Dec 20, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast--Authors of Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance Paula Broussard and Lisa Royère


Eleanor Powell was Hollywood’s best female tapper, but she isn’t nearly as well known as screen hoofers like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. With their book Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance my guests Paula Broussard and Lisa Royère are working to fix that cultural oversight. Having been dancers themselves, they offer a fascinating perspective on this one-of-a-kind star’s style. We talked about the uniquely skilled Powell, who was as engaging as a person as she was a performer, and Paula and Lisa’s own relationship with her in her later years.


Connect with Paula and Lisa: 

Paula’s Twitter/X: @PMBroussard 
Lisa’s Twitter/X: @pamelisa 

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Dec 18, 2023

On YouTube: Christmas in Classic Movies


There are many common themes and characteristics when it comes to Christmas in classic movies (Santa, gifts, trees with SO much tinsel), but there are also several ways vintage Hollywood films play with the idea of what the holiday should look like and how people feel about it. This compilation shows both those familiar patterns and the more rebellious points of view. 

Dec 6, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast: The Turbulent, Remarkable Life of Veronica Lake with Brian Brown

While the actress Veronica Lake dealt with her share of trauma, her life was not quite the tragedy that it has long been rumored to be. Before she hit her mid-twenties she had appeared in six bonafide classic films, including Sullivan’s Travels, three noirs with Alan Ladd starting with This Gun for Hire, I Married a Witch and So Proudly We Hail. She left Hollywood behind, but never stopped working on the stage and in television, while pursuing the life she was unable to have as a young star. I spoke with UCLA Cinema and Media Studies Program Manager and Lake enthusiast and researcher Brian Brown about the highs and lows of this remarkable actress. 

For more great Veronica Lake content, follow Brian on Twitter 

Titles discussed: 
Sullivan’s Travels (1941) 
This Gun for Hire (1942) 
The Glass Key (1942) 
I Married a Witch (1942) 
So Proudly We Hail (1943) 
The Blue Dahlia (1946) 
Ramrod (1947) 
The Sainted Sisters (1948)
Slattery’s Hurricane (1949) 

The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Google, and Radio Public

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Nov 29, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast: Talking Toshiro Mifune with Jill Blake

 Toshiro Mifune was one of the first classic film stars I loved and yet I didn’t know much about him personally. I decided to remedy that by talking to writer and CineJourneys co-founder Jill Blake. Jill has researched and written about Mifune and had a lot to share about his life, career, and remarkable partnership with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.


Check out Jill's work

The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Google, and Radio Public

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Nov 24, 2023

The Classic Film Fan USA Travel Guide Now Available in Paperback on Amazon! 99 Cent Black Friday Sale on eBook

Thank you to everyone who has bough the USA Classic Film Fan USA Travel Guide eBook! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your interest.

Ever since I have released the book, I have received requests to release it in paperback. And I listened! The guide is now available as both eBook and paperback on Amazon and will be available from more stores and web retailers soon, including from some of the venues featured in the book.

As a little Black Friday treat, I'm also offering the eBook for only 99 cents for a limited time! You can get that on Amazon through 12/1.


Nov 20, 2023

New Video: Memorable Film Noir Moments


There are a lot of familiar elements in classic film noir: heavy use of voiceover, femme fatales, rain-soaked night streets, wrinkled trench coats, and a deep sense of fatalism. Here I also explore the stylized sex and violence and desire for escape, wealth, and possession found in many films of this singular style of cinema. 

Films featured: 
The Big Heat (1953) 
Kiss of Death (1947) 
Night and the City (1950) 
Kansas City Confidential (1952) 
99 River Street (1953) 
The Hunted (1948) 
The Crooked Way (1949)
In a Lonely Place (1950) 
The Big Sleep (1946) 
Laura (1944) 
Blast of Silence (1961) 
Murder, My Sweet (1944) 
The Big Combo (1955) 
Wicked Woman (1953) 
Too Late for Tears (1949) 
Detour (1945) 
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) 
The Maltese Falcon (1941) 
Gun Crazy (1950) 
Double Indemnity (1944) 
One Girl’s Confession (1953) 
Deadline at Dawn (1946) 
This Gun for Hire (1942)

Nov 15, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast--Eve Golden, Author of Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Vélez


Biographer Eve Golden returns to the show to discuss her latest Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Velez

This vivacious star deserves a reputation overall. Lies, rumors, and misperceptions have clouded Velez’ legacy. While she didn’t have the opportunities and regard that her talent and starpower should have brought her, she had a remarkable, decades-long career and was a beloved, fascinating woman. 

Content warning: we discuss Lupe’s suicide from 21:04 to 24:58 if you would prefer to skip that part of the conversation.

The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Google, and Radio Public

Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Vélez is a publication of University Press of Kentucky and is available wherever you buy books!

You can learn about Eve Golden's other books on her official website

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Nov 10, 2023

On 4K Ultra HD: Jean-Luc Godard's Le Mépris/Contempt (1963)

 Le Mépris/ Contempt (1963) operates in sun-soaked, colorful betrayal. Jean-Luc Godard’s rebuke to the film industry, wrapped in a tale of a crumbling marriage is set in a warm climate, but cold to its core. In a new 4K Ultra HD from Lionsgate, that juxtaposition between beauty and despair has never been more vibrant. 

Godard always presents something for the eyes to feast upon in this story of a playwright (Michel Piccoli) who is contemplating writing a script for a crass American film producer. In a moment, his young wife (Brigitte Bardot) begins to question his fidelity to her and in his failure to recognize that, begins to lose her. The beautiful, but wistful score by Georges Delerue, one of the most magnificent in cinema, perfectly sets the tone of beauty coupled with tragedy. The striking imagery of the setting in Capri, and Bardot’s beauty are juxtaposed with an atmosphere of loss and spiritual decay. 

It’s ironic that the producer’s insistence that Godard display a nude Bardot to increase interest in the film would ultimately benefit the film. He makes her nude scenes almost comically blunt and exploitive, essentially proving his point further. Bardot wasn’t the first choice for the role and was cast in the hopes her sex appeal would sell the film, but she’s perfect for the role, because she herself was used and underestimated much like her character Camille. 

It’s impossible to miss the symbolism of Fritz Lang appearing as the production’s director, a quietly frustrated man who suffers the indignity of his situation having escaped much worse from the Nazis in World War II (the tale of his film counterpart fleeing Germany after an offer of work from Joseph Goebbels was true). He is accepting of his situation and too much in love with making movies, any kind of movie, to leave a job undone. 

As the tasteless producer, Jack Palance relishes the absurdity of his role, leering at footage of a naked actress frolicking in the water and mumbling to himself with delight that he “loves gods” in the same way one might show approval for a favorite band. 

Le Mépris is precisely the sort of film that justifies the existence of the 4K Ultra HD format. Its luxurious look is rendered with a respectful touch: bold colors, and clean sound and images, but not so sharp a resolution that it loses the warmth of film. I had a feeling of rediscovery watching Le Mépris in this format. 

The disc includes an introduction by film historian, producer, and professor Colin MacCabe.

Many thanks to Lionsgate for providing a copy of the film for review.

Nov 8, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast--Classic Film Picks from Brian Sauer of Pure Cinema Podcast and Just the Discs

I love the movie suggestions Brian Sauer shares as co-host of the Pure Cinema Podcast and as host of Just the Discs podcast and YouTube show. He always comes up with intriguing films I haven’t seen for my ever expanding to-watch list. In this episode, Brian shares five classic film picks and two spares, that would be his selections if he were scheduling the TCM Classic Film Festival. I loved the element of surprise in our conversation, especially because some of his picks sounded great and I can't wait to watch them. 

The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Google, and Radio Public

Films discussed in this episode: 

Christmas in July (1940) 
The Enemy Below (1957) 
Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) 
Pushover (1954) 
Two on a Guillotine (1965) 
Shakedown (1950) 
The Devil Doll (1936) 

I highly recommend following Brian on social media and getting more film recommendation from his shows: 

Just the Discs on YouTube

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Oct 31, 2023

New Video---Japanese Vampires: The Bloodthirsty Trilogy


There have been endless variations of vampire movies since the beginning of cinema. One of my favorite interpretations is in a trio of Japanese classic films directed by Michio Yamamoto and co-written by Ei Qgawa. Known as Bloodthirsty or The Bloodthirsty Trio, they were filmed at Toho studios in the early 70s and offered an interesting East meets West take on the eternal bloodsucker. 

Films featured: 

The Vampire Doll or The Bloodthirsty Doll from 1970 
Lake of Dracula or Bloodthirsty Eyes made in 1971 
Evil of Dracula or The Bloodthirsty Rose from 1974

Oct 20, 2023

Book Review--The Accidental Star: The Life and Films of Warner Baxter

The Accidental Star: The Life and Films of Warner Baxter 
Dan Van Neste 
BearManor Media, 2023 

Before picking up Dan Van Neste’s new biography of the prolific actor Warner Baxter, I didn’t know much about it. My first exposure to him was as the sickly musical director in 42nd Street (1933); the first time he charmed me was opposite Myrna Loy in Penthouse (1933), there were a handful of other performances I could remember, but I realized I knew nothing about Baxter himself. Van Neste’s book introduced me to a complex, thoroughly engaged man, with a life both blessed and turbulent. 

I always liked Baxter, but I didn’t know the scope of what he achieved. Not only did his career span three decades, but he found popular success throughout his career, from the silents to ‘B’ serials. Despite significant personal difficulties, he easily managed the transition from silents to sound, won the second Oscar for best actor, and was for many years one of the most beloved and wealthy stars in Hollywood. He also found the time for a fulfilling personal life, including over three decades of happy marriage to the actress Winifred Bryson and an astonishing array of social groups, charitable pursuits, and hobbies. 

While this remarkably humble and self-preserving man would never reach the career heights of Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and his friend and inspiration Ronald Coleman, his filmography is nevertheless an impressive one. He appeared in the first film version of The Great Gatsby (1926), the only adaptation made in the same decade the book was written, participated in the rebirth of the movie musical with 42nd Street and worked with some of the best directors of the studio age including Frank Capra, John Ford, and William Wellman, if not necessarily on their best films. He was able to find employment that pleased him until the end, emerging from a partial retirement to once again find great success in the 10-film Crime Doctor series. 

Baxter’s accomplishments are all the more impressive considering how much he suffered emotionally. It is never clear what mental illness afflicted him, though there are hints of social anxiety, depression, and bi-polar disorder, all categorized under “nervous breakdown” at the time. Somehow the actor didn’t let his problems destroy his career, likely a testament to the support he had in his marriage and the financial resources that gave him the ability to take long breaks for relaxation. That latter point is especially powerful, demonstrating that even in an age where his condition remained a mystery in many ways, simply having the resources to step away from work was life-changing. 

Van Neste has spoken with several of Baxter’s former co-workers and their memories reveal a kind man who was always willing to help others and never put on the airs of a star. He liked being a famous movie actor, but he seemed too interested in his life to make much of it. I was surprised and fascinated to learn about the rich, interesting life the man most famous for his pep talk to Ruby Keeler’s Peggy Sawyer had. 

Note--The book has an unusual structure: The first half is Baxter's biography, while the second contains a especially detailed filmography. I found it useful to have access to a lot of production details which would have been too numerous to include the telling of his story, but were interesting to know.

Many thanks to Dan Van Neste for providing a copy of the book for review.

Oct 6, 2023

Book Review--Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Vélez, by Eve Golden

Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Vélez 
Eve Golden 
University Press of Kentucky, 2023 

As a biographer, Eve Golden has a knack for clearing the fog around her subjects. In previous books about Jayne Mansfield, Jean Harlow, and John Gilbert, she dug for the truth behind the scandals that overshadowed these stars while also revealing the real person beyond the marquee. She does that once again for Lupe Vélez, a multi-talented, vivacious star who desperately needed a reputation adjustment. 

The Mexico-born Vélez was one of those people who was born to be seen. Her ability to delight audiences extended from the stage to the screen, though she never had the great films to match her talent. I’ve long appreciated Golden’s thorough research and respect for her subjects. She is dedicated to finding the truth while retaining a sense of fairness and decency. The humanity of her subject always appears to be top-of-mind. Here it is easy to see how Vélez got the reputation that she did, but that this flirtatious, outrageous, and temperamental woman was a lot more professional and grounded than rumor would have it. 

Vélez was a spitfire, and it is understandable why the seemingly effortless comedy of her Mexican Spitfire series brought her her greatest fame, but she was far from being only a fiery Latin stereotype. She was a strong dramatic actress, which she demonstrated in the early talkie Resurrection (1931), but studios and audiences didn’t wish to see her this way. As a result, Vélez often had more offers for work than she could accept, but rarely had the opportunity to show the full extent of her talents. 

While Vélez lived a vibrant life full of adventure, friends, lovers, and ultimately lasting prosperity, there’s always the feeling of what she really wants being out of reach. She can’t be alone or sit still and while that can be chalked up to personality in some respects, there’s also the impression that some of the restlessness comes from the constant struggle to reach her full potential professionally and personally. She knows her worth and she can’t degrade herself by settling. 

The book tells this story with a clear eye, aware of Vélez' flaws, but also revealing her strong work ethic, a common touch with almost entire lack of star attitude, and great intelligence in financial matters. It has an easy flow, with a few asides to fill out the big picture as far as the people in Vélez’ life and the times she lived in, but good overall pacing and focus. I love how Golden uses light humor and wry comments to give the narrative the feeling of a good conversation. She finds a solid balance between respect of the subject and a sort of lightness of tone that makes the story as entertaining as it is informative. 

And yes, she explains in full detail why Vélez couldn't have drowned in her toilet. This book rescues her reputation from the dismal gossip around the circumstances of her death, though ultimately it offers a story much richer than the rumors that have overwhelmed her legacy.

Many thanks to University Press of Kentucky for providing a copy of the book for review.

Oct 4, 2023

On YouTube: 100 Years of Movie Vampires


While there are many commonly known characteristics of vampires, from blood and crucifixes to sunlight and garlic, there has always been a lot of variety in the way these blood drinkers are portrayed in movies across time, genre, style, and world culture. This collection shows the similarities and differences across a century of cinema. I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate the start of Spooky Season!

Sep 27, 2023

On YouTube: James Cagney Gets Physical


James Cagney became famous for his slick way with street-smart wisecracks, but he was also a remarkably physical actor, from dancing and action sequences to little bits of business with his expressive hands and face. This compilation explores the many ways this energetic star expressed his physicality in his roles. It was such a fun video to make. I love watching Cagney at work!

Sep 7, 2023

On YouTube: The Worst of Classic Juvenile Delinquent Films


I had a blast putting together this video about 1950s juvenile delinquent flicks. Full of stick-ups, fights, leather, drugs, and “teens” who look like they’re in their 20s or even 30s, there’s nothing quite like them. These are classic movies because their awkward mix of stern, moralistic warnings and bold exploitation are endlessly entertaining.

Aug 30, 2023

Podcasts for Classic Film Fans: August Round-up

A lot of my podcast listening this month featured classic actresses, whether as sole focus of an episode or discussed at length. I loved all of these great tributes to some of the most talented and influential women in studio age Hollywood. All episode titles link to the show: 

Hollywood Obsessed 
August 13, 2023 

Lorenzo Lamas is so humble and charming in this interview in which he discusses both his own career and his famous parents: Fernando Lamas, Arlene Dahl, and stepmother Esther Williams. I’m looking forward to part two.

Cinema Junkie 
August 24, 2023 

This is an excellent talk with Yunte Huang, author of Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong's Rendezvous with American History. He has a great perspective on Wong’s legacy and most important films, in which he acknowledges problematic aspects of her career, but emphasizes where she shined as a performer.

Fade Out 
August 25, 2023 

Film and culture writer Marya Gates talks about Sylvia Sidney’s final film, Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! (1996). I love how she discusses that this late film in her career was her introduction to the actress. The directors who cast film legends like Sidney have done so much to inspire interest in classic films.

Movie Nights & Matinees 
July 30, 2023 

This was a fascinating talk about old school film collecting and projecting. As much as I love the convenience of digital home projection, I’m always going to be drawn to the tactile allure of film.

Aug 23, 2023

On YouTube: Bette Davis Completely Loses it


My latest on YouTube: a tribute to the fiery power of Bette Davis, the actress who inspired my lifelong passion for classic movies.

Aug 16, 2023

On YouTube: 50 MORE Saucy Pre-Code Moments


I had so much fun making my 50 Saucy Pre-Code Moments video that I had to do a part two. There are a lot more clips I want to share, so it is likely that I will eventually make a part three! This period of Hollywood film history is endlessly amusing.

Aug 9, 2023

On YouTube: Barbara Stanwyck Completely Loses it for Four Minutes and Cary Grant Gets Physical


I have been having a blast making YouTube videos lately. My two most recent uploads are tributes to a pair of my favorite actors: Barbara Stanwyck and Cary Grant. I'm going to be posting more frequently on the channel, as I have a lot of things to explore, so if you haven't already, follow me over there to keep in the loop!


Aug 7, 2023

News! My Film The Light to Play at the Tacoma Film Festival 2023


I am thrilled to share that my short film The Light has been selected for Tacoma Film Festival 2023. This is the first film that I have submitted to a festival and the first narrative movie I've made, so I'm incredibly honored to be included.

The city of Tacoma has special meaning for me because my Dad was born there. He was a major factor in my becoming interested in classic films and supported me by buying me books, our first VCR, and loads of VHS cassettes for recording afternoon matinees.

The Light is the story of a spirit lost between worlds who reminisces about her past life while trying to figure out where she belongs in the afterworld. I narrate the story over a series of clips from public domain films which I edited together to create a new work.

After the festival in October, I will be sharing the film with a wider audience, but for now, I'm delighted to have made something which has earned these laurels:

Aug 2, 2023

Podcasts for Classic Film Fans: July Round-up

The highlight of my podcast listening this month was finding a couple of fascinating new-to-me shows. All episode titles link to the show: 

All Things Marilyn 
June 26, 2023 

An excellent deep dive into the facts about the famous dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy and the night of the fundraiser where she sang. It’s an episode as much about getting facts straight about any historical event as it is doing justice to Monroe.

Forgotten Hollywood 
June 26, 2023 

Nat Segaloff was a publicist for The Exorcist (1973) and he brings his insider view to a new book, The Exorcist Legacy: 50 Years of Fear. He shares a lot of great stories from the early promotion of the film to the rumors that surrounded the production.

Weird Work 
June 2, 2022 

I loved this older episode about the interesting, but demanding work of a movie location scout. There’s a lot more to this job than I expected.

Teenage Golden Age 
July 27, 2023 

This was a solid overview of the remarkable variety in Elizabeth Taylor’s life with her most recent biographer, Kate Anderson Brower. I agreed when Brower called her, “the first influencer.” I think that accurately describes the effect she had on her public throughout her life, including her enormous and brave work fighting AIDs.

Jul 26, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast: The Wild World of Sixties Film Fashion with Fashion Instagrammer Rachel Boyce

Fashion Instagrammer and actress Rachel Boyce lives her love of 60s and 1700s period fashion. While we tend to refer to previous decades when talking about fashion trends, Rachel looks back centuries when sharing her extensive knowledge about how past looks influence the present. We talked about how many years of different styles found their way into the cultural explosion of the sixties, including the wide variety of films made in that decade. 

Listen to our previous episode about Sharon Tate and owning vintage fashion:

The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Google, and Radio Public

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Jul 19, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast--Talking Cult Movies with Millie de Chirico Co-Author of TCM Underground: 50 Must-See Films from the World of Classic Cult and Late-Night Cinema

Millie de Chirico has long been a knowledgeable and accessible champion for classic film in her work programming for TCM and the TCM Classic Film Festival, as co-host of the essential I Saw What You Did podcast, and now as co-author with Quatoyiah Murry of the amazing book TCM Underground: 50 Must-See Films from the World of Classic Cult and Late-Night Cinema. I loved having her back on the show to talk about how changing access to films has widened the landscape for cult flicks and dig into some of the fascinating movies Millie wrote about in the book.

Listen to my previous conversation with Millie about late career Elizabeth Taylor. It’s one of my favorite episodes:


I also did a video review of the book when it first came out:

The show is available on—



Amazon Music




Radio Public

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Jul 14, 2023

On DVD/Blu-Ray: Erich von Stroheim's Impeccable Foolish Wives (1922) is Impeccably Restored


If there’s anything that screams out for a 4K restoration, it’s an Erich von Stroheim film, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and The Museum of Modern Art have done so in a stunning collaboration, now available on DVD/Blu-ray from Flicker Alley. Full of elaborate scenes and meticulously-constructed details, Foolish Wives (1922) is typical of the director’s craft and a wonder to see with such clarity. 

Touted as the first one-million-dollar film, a figure far from the original budget, Foolish Wives shows all of that on the screen. Director, writer, and star von Stroheim is a slippery con man who calls himself Count Wladislaw Sergius Karamzin and scams wealthy wives in glamorous settings. Here it’s Monte Carlo, actually a luxurious set constructed in Northern California, but you wouldn’t know it. 

The fake count is partners in crime with his supposed cousins who go by Princess" Vera Petchnikoff (Mae Busch) and "Her Highness" Olga Petchnikoff (Maude George). They are tended to by their maid Maruschka (Dale Fuller), whom Sergius takes advantage of in every way. 

This convincingly glamorous trio does its best to strip high society for parts, targeting victims with the focus of a billionaire buying up failing corporations. They have no heart or ambition beyond acquiring wealth and it is ultimately a losing proposition for them, but they have a merry time going to hell. 

Von Stroheim films their journey with a sense of eroticism and sensation, in addition to luxuriating in the lush surroundings. It’s such a decadent setting that it’s a bit shocking when he slows down to show reverence to a World War I vet who is an amputee. As one of the Count’s victims waits to be whisked to him in the night, she sees the armless man, and tenderly places a cape that has fallen to the ground on his shoulders again. 

It is moments like these that give von Stroheim’s work the feeling of being truly rooted in life, despite their outrageous settings and characters. Whatever sensations he pursues, he doesn’t look at them with tunnel vision, any drama has another story happening alongside of it. It’s a testament to the richness and complexity of his work. There simply has never been a filmmaker quite like this and we are fortunate to be able to see his work presented so beautifully over one hundred years after he put it on film. 

The Flicker Alley print is jawdropping in its clarity. I couldn't believe how clean and clear it looked. The set includes a lot of helpful and illuminating bonus material, including the archival Filming Foolish Wives (1922), the documentary The Waves and Merry-Go-Round: On Location with Erich von Stroheim, and the wonderfully detailed Erich von Stroheim and Hollywood’s First Million-Dollar Picture. All are essential viewing, because the production of the film is as interesting as the work itself. I also appreciated the essays in the accompanying booklet, including Searching for Foolish Wives: The Decades-Long Effort to Reconstruct Erich con Stroheim’s Masterpiece by James Layton. 

Many thanks to Flicker Alley for providing the set for review.

Jul 12, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast: The Fact and Fiction of True-Crime Masterpiece Chameleon Street (1989) with Paula Guthat of Cinema Detroit


The 1989 film Chameleon Street, written, directed by, and starring Wendell B. Harris Jr. won the grand jury prize for a dramatic film at Sundance Film Festival in 1990. But that honor didn’t lead to the accolades and long directing career that it should have. This quirky masterwork tells the true crime story of William Douglas Street, Jr., a con artist from Detroit who has successfully impersonated athletes, lawyers, reporters, and doctors over a long career of scamming. He is currently in prison for identity theft. I spoke with Cinema Detroit co-founder Paula Guthat about this fascinating film, the wild story behind it, and how Harris molded this tale of the con into a reflection of life, society, and the performance of being human. 


The show is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, PocketCasts, Breaker, Google, RePod, and Radio Public 

Please rate and review wherever you listen! 

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month 

Jul 10, 2023

New Video: 50 Saucy Pre-Code Moments


I had a lot of fun making my latest YouTube video, 50 Saucy Pre-Code Moments. It offers a window into what movies were becoming before they were subject to a more firmly enforced production code.

Jul 5, 2023

Watching Classic Movies Podcast: Bogie, Bacall, and The Hollywood Home Front Trilogy with Martin Turnbull

I was happy to welcome back novelist Martin Turnbull, my most popular guest on the podcast to date. We talked about Bogart, Bacall, Hollywood and Warner Brothers Studios during World War II and how they are featured in his Hollywood Homefront Trilogy including the recently released finale to this fascinating blend of fact and fiction You Must Remember This

The show is available on—



Amazon Music




Radio Public

Like the podcast? Want to hear more frequent episodes? Subscriptions are as low as 99 cents a month

You can also support my work on ko-fi

Jun 28, 2023

Podcasts for Classic Film Fans: June Round-up

With the passing of Harry Belafonte and Treat Williams on my mind, I searched out great tributes to these actors in my podcast listening this month. While I usually focus on new episodes; I often find myself going back to catch older episodes I've missed, and which better suit my interests at a later date. All episode titles link to the shows: 

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast 
October 6, 2019 

I was devastated to learn Treat Williams had left us so suddenly. This episode of the also dearly departed Gilbert Gottfried’s excellent podcast from a few years back has always stayed with me. I love the playful joy of their conversation.

Cinema Junkie 
June 6, 2023 

Silent film accompanist Ben Model celebrates the tenth anniversary of his DVD label Undercrank Productions with Beth Accomando. He shares his history, process, and what he is doing to keep the love of silent film alive.

Maltin on Movies 
June 2, 2023 

Not only is this conversation with director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever) a delight, but it’s a must-listen for aspiring filmmakers. Badham was ahead of his time when it came to working with actors. He learned quickly to listen rather than pull rank.
Micheux Mission 
April 25, 2023 

There’s a great tribute to Harry Belafonte in the first part of this episode, including a list of suggested films that are notable in that they include comedies. As I had only seen Belafonte in dramas myself, it was interesting to hear the hosts discuss his comic chops.

Jun 14, 2023

On YouTube: A Rainbow of Classic Movie Fashion

Color in classic film fashion is so powerful in setting mood and defining a character. In a series of clips that move through the colors of the rainbow, this new video on my YouTube channel demonstrates the many ways a variety of hues can affect the look and feel of a movie.


May 31, 2023

Podcasts for Classic Film Fans: May Round-up

A lot of my podcast listening this week involved subjects that connected to current day issues. From striking workers to the examination of Asian-American actors in Hollywood, it was a reminder that our history consistently flavors the present. Episode titles link to shows:

Little Gold Men by Vanity Fair 
May 11, 2023 

The discussion about Flower Drum Song (1961) which starts at about the 25-minute mark is a solid analysis of the film because it draws from the past and present state of Asian-American actors in Hollywood.

The Tinsel Factory: A Film History Podcast
May 14, 2023 

This is a fascinating history of the 1941 Disney animator’s strike of 1941, made more fascinating by the current WGA strike, which seems to be only the beginning of an industry-wide push for big change.
Rarified Heir
May 16, 2023 

The only child of Vincent Price, Victoria Price has always been a great storyteller when it comes to sharing her unusual childhood. While she spent a lot of time alone, she was deeply loved, and her famous father made her a priority as much as he was able. She does a great job telling that complicated tale here.

Just the Discs
May 15, 2023 

The concept of Brian Sauer’s podcast seems simple: he discusses new releases on disc, but the way he does it is what makes this show satisfying. He approaches each episode with the energy of a knowledgeable fan, so there’s always lots of great information about the film, but it’s shared in a friendly, accessible way. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to expand their physical media collection.

May 26, 2023

Book Review--But Have You Read the Book? 52 Literary Gems That Inspired Our Favorite Films


While the first films I saw as a child were book adaptations like The Wizard of OZ (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) it wasn’t until much later in life that I thought about what the process of adapting a written work to the big screen entailed. In her new book, But Have You Read the Book? 52 Literary Gems That Inspired Our Favorite Films, podcaster and entertainment writer Kristen Lopez brings a well-researched eye to that process. 

There are a lot of ways to approach describing the task and results of adaptation, but Lopez keeps it streamlined, picking the most prominent film where multiple versions of a story have been made and focusing most of her 52 entries on the differences between page and screen. She uses side bars to address some of those complicating factors, like other adaptations worth noting and bits of interesting, related trivia. The films stretch from 1931 to the present day and are diverse in theme, subject, and genre, though the focus is on Hollywood films. 

In the wake of the book’s release, there has been some online chatter about readers planning to tackle every book and film in, But Have You Read the Book? including some who are as ambitious to attempt an entry a week and finish every title in the book in a year. Fortunately that would be a pleasant task, because Lopez’ selections are all excellent films and novels, which of course is often not the case. 

The idea of exploring the source material along with a film adaptation has long been a popular one among film fans. Lopez has handled the task of translating this concept to the page with a light touch and thorough analysis. It’s an entertaining read in addition to being informative. 

Many thanks to TCM for providing a copy of the book for review.