Monday, January 25th, 2010


I saw Pitfall, Deported, Fly-By-Night, and Cry Danger over the weekend. I’ll see four more later this week. On opening night, Eddie Muller opened the festival with this brilliant tribute to film noir called “The Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir”:

Amazingly, this wonderful video was edited together by a 20-year old girl named Serena Bramble. Her homage brought the house down.

Yeah, I’m a few days late on this one. Like I said, I was really busy making that facebook page and all.

Sadly, we’ve lost another great actress of the classic era. Jean Simmons died on Thursday, just a little over a week short of her 81st birthday.

Simmons started her career on the screen in small roles in B-pictures before moving up the ranks in Hollywood. Soon she was getting supporting roles in major films with major directors, like Michael Powell and David Lean. Soon she was playing the leading lady in a variety of roles, from Shakespeare to noir to biblical epics.

She worked diligently in film throughout the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, and she then moved on to many television projects, including the miniseries North and South and the popular television show Murder She Wrote.

She’s known for her more popular films, like Black Narcissus and Great Expectations, but since this is Obscure Classics after all, I want to hit on a few of her lesser remembered films.

Angel Face is a fantastic noir that Simmons made with film noir heavyweight Robert Mitchum. It has an intentionally slow pace that builds the suspense for a wallop of a conclusion. Mitchum is, as always, pretty great. But it’s Simmons who really anchors the movie. She’s definitely nuts, but she’s so calm about it that it’s really downright eerie.

So Long at the Fair is a strange film, based on a supposedly true story (the details on it are sketchy and hard to pin down). This time Simmons is playing a sane person who everyone thinks is crazy, and it’s a more frantic performance than the one in Angel Face. It works as both a bizarre mystery and as a strong costume drama.

Yeah, I’ve been spending all this time I should have been posting making a facebook page for the site. Well, not really. Just the past day or so. The rest of the time I’ve spent being crazy busy and having a standoff with my bitchtastic computer. But I assure you, normal updates are on their way back.

But, for now, just go over to facebook and become a fan. All posts made here will be shared on the facebook page as soon as they’re up, so you regular facebook followers will be able to see if we have an update up or not, and that way you don’t have to check the site every single day, as I’m sure you all do. Wow, that was a really long sentence. If I get rid of some of the capitalization it would look right at home in a Faulkner novel.

Speaking of Faulkner, stay tuned for the new blog I’ll be starting in the next week, Faulkner February. Yeah, that’s basically what it sounds like.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Obscure-Classics/265663449853?v=wall#/pages/Obscure-Classics/265663449853?ref=sgm