Saturday, March 27, 2010

8 pages on De Mille

I'll just skip the usual rambling about being busy, not having time to update the blog, being awfully sorry etc etc, and just cut to the chase: I have just finished an eight page analysis on a favorite high society comedy of mine, Cecil B. De Mille's Don't Change Your Husband (1919). Depending on how good my very British (read that word with British English, please) teacher thinks it is, I may include some part of it on the blog when I have gotten it back. I'll be back on tracks with the blog again soon, and until then: Enjoy the fabulous legs of a 19 year old Gloria Swanson!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Director: Robert Wiene
Germany 1920
71 min
Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover and Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, among others.

I've been in something of a psychological rot lately, something that often happens when the seasons are changing. Or when I haven't slept or eaten enough. Or if I have forgotten my medication. Or if I'm hung over. Hell, about seventy eleven times a year, so it's nothing special. But Jesus, is it hard to find energy to write something here, and much less the energy to visit other blogs. I beg of forgiveness for my negligence.

But what can cheer one up if not a weird expressionistic German film? Sadly enough I missed the chance to watch Caligari on the big screen. Well, I didn't miss it as much as I frustrated left the theater when I realized that the copy shown was neither tinted nor had any musical accompaniment at all. That is to take the silent bit a little too far. An artistic catastrophe, in my book.

Instead I watched the film the other day with a glass of rosé wine and a tired boyfriend. I have seen it before, but certain films demand regular re-visits. It also happens that German expressionism is a subject we currently talk about in school. (I still can't believe the amazingness of studying film! And I can't believe that "amazingness" isn't a word accepted by the spell check.)

The beauty and the beast.

Caligari is however one heck of an awesome film. I haven't any base for the following statement, but I believe it must be one of the earliest films with a twist ending. For those who haven't seen it yet, I will say no more than that there is an explanation for the theatrical acting and weird surroundings more than a poor inflation struck German film industry. (The acting was in fact the thing that bother my co-viewer most, while I calmly thought "Just wait and see, love...") But I must add that the Germans were pretty clever handling the bad economy - making an entire film style based on cardboard exteriors scribbled with graffiti.

I might also add that the film industry was the one thing that never suffered greatly from the inflation: the Germans had no need to put money in the bank since the value of the currency sank for every day, so they instead spent the money immediately by for instance going to the movies. Again: smart Germans.

Conrad Veidt - the emo guy.

It's noteworthy that Conrad Veidt, playing the somnambulist Cesare, probably is most known as Major Strasse in Casablanca (1942). (The actor playing Alan, with the glorious name of Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, also appears in Casablanca as the German officer with Yvonne. I have no idea if this was a clever thing or a coincidence, though.) My point with this paragraph is however that this is an example of why the first 50 or so years of film industry is so fascinating: the fact that the same actor can appear in both Caligari and Casablanca, two films that stylistically are light years from each other, shows how much happened with the art of cinema in that relatively short amount of time. One can't see that great of an evolution if one would compare a 1987 film with one from last year.

I created a Dr. Caligari character in Sims yesterday.
My computer screwed up and now he's lost forever.

I realized something beautiful with being a film student recently. Films I have wanted to see for a long time but for some reason never got around to yet, am I finally being push toward viewing. I will for example soon watch Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), The Crowd (1928) and The Wind (1928) - all of them films I haven't yet seen. And The Wind is even directed by Swedish Victor Sjöström! Sometimes I feel like a bad person.

Speaking of Victor Sjöström I had wanted to write something about his masterpiece The Phantom Carriage (1921), that I delightfully and emotionally experienced on the big screen last week. But as I said - the mental rot wanted me to play Nintendo DS 24/7 instead. Perhaps I will write something about that film further on, because it certainly deserves to be highlighted.

I now own it on DVD, in a box set with five other Swedish silent classics. Neat!

Tomorrow I will visit the cinema with my dear mother to watch Shutter Island (2010). I read the book and found it irresistible (but Gone, Baby, Gone by the same author sucked really hard), so I'm pretty excited. I did however watch Alice in Wonderland (2010) in 3D last week - finally! A truly magical and somewhat uncomfortable experience. No, the 3D technique isn't yet perfected, but bring out your inner child and try to imagine watching The Creature from the Black Lagoon in the 1950's. It's a pretty retro experience, and I do recommend watching the latest Tim Burton creation during those circumstances.

Soon I will watch you. Very soon...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Go through hell for retro boots

A typical late-at-night-last-minute-bidding-tournament resulted in me winning an auction for these retro 1970's boots. But of course, I had forgotten to update my address on the site, so they wound up at the other side of town. Being a woman I still felt that I needed these shoes right now, so away I went on a little journey. Little did I know that it would be a journey from hell.

First the usual five minute wait for the elevator to finally reach my floor. I realize that I had forgotten my ID, so I had to go back again.

Returning to the elevator a family in the building has decided that they want to move furniture during that five minute delay for ID retrieving. I am welcomed by three dumb faces and a bed, staring  foolishly at me. Well, the bed did more of a triumphant expression to be honest.

Squeeze a bed in there, and you've got the picture.

The rape staircase it is. It's dark, narrow and goes in a frightening Vertigo spiral. And at the bottom floor there is smeared dog poop that has been there for weeks, giving of a delightful smell to welcome any passing house guest. (Someone should probably call about that.)

Finally. Almost on my way. But no. Of course the rails for the streetcar has to be renovated today, so I have to take the bus instead. Do I have to mention that the bus I had to take is also the one that every damn citizen in this little town of mine has to ride on, and that the route goes about three times around the city before reaching its destination? I bet I don't, since I just did.

The bus stops about seventy eleven blocks away from the dirty little store that has my boots. On the way I almost slipped and fell to my death five times. Oh, and the temperature outside! It's not that cold that I need a jacket, but it's too cold if I take it off and I begin to sweat wearing it. I adore Sweden, I do.

Well, I received my package, the local store sold my favorite brand of cigarettes, Virginia Slims, and I was almost happy again. (How smart is it not to design a pack of cigarettes to look like a fashionable brand of lipstick?)

I get home, try on the boots... one size too small. Obviously they were the 1970's idea of size 9, and not the real size 9. How about those genes? I am as short as my mother and have as big feet as my father. Very proportional.

Maybe this is the solution to my problem?

But damn it, I have to have those boots. I squeeze by feet in and hope to be able to stretch them out to my size. What is a flesh wound in this context, anyway? And how about that - the heel broke.

I fear the day my Forever 21 order arrives.

Bette knows how I feel.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest post: Why flappers are amazing

This post was contributed by Sara Bimmel, who writes about Halloween costumes over at

If I had to pick just one favorite idea or concept from the 1920s, it would be the flapper. Obvious, right? Flappers have always been fascinating to me—their jewelry, their wanton looks, those perfectly styled coifs . . . I’ve tried mixing “the flapper look” into my own style too many times to count, but it always turns out to be a spectacular failure. I’m convinced no modern woman can possibly look like an authentic flapper unless she’s being professionally styled in a period movie with a huge budget. Still, that’s no reason not to celebrate the real flappers of the ‘20s!

At the tender age of just over 20, the Swede Greta Garbo was starring in a number of blockbuster hits: Flesh and the Devil, Love, and The Mysterious Lady. She was scouted out by a director for her screen presence, and I think I have to agree with that—this flapper lady always seems to look cool, confident, and sexy, no matter how much lipstick she’s wearing or how big her hat is.

Clara Bow, star of the film It, was the same age as Greta but had a different look about her. Clara was a bit rougher around the edges, but to me, she exemplifies the flapper with that bob and a little bit of a mischievous look in her eye, as if she’s always going to one-up you. Like Greta, she always looked gorgeous and confident, no matter what she was wearing—a tough feat when some of those get-ups look like full-out costumes.

Despite her unsexy first name, Norma Shearer, star of Lady of the Night, had absolutely exquisite flapper hair and managed to become a screen icon of the ‘20s. She also looked hot in sequins and enormous hats—feats that few now-living ladies can pull off.

Louise Brooks debuted the classic bob style and had a Betty Page look about her. She starred in A Girl in Every Port and Beggars of Life, although her biggest accomplishment may have been making a typical haircut for a 12-year-old look smokin’ hot on a grown woman.

So there you have it. Those flappers of the 1920s are still awesome, 90 years later. Writing this post has even inspired me to give it another go . . . now where’s my pearl necklace?

[Lolita's note: Seriously folks - check out! Lovely site. Personally, I think I will go as a German beer maid next Halloween. Costumes in the category gangsters/flappers are here.]

Do the Charleston!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Academy Awards predictions

Personally, I am always a bit cynical about the Oscars. The right film seldom gets the prize, or even a nomination - but if a film makes enough money at the box-office it takes all the statues no matter what any sane person thinks.

However. I got this nice little email from, that I for some reason do not think is spam since I got the thumbs up on posting a Right Said Fred video on the blog. They obviously have some film fan competition, and the person who makes the most accurate Academy Award predictions wins a $400 (or £250) discount on So why not? I will however only try to predict the awards for the five big categories and the supporting ones, since I will get too depressed guessing what shitty film will win in all categories.


If I were to decide the winner, it would without a doubt be Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (2009). But that would be too fair, so I will go ahead and guess James Cameron's Avatar (2009). And no, I haven't seen it and I don't intend to.

CGI masturbation tend to be called "the best film of the year".


Okay, so Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, 2009), George Clooney (Up in the Air, 2009) and Colin Firth (A Single Man, 2009) are all nominated. But since Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's Invictus (2009), I think for politically correct reasons that he will win. No offence - Morgan Freeman is awesome, but so are the others. I hope for Colin Firth, though. Ever since he soaked his white shirt in Pride and Prejudice (1995) he has had a special place in my heart, and A Single Man looks like a pretty awesome, depressing 1960's film. But to make things clear: I believe in Morgan Freeman in Invictus.

I haven't seen the film yet, but I bet Freeman is awesome as usual.


This one is hard. I like both Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia, 2009), and I sure hope that Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, 2009) does not win. If she does, I will run around Norrköping in a toga shouting "Geronimo!" all the way. That is a promise. My guess goes to Helen Mirren in The Last Station (2009). And I haven't even heard of that film.

I don't know. But she's usually good.


By God, if Cristoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds do not win this one, the world will surely die. I want to predict him as the winner, but I will be realistic and go for Matt Damon in Invictus.

Starting to resemble Schwarzenegger back in the days, huh?


I like Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart - never heard of that film neither). But I will guess for Penélope Cruz in Nine (2009), which looks like a pretty interesting film. I mean, Sophia Loren and my new French favorite Marion Cotillard is in it.

Where can I buy a corset like that?


Tarantino needs this one. No, he deserves it. Damn it. I guess for James Cameron. Damn, damn, damn. But Cameron will win this. He is very good... at making money. If not the only female director nominated will win this for being a woman, of course. But no, I will go with Cameron. Damn!

He does think he's fucking awesome, doesn't he?

And there they were, my Academy Awards predictions. Check out's discounts at LoveFilm, and Sky (if you for example are interested in watching the Academy Awards live). And for the last time: grab the statue, Cristoph Walz!

A pipe like that has to win him the Oscar.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Announcement: Winner of competition!

It has come to an end!

When I came up with the idea for the portrait competition I felt that I would be happy if I at least got one competitor to join it. Well, now the competition has ended and... I received four contributions. All of them are magnificent, too. Thank you all!

Now, to the winner. The hard part is just that - how to decide which one of these three very different portraits is the best one. Words can't describe how impressed I am with you all! But someone had to be chosen, and in the category of most original portrait:

Congratulations Millie of ClassicForever! You won the competition! $10 discount on any Kate Gabrielle store you want to order from!

Also... $5 discount each to Jorgé, Merriam and Jane, You're too awesome to leave empty handed!

I will send you an email with a "code" to write in the message box on your order - so do not pay until you get a revised invoice from Kate!

Now the rest of my beloved readers want to take a look at the contributions, right? Here they are, in the order they were sent to me:

By Jorgé at The March Studios
Jorgé has managed to capture both my fascination for the flapper era as well as my deep love for Groucho Marx - and all in a very unique cartoonish way. Lovely!

By Merriam.
Merrian has made a most realistic portrait of me - studying the eyes and the nose there is no doubt as who has been portraited! Even my fiancé commented on the eye-work, so good job, Merriam!

Janet at Blue Bird of Hollywood
Janet has made a fantastic painting that could have derived from any 1920's fashion magazine. Simply stunning. It would look great as a tattoo, by the way!

And the winning contribution from Millie at ClassicForever:

Seriously - a finger puppet?! You ARE insane! Can I buy it? Can I buy the whole band? Just adorable, Millie.

Girls - I am your biggest fan.