Classic Film Fan Holiday Gift Guide

No ties on this list!Time for a very late Gift Guide for the Classic Movie Fan. There's still time!

First off, big thanks to my friends Raquel at Out of the Past and National Classic Movies Examiner Jennifer Garlen for including yours truly in their own Holiday Gift Guides.

Since I ship items the morning after your pay, there's still a little time to shop even with me! But this post isn't meant to be about me, I'll just leave off by saying I've got tons of $5 and $10 items that will likely be the most original stocking stuffers anyone in your family has ever received!

But I'm not unique, there's still plenty of time to order goods online and have them wrapped up under the tree for your classic movie loving loved ones.

Especially thanks to Amazon Prime. Quick disclaimer, any of the following items that link over to Amazon will be through an Affiliate Link. That just means Amazon passes a small referral fee along to me, so thanks in advance if you do actually do any shopping from here.

I got my favorite classic movie toy from Amazon, oh, it looks like in April of 2010. That'd be by DVD-R Recorder. It's a Toshiba, this one in fact, however it looks like this would be the more recent model in the similar range.

Toshiba DVD Recorder

This machine in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies, of course, has allowed me to build a bigger home library of old movies than I ever imagined possible! I use these discs and slip them into these sleeves after recording. Typically 3-5 movies per disc. I just labeled my last disc #431. That's a lot of movies!

It's getting to the point if I want a title, or in some cases NEED a title, it's there.

And while we're at it, why not give your classic movie fan a subscription to TCM's own Now Playing Guide? Here's a little example of what's inside:

Cliffs Abused Now Playing Guide

You can see the workout I give my issue every month. I've actually come to rely on Now Playing even more this year after TCM, let's say modernized, their own online schedule.

In my family we wrap up subscriptions and stick them under the tree--just take a nice sheet of construction paper, keep your steadiest hand and write out a nice note. Roll it up, tie a ribbon around it and wrap it in a box. Want to throw them off the scent a little? Throw a handful of change in the box with your little gift scroll, nobody's going to guess right!

There are a few other magazines you can gift to your classic movie fan.

Films of the Golden Age MagazineHighly recommended are the monthly Classic Images Magazine and the quarterly Films of the Golden Age Magazine. Sister publications, both are jam packed with classic movie articles and news. Classic Images is in a newspaper format; Films of the Golden Age more of a traditional slick magazine.

For your classic film fan who loves those old film noir movies you can get a bit more specialized with a subscription to the bi-monthly newsletter The Dark Pages edited by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry.

I may be a bit biased since I've never handled a Kindle, but sturdy old tyme books make up the bulk of my own Christmas list.

If you've been around at all the past month you know I'm recommending the new Spencer Tracy biography by James Curtis. I'm actually still reading this monster, about 650 pages in at this point and I still say it's the best film-related book in recent memory. I'm not even particularly a huge Spencer Tracy fan and I'm eating it up!

Spencer Tracy by James CurtisOther recent titles I've enjoyed over the past year or so include a couple of books whose authors have since become friends of this site: Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels by Michael G. Ankerich is a fascinating look at 14 silent screen actresses, each of whom had their share of personal struggles. And John Stangeland's biography of Warren William still holds an exalted place on my bookshelf.

To get more ideas about classic movie books see this resource page which includes several of my book reviews and a handful of interviews with authors such as Ankerich and Stangeland.

The state of the DVD market sort of perplexes me.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...

Safe in Hell at the Warner ArchiveNever have more classic movies found their way into video format than they have since Warner Archives began pressing titles. Unbelievable stuff, but I've got to be honest--thanks to my little Toshiba machine mentioned up above I barely buy any of them myself. We're both recording on DVD-R and nobody knows how long any of this is going to last. I'd rather do it at a dime per disc than $15-$20 per.

That said, I did buy the 1929 version of The Letter starring Jeanne Eagels this year. If you know Eagels name you have to have this. I preferred her histrionics to Bette Davis' own later performance--Eagels going over the top is like a wild animal while Davis is like a, um, actress.

Other titles of interest include the formerly overlooked pre-code classic Safe in Hell featuring Dorothy Mackaill and the recently released Andy Hardy Collection Volume 1 featuring a whole lot of Mickey Rooney.

I only now received an email from Warner stating that Sunday, December 18 is the last day for free 2-day air shipping, so if any of those sound interesting it's time to get on it!

Design for LivingBut I do love my extras so I really miss the more mainstream releases of Signature Collections and Forbidden Hollywood sets!

Criterion is still putting out some great classics such as recent releases Island of Lost Souls and Design for Living.

So there it is, call it your short notice, heavily annotated, Holiday Gift Guide for the Classic Film Fan.

And hey, even if it is short notice, we all usually have a few extra bucks or gift cards waiting to spend once everything settles down. If you've read this far I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy treating yourself to some of this stuff too!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays to all!

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