Classic Film Review – Midnight (1939)

“Don’t forget, every Cinderella has her midnight.”

This quote perfectly sums up the title of the screwball comedy, Midnight.

SUMMARY

In the opening scene, a train arrives in Paris with a glamorously dressed woman sleeping on a bench in one of the cars. Upon awakening, she arises, grabs her evening bag and steps off of the train into the rain with no luggage. Eve  Peabody quickly explains to the porter that she left her belongings in a pawn shop in Monte Carlo.

As she leaves the train station, she is accosted by taxi drivers offering her a ride which she can’t afford. One in particular seems sympathetic to her plight, so she arranges a deal with him to drive her around town to look for a job. Once she secures one, she will pay him double the rate she owes.

Love at first sight

After Tibor Czerny agrees and spends part of his evening helping her she is no closer to securing a job and the taxi meter is climbing higher. But Eve is in luck, because Tibor is kind and has fallen in love with her at first sight, even though she admits that her long-term plan is to marry wealth. She’s a charming and honest gold-digger. Continue reading “Classic Film Review – Midnight (1939)”

Top Ten Tuesday – Judging a Book by It’s Cover

There are many reasons I will read a new book. The most important one is if it is by an author that I already love. The second reason is if the book cover catches my eye. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I say sometimes you can and I’ve found some very good stories this way.

So once again I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish and joining their Top Ten Tuesday prompt about Cover Themes. And once again I am interpreting their prompt to suit myself.

Here are some books which I chose to read because the covers grabbed my attention (and by the way I enjoyed them all). As you can see, as usual, my list exceeds ten because I just can’t help myself.

 

As I look at these books I can see that I am drawn to pretty and interesting fonts, covers with greens and blues, those where the sun has bleached the picture a bit and also those with unique images.

What type of covers draw your eye? Have you ever read a book simply because you liked the cover?

Author Spotlight -Helen Argers

One of the many things I want to use my website for is to introduce you to authors and films which are not often celebrated, but which deserve to be.  That is why you will find that I am not always writing about the newest releases or the most popular author.  A good story can be found in unlikely even obscure places and I would hate for you to miss out on such hidden treasure.

Today I want to spotlight Helen Argers, author of historical romance stories. Helen has ten titles to her name two of which were written under the name Helen Archery. The majority of her books were published in the nineties with seven of them being published in the smaller mass paperback form. These paperbacks are all set in Regency England.

Helen Argers also published three titles in hardback, one of which, The Gilded Lily, is actually available in ebook form. These three books are longer and as such have more intricate and detailed plots.

I have read and own every one of her stories and love them. In fact, I often re-read them.  Her heroines are independent and fit the mold of early feminists while still remaining true to the time in which they live. Continue reading “Author Spotlight -Helen Argers”

Classic Films and their Modern Remake Counterparts

I am passionate about classic film and introducing it to a new generation of viewers. Many people are under the mistaken impression that classic films are boring or dated. That may be true for some films, as culture and mores change and grow. But there are still many classics which are enjoyable and still relevant. This may be why Hollywood occasionally dips into its’ archives to retell a story that has already been told.

In order to pique your curiosity and interest, I am sharing this list of enjoyable classic films and their more modern counterparts…

To see the list, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Classic Film Recommendations for May

As usual, I am sharing my recommendations for classic films airing on the TCM channel in May. TCM just happens to be focusing on the films of actor Clark Gable this month, so if you have only seen him in Gone with the Wind, this is a good chance to see some of his other many lovable films.  All times are Central Standard Time

Gilda (1946) -This is the film that made Rita Hayworth a big star. It’s a moody drama about the love/hate relationship between Hayworth and co-star Glenn-Ford. It’s also a fine example of film noir.  Showing May 1 at 8:30 AM

It Happened One Night (1934) -Gable won an Oscar for this film about a newspaper man who chases a flighty heiress around the country. One of the early examples of screwball comedy, it’s still considered a masterpiece. Showing May 2 at 7:00 PM

A Free Soul (1931) -Another Gable film with Lionel Barrymore (yes, one of those Barrymores) and Norma Shearer, one-time queen of MGM. If you think classic films are boring and sedate, this pre-code title will prove you wrong. It’s pretty darn sexy. Showing May 3 at 2:00 AM

Spartacus (1960) -If you haven’t seen this famous film starring Kirk Douglas about a slave who leads a revolt against Rome, you really should. Showing May 6 at 3:30 PM

The Children’s Hour (1961) -If you think of Audrey Hepburn as sweet and dainty, then her role in this film will come as a surprise. She co-stars with Shirley MacLaine and James Garner in this story about how gossip and rumor can ruin lives. Showing May 7 at 5:00 PM

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) -The last of Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy’s many films together. It was one of the first to tackle the subject of interracial marriage. Also starring Sidney Poitier. Showing May 12 at 11 PM

You Were Never Lovelier (1942) -People always link Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers together thanks to their multiple film pairings. However Rita Hayworth, like Fred  Astaire was brought up as a dancer and their pairing in this film shows their natural grace and chemistry together. Showing May 20 at 9:15 PM

Boys Night Out (1962) – I love a young James Garner and this is a fun little comedy about a young woman who shares and apartment with four men so that she can use them as research in a psychology study. Showing May 21 at 5:00 PM

Pride and Prejudice (1940) -If you’ve never seen the original film version of Jane Austen’s story, don’t miss this one. It has its’ faults, but is still fun and stars Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. Showing May 22 at 8:15 AM

Fury (1936) -Starring Spencer Tracy, this is a film that will really stick with you.  Tracy is an innocent man who is mistaken for a criminal. It shows the scary results of mob rule/violence. Showing May 23 at 8:15 AM

Gone With The Wind (1939) -Seriously, if you haven’t already seen this book and film classic then you need to watch it. It is still one of the highest grossing films of all time and part of our cultural history. Showing May 23 at 7:00 PM

Test Pilot (1938) -One of my favorite Clark Gable films, it also stars Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy. Gable is, what else, a test pilot, with Loy acting as his supportive wife and Tracy rounds out their trio as the best friend. This is just a fun film. Showing May 24 at 1:15 AM

Bringing Up Baby (1938) -My very first introduction to classic film, this screwball comedy stars my favorite actors Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in a story about an heiress who shanghais a nerdy professor into helping her deliver a pet leopard to her grandmother. Yes, it is as crazy as it sound and also makes me laugh every time! Showing May 30 at 6:45 AM.

If you only watch one film, it has to be Gone with the Wind. If you have already seen that, then I recommend Bringing Up Baby.

 

Book Review -The Mutual Admiration Society

The Mutual Admiration Society Synopsis

When eleven year old Theresa “Tessie” Finley watches her father drown, she determines to redeem herself and to honor her father’s memory by becoming the emotional caretaker and guardian of her younger mentally handicapped sister Birdie. Their mother hides her grief and immediately starts dating a man with hopes of marrying him but Tessie does not trust her mother and detests her new boyfriend.

She also names herself president of The Mutual Admiration Society, a group consisting of herself, Birdie and Tessie’s wannabe boyfriend Charlie. The group’s purpose is to either solve crime or use it to blackmail  others as a way of earning money in case Tessie must take Birdie and run away from home for their own safety.

When Tessie witnesses what she believes is a murder in the cemetery behind her home, she must use all of her wiles to solve the crime while also dodging her mother and their evil next door neighbor lady.

Personal Review

The Mutual Admiration Society was an unusual read for me due to it’s setting and subject matter. It is a coming of age story set in a blue collar neighborhood of Milwaukee in the 1950’s. Continue reading “Book Review -The Mutual Admiration Society”

Film Review-BBC’s North and South (2004)

With the popularity of BBC films and series more and more people are being exposed to quality historical dramas.  I’m just going to give my recommendation right off the bat. If you are a BBC fanatic, if you love their Jane Austen film adaptations, then this four part series is a must see.

Taken from Elizabeth Gaskill’s novel of the same name, North & South addresses social issues of the time as seen through the eyes of its’ female protagonist, Margaret Hale. Margaret is forced to leave her beloved, sunny, southern England to transplant with her parents to cold, harsh, industrial Milton in the north of England. While acclimating to her new environment she meets proud and reserved mill owner, John Thornton. These two clash, both in personality and outlook as Margaret begins to befriend and encourage a few of the poverty stricken mill workers. Through her friendship with them and also her hesitant yet growing relationship with John Thornton and his mother, she is exposed to ideas and conflicts on both sides of the working relationship between mill owners and unions during the Industrial Revolution.

Margaret’s opinion of the cotton mills.

This really is an interesting look at the attitudes and beliefs of employers and employees during a time of great social change. The story is told with both points of views and with honesty without trying to sway the viewer’s sympathy for either side. You see the pros and cons of the argument from both perspectives. Continue reading “Film Review-BBC’s North and South (2004)”

Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)

When the opening credits began with a French version of the song I Have Confidence from the Sound of Music, it set the tone and immediately convinced me that I would love this film.

A French-Belgian film originally titled, Les Emotifs Anonymes, Romantics Anonymous introduces us to Angelique, a woman crippled by shyness. We see her faint in her group meeting, for which the film is named, but she works up enough courage to attend her interview with the owner of The Chocolate Mill.

When we first meet Jean-Rene, he is introduced to us and to Angelique as a mean man, but it turns out he is also socially challenged and unable to deal with many simple human interactions. Although the interview between these extreme introverts is awkward, Angelique manages to impress him with her knowledge of chocolate and he offers her the job. The only problem is that she thinks that she will be making chocolate and he just hired her as a sales representative to help boost the shop’s faltering sales enough to keep it out of bankruptcy.

On her sales rounds, Angelique discovers that although their buyers think the chocolate is good, it is not exceptional and neither does it live up to current trends in the market. But she has a secret. Angelique is a gifted chocolatier who has had extreme success in the past with her chocolate recipes. The trouble is that she sold her chocolates anonymously. But with the shop in jeopardy, Angelique is convinced that she can help.

In the midst of the chocolate shop story line is a concurrent one about the relationship that develops between Jean-Rene and Angelique. As you can imagine, with their personality challenges it is a very awkward and bumpy path they travel. They are immediately stricken by one another, but their own insecurities keep cropping up as obstacles. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)”

Top Ten Tuesday -Things That Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book

Today I am linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday prompt.

There are many things that will instantly make me want to read a book and I had a hard time deciding how to classify this list. To keep it simple, I condensed it as you see below.

  1. Author -I keep a list of authors who I consider must-read, meaning I own most if not all of their books and immediately purchase any new releases. Unfortunately or fortunately for me this list continues to grow!  Just a few of the authors on my list include: Jenny B Jones, Nichole Van, Tessa Afshar, Laura Frantz, Tamara Leigh, Heather Burch, Joanne Bischof, Elizabeth Camden, Nicole Deese, Tammy L Gray, Becky Doughty, Sibella Giorello, Jody Hedlund, Kristen Heitzmann, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter, Ronie Kendig, Julie Klassen, Siri Mitchell, Amy Leigh Simpson, Brandy Vallance, and Becky Wade.
  2. Setting -I can pretty much guarantee you that any book set in Russia at any time in history or with a Russian character is going to be one I have to read. Don’t ask me why, but I’m fascinated with Russia’s culture and history and there are not nearly enough novels set there. Susan May Warren has a couple of series set in Russia that I enjoyed such as the Heirs of Anton and Mission:Russia. I also loved Ronie Kendig’s Russian spy hero in her book Talon.
  3. Time Period -Historical fiction is my favorite genre with the medieval time .period being my favorite. So, I am constantly on the lookout for good stories set in medieval Britain and have even found a few set in France and Italy such as Lisa Tawn Bergren’s YA series River of Time and also her Novel of the Gifted series.
  4. Time Travel -I feel time travel stories are the best of both worlds, contemporary and historical fiction, so when I find one I haven’t read I am immediately intrigued. Nichole Van is my current favorite author of this type of story.
  5. Cover -Let’s be honest, who isn’t drawn to a book by it’s cover? Why else would that be a popular phrase to use, because we do judge books by covers. I am currently anticipating two new books from new to me authors simply because the covers caught my eye! And now I am eagerly awaiting the release of Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden along with Toward a Secret Sky by Heather MacLean.
  6. Sale -Again, ladies let’s be honest. Which one of us can resist a good sale? I have read many a book written by an author I had never heard of, simply because the book was either discounted or even free. I have discovered several of my favorite new authors this way, particularly indie authors who self-publish. I say yay for book sales!
  7. Book Reviews -Sometimes I will read a book I didn’t think would interest me simply because I read a review by someone I trust. I don’t often take random book recommendations from friends, but a review gives me information about the story itself while also highlighting things the reviewer loved about it.
  8. Sequel -I love/hate books with sequels, mainly because I always want to know how the story ends. I’m one of those readers who read the back of the book first. So, if I fall in love with a story which takes more than one book to tell, then I absolutely have to read the sequel to find out what happens! I am currently biting my nails waiting on Firstborn, which is the sequel to Tosca Lee’s book The Progeny that I read last year. I loved it, but I hate that I have to wait so long to find out what happens. Therefore, I can promise you I will be buying Firstborn as soon as it releases.

I know I’m a bit short of ten, but there you have it.

Foreign Film Friday -Sadece Sen (2014)

I have recently discovered the world of foreign films. The joy of watching a foreign film is that it exposes the viewer to countries and cultures much different than our own without ever needing to leave home. I have found many of these films to be of equal, sometimes better caliber than American films. One such example is the Turkish romantic drama Sadece Sen (English translation: Only You)  a remake of the Korean film Always.

SUMMARY

Ali is a lonely, former boxer with a tragic, violent past he would like to forget. When he meets Hazal, a beautiful, blind woman, he rejects her overtures of friendship. But he can only resist her for so long. Hazal’s unconditional acceptance of Ali and her cheerful optimism begin to break through the walls he has built to protect himself. As their relationship develops, it changes and enriches both of their lives. But a shocking revelation and subsequent sacrifice will challenge everything they have known.

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