreamed of being able to get my hands on either memorabilia or just artifacts from my past that had special movie-meaning. A pre-eBay trip to California necessitated a stop at several shops to pay outrageous prices for some vintage photos and books.
eBay has allowed me to indulge my need for Hayley Mills paper dolls, various vintage movie magazines featuring my favorite stars, all things Edna Purviance, a few treasured Louise Brooks, Valentino and Pola Negri photos and a score of other photos and postcards from around the world featuring my Hollywood favorites. All at prices I am willing to pay.

9. The DVR

It is simply the best invention for movie lovers! DVR plus TCM = Contentment.

10. Cary Grant
I am always grateful to Cary Grant every day of the year - just because he's Cary Grant. You know I always find a way to worm Mr. G into my favorite things whenever possible! And what's not to be grateful for? That face, that voice, those films, that charm!
Cary and I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings! How lucky are we that he likes the dark meat and I like the light?


Freder said...

That's a nifty list. And yes, TCM is making we wish that I had gone with the DVR option. I didn't -- and most of the movies I want to see on TCM seem to run in the middle of the night! Hrrrrr. . . PS, the vacation seems to have benefitted Osborne; he's looking in better health than he did when he left.

Diane said...

And I would like to add #11
Thank you to Flick Chick for all the wonderful and informative posts over the last year.
You are the best...

FlickChick said...

@ Freder - like it or not, TCM & the DVR go together like peaches & cream!

FlickChick said...

@ Diane - aw, shucks...

DorianTB said...

Heavenly days, FlickChick, how did you manage to nail virtually all the movie-related things I like in one blog post? :-) Seriously, you were pretty much spot-on with all my likes, especially Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Robert Osborne (who really is looking good these days, bless him), and Louise Brooks. Lovely list, my friend; you have impeccable taste! May you and yours have a Happy and Heartfelt Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season all around!

whistlingypsy said...

A truly original idea for a post; you have made an inspired link between Thanksgiving and films. I am also grateful to Kevin Brownlow, David Gill, the National Film Preservation Foundation and the unnamed individuals who have kept silent films in the popular consciousness for over a quarter of a century. I also appreciate the easy access to classic films on TCM, since the local venues that once screened these gems have shifted the focus to “art films”. I don’t think I could better express my admiration for the trio of amazing men you mentioned: Wilder, Hitchcock and Grant each embody cinematic joy. Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Thanksgiving.

FlickChick said...

Why thank you, Dorian - I am so pleased you liked it!

FlickChick said...

@ Whistling Gypsy - same to you and thank you so much for the kind words.

The Lady Eve said...

FlickChick - Are you and I on the same wavelength or what!?! No need for me to make a list, you seem to have done it for preservation, TCM, blogging, Wilder, Hitch, Brownlow - and the man I may love most, Cary Grant. Wow. I might list Lubitsch instead of Wilder (who was his protege and as such remains on the list by proxy) and instead of EBay...minor quibbles. Great list, FC - and Happy Thanksgiving!

FlickChick said...

Lady Eve - Amazon is definitely lurking in the wings (in fact, should we include on-line shopping in general? Well, maybe that's another whole topic!). I thank you for sharing your wonderful movie insights and posts. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Page said...

After reading this fabulous post I feel just awful for contributing Judy Garland with a turkey! Ha Ha

Where to start? I don't think anyone will be surprised if I say Here, Here to Cary Grant! As I was reading I was saying to myself, "I would have Cary on my list" and here he is.

I adore the DVR! I have gotten so much of my life back with skipping hours of commercials and FF things.

Thank Goodness for TCM now that AMC has gone off the deep end. Knowing that Robert Osborne will be back soon is another good thing.

This was a very clever way to give thanks going into the holiday. I couldn't agree more with your selections.

Happy Thanksgiving and I to must say that getting to know bloggers like yourself is another reason to be thankful this holiday season.
We really do have a great bunch!

Page said...

OH, Shoot! I forgot to mention the biggie. Film preservation. Without it so many treasures would be lost or beyond repair.
Every year we are given new films that we assumed were forever lost.

I'm also thankful for Amazon and Kindle books. It's given me an easy way to get into reading again and interested in books on old Hollywood now that I can actually see the font. (My apologies to all of the books on my shelves that will continue to get ignored)

FlickChick said...

Page: here here to the Kindle and to Amazon! Agreed that the blogger bunch are the best!

Simply Singing said...

I would have Cary Grant on any list all the time except the bad actor's list. I don't think he could be a bad actor even if he tried. Thanks to TCM and my DVR I have been able to watch more of his work and fall in love with him every time. My favorite has to be His Girl Friday. He is absolutely wonderful in that movie.

FlickChick said...

@ HailCesar: I thank the stars above for the miraculous Mr. Grant - my favorite movie star! I'm quite possessive of him, but understand his wide appeal, so I reluctantly share!

ClassicBecky said...

What a marvelous list. Memories, fun, favorite stars -- these really are great parts of our lives to be thankful for. I liked your comments about blogging and Facebook. I was the same as you, not thinking it was for me at all. Thank goodness I gave them a try. It's enriched my life, particularly, to have a blog and be in the CMBA. I have met so many good friends, not the least of which is you!

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Becky - knowing you and your blog has certainly enriched my life!

Gilby37 said...

Great article! I loved the Million Dollar Movie! The station that carried it my area was WWOR. Every Thanksgiving they showed King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young.

FlickChick said...

@ Gilby37 - me, too! I think they had a library of about 10 films, but I loved it!

Dawn said...

Wow! what a great idea for a list and I could not agree with you more. I'm really looking forward to seeing Robert Osborne's return to TCM. I agree with everyone else, he is looking great! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

FlickChick said...

Thank you and same to you, Dawn! Looking forward to Mr. Osborne's return!