Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon -Arsène Lupin (1932)

Arsène Lupin -The Gentleman Thief of French Literature

The gentleman thief is a much beloved character in both literature and film. Arsène Lupin is one such character, first birthed by the pen of French writer Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900’s. Over the course of the next two decades Leblanc published many novellas, novels and even plays featuring his popular creation. These stories were contemporary with another, perhaps more famous, thief and master of disguise, that of the English gentleman Raffles.  Without the underrated gift of classic film, I might never have heard of or been introduced to either.

The Arsène Lupin character also made appearances in television, stage and over twenty films. It is the pre-code 1932 version starring the Barrymore brothers, Lionel and John that I fell in love with. According to an introduction given by Dave Karger for this film on TCM, the Barrymore brothers were highly regarded by the two most important men at MGM during the early Thirties. Louis B Mayer believed Lionel to be one of the best actors of his time, while Irving Thalberg felt the same about John. When John’s contract with Warner Bros. expired, MGM snapped him up. He was cast with Lionel in Arsène Lupin, the first of five films in which the brothers would appear together in the years 1932-1933. Of those five only one would also star their equally famous sister Ethel. Sadly, after 1933 there would be no more films co-starring Lionel and John. Continue reading “Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon -Arsène Lupin (1932)”

Classic Film Review -The Clock (1945)

Though long gone, Judy Garland is still famous for her singing voice and her film musicals. Of her forty film credits, there are only three in which she does not sing or dance. The first of these three is The Clock and it proves that Judy was a talented actress in her own right, even without her musical skills.

SUMMARY

Judy GarlandJoe Allen (Robert Walker), a country boy turned soldier, arrives in New York City for a 48 hour leave. Immediately, he is overwhelmed by the hustle and bustled of the city and seeks to lessen the effect by making conversation with strangers. While taking refuge in the train station, an accident brings him and Alice Mayberry (Judy Garland) together. Though she has other plans, he convinces her to pass some time with him. Feeling compassion for this soldier Alice first allows herself to be talked into a walk in the park, then an afternoon at a museum and finally a dinner date. Alice’s roommate warns her not to fall under the spell of a man who will soon be shipping out.

Alice tries to resist and a few awkward moments and misunderstandings tempt her to abandon Joe. But neither one can deny a strong connection and many things in common. Despite differing plans for their futures, the pair find themselves in love. An accidental separation leaves them both desperate to find the other. Unfortunately, they haven’t even exchanged last names, so their odds of finding each other before Joe leaves the city are very low. By chance, they meet again and are so overjoyed and relieved that they decide to get married. But they have less than 24 hours to complete all the necessary steps so that a judge can marry them. And as Shakespeare wrote, “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Book Review -Clark Gable: A Biography

ABOUT GABLE

Clark Gable is one of the few actors of the Hollywood Golden age whose name is still widely recognized today. Much of the credit for this goes to his role as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, which is known even by those who aren’t classic film fans.

Gable was one of the luckiest stars of that era, a fact which he always admitted to. Though he wasn’t without talent, a large part of his popularity had to do with his public image as a man’s man and his onscreen magnetism. Men admired him and women panted after him.

No star in history had ever risen so fast or with such impact. Of course, it was a simpler time when no other entertainment medium—not even radio—had the star-creating power that movies did. He was also a beneficiary of the Depression era, which needed new heroes and role models. He was handsome, magnetic, and aggressive. On-screen at least he pushed people around, including women, but he always got what he wanted and without being evil or detestable.

Continue reading “Book Review -Clark Gable: A Biography”

Top Ten Tuesday -Book Mashups

Today’s Topic: Books You’d Mash Together (pick two books you think would make an epic story if combined)

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

What a fun idea this week’s topic turned out to be. Initially, I thought it would be difficult to find books to combine. But as I started going through my book shelves, I discovered it to be rather easy. The problem came in limiting my list. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Book Mashups”

Foreign Film Friday – A La Mala (2015)

A la Mala SUMMARY

Maria Laura, aka Mala, is an aspiring actress whose outspoken views make it difficult for her to win roles. Fortunately, her roommate Kika is understanding as to why she is behind on her rent. Kika is also convinced her boyfriend is cheating on her. She coerces Mala into flirting with him to determine if he will be faithful. Though reluctant Mala is also successful and eventually word gets around about her unusual talent. Before she knows it, she is earning good money testing the loyalty of other women’s boyfriends.

However, when she finally lands a major role in a television series she is ready to leave her odd career behind. But the producer only agrees to guarantee the part if Mala will seduce her ex as a means of revenge. There is just one problem. Mala has already had an unfortunate encounter with wealthy businessmen Santiago and they can’t stand each other. Still, Mala’s big break depends on making Santiago fall in love with her so that she can break his heart. Further complications arise when she develops conflicted feelings towards him and her unpleasant task.  Will Mala be convincing enough to snag the heart of this wealthy bachelor? Even more importantly, will she be able to protect her own heart while doing so?

For my full review of this entertaining romantic comedy, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Book Review -The Love Letter

SUMMARY

Chloe Daschle is the child of Hollywood royalty, but that hasn’t helped her in her quest to shed her image as the onscreen death queen. Chloe longs to break her typecasting and land a role in which she lives. When she reads a screenplay based on a love letter between real life Revolutionary era inhabitants Esther Longfellow and Hamilton Lightfoot, she is convinced she has finally found that part.

Jesse Gates is a mathematical genius, turned actor, turned screenwriter. Running from past tragedy, his big break arrives in the form of his first screenplay about his ancestor Hamilton Lightfoot. An even bigger break arrives when he meets Chloe and they are both cast in the film based on his screenplay. But Chloe is still wrestling with her past shame and an inferiority complex. And Jesse is still unable to forgive his own part in the death of someone he once loved.

In another century, Esther and Hamilton dwell amidst war in South Carolina. Esther has always loved Hamilton, but her father is an agent of the British crown. And Hamilton’s family support the Patriot cause. Just as Hamilton is ready to admit his love and claim Esther, personal tragedy drives them even further apart and Hamilton joins the fight against the British. Even still in the midst of conflict, he pens a letter declaring his love for Esther.

Centuries apart four people yearn for love, but wrestle with external circumstances and internal battles which keep them apart. Continue reading “Book Review -The Love Letter”

Top Ten Tuesday -Books Worth Their Hype

Today’s Topic: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

I’ll admit that the more praise a book receives the more skeptical I am that it deserves it. Some books, I will even put off reading because of the hype. Sometimes I’m right and the book doesn’t live up to the praise. But sometimes I’m wrong and happy to discover a new favorite. As usual, I couldn’t stick to ten.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Books Worth Their Hype”

Documentary Review -Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.

Fred Rogers and his television program Mister Rogers Neighborhood have been a consistent staple in the lives of children for decades. I did not grow up watching this childhood favorite. Still I remained aware of the identity of Mr. Rogers and the influence of his show.

It’s not often I have the opportunity to watch a documentary in my small city. As I am a fan of ordinary, everyday heroes, I knew I had to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? when it actually came to my local theater.

This documentary, produced with care and respect, is a beautiful portrait of a man who dedicated his life to the education of children. Whereas we generally think of education as facts and dates we learn in school, Fred Rogers chose to educate the hearts and souls of children as to the truth of their identity.  Much like the famous quote from the film The Help, “you is smart, you is kind, you is important” Fred’s mission was to teach children to believe that same truth. Continue reading “Documentary Review -Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)”

Book Review: The Truth Between Us

SUMMARY

Nine years to win her. Three years to love her. And one decision that destroyed it all.

April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world… until the mirror cracked.

Sean Taylor was April’s best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.

Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.

Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.

Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.

Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever. Continue reading “Book Review: The Truth Between Us”

Six Lesser Known Series Adaptations on Amazon Prime

For access to British programming, Amazon Prime is becoming one of my go-to streaming sites for beloved series like Downton Abbey, Poldark, Endeavour, Call the Midwife, Victoria and others. Although, two of my favorite series, North and South and The Paradise can be found on Netflix.

But Amazon Prime is also a source for many other lesser known British series productions, as I am happily discovering. Many of these are based on true stories or literature by well-known authors. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised so far by how much I am enjoying some of these series. Here are just a few which I have seen lately and can recommend. Continue reading “Six Lesser Known Series Adaptations on Amazon Prime”