Talking Truffaut with Raquel from Out of the Past!

June 05, 2019



For the last few years, when my good friend Raquel has come into NYC in the spring for a work event we've been meeting up for dinner. It's become one of my favorite traditions to look forward to each year, and this time around we filmed a video for her youtube channel, too! I hope this also becomes a tradition because it was so much fun to record! We spent well over an hour chatting about my favorite director, François Truffaut (don't worry, Raquel managed to trim it down to just over half an hour!)

I feel compelled to acknowledge that I did make a few goofs with the facts, and there were so many times that my mind went completely blank on names or films that I know well when the cameras aren't rolling. I could list every Truffaut movie by heart and yet "A Gorgeous Girl Like Me" totally slipped my mind. And Charles Denning is Charles Denner. Alas! The point is, sometimes my enthusiasm and anxiousness overwhelms the part of my brain that's supposed to remember facts. As I say in the video, take it with a grain of salt. I absolutely adore the guy and his movies, but I'm just an absent-minded super fan, not an expert ;)

Anyway, this was just such an absolute treat and I think it's so fun that after 10 years of knowing each other through classic movie blogging (ten years?!?!) we got to film this! I can't wait to do the next one! :)

You can watch the video on Raquel's youtube channel here. And be sure to check out her classic film blog, Out of the Past, her sister site Quelle Movies, and if you're a fan of her work (which you definitely should be!) you can support her Ko-Fi right here.

The Classic Movie Tag!

May 24, 2019



Raquel from Out of the Past just posted a fun classic movie tag on her youtube channel (watch it here!) and I couldn't resist participating myself. Here we go!


1 - What's one classic movie that you recommend to people over and over and over again?

I wish that I had an answer to this that would surprise everyone, but it's Sunday in New York. I recommend it to everybody that I meet and I've been doing that for over ten years now. I remember before it was released on DVD officially I used to make copies of the dvd that I taped off TCM and mail them to my friends to make sure they got to see it. So far almost everyone I've recommended it to has loved it (with one exception that always sticks out in my mind, argh!) so I'm not going to stop anytime soon.

2 - What was the last classic film you saw and what were your thoughts about it?

The last classic film I saw was Claudelle Inglish (1961). I watched it for Chad Everett (who only has maybe 7 minutes of screen time) and the title role is played by Diane McBain, but Arthur Kennedy totally stole the picture in my opinion. He completely and utterly broke my heart. I didn't expect myself to get so wrapped up in the movie but by the end I found I was way more emotionally invested in it than I thought I'd be. And that's entirely because of Arthur Kennedy. What a performance.



3 - Name a classic movie genre you love and one you dislike.

One that I love would be '60s sex comedies. Even the worst of them are still completely enjoyable to me! And one that I dislike would be ... hmm... normally I would say westerns but as I wrote earlier this week, that has changed a bit. I'm going to go with Shakespeare adaptations. I actually enjoy Shakespeare and was obsessed with memorizing monologues when I was in school, but it's not my favorite thing to watch onscreen.

4 - Name a classic movie star with whom you share a birthday or a hometown.

I share a hometown with Paul Robeson! We were both born in Princeton, New Jersey.

5 - Give a shout out to a friend or family member who shares your love of classic movies.

I'll give a shout out to my mom and dad. My mom shares my love of frivolous '60s romps and old Disney movies, while my dad shares my love of foreign films. This week my mom and I traded favorite scenes from The Glass Bottom Boat and I had a conversation with my dad about the Truffaut vs. Godard approaches to whether or not art should be political. We also recently did a March Madness style bracket to narrow down our favorite character actors (if I remember correctly, Alastair Sim won across the board.)

6 - Name a classic movie star who makes your heart skip a beat or whom you admire greatly.

I'm going to take this as my cue to talk about Chad Everett again. I am so, so smitten. I just got a signed photo in the mail and placed it across from my bed so it's the first thing I see in the morning. I have a problem.

I only have one more movie of his from the 1960s left to watch (Johnny Tiger, which, depending on the legitimacy of the website from which I bought the DVD, is hopefully on its way to me now.) and then I'll be all done with that decade of his filmography. The '70s are tricky territory because of excessive sideburns, long hair, and so much polyester, so I might skip ahead a little bit and resume binging his career around 1981. I'm also working my way through Medical Center, and I have to say it might be one of my favorite discoveries that was spurred by a crush. Some episodes leave me grinning like an idiot, and then last night I actually had to grab tissues because tears were streaming down my face. It's a rollercoaster, that show! But it's just so well done. And Chad Everett is such a hunk. *Swoon*



7 - Describe one memorable experience watching a classic movie.

A couple years ago in February the heater broke in my house and it was freezing cold inside. La Piscine was showing at the Film Society in New York, and I took a train into the city to see it. The theater was nice and cozy, and the sizzling French summer was radiating off the screen. You could hear that low buzzzzz of insects and practically feel the sun on your skin and obviously Alain Delon, on the big screen, shirtless, and tanned, and ugh. It was just so nice. I think it was also my first time seeing a classic movie alone and I loved it so much. The solo movie-going experience is so underrated.

8 - Describe the craziest thing you've done because of your passion for classic movies.

Most of my really crazy things were done when I was a teenager, like wearing black mourning clothes to middle school on the anniversary of Audrey Hepburn's passing, or making my friends take photos of me with my arms around a nonexistent boyfriend at our junior prom so that I could then "photoshop" Frank Sinatra into the photo with me using MS paint. This was before digital cameras so the whole process was way more time consuming (and thus crazy) than it would be today, lol.

Lately I guess the craziest thing would be going to the TCM Film Festival multiple times. I don't like Hollywood, I'm socially inept, and I honestly can't afford to go as often as I do, but almost every year since 2014 I find myself on a plane bound for California every spring! I'm already planning out outfits and saving up airline miles for 2020.

9 - What's something classic movie related that you love to collect?

I collect movie tie-in books! I have a little rotating paperback shelf for them so that they're always on display, and it's my favorite collection (not just classic movie related collection) that I own! The only downside is that I haven't read many of them because I'm scared to crack the spines and possibly separate the covers since so many of them are in delicate condition.



10 - What's your favorite way to share your passion for classic movies?

I love talking to other classic movie fans on twitter and following accounts that are as obsessed with their favorite stars as I am with mine. My absolute favorite people on the site are the ones who are passionate about specific movies or stars and try to share that passion with the movie community. I think it can be a thankless job (especially if the star you're obsessed with isn't as popular as Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant, say) but I appreciate and enjoy those accounts so much. I just love being able to talk movies there. It's the only place online that I really feel comfortable socializing, and I think it has to be because the classic movie community is so kind and welcoming and supportive. I'm sure most people there think of me as an acquaintance, if they think of me at all, but I think of so many of them as good friends and really cherish their presence in my life.

turns out, I like some westerns

May 21, 2019



Last month I was sick in bed with a pretty bad case of bronchitis, and I was binging my way through fun frivolous '60s sex comedies (way more healing than chicken soup, if you ask me!) When I got to Made in Paris, a 1966 Ann-Margret vehicle co-starring Chad Everett, I made a sharp detour away from "any '60s comedy" and veered towards "exclusively Chad Everett." From that day on I've been consuming everything he made, and I do mean EVERYTHING.

Here I am, approximately a month later, the proud owner of Return of the Gunfighter (1967) and the complete series of The Dakotas. Did I watch Return of the Gunfighter with a grimace on my face, painfully plodding my way through a western for the sake of eye candy? No! I enjoyed it, and then I watched it TWICE. And was I dragged kicking and screaming into a screening of The Last Challenge (1967), Everett's western flick with Glenn Ford? Heck, no! I loved every minute of it and found myself on the edge of my seat by the nail-biting finale. I know somebody is going to supply a pretty well-deserved "I told you so!" but if I had realized how well-populated westerns are with beautiful, tanned, blue jean-bedecked actors I probably would have caved in to this genre a whole lot sooner.

Oh, and did I mention I also liked a war film? Yup, you heard it here first folks! I watched and was thoroughly entertained by First to Fight (1967) a movie about a WWII war hero (Everett) who experiences PTSD when he returns to the Pacific to fight again after spending time away from battle to sell war bonds on the home front. I definitely enjoyed the home front scenes more than the battle scenes, but darn it, I really liked this whole movie.



Anyway. I guess my whole point is that I think Chad Everett is the dreamboatiest dreamboat to ever dreamboat and I am having a super hard time thinking about anything else these days. If you need more evidence of his handsomeness, I made a ton of gifs on my giphy right here that you can swoon over, too! :)

An Ode to Rachel Devery

March 28, 2019



I was heartbroken to learn today that June Harding has passed away. Harding played the iconic Rachel Devery in The Trouble with Angels, a movie that has now been seen and cherished by at least three generations of young girls. My own mom saw it in theaters when she was 10 and shared it with me when I was even younger than that. I'm a childless 32 now, but I'm sure that countless women my age who grew up loving this film are now sharing it with their daughters, as well.

June Harding played Rachel with a tenderness, sweetness, and authenticity that perfectly complimented Hayley Mills' scheming Mary Clancy. Even though their plans were always hatched by Mary and willingly accompanied by Rachel, Rachel wasn't merely a stooge or a blind accomplice. She was a best friend doing what best friends do! She enjoyed being a part of a team, excited about whatever new adventure Mary might come up with. She was Mary's equal, her other half. And when Mary decides to join the order, Rachel's devastation doesn't just stem from feelings of betrayal. It's the sudden loss of that team, the end of their escapades as a devious duo.

June Harding poured so much into Rachel. It isn't just the physical comedy and displays of ineptitude -- her misadventures in sewing, her bungled sign of the cross, her clumsiness in the art studio, her messy charcoal work, her frenzied jump into the swimming pool -- but the way that she imbued meaningful scenes with layers of emotion. When she says "I'll miss you" after Mary has already walked away from her, or when she looks stabbed with hurt over Mary's announcement at graduation.

And June Harding's ability to convey unbridled joy was unmatched. Her happiness when she sees Mary after summer break, or when she decides to forgive Mary is absolutely infectious. Not every performer can make you feel the emotions that they're displaying onscreen -- weep when they're sad and grin when they're smiling, but June Harding had that in spades.

I hope that she knew what she meant to us. I hope she knew that when I reminisced about my childhood friends, I usually counted Mary and Rachel among them.

My Sunday in New York collection

February 27, 2019



I've been collecting Sunday in New York memorabilia for about ten years now and I thought it would be fun to round up everything and share it here!

Sunday in New York is my favorite movie. It's comfort food, the kind of movie I watch when I want to feel like I'm home. It makes me laugh more every time I watch it and even though I know other people love it too, my devotion makes me feel a certain level of ownership. It's MY movie. I just adore it. And I love surrounding myself with things that remind me of it.



If you look at the drawer units behind me in one of my outfit posts on my style blog here, and then look at those drawers in this photo it will give you some idea of the size of this poster. IT IS BIG. It's so big that I don't actually have room for it right now on my walls, but it was such a unique find that I couldn't pass it up for "someday" when I have a bigger living area.



This poster is slightly obscured in the photo by my hanging planter but it's a standard one sheet. I've moved this one around a lot but it's one of the only posters I own that has been on constant display since I got it in 2013.



This is a custom marquee art print where I added the Sunday in New York marquee details. I think it's such a fun way to pay homage to one of my favorite movies!



This still was a gift from my parents last Christmas. I had sent my mom a link to the ebay listing and then on Christmas morning it wasn't under the tree. Sometimes after Christmas I treat myself to a few things I might have wanted but didn't receive as a present (does anyone else do this?) and when I went on ebay, I found this was sold out! Boo! I tried to find another copy but nobody had one listed anymore.

Then about a week after Christmas a package came in the mail from Sweden and there it was! My mom had totally forgotten that she had ordered it, and it arrived late! I'm so happy I managed to get this one, I just think it's so beautiful!



I got this still at Larry Edmunds' book store in Hollywood at my first TCM Film Festival (where I saw Sunday in New York with Robert Osborne introducing it!) so this one is really special to me. I took the photo at a terrible angle so my xoxo frame is blocking the corner, but Rod Taylor is wearing one sneaker and one shoe, which is one of the funniest gags in the movie. I love that it's featured in this still!



This is my 45 record of the Sunday in New York score. I love this but I feel like without context Cliff Robertson looks like he's creeping in the doorway about to kill them, lol!



I've been searching for German versions of the Sunday in New York posters for ages (this one in particular) because they are so bold and I love the green title text with the heart over the "i" in "in"! It's one of my all-time favorite Sunday in New York finds. I hope someday the ebay gods will look kindly on me and let me find the matching one, as well.



For Christmas, Nikki got me this Yugoslavian version of the poster! I had never even seen this version before. I love how they added the cartoon drawings in the top corners, with the rowboat scene in the left corner and a very happy New York City on the right. For a while I've been thinking about getting a Sunday in New York themed tattoo at some point, and I think that happy city might be the perfect subtle nod to my favorite film.



I have a bunch of 8x10 stills running along the top of my ceiling and of course I have several from Sunday in New York! This one definitely captures Jane Fonda's awkwardness when Robert Culp bursts in to propose to her!



Two more stills from my collection. On the left, Jane Fonda is realizing her brother broke his "sacred honor" and on the right Cliff Robertson is dashing through the airport (actually LAX) to find Jo Morrow.



Another still featuring the shoe fiasco! Just looking at these stills brings a smile to my face since they are such perfect snapshots of the humor from the film.



In addition to the 45, I also have a 33 album of the film score from Sunday in New York. Since the movie sometimes feels like a feature length ad for Peter Nero I think it's especially appropriate that I have every version of the soundtrack possible, haha!



This is a press book for the movie. I need to actually devote a full post to this one with scans from the book, since there are a lot of press snippets, interviews, advertising suggestions, and small images of the American poster releases for the movie!



I have a binder filled with my extra stills that don't fit on my walls and these are the ones from my Sunday in New York collection. One of these days I would love to hang all of my stills grouped together, when I have more room.



These are contact sheets from a Sunday in New York photo shoot with Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor. I scanned all of them so you can view larger versions of all of the pictures on my movie scan blog here.



This was the first piece of Sunday in New York memorabilia that I ever purchased! It's a lobby card that I bought back in 2009 for like $5 and I can remember checking the mailbox anxiously every day waiting for it to arrive. It's one of my favorite scenes in the movie and I love Jane Fonda's expression! And I love the "suitable only for adults" sticker that a movie theater had placed on this at some point. It almost feels like real proof that this was really hanging in a theater where the movie originally played.



I think this might be my most unique find, an ad for TWA airlines that subtly plugs Sunday in New York. I think it's so fun since Cliff Robertson plays an airline pilot in the movie! The caption reads "Enjoy fine films such as the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Seven Arts production, 'Sunday in New York,' starring Cliff Robertson, Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor."



And finally, this button set that I made myself! I love making things that reflect my own super particular interests and I just had to have a Sunday in New York button set. Obviously I included the sneaker/shoe scene and some of my favorite quotes (the "two heads" one gets me every time!)

The Truffaut Happiness Challenge

February 02, 2019



"Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die." 

I've been thinking a lot lately about happiness. For most of my twenties, and now the first couple years of my thirties, I haven't been all that happy. Last year my therapist suggested that I read The Happiness Project, a book where a woman sets out to devote a year of her life to improving her outlook on life. The author is an incredibly privileged rich woman with a devoted husband and adorable kids, sooo, not super relatable. She had a few good suggestions (the ones that resonated the most with me were building collections, and making time for activities that you enjoy) but most of the book was focused on forming and maintaining human connections. And that's honestly just not for me. Whether it's in-person relationships or social media, I just feel out of place with people. Human relations fill me with self-doubt and confusion. People that I think of as friends usually think of me as merely an acquaintance. I constantly feel as if I am burdening others with my existence if I try to stay in touch. And whenever my brain tricks me into thinking I'm part of a tribe, I suddenly feel like an outsider. This is not a breeding ground for my happiness, it's part of the reason I'm unhappy to begin with. Personally, I need to look elsewhere.

Perhaps one of the only humans that I feel a real honest to goodness connection with has been dead for some thirty years. Through watching his movies, reading his writing, studying his biographies, I feel like I found a kindred spirit in François Truffaut. And so it should come as no surprise to me that the answer to happiness should be found in a paper he wrote in 1949. "Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die." He was an angsty 17 year old when he wrote this, although I very much doubt that he'd have rebuked the ritual at any point in his too-short life.

Last month I decided that I'd embark upon a Truffaut Challenge. Three films a day and three books a week seemed a little too voluminous for my work schedule, but I decided that at least one film a day and two books a week was much more achievable. And, of course, plenty of records of great music.

I'm a little over a week into my challenge so far and I can already say that it has helped me immensely. I feel so much more contended losing myself in works of literature and film. It's also had the unintended consequence of limiting my time on social media, thereby increasing my happiness even more. And I'm finding personal fulfillment in meeting the challenge -- each day there is a goal to accomplish, and it doesn't involve work or other people. As an illustrator, I am very hard on myself when it comes to my work and I suffer from crippling feelings of inadequacy. But by spending a hefty hunk of my day reading and watching movies, I'm happily appreciating the contributions of talented filmmakers and writers, rather than wading in a puddle of creative uncertainty.

I've also realized that three films a day and three books a week is actually more realistic than I initially thought. I devote at least a couple hours each day to listening to podcasts while I work at the computer - that could easily be switched out for movies (most likely re-watches since I prefer to give my complete and total attention to movies I'm seeing for the first time.) And surprisingly I finished 3 1/2 books this week after all. I also branched out when it came to "great music." Normally I would just play the same old itunes playlist that I have been listening to for the last few years, comprised mostly of songs by The Killers. But I branched out a little in two different directions -- I went on spotify and listened to some music that I hadn't heard before (and discovered I really like Florence and The Machine.) I also went back on itunes and played my 2011 and 2012 playlists, rediscovering some music that I hadn't listened to in 7 or 8 years.

Next week would have been Truffaut's 87th birthday, and I'm thinking I need to up the ante a bit and make this a Truffaut themed Truffaut challenge. Next week my daily movies will be made by Truffaut, and my books written by or about him. This routine has already improved my mood more than any self help book or pitiful attempts at human connection ever could -- I can only imagine how happy I'll be at the end of next week, after spending it enveloped in works produced by one of my favorite people.