Craig Jones from St. Louis, MO
Aside from watch TCM, what do you do?
Besides being a classic film fanatic, I work as a wardrobe/dresser for various theatre companies, as well as design costumes for local high schools.
I also design and construct my own line of bowties on Etsy (That Bow Tie Guy), ranging from simple patterns or colors to those showcasing favorite fandoms, tv shows, books, etc.
In between theatre gigs and designing bow ties, I work various retail jobs and enjoy reading, sketching, and spoiling my little niece.
What’s your favorite movie snack?
Can't go wrong with the classic choice: large tub of popcorn with butter and salt, and a large soda to wash it all down with.
What’s your favorite part of TCM?
Rediscovering classic favorites and discovering new ones. My biggest TCM Tradition comes at the beginning of each month, when I scroll through the list and make notes on films that I've seen before and want to see again, or films that I've either heard of that I need to see or because of the storyline or performers interest me.
I also have to say that when TCM joined with Fathom Events for their Big Screen Classic Series, it was an amazing experience to be around people who enjoy a classic film. Not only around the elders who would share their own first experience of the film, but people around my age... even younger!... valuing and honoring the film they're about to see. It's always great to go to a film each month and see it on the big screen, and be surrounded by people who still cherish a classic film.
What’s your favorite movie genre?
Comedies or film noir... I don't think I can choose between those two.
I remember taking a class in film noir, and it was extremely informative to watch various film noir from the golden age of Hollywood to recent selections. The biggest surprise was seeing a Hitchcock classic on the curriculum, and slowly seeing similarities between his work and the genre of film noir.
I couldn't choose one subgenre of the comedy genre, I just like laughing all together. Seeing people get in ridiculous situations, and still saving the day or getting the girl/ guy at the end. After a long day of stress and hearing about what's going on in the world, it's good to come home, put on a comedy of some sort, and get lost in the absurdness and laugh to make you feel better or to release some stress.
Who’s your favorite actor or actress or filmmaker of all time? And why?
I am actually going to answer all three of these.
Favorite Actor: Danny Kaye. What an performer! I was going to say actor, but he could sing and dance like the rest of the his pitter-patter, tongue-twisting moments and his simple, yet over the top, expressions. And he could keep up with dancers like Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen.
Favorite Actress: Vivien Leigh. She was such a great actress; she could play the tragic heroines (like Myra Lester, Anna Karenina, Blanche DuBois) so well, yet could pull a complete opposite and play strong, vivacious characters like Scarlett O'Hara, Victoria Gow (Storm in a Teacup), or Libby (Sidewalks of New York)
Favorite Director: Alfred Hitchcock. It's amazing to watch his work and the detail he put into his films. Not only could he tell a story through the actors and the plot line, but through shots and the lighting and coloring or style of a costume piece. He also had a way of making the "every day" things seem sinister and realistic (like in Torn Curtain, when the murder scene took more then ten minutes to finish...or Suspicion, when an innocent glass of milk could lead to the final demise of the lead actress).
Who would you be thrilled to meet, and what would you say?
Either Dame Angela Lansbury or Dame Julie Andrews, hands down!
These women were my childhood. Grew up with Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Maria Von Trapp, and Millie Dillmount (Thoroughly Modern Millie being the film that got me interested in classic films, as well as working in the entertainment industry).
And even after losing her voice, she still keeps working! Making guest apperances, writing children's books with her daughter, and even making a ground-breaking children's show about what it's like to be in the theatre ("Ground-breaking" for me because it featured children/puppet children that were non-binary or handicap or a different race).
And Angela Lansbury! I grew up with her as the death-obsessed Gwendolyn (The Court Jester), the witch-in-traning Miss Price of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote fame (a TV Series that got me into the murder mystery genre). It also amazed me how versatile she was in the roles she played: how she could be sweet and motherly like Jessica, and then turn around to play an icy, power hungry sociopath like Mrs. Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate.
I can't think of just one question to ask them. I would just love to sit down and ask them anything and everything about their work, just an hour conversation.
What do you collect?
I've started to collect copies of Pride and Prejudice, either old vintage version or modern ones with creative illustrations or covers. Even for birthdays or Christmas or some gift-giving celebration, all I ask is a copy of Pride and Prejudice from family and friends... a copy that they think is me and, on the inside cover, write their name, the year, and a brief little message.
If you had to pick just one, what would be your favorite movie?
The Heiress, 1949, Directed by William Wyler and starring Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Cliff, and Ralph Richardson.
It's a film that has everything: great performances by the three leads, a heart-breaking story plot, an amazing score, beautiful period costumes by the fabulous Edith Head, and wonderful direction by William Wyler.
It's also a hard movie to watch, because of how the characters treat Catherine. All she wanted was love and acceptance, something she never got from her family (a father obsessed with turning her into a duplicate of his dead wife, and an aunt who cared only about herself and her past) or her possible love interests (a cocksure con-artist who had to instruct her on what to say to her father).
I could talk about this film/ story arch from sun up to sun down, but to answer your question, my favorite film would be The Heiress.
Thank you Craig! For being in our Member Spotlight, we're sending you Creating the Illusion, TCM's massively impressive pictorial history of Hollywood costume designers. We hope it'll inspire some of your work!
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