Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I'm taking a break from blogging but I'll be back after the holidays on January 4, 2021.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
A Christmas Cult Classic
Christmas is right around the corner, so time to sit back and enjoy some classic Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.
I never realized there were Christmas cult classic films, until a few years ago when someone gave my kids a collection of Christmas movies. The motion pictures included were not well known, to say the least, but all were good for a laugh.The strangest--and corniest--was Santa Clause Conquers the Martians. It's a 1964 science-fiction movie that regularly receives the honor of being listed as one of the worst films ever made. A featured player is ten-year-old Pia Zadora.
Here's a part of the plot from Wikipedia:
The story involves the people of Mars, including Momar ("Mom Martian") and Kimar ("King Martian"). They're worried that their children Girmar ("Girl Martian") and Bomar ("Boy Martian") are watching too much Earth television, most notably station KID-TV's interview with Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole. Consulting the ancient 800-year-old Martian sage Chochem (a Yiddish word meaning "genius"), they are advised that the children of Mars are growing distracted due to the society's overly rigid structure; from infancy, all their education is fed into their brains through machines and they are not allowed individuality or freedom of thought.
Monday, December 7, 2020
Pearl Harbor Day
My mother was ten years old when the attack happened. She was playing with paper dolls (in the days before Barbies) when she heard the announcement on the radio (before the days of television). At that young age, she wasn't too aware of what was going on, but she remembers neighbors (back in the days when people actually knew their neighbors) gathering in her home later that day and discussing what would happen next.War had been raging in Europe for two years, but the US had yet to become involved, other than providing aid to the United Kingdom. So what did happen next as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor? An article from USA.com explains it well:
The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans and left another 1,100 injured. In short, the strike signaled the entry of the United States into World War II.Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese planes made the surprise raid on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, which was launched from aircraft carriers, nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed, as well as more than 300 aircraft.
The official American death toll was 2,403, according to the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army service members and 68 civilians. Of the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves as the main memorial to the incident. Fifty-five Japanese soldiers also were killed.Until the raid, the U.S. had been reluctant to join World War II, which had started on Sept. 1, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland.
In those nearly 2 1/2 years, the U.S. had extensively assisted the United Kingdom, virtually the sole source of resistance to the Nazis in Europe, with arms and other supplies. However, the goal of isolationism – brought on, according to the State Department’s Office of the Historian, by the Great Depression and the memory of massive losses during World War I – led Roosevelt and Congress to be wary of intervention. Pearl Harbor reversed that in a day, with Congress issuing a declaration of war after Roosevelt’s speech on Dec. 8, 1941.
And as they say, the rest id history! Do you have any relatives that remember that day? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, November 30, 2020
The Manchurian Candidate
Election Day! I don't know about you, but I thought I'd be happy when the big day had come and gone! Well, November 3rd came and went, and we still don't have a definite answer of who our next president will be.
The mood of this pseudo-documentary, satirical film masterpiece (from prolific veteran television director Frankenheimer) is paranoic, surrealistic, dark, macabre, cynical, and foreboding - these elements are combined in a traditional, top-notch suspenseful thriller framework with a nail-biting, Alfred Hitchcock-like climax. The movie displays the emerging role and importance of television in broadcasting public affairs and shaping opinion, and the circus atmosphere that surrounds American politics.
Read the complete review here. This film is considered by many critics to be one of the best movies ever made. Have you ever seen it?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, November 23, 2020
I'm off for Thanksgiving and plan to be back to blogging next week. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family!
Monday, November 16, 2020
John Gavin: Before Multiculturalism Was Popular
I never would have guessed! Would you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, November 9, 2020
Love Against the Odds
Here's a brief summary of each film from IMDb:
All That Heaven Allows (1955): An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974): A lonely widow meets a much younger Arab worker in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise-and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies.
Far From Heaven (2002): In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.
All That Heaven Allows focused on socio-economic status and an older woman younger man relationship. I loved how the main character Carrie's detached/clinical social worker daughter couldn't handle the situation. Her WASP son wasn't any better. Ron, the love interest was a novelty to Carrie at first (a nice set of muscles, as her son said), and she was willing to let him go to keep her children's approval (and maybe that precious social status, too). But love conquered that in the end and they became equals who'd live a non-snobbish lifestyle. The doctor character was a voice of reason and support for Carrie, so that was refreshing.
Monday, November 2, 2020
Tomorrow is election day! I'll be glad when it's over and the final count is in. In honor of election day, I'm featuring Citizen Kane on the blog today. This movie is considered to be one of the greatest, if not THE greatest movie ever made! I love the story, the acting and the cinematography.
William Bayer, in his book The Great Movies, says, "Citizen Kane is a version of Faust, the story of a man who gains the world and loses his soul... Orson Welles has said that Citizen Kane is a 'portrait of a public man's private life,' and that may be the best summary of all."
Bayer explains that Citizen Kane is about William Randolph Hearst, not literally, of course, but in the form of a fictionalized fantasy produced with the intention of exploiting public interest in a controversial man... One of the most delightful things about Citizen Kane is the way it uses Hearst against himself. Citizen Kane exploits him the way his papers exploited everyone else. Citizen Kane is yellow journalism. It sacrifices the truth about Hearst for the sensational aspects of his story."
Never seen the movie? Here's some information from Wikipedia:
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American mystery drama film by Orson Welles, its producer, co-author, director and star. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film of all time... It topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. Citizen Kane is particularly praised for its cinematography, music, and narrative structure, which were innovative for its time.
The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and aspects of Welles's own life. Upon its release, Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers. Kane's career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is told through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate's dying word: "Rosebud."
Here's the synopsis, courtesy of Wikipedia:
In a mansion in Xanadu, a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Foster Kane is on his deathbed. Holding a snow globe, he utters a word, "Rosebud", and dies; the globe slips from his hand and smashes on the floor. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of Kane, an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher. Kane's death becomes sensational news around the world, and the newsreel's producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of "Rosebud".
Monday, October 26, 2020
Psycho's Shower Scene
I'm on a roll with creepy movies this month, and one of the scariest is Psycho. The infamous shower scene is one of the most frightening around. After seeing it, many people didn't take a shower for months, or even years!
Psycho was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Janet Leigh, who usually played a good girl, but in this film was cast as wayward secretary Marion Crane. In a surprising twist, she's killed off in the first 45 minutes of the film. Her murderer is cross-dressing, psychotic hotel manager Norman Bates played by Anthony Perkins. Where is Marion killed? In the shower, of course. The scene took a week to film and I found some fascinating facts about it at History.com. Take a look at some of them below:
Psycho became Hitchcock’s most successful film at the time—its box-office take, $32 million, was the second best of 1960, after Spartacus. But it was made despite much resistance. Paramount, the studio that had produced several of the director’s 1950s successes, refused to bankroll it. So Hitchcock financed its budget himself, against the advice of his own producers. The film also rattled the censors who executed Hollywood’s slackening Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, which was in effect from 1934 to 1968.
The censors balked at what they perceived as nudity in the shower sequence. Leigh wore moleskin patches to hide sensitive areas, as did her body double, pin-up model and future Playboy cover star Marli Renfro, who took over for more exposed moments. But there also was the opening scene, in which Leigh’s Marion wears only a bra and slip, sharing a hotel room with her divorced lover. The censors wanted that changed, too, but the savvy director tricked them. He sent back a copy of the shower scene that was unchanged, confusing the censors as to whether they had seen something or not. He also invited them to the set where he would reshoot the offending opening scene, but none of the censors showed up.
For the complete article, click here, and to watch the shower scene, click here! Have you ever seen Psycho? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, October 19, 2020
The Cat People
Therefore, the 1942 version of The Cat People is just the kind of scary movie I like! There was no CGI back then, so animation was used to create some rather hair-raising special effects that I found quite effective! A newer version of this film was made in 1982. I haven't seen it, but I doubt it's as good as the original. Remakes seldom are.
Here's a partial synopsis of the 1942 version of The Cat People from Wikipedia:
At the Central Park Zoo in New York City, Serbian born fashion illustrator Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) makes sketches of a black panther. She catches the attention of marine engineer Oliver Reed (Kent Smith), who strikes up a conversation. Irena invites him to her apartment for tea.
At her apartment, Oliver is intrigued by a statue of a medieval warrior on horseback impaling a large cat with his sword. Irena informs Oliver that the figure is King John of Serbia and that the cat represents evil. According to legend, long ago, the Christian residents of her home village gradually turned to witchcraft and devil-worship after being enslaved by the Mameluks. When King John drove the Mameluks out and saw what the villagers had become, he had them killed. However, "the wisest and the most wicked" escaped into the mountains. Oliver is dismissive of the legend even though Irena clearly takes it seriously.
Oliver buys her a kitten, but upon meeting her, it hisses. Irena suggests they go to the pet shop to exchange it. When they enter the shop, the animals go wild in her presence, and Irena becomes uneasy. Irena gradually reveals to Oliver that she believes she is descended from the cat people of her village, and that she will transform into a panther if aroused to passion. Despite this, Oliver asks her to marry him, and she agrees.
Have you ever seen The Cat People? Any thoughts? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, October 12, 2020
The Bad Seed
I'm referring to the 1956 version. One was released in 2018, but I haven't seen it. I'm sure the recent release is even more unnerving than the original!
Here's part of the synopsis from Wikipedia:
Kenneth and Christine Penmark dote on their eight-year-old daughter, Rhoda. They say their farewells before he goes away on military duty. Their neighbor and landlord, Monica Breedlove, comes in with presents for Rhoda – a pair of sunglasses and a locket. Rhoda, pristine and proper in her pinafore dress and long, blonde pigtails, thanks Monica for the gifts. She dances in tap
For the complete synopsis, click here, or if you don't mind being unsettled for an evening, watch the movie! If you've seen it already, what did you think? And if you've seen the newer version, did it creep you out? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Hair Care Through the Ages
So, let’s take a journey back in to the mists of time to discover some of the odd potions and techniques our ancestors used for their historical hair care.
Ancient Egypt was a hot, dry place in the desert. A bit like modern Egypt. Hair moisturisers gave protection from the arid climate, and Egyptian women would use a healthy dose of castor oil and almond oil, which they believed also promoted hair growth by massaging it into the scalp.
An early Renaissance era hair gel recipe from around 1300 used lizard tallow blended with swallow droppings. Tallow is rendered from the fat of animals. Like the soap in Fight Club. Women also conditioned their hair with dead lizards boiled in olive oil.
In the 1600s, at the time of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I, women would set their hair with lard. The smell would attract rats at night, so they would sleep with nightcaps, or in more extreme cases, with cages over their heads to ward off the little nibblers.
“Take some beef marrow and remove all the bits of skin and bone. Put it in a pot with some hazelnut oil and stir well with the end of a rolling pin. Add more oil from time to time until it is thoroughly liquefied. Add a little essence of lemon. Bear grease can be a substitute for bone marrow.”
Lice were a major problem during the Enlightenment, so men would shave their heads and wear wigs instead. In the 18th Century the predominant style was for the wig to be as white as possible. If you were poor, this meant adding copious amounts of flour to the wig. The rich would use a combination of starch and pleasant smelling oils such as lavender.
A German chemist named Hans Schwarzkopf developed a water-soluble powder shampoo and sold it in his pharmacy. It was an instant hit and he soon was taking orders from every pharmacy in Berlin, then Holland and Russia. He followed this up with the first liquid shampoo in 1927, establishing Schwarzkopf as the world’s first hair care business empire.
In 1908 the New York Times printed:
“…specialists recommend the shampooing of the hair as often as every two weeks, but from a month to six weeks should be a better interval if the hair is in fairly good condition.”
It went on to recommend white castile soap or tar soap, while split ends could be treated by singeing and clipping.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Great Things About Fall
I'm a summer girl! I love hot weather, I love wearing shorts, sundresses, and sandals. I love being able to go outside and not bundle up. With that said, I know there are many out there who love fall. I certainly don't mind it.
I enjoy a change of season and that crisp smell of turning leaves in the cooler air. Fall weather seems to put me in the mood for root vegetables and homemade soup. It also stirs up the holiday spirit. Cooler weather reminds me that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!
As much as I hate to say goodbye to summer, I'll welcome the fall by enjoying these wonderful things, especially the edible ones!
- The colorful sight of autumn leaves
- Crisper air and crunchy leaves
- Big comfortable sweaters
- Cozy fires in the fireplace
- Pumpkin pie
- Hot apple cider
- Hot chocolate
What do you like most about fall? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, September 21, 2020
I love exploring tales of forbidden love, and one of the
most interesting I've ever read about was that of Clarence King and Ada
Copeland. Their story is told in Martha A. Sandweiss's book, Passing
Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history. He was also a brilliant scientist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay declared King “the best and brightest of his generation.”
However, King hid a secret from his friends, as well as the prominent Newport family from which he hailed: He lived a double life. For thirteen years King was known as a celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer. But he was also known as James Todd, a black Pullman porter and steel worker.
The fair skinned blue-eyed son born to a wealthy China trader passed across the color line. This was not the usual case of a black man passing as white--but a white man passing as black! And he didn't reveal his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, until his dying day.
Why did King do this? To be with the woman he loved. To marry Ada publicly, as the white man Clarence King, would have scandalized him and destroyed his career.
Passing Strange is a fascinating account of a sacrifice made for love. If you like history, romance and forbidden love stories, then you'll enjoy Passing Strange!
Can you share a rather strange love story you've heard about?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!