Monday, March 1, 2010

Blogs you may not know about, but should...


We've got a few awards to hand out here at the Movietone blog family.
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First, we've recently received two Kreativ Blogger Awards, one from TheAnswerMVP2001 at Common Sense Movie Reviews for Carfax Abbey and one from the tireless Kate Gabrielle at Discovering Dirk Bogarde for The Marx Brothers Council of Britain.
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It was Kate who asked, and quite reasonably I thought, for her recipients to start spelling 'Creative' properly, and to that end I hereby introduce a new logo:
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Because it's sort of like a whole new award now I decided to change the rules in a few other ways too (of which more at the end) and also to hand it on to four sites that have been delighting me lately but which, it would seem, have not yet been spotted by the greater number.
So it gives me nothing but obscene, childish pleasure to tell you about...
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1. Laszlo's On Lex
Laszlo's is a movie blog with a difference: its author, who would have you believe he is named Gordon Pasha, was actually there. Swallow your jealousy as best you can as you immerse yourself in the fascinating, revealing and frequently enigmatic streams of consciousness of a man who, when he speaks of forties cinema, does so with a love and insight formed from personal experience.
Some of his pieces withhold their full meaning in the most intriguing fashion (try this, for instance: unless I'm mistaken, that's the bloke from Quatermass Experiment and the spooky chapel from the remake of Man Who Knew Too Much... but what links them?)
The best place to start, I think, is with the post Walled City:
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In the late thirties and the 1940s, we lived in what seemed a great walled city that kept the young locked in by the complexities of a great depression and the anxieties of our parents facing a great war. Yet there were gates to and from that city -- but the gates led not outside, but within. They were called movie houses and were adorned with fanciful names...
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It makes for a unique atmosphere, and a unique mix, yet so far it seems that only me and Amanda at A Noodle In A Haystack have spotted it. Fascinated by all this, it's been my recent pleasure to correspond with Gerald (aka Gordon) and get to know him a little, and I'm delighted to pass on the Creative Blogger Award to him.
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2. The March Studios
Informed by a deep love for and knowledge of such masters as Chaplin and the Marxes, Jorgé makes short films in which she serves as writer, director, star and everything else you can think of. I hope it's okay to say that I really wasn't sure what to make of them the first time round, but then I found myself visiting again, and then again, and then again. Now I'm just a fan: they won me over completely.
The most recent one, the latest adventure of her recurring character Detective Poy (Detective Poy Meets the Visitors from Outer Space) could be her most elaborate yet: I especially love the car chase. (Imagine some historically impossible collaboration between the young Chaplin and the young Ed Wood...) The films are all made in and around (presumably) her house, and the recurring locations and fact that there's never anyone else about gives them an almost spooky fairy-tale quality. It's all really sweet and utterly disarming and, in a very real way, it lifts my spirits.
Jorgé has also energetically joined the campaign to save Marx Brothers Place that we are championing over at The Marx Brothers Council of Britain, and so for all these reasons I would be delighted if Jorgé would accept the Creative Blogger Award.
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3. Dreaming in Deco, Darling
A brand spanking new and gloriously promising 2010 blog "about everything glamorous and fabulous in the 1920's to the 1940's" and taking its agenda from the following unimpeachable
cri de coeur:
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Have the days of glamour died? It seems so. Walking down the streets of Cincinnati surrounded by beautiful and ornate Art Deco architecture, I can't help to silently wonder why so many people are content to spend their day in a Bengals jersey and sweatpants, completely oblivious to the glamour that used to walk these streets. What happened to the days gone by of old Hollywood style, glittery gowns, fur stoles, pin curls and red, come hither lips? It saddens me that these days have passed, for I feel I am truly an old soul born in the wrong time period. I developed this blog as a tribute to the days of Art Deco, and as a means to step back in time and bring the days of glamour back.
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Have a Creative Blogger Award in eager anticipation of more of the same!
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4. The House of Cobwebs
The House of Cobwebs is a vast repository of (largely) British tat saved from oblivion by Karl LaFong (capital L, small A, Capital F, small O, small N, small G). Here you'll find oddly sexist girls' comics of the 1970's, Stan Laurel money boxes, Charlie Chester's autobiography The World is Full of Charlies, and such refreshing clear-sightedness as:
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One of the benefits (?) of the bachelor's life is the freedom to do precisely as you please; this means that you can pursue nerdy, ultra-male, often highly ridiculous pursuits to an absurd degree, unfettered by any need to pay visits to Ikea, or engage in extensive early-morning discussions about how the relationship might be "progressing".
One such pursuit is my current project: to collect and watch every film ever made by the legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi. Far more worthwhile than any relationship with a woman, don't you agree?
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Who could not? You don't even need to read the posts to know you'll feel at home here. Just pick from the labels index: cravatted Lotharios, Death Rays, faded showgirls, False Beards, former Minister of Transport Ernest Marples, gypsy looks, Hindenberg Disaster, holiday camps, Kitchen Cupboards, ladies' ankles, pages missing, regret, wallpaper pasting tables, Zapruder...
I'll understand perfectly if the last thing he needs is a Creative Blogger Award, but what the hell.
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My aim in passing these awards on, as I said, was primarily to honour blogs that are new, or just new to me, and that I think others would like but may perhaps be unaware of.
But the arrival last week of a Lovely Blog Award from CK Dexter Haven of Hollywood Dreamland, gives me the happy opportunity to also tip the hat to a not so closely guarded secret. So, here's a Lovely Blog Award to add to the doubtless bulging sack of similar baubles and trophies owned by Ginger Ingenue, a born prose stylist with a cheerfully obsessive love for the Dead End Kids, at my current biggest obsession Asleep In New York.
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And finally, Dave at The Marx Brothers and Lugubrious Drollery has given me his own Manly Blogger Guy Award, in recognition of my fearless and undaunting commitment to shoehorning pictures of top-looking gals into my blogs on the flimsiest of pretexts. Nice to see all that hard work wasn't for nothing. As you can see, the logo depicts that eternal icon of masculinity perfected, the Hai-Karate range of gents' toiletries.
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Needless to say, these most coveted of awards cannot simply be handed out willy-nilly. According to Dave:
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1. The blog receiving the award must demonstrate masculine qualities such as sloth, boorishness, urinary hesitancy or flatulence. In the interest of equal opportunity, these criteria do not entirely exclude female nominees.
2. No blog which plays background music such as "Somewhere My Love" or "My Heart Will Go On" is eligible.

3. The award should be passed on to as many other blogs as possible, but watching televised sports or taking a nap should take precedence over passing out awards.
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Exacting criteria, but I think I've found the ideal candidate:
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The Clint Eastwood Project
I have a fondness for sites that dedicate themselves to some absurd completist task. I myself have one in which I am documenting my efforts to read every Dennis Wheatley novel in order. (And if you're one of the eleven followers kind enough to give a damn, I promise I will break the six-month silence in the next couple of weeks.)
Here, a father and son aim to find the secret of manhood by eating fast food and watching every single Clint Eastwood film in order. In their own words:
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Brad Flory is a middle-aged man and Andrew Flory is his 15-year-old son. They argue about many things, but on this truth they agree: Clint Eastwood is a real man. Together they will explore every facet of Eastwoodism by watching all 60 movies with an acting appearance by The Great Grunter. The eternal male wisdom found in these films, including examples of excellent spitting, will be shared here, movie by movie, in chronological order.
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Having recently finished doing research work on the forthcoming megabook Clint: A Retrospective, I feel like I've watched every film he made, but these boys make me realise that I only scratched the surface. At present, they're still struggling through the walk-on years, so have a well-deserved Manly Blogger Guy Award, Brad and Andrew, in the hope that it will inspire you to persevere in your noble quest.
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Now for the small print:
The original rules for accepting all these awards included the injunction to pass them on to others; the Creative Blogger Award specifically requires that the recipient list seven interesting things about themselves and pass the award on to seven others.
But because several of my chosen bloggers this time around are new to the game, I think it's only fair to make these stipulations strictly optional, and not a condition of accepting the award, though you are all, of course, warmly invited to do so. (Don't forget, if you do pass them on, to link to your choice and leave them a comment to let them know. You can link to me, too, if you're of a mind to...)
Further, I would especially like to see the Manly Blogger Award make its sluggish, red-eyed way round the 'net, so if the Eastwood guys know of any other deserving sites, do please pass it on and let me know!