Ten classic film actors and actresses from New Jersey

January 10, 2019



Jacqueline from Another Old Movie Blog came up with a fun game to name 10 actors or actresses from your home state (she hit the jackpot with Massachusetts, which is home to Bette Davis!) I thought it would be fun to play along, too! With the exception of the Chairman of the Board, the Pride of New Jersey, Mr. Frank Sinatra, I tried to do a little research and find New Jerseyans that I didn't know hailed from my own home state. So without further ado--

1. Frank Sinatra
2. Sterling Hayden
3. Eva Marie Saint
4. Sandra Dee
5. Connie Francis
6. John Forsythe
7. Joan Bennett 
8. Richard Conte
9. Norman Lloyd
10. Lee Van Cleef

The one I was most surprised about was Eva Marie Saint - for some reason I imagined she was from New England. She's just so refined (I honestly love my home state, but I wouldn't necessarily say we're all that refined here, ha!) Joan Bennett was New Jersey born, but her sister Constance was born in New York! And how fun that we in the Garden State can count the living cinematic icon Norman Lloyd among us, who was born 104 years ago in Jersey City!

And one more thing about Frank Sinatra, the main (and occasionally only) reason that I am so proud to call New Jersey home. I had the immense pleasure of taking a trip to Hoboken on the occasion of his centennial and it was one of the highlights of my life. I wrote about it a bit here.

If you want to join in the game, be sure to comment on Jacqueline's post right here!

The magic of A Little Princess (1995)

January 07, 2019



When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was A Little Princess. I saw it at the movies when it came out, I had a well-worn VHS copy, and my dad got me a giant subway-size poster to hang up in my bedroom. It's always been one of my dad's favorite movies as well, so when I saw that it was playing at The Film Society at Lincoln Center I got us tickets to see it on the big screen.

Going into this I KNEW I was going to cry-- I feel like anyone with half a heart would cry. But as someone who is very close with my dad, Sarah's relationship with her "Papa," and the agony that they go through when they're separated, stretches the walls of my heart, makes my throat tense up to stop an unavoidable weep. When she draws the chalk circle around her and Emily in the attic, when she sees her father but he doesn't recognize her, when he finally remembers, "Sarah!!!" Against my will, I get so emotional watching movies. I bite my cheek and dig my fingernails into my palm, trying so hard to fight it back. But movies are *meant* to move us. And while some films might tease us and trick us into feeling something with swells of music or a hearty serving of cheese, A Little Princess is so authentic, earnest, and pure that it actually felt wrong to try to throttle my tears.

I just felt so much, so intensely. This movie was such a big part of my childhood that I felt an overwhelming sadness that I'm not a kid anymore. I don't know if everyone experiences this or if it's a particular problem with me, but I loved being a child and sometimes I mourn for that part of my life being so finished, and so far removed from where I am now. I also felt the kind of nostaglia that makes you happy, remembering your own childhood with sweet fondness. When Sarah runs to spy on her toys to see if they've moved while she left the room, I instantly remembered doing that myself. I felt so much love for the connection that I have with my own dad, so much gratitude that I have a father who has always treated me like A Little Princess and ended up being one of my very best friends.

And I felt magic. I can't think of any other movie I have ever seen - Disney animations included - that conveyed the same sense of magic and enchantment and wonder. And it's such a tactile charm. When Sarah runs her fingers across the stitching on the pillow that Becky made for her, Sarah and Becky's quilted silk robes, the softness of the snow when Sarah spins around in the window, the plush slippers that Sarah leaves for Becky... these are beautiful, magical moments that feel real and tangible somehow. Even small directorial decisions like splitting moments up into three quick clips, or almost undetectable slowing of poignant scenes, adds to the feeling that the magic Sarah believes in is real and we're witnessing it for ourselves.

Seeing this at the movies again, 24 years after I saw it for the first time, was a moving and captivating experience, and one that made me realize I need to rekindle my childhood ability to see the magic in everyday life.

Alain Delon Russian biography photo scans

January 05, 2019



As promised, here are the scans from my Russian biography of Alain Delon! All of the captions were written in Russian so unless it's a recognizable image (like the above still from L'Eclisse with Monica Vitti) I'm not entirely sure about the context of the photos, but I'll provide dates, etc. whenever I can :)





With Romy Schneider



With Jacqueline Sassard, probably during filming of Faibles femmes (1959)



With Jane Fonda during filming of Joy House (1964)



With Romy Schneider during filming of La Piscine (1969)



With Romy Schneider during the stage production of Tis Pity She's a Whore (1960)







With Mireille Darc





With Romy Schneider during filming of La Piscine (1969)



Celebrating Christmas with wife Nathalie and son Anthony in 1966



With Virna Lisi during production of The Black Tulip (1964)





During filming of Rocco and His Brothers (1960)



With Romy Schneider.

Classic movie Christmas presents!

January 02, 2019



I got some pretty cool classic movie themed Christmas presents last month, and I thought I'd share some of my favorites! First of all there's this Russian book about Alain Delon (technically from my grandmom but I picked it out myself, ha!) The ebay listing led me to believe that it was going to be mostly photos, but it's a full-on Russian biography that I will never be able to read, and I love it anyway! It's just such a cool piece of Alain Delon memorabilia. And there are *some* photos, which I will be scanning and sharing here soon! :)



Nikki surprised me with this Yugoslavian Sunday in New York poster! My Christmas stockings were hanging in this spot and it's probably the first year ever that I was eager to take down Christmas decorations, because I was just so excited to hang this up!!



My parents got me this 8x10 Sunday in New York still for Christmas! Someday when I have more room I want to dedicate a whole gallery wall to displaying all of my Sunday in New York posters, lobby cards, and stills.



Also from my parents, three movie tie-in books to add to my collection! My mom said she spent hours perusing ebay for books that I didn't already own (oops -- I do have Once a Thief! But two copies is even better than one!!) I just adore that cover for Move Over, Darling!



Finally, I got the Criterion DVDs for my two favorite Ozu movies, Late Spring and Tokyo Story. I'm especially excited about all of the extra features including full-length commentaries on both films!!  Ozu is the biggest loss for me with Filmstruck gone. I didn't have any of his films in my collection, even though he's my second favorite director. I'm so glad I can watch these two whenever I please now, which will be often.

Ten years later

January 01, 2019



As of this month, my blog is officially ten years old. It's almost unfathomable that it's been a whole decade since I started blogging. I can remember sending my first few posts out into the void and being shocked when I started getting comments. Real interactions with other classic movie fans -- and most of them young, like I was. When I was in school I was bullied for liking "dead actors" and black and white movies. The only people who shared my love of Charles Boyer and Barbara Stanwyck or understood my references to Walter Brennan and Guy Kibbee were my parents. Now I spend each day chatting about film with my fellow classic film fans on twitter - most of whom I met through blogging. The last ten years have shown me a world of camaraderie and community that I didn't even know was possible. It's been amazing.

I started Silents and Talkies with the intention of sharing my artwork and writing about film. As the first year went by I learned pretty quickly that I'm not very good at reviewing movies. I'm not the best writer, and I am incapable of analytical thinking when it comes to film. My post frequency waned, and I didn't end up contributing nearly as much as I would have liked to this blog. For the last month or so, I kept thinking that I wanted to make it a New Years Resolution to really invest more time and effort here, but I kept coming back to those shortcomings that have kept me from updating more frequently in the past. I am not a great writer and I am not good at reviewing movies. My absolute favorite posts that I've ever written have been very personal, like this one about Now Voyager, and this one about Late Spring. So I decided that this blog needed a new identity altogether.

As of today, Silents and Talkies is now The Films in My Life - a personal journal of cinema. The name, not surprisingly, comes from my beloved François Truffaut, who used it as the title when he edited a collection of his favorite film reviews. I want this to be almost like a cross between a diary and a scrapbook -- expect entries about why certain films speak to me, scanned magazine clippings, photos of my collection of memorabilia, and, as usual, a decent amount of fangirling over Alain Delon and Dirk Bogarde.

Film is such an important part of my life. Even when I'm not watching it, it has influenced and shaped my life in such a way that I'm never apart from it. And I feel like this new direction I'm taking here is the best way for me to reflect upon and share my lifelong love affair with cinema. I hope you'll join me :)

The artwork in The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)

October 09, 2018



I love artwork in movies -- from the portrait of Laura to the Portrait of Dorian Gray -- and my absolute favorite movie art is from the movie The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck.

Bogart plays a married artist, Geoffrey Carroll, who begins imagining his wife as the Angel of Death after he meets and falls in love with Barbara Stanwyck's Sally. He feels compelled to paint the image that's seared into his brain, all the while making the deathly vision become a reality by slowly poisoning his wife so that he can marry Sally instead.



Here he is showing his daughter the portrait in progress, which illustrates her mother as the Angel of Death. The daughter is played by Ann Carter, who you might recognize (if you watch the movie, not just from the back of her head) as the little girl from The Curse of the Cat People. Here she is playing a very adult-like child, kind of like the kids from The Innocents, except I promise she isn't possessed. It adds just one more creepy layer to an already eerie movie.



Here is the finished portrait, displayed in the house that Geoffrey now shares with the second Mrs. Carroll, Sally (Stanwyck.) Standing next to him is Alexis Smith, playing a woman who would very much like to be the third Mrs. Carroll.



This is the first time that we see a portrait Geoffrey has painted of Sally. It has an ethereal quality, almost the complete opposite of the dark expressionist style he used to depict his dearly departed first wife as the Angel of Death.

But as he grows closer to Alexis Smith's Cecily, those dark visions come back again and we learn that he once again feels compelled to depict his wife as the Angel of Death. Only this time it's Barbara Stanwyck.



And here it is! My favorite classic movie painting of all time. According to the book The Dark Galleries (I highly recommend it if you're interested in classic film art. I only wish I had thought to write it first!) this piece was actually painted by Hollywood caricaturist, artist and set designer John Decker. If you liked the portrait of Joan Bennett in Scarlet Street, that was by Decker as well!

I can vividly remember the first time that I saw this movie, and the scene in which Barbara Stanwyck discovers this portrait gave me actual shivers. It is so sinister and unnerving, and the reflection of the rain in the window pouring down the painting is hair-raising. I love the outline of the skeleton peeking through the shorn clothing (I wonder, by the way, if this was partially the inspiration for Barbara Steele's look in Black Sunday?) and the few strands of hair that resemble wilted stems. I love how the painting almost looks as though it started out as a glamorous portrait and slowly, as Carroll's visions grew stronger, the portrait grew darker and darker, the scent of Duke of Wellington roses replaced with a reeking stench of decay.



Not many people seem to like this movie, which always puzzles me because I think it's such a gloriously macabre film with a peculiar vibe that is perfect for this time of year. Humphrey Bogart overacts a bit, but I LOVE IT. You can tell that he's having fun with the role (there's even a funny reference to Casablanca at one point!) but he is also so intense in some scenes that the sense of danger practically leaps off the screen. And of course Barbara Stanwyck is a delight. If you like her in Sorry, Wrong Number, this is a great one to check out next! Her "sick woman in danger" skills are on full display and she's excellent as always.

I love this painting so much that I printed out a copy and framed it as a Halloween decoration (but let's be real, I'm definitely leaving this up all year now.) If you want to print one too, I uploaded the image right here.