Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens


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Nicholas Nickleby

When one thinks of Charles Dickens one thinks of 'A Tale of Two Cities' or 'Great Expectations' or the classic Christmas tale 'A Christmas Carol'. I don't know about you, but I had never heard of Nicholas Nickleby until I was searching for a Charles Dickens movie to watch and I found a 2001 mini-series based on this book. By the way, the mini-series is not bad at all, and I believe you can watch it on Youtube. But this little review is not about the mini-series, it's about the book.








Don't take this the wrong way, but there's a reason that 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'A Christmas Carol' and all the others are mentioned over this novel. I feel as though, overall, this book is a little scattered, not compact enough to be a really engrossing novel. Like, it's not as well put together as ATOTC or 'Great Expectations', but I am not blaming Dickens for that, as Nicholas Nickleby was only his third novel. Anywho, despite moments of hilarious wit, and passages of philosophical beauty, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone just delving into the world of classics. It might well be too overwhelming for a beginner. Trust me, I should know, as I am sadly lacking in my knowledge of the classics. I haven't read too many. This book is pretty darn wordy and the uninitiated of Victorian language could easily get lost in some of Dickens' descriptions of things that I personally don't think really matter. I also think this book is maybe just a little too long, but it was originally published weekly or monthly (I can't recall which) in a newspaper, so it's lengthiness is understandable. But really, enough with the negative points. This book has much to recommend it as well.  
James D'Arcy as Nicholas Nickleby in the 2001 mini-series.... I love his hair.


Charles Dickens nobly unveils the horrors and evil that took place at the notorious Yorkshire 'Schools' in 1800's England. Having spent time as a child laborer (*cough* slave) himself, Dickens understood what it was like to work day and night with barely enough food to live by and live in a loveless environment (I hate the that word in that kind of sentence but I couldn't think of anything else). He may have had his problems, but at least he didn't shrink from the task of attempting to rid England of terrible establishments much like the fictitious Dotheboy's Hall depicted in Nicholas Nickleby. A supremely epic part in this book is when Nicholas himself, who was employed at the Hall as a teacher/assistant, stops the evil Wackword Squeers (owner and schoolmaster of Dotheboys Hall for Boys) from beating a little boy. Modern day curses and abuses pale in comparison to old-fashioned insults. I mean, Nicholas totally REKTS Squeers. It really is epic! A fight ensues and Nicholas crushes the nasty schoolmaster, after having figuratively done so in speech. I absolutely love it. That is one of the things that I like about Nicholas. He doesn't just sit around worrying when he sees wrongdoings taking place. He actually does something!
I also like his sister Kate a great deal. She is a kind and strong character, although I would've admitted that dear old uncle Ralph is a monster faaaaaar earlier than she did, but I guess that's just because she's a nice person and didn't want to think that her only uncle was a complete jerkface. #kindofunderstandable
A few more good characters include Mr. Linkinwater, Miss La Creevy (SPOILER: The two aforementioned characters get married and it's the cutest thing ever), Mr. John Browdie, Newman Noggs, and we mustn't forget the crippled Smike, a supposed orphan whom Nicholas 'kidnaps' from Dotheboys Hall and becomes a provider and dear best friend to. There are soooo many other good characters (Dickens was always good at characters), but those are just a few of my favorites. Be prepared to be disgusted when you meet Mr. Arthur Gride. I have one word for you: Ew. Like, he's so gross it's not even funny.
Anyway, there you go. A short little review of *big inhale* 'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family'. 
That is literally the full title. It's also why I didn't have to write a summary, so I'm not complaining.
If you enjoy classics or are looking for a book to expand your collection of already read classics, I would recommend this. If you're just looking for a light read and this story looks interesting to you, I recommend watching the film series instead of reading the entire book. That's all for today folks. May the bright stars of the night shine their brightest throughout all your days and may the misfortune and darkness of the starless night never befall you. Ciao.

~Irene

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Kate and her hubby in the movie.
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Search (1948)


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Everybody agrees that M-G-M's 'The Search' is a wonderful motion picture. Everybody, ya here???Okay, The Search is a pretty adorable movie. And seriously sad. And then seriously happy. And it has a young Montgomery Clift in a uniform, so what more could you ask for? Jk, Jk, there's more to Montgomery Clift than just his looks. He's also a fabulous actor, and although in this movie he just plays a regular old G.I., he plays it so well that you never for one moment think of him as actually acting. It's all genuine.

- After World War II there were many unwanted orphans roaming through Europe, friendless and parentless. Some were simple war orphans, their mothers and fathers either killed fighting in the war or else killed by bombs, but many others were former concentration camp victims, their parents gassed or shot, or just plainly starved to death. Among these former death camp victims is Karol Malick (played by a fabulous Ivan Jandl), a 9-year-old Polish boy who runs away from the English and American soldiers and nurses who only desire to help him. Having been in Auschwitz for a very long time, he has lost trust in almost all humanity. He runs away, not knowing where he'll go, only knowing he mustn't be captured by anybody ever again.

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Karol
Enter Steven, a regular old G.I. looking forward to going home to America after a long war in Europe. Whilst sitting and eating lunch in his jeep, he spots the runaway Karol hiding in the ruins of some wrecked building, watching very hungrily as Steve eats his k-rations. Steve leaves his food for Karol to eat and manages to catch him and bring him to the house he's staying at, where we meet Steve's housemate, Jerry. Both Steve and Jerry grow an attachment to the boy, but Steve is Montgomery Clift, so that means he's the main character of course. While Steve attempts to teach Karol (whom he called Jimmy) to speak English (which is honestly the cutest thing ever) and grows more and more attached to him, Karol's mother, who is still alive, searches all over Europe for her lost son -

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So, Montgomery Clift doesn't even enter this movie until probably a good twenty minutes in, and even then the film is split into his and Karol's relationship and Mrs. Malick searching for her son. But let me tell you, every single scene with Karol and Steve will just melt your little heart. They're too adorable.  This movie is quite dark at times, especially when it shows the war orphans and the repercussions of their time and treatment in the concentration camps. It's also rather depressing when Karol starts remembering that he had a mother and wonders where she's gone 😢 You see, everyone believes that Karol is an orphan so Steve spends a substantial amount of time wondering how to tell Karol that is mother is dead. But yo, the end is not sad, and like I said, I would watch this movie a lot just to see Steve and Karol together. It's also just a good movie, so yeah. I don't want to spoil too much so I'll just stop there. I'll just leave a few pictures here....

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~Irene

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Borrowed House by Hilda van Stockum

First of all, I would like to start this blog post off with my most sincere apologies to my sister Irene, who has honestly been doing all the work on here. Although I do have somewhat legitimate excuses, those excuses always had a break in between where I could have, maybe, quite possibly, written a short and sweet blog post, like the one I am doing today.
So, with that out of the way, I shall begin my 'feelings splurge' about the most enchanting, mesmerizing, and honestly, kinda nostalgic (in a non-nostalgic way, if you catch my drift), novel I have ever read!

"The Borrowed House" by Hilda van Stockum

 

If any of you have ever read a Hilda van Stockum novel, you know what I mean when I say 'enchanting' (if you haven't read one, you might wanna get crackin'). This applies to almost all of her books (I can't say for sure because I have not read them all), but this one especially. 
 
For a brief summary, 'The Borrowed House' (set in WW2) is about a young German girl named Janna, currently being looked after by a nanny, who thinks Hitler is the most wonderful person in all of creation (obviously didn't do much research).  Her parents, who are two famous German actors, eventually send for her and she moves into a big old house in Amsterdam. Unfortunately for her, they have to share it with a rather disagreeable couple and their annoying son, Heinz. As she leads a rather lonely life with her parents always off doing plays she begins to notice rather strange things, like how the third story is smaller than the fourth, and how there is an extra meatball being cooked when there are no guests arriving. However, being the unsuspecting child that she is, Janna thinks nothing of it...That is until a game of hide-and-go-seek sends her stumbling through her big old wardrobe into a hidden room. A hidden room with a rather charming and good looking forger. His name is Sef, and he helps forge papers for the Dutch resistance to save Jews. Janna, still being extremely lonely, decides to keep Sef's secret and they soon become close friends, but with that friendship the truth about Hitler and the war is slowly revealed to Janna and she begins to realize that everything she ever learned was a total lie.

I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't go into any more detail on the plot. HOWever, I will go into more detail on why this book is so amazing and how you really need to go and read it right now.
To start off, the inner 'child' is brought to life inside of you, especially when Janna finds Sef. I mean, who didn't dream as a little kid that they would find a strange person in  a hidden room in their house and become close friends with them? You didn't? Well then, you really missed out, 'cause I remember imagining that and it was always a blast! There's just that small ounce of 'I want something completely out of the ordinary to happen' inside of everyone, and that's one thing I love about all of Hilda van Stockum's books, not just 'The Borrowed House'. She portrays what everyone remembers about their childhood, with maybe a little extra jam spread on top of that, because how many of you found a strange boy hiding in a hidden room in your house? I only found a strange girl hiding under my bed, then I realized it was my sister.
Aaaaanyway, moving on, the second most amazing thing about this book, is Sef. I'm just gonna go ahead and fan girl right here, 'cause he's SPECTACULAR! Everything about him just speaks 'AWESOME!', as Janna would quite agree. A little fun thing that the author put in the book, which I think added a perfect touch, is that Janna is obsessed with the story 'The Nibelungen' and she thinks the main character of that book, Siegfried, is the best thing since sliced bread. Now for those of you who are not up to date (or out of date?) with German culture, the Nibelungen is probably one of the most famous works of German literature, like, ever. I once watched an eight hour silent film version from the 30's, was not impressed, and in that aspect, Sef and I are completely on the same page. Siegfried is the hero in that story and Janna likes to imagine that Sef is Siegfried, much to his chagrin. Anyway, at some point in the story, something happens (I won't say what, 'cause spoilers) and Janna's image of Sef being this amazing vision of Siegfried come to life is completely crushed. Needless to say, Sef and I were very relieved after that (we're very close). Getting back to the point, Sef's whole attitude and demeanor and attitude towards everything is just so 'on point', 'iffin ya know what I mean.
The third most amazing thing about this book is that, despite it having nothing to do with fairy tales and being a completely different genre, it still gives off those magical fairy tale vibes that make any story ten times more stupendous! Irene and I were just discussing this because I randomly picked the book up this morning and read through the whole thing for the billionth time in one day, but we agreed that 'The Borrowed House' has earned it's keep on our list of truly magical stories. It is a truly magical book, and it will leave you with a strange sort of longing. If you're the type of person that likes to feel that longing, I suggest you read this book! (Along with the rest of Hilda van Stockum's books)

Whelp, that's my fairly 'short and sweet' blog post about one of my favorite novels ever and I hope you realized just what you're missing and quickly order this book from your local library. Seriously, you will not regret it.

Lots of well wishes and roses!

- Anna


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Irene's Top Ten Favorite Christmas Carols

                                         'Tis the season

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Merry Christmas everyone! I wanted to have Anna write a list of her favorite Christmas carols, but unfortunately we have been very busy, and I am just now getting around to writing this little list, because hey, we need at least one Christmas post, right? Anyway, here's a list of a few of my favorite carols. I excluded songs like Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, because although they are groovy, they're not exactly carols.

1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Although I am not ranking these in any particular order, I will say that this exceedingly British carol is definitely near the top of the list. It personifies the solemnity of Christmas morn. We have so many songs singing praises of the joy (which is splendid) of Christmas that it's nice to have one telling grown men to remember that if it weren't for Christ coming into the world, we'd all be in Satan's clutches. And the words are so epic, ya know! And I also have a soft spot for songs in the minor key...
'This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface!'

2. Once In Royal David's City: This is Mama's favorite Christmas carol, and I can't but agree with her that it is a beautiful hymn. So quiet, so peaceful. This one sounds like the very early morning on Christmas day, when everything is still quiet but the world knows Jesus is born.
'He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all, and His shelter was a stable, and His cradle was a stall; with the poor, the weak, the lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.'

3. Hark The Herald Angels Sing: Okay, who doesn't like this carol? It's so happy! I like how the melody builds and builds up to the last line.
'Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!'

4. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear: Rather like number 2 in aura, this Christmas carol has more of an icy feeling. Like you're outside on a midnight clear, drinking it the quietness of Christmas morn. It's a lovely carol.
'It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold. "Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, from heav'n's all gracious King." The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.'

5. Angels We Have Heard On High: This carol is gorgeous, in my opinion. So clear, like bells ringing in the frosty air. I looked it up, and that one part (you know what I'm talking about) is a melisma, and it's just so beautiful. Like snow delicately falling over the sound of those crystal clear bells.
'Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains, and the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains. Gloria, in excelsis Deo.'

6. Carol of the Bells: The only negative thing about this carol is that you kinda need a large group of people to sing it correctly. But when you do, my is it beautiful! It's so haunting, like it's waiting in a dark forest filled with snow and anticipation for the coming Christmas day.
'Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away. Christmas is here, bringing good cheer, to young and old, meek and the bold....'

7. O Holy Night: Although this carol isn't my absolute favorite, it stills deserves to be on this list. It's calm and serene, and then passionate and moving. 
'A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.'

8. O Little Town Of Bethlehem: This has to be the coziest Christmas carol out there. It's so dreamy, like lying before a fire on Christmas eve. It does mention the word sleep several times, so no wonder it's so dreamy.
'O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.'

9. We Three Kings Of Orient Are: My family and I sing this carol often in our morning prayers throughout the Nativity fast, so it never was exactly fresh and new, but I still thought it was awesome when I was a kid (courtesy of minor key), especially the verses. I think it's wonderful that the Three Kings finally get a song (and by finally, I mean 1863).
'Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume. Breathes a life of gathering gloom; sorr'wing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.'

10. Silent Night: Did you honestly think I wouldn't put Silent Night on here? Although this carol is sung almost too often, a good rendition of it (like the Regensburger Domspatzen version) is always beautiful. A wonderful carol to sing late on Christmas eve, it is one of the most soothing and beautiful carols out there.
'Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. 'Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, holy Infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.'



Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!


                                 'Glories stream from heaven afar, heav'nly hosts sing Allelluia; 
                                           Christ the savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a work often named among the great American novels, written by the native Missourian Samuel L. Clemens, better know by his nom de plume Mark Twain. In it, the tales of a boy, Huckleberry Finn, are told in a natural American style, almost unknown in the year of 1884. As the narrator, Huck Finn tells the story of his and a runaway slave's exploits as they traverse the great Mississippi river, as well as the towns and people surrounding it.

'You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter.'
As Huckleberry Finn tell us in the opening lines of his story, we need not of read Tom Sawyer to understand this story, as it is almost entirely a stand-alone work. Huckleberry Finn is a poor boy, what some would call 'Swamp Trash'. However, he does not find having no shoes and being permanently covered in dirt humiliating in the least. In fact, he finds it far more favorable than having to mind his manners and get gussied up for church every Sunday. But Huck Finn's comfortable life living with the old Widow Douglas, an old woman who has taken him in, is soon to be disrupted by his alcoholic and abusive father. To escape from his father's cabin, Huck fakes his own death and takes off to a seldom-visited island. There he meets Jim, a black slave who had just learned that he was to be sold to a man in New Orleans, where slaves were reputably treated very badly. Huck agrees to travel down the Mississippi on a raft with Jim, and together they encounter a staggeringly large amount of adventures, including runaway-slave hunters, a couple of murderous mutineers, a family feud, and two river rats known as the 'King' and the 'Duke' who bring along their own boat-load of trouble.


The entire book comes to its climactic ending adventure when Huckleberry Finn is mistaken for none other than his very good friend Tom Sawyer. Tom's aunt, Aunt Sally, and her husband have not seen their nephew for ages, so immediately assume this young boy at their doorstep is their visiting relative. Huckleberry Finn is in the vicinity in the first place to rescue Jim, who was betrayed and handed over to Tom's aunt and uncle as a cotton-picking slave. With Jim being locked in an old rickety shack, Huck believes he will not have much trouble releasing his friend from imprisonment, until Tom Sawyer himself shows up, complicating matters to no end. The undertaking and conclusion of this escapade is incredibly hilarious.

Life as a misfit: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Images of Jim

Mark Twain did a wonderful job of satirically condemning the institutional racism that was prevalent in the 1800's. He shows it as it truly is: Absolutely absurd. To think that a person does not wish to be free or care for their own family, or not be sold and taken from their home at a moments notice just because of their skin color is incredibly absurd. And despite Huckleberry Finn growing up in the South, where everybody had a slave, or knew somebody who owned a slave,  and to aid a runaway slave was considered a grave sin, he manages to still be a character who is always concerned about what is morally right, despite telling himself several times that it's just too much trouble even trying to be good, and he might as well give it up, as he is just plain bad. In fact, Huck Finn has such a moral compass that he does things he wholeheartedly believes to be wrong, just because he knows he will feel terrible if he does the alternative.

This whole book in incredibly witty, but I will just share with you a few of my favorite lines... Well, quite a few, but I couldn't leave any of them out, could I? Here they are:
_

'Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he was most free - and who was to blame for it? Why, me.'
~
'Jim said that bees won't sting idiots, but I didn't believe that, because I tried them lots of times myself and they wouldn't sting me.'
~
'Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain't got no business doing wrong when he ain't ignorant and knows better.'
~
Huckleberry Finn: '"Well, then, what'll we make him the ink out of?"'
Tom Sawyer: '"Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but that's the common sort and women; the best authorities uses their own blood. Jim can do that;"'...
~
'I do believe [Jim] cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their'n. It don't seem natural, but I reckon it's so.'
~
Huck: '"Jim ain't got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan."'
Tom: '"That ain't nothing; we can get him some."'
Huck: '"Can't nobody read his plates."'
Tom: '"That ain't got nothing to do with it, Huck Finn. All he's got to do is to write on the plate and throw it out. You don't have to be able to read it. Why, half the time you can't read anything a prisoner writes on a tin plate, or anywhere else."'
Huck: '"Well, then, what's the sense in wasting the plates?"'
Tom: '"Why, blame it all, it ain't the prisoner's plates."'
Huck: '"But it's somebody's plates, ain't it?"'
_

There are plenty more good ones, but I mustn't take up all your time. Just go read the book. It's very beneficial to your psychic 😄

~ Irene

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Go For Broke! (1951)

                Going for broke with the guys of the 442nd!

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- During World War II, Lt. Michael Grayson (Van Johnson) is newly commissioned American Army officer who looks forward to being assigned to the 36th Texas Division. Instead, he is put in charge of Japanese-American soldiers, who form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Grayson is bigoted and uneasy about the assignment, but when the unit goes into combat in Italy, he admires their courage and determination. The 442nd eventually becomes the most decorated unit in the U.S. Army. -

(Ripped straight off of Google, 'cause no way I'm gonna write up a summary of this movie)

You know when you tell people how you love movies from the 40's and 50's (you know you do) and those people are all like 'Yeah, but people were so racist back then! They didn't even cast black people or hire Asian people to play Asians!' Because I know some people who think that. Well ya know what? They can go walk off a cliff!


Some of the real members of the 442nd
The 442nd regiment was honestly one of the coolest things ever. It was a wonderful embodiment of the American sentiment that it doesn't matter who your parents were, what your skin color is, or where you originated from, as long as you pull your weight and fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, well then by golly you're an American! Another positive thing about this movie (although this whole review is about the positive traits of this movie) is that, as Daddy said, American relations with the Japanese (both native and American-Japanese) were very, shall we say, strained, so movies like this made in the early 50's really helped smooth out the bad feelings. This here review's gonna be kinda structured. You'll see what I mean when I mean what I see........ That was supposed to make more sense when written down...

Favorite Characters:

I would say my favorite character is this lovely guy. Half Japanese, half Irish, Sgt. O'Hara is so responsible and worthy of followers, it's no wonder he's promoted to Lieutenant before the movie's two-thirds of the way done. Sgt. O'Hara is not given as much screen time as he deserves, but the scenes he is in you can easily pick up on his sense of humor and peace-making skills. He is also super brave and has a cute little brother, so that's fun.



My second favorite character is Sam. The audience gets to know the most about Sam's background, his personal and family life. Like the fact that he sends all his red-cross goodies home to his family living at a basically-prison-camp-for-American-Japanese in the states (I'm pretty sure they had a legitimate name, but I can't think of it), as well as the fact that he's got a girl and her name is Terry. Sam is kind to the smaller, weaker characters in the movie (I'm looking at you Tommy) and always ready to protect them from bullies and jerks (I'm looking at you Chick), as well as    being a heck of a fighter and just one cool dude. And he's got great hair, so that had me sold in his first five minutes.

                                                                                               

There were lots of other good characters as well, like Kaz, and Tommy, and good ol' Lt. Michael Grayson, but those two guys up there take the cake. Moving on....


Favorite Moments: 

So many wonderful moments in this movie. Near the beginning we meet all of our heroes-to-be and they go through a training course with good ol' Lt. Grayson, and it is pretty darn hilarious. Let me just say, sometimes it's hard being short. I wouldn't know of course, but it just seems like it would be. The entire training scene is thoroughly enjoyable. And how about when the Lieutenant first meets Tommy?

                                                   

Mustn't forget Good Ol' Lt. Grayson
I really love it when Lt. Grayson finally meets up with his old buddy from the 36th Texas Division while he and the boys are chillin' at a cafe in France (?). The Lieutenant's big-mouth friend is shooting off about how he didn't ever believe he'd see the day when he'd fight side by side with a Jap. He continues making cracks at our boys and calling them 'Japs'. Grayson was not in the cafe while this was taking place. He comes through the door and first greets his men, and then sees his ol' friend standing by the bar. He goes up to meet him and jovially pats him on the back. Sam and Tommy and the rest all see that their Lieutenant is real buddy-buddy with this smart-mouth, which makes Chick (the wet-blanket and self-designed tough boy of the group) very cynical about our good ol' Lt. Grayson indeed. He bets against Sam that Grayson would rather go and have fun with his old friend from Texas than have a drink with some Japs, and sure enough, the Lieutenant heads out the door with big-mouth without even saying goodbye to our boys. But not for the reason they believe. Ol' big-mouth had been living up to his assigned name in that there cafe, so good ol' Lt. Grayson had asked him to step outside. He tells big-mouth not to call his men 'Japs'. He can call them Nisei, or Buddha-heads, Japanese-Americans, whatever, just not Japs. Big-mouth from Texas does not take this well, and Grayson promptly punches him. And a very well-deserved punch, I might add.

And it's pretty epic when our boys use their Japanese martial arts moves on the Krauts. Or when they capture a group of aforementioned Krauts, and those German are just a little confused about why they are being captured by their own allies.

Rating:

Hehe, I like thinking I'm a movie critic. As I find this film thoroughly unique, entertaining, and not to mention educational, I proudly give my 11 out of 11 and a half. So there.

Notes:

You know, it's funny, but I find it rather strange that the modern day media and film-making companies haven't cast more light on the 442nd regiment. It would certainly fit their agenda of supposed diversity and equality. But maybe 'Go For Broke' and the real men of the 442nd are just too darn American and inspiring (not to mention masculine) for the mainstream media and Hollywood to cast their illustrious glances on. But pardon me, I find myself becoming too political. 







The most highly decorated unit in U.S. history. Go For Broke.

HAPPY VETERANS DAY!


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

My Favorite Alan Ladd Movies

                    My Top Five Favorite Alan Ladd Movies

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Hello there! In honor of that wonderful actor Alan Ladd's birthday (September 3rd) a blogathon is being hosted by Pale Writer. I knew I would have to write something when I first heard about it. I originally had the idea of doing my Top Ten favorite Alan Ladd movies, since that would fit neatly into mine and Anna's 'Top Ten' category, but then I realized I've only seen nine of Alan's movies. Whoops. Kinda embarrassing, I know. Maybe you're saying 'Hey, why don't you just go out a watch a couple of his movies. Treat yourself to something nice.' That would be a good idea, except what if the movies aren't good enough to be listed as my absolute favorites? What then? What if it's too late to enter my list for the blogathon? What then, I ask you?! So I just decided to do my top five. Enjoy 😁

Image result for And now tomorrow 1944 posters1. And Now Tomorrow (1944)

Poor but talented Dr. Merek Vance returns to his 
hometown after many years away with a serum that may be capable of restoring the hearing of wealthy Emily Blair. Problem is, he doesn't want anything to do with what he thinks is nothing but a spoiled rich girl. And she wants nothing to do with what she thinks is a cynical and rude doctor.
I think this is my favorite role from Mr. Ladd. He's so wonderful, I can't handle it. I usually don't like romances, but this movie is just straight up sweet, and doesn't have too many wishy-washy scenes. Acting's great (of course. It's Alan Ladd and Loretta Young), story's heart-warming and fuzzy, and the dialogue is quick and snappy. I love it 💗

                                                                                                                                                            
 2. Branded (1950)

Image result for Branded 1950Outlaw Choya gets in on a sweet deal that his outlaw 
buddies discovered. Apparently, twenty-five years ago
the son of a wealthy ranching family was kidnapped and 
never seen again. Choya just happens to be of the right age 
and overall appearance to maybe pass off as the long-lost 
Lavery boy. Besides that, Choya's partner-in-crime tattoos  
a distinctive birthmark on his shoulder. And with that, Choya 
sets out to fool the Lavery family and come into a nice, fat
inheritance. But what happens when this conscienceless
desperado starts falling in love with family he's supposed to
hoodwink? 
I love movies where men of questionable morals start out to
cheat and rob a family or person but then end up with a terrible
case of the conscience. This movie is a great example of that 
story-line. I love Choya's character arc and I also quite like 
and admire the main girl, Ruth Lavery, which is quite strange
for a western. The whole movie's both an exciting western,
full of plot twists and turns,as well as a sweet and fuzzy 


bowl of chicken soup. It's a movie that makes me happy 😄


3. This Gun For Hire (1942)
Image result for this gun for hire 1942
Paid killer Phillip Raven begins to track down his employer
when he realizes he has been given marked bills in payment
for his latest job. While on the trail of his treacherous boss,
Raven happens to sit next to the beautiful lady named Ellen while hitching a ride on a train out of town. Although she is engaged to a police lieutenant, Ellen decides to try and help Raven walk the straight-and-narrow as he dodges both the police and his former employer's hit-men.
This is, I think, the best put-together movie on this list. The
acting's fabulous, and the cinematography sets a dark and 
depressing stage, perfect for a film noir. Although I wouldn't 
say that Raven is my favorite Alan Ladd role (he's a bit un-hinged, if you know what I mean) he still puts in a heck of a performance. And of course Mr. Ladd and Miss Veronica Lake together are bound to be nothing short of spectacular. Great, albeit tragic, film.



4. Whispering Smith (1948)

Image result for Whispering Smith 1948Luke 'Whispering' Smith is an 1800's policeman tasked with
stopping a gang of train-robbers terrorizing his railroad line.
Whispering Smith is faced with a serious problem when 
his best friend Murray is fired from his job for the railroad and, 
in an act of defiance, joins the very gang of outlaws that Smith 
is trying to put out of order. To further complicate matters, 
Murray's wife, and Luke's old flame, claims to still be in love 
with Luke.
Whispering Smith has got to be one of the greatest guys to ever
draw breath. He is practically perfect in every way. And as much as I enjoy Alan Ladd in his more cynical roles, it's nice to see him as a mild-mannered and gentle guy like Luke who can still ride wild horses and take down bad guys with the best of 'em. One of the things I love about this movie is that Luke has to fight against his own best friend. The DRAMA guys! It's heartrendingly amazing. And just a little note, I do NOT like Marian, Murray's wife, at all. She made her choice between Murray and Luke long ago, but when the former shows up for just a quick stop, she's falling all over him! Honestly, lady, have a little pride!


5. China (1943)

Image result for China (1943) Alan LaddDavid Jones, a war profiteer, is traveling through China with 
his buddy Johnny Sparrow shortly before Pearl Harbor. 
While travelling cross-country to Shanghai, Mr. Jones and his 
friend encounter school-teacher Carolyn Grant. Soon the cynical 
Mr. Jones finds himself driving Miss Grant and a large group of 
Chinese school girls through Japanese infested territory in what
soon becomes a fight for freedom and China.
This movie was WAY more emotionally taxing than I was prepared for. It's pretty intense at times, but it's still a wonderful movie. Alan Ladd's character, David Jones, finds that there are more important things in this world than money and his personal safety (never would have guessed that) and along the bumpy road of this astounding discovery, he also finds love. Sighhhhhhhh. But seriously, it's a really good movie, with Alan Ladd at his best,chalk-full of action and excitement, along with a meaningful message and a fairly theologically correct talk about God. What won't they think of next?


And there you have my five favorite Alan Ladd movies. Mind you, they may be moved around or even replaced as I add more of Alan's movies to my list, but for now they are my golden five! I also readily enjoy The Blue Dahlia (1946)', 'The Glass Key (1942)', and I don't really remember Shane, but I do remember that I loved the scenery, so there's that for all you Shane fans.
Happy (slightly late) birthday, Alan Ladd. I've loved you in every single movie I've seen you in and you shall forever remain one of my favorite actors.




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