River of No Return (1954)

The great outdoors are really personally not for me. I’ve always been an, “indoors girl”, as I semi-quote Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997). That’s why I love movies- they can bring the tough outdoors to the comfort of the indoors! So of course I had to do Movie Rob‘s Genre Grandeur of The Great Outdoors! A great outdoors movie with breathtaking landscapes and scenery is 1954’s River of no Return.

River of No Return - Wikipedia
Poor Poster Promotion! (Wikipedia)

Directed by Otto Preminger, starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe at first glance you’d think, well that doesn’t work. Even Marilyn didn’t believe in it, but I say she was too harsh on herself as she got to play a different type of role. Robert Mitchum plays Matt, a father with a young son Mark, and with Marilyn as his love interest, dance hall singer Kay, it gives her a chance to play a mother-figure.

The film starts off when Mark is abandoned by his caretaker and Kay looks after him until he reunites with his father. Mark and Matt are strangers, as Matt was in jail for killing a man in self defense. Kay reunites Mark with Matt and they part ways until Kay runs into them again while traveling on the river with her fiance, Harry. Kay and Harry’s raft gets ruined, and Harry steals Matt’s horse and rifle to continue on to the City Council to retrieve a deed on a gold mine. Kay is left behind with Matt and Mark in the wilderness.

River of No Return (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes
Mitchum and Marilyn! (Rotten Tomatoes)

The trio then embark down what the Indians call ‘the river of no return‘. Battling the elements and Indians, Matt and Kay bond with each other. Mark learns about his dad’s prison stay but starts to see him differently when he protects/ cares for both himself and Kay.

Its sort odd, I never seek out Robert Mitchum films, they come to me; by interest of either another actor, director or premise- but watching this film made me see him in a different light. I’d previously seen Out of the Past (1947) and El Dorado (1967), but this was my first Mitchum film in which I saw him play a true romantic lead, and it was cool!  

Going deeper with the romance,  I really liked that element between Marilyn and Robert Mitchum. They just click with each other. Marilyn got to be serious, and not just the blonde, while Mitch got to be the romantic tough guy. He still has to have that element about him, as he plays an outdoors man, but he has his tender moments.

Marilyn: Behind the Icon – River of No Return | Classic Movie Hub Blog
Real Scenery! (Classic Movie Hub)

The cinematography is what always keeps me coming back to this film. Its gorgeous and not a studio back lot, instead being filmed on location in Calgary and in Idaho for the use of the Salmon River for the long shots. Production on location was not without its faults, however, as Marilyn almost drowned with Mr. Mitchum diving into save her. On another occasion, when insisting they both do their own stunts, Bob and Marilyn’s raft flipped over, and Marilyn twisted her ankle! She was on crutches for the rest of the shoot, but nonetheless, it didn’t slow down shooting!

Of course, I must mention the spectacular songs Marilyn gets to sing, including a version of the title song! She worked very hard to get her finger positions correct to play the guitar, and even though its NOT her doing the playing, she certainly put in her best effort!

Overall, River of No Return is a fun and quick film to watch. Sometimes you need to see actors in different types of settings and this is a perfect example for both of the leads. Bringing the wilderness indoors, it makes for a great viewing experience from the coziness of your great indoors!

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

My first ever encounter with A Streetcar Named Desire came in August of 2012. It was schedule pickup day a few weeks ahead of my first day of Junior year of high school and a chance to pickup class material. Junior year, English class was subtitled as, “American literature“, and along with Streetcar, the other required reading that year was The Crucible. With my specific teacher, I also ended up reading: Catcher in the Rye and Death of a Salesman.

StreetcarNamedDesire.JPG

For those who may be unfamiliar with A Streetcar Named Desire, it tells the tragic tale of Blanche DuBois, a fallen southern woman whose disillusionment over her struggles in life sends her into madness. The 1951 film version stars many of the same actors who appeared in the original Broadway stage version, including Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Karl Malden as Mitch, and Kim Hunter as Stella. Vivien Leigh as Blanche DoBois is the notable change for the film, as Jessica Tandy played the role on Broadway.  Leigh did, however, play Blanche in the London production.

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).jpg

Reading Streetcar in class didn’t come until just before spring break of that year, and my first impressions of the play weren’t very prestigious at all. I recall thinking it was going to be some sort of romance or drama, not expecting a tragedy, with despicable characters. I found Stanley to be a monster and Stella to be a complete pushover. Blanche, however weird of a character she was, did attract my attention because there seemed to be a mystery about who she was.

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951 film) - Wikipedia

At this time, I had no idea there was a movie adaptation, and after we finished the book, the teacher announced we would watch it. I was interested because I wanted to see how these characters would visually interact with each other, I thought it would help me better understand the play as a whole. The moment the teacher put on the DVD and it started playing, a majority of my classmates were uninterested because, “it’s an old black and white movie”. I personally didn’t mind if it was black and white, and while I didn’t know much about Vivien Leigh’s work other than Gone with the Wind, I was glued to watch something with her in it.

My personal highlight of the film was the introduction to the marvelous actor that is Karl Malden. There I was, at age 16, watching this movie for the first time ever, and I see Karl Malden come on screen: I was immediately transfixed on his powerful voice, and automatically had high respect for his acting ability. Due to the fact I knew the outcome of his and Blanche’s relationship, I was really upset! I didn’t want to watch Mitch reject Blanche and snub her after learning her story. I really hoped it to turn out better than the play, but overall, I knew the rejection was the right decision. Mitch and Blanche’s dissolution of their friendship and any level of romantic relationship ending is the catalyst for Blanche’s final descent into her downward spiral, and it needs to happen for the story to conclude.

This movie was my real first exposure to Marlon Brando’s acting as well, and I took an instant dislike him. Of course now looking back, what I really meant was I can’t stand the character of Stanley. Stanley is a horrible husband to Stella, and is disgusting to Blanche- plus his famous “Stella” yell can absolutely get on one’s nerves. When looked at from an acting perspective, I admit it was spectacular. Brando could become any character, and you believed he was this nasty person. I’m sure I can’t picture anyone else yelling “Stellaaaaa” on a balcony.

Blanche was perfectly portrayed, and because I wasn’t alive during the original role on Broadway, I can’t see anyone else but Vivien- Sorry Ms. Tandy!! She was so immersed in this role, which certainly shows shades of her real life struggles. I’m sure it was a combination of Vivien’s stage training in the role, her professionalism, and her real life experience with mental health struggles that made her become Blanche. Its an occasion that only comes once in a lifetime- or perhaps in Vivien’s case, twice, where an actress is so perfectly married to the screen role. I think this was the best paring of actor and role since Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story!

Over the years since my junior year of high school, I sort of put this film out of my mind, really dismissing it, until I took a deeper look at it as an adult. I really was able to connect it to its source material, and it’s as faithful to the play as it could be for the screen.

The ending of the film, is what I wished would have happened in the play, upon comparing the two endings for the first time back in high school. Yet today, when watching the film’s ending, it cheapens the play’s ending. By having Stella stay with Stanley it makes it raw and real, and adds to the tragedy of the whole situation. Seeing Stella run off with the baby while leaving the house in the movie, it kind of almost makes you less emotional about what just Blanche minutes earlier. It was all due to the production code- and I’m not sure a better ending could have been conceived, but it makes the film less emotionally reactive.

Overall, its been a long winding road for me to appreciate this film. Seeing it in high school was just that, a high schooler watching, doing as they are asked. I did watch it as an adult for the first time at age 20- and I didn’t care for it, finding it even more bizarre than I did in high school. Finally fast forward now to my current age of 24 where it just clicks- and I defend the Oscars for Vivien Leigh and Karl Malden. I look at the film and I see something so tragic, but deeply layered with psychological depth and connection. I view it, and I really do see a masterpiece!

Be sure to check out other posts for The 4th Broadway Bound Blogathon 2021, HERE!

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The Queen (2006)

I took this month’s Genre Grandeur of Biographies , hosted by Movie Rob, to tap into my Royal Family Obsession!
In a time before Peter Morgan was the writer, showrunner and ‘creator’ of the Netflix drama, The Crown, he was the ‘creator’ and writer of another Queen Elizabeth II centric screen presentation. My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen, I present to you: The Queen (2006). My Aunt was the person who initially told me about this movie when it first came out. I remember being very interested in the content, as I learned about the Royal Family from reading magazines at the dentist office. Hey, I didn’t have any royal family books back then, and I certainly was not using the internet for anything else other than school, so People magazine was the best source I had! I always, however, had a big fan of Princess Diana, and I was hoping she “appeared” in the movie.

The Queen (2006) - IMDb

The Queen is a prestigious biopic covering the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the aftermath that occurred both in the Royal Family’s public and private life. While a blonde actress is used for a stand in for Diana getting into a car outside the Ritz, Princess Diana is not a physical character in this narrative. She is, however, the film’s driving force, and the source behind every decision made by the characters in the film (really, I feel disdainful referring to actors as ‘characters’, as they are depictions of real people, but there’s really no other term to use!).

Portraying The Queen is Helen Mirren, with James Cromwell as Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and Alex Jennings as The Prince of Wales (This time he’s playing Charles, not ‘David’ or should I say Edward, who abdicated, as he played on The Crown).  Also featured in a prominent role is Michael Sheen as the then newly elected Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Due to the PG-13 rating, I wasn’t allowed to see the film in 2006 (I was 10), and then it just kind of took a backseat in my mind until 2015, at which I was 18 or 19. Honestly, the delay was in part due to the lack of accessibility. My family and I don’t get the extra movie channels on the satellite package, but during those free channel promotions I had the opportunity to watch. Even though looking back at the content, I possibly could have watched this film when I was 10, but I honestly think I would have found it boring back then. I believe I would have been waiting for Princess Diana to show up in a flashback, or William and Harry to come on screen. I would not have believed in the actors playing their parts, rather waiting for the real people to appear. I certianly wouldn’t have grasped the biopic concept, instead thinking it was a documentary. In that regard, I’m very glad I watched the film when I did, as I could take it in and really absorb it.

Helen Mirren gives quite possibly the best performance of her entire career. She even impressed Her Majesty herself and was invited to Buckingham Palace for a private dinner. Ms. Mirren had to decline, due to work conflicts, but she was extremely honored nonetheless.  I remember hearing news Helen Mirren got the Oscar when it first happened, and I was happy, but reflecting on it now in 2021, I’m super obsessed with the fact she won! Very rarely do you get a performer in a role they completely embody and Helen did that for the Queen.

I even wanted her in the early stages of The Crown to play the elderly Queen Elizabeth down the line in the later seasons. I know this won’t be the case but I, in my dream world of a mind, was really pulling for it to happen. I will however, bring up in a totally nerd way, the connection between these two productions: the stag scene. In the film, one of the most powerful scenes is the stag scene in which Queen Elizabeth realizes the pain and loss caused by Diana’s death. It’s artistic licence but done brilliantly well and everything about it is perfection. In The Crown’s season 4 episode “The Balmoral Test” a subplot involves Diana and Philip hunting a stag, with many references pointing out the comparisons of Diana and said stag they are hunting. It’s just one of those details one may not think about on the onset, but then you go back and realize, “Wow! That’s a powerful connection!”.

The magical thing about Peter Morgan and his writing is he knows how to fill in the gaps between reality and fiction. A perfect example is the Queen’s weekly meetings with the Prime Minister. We know these meetings are happening, but no one but those two actually know what is being discussed. It’s amazing how the scenes are written to be fictional, yet the results from those meetings turn out to be the reality of actual events.

(credit: filmcomment.com)

In this particular production, more so than The Crown, real life footage is used. We see real life footage of the outside of Buckingham Palace in 1997, with the mountains of flowers; we see Princess Dina herself in archival footage before the car crash is depicted; and even real scenes from the funeral are used. It’s really cool and it almost blurs the lines between biopic and documentary. 

Overall, I give all the credit to The Queen because it was the first major production in which Queen Elizabeth II was portrayed as a character in a narrative. It set the tone for The Crown, and I think in the film world (so not including television) it is still the cream of the crop for how the Royal Family should look, and for how they should be portrayed. I don’t believe any film has come even close to the look and feel of The Queen, and future film makers have a very tall order if they want to create a similar result.

In short, even if you are not a fan of the Royal Family, I recommend the film to anyone looking for a biography done right. It’s not a documentary but it’s as close as it can be for being a drama.  Plus you get to see real life Hollywood Queen play the real Queen, and it really doesn’t get cooler than that! 

Queen meets Movie Queen! (credit: thecheatsheet.com)

Audrey, Fred, Fashion: Bonjour Paris!

In the midst of the Corona pandemic, travel is something we all yearn for. We can’t go overseas like we may dream, but there still is one way to travel: through films shot in location.

In Awe of Audrey: Funny Face (1957)

In this month’s GG theme of travel, I took the opportunity to watch Funny Face (1957); I had not seen it fully through and this was perfect to watch, as it was shot in Paris.

Funny Face was almost tailor made for Audrey: Paris, a Cinderella transformation, and a great leading man to play off of, Mr Fred Astaire. It was Audrey’s fourth movie for Paramount, and 1 of 3 Astaire musicals set in Paris filmed in 1950s.
Funny Face is based of two Broadway sources; one: the musical Funny Face in which it takes its name, and two: the musical Wedding Bells, in which it takes the plot. Only 4 songs from the Funny Face musical make an appearance, with the other songs either written specifically for the film, or taken from other musicals. Unlike 1964’s My Fair Lady, Audrey does all of her own singing, as of course does Fred and Kay.

Funny Face sees Audrey as Jo Stockton, a bookshop worker, Fred Astaire as fashion photographer Dick Avery (based on real life photographer Richard Avedon), and Kay Thompson as Maggie Prescott, a fashion magazine editor.  Maggie is looking for the “next big thing” and one day sets out with Dick and her team to use a Greenwich Village bookstore as an inspiration. Its there they cross paths with Jo: who at first isn’t interested in any part of it.

Funny Face 1957 - Making Nice in the Midwest
Smitten or Inspired?


After the photo shoot, Dick stays behind when Maggie and co. leave, and gets to know Jo a bit better. In just the short time of the photos shoot, Dick becomes smitten with Jo, and after Dick leaves, Jo feels the same towards him.

Even though Jo dreams of going to Paris, being a fashion model is not on her radar. It’s only after she is tricked into coming to Maggie’s office on an errand, and accidentally runs into Dick again that she agrees to go.

Soon the trio arrive in Paris and the adventure begins- and so does Jo and Dick’s romance, (with a little help from Maggie)!

Funny Face (1957) | Nostalgia Central

For me, I’m not a super fan of movie musicals, but there’s something about Funny Face that makes it an exception. The fashion and the beauty of Paris almost makes the music take a backseat. Audrey herself isn’t proficient singer, but you don’t care she’s not perfect. Her spirit and dedication to the role makes up for her lack.

Not to mention this musical is a definite precursor to the MOD era of the 60s. There are some scenes with the modeling and visual setups that is very reminiscent of Mad Men and 1960s magazines. After all, France is fashion forward, isn’t it?

Part of the film’s plot has to do with fashion, and with Paris as the backdrop you can’t go wrong. The first scene/ song and dance Bonjour Paris!  takes you around various locations: from Notre Dame, to the Arch de Triumph, to of course the Eiffel Tower! Not to be forgotten is most famous image from this film takes place at the Louvre, with Audrey stepping down the steps, in the red dress with the scarf: its perfection!!!.

TAKE THE PICTURE!

The coolest part of the movie is seeing Audrey enjoy herself. She worked extremely hard on the dance routines, keeping up with Fred Astaire’s every move. Audrey’s son Sean even mentioned in his memoir, Audrey: An Elegant Spirit, he believes this was his mother’s favorite movie she made because she got to dance with her idol, Fred, and utilize her ballet training.

I’m inclined to agree with Sean, as watching the bohemian nightclub self expression dance was super fun to watch! Audrey makes it look so fun and cool, and absolutely effortless! It kind of makes you want to do your own self expression dance!

Overall, I’m kind of mad at myself for not sitting down to fully watch this film and take in its fun and elegance. The songs are not necessarily ones to get stuck in your head, but the images this film projects will be. After all when you have the eternal beauty of Audrey and Paris, you can’t go wrong!

Ethan Edwards: Loner

This entry is for Movie Rob’s March 2021 Genre Grandeur theme of Loners in Film. I chose to focus on Ethan Edwards in the 1956 film The Searchers. Be sure to check out Rob’s other entries!

In the Summer of 2020, John Wayne’s infamous 1971 Playboy interview was brought back into the public eye, and with it came claims that John Wayne should be cancelled. Duke’s Alma Mater, USC, removed his bust from campus, TCM removed him from that year’s Summer Under the Stars and some were calling for his name to be removed from the airport in California.


In the midst of all this, the one thing I was fearing was they were going to cancel his films, namely Stagecoach and The Searchers to be precise. While Stagecoach can somewhat slip the hook for not having certain topics and themes at the center of its narrative, it’s The Searchers that had me concerned it would be the victim of cancel culture, and I will say: I defend The Searchers for being one if the greatest American westerns ever made.

As Ethan Edwards in "The Searchers" | John wayne movies, John wayne,  Western movies


The character (emphasis on CHARACTER) of Ethan Edwards is complex to say the least: he blatantly holds prejudice against Native Americans and his actions towards them are nothing short of despicable. No one would deny this. At the end of the day, however, I venture to say what Ethan is truly: a loner. Perhaps the ultimate loner that film has even seen.

The Searchers (1956)
THIS is Debbie!

Ethan starts off coming through the desert, solo. When he arrives in view of his brother’s homestead, his own nieces and nephew don’t even realize who he is. Shortly after that, Ethan himself doesn’t recognize Debbie, mistaking her for Lucy. It’s basically confirmed in this short sequence that Ethan doesn’t see much of his family. Yes, he fought in the Civil War, and it’s also hinted he fought in the Mexican Revolution, but suffice to say, Ethan goes where he wants, when he wants with no strings attached.

In The Searchers" (1956), there many implications that the kidnapped  "niece" Debbie is actually Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) daughter, from an  affair with Ethan's brother's wife. When Debbie is kidnapped, Ethan's long
Unspoken look of.. Love?

Many viewers have suggested Ethan is a loner because of his racist outlook towards Native Americans. While this is definitely a top theory, it can also be argued Ethan’s loner status comes from a deep feeling of guilt. At the start of the film, it’s been noted Ethan has been way for 8 years, and niece Debbie is 8 years old. Pair that fact with the obvious look of unstated love Ethan gives Martha and it’s a  justifiable claim. Going on this contention, Ethan feels so guilty for cuckolding his brother he feels he needs to distance himself from his family.

The Searchers | The searchers, Jeffrey hunter, Classic hollywood
Not family?

One no doubt feels that distance, emotionally when he is on his quest to find Debbie. He brings along Martin and Brad (well initially Brad, Lucy’s fiancee) but all at the same time, it’s always clear Ethan is out for his own agenda and doesn’t necessarily look out for the interests of others.  He even tells Martin he’s not his family and he has no reason to come with; going as far to ditch him when resuming the search after taking a break.

Going Home

Yet, Ethan is full of contradictions, and although he is distant both physically and emotionally, he does exhibit a sense of loyalty to his family, and this is what makes him stand out against other loners. When Debbie and Lucy are kidnapped, he doesn’t hesitate to set out to find them. When he learns of Lucy’s brutal death, he gets insanely angry. And despite his cruel and unacceptable actions when it comes seeing Debbie for the first time after many years, his number one priority is making sure she gets home.

The Searchers Final Scene GIF | Gfycat

The ending shot just affirms everything, and John Ford was pure a genius.  The famous shot of Ethan standing in the doorway, his mission completed, and now it’s time to leave. It never fails to make one wonder: where and what will Ethan do next? Perhaps it’s stated best in the Sons of Pioneers/Max Steiner song that plays over the ending: “Ride Away.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (film) - Wikipedia

If you’re like me and have a lotta love for Colin Firth, chances are you know his most associated role is that of Darcy. Whether it be Fitzwilliam Darcy in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice or Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jones trilogy, it’s no secret Colin was born to play the role. He’s so perfect at being that aloof, at times slightly arrogant, all round English gentleman. With the success of Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), it was a no-brainer the cast (which also includes Renee Zellweger as Bridget and Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver) reunited for a sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). 

The concept: what happens when you’re in an established relationship and on the edge of proposal; not a bad concept, it follows the pattern set by the novels. The execution: really, really terrible that it’s worth a watch to see just how terrible. Although it is awful, and gets more awful the more I watch it, I will admit it is a guilty pleasure. It’s fun to laugh at and there are some legitimately funny scenes. Plus more Colin Firth is never a bad thing.

Image gallery for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - FilmAffinity

First off, this film suffers from terrible pacing and transition. One minute Bridget is at a dinner gala in London, next she’s on the slopes in Austria and before you know it, she’s in jail in Thailand. Add in the fact that her jail sequence is too long and sluggish you’re just waiting for the end, which is a bit abrupt.

Next, this film suffers from a poor script and bad direction. While I do say it was right for another woman to direct, Beeban Kidron didn’t grasp the dynamic of the 3 characters, making character development just non existent. Bridget is even more clumsy, awkward and crass in the second film. It’s as if the portrayal is a spoof of the character when compared to the first film. In the first movie, Bridget is still clumsy, awkward and crass, but she’s got a likable charm that balances these traits. She wants to better herself for the sake of becoming better, while in Reason she’s stalemated to being an unlikable version of herself.
Colin and Hugh on the other hand, have significantly less screen time: with Hugh being almost absent from the first half, and vice-versa for Colin. This gives them virtually no character development. Plus they don’t have any interaction except one scene: fighting in a fountain.

Lastly, there are just random elements that make this film really bad. The opening credits song, for instance, is: Nobody Does It Better; what? Renee’s hair always looks messy and Hugh’s as well, for that matter. Finally, Bridget’s wardrobe is just so awful. Maybe that’s a character trait, but clashing colors and ill fitting pieces, they could have tried to give her a pretty wardrobe; she dressed much better in the first film.

On the positive side, for me, the main reason for watching and the highlight of the whole film for me is Darcy vs Cleaver fighting in a fountain. Not only is it an epic sissy fight set against the awesome rock sound of The Darkness’s  ‘I believe in a thing called Love’, it’s probably the only aspect of the film that’s taken to the next level. Even if you don’t think the movie is worth it this one scene certainly is. I mean, Colin Firth, in a fountain, chasing Hugh Grant is always entertaining no matter the film!


The other aspect that make this film enjoyable are the funny side characters: Bridget’s friends, Mark’s co worker Rebecca Gillies (who can forget Rebecca’s true feelings!), and the women in the Thai jail are amusing. There’s even a scene at the jail when Bridget leads a “Like a Virgin” singalong that has a ton of spirit.

I heart Christmas sweaters - Mark Darcy / Colin Firth in Bridget Jones's  Diary | Bridget jones diary, Colin firth bridget jones, Bridget jones

Overall, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason may be a hot mess, but it’s one you have to watch too believe. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, but most of all: you’ll see Colin Firth play Mark Darcy again.

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This entry is for TAKING UP ROOM’S Third So Bad its Good blogathon! Be sure to check out more bad-goodness!

A Place to Call Home (2013-18)

The Australian tv show, A Place to Call Home, has one of the most fascinating stories of how I personally came to watch it. I came across it in 2015, when looking for more info on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries season 3. A Place to Call Home pictures kept popping up and I saw an image of a cast with 1950s clothing, so I was curious about it. Upon Googling the show I had learned it ran in Australia for 2 years, got cancelled, but miraculously was uncancelled. I searched around for a trailer and watched the American one made by Acorn TV. It was in that very moment after watching the 1 minute and 50 second trailer, I knew the show was going to be a real winner. I just had an instinctive feeling about it, and bought season 1 DVD as basically a blind buy, taking a nearly $35 gamble on it.

This SOLD ME!

As I waited for the DVD to arrive, I didn’t have any doubts, which is unlike me, rather I was just so excited. I also had the benefit of knowing there wasn’t going to be an unresolved cliffhanger, as the show was locked in until at least season 4. I binged 1 and 2, watching 3 and beyond as it was airing.

The cast of A Place To Call Home prepare to say farewell | OverSixty
This kept popping up!

Created by the man behind Packed to the Rafters, Bevan Lee, the premise of A Place to Call Home starts as follows: In 1953, Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp) returns home to Australia after spending 20 years in Europe. On her journey back to Oz, working as a nurse for ocean liner passage, she meets the wealthy Bligh family, by taking care of the family matriarch, Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst) and it’s that encounter that changes everyone’s lives.

The series goes on to explore not only Sarah finding her home in the town of Inverness, but healing from her traumatic past. Other themes throughout the show’s run include Anti- Semitism and religious intolerance, public vs personal image, family disfunction, class divide, 1950s homosexuality, second chances, and above all, love and the meaning of home.

While A Place to Call Home is impacted by 1950s events, the show really is a character driven narrative. I’ve said it on Twitter and I will say it here, Marta’s character Sarah is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever seen on screen (Marta even retweeted me, I was so excited). Sarah Adams is Jewish by faith, (converting to marry her now deceased husband, Dr Rene Nordmann), defended the left in the Spanish Civil War, was a Nazi resistance worker, and is a Holocaust survivor. (Author’s note: I learned more about the Jewish faith and practices from this show than any class ever could offer.)

As for the Bligh family: Widower George Bligh (Brett Climo) is the owner of the estate Ash Park, although his Mother, Elizabeth is the real head of the family. George’s wife, Elaine, was a civilian war victim, passing away while their children, James (David Berry) and Anna (Abby Earl) were very young. In the first episode, James is newly married to his English bride, Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood). Anna on the other hand is 20 at the show’s beginning with a long time crush on her childhood friend, Gino (Aldo Mignone), son of Italian immigrants.

Rounding out the cast is essential town busybody Doris Collins (Deborah Kennedy), family friend Dr. Jack Duncan (Craig Hall), family black sheep, sister/ daughter Carolyn Bligh (Sara Wiseman), rugged farmer Roy Briggs (Frankie J Holden), George’s sister-in law Reginia Standish (Jenni Baird) and starting in season 3, Dr. Henry Fox (Tim Draxl).

Overall, if Douglas Sirk created a TV show, and was allowed to outwardly explore the darkness within the glossy 1950s facade, this is the TV show you’d end up; only this show is even better. A Place to Call Home has been compared to Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and even Dynasty, but I think it’s got a style all its own, with a tremendous 6 year run covering the time span of 1953- to New Year’s Day 1960.

Some fans claim the time jump to 1958 in season 5 weakened the show’s narrative, but I personally declare it gives the show more intrigue, of filling in the missing 4 years. Another critcism I have heard was David Berry’s limited availability in seasons 5 and 6, but compared to other shows I’ve seen, the writers handled it tremendously well. I have the upmost respect for David Berry as James still had an impact on the plot, and the fact he appeared on screen proved he didn’t cut and run the minute a fame offering role in Outlander was offered.

The bottom line is if you’ve never seen the show I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best family saga tv shows you’ve never seen, and it reminds us all just who and what the real meaning of home is.

This is an entry for the Home Sweet Home Blogathon hosted by Reelweegiemidget and Taking up Room ! Be sure to check out other entries! !

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Lana Wood: Audio Interview! (2016)

Hey everyone! Happy 2021 and do I have a little treat for you guys! Remember waaay back in 2016 (which seems like a lifetime ago) when I met Lana Wood at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge IL? (if you missed it or need a refresher read about it here!) Well as it turns out, during the interview portion of her visit, I, from the audience, was voice recording her interview on my old, old phone. After transferring to two phones (to keep it with me!), and then to my laptop, I have now converted the audio to be YouTube friendly and uploaded it just last month!

I only managed to get 14.5 minutes of what was nearly 45 minutes, but what I managed to get turned out not only to be clear and listenable, but also interesting and insightful. She begins by talking about John Wayne and talks about her experience on set of The Searchers. I am sorry I didn’t capture more, and it cuts off just before the Q and A. I personally DID ask Ms. Wood a question, but didn’t think about recording myself at the time!

Anyways, now, I am happy to share it with all of you! Happy listening and Happy 2021 everyone!

Blogger Recognition / Sunshine Award

I’d like to give a massive thank-you to Rebecca of Taking Up Room for nominating me for the Sunshine and the Blogger Recognition award. I really don’t like chain awards (or emails), but decided to answer the questions for fun!! I believe she nominated me for both, so I will be answering the questions for both.

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The Blogger Recognition Award rules are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2.  Post the award banner on your blog.
  3.  Share the reason you started your blog.
  4. Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate a maximum of 15 other bloggers.
  6. Tell your nominees about the award post, so they can participate.

While the Sunshine Blogger Rules are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

I wanted to do a film blog so I could immerse myself in the world of film and learn so much from others. It’s a great way to be in the world, even if you don’t formally play a part of it!
Advice- First, blog about what you like and put your own voice in your writing. Also secondly, remember the internet is not your life, don’t be afraid to take a break. The internet will be there when you get back on.
Now the 11 Questions:
1- What’s your hope for 2021? For the world to be more peaceful. To find happiness in the craziness.
2- What helped you stay sane in 2020? Music. It’s the most powerful force in the world!
3- Are there any movies you’re looking forward to this year? No, nothing is catching my interest. In 2021, I declare writers are out of ideas, and its sad! I may, and major emphasis on may, watch The Kingsman as it’s a prequel.
4- You can visit any five celebrity homes from any era. Which ones would you pick? Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, John Wayne, Colin Firth, and William Holden.
5- You’re about to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. What, if anything, would you take that the experts might frown on? I would not go hiking! I don’t hike!
6- Who are your three favorite film critics and why? Robert Osborne: he’s balanced and very personable; I miss him on TCM.  Peter Bogdanovich, he may be slightly weird, but knows a ton about John Ford. Lastly, probably Leonard Maltin, as he just appears everywhere!
7-When you’re watching stuff other than movies, do you prefer YouTube and streaming services or traditional broadcast TV? I will watch YouTube or traditional broadcast TV. Actually I prefer to own TV shows I like, you then never have to hunt down a streaming service . I want to try to cut down on watching new TV shows because it’s time consuming and there isn’t anything that looks worthwhile at the moment.
8- If you could adapt a TV show into a movie, which one would you pick and why? A Place to Call Home– it deserves to be a movie!
9-Which film prop or costume would you most like to own? Dorothy’s ruby slippers!
10- Who is your favorite movie or TV couple? Your least favorite? Favorite is DJ and Steve on Full House: childhood! My least favorite: Mary Queen of Scots and Prince Conde on Reign: It wasn’t even historically accurate and a major factor of why season 2 of the show absolutely sucked.
11-What was the last album you listened to? Kiss: Asylum (1985) 

Thanks for the nomination! And in 2021, I hope to do more blogathons, original posts and more!

Movie Theater Memories

With the recent news that Warner Brothers is sending all releases to streaming on the same day as theaters, many fear this is the death of movie theaters as we know it. One can argue theaters have been dying a slow death for many years, but considering theaters have survived television, VHS/ DVD, and the arrival of streaming, it really got me thinking: what if this turns out to be the final hurdle? Furthermore, got me remembering the movies I saw as a kid, and the movies I went to see with my friends in middle/ high school. I then realized what a build up these outings were. Everything from seeing the trailer on tv, and waiting for it to be on again (the days before YouTube!), to planning which showing and then going.

Imagine having to wait to see this again on TV


It also got me reflecting: I’m part of a generation that got to grow up with going to theaters, and I may be part of the last generation. While I don’t want movie theaters to die, I can say the experience is not what it used to be. I really didn’t start to notice this until maybe high school, as when I was little the only things you had to worry about were talkers, and people kicking your seat. The real turning point came for me in 9th grade (Spring 2011) when a friend and I went to see Soul Surfer; for half the film, she was texting another friend. It wasn’t pleasant sitting next to a glowing phone light

As I write this now, Downton Abbey (2019) is the last NEW film I saw in theaters. I saw it as a pre-release on the same day as the UK release, which was about a week earlier than the American release. Due to the fact the theater was full of hardcore Downton fans, it was the best viewing experience I’ve had in years. We all were “ooohhh”-ing when Mosley served in the dining room, we all laughed at Violet’s quick and witty comebacks, and most of all it was an experience viewing with like minded people. No one was on their phone, talking or being rude, we were all watching.
Overall, the final film I saw in a movie theater was a screening of The Thin Man at the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove IL. And it, like Downton, was an event viewing. I had the privilege of attending the film with family friends of mine- my family and their family went together and it was just a happy event. We all are classic movie fans, and it was just special to view the film with fellow fans.
If The Thin Man turns out to be the final movie I ever see in a theater, then I can say I’m pretty damn proud of that. It doesn’t get much better than Bill Powell and Myrna Loy sleuthing and flirting onscreen with each other.


In all honesty, I’m not saying I will never go back to a theater ever again, but I can say I believe I wont be going as frequently as I did as a kid/ teen. I personally have a list of classic films I hope one day I get to view on the big screen and I hope to get the opportunity to view The Shootist,  Sunset Boulevard, The Awful Truth and so many more. 

Until that happens, for the time being, I decided to reflect on my cinematic experience so far. I present to you some highlights of my life at the theater:

• I saw Monsters Inc 5 times in the theaters as a kid, and Finding Nemo 3 times.
Lilo and Stitch was the first Disney animated movie I saw in theaters.
• The first movie I saw without my parents or any adult, was 17 Again (2009), I went opening weekend on the ultra screen with a friend. I was 12.
• June 2007, I was 10 almost 11, my Mom, sister, and I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (my first Pirates movie on the big screen). I thought I was super cool because the movie was PG-13, and I was 10.
• I saw 3 John Wayne movies (The Searchers, The Quiet Man, True Grit) and 3 Cary Grant movies (The Philadelphia Story, An Affair to Remember, Charade).
• I saw 1 Hitchcock film: Rear Window.
• In late summer 2004, I was just starting 3rd grade and on a school night (major event on a school night!), my sister and I with a group of friends (and our moms) went to see Princess Diaries 2.
• A film I regret seeing on the big screen was a kid’s movie, Over the Hedge, I found it incredibly pointless and stupid, but was forced to see it, as a Girl Scout “outing”.  The troop went out for pizza afterwards, and I pretended I enjoyed the movie so I wouldn’t be called snobbish or boring.
• The only film I saw opening DAY: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). It was the first as well as the last film I will ever see on opening day.
• I remember The King’s Speech being in theaters in 9th grade, and having a major interest in wanting to see it. Due to the R rating, I couldn’t go see it with friends, and my Mom wasn’t up for going, so I missed out.
• I went to see Lincoln when I was in 11th grade for extra credit in APUSH. Easiest extra credit ever. All we had was to show the ticket stub, we didn’t even need a write up! 

With all my heart I hope I will be able to make new memories at the movie theater. Check out my Instagram post below for some pics!