Thursday, July 31, 2014

Special Cinema Spotlight: Saving Mr. Banks

avintagenerd

What attracted me to this film was two things; Disney and Mary Poppins. I have never read any of P.L. Travers's book on the British iconic character of Mary Poppins but I have seen the film.

This film in particular, tells the story of both P.L. Travers (to a certain extent) but mainly of how long and how hard it was to get her to sign over the rights to created the film, Mary Poppins (over 20 years!).

Saving Mr. Banks is set in 1961 and begins with P.L. Travers in London. Her agent is trying to convince her to sign on to the making of Mary Poppins and so begins her journey. The films contains flashbacks to her childhood in Australia in the early 1900's. Her father was an alcoholic and lived in a magical world of his own, often including Helen (P.L. Travers) in his imaginary games. The film suggests her childhood then influenced the characters in her book. For example, Mr. Banks, the father in the film Mary Poppins is loosely based on her own father named Travers.

I questioned whether or not the film was accurate because it seemed almost like fiction but I have to say after reading about her life and the making of the film, this film is quite accurate. The film connect her past with her reasons why she fights signing over the film to Disney, which I found both thoughtful and emotional.

I do have to confess I found Travers's character to be off putting. I almost didn't want to watch the film the first few minutes because she was just so blatantly rude and snobby. After understanding her background and how she lived her life you can almost understand why she was the way she was. Let's just say she wasn't a happy cupcake and she carried many demons with her.
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks

There were a few parts that I found delightful and as a Disney fan, just elated to see. I loved the part when she bonds with her large stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, the relationship between Ralph and herself, the scene at Disneyland (swoon), and the scene where she sings, "Let's go fly a kite".

I also loved, loved, loved, and loved the costumes! I mean it was set in the early 60s, just dreamy. I wanted every outfit everyone wore!

This film was emotional and sentimental but so enjoyable. Once I got past her upper crust snobbery and understood her character better I just found it a true joy to watch. If you would like to learn more about the people behind the making of Mary Poppins and this film HERE is a fantastic article to read!

Have you seen this film? Have you ever seen Mary Poppins or read the books?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dressing Up For Your Blog. Say What?

avintagenerd

Dressing up for your blog?!? I plead guilty. I just realized that I have been dressing up for my blog! Unlike many vintage bloggers and fans, I don't dress up everyday. My everyday is practical jeans and yoga pants. I need to keep it real because my lifestyle includes tending to a house and three small children that are going to smoosh their chocolate covered hands on me at some point in the day. Bravo to the women that do and that can. I greatly admire them.

I do like to dress up for outings and events and although that happens about 2-3 times a month, I found myself shopping for vintage dresses and accessories not just for those outtings but so I have something nice to wear and show my amazing readers.

Dear readers, I have woken up and smelled the white chocolate mocha. I can't be dressing up for anyone BUT me. What I mean by that is, I have nothing to prove to anyone, right? Right!

Twiggy

When I first entered into the lifestyle three years ago I really felt the pressure (that I put on myself) to look the part. I have always been a old fashioned girl at heart, mind, and lifestyle but I didn't look the part. I feared my new friends and readers wouldn't believe I was unless I dressed like a 40s maven or 50s housewife.

I don't know what happened to make me realize that I was doing this, but I am so grateful I did and so is my wallet and my closet.

I have begun purging and letting go of many pieces that just didn't fit me right, were not flattering, or were an impulse purchase. I also now know what my vintage style is. Both points make such a difference in how I shop now.

Every piece I purchase will be for me which is the way it should have been but life is all about learning. This journey into vintage is sure teaching me a lot!

How about you? Do you find yourself shopping for your blog?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

8 Tips On Creating Your Own Vintage Style

avintagenerd

Creating your own vintage or vintage inspired wardrobe like any other sort of wardrobe takes time. In the three years since I began my vintage journey full time I have gone from wearing ONLY pants/trousers to wearing MOSTLY skirts/dresses.

Here are some tips that may help you create the best vintage style for yourself:

1. Try out all the decades. Go for it. You have nothing to lose and lots of fun to be had. I have tried out 1920's-1970's. Trying out the different decades allows you to find the one you love and feel the best in.

2. Know your figure. Not the figure you hope to have or are working towards having but the one you have now. Know the areas that you want to enhance and the areas you may not feel so great about.

3. Pick pieces of clothing that will FLATTER your figure. Do not choose pieces that will take away your beauty but pieces that will make your figure sparkle and shine.


4. Wear what you feel really comfortable in. I mean it. If mini skirts make you feel like your goodies will be shown then don't wear it. If you dread putting on heels then don't make your feet suffer, find some super cute flats!

5. Search for inspiration. Whether in the blog world or through magazines, find some inspiration. Make a book of images of your vintage fashion inspiration. It can be something you can look at everyday to remind you of what you want to achieve.

6. Be realistic. Realize that what works for some may not work for you. Not everyone looks fabulous in red lipstick or victory rolls. I mean I think everyone can rock them but not everyone will feel good wearing it. Not everyone will look their best in the same color or in the same style.


7. Make a list. Make a list of all the pieces you want to have. For example, 20 dresses, 15 cardigans, 2 trousers, etc. That way you can keep focus on what you need for your wardrobe which allows you to also not overspend but focus on what you need to add to your closet.

8. Have fun. Experiment. Try wearing colors you never have before or wearing accessories you have never worn before. As a typical New Yorker my main colors were black and grey. That's just how the city rolls. After getting into vintage I promised myself to add more colors to my wardrobe and try out colors I never have before. It's still a work in progress but its been working out great for me so far. Finally there is more color in my closet!


I hope these tips will help you create you own vintage style. Remember it does take time and an investment but if you leave yourself open to the process you will come out knowing what your style is and you will feel so good and accomplished.

Three years later I know exactly what my decades are and what vintage style suits me best and I am so excited and happy that I am now revamping my entire wardrobe and adding the pieces that I know will work best on my figure and allow me to radiate the way I think every woman should.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Movie Madness Monday: Suspense

avintagenerd


Being a cinephile means you love film. You love the art and medium of film, you love the storylines, you love the characters, and best of all-you love the way it makes you feel and think.

Every Monday I will share with you a few movie recommendations. They will include classic films and modern films set in various time periods, mostly the past.

I will include links to the films above the photo collage of the film and I encourage you to try them out. Many are available via Netflix, either by streamline or Dvd. If not you can find copies at your local library, Dvd shop, Amazon, Ebay, or even Youtube. A few rare films that are not available on Dvd yet I have found on Youtube so it is a great source for movie watching.

This first Monday in the series I would like to share with you a few films that seep with suspense. Suspense can be included in horror and thriller films. Thriller and suspense films typically go hand in hand as it has similar meanings. These films in particular will have you grabbing your nearest pillow to hold close to your chest and your eyes glued to the screen.

Actually I plan to only share films with you that will have you captivated, moved, and basically blown away. Because that is what makes movies so darn magical.


The Spiral Staircase

Les Diaboliques

The Haunting

Games 1967

Have you seen any of these films already?  What suspense films would you recommend?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finding Inspiration for Daily Living

avintagenerd

All this week I have been sharing some words of wisdom on my Instagram on lessons and things I have learned along the way.

avintagenerd

When I was a full time teacher I used to hash out loads of advice and words of wisdom from people who inspired me and also shared many of my own -isms as well as those my father taught me. I think my girls like my daddyisms the best. They must have had a hoot listening to those. You know, those words and phrases you hear your parents spit out over and over until one day you find yourself spitting them out?

avintagenerd

At A Vintage Nerd I am all about sharing information as all nerds have boundless information swimming in their heads but also inspiration because I feel like we can all learn life lessons from one another.

So, from time to time I will share inspirational quotes and images and throw in a few of my own as well. Today I am sharing some of my own bits of wisdom. Hope you like them!

avintagenerd
avintagenerd

Feel free to pin these little bits of wisdom on your Pinterest boards, the button is invisible but at the top left hand corner of each image. If you would like some more inspirational quotes check out my Pinterest board HERE.

Hearing or reading little bits of wise words and thoughts can really be a great pick-me-up especially when you are having a hard day. I hope you found these...well...inspirational.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Classic Hollywood Stars Still With Us

Classic Hollywood Stars Still With Us

I'm happy to say 2014 has been a pretty good year for me. I have had a great deal of personal growth happen and happening still, my family is healthy, I rebooted my blog, and so much more. But a part of my year that really has affected me and I haven't spoken about it has been the loss of so many classic film stars.

I know you may think, "Daffny, you didn't know them" but oh, a person knows their favorite film stars like they know their favorite book. You may not know them personally but the characters they played and the way they lived their lives simply just resonates within you.

2014 started out with the passing of Joan Fontaine, then Shirley Temple's passing really shook me up, and most recently the passing of the one you think would live forever, Mickey Rooney. So many others have passed. A generation is leaving us. Thankfully many of that generation (born in the 20's and 30's) left behind great works of art that we can view over and over again. How lucky are we?

What does classic film mean to me? Well, film in general has always been one of my means of escape and entertainment. Reading and writing are my others. Although I have an older brother, I spend a great deal of my pre-teen and teenage years alone. Film and classic television brought me great laughs, great tears, and great joy.

Everyday I am grateful that my grandma had me sit down and watch Gone with the Wind. I mean I thought she was going to torture me with it but instead it changed my life. I had no idea up until that point (having enjoyed mostly 70's and 80's films) that a movie could deliver such a story on such a massive scale and take you on a journey.

Although we are losing many classic film stars and only a small handful of silent film stars are with us still (you can see who HERE), there are quite a few classic film stars still with us in 2014.

Sidney Poitier
Doris Day
Rod Taylor
Tippi Hedren
George Kennedy

Some more classic films stars that are with us as of July 2014 are: 

Luise Rainer                                                                                   Shirley MacLaine

Margaret O'Brien                                                                           Olivia de Havilland

Jane Fonda                                                                                     Zsa Zsa Gabor

Faye Dunaway                                                                                Kirk Douglas

Robert Redford                                                                               Maureen O'Hara

Joanne Woodward                                                                           Rhonda Fleming

Sophia Loren                                                                                   Sean Connery

Lauren Bacall                                                                                  Eva Marie Saint

Angela Lansbury                                                                              Jerry Lewis

Ann Blythe                                                                                      Jane Powell

Claire Bloom                                                                                   Dickie Moore

Rita Moreno                                                                                    Angie Dickinson

George Chakiris                                                                               Russ Tamblyn

Richard Beymer                                                                               Tab Hunter

Leslie Caron                                                                                     Mitzi Gaynor

Monica Lewis                                                                                   Debbie Reynolds

Kim Novak                                                                                       Joan Collins

Ann-Margret                                                                                    Shirley Jones

This is just a small amount of classic film actors and actress but if you would like to see more I found a fantastic site that shares up-to-date statuses on classic film stars. You can find it HERE.

I find that there is so much to learn about old Hollywood. It has become a staple in American history that has now spread all over the world. The times that these performers lived in, the way in which they performed, and their lifestyles are all somewhat foreign to stars of today but thankfully not only do we have many with us today and their films but we also have interviews (thanks to Youtube) and loads of autobiographies/biographies.

Who are your favorite classic film stars and why? Is there anyone on this post that you were surprised was still with us?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Movie Magic: Behind the Scenes

A Vintage Nerd

Do you ever wonder what sort of antics happened behind the scenes of your favorite films? Ever wonder if the cast got along or just curious to see what the process was in the making the films you love?

I think its fun to see what happens while making a film. And I can only imagine what sort of things happened while making ionic films like Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, and Casablanca.

It is like taking an a peak at something intimate happening. And it's intriguing!

I love these snippets of film making so much I created a board on my Pinterest. If you would like to take a peak it is HERE.

Here are a few shots of behind the scenes of the making of Hitchcock's Psycho, Bride of Frankenstein, and Gone with the Wind. Aren't they fantastic!

Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes

Some more fabulous photos from behind the scenes of classic and modern films:

100 Greatest Behind the Scenes Shots

Stunning Behind the Scenes Photos Show Iconic Movies in a New Light



Are there any classic films that you are curious about and wonder what it was like for the cast and crew behind the scenes?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Remembering Comic Genius, Peter Sellers

avintagenerd

34 years ago today we lost an unforgettable comedic genius, Peter Sellers. I didn't always think he was funny or clever. I remember when I was younger I would find my father laughing so hard, you know that deep, hearty sort of laugh, I scratched my head thinking what the heck is this man laughing at? I watched what he was watching, which was The Pink Panther, and I just didn't get it.

Now I know better of course. I also know that British humor is an acquired taste and not all Americans get it. Heck, I know some English folks that don't get it either.

Peter Sellers


After I met my husband in 2002, he began to reintroduce Sellers into my life. My husband loves British comedy and because of him I have now grown to love it as much as he does. At this point I watch more UK television than American!

I understand British comedy better and I appreciate Sellers so much better. I think watching his films with my husband helped me to enjoy his films more and now Sellers has become our "thing". One of the special things we do together is watch Peter Sellers films or attend exhibits where his work is being displayed.

Peter Sellers

I also understand now that this man, aside from his own personal faults and demons, had a streak of funny and clever that went into every bone in his body. I feel as though the more films of his I see the more I see how much intellect went into his characters. He continues to blow me away even in his lesser known films such as, The Optimists of Nine Elms (also know as The Optimist). Although this film is not known by many, I still found him being almost other worldly in how he portrayed his character, Sam. Brilliant, truly. Plus he was almost unrecognizable. He blew me away as he always does.


His biggest final role was that of Chauncey Gardiner in the film, Being There (1979). It is a film that still has my head spinning and thinking and wondering. I have to see it a few more times before I can totally get it, if you know what I mean. Its the sort of story I feel like Sellers waited his whole life to tell. Its a simple story really but Chauncey is spellbinding and he leaves you feeling like you need to understand it all but I think the reality is that its okay that you don't.

Sellers spent many years trying to get this film made and he succeeded. It is undoubtedly one of his very best.

He career spanned from radio to television to film and his work will endure the test of time. He made over 65 films and I have only seen 11. I definitely have a ways to go but a film goal of mine is to see all of his works. Luckily my husband joins me in this mad fandom for the great Peter Sellers so we consume anything he is in happily and excitedly so.

We lost a great and important artist 34 years ago today but we are lucky we get to watch his works over and over again thanks to dvds and Netflix!

Peter Sellers

If you would like to learn more about Peter Seller's work and life here are some fantastic sites:



Sellers and seduction: From humour to heartache


What is your favorite Peter Sellers film? Any favorite characters?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rear Window's Lisa Freemont and Her Mark Cross Overnight Bag

A Vintage Nerd

There are things that can just pop out at you when you are watching a movie. I find when viewing a classic film I have to pay particular attention because so much seems to be going on. Not to mention there are so many beautiful distractions!

In Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), Grace Kelly's style truly shines. That is of course thanks to the brilliant Edith Head. Kelly's fashion sense as the New York socialite Lisa Freemont added a dash of sophistication that was spellbinding.

I don't know why I haven't reviewed this film yet but I must. I will try not to give away too much in this post but I must share a scene with you all that left me memorized.

I didn't really notice this fully until I saw this film again recently. It is one of the reasons I enjoy rewatched films, because you discover things you did see or understand before.

Lisa comes over dressed beautifully as always to her beau's house, Jeff (Jimmy Stewart) , who is home bound due to an injury. Jeff is in the middle of suspecting a neighbor of murder and Lisa catches him completely by surprise when she goes to him and opens up this fantastic box that just pops open and shows a concealed compartment. In that compartment Lisa shows Jeff that she has a nightgown inside and attempts to prove to him that she can live out of one bag just like he can. Jeff is a travel photographer and leary about taking the relationship to the next level and Lisa is determined to prove him wrong.

Grace Kelly Mark Cross Bag
The original Mark Cross bag used in Rear Window  sold at Christie's

I never noticed that bag before! And that snap of the compartment just popping up just boggled my mind and I needed to know what it was. I paused the film for a moment and began my feverish search for what I now know is called a Mark Cross overnight bag. Well, that's what Lisa called it.

My mind began to reel thinking, "I need to have that, I need to have that!" Has that happened to you, after you see something and your eyes begin to sparkle with that particular object in it? This did it for me.

After a great deal of research I have not only found out what happened to the original handbag used in the film but I also found out they reissued it. Now, this isn't any ordinary bag. What made it so magical for me when I first noticed it was that it looked that a simple genuine handbag. Nothing special at all. It was when Lisa popped it open that everything changed. Plus that scene in the film was amazing. You go from hearing her bracelets clanging together to the handbag scene to Lisa coming out with the nightgown and all of it is just dazzling to behold.

Here is a collage of those scenes:

Grace Kelly Mark Cross

Here are some great articles and more amazing Mark Cross Box Bags to drool over:

Mark Cross Instyle Magazine

Mark Cross Collections (prepare to have your heart skip a beat!)

Barney's New York: Mark Cross

The Bag HagReview of Mark Cross Box Handbag

The Window: Barney's New York Mark Cross

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Classic Cinema Spotlight: The Stepford Wives

a vintage nerd

1970's horror/thriller films were truly creepy. I find it to be a mix of a no holds barred approach to film making as well as the coloring used when filming. I find 1970's films to always be sort of grainy but I love that most likely because I grew up with it.

Katherine Ross was a popular actress in the 1960's and 1970's and starred in the film version of The Stepford Wives (1975). It was based on 1972 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. There are loads of copies of that book via Amazon and Ebay. I think I'd like to read it and compare it to the film.

It begins with a close up (photo below) of Ross who plays Joanna Eberhart, a young wife and mother who is an inspiring photographer. You can see right away that Joanna is not fully happy about moving out of Manhattan into a small town named Stepford in Connecticut.

She soon finds herself lonely but eventually befriends another newcomer named Bobbie (Paula Prentiss). Joanna and Bobbie meet more of the women in the town and find their attitudes on cleaning and housework go above and beyond the call of duty and it peaks their interests.

When one of the wives they know goes from being a tennis playing trophy wife into a industrious, devoted wife overnight, Joanna and Bobbie know something very wrong is happening to the women in Stepford.

The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives

The creep factor in this film is high. I find every time I watch it I begin to cringe with how easily the husbands of this town embraced murder and false images of their former wives. How easily their uniqueness and individuality that made them special was tossed aside so they can have a ethereal, dedicated, and obedient wife. Phew! Gives me the chills!

If you like thrillers with a combination of mystery and sexism, then you really need to watch this film. I never saw the remake and although I like the actors in it, I heard the film was recreated to be more like a comedy instead of a horror/thriller. For now, I will pass on that.

Have you seen this film? Or read the book? If you did, did the ending freak you out as much as it did me (which was a lot!)? Did you ever hear of the Stepford Wives Community? Let me know what you think of it. The link is HERE.


Monday, July 21, 2014

AVN Book Club: Why Didn't They Tell The Horses?

A Vintage Nerd

A few months ago I watched an amazing mini-series called Flambards. It just blew me away! I enjoy a good epic story and Flambards hit the spot!

This mini-series was very popular (as are the books) when it came out in 1979. For some reason though there is little information on the making of the film or about the cast. I did compile a little "where are they now?" post that you can read HERE of what I could find out about them.

Then I found out that the lead actress, Christine McKenna actually wrote a book about her experiences filming Flambards and the journey she took on how to learn to ride horses. See when McKenna went to audition for the role they asked her if she knew how to ride a horse and she emphatically said yes! Once the cast was put together and training with the horses began they soon found not only didn't she know how to ride side saddle but she didn't know how to ride at all.

Why Didn't They Tell The Horses? is a charming account of McKenna's personal experiences on how to ride horses as well as how to deal and work with horses.

The book was published in 1981 and sadly this book is a very hard to find book. I lucked out because my best friend sent it to me as a surprise gift but otherwise it not only is a rare book but it is also quite pricey. especially if you try and buy it from the States.

I also lucked out that my copy is actually signed by McKenna herself! How neat is that?

Christine McKenna
K.M. Peyton
Christine McKenna
Why Didn't They Tell The Horses?
Flambards

The book is an incredibly easy read with about 141 pages inside. There are a few photos of McKenna riding horses in the middle of the book which are nice to see.

This book is a must-have and must-read for two sort of people; those who love Flambards and those who love horses.

Have you seen this mini-series? Have you read the books? I haven't yet but its on my daily growing pile of books. I do think its time for me to re-watch Flambards (again), such a magical film.
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