I haven’t done a holiday gift guide in a while but this has been a pretty excellent year for classic film items. Couple that with the near-constant terror surrounding the lack of access to classic films and the need to promote physical media and you have this gift guide. This is by no mean a definitive list but they’re things over the last year that either attracted my attention or that I absolutely love and think you will to! If you’re considering buying anything please consider clicking the links which allow a few cents of your purchase to go back to Journeys in Classic Film.
Movies, Movies, Movies
I’ve talked before about my love and appreciation for Twilight Time and they could certainly use your support this holiday season. Thankfully, they make it incredibly easy with a cadre of titles you should purchase. Several of these, particularly from 20th Century Fox, probably won’t get this type of release again which should entice you to purchase. The image quality and assortment of bonus features is always top-notch. I might have at least seven titles in my cart now. They’re having a sale now, so nearly everything is on-sale! Get in on it now before your favorites are gone.
Full disclosure: I was fortunate to work for ClassicFlix for two years, but that’s actually an advantage when it comes to this as I saw first-hand how much heart the team puts into their releases. ClassicFlix has dived into the world of licensing and distributing classic films for over a year and they’ve put out some rare gems, including the Joan Blondell feature The Stand-In (1937), the daffy Constance Bennett feature Merrily We Live (1938) and put out an entire set devoted to Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly’s short films. The operation is small which means they need every penny to continue to put out these dazzling rarities. If you buy from them tell ’em Kristen sent you!
Some of my top choices released in 2019:
Some of my favorites Kino Blu-rays released in 2019:
Top Criterion picks for 2019:
For the Bookworm
Here are the books I’ve read and enjoyed (or have my eye on and think you might too):
Looking for the Unique?
What to get for the person who has everything? Or at least all of the above? There are some amazing creators taking classic films and stars down new avenues, allowing you to celebrate in different ways.
Disney+: Yes, I know Disney is set to become our new corporate overlords, but if you’re a fan of classic Disney animation (and have read my long-running Disney Vault series) this one’s for you. Disney has finally released (nearly) their entire animated catalog as well as a large amount of their live-action stuff. The biggest shock is the original 1940 take on Swiss Family Robinson which, rumor has it, Walt Disney purchased when he was developing Disney’s version and kept buried to avoid competition. Maybe we’ll get lucky and one day I’ll tackle every live-action feature!
Kate Gabrielle: The name Kate Gabrielle is familiar to classic film geeks because she’s been making utterly beautiful enamel pins based on classic stars for several years. Over the last few years, she’s branched out to making holiday cards and ornaments, as well as t-shirts, all with Old Hollywood stars on them. The handmade items are of the highest quality and Kate is always open to custom orders. Last year, my classic film Secret Santa purchased several John Garfield ornaments Kate designed for me. There’s so much to buy for others but you’ll also probably end up buying something for yourself.
Alejandro Mogollo on RedBubble: I first spotted Mogollo’s work at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival when a friend showed off her beautiful Bette Davis cellphone case. After that, I purchased a Veronica Lake mug and now I want everything Mogollo has designed. His work beautifully captures a multitude of actresses in a pop art style that hearkens back to the days of caricatures at the Brown Derby. You can get his artwork on practically anything, from cell phone cases to pillows and t-shirts, or just get them as art prints to hang on your wall!
Robyn Adele Anderson: Singer and pinup model Robyn Adele Anderson does something unique with the world of Old Hollywood glamour. She takes modern-day songs and performs them in styles from the past (like 1960s surf music or 1940s waltz). If it sounds familiar Anderson got her start performing with Postmodern Jukebox. Outside of her songs, which are fabulous, she also puts out regular merchandise and pinup calendars.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.