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
The world of a J.R.R. Tolkien story is one of mystery, magic, romance, friendship, wars and meaning filled journeys. But what was the world of the real Tolkien like? How did a British born Catholic orphan who survived by the good will of others create not only languages, but a fantastical world which still enchants millions today? These are the questions that the new biographical drama Tolkien attempts to answer.
After the successive deaths of both of their parents, the custody of John Ronald and his brother is given to a Catholic priest. This man ensures that the two boys receive scholarships to a Birmingham school and lodging in the home of a wealthy widow.
In both these places he meets people who will influence and change his life. Despite Tolkien’s initial reluctance to be grafted into their circle, he soon forms a strong bond with students Geoffrey Smith, Robert Gilson and Christopher Wiseman. Together they form a club with the goal of changing the world through their artistic endeavours.
Tolkien also forms a strong attachment with his fellow boarder Edith. She relates to his orphan status and dependence on the charity of others. With her, he is himself, able to discuss his world of fantasy creatures and languages.
As it always does, life intervenes, first through the reality of Tolkien’s reduced circumstances, the expectations of his guardian and finally the advent of a World War. But it is the memories of these valuable relationships which sustain and inspire him.
Its’ a rare television series that achieves the status of a global phenomenon. But that is exactly what the Australian historical series Miss Fisher’s Mysteries accomplished. In fact, it is so popular that its’ fans demanded and completely crowd-funded a new film after the series ended. It’s success has also led to the production of a follow up series, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries.
ABOUT MS. FISHER’S MODERN MYSTERIES
The new Ms. Fisher is set several decades later in the 1960’s. It features Phryne Fisher’s niece Peregrine who inherits the Fisher fortune when the aunt she never knew goes missing. This Ms. Fisher also inherits the same curiosity and knack for solving mysteries.
RELATED: TV Review: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Season One
After a string of failed jobs and relationships, Peregrine finally finds her calling. She picks up where her aunt left off; as a private detective. She is assisted in her new endeavor by the members of The Adventuresses’ Club, of which her aunt was a member.
Like her aunt, she also forms a tenuous working relationship with a police detective. Though Detective James Steed doesn’t initially appreciate Peregrine’s interference in his cases, he slowly learns to appreciate her innate talent.
Grace Kelly was a popular and talented actress beloved by her public. But she became even more loved by a larger public when she became the Princess of Monaco.
According to The American Film Institute, MGM decided to capitalize on Kelly’s relationship with Prince Ranier by casting her as Princess Alexandra in the film The Swan. They even co-ordinated the release date of the film with that of her wedding. Helen Rose who costumed Kelly for this film also created her famous wedding dress.Talk about a genius marketing move by the studio! Because of this, The Swan is a good example of life imitating art.
THE SWAN SUMMARY
Princess Alexandra is her family’s only hope of regaining their royal eminence, generations after losing their throne. Her desperate mother, Princess Beatrice hopes to marry her off to Crown Prince Albert, who is travelling Europe in search of a wife.
When Albert arrives for a brief visit, Beatrice does all she can to throw the two together. But Albert mistakes Alexandra’s awkward shyness as disinterest and coldness and undertakes to avoid her.
Distraught, Beatrice talks her daughter into publicly flirting with the family’s tutor, in an effort to make the Crown Prince jealous. But her plan backfires in ways she can’t forsee.
Every now and then, something comes along that is really special. In its’ own unique way it captures your imagination and admiration. Such is the case for me with Acorn TV’s new series Queens of Mystery. As a fan of cozy mysteries, I’m always on the lookout for ones I haven’t already seen. This quirky little mystery series is an unexpected pleasure which fits the bill perfectly.
Matilda Stone has returned home to her village of Wildemarsh to take up her new position as a Detective Inspector with the local police force. Mattie is also returning to her three single aunts who raised her after her mother’s mysterious disappearance.
Beth, Cat and Jane Stone are all crime mystery writers. They can’t seem to help getting involved in Mattie’s cases, much to the frustration of her boss Derek Thorne. Though Mattie takes her job seriously, she has a hard time setting boundaries with the women who raised her. To make matters worse, she falls hard for the local doctor and pathologist, Daniel Lynch. She finds herself frazzled every time they work a case together even though he already has a girlfriend. In the mean time her aunts can’t help but set her up with every eligible man they meet.
Together the Stone women are a crime-solving team to reckon with. But the mystery Mattie most wants to solve is the one her aunts don’t want her to – what happened to her mother.