Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis the Season for Christmas Movies

Nothing makes me want to stay home and watch old movies than over a long holiday.  Christmas is always fun because of the holiday themed classics I love to revist every season like good old friends.

  • Babes in Toyland 1934 with Laurel and Hardy 
  • A Christmas Carol 1938 MGM's adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic story with Reginald Owen in his only starring role.  
  • The Shop Around the Corner 1940 James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan in this lovely film.  
  • Remember the Night 1940 (I need to see this one) 
  • The Night Before Christmas 1941 Tom and Jerry in a wonderful MGM cartoon.
  • Holiday Inn 1942 Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds.
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner 1942 Monty Wooley as the curmudeon and interfering Sheridan Whiteside.  Bette Davis is his foil and girl Friday and Ann Sheridan is simply hilarious and not to be missed.
  • Christmas in Connecticut 1945 a delightful romp with Barbara Stanwyck at her comedic best. 
  • It's a Wonderful Life 1946 I find this Capra classic hard to get through, the fault lies with me.  But the scene with H.B Warner and Bobby Anderson (as the young James Stewart) brings me to tears every single time.
  • The Bishop's Wife 1947 It's not Christmas to me unless I watch this lovely film. 
  • Christmas Eve 1947 I've not seen this in eons and really must see if I can find it.
  • Miracle on 34th Street 1947 Edmund Gwenn is the Kris Kringle of everyone's dreams.  His rapport with the young Natalie Wood is charming.  It's still a delight for the holidays.
  • We're No Angels 1955 Bogart and Peter Ustinov, 'nuff said.
  • A Christmas Story 1983 All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. I love this movie, absolutely. 
Since it's the season, here are some seasonal celebrity holidays cards to entertain.

Holiday greetings to Clifton Webb and his Mother Maybelle from Greta Garbo (Garbo often sent correspondence using her pseudonym Harry Brown)

Handwritten and hand-crafted holiday greetings from Mr. Orson Welles to Mrs. Welles (Rita Hayworth).

A holiday card that was sent to Marlon Brando by a big fan, Clara Bow.

Holiday greeting from W.C. Fields

I'll state my resolution for the new year right now, to watch more movies and blog a whole lot more because I do enjoy it.  Hope those of you who pass by and give this blog a read enjoy it, too.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season for the remainder of 2011.  I send you all warm regards and wishes for peace and prosperity in the new year. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Georges Melies

Image courtesy KINO LORBER

Because we would not have cinema today without your brilliant, creative spirit.  Thank you for all the wonderful bits of magic.  I raise a glass to you today, Sir. Your imagination and creativity still inspire today, not so amazingly over 100 years later.

For the uninitiated, here are a few of his films to marvel at and enjoy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Media History Digitation Project - Please Help

Research today is far and away a very different animal than it was even five years ago.  Digitation is the real wonder of the internets, really and truly it is.  Searchable PDFs rather than blinding yourself scrolling through page after page after bloody page of microfilm.  It's a wonder!

Who would have thought that a huge number of newspapers would be digitized, available for use either for free or by a nominal subscription rate?  Free at your local public library (via Proquest) or pay online at places such as

One of the greatest free sites is Internet Archive and my absolute favorite spot for silent film research is the Media History Digital Archive.  Thousands of pages of hard to find periodicals such as Wids Daily, Photoplay and other periodicals I never even heard of, all scanned and fully searchable, all for FREE.

While using this is FREE to anyone who happens along, it does cost some money and loads of time for the periodicals to be scanned, processed and uploaded.  They're asking for our help.  The goal is pretty modest ($5000) if you ask me and well worth a donation of $10, $20, $50 or more if you can afford it.

Donations may be made via the MHDA website or a dedicated effort at the Domitor site.  What is Domitor?

DOMITOR, the international society for the study of early cinema, is an association for people interested in cinema from its beginnings to 1915. The organization strives to explore new methods of historical research and understanding by promoting the international exchange of information, documents, and ideas. Recognizing that the work of the world's film archives has made accessible a growing body of early films and research materials pertaining to early cinema, Domitor also seeks to promote close relationships between scholars and archivists. Domitor is not an acronym: it revives the name that the father of the Lumière brothers once proposed for their projector of motion pictures.
From the Domitor website's donation page:
The Media History Digital Library (MHDL), a non-profit initiative dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access, has recently made a commitment to scanning periodicals, documents, and materials from the early period (1890s to 1915). Domitor will take the lead in raising funds for this important venture.

MHDL's early cinema project comprises at least 50,000 pages of material, including Moving Picture World (much of 1912-1918 is already online); all six volumes of the 1912 US vs MPPC trial transcripts; catalogs from Kleine, Biograph, and others; and house organs, such as Universal Weekly (1912-1915). Other materials, such as foreign-language publications, are also on the horizon. Not only will these be accessible wherever there is an internet connection, but in much better (and downloadable!) versions than are currently available through interlibrary loan.

So Domitor is calling on its membership—or any interested party—to raise the funds needed for this stage of the project. Our goal is to raise $5000—enough to put 50,000 pages online by this summer—by January 1, 2012. So please click on the paypal link below and give generously. All contributions are fully tax deductible.
I use this resource more times than I can count, I gave and hope you will consider making a donation, too.  $5000 for 50,000 pages of material is a pittance to pay for such an important resource.  Please, do your bit and give generously!