For those of you who may have not heard the news yet, there’s been quite the celebratory popping of champagne corks over at the blog maintained by Campaspe, a.k.a. the Self-Styled Siren. The Siren has charmed the likes of the high muckety-mucks at TCM (along with New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick—though I strongly suspect he just tended bar while Campaspe worked the room, winning over Bobby Osbo and Company with her classic film buff wiles) into letting her program Shadows of Russia, a twenty-film retrospective scheduled for January 2010 that will concentrate on Russia-and-Commie-oriented flicks, including a prime-time showing of Mission to Moscow (1943), The Scarlet Empress (1934), Reds (1981), Ninotchka (1939) and The Way We Were (1973).
Also featured in this festival are Turner Classic Movies premieres of The North Star (1943), My Son John (1952) and I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)—I’m particularly interested in seeing this last one, since I’m familiar with the syndicated radio series of the same name starring Dana “How ‘bout one more for the road?” Andrews. (The movie version stars TDOY fave Frank “Nightbeat” Lovejoy.) John is considered a camp classic (so I’ll naturally have to set the DVD recorder for that little goody) and I’m also anxious to see Rasputin and the Empress (1932; the only film to feature John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore), Spring Madness (1938), The Strawberry Statement (1970) and one that I have seen but can never see enough, The Bedford Incident (1965)—which features TDOY icon Richard Widmark at his rat bastard best. (Honest to my grandma, Widmark has a line in this movie that goes: “Yeah, it's a lot of work being a mean bastard,” prompting actor Michael Kane to respond “Sometimes I can't help admiring how effortlessly you do it, captain…almost as if it came naturally.”)
Here’s the official press release from TCM, in which the true identity of the Siren is carelessly released to the world—and I thought about reprinting that info here…but then I remembered (thanks to hours of chapter-play watching) that in serials, the individual that stumbles across the secret identity of either hero or villain doesn’t make it to end of the chapter alive. I do want to reiterate that I am pleased as punch that the Siren has been rewarded with this opportunity; she’s the ne plus ultra of classic film bloggers, and once paid me the highest compliment by remarking that my taste in films was “iconoclastic.”