For Your Consideration…

I’m going to admit that I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of Blog Envy lately. But when you’re friends with Angela of The Hollywood Revue, Christianne at Krell Laboratories, and the ladies behind True Classics, that kind of thing is to be expected. However, I’m proud of the work I’ve put in so far here at Garbo Laughs and incredibly grateful for the support that’s been sent my way. If you’re a fellow member of the Large Association of Movie Blogs, I’d very much appreciate it if you’d consider nominating my blog for the upcoming 2012 LAMMY Awards. I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring for Best New Lamb, Best Classic Film Blog, and Best Movie Reviewer. Heck, a girl’s gotta try!

Match the Mutts!

Who doesn’t love vintage photos of divas and their doggies? Can you pair these pooches with their pretty mistresses?



5 Essential Items for Writing a Movie Review (+ 1 Bonus)

Having recently overcome a long stretch of writer’s block, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and re-thinking lately of how I go about the task of writing film reviews. The truth of the matter is, ever since beginning this blog it’s been difficult for me to watch classic films “for fun” without feeling guilty if I don’t write about it for the blog. This has become an extreme source of frustration, making it difficult for me to enjoy both viewing and writing about films, and it’s something I’m actively working to correct. Gathering my latest set of materials in preparation for penning Monday’s review, I thought I’d take a photograph of my setup and share a little bit about the tools which I have come to define as “essential” to my process.

1. The Movie. But of course! Here I’ve got a copy of Three Smart Girls on the Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack I rented from Casa Video (the best local video store in the world!). It also helps to have something to watch the movie on, like a television or computer (not pictured).

2. A Notebook. When watching a film I’m always sure to note down what I am liking and not liking about the movie, the plot, the characters or the performances. This really helps when I go back to write the final review.  The notes are usually fairly casual in nature but I’ve only just recently decided to start formally recording them in this cute little snail notebook.

3. A Pencil. I typically use pens because they’re usually more available, but I have issues with actually writing in cute notebooks (sounds weird but I’m sure some of you can relate) so I thought pencil would make it a less stressful experience. This one in particular is a Halloween pencil, and it’s my favorite because it’s lefty-friendly. (When I’m using it, I can easily read the words “Happy Halloween” without them being upside down. I bet this is something you right-handed people would never notice in a million years, but us lefties appreciate these small victories!)

4. A Pencil-Sharpener. Mine happens to resemble a hedgehog, but this is of course optional.

5. Erasers. I was being super neurotic about “despoiling” the notebook and brought out some extra erasers as a security blanket.

6 BONUS. A Viewing Companion. Of course it’s not entirely necessary to have the cutest dog in the world to watch the movie with you, but from personal experience, I must say, it certainly helps. :)

How do you write your reviews? From memory? From notes? If you take notes, do you do it on a computer or on paper? What are your essentials? How about when viewing a movie in a darkened theater? Share your tips with the class!

Teeny Post

This post is so short I’m not even going to bother googling around to find a completely irrelevant yet 100% awesome photo to go with it.

1. Queer Film Blogathon. Part Deux: The Queerening. It’s coming. June 18th-22nd. Stay tuned for more details shortly, but save the date.

2. Garbo Laughs has a Tumblr and I keep forgetting to mention it.

3. I am so into this DIYFF idea from The Cinementals. Like, obsessed with it.

That is all! Now back to your regularly-scheduled programming.

L.A.’s Best-Kept Secret for Film Buffs: The Margaret Herrick Library

With hordes of rabid classic film aficionados converging on Southern California this week to attend the monumental third edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, I, as a Los Angeles native (though now relocated to Arizona and unable to attend the festival myself, EXCUSE ME WHILE I CRY A MILLION TEARS), thought I’d let all you starry-eyed movie nerds in on a little secret. I want to tell you about my absolute favorite classic film-related place to visit while in my hometown. Sure, if you’re attending the Fest you’ll be seeing plenty of Grauman’s Chinese, The Egyptian, the Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — all very important historical landmarks in their own right, if you can bear the crowds. If you’ve got the time and the means to get there, maybe you’ll want to head on up to the Griffith Observatory to bow down to their bust of James Dean and celebrate Rebel Without a Cause, or cruise on by the Baby Jane house in Hancock Park (though it’s a private residence, so please don’t bother them). But the location I’m talking about is little-known, little-visited, and more than worth your time. It’s the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, the non-circulating reference and research collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Now, I know what you may be thinking — you want me to spend my whirlwind vacation to sunny Southern California in a library? Yes. Yes I certainly do. Because the MHL is not just any library. Do you want to hold in your hands the unpublished shooting script for Gone with the Wind or North by Northwest? You can. Ever dreamed of casually thumbing through Golden Age editions of Photoplay or Modern Screen? Go right ahead. Looking for unpublished wardrobe test shots of Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Norma Shearer, or Rita Hayworth? I am telling you, the MHL can make it happen. What’s more, entrance to the library is FREE, as is parking for the first two hours.

Let me give you a small example from my own experience with the MHL to highlight just how jaw-droppingly utterly amazing this place is for anyone interested in researching the history of film. When I first became aware of the Herrick, my obsession was Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932). In one visit to the MHL, I was able to see an early draft of the script, the original pressbook, casting submissions (which, for a movie like Freaks, were pretty darn amazing), and production stills of deleted scenes and the cast on set. Everything I found there was stuff I had never seen published before, and this was after months of doing extensive research of all published material relating to the film. This may not be a big deal to you if you’re not a Freaks fan, but imagine the possible gems hidden within the MHL’s archives that you, yes YOU, could possibly have free access to.

Now there are a few rules at the Herrick which must be strictly observed: no cameras, no cell phones, no pens, and you can’t make photocopies of any unpublished written documents. You’ll need a valid photo I.D. to get in. All you can have on your person are things relevant to your research — a pencil and notepad, a laptop, index cards, and a small wallet to pay for photo copies — but the library conveniently provides lockers for anything else if you don’t want to leave it in your car or hotel room. All of these things just add to the experience and make you feel like a legitimate film historian. It’s one of the coolest experiences you can have as a classic film buff in L.A.

Go to this place. You will not regret it and you could even make the discovery of a lifetime.