THE CLASSIC AMERICAN EPIC
What can be said about Gone With the Wind which hasn’t already been said? This epic novel by Margaret Mitchell was immediately popular upon its’ release and has remained so for decades. In fact, in recent years a Harris Poll declared it to be second only to the Bible as Americans’ favorite book and is still considered a best-seller. To this day, its’ characters, themes and portrayal of racism and the history of the Old South are topics of much debate.
GONE WITH THE WIND – THE STORY
For anyone unfamiliar with Gone With the Wind, it is the story of spoiled, Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Is is also a romanticized history of the South during the years of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Scarlett is one of the best anti-heroines in literature and film. Similar to Becky Sharp of Vanity Fair, she is willful, selfish and uses her considerable charm and intellect to achieve her desires regardless of the cost to to others. She could also be considered a feminist icon for her fierce independence. She becomes the de facto head of her family and also owns and operates her own business.
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Çalikuşu is a historical romantic drama based on a novel of the same name set in Istanbul at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the more accurate translation for Çalikuşu is wren, its’ English title is Lovebird which is a nickname for Feride, the main female character.
SET UP FOR LOVEBIRD
As a young child, Feride is orphaned and sent to live with her maternal aunt’s family. Her arrival upsets the delicate emotional balance of the household, particularly with her female cousin Necmiye, who resents the attention her mother devotes to the new member of their household. Feride also has a combative relationship with her older male cousin Kamran which originates from a mutual attraction and distrust between them.
Thanks to her father’s wishes for her to receive an education, Feride is enrolled at a local French convent boarding school, where she lives when not staying with her aunt and uncle. Her biggest wish is to fulfill her promise to her dead father to finish school and to become a teacher. But as she comes close to the end of her schooling her relationship with Kamran begins to change and pose a threat to her goal and her heart.
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Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are both considered film and fashion icons. Their contributions and legacies have endured and are still looked on with reverence today.
Fortunately, these two superstars collaborated on the film Charade. The film is a romantic comedy with strong elements of suspense, which is just as witty and stylish as its’ two leading actors.
Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is a young American wife living in Paris who plans to divorce her husband. Before she has the chance to do so, he completely strips their luxury apartment, selling all of their belongings. He then promptly gets himself killed while fleeing Paris by train. To read the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
A Tale of Love and Darkness is a film based on the book of the same name written by Jewish author Amos Oz. It is an autobiographical story of the author’s younger years growing up in Jerusalem in the years prior to and directly after the formation of the state of Israel.
Young Amos lives with his parents in Jerusalem during a tumultuous time. WWII had ended recently. Many Jews moved to the British occupied area of Palestine which is tenuously shared with Arab residents. His mother, in particular, seems haunted by her past memories of the destruction of her privileged life in Poland. Amos’ mother Fania does her best to show her love to her son and husband, but those memories make it difficult for her to connect with them. While reconciling herself to her new and challenging present in Jerusalem, Fania shares stories, both fact and fiction, to help distract herself and her son from the struggle of their daily lives.
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The Promise is set in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, during the early years of World War I. Young Mikael Boghosian comes from a family of apothecaries, but his real dream is to leave his mountain village to attend medical school in Constantinople so that he can return to doctor his people. This dream has always been out of reach. That is until he betroths himself to a local girl in order to gain her dowry for the school fees. He plans to complete a three-year medical degree in two, and then return home to marry her. He believes he will learn to love her eventually.
In Constantinople, Mikael boards with a wealthy relative. Then he meets Ana a fellow Armenian raised in Paris who has returned to her home country with her American reporter boyfriend Chris Myers. Although an immediate attraction between Mikael and Ana stirs…
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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…
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