Film Review -Return to Me (2000)

   

SUMMARY

Bob Rueland is still mourning the loss of his wife and childhood sweetheart. To honor her memory, he is working to complete a project which was close to her heart, a new gorilla habitat at the Chicago zoo.  But otherwise, Bob is stuck in his grief, hiding from life until a chance meeting with waitress Gracie Briggs lights a new spark in him.

Gracie is just now beginning to live after a recent heart transplant gave her new lease on life. Though she is still helping in her grandfather’s restaurant, she is practicing the art of small pleasures through her painting, gardening and close knit relationships.  Gracie is attracted to Bob, but is extremely sensitive about both the physical and emotional scars of her past health issues.

As Gracie and Bob grow closer, their relationship grows and motivates their own personal growth. They recognize a kindred spirit in each other. But unbeknownst to either of them, there is something else which links them together. And when this link is finally revealed, they must both decide if love is more powerful than grief.

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

 

Dynamic Duos Blogathon -Norma Shearer & Robert Montgomery.

Norma Shearer wasn’t known as the Queen of MGM without reason. Before she married the studio’s head of production, Irving Thalberg, she had proven herself as a talented actress in her own right. Undeterred by criticism and rejection, she clawed her way into a successful career through sheer determination, persistence and discipline.  Before Madonna, Shearer was a pioneer in reinventing her image. She a was woman who didn’t take no for an answer and who refused to let anyone else shape her public image. Sadly, she is not as well known today as other classic Hollywood film stars, which is a real shame. Because she is a powerful female role model even now, despite the misconception that she rode her husband’s coat tails to success.

Robert Montgomery has always been one of my favorite actors. His early years of comfort followed by loss gave him the strength and emotional tools needed to make a good actor. Montgomery has never been listed among the acting greats. I believe part of the reason he is excluded from that club is the lack of great parts that really allow him to shine. We see glimpses of it in his films The Big House, The Night Must Fall, They Were Expendable among others. But no one can deny that he was a solid, dependable, capable actor who played opposite some of the greatest leading ladies of the day. Continue reading “Dynamic Duos Blogathon -Norma Shearer & Robert Montgomery.”

Classic Film Review -Lover Come Back (1961)

The name of Doris Day is almost synonymous with the romantic comedies of the Sixties. In a ten year period from 1958 to 1968, she starred in over ten comedies with leading men like Clark Gable, Cary Grant, James Garner and Jack Lemmon among others. But of all her rom-com co-stars, she is best remembered for her three films opposite Rock Hudson. Even today, decades later, their names are irrevocably linked. Lover Come Back is the second of their three films together.

SUMMARY

Doris Day & Rock HudsonCarol Templeton and Jerry Webster have never met, but they work for competing advertising agencies in New York. Carol loves the creative challenge of her job. Jerry prefers to court potential clients with wining, dining and women.

When Carol loses a huge account to Jerry’s less than savory sales approach, she is enraged. She reports him to the advertising council and vows to do whatever it takes to win the next big potential account.

Though a thorn in his side, Carol isn’t Jerry’s only problem. His sniveling, neurotic friend, Peter Ramsey, who is also his boss has returned determined to take the reins of Jerry’s ad agency. Not to mention, one of the women he uses to lure in customers is threatening to spill his secrets if he doesn’t fulfill his promise of putting her on television. All of these challenges force Jerry into a creative, but risky solution with unintentional consequences. He creates a demand for a product which doesn’t exist!

In the meantime Carol is on the hunt to steal Jerry’s big account for a new product called VIP. In the process, she runs into Jerry, who she believes to be an important scientist, Dr. Linus Tyler. Once Jerry gets an eyeful of his female antagonist, he decides to play along. Because he knows she won’t give him the time of day as himself.

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

 

Book Review -Olivia Twist

SUMMARY

Before being claimed by an uncle, Olivia Brownlow spent her early years disguised as a boy, living on the streets, stealing for a living. Since then, she has grown into her role as a privileged young woman able to gracefully navigate society. But her heart and loyalty remain with the plight of street orphans and no one knows that she is still stealing in order to help support them.

Jack MacCarron is a mysterious newcomer to London society who has piqued the interest of all the marriageable ladies. Little do they know that this nephew of society matron Widow March is actually a man known on the streets as the Artful Dodger, a name much feared among the London street gangs.

When Jack and Olivia meet, she instantly remembers him as the young man who took her under his protection while she was living on the streets. But Jack does not remember Olivia as the orphan boy he taught to survive. Jack finds himself intrigued by Olivia’s compassion and ensnared by her beauty all the while wondering why she seems familiar to him. When Monks, an old nemesis of Jack’s threatens both Olivia and her orphans, they must work together to stay alive. Continue reading “Book Review -Olivia Twist”

Classic Film Review -This Could Be the Night (1957)

SUMMARY

Jean SimmonsNewly minted college graduate and first time teacher Anne Leeds answers an advertisement for a part time evening job. Her intelligence and determination impress Rocco, the owner of a New York city night club. So Rocco hires her as his secretary, despite the fact that her prim innocence isn’t exactly the best fit for her new environment.

Anne is definitely a fish out of water and paired with her inexperience, she is not instantly popular with her new co-workers. Rocco’s business partner Tony Armotti takes a particular dislike of her and for Anne the feeling is mutual. Though, the womanizing Tony tries to get her fired, Rocco’s protective instincts keep her employed.

Slowly, Anne begins to win over the other employees of the night club with her sincerity and helpfulness. She even wins the grudging respect of Tony. Just when Anne is starting to feel at home in her job, she makes the mistake of falling for Tony which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to work together. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -This Could Be the Night (1957)”

Film Review -The Saint (1997)

The character of Simon Templar debuted in a series of books first published in the 1920’s and running through the 1980’s. There have been many film and television adaptations, but my favorite is this film version from the nineties.

SUMMARY

Raised in an orphanage, young John Rossi renames himself after his childhood heroes, the Templar Knights. While there he develops a unique set of skills, but also witnesses a tragedy which haunts him.

As an adult Simon Templar is a thief who uses his skills for his own benefit and the highest bidder. In his line of work, he changes his appearance as often as his identity and his name. Simon is personable and clever, but forms no attachments and calls no place home. Determined to see his bank account reach a comfortable fifty million dollars, before he retires, he takes one last job. Unfortunately, it happens to be for the Russian billionaire, Ivan Tretiak. On a previous job, Simon had a run-in with Tretiak’s son Ilya, whom he left with disfiguring facial scars.

Tretiak hires Simon to steal a formula for clean, inexpensive energy. This formula is a scientific breakthrough developed by the English scientist Emma Russell and her late father.

Simon is surprised to find that Emma is not what he expected. Though she is a brilliant scientist, she is also rather naive and a romantic at heart. Simon determines the best and safest way to steal the formula is to seduce her.  But in the process, he is charmed by her innocence and her willingness to release her formula publicly, instead of selling it for a profit. When Tretiak threatens Emma’s life, Simon is forced to make a decision. And when Emma discovers Simon’s secret, she puts herself in danger to confront him.

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

 

Top Ten Tuesday -Happy Yellow Books

Today’s Topic: Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

Yellow has always been my favorite color. It is so happy and cheery. It brings to mind golden summer days, the first sign of spring in sunny daffodils, not to mention the quirky Beatles song Yellow Submarine which always makes me laugh. Yellow instantly lifts my spirit on days when I feel low. So, I am thrilled to participate in this week’s prompt highlighting books featuring this lively color. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Happy Yellow Books”

Top Ten Tuesday -Familiar Words in Historical Fiction Titles

Today’s Topic: Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

This actually was a more interesting topic choice than I initially anticipated. I wasn’t sure I would even be able to fulfill this week’s prompt. Since historical romance is my favorite genre, I decided to focus on titles from my Goodreads list. As I researched I found that though there are many unique titles, there are also many that are more frequently used than I realized.

Most of these are centered around the titles or roles of a woman or the goals and desires of a woman. I do not consider myself a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but I started to become a little insulted by how often words like lady, bride or daughter popped up, as if that is all we are.  I did find it interesting that the terms girl and woman were more commonly used in my contemporary titles than my historical ones. I’m not sure if that is progress or not. Thanks to my mother’s training, I’ve been taught to think a lady is a better thing to be than a girl or even a woman. Ladies are gracious, kind, thoughtful, generous and compassionate, but also have a backbone of steel when necessary.

I don’t have any problems with the words love and heart, as I think love is a universal desire and many people are guided by their hearts. But of course, I also don’t agree with the idea that the heart is the ultimate moral guide or that (romantic) love should be our sole aim in life.

Ultimately, I realized that as these are words used in historical fiction titles. They accurately reflect the culture and mindset of the times. Though there are many things I appreciate and value from these eras, I’m also thankful for the freedom and opportunities that modern women now enjoy. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Familiar Words in Historical Fiction Titles”

Book Review -The House on Foster Hill

SUMMARY

Two years after the suspicious death of her husband, Kaine Prescott is still mired in grief and guilt. She is also wrestling with fear over strange occurrences which continue to happen to her. So, Kaine purchases an old house in her ancestral home town of Wisconsin and flees her life in San Diego. She intends to renovate the house as a way to honor her husband and start her life over. But, the house is in worse condition than she realized. And the same strange occurrences follow her to the house in Wisconsin. As they continue to escalate, Kaine decides to dig into the decades old mysteries which surround the property.

A century earlier, Kaine’s ancestor Ivy Thorpe is also caught up in mysterious events surrounding the abandoned Foster house, when a young girl is found dead on the property. Like Kaine, Ivy too seeks answers as a way of distracting her from the grief of a dead brother and the abandonment of a close friend. But Ivy’s single-minded commitment to discovering the girl’s identity, puts her at odds with the recently returned Joel Cunningham. It also puts her in danger as the killer is still loose and willing to silence Ivy for good. Continue reading “Book Review -The House on Foster Hill”

William Holden Blogathon -Dear Ruth (1947)

William Holden is not an actor I pay much attention too. Though I’ve seen many of his films, I usually watch them due to interest in his co-stars more so than him.

But when The Wonderful World of Cinema, The Flapper Dame &  Love Letters to Old Hollywood announced a blogthon in his honor which just happens to coincide with his 100th birthday, I decided now is the time for me to take another look at William Holden. Luckily, TCM is also celebrating Holden this month and airing many of his movies.

Dear Ruth

The Wilkins family is your typical American family. Traffic cop judge Harry Wilkins (Edward Arnold) shares a happy and balanced marriage with wife Edie (Mary Philips) and their two daughters Ruth (Joan Caulfield) and Miriam (Mona Freeman). The only conflict in their household generally arises from teenaged Miriam’s passion for political causes. Not to mention her general meddling in the lives of her family members. For her part, Ruth is a mature young woman, ready to settle down to marriage and a home of her own with her long term beau, Albert. Continue reading “William Holden Blogathon -Dear Ruth (1947)”