Tag Archives: TCM

Filmhouse announces Jack Nicholson season

We’re about to be spoiled with another fantastic classic film season in Edinburgh, this one devoted to Jack Nicholson’s lengthy career.

The retrospective season will run through November and December and showcase films that explore the depths of Nicholson’s career spanning over five decades, including Chinatown, Easy Rider, The Shining, The Crossing Guard, The Last Detail, Reds, The Passenger and The King of Marvin Gardens.

Out of that little lot I’ve yet to see The Crossing Guard, The Last Detail or Reds, so hopefully I’ll make it along for the one-off screenings. I’d like to have seen 1989’s Batman in there, but you can’t have it all.

As for the others, there’s not a duffer among them, and I was particularly impressed by The King of Marvin Gardens when I saw it at Filmhouse earlier this year, even if I did miss most of the visual references noted in this Guardian article.

I was also lucky enough to watch Chinatown in Los Angeles in 2012 as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival, where I recorded this short introduction to the film with its writer, Robert Towne, and producer, Robert Evans. They spent around fifteen minutes discussing the evolution of the film with TCM host, Robert Osborne at the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Full details of the Jack Nicholson season are now up on the Filmhouse website.

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Video: Warner Archive Collection and the Killer Bs

One of the best parts of my two visits to the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2011 and 2012 was the chance to catch up with the team from the Warner Archive Collection, who make old movies their business.

For the last few years Warner Archive have been releasing obscure films and TV series on demand, printing DVDs one at a time as people order them. For some reason that hasn’t caught on in the UK, meaning fans outside America have to order these titles on Amazon rather than straight from the publisher.

I suspect there’s some distrust of the market for these rarer titles on the part of Warner UK, who would rather spend their marketing budget on promoting a guaranteed hit on DVD than a title which may only sell a few hundred/dozen copies. Personally, I think they’re underestimating the audience over here, certainly if my Twitter feed is anything to judge by. There are numerous titles mention on there every day which would sell well if Warner UK took a chance on us.

Online streaming may be on the rise in the UK, but over in the US they yet again have it down to a fine art, with sites such as Hulu and Netflix dominating. A newcomer to the growing market is Warner Archive Instant, which allows film fans to pay a monthly subscription and watch as many titles as they want during the month.

Again, there’s no sign of this coming to the UK, even though there’s a lot of profit to be made.

All of this preamble is to introduce a short video of a panel which took place at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, featuring Warner Archive, screenwriter Josh Olson and film historian, Leonard Maltin (who I also met at TCM 2012). The guys have a chat about the type of films they release and make me want to watch all them.

Maltin also makes some interesting points about the supposed disposability of films.

Forget modern blockbusters, 1950s B-movies are where I want to spend my hard earned cash these days.

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Roman Polanski season at Filmhouse

Last year I attended a screening of Roman Polanski’s 1974 crime classic, Chinatown, at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre, an event which found an audience of a thousand or so film lovers enraptured by Jack Nicholson’s performance and a suitably complex plot.

Set in the Los Angeles of 1937, Chinatown centres on Jake Gittes’ (Nicholson) investigation into the extra-marital affair of Evelyn Mulwray’s (Faye Dunaway) husband. The investigation soon spirals into other directions involving corruption and family issues involving Mulwray’s father, played by the towering John Huston.

At the time I decided to see more Polanski films at the cinema but the opportunity hasn’t arisen until now, with Edinburgh’s Filmhouse about to screen a number of them from this weekend.

Filmhouse begins its Polanski season tomorrow with eight of his short films before going on to show Knife in the Water (1962), Cul-de-sac (1966), Macbeth (1971), Repulsion (1965) and Dance of the Vampires (1967).

That’s only the start however, with the print programme noting that next month we’re getting Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Tenant (1976), Death and the Maiden (1994), Chinatown (1974), Tess (1979), The Pianist (2002), Oliver Twist (2005), The Ghost (2010) and Carnage (2011).

Hopefully I’ll be able to make it along to a few of these and I’d recommend watching out for Chinatown if nothing else – full details can be found on the Filmhouse website.

Watch the Chinatown trailer on YouTube

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La Cava set to sparkle at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Please note: This post was originally published on The Cinementals classic film blog on Friday 8 June, a few weeks before the site sadly ceased to exist. I’ve republished it here with their agreement.

Carole Lombard and William Powell in MY MAN GODFREY

Carole Lombard and William Powell in MY MAN GODFREY

It may be 60 years since Hollywood director Gregory La Cava passed away but it seems the time is finally right for him to make a comeback.

A director who straddled the silent era and the talkies, working with actors such as WC Fields, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard and William Powell, leading eight of them to receive Academy Award nominations, La Cava remains something of an enigma to modern audiences, certainly those in the UK starved of a decent fix of TCM.

This could soon change thanks to the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), the world’s oldest continually running film festival which runs from 20 June – 1 July. On browing the newly launched 2012 programme, six titles stood out for this film fan, all part of a Gregory La Cava retrospective starting on Tuesday 26 June: UNFINISHED BUSINESS (1941), FEEL MY PULSE (1928), GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE (1933), SHE MARRIED HER BOSS (1935), MY MAN GODFREY (1936) and PRIVATE WORLDS (1935).

The season then hands over the cinematic-baton to Scotland’s leading independent cinema, Filmhouse, on Saturday 7 July as they screen a further six La Cava titles: THE AGE OF CONSENT (1932), BED OF ROSES (1933), FIFTH AVENUE GIRL (1939), THE HALF NAKED TRUTH (1932), PRIMROSE PATH (1940) and STAGE DOOR (1937).

If reading the above has exhausted you, just think what it’s going to do to me as I head along to see (almost) every one of them as God intended, on the the big screen.

Intrigued to discover how the season came about, I spoke to the EIFF’s new Artistic Director, the film writer and journalist Chris Fujiwara, about his decision to programme 12 La Cava films and the practicalities of bringing those prints to Edinburgh this June and July.

Jonathan Melville: This is your first year as Artistic Director of the EIFF. Did you set yourself any challenges or goals before you began selecting films?

Chris Fujiwara: The main goal I set myself was to build the kind of programme that I would find interesting if I were a visitor to the festival.

How important was it for you to have a retrospective as part of your programme?

Retrospectives are essential to film festivals. It’s part of the core mission of festivals to delve into the unexplored riches of the past and draw connections between the past and the present.

How did you come to choose Gregory La Cava as the focus for a retrospective? Why those 12 films?

La Cava has fascinated me for a long time, among other reasons because of the scope he gave to improvisation in making his films. I’ve felt for a long time that he has been severely neglected. He’s probably the most underrated director of 1930s Hollywood. The twelve films in our retrospective are twelve of his best and most personal films.

La Cava successfully moved from the silent era to sound, how did his style change from one to the other?

For someone with such a powerful visual imagination, which was formed in the discipline of newspaper cartoons and silent animation, La Cava adapted to sound remarkably successfully. He was excited by the possibilities of film dialogue, and in his best films there is an amazing abundance of really great dialogue. In films such as PRIVATE WORLDS and STAGE DOOR, he also experimented with the soundtrack, approaching it with the same creativity he brought to the image.

What was the process involved in securing the rights to screen the films and locate the prints? Do they all reside in the UK?

James Rice, our Programme Manager, made a monumental effort of tracking down the prints for these films, some of which are very rare. Some come from the UK, some from elsewhere in Europe, and some from the United States, and they come from both archives and private collectors.

Do you have any particular stance on the “film vs digital” debate?

We’ll be showing all but one of the La Cava films in film prints, and that’s out of necessity: high-quality digital copies of these films do not exist, with a handful of exceptions. In general, archives do not have the resources to make digital copies of their film prints, and rights holders do not have a compelling financial motive to digitise most of their older films. With the disappearance of cinemas capable of projecting film, it’s inevitable that we’ll see further erosion of the infrastructure needed to manufacture, maintain and operate film projection equipment. There is a real danger that there will be fewer and fewer opportunities to see films from the past under ideal conditions: in good copies well projected on a big screen. This danger needs to be taken into account in the film-vs-digital debate.

Joel McCrea and Ginger Rogers in PRIMROSE PATH

Joel McCrea and Ginger Rogers in PRIMROSE PATH

Unusually for a film festival, half of the season will be shown at the EIFF and half at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema post-EIFF. Why did you choose to split the films like that?

Rod White [Filmhouse programmer] and I both felt it was a good chance to link the festival with the regular Filmhouse programme. Also it allows local cinephiles to see some of the La Cava films during a time when there’s not as much competition for their attention as during the festival.

For anyone who can perhaps only make it along to one or two La Cava films, which would you say are unmissable?

If you’ve never seen MY MAN GODFREY or STAGE DOOR, which are his two most famous films, or even if you’ve seen them but only on DVD, you shouldn’t miss them. Among the lesser known La Cavas we’re screening, I’d especially recommend his risqué pre-Code films THE AGE OF CONSENT, BED OF ROSES, and THE HALF-NAKED TRUTH, and his late masterpieces PRIMROSE PATH and UNFINISHED BUSINESS, which hint at the kind of work he might have done had he lived to make films during the more liberal period of the late 1950s.

You’ve written books on Otto Preminger and Jacques Tourneur, two figures from the Golden Age of Hollywood. What is it about this period of cinema history that interests you so much?

I see the Golden Age of Hollywood as a structure that made possible the making of some very personal films that broke the rules of that structure. Preminger and Tourneur, like La Cava, and also like Jerry Lewis, whom I also wrote a book about, worked with success within the Hollywood studio system but pushed the limits (stylistic and thematic) of what that system could comfortably tolerate, and sometimes crossed those limits. Put simply, they were innovators who anticipated the transition from the studio system to a system of independent auteur filmmakers.

Are there any directors you’d like to see celebrated with a retrospective on the big screen, either here in Edinburgh or elsewhere?

It would be an extremely long list. Among classic-Hollywood directors, some names that came to mind are Raoul Walsh, Ida Lupino, Robert Parrish, Robert Aldrich, and Richard Fleischer, but that would be just for starters.

Thanks to Chris Fujiwara.

Full details of the Gregory La Cava season can be found on the Filmhouse website.

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Audio interview: Welcome Back Robert Osborne!

Welcome Back, Bob!

For anyone outside the USA who may have stumbled upon this post, you’re probably wondering who Bob is and why I’m welcoming him back. That’s a valid question, as even those who do know who Bob is may be questioning why a blogger in the UK is mentioning a TV star from the other side of the Atlantic whose shows aren’t screened in that country.

When I decided to head to Hollywood earlier this year to attend the second TCM Classic Film Festival, a spin-off from the TV station launched in 1994, I had hoped to immerse myself in old movies and find out what it’s like to watch them on the big screen in cinemas such as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre, venues I’d only ever glimpsed on TV.

Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne

What I discovered were a small army of people who had arrived by car, bus, train and plane to celebrate classic films in the company of strangers, the only thing binding them together being the TCM channel and its public face, Robert Osborne.

Born in Colfax, Washington, Osborne began his career as an actor in the 1950s, before moving on to journalism. Osborne became the host of TCM in 1994.

Osborne’s introductions to every film shown during the week have become almost as important to the channel’s subscribers as the films themselves; for millions of people who love classic cinema in America, Robert Osborne is their guide.

The love shown for Osborne at the TCM Festival was palpable, and to British eyes it was something of a shock. We don’t really have anyone in the UK media who could be compared to Osborne, though it could perhaps be said he’s something of a mix between film critic Barry Norman and interviewer Michael Parkinson, though I’m not sure that does him justice.

It’s also worth noting that we really have nothing to compare to the US TCM in the UK, with our version a pale imitation of the original.

I was able to interview the man on the eve of the Festival’s launch as part of a roundtable discussion and the result was published on the blog of the Edinburgh Evening News.

Osborne was a charming and erudite interviewee and his love for cinema shone through.

In July 2011 it was announced that Osborne would be taking a break from hosting duties to undergo a minor operation, leaving his fans concerned and a little lost.

This Thursday, 1 December, sees Osborne return to US TV screens and the fans are celebrating with various blog posts, photos, videos and tweets. I was asked to write something about his return and this blog post is the result.

I decided to dig out the audio of the interview I carried out at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel and snip out the section where I asked a question about the rise in popularity of classic movies. It runs to just under five minutes and it hopefully gives a flavour of his knowledge and interest in the subject. You can read some of the transcript from the original interview below.

“Have you noticed an increase in popularity in classic films in the last few years?”

“In the last five years I’ve noticed a passion that was never there before and I think that television has something to do with it,” says Osborne.

“We have all these channels now, and when I go home and I always check TCM first to see if there’s something I particularly want to watch and if not I try the others and it’s just terrible. Even family sitcoms like Two and a Half Men are so smutty and basic. Then there are the reality shows.

“I think people gravitate towards TCM because you can find a really nice story, you don’t have to worry about who’s in the room with you, your grandmother, kids or wife and you’re not embarrassed about what’s going to be on the air.”

Osborne pauses before continuing. “The one thing movies don’t do today is necessarily leave you with a positive feeling when you exit the movie theatre. But those sharks who ran the industry back in the 1940s were showmen and wanted you to come back the following week, even if you had The Grapes of Wrath or High Sierra.

“At the end of that Humphrey Bogart is shot and killed and this little dog is licking his hand and Ida Lupino is distraught because Roy is dead. She picks up the dog and she’s walking to the camera and she’s saying “Roy’s free, oh yeah, he doesn’t have to be chased anymore,” and the audience is thinking “Oh yeah, Roy’s free,” and they always knew how to put a positive spin on things.

“Even with the Grapes of Wrath, where there’s a family who have been through just about everything, you go away thinking you can make it if you’ve got family and you stick together. I think the movies we have on the air, the mix of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bacall and Bogart, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, offers movies that are endearing to people who don’t get that elsewhere.”

Are class and style four letter words to filmmakers today?

“We’re in an era where people love everyone to be common and real,” muses Osborne. “If you’re a taxi driver you don’t want Robert Taylor or Tyrone Power you want Robert De Niro looking just like a cab driver in New York. If you have a beautiful woman like Michelle Pfeiffer you want her to downsize the glamour and not have her look like Grace Kelly.

“I think people still love the reason they used to go to movies, and that’s for something different from their everyday life. There’s nobody like Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis or Gary Cooper today. Even when they were playing real people there was something larger than life and heroic about them and we don’t really have that today.

“I’m sure those people are out there but they’re not able to have careers.”

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TCM Classic Film Festival 2012 details announced

Now’s the time to reach for your diary/calendar/smartphone and to mark some upcoming dates: 12 – 15 April 2012 sees the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival take place in Hollywood.

The central theme of the 2012 edition of the Festival will be a celebration of style in the movies, from fashion to architecture to production design. The theme will touch on both the influence that movies have on popular styles and the impact that current trends have on the movies. Whether it’s the look of a film’s sets, costumes, title design or movie poster, this theme will put the Hollywood aesthetic in whole new light.

I’m still recovering from my visit to this year’s event, which I wrote about over on my personal blog, and I hope to make it back to Hollywood next year to meet some old friends, make some new ones and discover some classic movies for the first time.

You can also watch some of my interviews from 2011 over on my YouTube channel.

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Holyrood or Bust(er) #4: Love and Marriage

Buster Keaton in Day Dreams

Buster Keaton in Daydreams

To celebrate TCM’s month-long screening of Buster Keaton films every Sunday in October, I’ve been following along from the UK through the week with the aid of various DVDs, Twitter and this blog.

This final Holyrood or Bust(er) post takes many liberties with the TCM schedule and I’ve decided to end my personal Buster marathon with 1925’s Seven Chances.

Seven Chances (1925)

Seven Chances is a film which Buster had little interest in making and that I find hard to label top level Keaton, even if he doesn’t falter for a moment.

Opening with a clever gag involving the passage of time that sets up Buster’s ineffectual character perfectly, here he’s a young bachelor who inherits money, a cool seven million dollars, from his grandfather. The only catch is that he must be married by his 27th birthday, which happens to be that day. Cue Buster and his cronies trying to come up with the goods, namely a viable wife, before 7pm.

For many of Buster’s contemporaries the story that follows would make a fine film, but for Keaton it’s not particularly inspired. Trying to get both Buster and a girl to the alter results in a number of fun sequences, but it’s the chase towards the climax that has endured more than anything else here.

It begins with hundreds of potential brides-to-be chasing Buster through the streets and climaxes with him being “chased” down a hill by dozens of boulders, the little man dodging them as best he can. On a TV set it’s impressive but it deserves to be watched on a cinema screen, particularly the bit where he’s whacked by a giant boulder.

If you haven’t seen the film I won’t spoil things by saying whether or not he does get himself a wife, hopefully you’ll enjoy finding out.

In conclusion

Spending many of my October evenings in the company of Buster Keaton provided me with some of the finest viewing experiences I’ve had for a long time. I hadn’t seen all of the films before, meaning some of those 85-year-old misadventures were as fresh as they were to the original audiences, even if my sitting room and TV aren’t quite as impressive as the cinemas and big screen that they witnessed his antics in and on.

What has hopefully become obvious in these brief write-ups is that Buster’s work was endlessly inventive and pretty much timeless. I suspect that if I can still enjoy a silent black and white film almost 100 years after they were made, in another 100 years the basic idea of a man taking on the world and winning (in one way or another) will still be funny.

It’s also become obvious that while modes of transport and communication have changed radically, human relationships haven’t. It’s still about boy meeting girl. There are still men who’ll fight for no apparent reason and little guys who have to fight back. We still want to improve ourselves and we still have to bounce back when things go wrong.

Buster Keaton may be shy, romantic, hopeful, happy, sad and determined but so are we. Buster takes things to the next level and often stretches credibility, but most of his films are based in some sort of recognisable reality and audiences want him to succeed, just as they try to in their own lives.

I’ve still got more Buster to watch, and I may blog about them at some point, but for now I salute Turner Classic Movies for taking the time to screen such a wealth of material and apologise I didn’t manage to write about every film. As long as I showed that Buster is still relevant to film fans and the world all these years later, and perhaps inspire one of them to check out a film on DVD, at a film festival or on YouTube, I’ll be smiling as much as Buster is behind that old stone face.

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Holyrood or Bust(er) #2: Trains, boats and air balloons

To celebrate TCM’s month-long screening of Buster Keaton films every Sunday in October, I’ll be following along from the UK through the week with the aid of various DVDs, Twitter and this blog. This post will remain at the top of the blog until the next Sunday.

This first Holyrood or Bust(er) post will cover the initial 14 films being screened on TCM on Sunday 2 October 2011, all grouped under the banner of A Genius on the Move: The General, Cops, Our Hospitality, The Love Nest, The Navigator, The Boat and The Goat, The Play House, The Scarecrow, The Electric House, The Balloonatic, The Paleface, Convict 13 and Speak Easily.

The General (1927)

Across the pond they’ll be settling down to The General on TV on Sunday evening at 8pm. Here in Edinburgh I had to go for an early start thanks to other commitments tonight, and if I did try to match the outpouring on Twitter at 8pm US time it would be around 4am in the morning here. I’m devoted but not that devoted.

I’m using the 2005 Cinema Club edition of The General, a two disc set stuffed with extras and offering two scores for the film, a 1995 Robert Israel version and a more recent Joe Hisaishi track, which I went for (listen to an excerpt here).

Written and directed by Clyde Bruckman, The General takes us back to 1861 and casts Buster as locomotive driver (The General of the title), Johnnie Gray, heading to see his sweetheart, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), in Georgia. Sporting longer hair than we’re used to in his earlier films (it suits him), Buster is soon caught up in the events of the Civil War, as Annabelle’s brother decides to enlist with the Confederate Army and Johnnie is expected to follow suit.

Although he’s not a coward, there’s no real sign that Johnnie wants to fight and potentially die for his country, preferring to spend his time with his beloved Annabelle and his train. Aware that not enlisting won’t be popular with his girl but being too important to the Confederate railway, Johnnie finds himself shunned and left to continue his work minus Annabelle.

It’s here that the plot really kicks in (well, just after a lovely scene of Buster sitting on the side of the train and being taken away down the tracks) as we skip forward 12 months, discover that Union soldiers are planning to play dirty and watch as Johnnie becomes the perfect anti-hero.

For anyone used to seeing Buster in his short films, finding him in a feature film, on location in the woods of Oregon and taking control of a full size locomotive can be a shock to the system. Of course it’s only right that he’s given such a broad canvas to work against, the expanded running time reflecting the actor’s increased status in the silent film arena.

With a hefty budget of $400,000, there was almost nothing Buster’s imagination couldn’t afford and the action sequences prove that he was revelling in the freedom. It seems that audiences and critics of the period weren’t quite as ready as Buster for The General and its poor performance at the box office proved he was ahead of his time once again.

Thankfully Buster and Bruckman left us with a film that is both epic and small-scale. Epic in that the various explosions, action sequences and train wrecks work perfectly on the big screen but small-scale in that close-ups of Buster’s facial expressions (don’t believe the Old Stoneface moniker) and glances (check out the scene beside the cannon near the end when Buster looks around him trying to work out how the soldiers are being shot) keeping the viewer emotionally invested in Johnnie’s plight.

An excellent start to this month’s Buster-fest, the smaller scale Cops from 1922 is up next.

Continue reading

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Holyrood or Bust(er) #1: celebrating Buster Keaton with TCM

Buster Keaton on TCM

Buster Keaton on TCM

There’s good and bad news for Buster Keaton fans this month. The good news is that a major TV station, TCM, has named him their Star of the Month, screening Buster’s films every Sunday in October. The bad news is that TCM is for US residents only.

Born on 4 October 1895 as Joseph Frank Keaton, the young son of vaudeville performer Joe Keaton was nicknamed “Buster” after being thrown around the stage once too often. Clever, athletic and determined, Buster worked his way up through the ranks of the entertainment world to make himself one of the greatest silent film stars alongside Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.

I’m something of a recent convert to Buster, discovering his work properly around 2006 on DVD. I was soon hooked, something about his lack of sentimentality and willingness to innovate meaning that every picture was like an experiment with the medium that we were priviliged to see.

For those of us not in America it’s hard to imagine quite how huge TCM is over there. I was introduced to the channel, and its many fans, in April when I flew to Hollywood for the second annual TCM Classic Film Festival, a chance for classic movie lovers to gather and watch fantastic films in legendary surroundings.

Buster flyer at the Egyptian

Buster flyer at the Egyptian

Buster was celebrated with a screening of The Cameraman at The Egyptian Theatre, where the film was accompanied by New York band, Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks. I was in the audience for the event and, even though I’ve watched the film many times, I noticed things I hadn’t seen before as the packed auditorium shook with the laughter of the crowd. A truly wonderful evening that was worth the air fare alone.

On leaving The Egyptian I noticed a programme promoting screenings at LA cinemas [see image on right], including a weekend of Buster’s films at the Aero Theatre. Film fans have it easy in that city.

While I can’t sit and enjoy TCM’s Buster screenings, as a huge fan of the actor (I rate him above Chaplin and Lloyd in case you hadn’t guessed) I intend to follow proceedings with the aid of my various DVD sets, the TCM Twitter feed and this blog.

I’ll provide some commentary on my rewatch of the majority of the features and shorts that the US audience will be seeing and I’d recommend anyone with a Buster Keaton set on the shelf dusts it off as well, or order Masters of Cinema’s stunning boxset as soon as you can.

I’ve also got Edward McPherson’s 2004 Buster biography, Tempest in a Flat Hat, to read this month, and some compilation DVDs, Keaton Plus and Industrial Strength Keaton, which I keep meaning to watch.

You’ll also find a lot of Buster love over on film blog The Kitty Packard Pictorial, where Carley Johnson is hosting a month-long celebration.

Here’s TCM’s Scott McGee discussing the season on the latest TCM video podcast:

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Another classic film blog?

Hollywood, April 2011

Hollywood, April 2011

To blog or not to blog, that is the question. In a world stuffed full of film blogs, does it really need another, this time based in Edinburgh, Scotland and focusing on classic movies from through the ages?

I think so.

I’ve been writing about film in various places for the last few years, discussing the latest Hollywood output in the pages of a local newspaper, the Edinburgh Evening News, or happenings around Scotland as part of ReelScotland, but time and again I find myself returning to the topic of old movies, mostly those made before I was born.

Convinced that to ignore our shared cinematic heritage is a Very Bad Idea, the joy of discovering a film that was made in the 1920s is, for me, exactly the same as heading to the local multiplex and stumbling upon something great made this year.

Following a trip to Los Angeles in early 2011, where I attended the second TCM Classic Film Festival, I’ve realised that I need an outlet to discuss the type of films I’m willing to travel thousands of miles to watch in a darkened room. Speaking to actors such as The Trouble with Harry’s Jerry Mathers, it seemed I wasn’t alone in having a fondness for classic cinema.

TCM also confirmed my suspicions that classic movie fans are some of the nicest and smartest people around, equipped with the sort of knowledge about films made decades before they were born that tends to make me feel (slightly) better educated when I have a chat with them in person or online.

I’ll look back at cinema from all countries and eras, with a heavy focus on Hollywood’s Golden Age, from the 1920s to the 1960s. I’ll try to cover the very best films, actors, writers, producers, foley artists, gaffers and whoever else deserves a mention, along the way.

With the wealth of titles now available on DVD, Blu-ray and online, I’ll never be short of things to discuss, and I’ll also mention screenings of some of these films on the big screen, where they really belong. Add to that reviews of new books and special events plus the occasional interview, and there should be something here for most classic movie fans.

As for the blog’s title, Holyrood is a part of Scotland’s capital city which has little relevance to cinema apart from the fact that it sounds a bit like Hollywood. Simple really.

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