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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Contributing Editor & Senior Technician: DEANNA S.

Deanna S.

1 Performer: Harry Davenport

E-MAIL CONTACT: DiamondGal@q.com


BIRTHDAY: April 13, 1968 in Missouri


INTERESTS: Spending time with my husband, family, and friends; dining out; listening to music / watching TV; attending movies and concerts; designing graphics and developing web sites; keeping up with email pals; surfing the IMDB. I love to do a lot of things, but simply don't have the time. One day, I'll do more floral arrangement, cross-stitching, crocheting. writing, drawing, and painting. I have two male polydactyl (means they have extra toes) cats who are half brothers. These are unusual and sought after cats, because of their unique quality. These cats came to me purely by accident when their stray mother chose my backyard for her nursery and has subsequently delivered several litters here. Ernest Hemingway owned polydactyl cats at his Florida home, and today all of these cats are said to be descendants of the ones he had. If you believe in myths, they are thought to bring good luck wherever they are, so I should have twice the good luck I had before they found their way into my home! Their names are Sabu (named after the classic actor) and Kashmir. I also have a female cat named Trixie that decided to adopt my family. :-)

WHAT MAKES A MOVIE A CLASSIC: What constitutes a movie classicLa Belle et la Bête (1946) is a timeless plot that endures over the decades, like The Wizard of Oz (1939), as well as excellent acting and outstanding directing. Many of the "classics" shown on AMC (American Movie Classics) are not classics in my opinion, because they are way too recent. For example, Cocoon (1985) was a good movie, but I don't consider it a "classic" in the same regard that I consider Singin' in the Rain (1952) or Gone With the Wind (1939). TCM (Turner Classic Movies) does a better job of being a classic movie channel, I think.

PERFORMERS MET: Martha Raye (sort of...we were not introduced but she talked to my parents and I during one of her performances), Fats Domino, Little Jimmy Dickens.

FAVORITE MOVIES:. La Belle et la Bête (1946) (France) [aka: Beauty and the Beast (USA)], Alice In Wonderland (1933), Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), Oliver! (1968), The Enchanted Forest (1945), March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) [aka: Babes In Toyland], Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Stage Door (1937), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), The Wizard of Oz (1939)It's A Wonderful Life (1946), A Christmas Carol/Scrooge (1938 and 1951 versions), Bush Christmas (1947) - Australian classic film, Apartment for Peggy (1948), Little Women (1949), Blondie and Dagwood movies, Ma and Pa Kettle movies, Francis the Talking Mule movies, The Bowery Boys movies, The Little Rascals shorts, Charlie Chan movies, Hitchcock movies, Nancy Drew movies, Tarzan movies, Danny Kaye movies, and all the Jules Bass/Arthur Rankin, Jr. stop-motion animation films made for television (also a big favorite of my children), and many other films that I'm not thinking of right now! The next movies I hope to watch are part of Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy: Le Sang d'un Poète (1930) (France) [aka: The Blood of a Poet (USA)], Orphée (1950) (France) [aka: Orpheus (USA)] and Le Testament d'Orphée (1960) (France) [aka: Testament of Orpheus (USA)].

FAVORITE ACTORS/ACTRESSES: Donald O'Connor, Gene Kelly, Jean Marais, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Tony Curtis, Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Tyrone Power, W. C. Fields, Frank Morgan, Harry Davenport, Edmund Gwenn, William Holden, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Roddy McDowall, Milton Berle, Yul Brynner, Alan Ladd, John Derek, Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Lake, Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Johnny Weissmuller, Sabu, Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Brenda Joyce, Shirley Temple, Charlotte Henry, Ginger Rogers, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse, Josette Day, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, June Allyson, Jeanne Crain,Singin' in the Rain (1952) Jean Hagen, Lucille Ball, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour, Carmen Miranda, Esther Williams, Mae West, Penny Singleton, Marjorie Main, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Mitzi Gaynor, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, The Marx Brothers, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, and many more. A few favorite modern day actors are Tim Curry, Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Gene Wilder, Patrick Stuart, Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Drew Barrymore. These people are all great in the their own right, but I don't feel right about mixing them in with the classic stars listed above. I also very much admire Jean Cocteau (artist/director/poet/playwright/novelist/set designer/actor) and Tim Burton (artist/writer/producer/director), and believe they deserve honorable mentions for their contributions to the film industry.

TESTIMONY: I came to love classic movies when I was a kid growing up in the '70s. I used to watch all the old movies run on TV by a local station in St. Louis on Saturday and Sunday mornings/afternoons. My mom is an old movie buff, so I learned a lot from her, as well. I started out watching The Little Rascals, which I liked since they were kids and so was I at the time (and I still like it now that I'm grown too). I watched pretty much whatever the weekend offering was that particular week, and saw many slapstick comedies like the Blondie and Dagwood movies, Francis The Talking Mule, Road to Morocco (1942)The Bowery Boys, Ma and Pa Kettle, Marx Bros., Abbott and Costello, and "The Road To ...." movies with Bob, Bing and Dorothy. Another staple of the TV station's were Shirley Temple films, Tarzan films, and Esther Williams' bathing beauty movies. The Three Stooges were often on in the morning before school, or in the afternoon after school, so I watched them all the time. My mom was/is a big Laurel and Hardy fan, so of course we watched those together and laughed our behinds off. Love the pratfalls and the pie-in-the-face scenes, and all the other silliness! I love most of the comedies and musicals, and movies that combine elements of each are even better. Anything with singing and dancing or humor is okay in my book! I like to admire the beautiful costumes worn in the films, the jewelry, the head-dresses, the shoes, the hairstyles, etc. I also like antique furniture, so it's fun to notice the different furniture and decor in the films. Much of it is really beautiful if you take the time to look around at the surroundings the actors/actresses are in. I also like to speculate about what color clothing the actresses are wearing in black and white films, based on the shade of gray. :-) Anything that has a lot of fantasy elements in it, I love, like La Belle et la Bête (1946) (France) [aka: Beauty and the Beast, (USA)], Alice In Wonderland (1933), The Wizard of Oz (1939), March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) [aka: Babes In Toyland], The Thief of Bagdad (1940), etc. Aside from these "fluffy" films (although some *do* have engaging plot lines that go along with the elaborate costumes, sets and props), I also love the classic detective/mystery type films, film-noir and horror genres. Hence my love for the Charlie Chan and Nancy Drew mysteries, and Abbott and Costello kind of gets in this vein occasionally too, with some of their "scary" films. Hitchcock is a favorite. I love to watch his films and catch the old reruns of the "Alfred Hitchcock Hour". Of the horror films, ones like Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and House of Wax (1953) immediately come to The Wolf Man (1941)mind, with Vincent Price. With his distinctive voice and physical appearance, he could always give a chilling performance in these macabre classics, and remains one of my favorite actors to this day. Of course I love all the old monster movies too, like Frankenstein (1931), The Wolf Man (1941), and Dracula (1931). Oh, and let's not forget The Invisible Man (1933). At first glance it probably seems strange that I like these films since I have such a love for the fantasy and "light" films mentioned above, but after a closer look it's easy to see why they are also appealing. In one sense they are the antithesis of those types of films, yet they contain fantasy elements too, just the darker side of them. So, I think it's the basic fantasy thing that drew me to all these different types of films as a child. Still a kid at heart to this day, I love these movies and the memories of childhood that they bring, and always will. They are a great escape from my everyday life, into wonderful, magical places!

*Contributed by: "Deanna S." Date: Tues, Jan 24 2007 / 19:37:13 PST
Movie stills displayed: La Belle et la Bête (1946), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Singin' in the Rain (1952), Road to Morroco (1942), The Wolf Man (1941)Updated: Thurs, Jan 25 2007 / 12:44:50 PST