Q&A: How did it all begin?
From Movie Viewing Girl:
Who was the actor/actress that you were first interested in?
Claudette Colbert. I remember seeing So Proudly We Hail and It Happened One Night while on vacation at my grandparents’ house. My grandma always took my brother and me to the library to check out movies for the week, and for some reason these caught my interest. I was so captivated by Colbert that I had to see every one of her films that I could get my ten-year-old hands on.
How old were you when you really began watching old movies?
I must have been nine or ten. The first classic movie I vividly remember watching was Gone With the Wind, which I sat through at my grandma’s insistence. After that first viewing, she didn’t have to insist anymore.
What was the first old movie that caught your interest?
Gone With the Wind (as discussed above), and also The Ten Commandments. Ten Commandments was an Easter tradition in my house, and I looked forward to feasting my eyes on the glamour of 1950’s epic film. Anne Baxter as Nefretiri was stunning to me, and I remember thinking how gorgeous she was in all her Egyptian finery.
Who is currently your favorite actor?
I think I always had a bit of a crush on the more exotic actors, like Yul Brynner and James Mason (well, not quite exotic I suppose). Lately I’ve been more into the “gritty” or realistic actors like Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman. I love the room they had in the 60’s and 70’s to flex their machismo without becoming straight tough guys, like Clint Eastwood. Dustin Hoffman is another one of my favorites, especially because of The Graduate. His Benjamin Braddock is absolutely adorable.
Who is currently your favorite actress?
I go through my obsessive phases with actresses. Lately it has been Louise Brooks (as if you couldn’t tell with all the Brooks films I’ve featured in this blog), and to a lesser extent Clara Bow. Since my initial enchantment with Claudette Colbert all those years ago, I’ve also loved Gene Tierney, Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Deanna Durbin, Norma Shearer, Ginger Rogers, and Jeanette MacDonald.
What is your favorite old movie and why?
I have thought long and hard about this one recently (on my own, not because of this particular survey). I’ve found that Laura is my idea of the perfect film (or as close to perfection as a film can be). I love the glamour that exudes from every scene, especially from Gene Tierney. She is beautiful, elusive, enchanting, and incomparable to anyone you know in real life. David Raskin’s score is breathtaking and perfectly captures the dream-like quality of the film. This film, above all others I’ve watched over the last decade, has not lost an ounce of magic for me.
How many old movies do you own? How many old movies do you have recorded/on the dvr?
I’ve actually downsized my collection recently because I’ve moved several times and needed the money (the life of a college student). I’ve kept my favorites, of course, which probably number between 20 and 25.
If you could go back in time and visit any actor/actress, who would it be?
I think it would be fun to hang around with Clara Bow. I read the David Stenn biography Runnin’ Wild last summer, and it seemed like Clara is one of the few actresses I’ve read about that had no pretensions or any kind of an ego-trip.
Who is one actor/actress that you want to know more about?
Lillian Gish or Mary Pickford. I recently went to a 35mm screening of The Wind at UW-Milwaukee and it really piqued my interest about early female film pioneers. I know next to nothing about these actresses, other than a general awareness of the pivotal role they played during the formation of the Hollywood studio system.
What film could you watch over and over again?
Laura, definitely, and also Two Weeks With Love, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Gone With the Wind.
What is your favorite Hitchcock film?
Who is your favorite director?
Hitchcock, probably, but I also love George Cukor and Sydney Pollack.