Day One: Miriam Hopkins Blogathon

Round-Up for Day One of our lovely Miriam Hopkins Blogathon!

Silver Screenings

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We’re feeling the Miriam love today!

Today is the first day of the Miriam Hopkins Blogathon, and we’re off to an amazing start. Today’s reviews reveal the surprising versatility and depth Miriam conveys on the screen.

This blogathon is celebrating the talent of a remarkable actress, and launching the new site, Font and Frock, with our friend and fellow book/movie lover, Maedez, who also curates A Small Press Life.

Here are today’s fab posts:

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Critica Retro discusses our Miriam and Paul Muni’s attractive beard in The Woman I Love (or: The Woman Between).

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The Last Drive-In examines Miriam’s ability to embrace characters who are destructive, and even grotesque, in The Children’s Hour and Don’t Open Until Doomsday (The Outer Limits).

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Caftan Woman introduces us to a delightful and thoughtful film, The Stranger’s Return.

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Speakeasy looks at Miriam as a sophisticated con artist in Trouble in Paradise.

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Public Transportation Snob raves about Miriam’s free-spirited character in

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Miriam Hopkins Blogathon Starts Tomorrow!

I am honored to co-host this amazing blogathon with the lovely Ruth of Silver Screenings!

Silver Screenings

The Miriam Hopkins Party starts tomorrow! Image: RedditLet’s raise a glass to Miriam! Image: Reddit

Yay! Tomorrow the Miriam Hopkins Blogathon begins.

Miriam’s celebration is in conjunction with the launch of Font and Frock, a new website about film, fashion, [flash] fiction, and feminism. This artfully-conceived site is curated by our chic, smarty-pants co-host, Maedez, who’s also the brains behind the literary A Small Press Life.)

Click HERE for a list of blogathon participants. (If we’ve accidentally overlooked you, please let us know right away.

Every evening, from January 22-25, we’ll be uploading a recap of the day’s posts. So just let us know when your post is live, and we’ll include it in our “nightcap” (ha ha).

See you at the Miriam Hopkins bash!

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Font and Frock: What’s in a Name?

Here’s a bit of info about my soon-to-officially-launch new blog!

Font and Frock

What are your favourite words?

I love serendipitous, melancholy, and fortuitous.

Adamantine, sliver, and succor.

And, oh, perhaps a hundred others. They inevitably change with the finesse or jolt of a passing mood.

Words are surprising things, the way that they latch hold of our imaginations.

Some visit but a moment; others stay for a lifetime.

At the top of my list?

FROCK.

Always.

Aside from its dictionary definition(s), and the fact that it is fun to say, the word conjures up, for me, a kaleidoscope of vivid images that have less to do with fact, and more to do with feeling.

Frock is bold, artistic, spirited, rebellious, chic, and imaginative. It is, in short, the heart of this endeavor.

What of the front half of the name?

 Font is the foundation upon which everything is built.

It embraces my love of language, of writing, of communication.

Font

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Get Ready: Miriam Hopkins Is Coming to Town

Just a reminder that I am co-hosting the upcoming Miriam Hopkins Blogathon AND simultaneously launching my new blog!

Silver Screenings

"How come you get a blogathon and I don't?" Image: lskdj flskdjf “How come you get a blogathon and I don’t?” Image: Matthew’s Island of Misfit Toys

The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon starts soon! We, along with our über-chic friend Maedez of A Small Press Life/Font & Frock, will be celebrating All Things Miriam from January 22-25. Click HERE for details.

To those who have signed up: We can’t wait to read your entries.

To those who haven’t signed up: Come on! You know you want to.

We’ll be going – ahem – full throttle, starting January 22.

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Announcing the Miriam Hopkins Blogathon

I’m thrilled and honored to be co-hosting The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon with Ruth of Silver Screenings. Watch this space for updates!

Silver Screenings

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We are so excited, we can hardly contain ourselves – and for Two Big Reasons!

Firstly, you’re invited to help us celebrate one of the most remarkable actresses in Classic Hollywood: the fabulous Miriam Hopkins. The blogathon will run January 22-25, 2015, and we’d love to have you join us.

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Secondly, we’re excited to be co-hosting this event with our über-chic friend Maedez of A Small Press Life. But that ain’t the half of it! This blogathon with correspond with the launch of her new movie blog, Font and Frock, in January, 2015.

Who says January is a dreary month?

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Ms Hopkins’ Requests:

  1. You can write on any movie or subject associated with our Miriam, including her life, on/off-screen rivalries, or movies.
  2. Duplicate topics are A-OK.
  3. You can sign up in the comments below, or email yours truly at 925screenings [at] gmail [dot] com or Maedez at onetrackmuse [at] gmail [dot] com.

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O Canada Blogathon: A Beginner’s Guide to Fay Wray

This is my contribution to the O Canada Blogathon, hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings:

The O Canada Blogathon

The O Canada Blogathon

A few things to know before we get started:

Although this post is part of the O Canada Blogathon (yay!), this is the first part of a series on Fay Wray that will continue here. Look for more entries over the coming weeks.

Yes, this is a (mostly) literary-themed blog. Fay Wray wrote an excellent autobiography, and was also a playwright. She considered writing her true calling.

As some of you may know, in the real world I also write about old movies and their stars. I’m in the process of creating a companion blog for that pursuit. When it is up, I’ll move the series over there. More on that later.

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 Fay Wray was an exceptionally gifted woman, as any in-depth viewing of her filmography will show. It is my hope that what you read here lights a spark that will start you on a journey of appreciation for (and personal interpretation of) her work.

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Except for brief mentions, this mini-essay is a King Kong free zone. The big guy gets enough press. (We’ll cover him another day, anyway.)

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A Brief Introduction: Some Random Thoughts on Fay Wray

Fay Wray was, in many ways, an ideal textbook movie star. Possessed of an unusual, immediately recognizable beauty, slim and elegant, she looked magnificent in any article of clothing. She exuded warmth, humor, and intelligence in every role. Her versatility was the kind that warmed the cockles of otherwise jaded movie executives’ hearts. As a leading lady who worked and excelled in multiple genres, she brought believability to her on-screen romances opposite a variety of actors. She was the first true scream queen, but, King Kong (1933) notwithstanding, she usually conveyed terror through her exceptionally expressive face or beautifully controlled gestures. In other words: girl could act. Oh, could she act!

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Fay Wray: Looking every inch the glamorous movie star.

She maintained her grounding presence even amidst the most absurd or fantastical plot twist. This ability to always seem realistically human was, perhaps, her greatest strength. Fay was not an artificially mannered actress; she did not have an arsenal, or even a pocketbook, full of rote gestures or winsome glances to which she defaulted when it was convenient. Naturalness, like comedy, takes great skill. Oh, and Fay did that well, too.

From her early days doing Hal Roach shorts in the 1920s to the strange horror films that marked much of her career in the next decade, her characters are, almost to a woman, ladies of exceptional wit, quick with a pithy lob or sly retort; funny, but never caricatures of a funny woman. Where the humor is not overt, one senses it living just below the surface. Whether imperiled in a jungle or lounging in the luxury of a drawing-room, her heroines are never humourless or dry.

Stars of the Photoplay, 1930, Fay Wray

Stars of the Photoplay, 1930: a cheery Fay Wray.

The first two decades of Fay Wray’s genre-bending career would take her down unique and eccentric professional paths that only she could navigate with such assurance and success. How? Never fear! A Beginner’s Guide to Fay Wray will attempt to answer that question.

For now, let’s recap:

Fay brought a long list of superlatives to the screen. She was smart, elegant, witty, natural, unaffected, beautiful, stylish, and versatile. She always delivered what was required, and more, to excellent effect. As a performer, she was present in the role, the scene, the fictional world. Why, then, after a relatively long and successful career, does her star not shine higher in the Classic Hollywood sky? No, the enduring cult status of King Kong is not solely to blame. Fay lacks the incessant punches-you-in-the-face singularity that most currently revered actresses from the era had, or, more aptly put, that we, as modern viewers, insist on reducing them to, however unfairly. Her serial adaptability in mostly B films resists our obsession with pigeon-holing. She is not relentlessly mysterious (Garbo), disturbingly sexual (Dietrich), bawdy (West), brassy (Harlow), or haughty (Hepburn). She is some of those things some of the time, but none of them always. Whatever type she played, she played so well that it ceased to be a type at all.

She did her job too well.

In a Beginner’s Guide to Fay Wray, we’ll discuss how her quiet, under-appreciated realism made the filmscape of the 1920s-1940s a better, slightly more magical place.

Next up: Three of Fay Wray’s most likable onscreen couplings, and the films that created them.

Canadian Pedigree: Fay Wray was born in Cardston, Alberta, Canada on 15 September 1907 to an American mother and an English father. Fay was three years old when her family packed up and moved across the border to the United States. She was always proud to have been born Canadian.

You can read, read all about it in On the Other Hand, her fabulous autobiography.

[Alternative Muses] Going and Coming: Alfred, Lord Tennyson/Carole Lombard Mashup

“Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?”-Alfred, Lord Tennyson (died 6 October 1892)

Carole Lombard, circa 1932

Circa 1932: Carole Lombard (born 6 October 1908)