Just the other day I was having a conversation with my mom about our favorite Bette Davis films and while flipping through the channels, we stopped by our favorite, TCM, and they showed a preview of Jezebel. I had quickly forgotten which day it was supposed to air, but as I sat down this morning to write, I realized today was a Bette Davis marathon on TCM; I’m not going anywhere for hours.
Jezebel is one of my favorite Bette Davis films. I love it for many reasons (the acting, the plot, the set design,) but my favorite aspect of the film are the magnificent gowns that Bette Davis wore. She had several gowns that would cause any bride-to-be to have envy, and the picture at the top (and to the right) of this post happens to be my favorite gown from the film.
It’s such an elegant gown that exudes class and subtle sex appeal. The gown doesn’t need a plunging neckline or a massive amount of cleavage (which wasn’t a trend back then) to set the tone.
So how is the tone set in many of her classic films? The big eyes and gaze of Bette Davis could show sexual desire, sadness, happiness, fear, and a myriad of emotions in between. She didn’t need to try too hard or have thousands of lines (even though she did,) but all she had to do was gaze in one direction and you knew she was madly in love or hated the ground her suitor walked on. It could go either way.
You’ve probably, well hopefully, have heard the phrase “Bette Davis eyes.” Yes, it’s a classic song by Kim Carnes, but it also set the pace for the true meaning of acting with your eyes. Bette Davis had distinctive eyes that conveyed many emotions, and a lot of her films featured close-up scenes that allowed you to dive into her eyes and read her mind…
In most of her films she played the character you loved to hate or hated to love. Yet, once you begin one of her films, you have to watch the entire plot unfold and see what happens. And if anything, if you don’t watch it for the intricate story and her deep eyes, then watch it for the wonderful fashions.
I highly recommend if you have TCM that you enjoy the Bette Davis marathon today. And if you haven’t seen one of her films, then go browse YouTube or Netflix and get lost in Bette Davis’ eyes…
Whew, it feels so good to finally take a moment to myself and write on my blog. I know its only been a few days since I’ve written a post, but my soul can’t go too long before it begins craving a desire to express itself. Normally if I don’t write, then I would paint or draw, but everything is packed up since I’m moving next week.
So, in the midst of school work, writing resumes (my paid freelance gig), and mentally preparing myself to move yet again, I’ve been passing my time sipping on freshly brewed coffee, watching classic films, and reading some good cozy books(thank you Amazon.) Oh, and aside from romantic films, I found myself watching all three Lord of the Rings films in consecutive order; felt like having my own LOTR marathon.
LOTR is of course far from being romantic, but it was a nice break from my recent TCM obsession. Perhaps because I’m a single girl in my twenties, or maybe it’s because every now and then I’m a sucker for romance, but I just really love a girly moment drinking coffee, cuddling up on my bed, and watching Clark Gable fall in love with a random stranger.
If you haven’t watched a film starring Clark Gable, then boy I must say you are missing out! I’m a huge Gable fan and I stayed up till 2am last night watching the classic film Test Pilot starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Lionel Barrymore. The leading lady in that film isn’t one of my favorites (I love Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Lauren Bacall) but she did a pretty good job falling in love with Gable in one day and marrying him. Gable has that effect on women.He’s sort of a classic heart throb that I throw into my categorization of all the 1940s romantic movie leading men; the list includes Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and Errol Flynn.
Now that is just a small list of the leading men I personally like, but there are of course many more. And when it comes to instilling fear, I have to totally say the award goes to Robert Mitchum in the film Cape Fear. If you haven’t seen the classic film Cape Fear, then you need to watch it. The film is a superb thriller driven by suspense and the reality of how crazy stalking can be. Excellent film.
Speaking of thriller, I should devote a post to classic thrillers since this is Halloween month, so stay tuned for that post coming soon.
So let’s get back to the topic, romance! There is just something so refreshing about watching a classic film where a stranger meets someone that catches their eye and they find themselves falling in love. Most films nowadays have to rush straight to showing the sex, but the films of the 30s and 40s focused on the conversation, the flirtatious banter, and the passionate throws of kisses. Even an occasional slap was followed by an aggressive kiss of passion, as if to say “I love you so much, I don’t want to ever hurt you again. Forgive me!”
I could make an argument for the amount of slapping in classic films, but then again you can form essays on how booze and cigarette smoking as a lifestyle prominent. It’s rare you watch a film from the 40s and see an absence of liquor or some beautiful leading lady smoking a cigarette in a stunning evening gown; I’m surprised they never portrayed the reality of how harsh your voice can become. But then again, classic films are supposed to romanticize relationships, show us the intrigue of mystery in film noir, and enlighten us with stunning simplicity driven by complex lighting and shadows.
The romanticism infused with intrigue is why I truly love classic films and have an ongoing obsession with TCM. I hope that channel never goes away, it is essential in showcasing the history of film! And my favorite thing about TCM is the days they devote to film noir. The allure of murder, gangsters, and romance is such a phenomenal combination that I’m going to say most women love. Their is something devilishly sexy about the bad boy appeal, the daring stranger who can charm our pants off. And a film that perfectly captures that entire vibe is my favorite noir film, The Big Sleep.
The Big Sleep is a complex crime thriller with steamy romance that was based off Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel, but was officially brought to life on the big screen in 1946 by Howard Hawks. The film stars one of Hollywood’s most iconic couples, Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall. The two had a romance on-screen, but they were also married in real-life and had children together. Sadly, their romance ended when Bogart died, but the memories of their undeniable love & attraction will always be on-screen.
There are so many reasons why I love The Big Sleep. It’s the type of film that mimics the type of day dreams I find myself having about a steamy romance set in a film noir atmosphere. In the midst of all the chaos, Bogart is that cold-hearted detective Phillip Marlowe who finds himself in the midst of a “hazy” private investigation, and he finds himself falling in love with the beautiful Mrs. Vivian Rutledge, portrayed by Bacall. I could sit here and describe the plot to you, but it’s such a complex classic visualization of film noir that you must-watch for yourself. If you like Double Indemnity then you’ll find this film a treat; a complex dosage of character motives.
Wow, I’ve actually talked about these films so much that now I must go watch them yet again! I’ve seen so many films from the 1940s over and over again, and the romantic inside of me never gets tired of them. The intrigue of boy meets girl infused with complex plots are timeless pieces of cinema that shouldn’t be ignored. So, if you have some time to relax, I highly advise you grab a cup of coffee (tea is good too) and turn your television to the TCM. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
The more I interact with other individuals in my generation, the more I realize how ignorant so many people my age are to such classic history, music, and iconic figures. A lot of the people I randomly come into contact with tend to be very close minded and just brainwashed by popular music and trends. I’m not saying that all the music and culture out today is terrible, but there is so much stuff throughout history that deserves some solid appreciation. I can’t really blame a lot of other people in my age group( I’m 20) but I think it’s also part of the major ignorance can be attributed to the lack of parents actually teaching their children more than just basic essentials of life.
I’m really fortunate to have grown up in a household with a mother that immersed me in all things culture from the 20s,30s,40s,50s,60s,70s, and 80s. By the time I grew up in the early 90s and the early 2000s, I was already being described as an “old soul” amongst my peers. Many of my teachers would always talk to me during lunch or after school and I would be amazed at how much culture I knew. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for staying current, but I love being nostalgic. Sometimes I often find myself wishing I could go back into the future and actually see Count Basie perform, jump and jive with Cab Calloway, dance with the Nicholas Brothers, and be on set while Jerry Lewis did his usual antics.
Not to go on a rant, but seriously, who doesn’t know who Jerry Lewis is? Idk maybe I’m just super nostalgic, but I actually have met so many people who don’t know about Jerry Lewis. They don’t even know about Cab Calloway! Then they have the nerve to call me old and make fun of me. Seriously, I can’t even begin to tell you how many ignorant men this week have just pissed me off. First one guy says my callertune “Tom’s Diner” isn’t a good song, then another guy had the nerve to say that all those old movies on Turner Classic movies suck and why do I bother watching them? If that wasn’t enough, he even said I was an “old lady” because I like classic films. Wow, so rude! I don’t even see why I bother giving ignorant guys my age a chance. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a nostalgic old soul and I need a man that is an old soul (still age appropriate of course, oldest I’ve ever talked to was a guy 28) or at least not ignorant and open to appreciating more than just Drake, Rick Ross, and other uber mainstream artists.
It’s such a shame how ignorant people can be, and then they treat you as if you’re some type of freak because you actually care about more than 2011 culture. I know complaining about it isn’t going to solve the problem, and it sure isn’t going to stop ignorant men from just being assholes to me and making fun of my interests. But hey, I’m not going to stop being myself, and I damn sure am not going to hide who I am or my interests. Not point in living life like some forsaken apology. Just because people chose to be ignorant to classic culture doesn’t mean I have to all of a sudden conform and like what everyone else likes. I’m such a diverse person. I can’t just like one thing or become confined to one mindset; that just isn’t the way my mom and dad raised me.
Being close minded is so not cool, and lacking some nostalgia isn’t impressive either. I can’t change the way people are, but it doesn’t mean I have to let people talk shitty to me and make fun of my interests. At the end of the day, the only person that matter is myself and my interests. So all I’m going to do is shake my head, walk away from the annoying ignorant individuals, and keep falling in love with my appreciation for the following: 90s music, 80s funk, 40s/50s movies & music, vintage fashions, world music, sushi, international cuisines, and so many other things that I find fascinating. I’m just being Jazz, so you truly either get me or you don’t. But at the end of the day, don’t try to tear me down and mock my interests. SMH…that’s not legit.
Below are some of the things I’m into, and I plan on posting more regularly.
One of my favorite scenes from Cinderfella.
Man, I so want to take up swing lessons! My mom first showed me the clip from Hellzapoppin’ when I was like 12 years old. I still love the scene below, so timeless!
It’s Howlin’ Wolf, need I even say more?
Nicholas Brothers+ Cab Calloway= Classic Dance & Music. I love the Nicholas Brothers, as well as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
I have so much more stuff to post, so I’m just going to devote some posts to some videos I find interesting. Stay tuned for more!
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com
Halloween is finally here! It’s the day when it’s so okay for girls to dress slutty, guys get free passes to stare at them and not be slapped, and it’s that time of year when it’s okay to terrorize little kids with classic horror flicks. Movies like Paranormal Activity, Saw, and other popular Halloween related movies aren’t really that scary in my opinion. If it’s not about all the blood and gore, which is just disgusting, then it’s about a bunch of demons, ghouls, possession, and big budget scare tactics.
The scary movies that come out nowadays have the potential to be very scary, but at a certain point it loses that original vibe that makes a classic horror film. When I was attending the Colorado Film School, I had the opportunity to learn why the best horror films ever created came from the 50s, 60s, and of course the 80s. I was exposed to a lot of different film titles, but the film that stood out the most was a chilling movie called The Haunting.
The Haunting, the original 1963 film (remake was horrible,) is a classic horror masterpiece that will scare the crap out of you. It’s not filled with a lot of blood slashing and upfront confrontations with a supernatural being, but it’s driven by a subtle element of horror and detail that is psychologically teasing. It’s one of those rare horror films that focuses is what can’t be seen. In the film you never see a murder or the supernatural force tormenting the family, but the details in the narration and the visual effects, including amazing sound, create such a chilling sense of fear.
Robert Wise‘s The Haunting is truly a one of a kind horror masterpiece that was revolutionary during that time period. While some studios wanted to opt for bigger thrills, introducing more blood, deaths, and monsters, Wise decided to embark on creating the perfect psychological horror film. Even if you don’t get all terrified, you will still feel jumpy and mental be over analyzing each detail and sound. There are some moments in the film that catch you off guard and have you pondering what on earth could possibly happen next? Was it a murder? Did a supernatural force shake the door? Is a priest going to save the day? Should they run? Etc,etc,etc. You just can’t help but to begin rattling off questions.
I honestly can say that The Haunting is perhaps one of the scariest psychological horror films I have seen. It doesn’t have all the visual thrills and gore, but it’s such a powerful suspense film that is propelled forward with excellent characters, mind blowing set design, and eerie sounds that will give you the spooks! It’s a film that I’d highly recommend watching, and today you’re in luck! Turner Classic Movies has an all day classic horror movie marathon called “The Monster Mash!” It’s a great selection of some classic horror masterpieces from the 50s and 60s. Dracula Has risen From Grave is about to go off now, but then lineup is: The Curse of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Mummy, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Village of the Damned, Night of the Living Dead, a segment called “A Night at the Movies,” then The Innocents, and finally at 2am EST The Haunting.
The Haunting is worth staying up till 2am to watch, but since I barely sleep anyways I’ll be up eating popcorn and trying not scream. It’s best to cut off all the lights, get comfy, and settle in for a petrifying psychological horror film that focuses on what can’t be seen. As the movie tagline says, “You may not believe in ghosts, but you cannot deny terror!”
The Original Trailer for The Haunting (1963)
Great Fan-made trailer
The First 7 Minutes of the Film!
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com