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