James Bond Blogathon: The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights (1987) is my favorite Bond movie. Of course, every Bond movie is a cinematic treat. They all have powerful musical scores playing in the background of exotic locations with super sexy men and women who are clothed in stunning garments and costumes. The action includes edgy and exciting chase scenes that are inspired by a unique, ultra villain who has a mission to harm the world.  The gadgets and fascinating technology is a science nerd’s dream.  Bond movies are fully loaded with adrenaline packed delights.

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From Sir Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the Bond men are handsome, charismatic, witty, and deadly.  They all prefer coffee over tea, dry Vodka martinis, shaken not stirred, drive an some version of an Aston-Martin, answers to M, flirts with the female population, gets lectured from Q, are highly intelligent, willing risk takers, professional killers, and extremely complex human beings.

As a younger woman, I did not appreciate the Bond movies as much as my male friends and partners. I was especially uncomfortable with the some of the humor aimed at woman. The jokes I am referring to had nothing to do with what they done; instead, these jokes were aimed at all women, in general.  For instant, many women are given some of the dumbest/sexist names ever created: Pussy Galore, Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Xenia Onatop, Miss Moneypenny and more.

Let’s just say I enjoyed Bond movies for the most part but endured some aspects of them. Even so, there is one Bond movie that completely changed my perspective of all Bond films, forever. In 1986, I read an article about the new, improved Bond, Timothy Dalton, in the latest Bond movie, The Living Daylights. 

Personally, I think Timothy Dalton is the best Bond ever, if there is such a thing as a “Best Bond.”  Even though, he only starred in two of the 24 Bond movies: The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence To Kill (1989), his Bond is nearly perfect when compared to Ian Fleming’s book version of 007.  Fleming wrote 14 novels centered on MI6’s favorite spy.  The Living Daylights is the second short story in a collection of short stories, Octopussy is the first. It is also the last Bond story written by Fleming and many critics consider it his best story too. It first appeared in a magazine in 1962.  Later, it was published as part of a collection of stories in 1966.   It was printed two years after Fleming had died.  There is an excellent audio version of these collected stories narrated by Tom Hiddleston (Lokey in Thor).

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I believe some actors are born to play certain roles; and, Dalton was destined to play Bond.  He is an accomplished stage, film and television actor. He first caught the eye of Eon Productions (producers of Bond movies) in 1968 during the time when Connery was wishing to retire from making Bond movies. They were interested in Dalton as Bond after they saw him in a movie with Peter O’Toole (Henry II) and Katherine Hepburn (Eleanor of Aquitaine), The Lion in The Winter (1968).  Dalton played Phillip II who was the ex-lover of Richard The Lionhearted played by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

 

Twenty four year old Dalton could not see himself replacing Connery. Following Connery would be a bit intimidating for any actor; but, Dalton felt he was too young to play the part well. Dalton also claimed Connery was far too good and wonderful to successfully replace as Bond.  In addition, Dalton was an avid fan of Fleming’s books; and, his perception of Bond was different from the producers. Eventually, the Bond they hired was George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

As luck would have it, Dalton was considered again for James Bond in 1979; but, after Connery and Moore’s portrayal of Bond, Dalton didn’t like the direction the producers had taken Bond’s character. Dalton didn’t think they were seriously looking for a “new” James Bond. Again, he refused.

It must be true when people say about the third time is a charm. When Pierce Brosnan was not allowed out of his Remington Steele contract to play Bond, Dalton was asked a third time to be the next Bond. Thankfully, he accepted with the hopes of putting the original book Bond on the screen.

So, in the 15th Bond movie produced by Eon Productions, Timothy Dalton brings a critically acclaimed Bond to the screen. Dalton and Flemings’ Bond was much more serious and darker. This Bond was a reluctant agent who didn’t relish his assignments.  At times, he even questioned and refused to fellow orders.  This Bond was in the burnt out stage of his career.  Dalton was so dedicated to doing right by his character that it was reported that he was often seen on set, between takes, re-reading and referencing the novels. Dalton’s Bond had an edgier, darker humor that reflected his suffering as a tired killing machine.

Internationally, the movie was a box office hit.  It bought in the fourth largest profit for a Bond movie at the time. Yet, it failed in the box offices across the United States. Some people blamed it on the marketing and changing the title to License Revoked.  Others blamed it on the major movie releases. That year Bond was up against Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade with Sean Connery, Tim Burton’s Batman, and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon II.  More importantly, the reason for the poor box office results might have been the public’s perception of the new Bond. There was much publicity concerning the new Bond being more sensitive and politically correct when it came to women. This was interpreted to mean that sexy women, as the eye candy, in little or nothing outfits, was going to cease in the new Bond format.  In the eyes of the average American male, Bond had been neutered.  What kind of guy wants to see that?

 

In Dalton’s movie there is romance; however, it was not the gratuitous sex with multi-partners of earlier films.  Remember, in 1986, the AIDS scare was at its highest level. People were becoming more cautious and more selective in sexual partners and insisted on safe sex, even James Bond.  According to Bond Facts, James Bond has killed 370 people and slept with 55 women in 22 movies. Oddly, Bond might be having safer sex; but, the last two Bonds are more violent (Brosnan) and drinking more (Craig).

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Dalton was contracted to do three Bond films.  He did the second movie, License To Kill (1990). But, after the second movie and for nearly five years, Eon Productions was tied up in legal battles.  Dalton decided it had been too long and during contractual renegotiating, he made the decision to retired as Bond. Pierce Brosnan who was finally free from his television contract, was hired as the next James Bond.

I really liked the Bond in The Living Daylights.  This “new” older and hopefully wiser Bond realistic sense.  In one of the earlier scenes, located in Berlin, Bond is waiting to kill a KGB sharp shooter. This KGB agent has an ingenious cover. She, Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo), is a cellist in the National Soviet Orchestra. She is sent to kill a defector, General Georgian Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) who is trying to escape to the West and to freedom.  As Bond studies his cellist mark, he is urged to shoot her by another MI6 agent. In a split second, he decides not to kill the shooter.  Instead, he disobey orders and shoots the shooter’s weapon which allowed the defector to escape. The other British agent is “flipping out” that Bond refused to kill the KGB sharp shooter.  He even accuses Bond of refusing to shoot because the KGB shooter was a beautiful musican. Of course, he informs Bond he is reporting him to the Home Office. Bond doesn’t joke. He is emotionless and simply could care less. He continues his mission by escorting the Soviet General into Austria through an oil pipe line tank.

Later, we learn  that as Bond studied his mark, he noted that the “professional killer” is not holding the weapon properly and probably couldn’t hit the side of the building, let alone some running man at a distance and height that would challenge the best marksman.  Bond didn’t know why she had the gun; but, he knew she didn’t know one end from the other and was definitely not KGB.

Although Bond, rescues the defecting Soviet General Koskov, he is remarkably recaptured from MI6. Bond sets out to find answers and starts with the beautiful cellist.  Once he locates her, he realizes her life is in danger too. Surprisingly, she claims she was helping her boyfriend, General Koskov, to escape by shooting bullets in the wrong direction. Bond knows that she was set up to be killed by her boyfriend.

As this story evolves, Bond comes across gun dealers and the Taliban. Historical note****This movie was made at the time when the U.S.  was friends with the Taliban and supplying them with weapons to fight the Russians.  All the elements of a great Bond movie is here, including a sweet romance with only one woman.  If you haven’t seen this Bond movie, I urge you too.

This post has been part of The 007 Blogathon  hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. To read more Bond posts please use the link below.

https://maddylovesherclassicfilms.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-007-blogathon-begins/#like-6667

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Theme Song to the Living Daylights performed by A-Ha

References:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Dalton

http://jamesbondkillcount.blogspot.com

Pirates, Myths and A Swashbuckling Blogathon: Nate and Heyes (1983)

It’s that time of year again when we are trying to cool down in the middle of Global Warming, aka the Summer, that we find more Sea Adventures on the telly and in local theaters.  Luckily, some of these cooling down movies are pirate movies. This past May, the 5th installment of Disney’s highly successful Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies was released in theaters around the world.  Like all pirate movies, it contained dangerous adventures with the lure of finding gold and other riches, some romance along the way, Good eventually conquering Evil, and witty comments, humorously found throughout the movie. Johnny Depp’s Captain Black Jack Sparrow supplies most of the humor with his drunken slurs and Keith Richards‘ swagger.

Despite Disneys’ success, most pirate movies in the last fifty years have been box office disappointments. One of the biggest flops in film history was Cutthroat Island (1996) with Geena Davis, Matthew Modine and Frank Langella.  And yet, I love this pirate movie. I have wondered why this movie flopped, that badly.  My personal best guess is that in America, 23 years ago, watching a powerful, successful woman using the Machiavellian tools of the trade (piracy, corrupt politics, lying…) would scare the bejesus out of most people. Martha Stewart and Leona Helmley going to prison are two real life cases in point.

After the results of the 2016 Election, I believe it still scares most people. However, when you compared Genna Davis’ pirate gal to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Women (2017), (Another movie, I love) we see a perfect 1940s version of a woman… Think of Rosie the Riveter. Wonder Woman is a powerful Amazon who is pure as the driven snow.  She would never stoop to lie, steal, or manipulate.  Power with some with taint on it is much more acceptable for men than for women.  Does this sounds a bit “Double Standard-ish?” Oh well, this topic is for another blog.

 

 

Fortunately, failing at the box office doesn’t really mean much over the years because it’s the audience who says weather a movie is entertaining enough to watch. If, in fact, it is binge worthy, it could indicate that it has held up over time: a possible, Classic.  Like CutThroat Island, Nate and Heyes definitely fits the criteria for being a pirate fan favorite/classic. It is not surprising to find it listed on many “Top Best Pirates movies ever.” Here is an example of one I borrowed off YouTube.com. Take a look a the five picks on this video.

Nate and Heyes (aka Savage Islands) stars the iconic Tommy Lee Jones, lovely Jenny Seagrove, adorable Michale O’Keefe and wonderful villian, Max Phipps.  It was filmed in New Zealand and Fiji; so, the scenery is gorgeous. There is no CGI in this movie.  What you see is what you get.  So, when I see Tommy Lee Jones riding a fast horse; then, jumps out of the saddle before the horse comes to a complete stop, I know Jones did that. How do I know it was not a stunt man? Because the camera angle stayed on him and did not change.  Besides, Texan Jones not only owns a polo team, he rides with his team in completions. His team won the U.S. Polo Association’s Western Challenge Cup of 1993. As a polo player and fan, every year, he invites the best polo players from Harvard university to practice on his ranch in Texas.

Jones is one of those “real”  people who just happens to be an actor too. His father worked on oil rigs and his mother owed a beauty salon. Growing up, Jones was not only intelligent but athletic too.  In fact, he earned his Harvard scholarship by playing football. He does not live in Los Angeles. He is a bit of a Hollywood rebel or as one interviewer put it, he is Anti-Hollywood.

A Bit of History?

Tommy Lee Jones gravelly voice and dead-pan delivery is perfect for the role of pirate Bully Heyes.  I seen a list of historical characters that Jones played: Thaddeus Stevens (Lincoln), Ty Cobb, Howard Huges, Gary Gilmore, Olivier Lynn, Douglas MacArthur and Clay Shaw.  However, I did not see Bully Heyes listed as one of his historical roles.  Probably because most of what was written was too exaggerated or just plain mythical.

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Bully Heyes and Ben Pease were real life pirates/businessmen in the late 1890s.  They mostly traveled near the Pacific Rim and within the South Pacific Islands, like Tahiti.  Hayes was an American born in Ohio. His experiences included various forms of con artistry, thievery and possibly murder. Many times he found himself as the Captain of a ship. Near the end of his life, he was even a vaudeville performer (black face minstrel show) in Australia. He was accused of being a Blackbirder (slavery); however, Heyes denied this. He and Pease were “friends” and some times “business partners.”  They had a fallen out over a native girl. Hayes wanted to make sure the young lady wanted to be in Pease’s company.  So, he pulled a gun on him. Hayes asked her if she wanted to go with Pease.  The young Lady told Heyes she did want to go with Pease; and, Heyes dropped the matter.  Pease did not.  Later, Heyes sails into a harbour on Pease’s ship. Hayes claimed he bought the ship from Pease. Hayes “thinks” Pease might have been killed in a fight with the French navy.  Few believed Heyes’ story.

 

 

Summary of the Movie That is Very Loosely Based on a True Story

For the most part, this is a jumbled mix of fact and fiction. However, it is still very entertaining film to watch. Besides, it cannot be too bad because John Huges ( Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Home Alone….) is credited as the writer for Savage Islands (aka Nate and Heyes) and co-screenwriter with David Odell.  The movie is based on a story by Lloyd Phillips who also co-produced this movie too.

The movie begins with Heyes (Jones) attempting to sell guns to a group of islanders whose Chief is a dishonest woman.  She says: Captain Heyes you got guns?  Heyes says: I got guns. You got gold? Chief says: I see guns; you see gold. Heyes’s men open a crate of guns.

Hayes loads a rifle, taken from the crate, with two bullets as he is walking toward the Chief. She asks: Spanish have? Hayes shakes his head, and says: U.S. Army madam.  Spanish do not have.

Hayes then fires one shot and laughs.  Chief takes the rifle. She proceeds to lock and load.  Mr Blake (Heyes’ Captain’s mate) warns the crewmen: Duck lads! Cheif shoots and kills two of her warriors while the natives giggle and laugh.  Hayes is shocked and disgusted. The Chief happily and says: Good!  Hayes says: No! It’s not good. It’s bad. Chief: Show me more guns. Hayes: you show me gold, I show you more guns. Chief: No gold!

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Hayes: I don’t think this is a honest woman, Blake.

Blake: Yeah, the heathens have been exposed to Western practices

Hayes: They used to be honest

Chief getting angry: Show me more guns now!

Hayes: Yes, ma’am

Hayes turns to leave: and says: See what happens with women and business? Future looks dark Blake.

Hayes removes a belt of bullets that is wrapped around his chest and holds them over a fire. Hayes says: Here’s your guns (tossing a rifle aside) and (dropping belt into the fire) here’s your bullets.

The crew run for their lives while at the same time fighting and shooting the natives.  The whole crew is either killed or captured, except for Heyes.  Just as he begins to realize he escaped, he finds himself staring into the barrel of a gun held by Ben Pease (Max Phipps).  Pease is working for the Spanish government. To find capture gun runners. Hayes is taken and sent to a prison in Manila, Philippines.  As he awaits execution, a reporter interviewing him tries to get his confession and his last words. It is true newspapers reported all kinds of stories about the real Heyes.  The real Bully Heyes is known as: The Last of the Buccaneers.

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Hayes explains how he transported a missionary couple, Nathaniel and Sophie (Michale O’Keefe and Jenny Seagrove), to an island missionary outpost.  The journey took two months. This is more than enough time to get to know your passengers. Once they reach the island, Sophie reminds Heyes that she and Nathaniel are only engaged.  Nathaniel’s missionary uncle is to marry them soon. I thought it was funny when one of the natives refer  to the aunt and uncle as “Big Man God” and “Momma Jesus Christ.”  All the extras portraying islanders in this movie are local natives.

The real Heyes was known as a ladies man and had been married at least four or five times without the benefit of ever divorcing anyone. Nathaniel, aware of Heyes’ attentions to Sophie, carefully watches him. Poor Nathaniel, a nice guy but a bit of a “dandy.” Before Sophie says goodbye to Heyes, she informs him that her father recently died. She has a small inheritance. She asks Heyes to invest it in his business endeavors.  Hayes willingly accepts her money and sails away.

In real life, Heyes charmed both of the couple. He left the husband ashore and sailed away with the wife and their money.

 

 

When the uncle and aunt learns that it is Bully Heyes that delivered them, they are shocked that they made it to the island alive. He tells them that Heyes is a feared blackbirder (Slaver). The following day, Sophie and Nathaniel are about to be married and are attacked by Ben Pease and his pirate crew, who are blackbirders. Nathaniel is grazed by a bullet.  Sophie thinks he is dead.  She lies down beside him faking her own death. Pease tries to rip a gold necklace from her neck. She jumps up and screams and tries to escape.  Pease says: Women! You can’t trust them even when they are dead.

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When Nathaniel wakes up, he is told Blackbirders came to kill and enslave the natives, including Sophie. Nathaniel believes it is Bully Heyes who took Sophie.  He is helped by a native to make a boat raft.  He  uses it to sail away and to find his betrothed.  In the meanwhile, Heyes decides to return to the island. Why? I haven’t a clue.  To take her with him or to enslave the natives? Return her money? I am not sure why? He soon learns what has happened and he knows who is responsible. He also knows where the closest auction house is that Pease will use.  On his way, to save Sophie, he ends up saving a shipped wrecked Nathaniel who is sitting on a tiny a toll in the middle of no where.

 

Now, Heyes and Nate are working together to rescue sweet Sophie and fight Ben Pease. The movie is full of adventure and surprises as the two men form a mutual man crush.  Sophie, thinking Nate is dead, leaves a note for Bully. She briefly seen Heyes trying to rescue her before Pease moved her to another location. Nate finds the note and thinks Sophie has fallen in love with Heyes.   Pease wants to use Sophie as a bargaining chip for the German government. The Germans need coaling stations for their steamships.  Sophie is sold to an Island chief who practises cannibalism and human sacrifice. By trading Sophie, they have access to the island harbours for their steamships.  Now, Nate and Heyes not only have fight Pease and his crew, but also the German Army, and the cannibals too, in order to save Sophie.

 

 

After all of these adventures, we are bought back to the beginning of the movie.  In the jail cell, Heyes is awaiting  his execution. In real life, Heyes was released.  However, in this movie, the ending is different for Heyes.

It is true that Heyes was accused as being a Blackbirder.  However, people had come forward who thought it was Heyes.  Instead, they described  a big Irishman who spoke English and beat the crap out of his crew. It does sound like Bully Heyes!

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Actually, the ending for the real Heyes, happens a few years later. The ship’s cook, of all people, shoots him in the stomach, hits him over the head with an iron skillet and throws his body overboard. He claims Bully threatened him.  However, the whole crew looked for Heyes’ hidden treasure. They never found it. At least, this is the commonly believed ending of the Last Buccaneer. In truth, no one can prove any of it, including the murderous cook.  Who really knows how the infamous Heyes died?  Who knows, this movie ending might be closer to the truth.  Regardless what you choose to believe, this movie is solid fun.

This blog was written as part of the Swashbuckling Adventure Blogathon.  It is hosted by Movies Silently. Please use the link below to read more pirate movie posts.

http://moviessilently.com/2017/07/14/the-swashathon-is-here/

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***None of the images seen here are own by me

REFERENCES:

https://www.stuff.tv/news/25-best-pirate-movies-ever

James A. Michener & A. Grove Day, Bully Hayes, South Sea Buccaneer & Louis Becke, Adventurer and Writer in Rascals in Paradise, (London: Secker & Warburg 1957).

http://www.thepirateking.com/index.htm

http://www.hollywood.com/celebrities/tommy-lee-jones-57289072/

 

The 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Jamie and Claire Fraser

My literary crush is actually on a married couple.  A husband and wife team by the names of Jamie and Claire Fraser from the book series Outlander.  It may sound a bit odd to have a crush on a couple; but, it is more common than you think. They are not my first couple crush.  My first couple crush was on 1980s T.V. show, Hart to Hart.  Then another couple crush came from watching The Thin Man movies on TMC.

 

 

All these couples have some common elements in their relationships. Their spouse is their best friend, they live an adventurous life, and there is always some mystery or act they must perform to protect each other or society as a whole.  I loved the dynamics of their relationship and especially their intimacy or chemistry. They are ways smart, witty and fashionable.  I am in good company with this particular infatuation of Jamie and Claire Fraser because there are millions of fans following  Outlander books by brilliant author Diana Gabaldon and its adaptation on the cable network, Starz.

Outlander (1991) is not only the first book of the series, it is Gabaldon’s first novel too. Can you believe it? An author’s first book becomes a best seller and still is a best seller today. It happens but not often. Presently, there are a total of eight books in this historical, multi-genre series. Fans are thrilled by the near release of a Book 9, and promised Book 10 before the series is completed  As a matter of fact, Book #9, Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone, is a work in progress. No release date in 2017 has been announced. However, Gabaldon graciously posts excerpts of this book, for her fans, as she continues to work on it. To view them on her site, just click on the link below:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

 

I and all fans are forever grateful for Gabaldon’s literary genius in the creation of these two fictional characters: Scottish Highlander, Jamie Fraser and his time travelling wife, Claire Randall.  To understand their phenomenal affect on women, it is important to analyze the entirety of Jamie and Claire’s characters, the circumstances that brought them together; and the kind of relationship they eventually develop.

The story begins:

Claire Randall (played by the lovely and talented Caitriona Balfe) is a married WWII combat nurse, who after the war, is trying to rekindle the magic that was in her marriage, before the war. She and her husband, Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies), plan a romantic trip to Scotland.  It is there that she accidentally time travels from 1945 to 1743.

How does this time travel come about?

Frank Randall was a MI6 operative (a British Spy/Special Forces) during WWII.  After the War, Frank becomes a history professor at Oxford. But, before he starts his new civilian job, he takes Claire on a second honeymoon to be reacquainted as a couple. They arrive on their second honeymoon in Scotland on Halloween (Samhain day: Ghosts of the dead are able to mingle with the living).

Unfortunately, un-romantic Frank spends most of his time doing research on his own family’s history.  There are times when Claire must persuade her husband to abandon his research for more intimate, physical couplings with her. In other words, he seems to be slightly resistant to take the opportunities to have sex with his wife. I wonder if he is hiding something? Maybe the fact he was or is a spy makes me suspicious of him.

On a rainy night, as Frank is returning (alone) to his and Claire’s room, he literally bumps into the ghost of 18th century of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).  Frank finds Jamie staring up at a second story window.  Through the window, he can see Claire as she brushes her curly hair. Frank is totally shaken when the spirit passes so close as to pass through his shoulder. When he later discusses the incident to Claire, he reluctantly confesses that he might have seen a ghost. Then on second thought, he asks Claire if she tended a Scottish soldier. At first Claire remembers one that was scared of needles.  Then, she realizes Frank is asking her if she had a Scottish lover.

Many fans love Frank as a character; and, I admire the actor, Tobias Menzies, who skillfully plays both roles as lovely Frank and his villainous ancestor, Black Jack Randall; but, I suspect there is something inherently wrong with Frank’s character.

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While Frank searches through dusty old records with his friend, Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet), Claire tries to keep busy by searching for medicinal herbs. Mrs Graham (Tracey Wikinson) who is the housekeeper for Reverend Wakefield sees how bored Claire is and invites her to tea in the kitchen.  For a bit of fun, Mrs. Graham offers to read the tea leaves at the bottom of Claire’s cup.  The reading is very confusing to Mrs Graham; but, she continues to reveal it to Claire. She tells Claire that she will be married to two men at the same time, (bigamy?).  Also during this tea reading, Claire is informed that her husband (Which husband?) will not “stray from her bed” to be with other women (Boy, did she get that wrong). So much for tea readings!

Frank decides to do some voyeurism just before dawn. He is told by the Reverend Wakefield that on the Autumn solstice, a local ladies club (Druids) dress in white with lanterns, dance and sing, welcoming the new season.  Mrs Graham is one of them. He convinces Claire to secretly watch this ancient ritual with him.  They hide as they watch this mysterious performance. Once it is over, they begin to investigate the Standing Stones in an area called Craigh na Dun where all of this took place. Claire finds some very pretty blue flowers, maybe Forget-Me-Nots, growing very close to the face of one Stone. When one of the young dancing girls returns, they hide again and soon leave to keep from being discovered. Later, Frank announces he has more documents to research with Reverend Wakefield.  While they research, Claire decides to go back to the Stones alone and gather samples of those blue flowers.

Once, she begins to gather them, she hears a humming noise coming from the Stones. She places her hands on the stone and feels a vibration. Then, she feels herself falling among chaos and screams. The noise and pain is so overwhelming she passes out. When she awakes, the terrain has changed and her car is missing. Then, in disbelief, she sees British soldiers running through the woods. Next thing she knows, they are shooting at her.  While trying to escape, she runs into their captain, Black Jack Randall.  At first she is confused and thinks it is Frank. But after he assaults her, she definitely knows: he may look like Frank, but this man isn’t Frank.

Outlander 2014
Outlander 2014

She is saved by a stinky Highlander.  As Randall attempts to rape her, the Highlander comes up from behind and knocks him out.  Then, he grabs Claire and covers her mouth to keep her quite. A British patrol is very close.  Even though Claire is fighting for her life, the Highlander does not want to be discovered, so, he knocks her out with pummel of his sword as he hides them behind a tree as the British patrols passes them undetected. He then places her limp body on his horse.

Jamie Fraser Meets Claire Randall

He takes her to a cottage that is full of stinky, dirty Highlanders hiding from the British. These men are as shocked to see her as she is to see them. They are trying to find a logicial reason for her strange appearance: Claire, in her soiled 20th century dress, must be in her undergarments.  She is indecent; and, therefore, she must be a whore.  As she stands there in shock and being gawked at, she overheard a few of them discussing a young lad’s injuries.  Soon, their leader, Dougal, turns his attention to her and tries to figure out if she is a French spy or a whore.

He knows they have precious little time before they will be found by he British; so, he must make quick decisions about the lad and the strange looking lass. The young man’s shoulder is out of place and is in too much pain to guide a horse.  They are willing to take the chance to cripple him in order to set his shoulder or else they must leave him behind.  At first, Claire tries to keep quite, but the healer/nurse in her will not stand by and allow them to break the young man’s bones.  She yells at them to stop.  And like the combat nurse, she is, she takes over and properly sets Jamie Fraser’s shoulder.  Their first date is riding on horse together, in the rain, for two days.  That is when I knew that I was totally hooked on their love story.

In Season I, Claire befriends the love smitten Jamie.  He thinks she is a recent widow which explains, to him, why she is so sad and cries for Frank.  Claire needs Jamie to help her get back to Craigh na Dun and the Standing Stones. She must travel back to the future and back to Frank.

However, sadistic Captain Black Randall demands the right to arrest her and to interrogate her as a French spy. Jamie reveals his dark history with the Captain.  He tells Claire that he is a wanted for murder. Black Jack had Jamie arrested for stopping him for trying to rape Jenny (Jamie’s sister). That charge was for Obstruction of Justice.  They whipped him and then arrested him.  While Jamie is imprisoned, Black Jack has him fogged with a hundred lashes two separate times within a week.  Most men would have died from the injuries.   Jamie was flogged once for trying to escape and once for stealing a loaf of bread. He finally escapes for a second time; but, a soldier is killed during the process and Jamie is blamed.

To keep Claire safe from Black Jack, Jamie agrees to marry her.  With Claire as a Scottish citizen, Black Jack would need permission from the laird (Jamie’s uncle) or chieftain of the clan territory before he could arrest her. All awhile, Claire is still trying to figure out how to get back to the standing stones; so, she can go back to Frank and her 20th century life.  At this point, Claire and Jamie have become best friends. He has become her only trusted friend. But, she does not love him. Yes, she finds herself falling in love with him despite her best efforts not too.

To keep her out of the clutches of the evil Captain, she does marry Jamie. Soon she finds herself making the choice to stay with jamie in a dangerous time period or going back to the future with its comforts and Frank.  Let’s s face it, 20th century Claire really sticks out in 18th century Scotland; and, it does not take long for the locals to find a reason for Claire’s odd ways; so, they accuse her of being a witch. When Claire confesses to Jamie that she is not a witch but a time traveller, Jamie believes her, but; jokingly says it would have been easier to help her if she had been a witch.  All of this action takes place during  the first half of season I.  In Season II (book #2 Dragonfly in Amber), we find the Fraser’s living in France trying to stop the disastrous Jacobite Rebellion and Claire’s return to the 20th century.  Season III (book #3 Voyager) begins this Fall of 2017. Here we will see what the couple has been up during their 20 year separation; and, their reunion with much more adventures in store for them.

 

Jamie and Claire love each other, unconditionally. Jamie loves Claire when she endangers their lives, swears like a soldier, tests his patience over her devotion to Frank, or tells him outlandish stories about time travelling and the future. He loves her when he questions her sanity or believes she might be a witch.  He is there, through it all, for her.  He believes and trusts her. If actions speak louder than words, then Jamie has proved his love and devotion from the sheer number of times he risks his own life to save hers.

But the same can be said of Claire.  She too risks her life to save his.  As a combat nurse, she learned early the dangers of helping people, risking your life for stranger or fellow solider. It is in her DNA. Jamie is not as stranger. She would never have a second thought to die for him, if need be.  They give 150% to each other. Claire made a difficult decision in choosing Jamie over Frank.  She not only changed husbands but a whole way of life that is much harsher and dangerous compared to the life she left.

They nearly always puts the other one first. Not only do they risks their life for each other, they are willing to live a painful life without each other, if it will keep their unborn child safe.  Again, they prove this when Jamie painfully guides Claire to Craigh na Dun and the Standing Stones in order for her to go back to her time, not once, but twice!

Outlander Season 2 2016

Even when they are separated by 200 years, and haven’t seen each other for 20 years, their love for each other only grows stronger. In contrast, Frank and Claire were separated by a few war years and needed a second honeymoon to try to rekindle the magic in their relationship. When death beckons either Jamie or Claire to leave this world, it is their love for each other that holds them back and from crossing over. Their relationship is made up of  loyalty, faithfulness, trust, love, forgiveness and bravery.

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Jamie and Claire Fraser give hope to every potential relationship that true love does exists; but, it only happens with the “right” person. Frank was a good man; but, not the right man for Claire.

Jamie and Claire Fraser’s relationship also reminds us that it is possible to be happy in an unhappy situation and having a true friend maybe more valued than having a lover.  It is important for a person to be well loved, and feel home in the arms of their love one…at home and in a safer place.  For the millions of fans like myself, Jamie and Claire’s relationship represents our desire to be home, with our love; so, no matter where we are or where we go, as long as we share that mutual love, we are home.

This is a post for the 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Maedez from Font and Frock. From June 23rd through the 25th, use the following link to find more postings on character crushes ❤️

https://reelinfatuation.wordpress.com/

Reel Infatuation 2017

I started blogging last June of 2016. My second post, Why is Jamie Fraser the King of Men? would have been my first Blogathon entry; but, I missed the date for The 2016 Reel Infatuation Blogathon. This year, I did not want to make that same mistake. So, I saved some bits from last year and wrote some new bits for this year; and, the result is this post. My crush is on a fictional couple:  Outlander’s Claire and Jamie Fraser. Thank you Madeza from Front and Frock and Ruth from Silver Screenings, they have graciously extended the invitation for for this post.

 

 

Why is Jamie Fraser the King of Men? The Reel Infatuation Blogathon

What literary character do I have a crush?  That’s an easy question to answer.  It is Highlander-warrior, James Fraser. To be exact, Outlander’s James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (JAMMF). I can confidently say that I am not alone in this sentiment.  There are millions of fans of the Outlander books by author Diana Gabaldon and its adaptation for a television series on the cable network, Starz.

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Before the first episode aired, Starz promoted the show with several film “shorts.”  These are approximately ten-minute sneak peeks and “behind the scenes” look at the upcoming new show.  Ron Moore (producer, writer) reveled that he thought the most difficult role to cast would be Jamie Fraser. Why? Moore claims that Jamie Fraser is “Bigger than life…he is the King of Men.”  This was the first time I heard Jamie Fraser described in this way. Ironically, this role was not hardest to cast; but, it was the easiest to cast. That is, after Sam Heughan’s Skype interview, and the viewing of his audition tape. The search for Jamie was over. It was over almost as soon as it began.

Not only is Outlander (1991) the first book of the series, it is Gabaldon’s first novel too. Presently, there are a total of eight books in this historical multi-genre series. Fans are thrilled by the promise of a planned total of ten books before the series is completed  As a matter of fact, Book #9, Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone, is a work in progress. No release date in 2017 has been announced. However, Gabaldon graciously posts excerpts of this book, for her fans, as she continues to work on it. To view them on her site, just click on the link below:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

 

So Who Is This Fictional Character: Jamie Fraser?

JAMMF is an 18th century Highlander. He possesses numerous traits and talents.  Here is a list of a few: He is brave, loyal, extremely intelligent, funny, resourceful, educated, mysterious, nobel, an outlaw, honest, has a high tolerance to pain, Scot-stubborn, and completely loveable.  There are weaknesses too; for instance, he is tone-deaf (cannot hear the variations of the notes in music or pleasantly sing a tune), he cannot travel over large bodies water without becoming deathly seasick, and he cannot blink with only one eye.  His physical attributes are varied: he has dark red hair, dark blue eyes, wide smile, stands 6’4″, has a charismatic personality, has a very hot internal body temperature, his back is severely scarred from 200 lashes given as punishment, and is drop dead gorgeous. His magnetism is so strong that most women, and a few men as well, would love to assist him in the removal of his kilt.

 

As magnificent as fictional Jamie Fraser sounds, Sam Heughan’s brilliant portrayal is nearly as remarkable. Jamie’s particular mannerisms are not missed in Heughan’s performances.  It is so eerily perfect that many fans confuse Heughan, the actor, with Jamie, the book character.  Despite this, most critics overlook his screen presence as nothing more than eye candy. Which is a shame because Heughan is definitely a skilled professional who does an astonishing job.  One day in the near future, I hope he will be given the acting accolades he deserves.

So is Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie that remarkable that millions of women around the world are in love with Jamie/Sam?

In part, yes! But, to give proper credit where it is due, you have to look at Gabaldon’s literary genius in the creation of two fictional characters: Jamie and his time travelling wife, Claire.  To understand this phenomenal effect on women, it is important to analyze the entirety of Jamie and Claire characters, the circumstances that brought them together; and the kind of relationship they eventually develop.

The story begins:

Claire Randall (played by the lovely and talented Caitriona Balfe) is a WWII combat nurse. She accidentally time travels from 1945 to 1743. How does this time travel come about?

 

Claire is married to Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) who was a MI6 operative (a British Spy/Special Forces) during WWII.  After the War, Frank becomes a history professor at Oxford. But, before he starts his new civilian job, he takes Claire on a second honeymoon to be reacquainted as a couple, after the years of separation. They arrive on their second honeymoon in Scotland on Halloween (Samhain day: Ghosts of the dead are able to mingle with the living). Unfortunately, un-romantic Frank spends most of his time doing research on his own family’s history.  There are times when Claire must persuade her husband to abandon his research for more intimate, physical couplings with her. In other words, he seems to be slightly resistant to take the opportunities to have sex with his wife. I wonder if he is hiding something?

 

On a rainy night, as Frank is returning (alone) to his and Claire’s room, he literally bumps into the ghost of 18th century of Jamie Fraser.  Frank finds Jamie staring up at a second story window.  Through the window, he can see Claire as she brushes her curly hair. Frank is totally shaken when the spirit passes so close as to pass through his shoulder. When he later discusses the incident to Claire, he reluctantly confesses that it might have been a ghost; but, on second thought, he suggests that Claire might have had a Scottish lover.  Many fans love Frank as a character; and, I admire the actor, Tobias Menzies, who skillfully plays both roles as lovely Frank and his villainous ancestor, Black Jack Randall; but, I suspect there is something inherently wrong with Frank’s character.

 

While Frank searches through dusty old records with his friend, Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet), Claire tries to keep busy by searching for medicinal herbs. It is while she is having her tea leaves read by Mrs Graham (Tracey Wikinson) who is the housekeeper for Reverend Wakefield.  During the reading of tea leaves that lay in the bottom of the Claire’s cup, she learns she will be married to two men at the same time, bigamy?  Also during this tea reading, Claire is informed that her husband will not stray to other women’s beds (Boy, did she get that wrong). So much for tea readings!

Frank insists on doing some of his own voyeurism just before dawn. He is told by the Reverend Wakefield that on the Autumn solstice, the ladies dress in white with lanterns, dance and sing, welcoming the new season.  He and Claire hide as they watch this mysterious and ancient ritual.  Once it is over, they begin to investigate the Standing Stones where this all took place.  Claire finds some very pretty blue flowers, maybe Forget-me-nots, growing very close to the face of one Stone. They leave quickly, when one of the girls return.   Later, Frank announces he has more documents to research.  Claire decides to go back to the Stones alone and gather samples of those blue flowers.

Once, she begins to gather them, she hears a humming noise coming from the Stones. She places her hands on the stone and feels the vibration. Then, she feels she is falling among chaos and screams. The noise and pain is so overwhelming she passes out. When she awakes, the terrain has changed. Her car is missing. She sees British soldiers running through the woods. Then, she is being shot at and chased by them. She runs into their captain, Black Jack Randall.  At first she is confused and thinks it is Frank. But after he assaults her and nearly rapes her, she definitely knows: he may look like Frank, but that ain’t Frank.

She is saved by a stinky Highlander.  He grabs her behind a tree trying to avoid passing soldiers. Claire tries to scream for help before he cold cocks her in the head with the cluff of his sword.  She is taken to a cottage, full of stinky men who sees her dirty 20th century dress as an undergarment…indecent…whore?  Here, she hears them discusses a young lady’s injuries.  When their leader, Dougal, tries to figure out if she is a spy or what, he knows the British is near; and, they must leave as soon as possible. The young man’s shoulder is out of place.  They may cripple him trying to set it.  If they don’t set it, they have to leave him behind.  At first, Claire tries to keep quite, but the healer/nurse in her will not allow them to break his bones.  She yells at them to stop.  And like the combat nurse, she is, she takes over and properly sets Jamie Fraser’s shoulder.  Their first date…riding on horse, together in the rain for two days.  That is when I knew that I was totally hooked on their story.

Have I lost you yet?

So, again I ask what is it that makes James Fraser so irresistible to happily married Claire? If you look at the some facts concerning Jamie Frazer you might wonder if she has lost her mind.  You certainly would question giving him the honorable description of The King of Men.

 

Here is a brief list of some reasons why Jamie Fraser’s title should be questioned.  First, he is a British outlaw, fought as a mercenary for the French army, a coo (cow) thief, a spanker of Claire’s bottom, penniless, stubborn, a flirtatious tease (he is a virgin), he is easily roused (constant horny mode), no plans for the future, lives off his relatives, gets seriously hurt a lot, is superstitious, and he gives his body over to Frank’s super great-granddad to rape and torture even though he will be hanged the next day. That is just in the first book.

Warning! 🚫 Possible Spoilers ahead 🔺 for those who have not read all 8 Books

In later books, he marries a woman (Laoghaire) who nearly has Claire burned at the stake for being a witch; he has sex with an 18-year-old engaged girl (she blackmailed him to bed her) that produces a son he cannot claim, he begrudgingly befriends a gay British officer who is in love with him who just so happens to be the commander of the prison he is being held in as a traitor; he murders a prison guard, but not out of self-defense; he leaves wife #2 but sends her money out of guilt, he lives in a brothel, he is a smuggler, he has numerous aliases; and, he composes and prints traitorous material.

He also tells lies that would shame a politician;  he encourages his runaway nephew to stay with him while the boy’s parents (his sister and best friend’s child) are frantically looking for him; he keeps his second marriage a secret from Claire; and, he nearly beats an innocent man to death for mistakenly believing he raped his daughter.
Does this sound like the King of Men? Far from it!

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So, why is it, with all these flaws and imperfections, do women find James Fraser so irresistible? Does he possess some magical spell that he casts over our hearts or maybe he possesses a spark of the divine in his words? Maybe in a way, he does all of this, for Claire. In my opinion, James Fraser’s secret isn’t that he is the King of Men. In fact, his flaws are very human and can be be found to some extent in Every Man.

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Jamie loves Claire unconditionally. No matter if she endangers their lives, swears like a soldier, tests his patience over her devotion to Frank, or tells him outlandish stories about time travelling and the future; to the point he questions her sanity or believes she might be a witch.  He is there, through it all, for her.  He believes and trusts her. If actions speak louder than words, then Jamie has proved his love and devotion from the sheer number of times he risks his own life to save hers.

He nearly always puts her first. Not only does he risks his life for her, he is willing to live a horrible life alone without her, if it will keep her and their child safe.  Again, he proves this when he painfully guides her to the Standing Stones in order for her to go back to her time and Frank, not once, but twice!

Outlander Season 2 2016

Even when death beckons him to leave this world, it is his love for Claire that makes him stay. Jamie is loyal, faithful, intelligent, loving, and caring to his family and friends. He is a hard worker, a good provider, open-minded, and inquisitive. However, what he is not is perfect!

 

James Fraser gives hope to every women, and man, that true love does exists; but, it only happens with the “right” person. This can be exemplified by Jamie Fraser’s second marriage.

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Obviously, he wasn’t made to love Loaghaire even though she “thought” he was the love of her life. To “land” Jamie, she even schemes to place Claire in harms way and out of her way.  Loaghaire loved the idea of loving Jamie and being married to him. To Loaghaire that’s all that was needed. Jamie feelings would naturally match her own; or, so she thought. That’s the problem. She worked hard “to get him.”  Once she got him, it did not take her long to feel the void within her marriage.  Unlike Claire and Jamie, she did not feel at home, or safe when they embraced or made love.

According to Loaghaire, Jamie didn’t need her; instead, she knew deep down in her heart that he still ached for Claire. Loaghaire felt miserable in her marriage and avoided sex at all costs.  Sadly, Jamie tried to please her but failed. Again, if both partners are not equally committed, emotionally, they will soon feel alone in a failed relationship.

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Jamie and Claire Fraser’s relationship remind us that it is possible to be with a flawed someone who is a true friend. A person that we feel well loved by and always at home with.
For the millions of fans like myself, yes, we swoon, we even lust a bit after Jamie Fraser because he carries with him our desire and wish to be wholly loved. To be home, with our love, no matter where we are or where we go, as long as we share that mutual love, together.

 

This is a post for the 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Maedez from A Small Life. From June 23rd through the 25th, use the following link to find more postings on character crushes ❤️

https://reelinfatuation.wordpress.com/

I do not own any of the images or pictures on this post.