Liebster Sunshine…Silently


Who’s there?


Um…yes, I know that’s pretty corny but I couldn’t help it.  Another fabulous blogger thought enough of Once Upon a Screen to honor it with the Liebster Award.  This is not this site’s first, I’m lucky to say, but it never gets old – especially since this blog is listed alongside other fantastic blogs in recognition.  It’s an honor, any which way you cut it and I am appreciative of the appreciation.  This time I received this wonderful honor from Gwen of the classy Movies, Silently, which is one of my regular spots for all things silent film.


Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:


11 facts about myself:

This is the worst part of this – especially since I’ve done this before, which means I’ve already mentioned at least 22 facts already.  I’m really not that interesting! But I’ll give it a shot:

  • I hate being late for anything and waiting for anything or anyone.


  • I love road trips! 


  • While in school – through my quest for a Master’s degree – I had two sure-fire tricks that took the place of studying for exams.  

– I made sure I used the exact pen for the exams that I used to take notes convinced the pen itself had powers of retention.

– I put my notes under my pillow to allow for academic osmosis to occur while I slept.

Laugh and/or roll your eyes – I did very well in school.

  • If it’s the first rainfall in May —  I’m there!  I was told years ago it’s good luck to get rained on by the first rainfall in May.  I haven’t a clue if it works but I haven’t caught pneumonia or anything.  Plus, getting rained on is surprisingly pleasant.


  • I think in English and/or Spanish depending on the topic and/or when/how I learned something.
  • My mom has a prolific green thumb.  However, I do little but kill plants although I sometimes try to be good to them.  Once I even bought a “starter kit” in hopes of growing all different types of flowers in my small terrace.  I put the kit outside where the various little dirty planting thingies could get rain and sunshine.  Aren’t both of those necessary?  Anyway, I watched them like a hawk for weeks and weeks and none of them ever grew.  I was a little hurt, I have to say.  Everyone I know can put a plant somewhere and it would grow. I mentioned my bad plant karma to a friend who came by for a visit and he asked me if I’d put the seeds in.  SEEDS???  How could I have known the starter kit didn’t include seeds?!  Sorry but a “starter set” without seeds is really a “prepare to start” set.  I’m still thinking of suing for emotional distress!
  • I can’t even think of touching raw cotton – it gives me serious heebee-jeebees!  To remove nail polish I use paper towels.
  • Forever a geek, I would actually cry as a child if my parents deemed I was ever too sick to go to school.
Please let me go be bored all day!….WHY DID YOU HAVE ME?
  • I’m terrible with technology and it doesn’t much like me.  Just recently I experienced some trouble with my cell phone, which included a mix-up of all the different alerts I’d set up – for calendars, new messages and the like.  It’s been very frustrating.  So when I heard a female voice at 3:30 am earlier this week stating, “Your battery is low” repeatedly, I had no choice but to get up and plug the damn phone in to shut her up.  Heaven knows how I’d set up that alert!  Or had I?  Just as I was falling back asleep the voice sounded again, “your battery is low…your battery is low.”  I shut the phone off, but the voice wouldn’t stop. Like The Tell-Tale Heart it hounded me – “your battery is low…your battery is low.”  I couldn’t get away from it.  I stared at the damn phone for a while, sleep was now gone from my grips as I was overcome with dread – THIS THING IS ALIVE!  So I got up to get some water and realized the voice wasn’t coming from the phone, but rather from the CO2 detector stationed right outside my bedroom door.


  • I was suspended in my senior year in high school for sort of forging my parents’ signature on sick notes through the years.  But the suspension only lasted a day after my mom went in to see the principal and vouched for me.  (Yes!  She admitted to signing notes she’d never signed.) Since I’d been a “good” student to that point and with my mother’s appeal, the suspension turned into a long and grueling punishment – I had to give up all my free periods during my senior year to “work” around school.  I picked up lunch trays, posted stuff on bulletin boards and an assortment of other duties while my friends celebrated their seniordom.  It was torture!
"This note from your mother is a forgery. ... But your penmanship is better than usual."
“This note from your mother is a forgery. …
But your penmanship is better than usual.”
  • My favorite exercise is blogging.

My answers to the questions posed by Movies, Silently:

1. What is one of your favorite “show, don’t tell” movie moments? You know, moments that really symbolize the characters, mood or setting without dialogue or narration.

Because it’s been on my mind of late…

I adore the entire “chase” sequence in Charles Laughton’s, The Night of the Hunter (1955).  The composition of each and every shot is truly inspired in the slow and methodical sequence:


Particularly true of the stillness of the night – when the hunter looms larger…

Nuit du Chasseur


…but the shot, taken from the point of view of John Harper (the boy) from his hideout in the barn as the ever-patient and persistent evil of Powell comes into view way off in the horizon.  Superb!  What cinema should be.


2. Name five of your favorite film scores.

So many greats.  Here are the first five that come to mind in no particular order:


The Godfather


Doctor Zhivago

The Bride of Frankenstein


OOPS!  Sorry.  That’s six.  The new five!

3. What was your favorite childhood game?

I enjoy playing board games and cards to this day and can probably list several – Monopoly, Parcheesi, etc. – that I enjoyed as a kid.  But, by far my favorite thing to play was “OSCAR!” and here’s how it went (excerpted from a previous post):

Like most classic movie fans, my love of films and all things Hollywood started at a young age.  So it should not be surprising that one of my favorites things to do as a child was play ”Oscars,” which I did often with one of my cousins.  The game consisted of our picking our favorite movies, accuracy was of no importance so these films could be the best of camp from the 1950s or one widely considered a masterpiece by the most knowledgable historian. We didn’t care if they’d been nominated by the Academy or not.  We were the only Academy that mattered.

When preparations were complete – that is, when we each finished listing our notables for each category, we’d group our favorite movies and movie stars into absurd categories, often several best pictures took home the grand prize, which was one of my brother’s track trophies.  Then we would present the awards in mock, rather embarrassing displays of awe to our own imaginations.  We were the presenters, the audience and, of course, the winners as well and took turns delivering the acceptance speeches. Sometimes, we were even the sponsors as I remember a couple of popular jingles, “I am stuck on band-aid” and “I Can’t believe I ate the whole thing” that we repeated over and over again if one or the other needed to step away.

4. What really weird food did you like as a kid?

White rice with sardines in tomato sauce.  Is that weird?

5. What decade of the 20th century exemplifies coolness to you?

Hmmm…judging by movies I have to say the 1930s.  Not my favorite film decade necessarily but THE COOLEST!

Jazz age elegance ... Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time.





I’d be remiss to not give an honorable mention in “coolness” to the 1970s.  It was the decade that served a definitive film revolution and “made” me the film fan I am today.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying it made a lot of us who grew up during that decade classic film fans because we were served it all – with affection!

6. Name three underrated movies/books/albums that you think everyone should see/read/listen to. (Choose three of the same or mix and match!)

I’m usually the one people recommend films to, but today I’ll give a shout out to three films I love that (I believe) a relative few are familiar with.

  • Anyone not familiar with Howard Hawks’, Scarface: Shame of a Nation (1932) is missing a standard in the crime film genre.  It laid it all out pushing the envelope as far as the code would allow.  Still disturbing.  Still stunning to look at.  Still cannot be beat.


  • Henry Koster’s, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation starring Jimmy Stewart and Maureen O’Hara.  I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid and am prone to discount it as worthy myself.  That is, until I see it and am reminded of how funny it is.  To the charm of Stewart and O’Hara and a fine supporting cast! Lightweight fare but such fun!  With special mention going to John McGiver as Turner!  “It’s a barn swallow.”


I’m going against the grain of the theme of this blog for a moment by recommending a film from the 1980s – because I like it, because it’s a worthwhile mention, and because…I want to go against the grain and mention three from completely different eras.

  • Taylor Hackford’s, Against All Odds (1984).  Many hail this film as a remake of Jacques Tourneur’s, 1947 film noir gem, Out of the Past.  And indeed, there are many similarities in the intriguing story about a love triangle laced with murder.  However, Hackford’s version is unique enough to merit a mention without referencing the original, which is one of my favorite classic films.  Great acting by Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward, whose character in the film is one of the best female characters in film in the 1980s (although overlooked) – a fascinating femme fatale and schemer –  with depth.  If you are prone to compare this 1984 film to Tourneur’s it’s an unjust comparison.  Hackford doesn’t better the 1947 film, he gives the worthwhile story a fresh “new” look – and remember, for the most part I detest remakes.


7. What music would you like to have played every time you enter a room?

American standards!  The warmth and brilliance of the best the 20th Century had to offer in writing and interpretation.

The Great American Songbook.


A sample:

Etta James, “At Last”

Judy Garland, “That’s All”

Doris Day, “Que Sera, Sera”

Ella Fitzgerald, “The Very Thought of You”

Bing Crosby, “Moonlight Becomes You”

Frank Sinatra, “The Way You Look Tonight”

Rosemary Clooney, “Tenderly”

8. What is your favorite thing to cook?

Unfortunately, I’m not a cook.  If I have any success in the kitchen it’s in one-pot meals.  I’m pretty good at those.  Add a second pot and I render all virtually inedible.

Um...not so much!
Um…not so much!

9. The store you lose yourself in is ________.

I almost hate to admit this but it would have to be Best Buy.  All those blurays!

10. How do you eat Oreos? 

Split them in two, eat the half with the cream first and accumulate the plain chocolate halves for the end.  I don’t like milk so I eat them dry.  With a water chaser!


11. How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Actually, I never did “decide.”  Once Upon a Screen was intended as a temporary title because I couldn’t decide on several others I liked much better – being my usual decisive self.  But since it was taking me so long to decide on something original, I thought I’d go with Once Upon a Screen, mentioning “screen” to stay (sort of) in line with my twitter hashtag, @CitizenScreen.  I never imagined anyone would actually show up to read posts on this blog.  When that began to happen and people started recognizing the blog’s title it became more difficult to change it.  And, by the way, I’ve been asked a few times why the url for the site is “”, different from the site’s title and the answer is the alternative was not available.


And now my nominees – none of which I know how many followers they have.  I am also not listing 11 as I don’t want to seem like I’m blog stalking anyone.  In no particular order and in appreciation:

Movie Star Makeover

Critica Retro

Twenty Four Frames

Bogie Film Blog

Out of the Past

DVD Infatuation

Flapper Flickers & Silent Stanzas 

A very special mention and hearty congratulations to Terry at A Shroud of Thoughts who just celebrated 9 years of blogging greatness!

My questions for this fabulous group should they feel inclined to answer them:

  1. What is the best/worst part of blogging?
  2. What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from a film?
  3. If you could be a movie villain for a day who would you be, and why?
  4. Who is your favorite movie detective?
  5. Zombies or unicorns?
  6. Imagine you’ve won the lottery. If you had to nominate one charity to inherit your largesse, what would it be?
  7. Do you keep track of the films you watch each year, month, week?  If so, how?
  8. What/where is your home town?
  9. If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
  10. What is the funniest classic film of all time?
  11. How are you?


WAIT!  This is a like a movie serial…


Um…sorry.  I got distracted.

Gwen at Movies, Silently also gave Once Upon a Screen the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Honestly, I’m not sure what it means exactly, but again, it is greatly appreciated.  I hope I don’t need to convince anyone of how much these mean to me after the long post for the Liebster, above.


As is the practice I am posting the rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award but am following only rules #1 and #2.  There’s just no way I can subject anyone who might stop in here to ten other facts about myself.  Besides, this award is about blogging inspiration and I am inspired by many blogs on a daily basis.

Rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

1. Use the award logo in a post and/or on your blog.
2. Include a link back to whoever nominated you.
3. Offer 10 pieces of random information about you.
4. Nominate ten other bloggers who ‘positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.’
5. Let your nominees know about their much deserved award.


To Gwen of Movies, Silently, one million thank yous!

23 thoughts

  1. I love reading the quirky witty things that make you well… you! Anybody that love’s the 70s and remembers ‘I am stuck on band aids” plus all the other hilarious things that make reading your blog so delightful and nostalgic should be a pal of mine. One of these days we oughta grab some eats at a Jersey diner and commiserate about all the things we love in common. From Columbo to Night of The Hunter. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again… You tickle me Aurora- Congrats on the myriads of Liebsters you deservedly receive. Cheers- Joey

    1. Can you imagine I just found this comment from you in my SPAM folder! You’re so sweet, Joey and it tickles me you “get” my very mention of all those things. We definitely do love this stuff together! I’d love to get together in a diner! How fun!

      1. Oh that pesky spam filter. It really is so neat to find like minded people, who get as misty and nostalgic about the same things I do. We should really try and tawk at a Diner ” Pickles on the table!!!” “What can I get you doll?” (said by a raspy voiced waitress with blue eye pencil)

  2. Great answers! I share your taste in music and oreo eating rituals. I’m strangely attracted to those dark soundtracks too, like Psycho, Dracula, Jaws… I actually enjoy listening to them! Taxi Driver is also a favorite of mine, and some nicer ones, like Pride and Prejudice and Good Bye, Lenin!. I’m glad you recommended Against All Odds, sounds like something I could enjoy.

    1. Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Sofia! If you get a look at Against all Odds let me know what you think. Sexy movie!

      Yes, love those soundtracks! The best ones always evoke the movie images. And those standards just can’t be beat!


  3. I really enjoyed this post. It’s always great to see acclaim for the original Scarface, which doesn’t get enough praise because people have expectations from the remake. I love what Hawks did with the genre, and it’s a classic from that era. I also love Out of the Past, and it is interesting to see what Taylor Hackford did with the remake. I don’t feel like it totally works, but the actors all do a good job.

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Dan. I LOVE Scarface and give it a shout out whenever possible. I did an earlier post on the film too, if you ever have time to take a look. Still so affecting and Muni is great in it!

      I love Against all Odds though artistically it doesn’t measure up to Out of the Past, which is my favorite film noir. Still, Hackford’s version is intriguing and a great one for its depiction of the 1980s, I’ll admit that much of the appeal for me is the sexual chemistry between Bridges and Ward. But all the performances are quite good.


      1. Aurora, you’re right about the chemistry between Bridges and Ward. You didn’t see the same connection in Out of the Past, and that’s one of the strongest parts about Against All Odds. I’ll have to check out your post on Scarface. Love that film!

  4. I think we have a few things in common Aurora. I do like rain and I do believe punctuality tells you a lot about a person and their integrity. If you can’t show up on time, I say why bother? I am always early for anything and dislike people who are always late.

    I also did a baddie my senior year of High School and skipped gym class with a friend of mine during the last 3 months of the year. It was my last class on Friday and I wanted to get my paper route done as soon as possible so I always cut out early. Go figure, my friend never got caught and I had to do two weeks of gym classes 830-230 every day with the underclassmen while the Seniors had already finished up the school year. I was then allowed to graduate on time. I was a pretty good student also.

    I do love the Great American Songbook and everything associated with that type of music. I don’t know if you ever watched The Great American Songbook DVD hosted by Michael Feinstein, it is really worth a viewing. Judy Garland is on the cover.

    These Liebster awards are corny but cool in a way because we get to learn about the person behind the blog. Congrats on your award, Aurora.

    1. I have seen the Feinstein DVD.

      Thanks, John. These are corny but given the number of fabulous blogs out there, it’s still nice to be considered/mentioned/recommended by other bloggers. That’s why I always try to acknowledge the mentions. Plus, I admit, I have fun with these posts.


  5. I was having fun until I was extremeluy surprised to see my name as one of the awarded blogs! Thak you su much! Maybe due to blogathon dates, I’ll post the answers not on my blog, but on Tumblr, OK?
    Loved your 11 facts, in special the one about the pen: I used to do it too! And the musics chosen to play whenever you enter in a room couldn’t be better!

  6. I spent seven years in video retail. Whenever someone came in asking for SCARFACE, I’d say, “Sure, would you like the original or the remake?” Almost every time, the customer would be bewildered to realize that DePalma’s version was not the first. I like to think of it as my little method of raising awareness of the original.

    1. WONDERFUL!!! You reminded me of the time I asked a very young Best Buy employee if the special edition/anniversary release of Casablanca was out. He replied, “as in White House?”

      We gotta keep spreading the word, Rich!!


  7. I love the Silent Movie memes you’ve used. Very clever!

    Congrats on the awards, Aurora! It’s been great to learn more about you… And I know what you mean about Best Buy.

    1. Thanks, R.A. I wanted to give the shout out to Movies, Silently for the award and I found those great screenshots. Glad you liked them.

      I think just about enough of me is out there now.


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