A Chat about Bogie and Classic Film with our Guest Bogie Blogger – Ashley!

oofoaisr

I put out the call a few weeks back to see if anyone was interested in helping to contribute to the December 2016 “Bogie-A-Day” blogathon, and much to my happiness, a friend from Twitter stepped forward!

Now, I’ve gotten a glimpse into Ashley’s life from her numerous posts every week on everything from the Cubs (nice), to the Jets (I’ll forgive you, Ashley), to what usually dominates her Twitter feed – Classic Films. Lots of people tweet about Classics, right? Well, there were a few tweets in particular that caught my eye. First of all – the lists:

6

But everybody movie-lover makes lists, right? I mean, even if her #BestDVDEver list changes slightly every time she posts a new one, every film geek jumps at the chance to categorize the films they love. Although, Ashley likes to get serious with her categorization. “Hey, Netflix. . . lemme help you out a bit!”

7

5

8

2

And, of course:

9

We agree on a #1??? What else do I need to know? Then you’ve got the tweets that show a level of fandom that surpasses most anything else you’ve seen:

untitled

There are three possible reactions to that pic.

1 – I have no idea what that means.

2 – O….M….G….

If you’re in the latter category, you realize that this is a fan with strong, unique, intelligent sensibilities.

I got to chat with Ashley a bit for this post, and I was so immediately thrown by how deep her love for Classic Film goes. My first instinct was to immediately shut the lights off on the blog and hand her the keys.

“You take it,” I said, “I’m a wannabe.”

She laughed and tossed the keys back. You can’t limit her input and output to just Bogart! There are thousands of films out there to watch!

So before we hear from her on specific films, come down the path with me for a bit and get to know Ashley! Then add her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ oOoOoBarracuda) and get to know her film review blog too (https://belowtheline39.wordpress.com), and her movie diary on on Letterboxd, http://letterboxd.com/ Barracuda/

Bogie Film Blog: Ashley, tell me a little about yourself.

Ashley: My name is Ashley, I’m 27 years old, and work for a legislator in Illinois.

BFG: What’s the draw for you when it comes to Classic Film?

A: I find that there is something so pure about black and white movies. I, of course, watch colorized films, but I am instantly warmer towards a movie when I see that it is black and white. Classic film directors seem to be more invested in the escapism of film. Film is such a unique art because it transcends geographic and psychological limitations. Realism is important, of course; one is much more engaged in a film if they can feel a relation to it. Classic film directors however, seemed to be much more in tuned to taking relatable everyday realism and transporting it to the big screen in such a grand way that the audience escapes their actual life and can really submerge themselves into the glorious world of cinema. It is in my view that classic films are so much better able to penetrate real feeling people and put them on screen for the audience to see. Classic films just embody the situations and events that make up our everyday life. In my estimation, that’s the reason so many stars of the Golden Age, like Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart, for instance, feel like the “everyman” people that they were.

BFB: What’s the film that hooked you?

A: As a naturally introspective person, I have analyzed this question to death, and I don’t truly know. My family doesn’t appreciate classic films and my friends often refuse to watch my “old movies” with me. It seems like classic films were a part of my D.N.A. I’ve always preferred films past to films present. That being said, I will never forget the first time I watched Harvey. Watching Jimmy Stewart treat a town’s worth of people, who thought he was certifiably insane, with deep love and respect {and then} turning out to be the wisest person in the bunch has actually shaped my personality. It was the film that taught me to treat people as good as you are, and to remain true to yourself in spite of everyone that wants you to change. Aside from a brilliant and much-needed message, Harvey also showed me the depth an actor could have. No one could see Stewart’s 6′ 3½” co-star, yet his characterization necessitated that he could. The depth Stewart gave his nice guy character is a brilliance I will never forget.

999

BFB: Harvey is also one of my all time favorites, and was probably in the first 5 Classic Films I ever saw! I loved it so much that I used the alleyway monologue for my college acting auditions. Talk to me about your favorite all time Classic Film?

A: Of course, this is a difficult question, and the best I could do is narrow it down to two. When I first saw The Lost Weekend I was absolutely floored. It took another viewing before I was even able to talk about it coherently. I find Ray Milland a vastly talented, yet underrated actor, and his on-screen portrayal of addiction is a characterization for the ages. This film also showed me how much a director can give impact to a scene in the simplest of ways. I was 19 when I first saw The Lost Weekend, so I wasn’t that far along in my understanding of film as art, but a couple things {Billy} Wilder did in that film were incredible. In one scene, the audience is told how long Milland’s “Don Birnam” has been in the bar by how many perspiration rings are on the table; that small detail packed such an emotional punch, I felt it through the screen. Also the opening of that film; I find it one of the most powerful openings of all time as the audience sees a bottle being hidden outside of a window before being invited into the home of an addict. Wilder certainly had a penchant for the emotionally powerful and he struck gold with The Lost Weekend.

rings

12 Angry Men is another film that I just love. Sidney Lumet is responsible for so many classic films, yet rarely gets mentioned among lists of “the great directors.” His masterful telling of the backstories of each juror while leaving them nameless is a directorial feat. Lumet is also a king of the one-setting narrative, which is a type of film I greatly enjoy. To limit oneself to a single setting to tell a story and avoid it coming off flat is something not all can master.

BFB: From the looks of your Twitter account, you watch a ton of films, new and old. On average, how many do you watch in a week?

A: I have a great admiration for Francois Truffaut, and a very serious love affair with his films. I read once that his academic goals after dropping out of school included that he read three books a week and watch three films a day. I have taken that philosophy and altered it, and I try my best to watch two films a day and read one book a week. Some weeks are better than others, but I typically watch no less than 14 films a week. Every month I make a theme (this month it is “films with a place name in the title”) and compile a list of films to see corresponding with how many days are in the month to keep myself organized and engaged.

BFB: Ashley, that’s astounding! You are an organized gal to say the least. If only I had 1/10 of that drive!  

So I gotta ask, what’s your favorite Bogart film, and why?

A: The ultimate every man, Humphrey Bogart made each film he was in his; he’s one of my favorite actors of all-time, making it difficult to pick one favorite. If pressed, I would pick In a Lonely Place. He gave his character, “Dixon Steele,” so much depth and in such an emotional role. There are so many brilliant Bogart films, but I can watch In a Lonely Place absolutely any time and be floored by him. Also, as Louise Brooks writes in her essay, I find it very intriguing if that truly was the role that came closest to the “real” Humphrey Bogart.

BFB: I’ve read that as well. I definitely think it sounds like the “real” Bogart on the latter half of his career – especially after some of the regrets and disappointments he faced with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

quote-on-the-house-un-american-activities-committee-they-ll-nail-anyone-who-ever-scratched-humphrey-bogart-52-85-54

I just revisited the film for a post on Director Nicholas Ray that will be up at the end of the month.

If you could trade places with one Classic star, who would it be and why?

A: I would pick to trade places with Dorothy McGuire on the set of Gentleman’s Agreement. I find Gregory Peck wonderful. I enjoy him much more than Cary Grant, for instance, so I would love to have been able to work with him on a film. Gentleman’s Agreement also boasts a young Dean Stockwell, who is another actor I quite enjoy; the film is also directed by Elia Kazan who is an amazing talent. I would have enjoyed meeting Kazan and picking his brain between takes.

BFB: Is it bad to admit that my favorite Dean Stockwell work is from Quantum Leap? I loved that show as a kid, and in the big two-part Vietnam episode, I was in tears from Stockwell’s work at the end. I’m tearing up now! We should close out here so I can find some tissues. . . 

Ashley, where can people find you on the web?

A: I also found Quantum Leap excellent! I am so thankful that I made the quest through Dean Stockwell’s filmography, otherwise I doubt that I would have discovered it. Oh, that Vietnam episode, I get teary just thinking about that.

I would love for people to visit my movie diary on Letterboxd, http://letterboxd.com/ Barracuda/ or to follow me on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ oOoOoBarracuda!

BFB: Thanks, Ashley! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Tune in tomorrow for Ashley’s take on The Desperate Hours!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s