“The Wizard of Oz” in 3D: Was it necessary?

My parents introduced “The Wizard of Oz” to me when I was a baby.

My sisters and I all have dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween or a book character day at least once.
We also have Dorothy Barbies, dolls and my mom owns “The Wizard of Oz” collectors decorative plates.

Needless to say, the Pickens family are fans of the film.

I grew up with “The Wizard of Oz” just as my parents did when it was shown yearly on television.

wizard of oz2

“The Wizard of Oz” was what taught me about the state of Kansas and what a cyclone was.
Like most movies, the information and lessons it taught me molded my young mind.

When I heard the 1939 film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy was going to be released in 3D and IMAX, I had mixed emotions.
1. I wanted to see the film on the big screen, because I never had before.
2. I don’t like 3D and avoid it at all costs. Why did they feel the conversion was necessary?

Though I wasn’t pleased with the thought of 3D or paying $17 for a movie ticket, I couldn’t pass up watching a classic film in a movie theater- something that doesn’t happen much in my area.

Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Judy Garland as Dorothy and Jack Haley as the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz"

Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Judy Garland as Dorothy and Jack Haley as the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”

Tuesday evening I made the 50 minute drive to Charlotte, NC to see the “Wizard of Oz.”

The Technicolor was lush, I laughed at the supporting characters, cried at the end of the movie and I enjoyed myself. It had been years since I watched “The Wizard of Oz” from start to finish. I forgot how funny the jokes are and how visually beautiful it is.

Having the opportunity to see a classic film on the big screen is a special experience. Even if you have seen the movie before, you pick up on jokes and subtle movements and expressions better than you can on your television. You are also forced to pay attention to the film, because it is just you and the screen.

But the big question is, was the 3D necessary or distracting?

The 3D wasn’t obtrusive or dramatic. Many scenes looked similar to if you were watching a 2D version of the film. The times it stood out the most were when the Wicked Witch (played by Margaret Hamilton) pointed at the camera or when Glenda the Good Witch (played by Billie Burke) gestured with her silver wand.

The Lollipop Guild

The Lollipop Guild

The 3D mostly was used for depth. Dorothy sat a little further out from her surroundings as she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and the Lollipop Guild stood out as well. These scenes weren’t bothersome, but there just wasn’t much purpose to it.

The only other 3D film I have watched in a theater the John Wayne film “Hondo” (1953) at the Turner Classic Film Festival. While the 3D wasn’t used excessively in “Hondo,” it’s use was more dramatic. Native Americans rode on horses towards the screen and arrows looked like they were coming at you.
There was nothing that dramatic in “The Wizard of Oz,” not even a flying monkey looking like it was going to share your seat.

There were a few times I felt 3D made things a bit blurry (or maybe it’s my bad eye sight) like when the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Dorothy (Garland), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Tin Man (Jack Haley) ran through the poppy field. Another area I felt was a bit blurry was when Dorothy opened the door to Oz-taking the film for sepia tone to Technicolor.

In general, I’m not a fan of colorization of black and white films such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946) or “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (1938). I feel that modifying a film from 2D to 3D falls under the same distasteful category as colorization. All of these tactics are to bring in younger audiences. But why change art? If a younger audience doesn’t like the “Mona Lisa” would we paint a smile on her?

“3D falls into the category of digital ‘remixing,’ colorizing and other changes,” said my broadcast journalism professor, Haney Howell. “The director shot the movie from his perspective, not that of some geek who thinks he can make it better.”

Buddy Ebsen was originally cast as the Tin Man but was allergic to the makeup. His big break came in the from of the 1960s TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Buddy Ebsen was originally cast as the Tin Man but was allergic to the makeup. His big break came in the from of the 1960s TV show, “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

From 1938 to 1939, the script of “The Wizard of Oz” had several rewrites and stars were recast in the film. Shirley Temple was originally considered for the role of Dorothy. Buddy Ebsen was going to be the Tin Man but was allergic to the silver face paint, and Jack Haley was cast instead. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, received third degree burns on her hands and face during her firey exit with the Munchkins.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the director’s vision of “The Wizard of Oz.” Modifying the film from 2D to 3D is going against artistic wishes.

When it was announced “Wizard of Oz” was going to be in 3D, it was said, “If 3D was around in 1939, this is how it would have been shot.” Which is a ridiculous response.

Filmmakers have had 3D capabilities of some sort since the 1920s and 1930s. MGM even made a short film in 1935 called “Audioscopiks” testings 3-D. Then 3D film fell briefly into the mainstream from 1952 to 1954. Hollywood was using 3D to pull movie goers away from their television screens and back into theaters.
So saying “If 3D was around” is a fairly ignorant response.

But to answer the $64 question of “Was 3D necessary?”: No, probably not. But so far, since “The Wizard of Oz” was released last Friday, it has made roughly $3 million. It has served the purpose the money making purpose it was supposed to.

Regardless, I really enjoyed seeing “The Wizard of Oz” for the first time on the big screenscreen.

But as Dorothy says, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

The popularity of “The Wizard of Oz” has remained for over 75 years, so why look any further to improve on it when it isn’t needed.

sepia dorothy

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The hills are alive in D.C.

I met Eddie Scarry in Media Writing, MCOM 241, in the Fall of 2008 at Winthrop University. We bonded over conversations about how GAP clothes were now boring and how we liked Gwen Stefani’s album “Sweet Escape.”

Scarry was the opinion editor for “The Johnsonian.” He made students and professors angry, but also got them thinking, while writing about topics such as “professors get paid a lot so don’t complain about four unpaid furlough days.”

Photo of Julie Andrews at the Lincoln Medal ceremony. (Washington Examiner)

As I read Eddie Scarry’s work and became closer friends with him I knew he was going to do great things. But I never imagined he would reach the level of success that he has, but not saying I didn’t think he couldn’t.

 Last weekend, Scarry met Julie Andrews, one of the loveliest voices to ever grace classic and contemporary film. Andrews was awarded a Lincoln Medal in Washington D.C. and Scarry was one of the reporters covering it. Scarry said she was exactly the way that we would all expect her to be.

“She’s everything you’d imagine from watching her in movies,” He said. “She smiles a lot and is so classically English.”

Scarry interviewed Andrews asking which younger actors and singers illustrated what the Lincoln Medal stood for.

“She didn’t name anyone specifically,” Scarry said. “A lot of times celebrities don’t like to speak positively or negatively on any specific person, because they fear that person will either get angry or other people will get angry that they weren’t mentioned.”

After graduating from Winthrop University, Scarry got a job in D.C. and also interns as a reporter for the Washington Examiner’s Yeas and Nays, D.C’s social and gossip column.

Scarry has met several other celebrities such as James Franco, James McAvoy and Jason Biggs.

James Franco and Eddie Scarry

“The only hard thing about interviewing any of them is that they usually don’t want to talk politics, and of course that’s what a lot of people in DC want to know their opinions on,” Scarry said.

“Sometimes there are weird surprises, like David Arquette smells like cigarettes or Angus T. Jones from ‘Two and a Half Men’ wants to go to school to major in still photography. Rising star James McAvoy has strange eyes and he was super nice to fans that were yelling for him at the premier of The Conspirator.”

His favorite interview so far has been with Franco, though sort of awkward, but he has found surprising things about different celebrities.

Though Eddie Scarry is rubbing elbows with celebrities, he still is the fun, friendly, Michael Jackson-loving guy I became close friends with.

Hopefully once he gets becomes a famous political journalist (which I know he will) he will remember back to those days when we all ate pizza in The Johnsonian office, those days I bought him Subway as I tried to use up $500 worth of café cash and listening to Destiny’s Child’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  :)

Also, be sure to check out Scarry’s humorous but insightful blog on how to live cheaply in the D.C. area at Red Line Items.

Myself and Mr. Scarry in Dec. 2009

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Helen Rose vs. Sarah Burton

Princess Grace Kelly in 1956 and Princess Kate Middleton in 2011

I don’t think I’m the only person who thought “Grace Kelly” right when I saw Kate Middleton in her wedding dress this morning during the Royal Wedding.  Both looked lovely in their timeless dresses. The dresses are similar with the lace sleeves, high collars and flowing skirt.

Grace Kelly’s dress was designed by Hollywood costume designer Helen Rose who also designed the wedding dresses for Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds.  Rose created costumes for movies like “Dangerous When Wet” (1953), “Father of the Bride” (1950), “The Harvey Girls” (1946) and “The Swan” (1956).

I love this style of gown and want sleeves whenever I get married too. Though I hate film remakes, I love to see fashion homages. I secretly hope that the designer had Grace Kelly in mind when the dress was created. Probably not though, but maybe!

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Audrey Hepburn: The Sorority Girl’s Pin-Up

You may see this image on a daily basis if you go to college.

On a college campus you can’t miss the familiar outline of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) with her cigarette holder while wearing a long black gown on the back of a sorority T-shirt. And of course under that photo will be Chanel’s quote “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” (Though that is completely ironic, because Givenchy dressed Hepburn in most of her films).

If you don’t believe me, scroll through this blog that describes itself as a “celebration of Greek Life.” There are at least 4 posts about both Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel.

Sororities have taken the stylish, gamine star and are using her as their unofficial spokes person for the pay-for-your-friends groups.

Photoshopped Audrey Hepburn head on an ADPI body.

She is on their t-shirts, event fliers, posters in their dorm rooms, coffee cups, keychains and Facebooks. Miss Hepburn helps announce fall and spring recruitment, formals and bake sales they have to raise money for their charities. If Audrey Hepburn was a business, it would be one of the wealthiest companies in the United States.

Once in my photography class, I even heard a boy ask who Audrey Hepburn was and my friend Dominic Beamer responded, “You know, she’s that lady who is on the back of all of the sorority t-shirts.”

But why pick on Audrey Hepburn? At the start of her career, she was described as having enormous eyebrows, rat chewed bangs and horse teeth. Does that sound glamorous or sexy?

I think a large part is the Givenchy outfits in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Who can forget the black dress she wears in front of Tiffany’s, the pink party dress she wears when Fred dies or even her brown trench coat?  However, Givenchy also designed the clothes for “Sabrina“, “Charade” and “How to Steal a Million.” Why don’t we see an outline of Audrey in that crazy helmet hat from “How to Steal a Million” or the dress she wows the Lamarees with at the exclusive dinner party in “Sabrina.”

Audrey Hepburn was one of my first favorite actresses when my movie love began. My love with her started with “Sabrina” and then Funny Face.”  I eventually made my way around to “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.”

When I first saw it in the 8th grade I had no clue what was going on: Why is she getting arrested? Why did he give her $50 to go to the powder room? What is Patricia Neal’s deal?  Now that I’m older, I understand the drug and sexual references; “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” is covering some pretty serious stuff.  I often wonder if these girls who say it’s their favorite movie watch it for the glamour of Givenchy’s clothes and George Preppard’s good looks or if they have even seen it at all.  Are they looking at the deeper meaning that Truman Capote wrote about in his novel: a woman toying with the idea of bisexuality?  Audrey Hepburn even felt like she was miscast in the role.

An example of Audrey Hepburn on a T-shirt.

Audrey Hepburn was glamorous in the movies, but like most actresses, didn’t have a fabulous personal life.
•She hid in a cellar from the Nazi’s during World War 2. She and her mother lived in occupied Holland and were forced to eat tullip bulbs and grass. This is what lead to her eating disorder later on in life.
• She wanted to be a ballerina but was told that she was too tall.
• Audrey had a difficult time getting pregnant. She was pregnant at the start of the movie “The Unforgiven” but was thrown from the horse and suffered a miscarriage-along with a broken back.
• Audrey had two failed marriages: One with actor Mel Ferrer and another with Andrea Dotti who cheated on her.
• While filming “My Fair Lady,” Hepburn worked very hard learning the songs and desperately wanted to sing. In the end she was dubbed my Marnie Nixon. Hepburn later said she wouldn’t have agreed to the film had she known this.
• She was constantly self conscious about her flat chest, thinness and looks. She was very uncomfortable and unhappy during the movie “Funny Face” and wanted Mel Ferrer with her during all times.
• Robert Wolders lived with her at the end of her life….(I feel like he was someone who just swooned the older actresses and wanted their money).

Standard Coco Chanel quote

However, Audrey Hepburn also was a wonderful woman who had a love for gardens and spent the end of her life  doing work with UNICEF. She was also a great actress who won an Oscar for “Roman Holiday.” It’s a shame to me that she has her image defamed on brainless, comic sans-fonted sorority t-shirts.

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The Muppets, Cee Lo Green and Elton

I know the Muppets aren’t considered classics by my stands. Their television show and movies were made in the late 1970s and 1980s, but they also have a classic family feel to them.

My favorite Muppets movie, “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), even was a take on the Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney “let’s put on a show” movies.

I just finished watching a clip of Cee Lo Green’s Grammy performance from Sunday night. When I saw his crazy bird/robot outfit with the muppet-like puppets in the background I immediately knew it looked familiar.

His outfit is similar, if not nearly the same as Elton John’s outfit from his “The Muppet Show” appearance in 1977 when he sang “Crocodile Rock.”  I distinctly remember seeing him in a rerun when I was probably four years old and taken by the glitter and bright colors, so it has stuck with me ever since.

Here are the two videos so you can compare. Enjoy!

Elton John’s performance on “The Muppets Tonight” in 1977:

Cee Loo’s performance of “Forget You” at the 2011 Grammy’s:

 

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F is for Fake, as Orson Welles said

A friend shared a CNN story with me about a woman on a cell phone passing by in the background in the 1928 Charlie Chaplin film “The Circus.”

What do all of you classic film fans think of this?

Circled person is supposedly holding a cell phone.

I personally think it’s a bunch of poppycock and don’t believe it and here is why:

 1. Videos like these are easily faked. With the mass amounts of sophisticated film software available today, anyone could dress in 1920s garb and walk around in the background of an already filmed movie. Even take “Forest Gump” (1994) for example. Remember when Tom Hanks is seen in videos taken in the 1960s such as the black students going into the University of Alabama with Governor George Wallace blocking the entrance?

 2. It could have been a person in the movie simply with their hand to their ear or holding down their hat. The public is looking at “The Circus” with preconceived notions of today and our technology. We are looking at simple gestures they are making and automatically think that holding your hand to your ear means a cell phone because we see that several times on a daily basis.

 3. From what I have heard, IF there is a time travel you can’t take contemporary items and technology with you. Cell phones didn’t exist in 1928 so you can’t have it.

 4. Hypothetically, if there is time travel and you somehow still had your cell phone, you couldn’t use it anyways. There were no satellites or cell phone towers. And who on Earth would she be talking to? From what I’ve seen in time travel movies, once you go back in time  you can’t communicate with the contemporary world. It’s not like she traveled back and time and can call someone in 2010 and say, “Hey Jennifer, yeh I got it to 1928 safely.”

I mean believe me, if there was such thing as time travel I would hop right on and go back to the good ole technology free days of the 1920s-1940s, but there isn’t in my opinion.

So there you go, there are my thoughts and as it is I think I put too much thought into it.

What do you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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Star Collector

anita
Anita Page in the 1920′s. At one point she had more fan mail than Greta Garbo.

Not only am I old-fashioned in my movie tastes, but I am also pretty passe as a movie fan.

I write fan mail.

You may be thinking, “Who does that anymore?” A surprising amount do continue to write to stars like Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis and Elizabeth Taylor. No one writes the stars of today, though, like Angelina Jolie, Orlando Bloom or Jennifer Aniston. Why is this? Because they won’t answer…that is if you can even find an address to write to.

I get my fan mail addresses from an autograph database called StarTiger.com. On the website you can search virtually any movie star, singer or sports player. Each star has their own profile page. On this page there is a list of addresses that you can contact them.

Users comments on the address and rate them with success ratings on if they received an autograph, how fast it was returned or they note if they got an answer at all. There are messages boards for each address where autograph hunters tell what they sent (such as a self-addressed, stamped envelope with two 4×6 photos) and what they got back (such as they signed one picture and left the other unsigned).

I discovered Star Tiger in 8th grade in 2003 for keyboarding class where we were practicing our letter writing skills by writing to famous people. At the time the website was known as Star Archives and was free (users now have to pay a monthly fee). While the rest of my class chose famous rappers like 50 cent and actresses like Sandra Bullock, 14-year-old Jessica Pickens of course chose Doris Day.

This was the first of many fan letters I ever wrote. I wrote to Doris about how much I loved her movies, how she brightened my day and that I used her as a role model to try to keep a sunny disposition. A few weeks after sending off the letter, I was the only student in the class to receive an autographed picture and a nice letter from Ms. Day inviting me to donate money towards her animal foundation.

After this I made lists of stars I wanted to write. Since then I have sent off fan letters twice; sophomore year of high school sophomore year of college.

Unfortunately, there are mournful times when I have to cross a name off a list when a star dies. Some instances have been with June Allyson in July 2006, Cyd Charisse in June 2008 and Kathryn Grayson in February 2010.

Writing fan letters to 70, 80 and 90-year-old movie stars might seem greedy. I will admit that part of it is selfish. I want autographs and to be part of that classic film culture and era, but that isn’t all of it. I want classic stars to know that they are still thought about. That their films are still watched, that they are still loved and a young lady in Greenville, S.C. really looks up to them.

I am showing that I appreciate the stars with my fan mail. The classic actors also show that they appreciate me by responding with autographs. Classic film actors REALIZE that they way they became movie stars is through their fans watching their movies and reading about them in the fan magazines.

Joan Crawford might have a bad reputation from that book of lies “Mommy Dearest” by Christine Crawford. However, Crawford knew she was famous because of her fans and answered each piece of fan mail personally, according to Divas the Site.

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford signing autographs. Photo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull in 1933

I’ve also read accounts of people who have seen stars like Van Johnson or Walter Pidgeon who happily stop and sign autographs.
Van
Van Johnson with fans.

Fans used to confuse Lana Turner and Betty Grable, and when either was approached and mistaken for the other, they would sign autographs with the other’s name rather than getting angry and yelling at the fans.

Grable lana
Betty Grable and Lana Turner sometimes were confused because of their platinum locks.

It’s hard for movie viewers of today to hear things like this while the movie stars of today are not as accomodating. In fact they are the opposite. They run from autograph seekers, scream if you call them the wrong name and do not answer fan mail.

Today’s celebrities need to realize that they would be nothing without their fans.

Autographs in order that they were recieved:

1. Doris Day (My first autograph in 8th grade)

doris2

2. Deanna Durbin

3. Esther Williams

4. June Allyson (signed notecard. I was going to send a letter with a picture but she died before I got the chance)

5. Vera Miles, along with a nice note

Vera Picture Vera Letter

6. Annette Funicello (One of my favorites. She signed it herself, which was a great surprise and treat because since she has MS I had heard her husband signed them)

Annette

7. Joan Fontaine

8. Lauren Bacall

9. Ann Blyth

10. Jane Powell

11. Joan Leslie (so sweet and added cardboard to back her picture)

12. Elizabeth Taylor

13. Paul Newman (shortly before his death)

Paul

14. Shirley Temple- sent 2 pictures; one young and one teenaged signed both.
Shirley young Shirley old

15. Van Johnson- again shortly before his death

16. Debbie Reynolds

17. Julie Andrews- pre-signed. I have read she is the worst person for autographs

18. Maureen O’Hara- A real treat and a hard person to contact. Autograph came from Ireland!

Maureen

19. Audrey Totter

20. Doris Day- I wrote her again.

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Let’s talk about a little pet peeve of mine…

Andy Hardy

Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) surrounded by Polly Benedict (Ann Rutherford), Betsy Booth (Judy Garland) and Cynthia Potter (Lana Turner).

How I define a classic movie fan and my pet peeve of the old movie ‘posers’ . I know I am a little fanatical and old movies are my life, but if you are going to claim to like old movies you have to know your stuff.

Another thing that drives me crazy is what consumers and manufacturers consider when it comes to classic movie merchandise (not including books, there is an abundance of wonderful film books). Everywhere you go, you see mugs, purses, T-shirts, magnets, etc with four people on them 1.) Marilyn Monroe 2.) Audrey Hepburn 3.) James Dean 4.) John Wayne. Then I go to Los Angeles with high hopes of Doris Day and Esther Williams merchandise, but I was quickly dismayed. In Hollywood, the movie mecca of the world, they still carried the same crap that they sell in Greenville, South Carolina. (Don’t get me wrong, I like Dean, Wayne and Hepburn but I want some variety.)

Purse

James Dean handbag

In my conversations with supposed old movie fans, there are typical answers that people give me that drive me up the wall. Here is a list which separates the men from the boys when it comes to classic films:

1.) When I ask which old movies they like they say they love all Audrey Hepburn films, which for many only includes Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Sabrina (1954) and Roman Holiday (1953). When I continue to question they basically say that the only old movies they have seen are Audrey Hepburn’s. This does not qualify you as an old movie fanatic, but possibly an Audrey fanatic.

Breakfast

A picture that hangs in almost every sorority girl’s dorm room.

2.) Some people say they are old movie fans and proceed to list classic movies that they have seen, but are the very typical classics that EVERYONE has seen like Casablanca (1942) , Gone With the Wind (1939), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and The Searchers (1956). These are all lovely movies, but they are certainly not the ONLY old movies out there.

3.) When you like the remake better than the original. I don’t care what you say, saying You’ve Got Mail (1998) is way better than Shop Around the Corner (1940) is practically blasphemous! Ernst Lubitsch (director of Shop Around the Corner) was one of the best, most celebrated and most sought after directors in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Lubitsch has 74 director credits to his name. Whoever Nora Ephron is (director of You’ve Got Mail) is basically a nobody. She has directed all of 8 films and is not nearly the caliber that Lubitsch was or ever will be. I also don’t particularly care for the 1949 remake of Shop Around the Corner, titled In the Good Old Summertime starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Even if it does have Van Johnson in it, the love me life, it is rather weak and features some really stupid songs like “I Don’t Care” which seems to last for ten minutes. I say this to show that it is not because I dislike Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks, I am showing that I don’t like any remake, Van Johnson or no Van Johnson.

Shop

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in Shop Around the Corner.

And don’t even get me started on The Women (2008) Eva Mendes as Crystal!? Robert Osborne even scoffed at the 2008 remake while he was introducing the 1939 version on Turner Classic Movies this month. How anyone can think that Meg Ryan, Annette Benning and Eva Mendes could ever be half the actresses that Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford were is laughable. The Women (1939) was also remade in 1956 as The Opposite Sex with one of my favorite actresses, June Allyson, but it stunk as well. The whole charm of The Women (1939) is that it is an all female cast, no men to be found, and shows the cattiness and hypocrisy of women who claim they are friends. The Opposite Sex had men in it, and the 2008 version of The Women celebrated women’s friendship and togetherness. What? Again, I wanted to note that I disliked the 1956 version to show that it was not just recent remakes that I was prejudiced against, it is all remakes.

Women

Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell in 1939 The Women

Opposite Sex

Ann Sheridan and Dolories Grey in The Opposite Sex with men

Women 2008

Meg Ryan and Annette Bening in 2008 version of The Women

!
Other remakes that are sub par: Father of the Bride (1991)-Steve Martin reprising a Spencer Tracy role, are you kidding? Cheaper By The Dozen (2003)-another Steve Martin movie that had nothing to with the original movie which was about a real life family living in the early 1900′s. You put the Gilbreth’s to shame.

4.) I understand people might not know who Kay Francis and Constance Bennett are…but if you don’t know very well-known, identifiable and easy actors like Bette Davis, Clark Gable or Cary Grant (oh yes, I know people who don’t know who they are) then you have some studying to do before you come back and tell me that you like old movies.

5.) Orson Welles once was quoted as saying, “Keep Ted Turner and his damn crayolas away from my movies.” Welles was perfectly correct. Watch any Shirley Temple movie or possibly A Miracle on 34th Street (1947) or It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) on an old VHS tape or AMC and see the muddy colorization of these films. Colorization looks like crap. People have grey teeth and outfits are colored with terrible hosiptals greens and Barbie pinks. It completely takes the charm away from the movie when Shirley has grey teeth when she is singing “An Old Straw Hat” in Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farms (1938). People complain until they are purple about being forced to watch a black and white movie, I’m sorry for your misfortune.

Photobucket Photobucket

It takes a lot more work and artistic lighting and direction to shoot a black and white movie. Any self respecting old movie fan would know that. Even from taking a simple film photography class in college, I realized that taking black and white pictures were alot more difficult depending on what time of day it was and how much light was available. It was very frustrating.

Here is a list I have created of what a fan of the Golden Era should or would know.
Things a true classic movie fan should know:
1.) That TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is better than AMC (American Movie Classics).
2.) The significance of the year 1939.
3.) Basic actors like Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
4.) Recognizable supporting and character actors like Keenan Wynn, William Frawley and Charles Coburn.
5.) The dawn of talkies.
6.) What talkies did to silent film actors.
7.) Who Rudolph Valentino is.
8.) Directors like John Ford, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and George Cukor.
9.) What the Arthur Freed Unit was at MGM
10.) Which studio the quote “More stars than there are in the heavens” refers to.

I write this blog not trying to convert you over to a classic movie fan. I don’t care if you like them or not, I am just saying that the things I have listed are fairly basic and are known by not just film historians, Robert Osborne or myself. So next time you tell me you like old movies and I say, “What kind?” please never ever say “I like movies from the 1980′s and 1990′s.” or “Well, I only just like Breakfast at Tiffany’s” because you will have gotten my hopes up for nothing.

Thank you.

Black and White

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