Susan Doll (aka suzidoll)
Susan Doll

When I was six years old, my cousins took me to see my first film in a theater-a matinee of Visit to a Small Planet, starring Jerry Lewis, at the old Bula Theater in Ashtabula, Ohio. And, I have been hooked ever since.

As a kid, I was always breaking up weekend playtime activities with my neighborhood friends because I had to go home to watch the Saturday afternoon movie shown on a local television station. Despite the missing scenes, bad splices, and millions of commercial breaks, watching On the Town, The Road to Utopia, Bringing Up Baby, and even the Bowery Boys\' adventures was always worth it. As a matter of fact, my week was organized around the movie schedules of Cleveland\'s TV stations: Weekday afternoons were reserved for the horror and suspense films hosted by the legendary Ghoulardi; on week nights, I watched major Hollywood movies with parents on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday Night at the Movies. Much to my teacher\'s chagrin, I was the only kid in my third-grade class who habitually watched The Late Show, and then during the summers, The Late, Late Show. What she didn\'t realize was that I was getting a cultural education.

In college, I discovered film classes and couldn\'t believe someone was actually going to give me a college degree in "movies." I couldn\'t think of anything better than sitting in a classroom watching westerns, screwball comedies, Cuban films, Russian films, Italian films, thrillers, documentaries . . . and then talking about them! I rode that train as far as it would go, finally getting a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern. If there had been another level of degree I would have stuck around for that.

Since then, I have been able to parlay my obsession into a career by teaching, researching, and writing about the movies for over 20 years. How lucky is that? And, thank you Jerry Lewis.

Posts by Susan Doll

In last week’s post, I talked about the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF), and its series devoted to Hollywood director Otto Preminger. This week, I thought I would follow up by bringing a couple of documentaries, indies, and foreign flicks to your attention. At a midnight screening on my last night in Karlovy Vary, […]

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Last week I attended my first film festival outside the U.S.—the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) in the Czech Republic. Classic movie lovers will be pleased to know that the KVIFF paid tribute to Hollywood director Otto Preminger by including seven of his best films in addition to Valerie Robins’s 1991 documentary, Preminger: Anatomy […]

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I hope most of my readers are enjoying today’s holiday with family, friends, and loved ones. Rather than distract you from your barbeques, picnics, cookouts, and fireworks with a long-winded blog post, I thought I would regale you with some of my favorite Fourth of July promotional photos of classic Hollywood stars. I suspect the […]

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Director Vincente Minnelli was experiencing a career peak in 1959 when he chose the melodrama Home from the Hill as his next project. His musical Gigi had just swept the Oscars, and his previous film, the melodrama Some Came Running, had earned critical acclaim. However, Home from the Hill, which airs on TCM tomorrow, June 28, […]

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In Bells Are Ringing, which airs on TCM Thursday, June 23, Judy Holliday plays an answering service operator who gets personally involved in her callers’ lives. If I were showing this in one of my classes, I would have to explain to students what an answering service was—a service company employed by a business or […]

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Tomorrow, TCM devotes its daytime programming to biopics, or biographical pictures. Fans of this genre know not to expect an accurate chronicle of the life of a famous person; instead, biopics (or, “bi-opics” as a former coworker used to insist on calling them) offer the mythic version of that life. In other words, biopics use […]

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If you like your noir lean and mean, catch The Big Combo on TCM this Thursday, June 9. The minimalist plot pits volatile police detective Leonard Diamond, played by Cornel Wilde, against a morally bankrupt racketeer known as Mr. Brown, played by a cold-hearted Richard Conte. Not surprisingly, the two have a corrosive history, and […]

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On Saturday, June 4, TCM pays tribute to actor Roy Scheider by showcasing three of his films, The French Connection, The Seven Ups, and 2010. Scheider’s greatest success came during the Film School Generation, an era when directors sought new levels of realism, experimented with form and content, and cast ordinary-looking method actors instead of […]

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Tomorrow night, May 24, at 9:45pm EST, TCM airs a charming romantic comedy with the unfortunate title of The Ghost Goes West. Unfortunate, because the title is misleading. The film is neither a horror tale, nor does it have anything to do with the Wild West. Released in 1936, The Ghost Goes West is a British […]

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about the behind-the-scenes memos between Jack Warner and his producers, directors, and stars that can be found in a book titled Inside Warner Bros. 1935 – 1951. Compiled by Rudy Behlmer, the memos are fascinating and revelatory. Not only do they offer insights into the daily operations of the […]

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