Ageism and Classic Films

I’m angry… And I have to empty my bag.

You know, to love classic films is a thing, but to love classic films as a Millennial is another. It’s a situation that has both its bright and dark sides, the brightest one being that you feel unique with your distinct passion that only a few people of your generation share with you. Because yes, most Millennials don’t watch classic films or only the obvious one, or the not-so-old ones. I mean, who hasn’t seen The Wizard of Oz (the obvious) or Forrest Gump (the not so old one)?

But I want to focus on the dark side. Actually, if Millennials don’t have the tendency to watch classic films, I believe it’s because they are “unconsciously” discouraged by the older generations to do so. I say “unconsciously” because if those people are like “ah Millennials should watch more classics.” They actually don’t do much about it. Maybe it is easier to say than to do…


Take my example. If I started watching classic films, it’s not because of my parents or anyone older than me. Anyway, my parents don’t watch a lot of classics and I know more about them than they do. It’s a fact. No, I pretty much discovered them by my own and this articleexplains more precisely how I discovered them. Basically, just buying a book with beautiful movie star photos helped a lot. And, of course, when you are a Millennial watching classic films, you want to spread the love among people of your age because they are so wonderful (the films), right? My best friend has now seen a few classic films that she truly enjoyed thanks to who? To ME, a Millennial. My mother saw a lot of classic films that she’d loved because I wanted her to watch them with me.


I have to admit my parents made me discover a few classics such a Thelma & Louise, The Birds, Cinema Paradiso, and more. But there aren’t 30s classics either.

Now, I just probably sound like I’m overpraising myself, but it’s just a way to show you that Millennials know about classics, perhaps more than some older generations. And I’m talking about me because I’m my best judge, but I know I’m not the only one. When I go see classics at the movies I see a lot of young people.

And just look at the classic film blogging community. Many Millennials here:

Critica Retrô

The Old Hollywood Garden

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest

The Flapper Dame

Love Letters to Old Hollywood

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

Back to Golden Days

Maddy Loves her Classic Films

Cinema Cities

And many more! These are just a few examples.

Go read their blogs. These are Mellinnial’s passion for classics is contagious.

Moral of the story, don’t draw conclusions too fast. Don’t put us all it the same bag. Some Millennials do watch and love classic films. More than you might think!


But why?Why writing such an article right now when it’s like 11 pm. I just came across a post in a Facebook movie group where someone was asking which classics we should show to Millennials. At first, I had a very normal reaction and thought it was a common classic film group question. Then, I thought ‘hey are you assuming there are only non-Millennials in the group?” After all, Facebook is a Generation Y thing…

Me in my head: “Eh, I’m sure you haven’t seen Give Us the Moon!” Ok, major weird obsession with this film.

And there was this person assuming that they (we) should just stick to Marry Poppins as if we were hopless cases. Ugh. We’re not.


And it seems that, recently, I’ve encountered a lot of similar situations, so I guess my patience has limits!

While I was writing this text, I came across this article that pretty much sums up my thought on the situation but in a more orderly way. I particularly agree when the author says “ Shaming young people for not doing something is the sure fire way to make them not do it.” Go read it:

Millennials Do Care About Classic Movies, But Need More Exposure to Them

Furthermore, Julia from Cinema Crossroads has some wise advice to give us in her article “How to encourage Millenials to watch classic movies“.

You might think that “ageism” is a too strong word for this situation, but as that particular situation is due to prejudices like racism, or sexism, it is exactly the right word.



I’ve been watching classic since I was 15 and I’m not ready to stop! And hey, let’s make this clear once and for all, no generation is better than another!

I think that the only persons who can blame Millennials for not watching classics are… Millennials themselves!



A Gag Every Minute: Buster Keaton in The Blacksmith (1922)


We have a smithy at our country house. Yes, yes. We don’t use it anymore as no one alive in my family is a graduated blacksmith (!) but the woman who gave us this house (my grandfather’s cousin) was the daughter of the village’s blacksmith. She was quite a character and would put posters in front of her house written “damn flower thieves!”.  The smithy is a real Ali Baba’s cave in here. There are plenty of horseshoes or any type metallurgical tools you can take as a souvenir if you even visit. The chimney is still here and the pigeon loft too, but, fortunately, without the pigeons.

Our smithy

So, with a blacksmith ancestor, movies with blacksmith characters are, of course, of a great interest, especially when the dynamic Buster Keaton plays the role.

With The Blacksmith, a 1922 short he co-directed with Malcolm “Mal” St. Clair, Keaton makes twenty minutes of screen appear like 2. From the very beginning until the end, we never get bored.

The story is simple. Buster Keaton is the assistant of a cartoonish-looking blacksmith (Joe Roberts). After a fight with Buster, this one is brought to the police station for a short time. Meanwhile, Buster receives various customers but all he does in his attempt to help them is to create several catastrophes. They eventually seek revenge, as well as the blacksmith who eventually gets back to work.


Buster is introduced to us next to a palm tree. And that’s how the first gag of the film is installed. The camera makes a pedestal up from the base of the tree to the top. It goes up and up and it seems it’ll never read the top. Then, an extreme wide shot allows us to see how short Buster is in comparison to this tall and thin “top model” tree.

Capture d_écran 2018-02-13 à 23.18.37

The smithy is a picturesque place where strong men are needed to forge metal. Buster is only an apprentice here. His superior unfortunately takes advantage of his strength to be brutal with the poor Buster.

It’s interesting how the film is basically a succession of gags and new encounters. Ah! Customer service…

With physical or visual comedy, Buster amazingly knew how to make everything on the movie set participate to the gag. For example, toward the beginning of the film, Buster is outside the smithy with a wheel we suppose has to be placed somewhere. But, suddenly, it “flies away”. The same soon happen with the sherif’s gun and star. What is that mystery? With the help of a wide shot, the public is actually the first one to know (and to laugh at the confused characters). And then, clumsy but smart Buster realises that the lost metallic objects were in fact attracted by the giant horseshoe that decorates the smithy: this one is magnetic! Don’t ask me why!

Capture d_écran 2018-02-13 à 23.20.03

While watching The Blacksmith, I realized that one of Buster’s main quality in his acting game was his confidence. He indeed seems very sure of himself in what he does, even if he has to play a confused man. Every gesture is made with an incredibly calculated precision and with an impressive tact. Because of this, his acting game remains very natural but yet necessarily expressive for a silent film. Remember when Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) mocks the exaggerated mimics and facial expressions of silent film stars in Singin’ in the Rain? Well, Buster is the total opposite of this and that’s what makes him unique.

Buster Keaton shows this assurance perfectly well in the white horse scene. A woman has arrived with her horse who needs “shoes”. We suspect the horse’s name probably is “Pâte à Choux” or “Lord Danderfeet”. The animal is a very capricious one and it’s hilarious. Buster shows it various pairs of horseshoes and basically asks it what it thinks of them. Several times, the horse nods with disapprovement. Eventually, the horse finds what he likes and expresses a sweet happiness as he admires his new feet in the mirror Buster has brought him. “He” knows what he wants! But it doesn’t stay pretty as Buster eventually dirty it with some tar. But as the horse owner is very supercilious, Buster let her go without saying anything. Serves her right!!!


Eventually, another lady arrives with a black horse. Her back hurts so she needs a new saddle and the one Buster gives her is impressive. It’s a high bouncing saddle and it takes the woman all her energy to climb on it.

Capture d_écran 2018-02-13 à 23.21.43

There’s a situation that I won’t ever understand in this film. What is Buster doing with his pocket watch? Does he wish to fix it with these big blacksmith tools?? While he goes about his business, an alternative montage allows us to see the woman with the bouncing saddle riding in the country. She goes fast and seems quite satisfied with her new toy.

The irony of Buster Keaton’s humour continues in this scene where he has to take care of a rich dandy’s car. But clumsy Buster sort of damages it completely ruins it. The irony resides in the fact that, while he is fixing a ridiculous looking car, the beautiful car loses all its value. Well, it’s never a good idea to use a fancy car to nail a nail. Oh, Buster…

Capture d_écran 2018-02-13 à 23.24.10

I mentioned before my appreciation of Buster being able to give us just the right dose of facial expressions to his acting. While I was watching the film again yesterday for the blogathon, I noticed a moment in his acting in which I had never paid attention before (ok, I hadn’t seen the film 10 times before either) and it’s just a priceless moment. The horse with the bouncing saddle comes back to the smithy but without the lady on it… In the frame created by the silly object, we see Buster noting the situation. And his facial expression is just perfect. You know that confused “what the f***” type of face, with eyes moving from left to right and from right to left. Well, Buster does it perfectly. Yes, Buster Keaton indeed was a silent film actor who knew how to use his eyes in his acting game and created amusing situations with them only.

Capture d_écran 2018-02-13 à 23.25.32

As always, there are too many things to say about Buster Keaton’s films, even with a 20 minutes long one. But I don’t want to spoil all your fun and will let you watch it before I hope my big mouth and tell you the ending!


This post was written for the Fourth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon hosted by the amazing Lea from Silent-Ology. It’s always a pleasure to discuss the silent film icon’s films! Their details make them worthy of very interesting discussions and reflections!


Don’t miss the other entries!

The 4th Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon

See you!


Top of the World: My Ultimate Top 100 Favourite Actresses

Here it is! Finally! Almost two years after having published my top 100 favourite actors (which already has to be updated, I’ve finally decided to do the same with my favourite actresses! This was not an easy task!

These choices are VERY subjective, so I’ll ask you to respect them. It’s a list of my own favourite. So please, no “If I were you I would…” Well, you are not me, so…

I did a first list of most of the actresses I liked and there was over 130! So, I obviously had to delete many of them.

I also gave myself a rule: to only include an actress if I had seen at least to of her movies. That’s why you won’t see Greta Garbo on this list (sorry folks, I’ve only seen Ninotchka!)

This said, if you don’t see your favourite actress on the list there are x reasons:

1- She was in the top 130ish and unfortunately wasn’t included to the final top 100.

2- I have only seen one of her films, or maybe none at all!

3- Maybe I just don’t like her. I don’t love everybody, I’m not Jesus!

You’ll see that I’m not the type of person who “follows” crowds and sometimes have unconventional tastes (which I think is actually cool). So, it’s possible that a certain actress that everybody loves is not on the list. And hey, I have my guilty pleasures too! But (and this is an objective statement) I think most of them are fine actresses.

Ok, enough! Here we go!


100. Patricia Neal (Favourite performance: Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still)


99. Catherine Deneuve (Favourite performance: Miriam Blaylock in The Hunger)


98. Karen Black (Favourite performance: Fran in Family Plot)


97. Katy Jurado (Favourite performance: Helen Ramírez in High Noon)


96. Sylvia Sidney (Favourite performance: Drina Gordon in Dead End)


95. Maidie Norman (Favourite performance: Elvira Stitt in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)


94. Nancy Olson (Favourite performance: Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard)


93. Julie Andrews (Favourite performance: Maria in The Sound of Music)


92. Tippi Hedren (Favourite performance: Melanie Daniels in The Birds)


91. Theresa Harris (Favourite performance: Chico in Baby Face)


90. Jean Hagen (Favourite performance: Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain)


89. Paulette Goddard (Favourite performance: Ellen Peterson “The Gamin” in Modern Times)


88. Ethel Barrymore (Favourite performance: Miss Spinney in Portrait of Jennie)


87. Jean Kent (Favourite performance: Janet Halliday in Please, Turn Over)


86. Constance Bennett (Favourite performance:  Marion Kerby in Topper)


85. Sandra Dee (Favourite performance: Evelyn Leslie in Until They Sail)


84. Liv Ullmann (Favourite performance: Elizabeth Vogler in Persona)


83. Jeanne Moreau (Favourite performance: Julie Kohler in La Mariée était en noir)


82. Veronica Lake (Favourite performance: Jennifer in I Married a Witch)


81. Genevieve Bujold (Favourite performance: Denise Marshall in Earthquake)


80. Lilli Palmer (Favourite performance: Clytie Devine in A Girl Must Live)


79. Valentina Cortese (Favourite performance: Séverine in La Nuit Américaine)


78. Geena Davis (Favourite performance: Thelma Dickinson in Thelma & Louise)


77. Rosanna Arquette (Favourite performance: Lucy in The Linguini Incident)


76. Jennifer Jones (Favourite performance: Jennie Appleton in Portrait of Jennie)


75. Rita Moreno (Favourite performance: Anita in West Side Story)


74. Katharine Ross (Favourite performance: Elaine Robinson The Graduate)


73. Ruth Hussey (Favourite performance: Elizabeth Imbrie in The Philadelphia Story)


72. Bessie Love (Favourite performance: Hank Mahoney in The Broadway Melody)


71. Jessica Tandy (Favourite performance: Ninny Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes)


70. Lucille Ball (Favourite performance: Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy)


69. Marion Davies (Favourite performance: Mabel O’Dare in Cain & Mabel)


68. Aline MacMahon (Favourite performance: Trixie Lorraine in Gold Diggers of 1933)


67. Rita Hayworth (Favourite performance: Anne Shankland in Separate Tables)


66. Dame May Whitty (Favourite performance: Miss Froy in The Lady Vanishes)


65. Kathy Bates (Favourite performance: Annie Wilkes in Misery)


64. Jessica Lange (Favourite performance: “Angelique”, the angel of death in All That Jazz)


63. Ruth Donnelly (Favourite performance: Liz in Autumn Leaves)


62. Virginia Weidler (Favourite performance: Dinah Lord in The Philadelphia Story)


61. Nova Pilbeam (Favourite performance: Erica Burgoyne in Young & Innocent)


60. Natalie Portman (Favourite performance:  Nina Sayers in Black Swan)


59. Joan Crawford (Favourite performance: Mildred Pierce in Mildred Pierce)


58. Debbie Reynolds (Favourite performance: Lilith Prescott in How the West Was Won)


57. Billie Burke (Favourite performance: Millicent Jordan in Dinner at Eight)


56. Bette Davis (Favourite performance: Margot Channing in All About Eve)


55. Isabella Rossellini (Favourite performance: Lady Helen Port-Huntley in The Saddest Music in the World)


54. Jane Wyman (Favourite performance: Marcy Lewis in Three Guys Named Mike)


53. Miriam Hopkins (Favourite performance:  Lavinia Penniman in The Heiress)


52. Joan Blondell (Favourite performance: Mabel Anderson in Dames)


51. Phyllis Calvert (Favourite performance: Clarissa in The Man in Grey)


50. Celeste Holme (Favourite performance: Karen Richards in All About Eve)


49. Helen Hayes (Favourite performance:  Ada Quonsett in Airport)


48. Shelley Winters (Favourite performance: Belle Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure)


47. Irene Dunne (Favourite performance:  Lucy Warriner in The Awful Truth)


46. Greer Garson (Favourite performance: Kay Miniver in Mrs. Miniver)


45. Gladys Cooper (Favourite performance: Beatrice Lacy in Rebecca)


44. Una Merkel (Favourite performance: Lorraine Fleming in 42nd Street)


43. Jodie Foster (Favourite performance: Clarice Starling in  The Silence of the Lambs)


42. Jacqueline Bisset (Favourite performance: Julie Baker in La Nuit Américaine)


41. Susan Sarandon (Favourite performance: Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking)


40. Jean Harlow (Favourite performance: Gladys Benton in Libeled Lady)


39. Patricia Roc (Favourite performance: Caroline in The Wicked Lady)


38. Cate Blanchett (Favourite performance: Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator)


37. Hattie McDaniel (Favourite performance: Mammy in Gone With the Wind)


36. Barbara Bel Geddes (Favourite performance: Marjorie Wood in Vertigo)


35. Diane Keaton (Favourite performance: Annie Hall in Annie Hall)


34. Vera Miles (Favourite performance: Rose Balestrero in The Wrong Man)


33. Faye Dunaway (Favourite performance: Bonnie Parker in Bonnie & Clyde)


32. Natalie Wood (Favourite performance: Wilma Dean “Deanie” Loomis in Splendor in the Grass)


31. Dorothy McGuire (Favourite performance: Helen in The Spiral Staircase)


30. Elizabeth Taylor (Favourite performance: Catherine Holly in Suddenly, Last Summer)


29. Lillian Gish (Favourite performance: Rachel Cooper in The Night of the Hunter)


28. Shirley MacLaine (Favourite performance: Jennifer Rogers in The Trouble With Harry)


27. Jean Arthur (Favourite performance: Clarissa Saunders in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)


26. Marilyn Monroe (Favourite performance: Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk in Some Like It Hot)


25. Dolores Hart (Favourite performance: Donna Stuart in Come Fly With Me)


24. Ginger Rogers (Favourite performance: Ann Lowell  in 42nd Street)


23. Thelma Ritter (Favourite performance:  Stella in Rear Window)


22. Jessie Royce Landis (Favourite performance: Jessie Stevens in To Catch a Thief)


21. Teresa Wright (Favourite performance: Charlotte Newton in Shadow of a Doubt)


20. Marlene Dietrich (Favourite performance: Christine Vole in Witness for the Prosecution)


19. Donna Reed (Favourite performance: Lorene in From Here to Eternity)


18. Anne Bancroft (Favourite performance:  Anne Sullivan in The Miracle Worker)


17. Elsa Lanchester (Favourite performance: Miss Plimsoll in Witness for the Prosecution)

by Ernest A. Bachrach, bromide print, 1939

16. Doris Day (Favourite performance: Josephine “Jo” Conway McKenna in The Man Who Knew Too Much)


15. Agnes Moorehead (Favourite performance: Queen Maria Dominika in The Swan)


14. Claire Trevor (Favourite performance: Helen Brent in Born to Kill)


13. Carole Lombard (Favourite performance:  Maria Tura in To Be or Not to Be)


12. Myrna Loy (Favourite performance: Milly Stephenson in The Best Years of Our Lives)


11. Deborah Kerr (Favourite performance: Miss Giddens in The Innocents)


10. Joan Bennett (Favourite performance: Katherine ‘Kitty’ March in Scarlet Street)


9. Barbara Stanwyck (Favourite performance: Lily Powers in Baby Face)


8. Anne Baxter (Favourite performance: Lucy in The Magnificent Ambersons)


7. Olivia de Havilland (Favourite performance: Catherine Slopper in The Heiress)


6. Vivien Leigh (Favourite performance: Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind)


5. Katharine Hepburn (Favourite performance:  Josephine “Jo” March in Little Women)


4. Margaret Lockwood (Favourite performance: Hesther Shaw in The Man in Grey)


3. Jean Simmons (Favourite performance: Varinia in Spartacus)


2. Joan Fontaine (Favourite performance: 2nd Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca)


  1. Audrey Hepburn (Favourite performance: Princess Ann in Roman Holiday), Grace Kelly (Favourite performance: Margot Wendice Dial M for Murder) and Ingrid Bergman (Favourite performance: Dr. Constance Petersen in Spellbound)!

YES! Yes, I have three favourite actresses as number one. I love them all equally and for very different reasons. I cannot choose! That’s why I created another blog dedicated to them!

Of course, this is the type of list that can change next week, but I think this gave you a good preview of my acting tastes.

Who are your favourite actresses? 🙂