I had a very busy November, which means I didn’t have as much time as I usually do to sit in front of my TV. But what I did get to watch was an eclectic blend of mostly interesting movies and series. And there was that weekend I binge-watched seven Hallmark Christmas movies with my family, which is not included in this month’s tally.
OCTOBER 2019 BREAKDOWN
26 Films/Series Total
8 New Classics
3 TV Series
2 Christmas movies
3 Bette Davis and 2 John Gilbert films
Biggest Disappointment – John Ford: The Man Who Invented America – My expectations were high and it just wasn’t quite what I anticipated
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have always been a Christmas fanatic. Christmas albums comprise my largest collection of music which I listen to year round. I start my countdown in October. I buy beautiful holiday wrapping paper despite my hatred of wrapping gifts. I put my tree up before Thanksgiving. AND I adore Christmas movies, which is why I wanted to share a list of my favorites for this blogathon.
In speaking of this holiday, I must admit, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. No trendy flocked tree for me this year, I’m sticking with my favorite red and gold. I love the aspect of the holiday which celebrates family over busyness, thoughtfulness over commercialism. And I still believe that the real reason for the season is the birth of Jesus. Continue reading “The Happy Holiday Blogathon – My Ten Favorite Christmas Films”
England’s King Charles II occupied the throne during a fascinating time in the nation’s history. During the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s rule his father was beheaded and he was exiled. After Cromwell’s death Charles II returned to England as its’ king. Charles II reversed many of the rules implemented by Cromwell’s government. He also continued his father’s battle with the English Parliament. The years of his reign are known as The Restoration. Charles II: The Power and the Passion presents a portrait of this multi-faceted historical figure.
Charles II: The Power and the Passion is an apt title for this mini-series which splits its focus between Charles personal affairs and political battles. The first half of the series threatens to become mired down with a soap opera style approach to Charles relationships with his many mistresses. Barbara Villers is the most important and depraved of these, a woman who tries to leverage her influence of the king into political power. Helen McCrory gives a deliciously wicked and clever performance of Barbara. But I quickly grew tired of watching the king’s multiple sexual escapades.
Fortunately, the series eventually allows the king’s political battles to take center stage. This makes for a much more compelling and fascinating dramatic narrative.
For my full review of this surprisingly interesting mini-series starring Rufus Sewell, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
In my opinion, no one made better color musicals than MGM in the Fifties. It was during this decade that the studio released classics like Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Gigi, A Star is Born and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But one of my personal favorites is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
ABOUT SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS
Millie is a young woman used to hard work. But she dreams of the day that she can invest all of her energy into loving a man and building a life together.
Adam Pontipee arrives in town after months in the mountains with his six brothers, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank and Gideon. He is determined to find a wife to take back with him. After all, the Pontipee brothers need a woman to look after them and their needs. He is impressed with Millie’s backbone and willingness to work. Before she knows it Millie is swept off her feet, married and headed to her new life with her stranger husband.
But Millie and Adam have very different ideas about what their marriage should be. Not to mention, Millie’s presence in the Pontipee home prompts the other brothers to begin thinking of marriage themselves.
These “seven slumachy back woodsmen” may think they have found a woman to cook and clean for them. But little do they know Millie is about to reform them all.
I adore British historical series and am always on the lookout for ones I’ve not yet seen. So, it was by happy accident that I recently discovered The Indian Doctor streaming on Prime and Acorn TV.
Still recovering from a personal tragedy, Dr. Prem Sharma and wife Kamani decide to leave their home in India. Kamani encourages Prem to apply for a post in London. Instead they find themselves assigned to a small mining village in Wales.
The culture shock is immediate, both for the Sharmas and the villagers who are not expecting a foreign doctor. Nor do they expect the Sharmas to be so cultured and highly educated. Prem is content to stay in his new position. But the wealthy and well-connected Kamani has no desire to stay in a back-water town which has no appreciation for the finer things. Continue reading “Series Review – The Indian Doctor (2010-2013)”
This film condenses almost two decades of Cleopatra’s life into it’s four hour run time. In 48 BC, Julius Caesar arrives in Rome to mediate between the Egyptian queen and her co-ruling brother. Cleopatra persuades Caesar to help her regain the throne as the sole monarch. In the process, the two begin an affair which produces a son. The birth of Caesarion encourages Cleopatra in her ideas of building a world empire.
Eventually she travels to Rome where she is very unpopular with the people due to her influence with Caesar. She meets Marc Antony, the general of Caesar’s army, who helps her return to Egypt after Caesar’s assassination.
Even though Caesar named Octavian as his successor, the Roman Republic is split among Octavian, Lepidus and Marc Antony. Octavian and Marc Antony eventually neutralize Lepidus’ power. Their power struggle forces Marc Antony to turn to Egypt for support where he meets Cleopatra again. The two fall in love and begin an affair which is ultimately the downfall of them both. The film ends with their deaths in 30 BC.
Since my recent move, I haven’t had cable television, so I watched fewer classic films. But that’s okay. It just gave me more opportunity to view other movies and series that I might not otherwise have had time for. To be honest, I didn’t really love the few classic films I did see in September. And would you believe, I didn’t have any re-watches this month?
SEPTEMBER 2019 BREAKDOWN
24 films/series total
7 new classic films
7 foreign films/series
5 TV series
1 in theater
Favorite Discovery: Ooh, this month gave me a lot of options to choose from for this honor. Among the contenders were Ladies in Black, Jericho, The Professor and the Madman and of course Downton Abbey. But my choice is Blind Date. It is going on my list of all time favorites, hands down.
Biggest Disappointment: Except for Heartbeat, pretty much every classic film this month left me feeling meh…
They first took the world by storm over five decades ago. Since then the Beatles remain an enduring part not only of music history, but of the world’s cultural history. The band and their music has become so iconic, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of them.
As a longtime fan myself, I was thrilled when I first saw the trailer for the film Yesterday featuring a story about the Beatles and their music. It topped my list as my must-see movie this summer.
For ten years, Jack Malik and his childhood friend and manager Ellie have been pursuing his dream of being a musician. After yet another disappointing gig, Jack finally decides to quit against Ellie’s advice. But fate intervenes. During a worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. He awakens to a world with no memory of the Beatles. It’s as if they never existed (along with other random things like Coca Cola, the band Oasis and cigarettes).
Jack decides to perform their music as his own. It’s not long before he is being hailed as a musical genius. His newfound fame takes him far from home and Ellie. As he learns the ins and outs of the music industry, he is confronted with many ethically compromising decisions. Though he finally has the career he’s always wanted, Jack’s guilt plagues him. He begins to see the true cost of his choices, including the loss of Ellie.
This month was TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars when they spend 24 hours each day honoring a different classic film actor. I made it a point to watch films featuring Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Temple, Buster Keaton and a couple of hard to find titles starring Irene Dunne. By default I also saw a few more of Randolph Scott’s and Robert Young’s films.
August 2019 Breakdown
29 films/series total
18 new classic films
5 TV series
Favorite Discovery:The Indian Doctor and Wee Willie Winkie