Personal Bio: Born Joseph Frank Keaton in 1895 to a pair of vaudeville actors who owned their own travelling show, he was supposedly given the nickname Buster, by his parents’ partner, Harry Houdini (yes, that Houdini), who after seeing him emerge unscathed after a tumble down some stairs proclaimed, “That was a real buster!” He had an unconventional childhood, incorporated early on as a child actor in his parent’s act and received no formal schooling, his only education that which his mother could give him on the road.
After the Keaton’s show finally ended due to his father’s alcoholism, Buster spent a short stint serving in the army during WWI where he was stationed in France. Upon his return he traveled to New York where through a mutual acquaintance he met famous comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle who became a close friend and mentor in the film industry. Buster was a quick learner and soon was writing, directing, producing and starring in his own films, beginning with silent comedy shorts and eventually transitioning into feature films where he had great success. Continue reading “Introducing Buster Keaton”
Desmond Doss grows up in a home with an alcoholic father whose experiences in WWI haunt both him and his household. Thanks to his religious beliefs and a few personal experiences including a confrontation with his own father, Desmond is adamantly opposed to violence.These views are severely challenged when he joins the army as a “conscientious co-operator”. He feels compelled to be a part of the war, but refuses to carry a weapon. As a medic he wants to help save lives, but the Army does not know what to do with a soldier who won’t even touch a gun. Continue reading “Film Review -Hacksaw Ridge (2016)”
If you have never read any of author Ronie Kendig’s books, then you are in for a real treat. She has coined the phrase Rapid-Fire Fiction and it sure is. Kendig writes military action and international intrigue stories and if you pick up one of her titles, then you better plan to clear your schedule because you won’t be able to stop until you reach the end.
ABOUT THE SERIES
The Tox Files is the newest series from this talented author and I believe it is her best yet! So far, the prequel novella The Warrior’s Seal (which is available for free on Kindle) and the first full length novel of this series Conspiracy of Silence have been released with the second title A Crown of Souls set for an October 2017 release.
Although you needn’t read the prequel in order to understand the plot of Conspiracy of Silence, I would recommend that you do so, because it introduces you to the main players and gives some background details which will only enhance your understanding throughout the series. Continue reading “Book Review -The Tox Files”
Since most of my friends and family are not classic film fans, I thought I would start a new series in which I introduce actors and actresses from this era, in the hope that it will familiarize you with famous names and perhaps whet your appetite for their films.
Personal Bio:Myrna Williams was born in Helena, Montana in 1905. Her father was a successful businessman and state congressman. After his death in 1918 her mother permanently moved the family to southern California where Myrna attended high school in Venice. She was the model for a sculpture which was displayed outside of the high school for many decades. Her portrait caught the eye of famous silent film star Rudolph Valentino which eventually led to her gaining work in silent films, changing her last name to Loy.
Myrna was not only an actress but was a lifelong Democrat who was actively involved in political issues through out her life. She put her career on hold in WWII to work with the Red Cross and was so vehemently outspoken against Hitler that she was placed on his blacklist. Continue reading “Introducing…Myrna Loy”
I recently watched Ocean’s 11 for the first time. No, not the version of recent years with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, but the original starring Frank Sinatra and members of The Rat Pack.
For those unfamiliar with Hollywood history, The Rat Pack was the name coined for a group of celebrity friends whose original members included Humphrey Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, David Niven, Spencer Tracy and long time love Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, director George Cukor and others.
A School for Unusual Girls is set in 1814, while Napoleon is exiled to the island of Elba. Georgiana Fitzwilliam is the youngest child and only daughter in her family. After one of her scientific experiments goes awry and burns down her father’s stables, her exasperated parents enroll her at Stranje House and wipe their hands of her care. Despite the tense relationships Georgie has with her parents she would rather return home or run away than to stay at this mysterious school for girls. The dark rumors which swirl around the school and the scenes she witnesses upon her introduction to the staff and students convince her that Stranje house is a dangerous place to remain.
A French film originally titled Bienvenue a Marly-Gomont, The African Doctor tells the true story of Seyolo Zantoko, a Congolese native and his struggles to serve as a doctor in a small French village in order to obtain French nationality and to expose his family to wider world.
The tale begins as Seyolo graduates from a French medical school. He is offered a prestigious job in his homeland of Zaire/Congo working for a corrupt government official. Despite the money and the perks attached to this position, he has heard instead of a small French village which has been seeking a doctor for its citizens for many years with no success. He decides to take this job in the hopes that it will allow him to become a French citizen. When phoning home with the good news to his wife and children, the family is thrilled due to the mistaken impression that his job is in Paris. Needless to say, they are all in for a shock when they arrive in France and find themselves feeling like fish out of water, in a very rural community which is not happy that their new doctor and his family are black foreigners. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The African Doctor (2016)”
When privileged Egyptian Kiya is sold into slavery by her own father, it is to save the rest of her family including her crippled brother. She finds herself in the household of a family friend, but the shame of serving in a home she once frequented as a guest and the vengeful behavior of her master’s wife leaves her feeling humiliated and hopeless. During her time of service she meets fellow slave Shira, a Hebrew, who makes a great sacrifice on Kiya’s behalf winning her loyalty and friendship. Through Shira, she also meets Eben, Shira’s brother who seems to despise her, but she also begins to learn of the rumors of a Deliverer spreading through the Hebrew households. Things go from bad to worse for Kiya, as her former fiance deserts her and all of the Egyptians are terrorized by strange plagues. Kiya wrestles with her lack of faith in her own gods and her terror of the Hebrew God, while also being strangely drawn to both the enslaved people and the one they call Yahweh. Eventually, in order to save her mother and brother, she casts her lot in with this strange people and flees Egypt. Continue reading “Book Review -Counted With the Stars”
Since the majority of my readers may not be overly familiar with classic films, I would like to recommend some of my favorites along with a few of the more famous titles playing on TCM this month, in the hopes that you will find one that interests you. So get ready to set your DVR’s friends, you won’t want to miss these. (All film times listed are Central Standard Time).
Waterloo Bridge (1940) -A beautiful romantic drama about a ballerina who falls in love with a soldier during WWI. The ending is unexpected and will haunt you. Showing March 2 at 12:15 PM
The Thin Man (1934) -This famous classic comedy about a detective, his wealthy wife and their dog Asta who must solve a crime is delightful. The chemistry and repartee between theWilliam Powell and Myrna Loy shot both of them into stardom another twelve films together. Showing March 10 at 10:30 AM
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) – One of my favorite musicals tells the tale of a group of redneck brothers who kidnap women to be their brides. So cheesy and yet so much fun to watch! Showing March 12 at 3:00 PM
The Gold Rush (1925) -If you have never seen a silent film you can’t go wrong with Charlie Chaplin. He’s the master of melancholy humor and his character, the Little Tramp is iconic. Showing March 14 at 6:45 AM
The Maltese Falcon (1941) -Well-known crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a statue of a Maltese Falcon. One of Bogart’s best films. Showing March 15 at 10:00 AM
The Quiet Man (1952) Filmed in color and in Ireland, it’s worth seeing just for the scenery, but also for the popular pairing of John Wayne and co-star Maureen O’Hara. Wayne’s American boxer must adjust to a new wife and culture. Showing March 17 at 8:30 PM
Gaslight (1944) -I can’t say I loved this drama about a man who intentionally tries to drive his wife insane, but it is a film that stuck with me. This film coined the phrase “gaslighting“, and is psychologically disturbing. Ingrid Bergman stars. Showing March 22 at 10:30 AM
The Birds (1963) – Since i just did a review of this Hitchcock film, I thought you might like the opportunity to see if for yourself. Showing March 22 at 4:45 PM
Casablanca (1942) -Arguably the most famous classic film of all time, it is a must see, which I discovered after years of avoiding it for some stupid reason. Starring Bogart and Bergman the story and characters are all perfect. If you only watch one of my recommendations, then make it this one. Showing March 23 at 5:00 PM
How to Marry a Millionaire(1953) -A romantic comedy about three working models who decide to pool their money to rent an expensive apartment in the hopes that they will meet some wealthy men they can marry. This is filmed in color and stars Bogart’s wife Lauren Bacall as well as Marilyn Monroe. Showing March 26 at 5:00 PM
National Velvet (1944) – Filmed in color, a beautiful film starring a young Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney, about a young girl who pursues her dream to race her horse in England’s Grand National. This is a great movie for the whole family. Showing March 27 at 4:45 PM
Roman Holiday(1953) -Audrey Hepburn’s first American film for which she won an Oscar, about a sheltered princess who escapes her royal duties for a day exploring Rome incognito with an American journalist. Showing March 28 at 1:45 PM
Ever in My Heart (1933) -This is an obscure drama which shows the difficulties faced by a German man married to an American woman during WWI. It explores the impact of prejudice and stars one of my favorite actresses Barbara Stanwyck. Showing March 30 at 10:30 AM
The Women (1939) -If you watched the remake of this film in 2008, do not judge the original by it. This is a bitingly witty film about the friendships between women and starred some well-known names of the time. It stars an all-female cast, meaning not a single man appears. Showing March 31 at 10:30 AM
I think some people hesitate to venture into classic film territory because they believe the stories they tell may be outdated. But as a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
When Ellen Murray returns home from college and reconnects with Doug, an old flame, she makes a decision which will put her mother’s liberal morals and the rest of her family’s sanity to the test.
Ellen has been raised in a seemingly privileged and normal home, her father a banker and her mother an author. But it doesn’t take long to discover, that her mother was quite the hell-raiser in her time, having been involved with poets and women’s liberation and becoming quite familiar with the inside of the jail. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)”