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:


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.


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.


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 ❤️

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.



A Sexy Ghost? The Third Annual Sex Blogathon

Is there anything sexy about a ghost? Can ghosts have sex?  How can anyone fall in love with a ghost? I mean a stranger-ghost. Not like Patrick Swayze, who haunts his wife to protect her. Besides, they were married and in love before he was murdered and became a ghost. So, getting back to the subject, is it possible a stranger-ghost could hook up with the living?  Is it possible, that eHarmony or PlentyofFish missed a possible cash market? Yes, I am teasing!

The Silver Screen classic, The Ghost And Mrs. Muir (1947), and the subject of sex is the focus of this post. It is inspired by The Third Annual Sex Blogathon hosted by Steve at Movie, Movie Blog, Blog.  Thank you Steve for the invitation.  The link below with take you to other posts based on this theme in this blogathon:

As we all know, sex is a basic human behavior much like the feelings of love. However, love and sex are two separate things.  You can express your love through the act of sex; but, love is not needed to have enjoyable sex.  Nor, do you have to have sex in order to love someone.  So, when a film is based on a romance, it doesn’t need to include explicit sex scenes to convey the emotions of love. However, it does need the sexual tension and the belief that a sexual union might take place. This subconscious implication of sex is what some people describe as “sexy.”  In other words, implied sex is the part of the sexual tension needed to make a film truly sexy.  When it comes to implied sex and sexual tension,  the film, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, superbly utilizes both.

This gorgeous film is based on a book by an Irish writer, R. A. Dick (1945). If there ever was an explicit sexual pseudonym, this is it. The only other pseudonym that may surpass this one is, Seymour Butts. Forgive me, I digress. Her real name was Josephine Leslie.  Luckily when the book was adapted to screen, it was done by one of the best writers in Hollywood: Philip Dunne (The Last of the Mohicans (1992); How Green was My Valley (1942); The Robe (1953)….) When the movie rights were purchased by Twentieth Century Fox in 1946,  there were strong  “decency” codes in place for studios to follow.  Not a problem, because nothing in this film is sexually explicit.  However, it is loaded with implicit sexual or sexy innuendoes.  Take a look at the movie trailer to get an idea of some of those sexual implications.

This film has a wonderful cast of talented actors: Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, and little Natalie Wood. Along with the great love story, script, and actors.  I have to mention how beautifully this black and white film was shot. The cinematographer, Charles Lang, was nominated for an Academy Award for the stunning visuals .  For instance, this was filmed in California; but, you would never guess it because it really looks like London and the White Cliffs of Dover in England.  Joseph Mankiewicz admirably directs and Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, North By Northwest, Citizen Cane, Twilight Zone) wrote a haunting, melodic, score to make this a near perfect movie.  Herrmann said, he believed this was the best movie score that he had ever written.   Twentieth Century Fox must have thought so too; since, the film begins with his music instead of the blasting of trumpets that is done in most of their film’s opening.

The Beginning 

Lucy (Gene Tierney) is a young, beautiful British mother who has been  widowed for a year. Unfortunately, Lucy’s deceased husband, Edwin, was an unsuccessful architect and did not leave much money behind for his family, except for a few dividends from an old gold mine. As a result, there was very little money for his wife and child to survive on. Being a proper British woman in Victoria times (1900), she is forced to live with her mother-in-Law and  sister-in-law, Eva.   Since these two repressive in-laws have had little control or no control in their own lives (typical in that time period for women), they decide to micro-manage Lucy and her young daughter (Natalie Wood). Thank goodness Lucy was able to keep her loyal, personal maid, Martha (Edna Best), with her during this trying time.

The film opens with Lucy explaining to her in laws that she has decided to take her daughter and maid and move to another town, near the sea.

As  Lucy says it: I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.  You both have been kind: but, I am not really part of the family now that Edwin is gone. I never had a life of my own.  It’s been Edwin’s life, yours and Eva’s, never my own.

Of course, they think she is mad and ungrateful for all they have done for her.  Behind the door, we see little Anna and Martha, gleefully listening. They (Lucy, Anna and Martha) are a small crew of strong and supportive women.

To Gene Tierney’s credit, she realized very quickly that Lucy’s character, which was originally written as a ditzy, screwball type of gal, was not believable or true to the character.  It took a very strong willed woman who was determined to change the course of her life to leave the “comforts” of being cared for and wing it alone, especially, one that was near destitute as Lucy. So, they rewrote the script and reshot a few days of filming, to put the film on the right track.

Lucy meets with a rental agent, Mr Coombes, who keeps presenting overpriced homes for her to rent by the sea.  She sees a much cheaper one at 52£, a month.  He nervously tries to dissuade her; but, Lucy is determined to be shown Gull Cottage. Almost as soon as they arrive, Lucy senses it is haunted.  Nearly, every step they take through the house, he tries to convince her that it is not a good choice.  Yet, every step she takes, she knows that she belongs there.  Eventually, they hear an disembodied laugh and run out of the home. Coombe explains that no one has stayed in that house overnight.  The Sea captain, Daniel Gregg, who own the house, died there four years ago.  He committed suicide and has haunted the place since. Far from being afraid, Lucy finds it all exciting and she wants the house even more.

Meeting A Ghost

So Mrs Muir and crew, move into to house and b gin the cleaning task. As Martha scrubbed the floors, Lucy does the ironing. She hears Martha using nautical terms and phases she had never use before. Martha says it must be bought on by the sea air.  As Martha encourages Lucy to take a nap, Lucy reveals a regret or fear she has about herself.

Don’t say I am not strong enough. I feel useless, halfway through my life and what have I done?

Martha leds her up the stairs to take a short nap before tea.  As Lucy shuts the French doors, she scratches her finger. She settles in a nice leather easy chair as the ship’s clock chimes in at 4:00 pm. The door opens. Rummy, the pet doggie, begins a low growl. Then a manly shadow appears looming near a sleeping Lucy.


As the clock chimes at 5:00 pm, Lucy awakes at the sound of the door banging against its frame. The very door that she scratched her finger closing. There is a strong wind and a ominous storm about to cut loose. As Martha comes back to fetch her for tea, Lucy asks her if she remembered her shutting the door. Of course, Martha does remember. Lucy is mystified at how the door opened in its own, or is she?

During the terrible storm, she tucks Anna in for bed and then says her good nights to Martha.  She goes to the kitchen to boil water for her hot water bottle. The gaslight goes out. She has to relight it. Then, it goes out again. Then, the candle she was using to light her way into the kitchen goes out. Finally, she is not only frightened, she is angry. Instead of running away, she demands the ghost to show himself, even calling him a coward. She hears a voice: light the candle. Lucy answers: How can I when you keep blowing it out? The voice shouts: LIGHT THE BLASTED CANDLE! Then, he appears from the shadows in a corner in the kitchen.

Upon materializing, Lucy is more amazed than scared. She asks: Are you Captain Gregg? He answers: Aye.

Meeting A Ghost Continues 

The discussion between the Captain and Mrs Muir is very funny and brilliantly written. Here are some of that discussion. I have highlighted the sexy bits from their discussion:

Mrs. Muir apologizes for calling him a coward because it must have embarrassed him.

Mrs Muir: Forgive me for calling you names. I really didn’t believe you…or I wouldn’t have ….it must have been embarrassing to you

The Captain is puzzled: Why?

Muir: Because of the way you died

Captain: The way I died, madam?

Muir: I mean because you committed suicide

Captain: What made you think I committed suicide?

Muir: Mr Coombe said…

Captain interrupts: Coombe is a fool. They are all fools. I went to sleep in front of that confounded gas heater in my bedroom. I must have kicked the gas on with my foot in my sleep.  It was a stormy night like this with a Gale wind blowing into my Windows (doors).  Like any sensible man would, I shut them.  The charwoman testified I always sleep with my windows (doors) open.  How the devil should she know how I slept?

Muir: I am so glad

Captain: You have a strange sense of humour Madame.

Muir: I mean that you you didn’t commit suicide.  Then, why do you haunt?

Captain: I still have plans for me house which doesn’t include a pack of strangers barging in and making themselves at home.

Muir: Then, you were trying to frighten me away!

Captain: You call that trying? I have barely started.

Muir: I think it is very mean of you to frighten people and childish too

Captain: In Your case, I am prepared to admit I charted the course with regret.  You are not a bad looking woman, especially when you are asleep.

Muir indignantly: So, you were in my room this afternoon.

Captain: My room madam

Muir: I thought I dream it. Did you open the widow (door) to frighten me?

Captain: I opened the window because I didn’t want another accident with the blasted gas.  Women are such fools.

Muir: You of all people should not have bought that up!

Captain: I wouldn’t call that remark in the best of taste.

Muir: Well, I’m sure it was very kind of you.  But, I am quite capable of taking care of myself.  Now, if you don’t mind.

Muir lights the stove to boil the water: Are you still there?

Captain: Of course, I am still here.  Long after you have packed up and gone.

Muir: I am not going.  The house suits me perfectly

Captain: My dear woman, it is not your house…and I want it turned into a home for retired Seamen

Muir: Then you should have said so in your Will

Captain: I didn’t leave a Will

Muir: Why not?


Muir: I won’t be shouted at! Everyone shouts at me and orders me about and I’m sick of it.  DO YOU HEAR? BLAST! BLAST! BLAST!

Captain bursts out laughing.

Muir: I won’t be laughed at either. I won’t leave this house. You can’t make me leave it. I WONT!……I love this house. I thought I must stay here the moment I saw it. I can’t explain it. It was as if the house itself were welcoming me. Asking me to rescue it from being so empty. You can’t understand that, can you? I suppose you think I am a silly woman, but that is the way I feel.

Captain: Hmmm…Well, there might be some truth in it at that. I felt that way about a ship once…always swore she sailed twice as sweetly for me as she would any other master out of gratitude.

Well, you love the house. That counts for you. And you’ve spunk. You didn’t frighten like the others.  That counts for you too.  You may stay, on trial.

Muir rushes toward the Captain: Oh, thank you!

Captain: Keep your distance madam!

Muir: I am sorry.  You’ve made me so happy

Captain: I’ve no intention of making you happy. I am merely doing what is best for this house.

Muir: Then we’ll agreed.  And you will go right away and leave us alone.

Captain: I will not go right away! Why should I?

Muir: Because of my little girl Anna…..

Captain: Very well, I will make a bargain with you. Leave my bedroom as it is, and I promise not to go into any other room in the house. And your brat need never know anything about me.

Muir: But if you keep the best bedroom, where should I sleep?

Captain: In the best bedroom.

Mrs. Muir looks shocked.

Captain: I in heaven’s name madam, why not?  Why bless my soul, I am a spirit. I have no body. I haven’t had one for four years. Is that clear?

Muir: But, I can see you.

Captain: All you can see is an illusion. It’s like a blasted lantern slide

Muir: Well, it’s not very convincing, but I suppose….it’s alright.

Captain: Then, it is settled. I’m probably making a mistake. I was always a fool for a helpless woman.

Muir: I am not helpless

Captain: you’re kettle is about to boil over…one thing more.  I want me painting hung in the bedroom. The one that’s in the living room.

Muir: Must I? It’s a very poor painting.

Captain: It’s my painting. I didn’t invite your criticism. I make that a part of the bargain. I want you to put it there now, tonight. Good Night.

Muir: You might have turned on the light before you left.

The gaslight comes on.

Later, Mrs. Muir places the Captain’s painting in her room.  As she begins to unbutton the front of dress. She stops and buttons them back up.  She goes to the painting and covers it with a blanket. As she is a about to drift off to the land of nod, she hears the Captain’s voice:

My dear, never let anyone tell you to be ashamed of your figure.  The next morning, Lucy has Martha pack away all her mourning clothes.

Collaborating With A Ghost

So, the love story between Mrs. Muir and Captain Gregg continues and their bond is strengthen through their honesty and bravery.  From their first meeting, they overcome their fears of each other. Then, they confided in each other. Neither one, unrelenting for the sake of the other one until they bared their souls.  Then, a bit of flirting takes place during with their bargain. They find themselves in a strange, but nonetheless sexy predicament. The next morning the Captain reveals he built the house; and, it is based on a poem, The Nightingale, by Keats.

Soon, the in-laws show up to bring Lucy home because the gold mine petered out.  The Captain doesn’t tell her what to do, but he is very happy to support her decision to stay.  He (like the Invisible Man) escorts the ladies out the door. With no money left, and family jewels pawn, the Captain tells her to write a book on his adventurous Seaman life.  They will call it Blood and Swash by Captain X.  He tells her the stories as she writes it. He even tells her which publishers to give her manuscript too.

Captain: Since we are collaborators, call me Daniel. I shall call you Lucia.

Muir: My name is Lucy

Daniel: The name doesn’t do you justice, my dear.  Women named Lucy are always imposed upon; but, LUCIA, now there’s a name for an Amazon for a queen.

As Lucia writes this unvarnished biography of a Seaman, she must use words that have never left her mouth.  The Captain leaves nothing out, including his sexual escapades. As he explains his visit to a brothel in Marseilles, Lucy stops typing. Captain Gregg asks her why she stopped.

Looking affronted, Muir claims: I have never wrote that word before.

Captain: It is a perfectly good word

Muir: I think it is a horrid word

Captain: It means what it says, doesn’t it?

Muir:  All too clearly

Captain: What word do you use when you convey that meaning?

Muir: I don’t use any!

Captain: Hang it all, Lucia!  If you are going to be prudish, we will never get the book written. Now, put it down the way I give it to you.

She looks disgusted as she slowly types: Tick, Tick, Tick …Tick! Only four letters are typed.  Again, sex is implied; but, we can easily understand the sexual overtones.

Once the book is complete, Lucy realizes that her friendship with a ghost may not be in her future. She confides her misgivings to the Captain.

Mrs. Muir: When we were writing the book, I was happy. We were accomplishing something together. But now, when I think of the future, it’s all dark and confused, like trying to see into the fog.

The Captain offers her some advise: You need to get out in the world more, meeting people, meeting men.  Lucy says she doesn’t desire to meet men.  He reassures her that she should: You are a confoundedly attractive woman. Really, my dear, you owe it to yourself.

Going Out In The World And Meeting New People

When Lucy  visits the publisher, Mr Sproule, she also catches the roaming eye of another author.  Lucy meets Uncle Neddy (George Sanders).  He writes children books while at the same time, he “loathes” them.  His real name is Miles Fairley.  His is extremely experienced with the ladies and wastes no time letting Mrs. Muir that he wants to get to know her better.

He is charmingly caddish.  He gives his appointment with the publisher to Mrs Muir. Which was not a great sacrifice since we soon learn the publisher hates his little draft for a book. Once Lucy persuades Mr Sproule to read her manuscript, he laughs, almost immediately from the first page. Of course, he wants to publish her book; and, he wants to meet Captain X who wrote the book.  Mrs. Muir tells him that the Captain is on a long voyage.  Meanwhile, Mr Fairley has waited over three hours before Mrs. Muir emerges from her meeting with Mr Sproule.

After her meeting, Fairley who is trying to impress her, catches a cab; and, they both ride to the train station together. As she is about to leave, he grabs her hanky from her hand, as a memento. Lucy is flattered; but, The Captain is not impressed with Fairley and tells her so on the train.

Although the Captain does not feel Fairley is not good enough for Lucia, he knows he must leave her to live her life to the fullest with a man who is alive. Eventually, the Captain will visit Lucy in her dreams. He will tell her good bye and tell her she dream it all about hi. He never really existed.

Oh, I can’t help you now.  It will only confuse you more and destroy whatever chance you have left for happiness…what we have missed, Lucia.  What we both have missed. Good-bye, my darling.

Then, he fades away…

I have to praise the actors in this movie.  Each of them is perfect in their roles. Also, I now know why Rex Harrison was referred to as “Sexy Rexy!”

Even though the Captain went into the light, the movie does not end here.  It continues to show the passing years; until, Mrs Muir is old herself and near death. Anna grows up and marries a lovely man.  They name their daughter little Lucy.  Martha continues to be Lucy’s friend while taking care of her.  We even know what happens to Uncle Neddy as he became older too. It is a beautiful story with some surprises here and there.

So, is The Ghost and Mrs Muir sexy even though there isn’t the slightest kiss between them? Of course it is. Despite the fact that sex with a ghost is physically impossible; or, is it? He did physically throw out her in-laws.

If he can or cannot, the possibility is there.  Plus, there is sexual tension, at least on Lucy’s part.  Nearly, every time these two characters meet they make kind comments to each other; they are honest; they confide in one another; when they bicker, they always find their way back to each other; they laugh often together; and, they are true to themselves while bringing out the best in each other. For me, I think there is a lot of a sexy in this movie. As far Lucy falling in love with the Spirit of Captain Gregg and vice versa, I will leave you with the wise words of Oscar Wilde:

You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.


The link below with take you to other posts based on this theme in this blogathon:

For those of you who would like to read more on the subject of ghosts and sex, here is a link to a Scottish newspaper with a very interesting “true story” about a ghost having sex with the living:

I do not own any of the images used in this post


Judy Garland loves The Pirate (1948): A Garland Blogathon

Anyone who personally knows me will tell you that I am a sucker for pirate movies. Obviously, it is the “romantic notion” of a pirate that I enjoy and not the criminal element of real piracy that still exists today. The idea of a noble pirate like Sir Frances Drake, who historically was “the greatest sea dog” of all time, sailing around the world on The Golden Hind to escape capture by Phillip II of Spain is an exciting tale.  Just think of it, Drake was the first Englishman to circumvent the globe in order to keep the gold “booty” he stole from the Spanish king…classically, awesome. Drake aka el Draque (The Dragon) was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I and participated in the naval battle to stop the invasion of the Spanish Armada.  To the English he was a hero; to the Spanish he was a criminal. This is history; however, in the world of the arts our “Bad Boys” can do and be anything we so choose, even being chased by a crocodile with a clock in its belly.


Basically, the romanticized idea of a  pirate or privateer is a talented captain who is much like a “James Bond,” but sailing the seas and not driving an Aston Martin. In reality, some of them secretly worked for a government or group of investors.  The fantastical captains were strategically brilliant, expert sword fighters, charmingly witty, loved music and the spirits (Ho, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum), had a lusty libido, and were fearless in face of danger.

From movies of all genres (dramas, comedies, horror, and musicals…) and even in Disney theme parks, the pirate is a common sight. So, when I was invited to pay tribute to the beautiful and glamorous Judy Garland, I immediately chose her pirate movie.  This post is part of a Blogathon celebrating the work of Judy Garland.  It is graciously hosted by Crystal from In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.


Since, I admit to my pirate weaknesses, I should acknowledge that I am also a fan of television series Once Upon a Time.  Of course, I am happy Emma Snow (the savior) played beautifully by Jennifer Morrison fell in love with Captain Hook played by devilish handsome Colin O’Donoghue. Who could resist?


Whatever the influence from history, movies, books, or location, pirates are part of the general population’s psyche.  Now, what does this have to do with a post about Judy Garland’s The Pirate?  Well it explains how I could fall (Hook, line and sinker) for the storyline of this MGM, 1948 musical. Although this film was a bust, it lost over two million dollars at the box office, I feel it had the potential to be a great movie.  Okay, given it is not a great movie, it is still enjoyable and has some of the greatest dance and song scenes ever recorded.

There is a myriad of reasons why movies fail.  For instance, a movie like Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971) is an example of a movie that failed at the box office: but, later not only becomes a children favorite, but a cult classic, and later a successful remake in 2005 with Johnny Depp.  Although the The Pirate (1948) is unforgivably underrated, it is enjoyable and  entertaining. This film not only stars the multi-talented actress and singing star, Judy Garland; but, also the versatile Gene Kelly. In addition, it showcases an energetic dance number by the amazing Nicholas Brothers; luscious music by the suave Cole Porter; and, all of this delivered under the artful direction of Vicente Minnelli (married to Garland at the time).

So, how did this movie become underrated?  

Part of the reason is because two dance and song scenes were cut from the movie for different reasons.  With these cuts, it left gaps that gave the audiences at the time a sense that something was missing.  Plus, this was released only three years after World War II.  Although Spain was a neutral country, it was still a fascist country under Franco.  The Cold War, and the House Committee of  Un-American Activities were beginning to rear their ugly heads.  Many American audiences were more than cautious about being influenced by what they perceived as propaganda. This is one explanation out of many that explains why this musical failed so miserly at the box office.

Another reason, some say it failed was a result of the music.  Some believe the Cole Porter Tunes didn’t match the story.  I personally do not feel that way.  It is true, there is not a heavy influence of Spanish rhythms or beats in the music to enhance the setting in the Spanish Caribbean Port of San Sebastian.  However, the emotional lyrics matched the story very well.  And, let’s face it, Garland could sing the words off a traffic ticket and people would swoon. There is one thing Cole Porter did that might have hurt this movie.  He agreed to write the music if he could name the pirate after a friend, Macoco. The name sounds like a special hot drink at Starbucks. Latte, anyone? You could find a better pirate name from the following list:


If I could change anything, it would be the character development of the two main leads. Serafin’s character (Gene Kelly) trying to “sell the life of a traveling troupe” to Manuela’s character (Judy Garland) has an sound of untruthfulness or Con job. An actors life should have sounded as romantic as the life of a pirate. Plus, he speaks so quickly, he sounds too smug to be charming. Manuela is a nobleman’s daughter.  The romantic side of her character should have been developed more. Manuela’s final decision of what to do with the rest of her life should not have been so obvious.  The dilemma of choosing happiness over her family, reputation, duty and money is not an easy one to make. Yes, I did find the script to be lacking.  There were six writers involved in this project.  Only two of them were credited. So, another reason the movie might have failed could have been a simple matter of ” too many writers” spoiling the script.

Manuela Dreams of Life With The Black Macoco

Manuela (Judy Garland) is a young woman who has just come of age. Her aunt Inez (Gladys Cooper) has just told her that an arranged marriage has been negotiated on her behalf with the mayor of the city, Don Pedro Vargas (Walter Slezak).  Manuela learns of her newly betrothed just after she describes, (romantically sings “Mack The Black” to her lady friends.  When Judy Garland sings, you are in her world of possibilities.  No one interprets a song like she does.  She sings of “Mac’s” (Macoco) bravery; his heroic acts of fighting; and, his treasure and gold. She dreams of her pirate, the Black Macoco, falling desperately in love with her and sailing away with her to see the world.

Manuela is well aware that her aunt and uncle took her in as an orphan with no diary of her own to attract husbands. The mayor is a self made man who is at least 20 some years her senior.  She feels beholden to their care in taking care of her.  Plus, it isn’t so so bad since the Mayor is rich and is a world traveler.  Angela’s dream of seeing the world could come true.  During a meeting is set up between her and the mayor, he assures her that although he is not cultured, he has seen the world and will tell her all about it.  He has no wish to travel again because he  cannot bear the sea.  Instead, he enjoys just staying home since it is quite, peaceful and safe. Then, Manuela is told the mayor is paying for her new wardrobe.  To seal the deal, he gives her a beautiful bejeweled extremely expensive engagement ring.

Crushed, Manuela begs her aunt to allow her to take 30 minutes by herself to look at the sea wall.  They are in town to meet with the dressmaker who is making alterations to her new wardrobe from a famous Paris fashion House, Maison Worth.  Just one last  trip to the sea by herself, she begs.  At least then she could see some corner of their world on an adventure. The aunt nervously grants her that wish.  It is near the sea wall that she meets a touring actor, Serafin (Gene Kelly).  He falls instantly in love with Manuela.  How do we know? Because, he calls every woman he meets “Nina.”  It saves him the trouble of remembering their names.

There is a great song and dance that Kelly does as he sings about all the town Ninas. During his dance routine he uses carnival poles. This might be the first pole dancing performed on screen.  After a brief meeting with Manuela, he begs her to give him her name. She informs him that she will soon be married; and, he tells her that she must not marry a “pumpkin.”  Before, she leaves, he invites her to his performance later that evening.  Before the show begins,  Sarafin sees her in the audience and decides to hypothesize her as part of his act.  But, what he really wants to do is plant the idea that she might love him.

While under hypnoses and  to his surprise, she reveals her infatuation with the notorious pirate. She sings about the Black Macoco.  This is one of the song and dance routines taken out of the picture.  It is known as the Voodoo scene.  When Louis B. Meyer saw the clip of this song and dance, he became enraged and demanded all the negatives of it be destroyed. The recording of the song survived. Someone took some movie clips and pictures of the revised scene with Judy singing Mack the Black again but at a much faster tempo.   This video is on YouTube; but,  I added that link below.  The beginning of this song is kind of creepy.

The Tale of Two Scenes (Dance and Song) Cuts: Too Much Sex or Too Much Diversity

Eventually, Serafin borrows Macoco’s identity in his pursuit of Menuela. There is a lot of fun here before Manuela has her revenge for his deception.  Serafin is so convincing in his act, the mayor has him arrested as Macoco. It is during his trial that one of the best dance scenes in the history of film was cut out of the movie, Be A Clown. Gene Kelly and the Nicholas Brothers are incredible in this unbelievable routine. It was cut out of the film before it could be showed in Southern cities.  This was a time of law enforced segregation.  It was the first time a white and black men were filmed dancing together. Eerily, there is a part of the routine where they dance to close to the gallows and see three nooses hanging.  All three of them cringe and quickly dance away as part of a joke.  Unfortunately,  after the Northern cities saw the film, the Nicholas Brothers were blackballed and could not find work in Hollywood. So, they left the continent to find work in Europe.  They would return in 1964 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. This great dance routine can be seen in the DVD version.  Hereit is to view it now.  It is not to be missed.

Not to spoil the surprise ending, Garland and Kelly will sing and dance this song again, dressed as clowns. Four years later, the song Be a Clown will be plagiarized by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed for another Kelly film, Singing In The Rain. They changed the title to Make em Laugh. Kelly did not sing the song in that movie, Donald O’Connor did. Cole Porter did not legally make a claim that the  song was used without his permission.

Final Thought

Despite the problems with the script and the cut and piece editing of the dance scenes, I still enjoyed this Garland movie. Personally, I am happy that she had the opportunity to share her romanticized pirate in one of her  movies.  Honestly, regardless of the movie, Garland and Kelly are simply a joy to watch and listen to.  This was the second of four projects planned for Garland and Kelly.  The first was For Me and My Gal (1942), The Pirate (1948), Easter Parade (1948) and Summer Stock (1950).  Kelly broke his ankle during the filming of Easter Parade and was replaced by Fred Astaire.     

What is truly amazing is that Garland, the consummate performer, could make this look and sound so good, especially  when you learn that she smoked four packs of cigarettes a day during the filming of this movie; and, she was also not at her best mentally or physically.  She missed 99 days out of the 135 filming days for illnesses.  It was during the filming of this movie that she received psychiatric treatment that was paid for by the studio. This was a first for any studio because they usually dock expenses out of their actors’ pay.

Like all Garland fans, I wish her life could have been better because she really deserved it. Who knows what may have happened if she went to nursing school and had a different life. What I do know is that she was so amazingly talented that even today, when we  hear her sing, watch one of her movies or listen to her interviews, we feel warm inside because she has made a special place in our hearts. With that said, here is a clip gym from the film, For Me And My Gal.  Garland and Kelly are shinning bright and at the top of their game as they “Show ’em.”


This post is part of a Blogathon celebrating the work of Judy Garland.  It is graciously hosted by Krystal from In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.  To read more posts on the work of Judy Garland, please use the link below.



Link list of historical Pirates:




Medicine in the Movies Blogathon: Suddenly Last Summer (1959)

What an intriguing topic: Medicine in the movies.  I must confess that my knowledge in this field is limited beyond that as a patient under a doctor’s care.  So, I want to thank Charlene from Charlene’s (Mostly) Classics for hosting this Blogathon; since, it has allowed me to add some knowledge to what little I already knew.

In addition to acquiring a bit more knowledge, I’ve been given a rare opportunity to view one of my favorite movies, Suddenly Last Summer (1959) in a completely different light. This time my focus is not just mindless pleasure; but, a analytical view concerning the illnesses and the cures within the movie itself.

Before, I was only in awe of this wonderfully crafted film with a sublime cast (Katherine Hepburn, Montgomery Cliff, and Elizabeth Taylor), based on an one act play written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams (Streetcar Named Desire, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof), screen play written by famed author Gore Vidal (Lincoln, Myra Breckinridge), directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz  (The Philadelphia Story, All About Eve, Cleopatra …), and produced by Sam Spielgel (On The Waterfront, Lawrence of Arabia, African Queen …).  It is a beautiful, artistic movie enriched with Southern American gothic overtones and set in the Garden District of New Orleans.

The Story

The Venables are the wealthiest family in New Orleans.  Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn) is the matriarch of the Venable family and fortune along with her only son, Sebastian, who had died “Suddenly Last Summer” in 1937. Violet and her son, are extremely close, perhaps even suffocating. For years, they took all their vacations together.  People referred to them as “Vie and Sebastian” and not as mother and son. Sebastian was a sensitive poet who only wrote one unpublished poem a year; and, he wrote it only on his vacations with his Mother. Vie kept Sebastian’s collection of annual poems; until, they were to be published after his death, assuming his mother would survive him.


Sebastian sensitivities only allowed him to be surrounded by beautiful people and things. He literally grew a wild jungle of natural beauty attached to their mansion in the center of town.  Buried in the center of this jungle, lies Sebastian’s  lovely studio. Vie refers to the jungle as the “Creation, before the dawn of man.”

After Vie has a stroke, the left side of her face is slightly “disfigured.” She has a slight tremble on that side. As a result, Sebastian decided she was not able to vacation with him that summer; so, he asked his beautiful, but poor cousin, Cathy (Elizabeth Taylor) to travel abroad with him instead. He paid for everything.  He even had dresses made for her when they travelled to Paris.

It was on a private beach in Spain that Sebastian had a “heart attack” and died. It was during his heart attack that Cathy has a nervous breakdown and must be escorted back to the states with a nurse. Vie has her placed at St. Mary’s Home for the Mentally Ill to try to help her with her mental break down. Poor Cathy, she keeps “bubbling obscene things” or “unspoken things” to Vie about her recently deceased son.  Vie is at her own breaking point with losing her only child and dealing with her own health problems. As luck will happen, she sees a community announcement in the paper from Lions View State Mental Hospital. A neurosurgeon is conducting a “new” procedure to the brain. However, the hospital has fallen into disrepair; and, there is not enough money to accommodate the 1,200 people who could benefit from this miraculous procedure called a lobotomy.

Violet sends the Head Director (Albert Dekker) of the state hospital a letter announcing her intention of setting up a million dollar memorial foundation in Sebastian’s name on the hospital grounds with the condition that she must meet with this young doctor Cukrowicz (Montgomery Cliff) and be assured that he can perform this new technique on her sick relative. Just like the Queen’s command performance, the doctor agrees to meet with her that very day.

Cukrowicz first hears Violent’s distinctive voice addressing him as she descends on an elaborate elevator in her mansion.  Even before she technically sees him, she is describing to him what Sebastian thought and liked about the Byzantine Empire. This is the first time I ever heard the words Byzantium and Byzantine used in the same sentence correctly. She explains to the doctor that unlike the Byzantine Emperor who ascends on his throne during an audience; she descends since it is much more democratic.  Instinctively, I laugh at this; but, I am not sure she meant it as a joke. As Violet gives the doctor her hand, she stumbles on his name. He pronounces his name, Cukrowicz, and explains it is polish word for sugar.  She then refers to him as Doctor Sugar.  Again, I laugh; but I was still not sure if she is being coy or condescending towards his polish heritage. Violet continues her one woman monologue as she bizarrely refers to her son likes and dislikes, his various views and his unique artistic abilities.

She leads the doctor into “The Jungle” where he witnesses Violet feeding flies to a plant, a Venus Fly Trap. The doctor looks shocked and amazed when he comments that this garden is “unexpected.” During their discussion, Violet revels two very important beliefs she now shared with her son. Since the gentle peace loving dinosaurs died off because they would not eat flesh, the world was left to the carnivores who did survive (Gators, lizards, cockroaches…) “and always do.”  The second belief she now shared with her son is that nature is cruel.  On one of their shared vacations, on the Galapagos Islands, Sebastian witnessed baby turtles being devoured by hungry birds.  The babies were too slow to escape the beach and flee into the ocean. The birds were trapped by their hunger and fed on the newest creations. Sebastian claims he saw the salvage face of God as the birds devoured these little baby turtles. Violet believes “killers inherit the earth; they always do.”

I know what you are thinking, this is pretty messed up thinking. However, the idea that “survival of the fittest” was and is still taught in schools today.  As a philosophical social teaching, it has influenced good and bad people for over 150 years, along with books like The Prince and The Art of War.

Finally, the doctor steers the discussion back to Cathy and what is wrong with her. Violet tells him her diagnosis is Dementian Praecox. As soon as he hears this term he tries repeatedly to explain that is just a general term that is meaningless and not a specific diagnosis.  Violet ignores his his comments.

Instead, she tells him how much she liked the way he described the new procedure in the newspaper article: A sharp knife To the mind kills the Devil in the soul. Even the doctor looked a bit embarrassed and admitted that he got carried away in describing it. Violet said it almost sounded poetic and reminded her of Sebastian ‘s “art in using people.” The doctor denies using people.  He claims that he is trying to help people. She further suggests that this technique gives the hopeless and unapproachable a chance for peace. She asks the doctor: Does it not? The doctor is very careful with his wording: it can bring peace but there is great risk and the patient will always be limited.  Violet replies: “What a blessing!  To suddenly be at peace ending the horrors and the nightmares.”

Violet pressures the doctor to commit to doing the surgery on her niece. He insists on meeting and establishing a correct diagnosis with Cathy before he gives his word to do the procedure. Violet tells the doctor that Cathy has fits of violence with hallucinations.  She even accused an elderly gardener of having sex with her. When the gardener was questioned, he denied it and said she made advances to him. Saint Mary’s decided Cathy could not stay there any longer; since,  they felt they could not give her the help she needed.

Later, at Saint Mary’s Mental hospital, the doctor observes Cathy interaction with one of the nuns as she is waiting for the meeting to begin with him. Cathy finds a pack of hidden cigarettes and begins puffing away. The nun demands the cigarette with an open hand. Cathy begs her to allow to finish the smoke. The nun becomes more insistent.  Cathy angrily thrusts the lit cigarette in her open hand.  The nun screams ands Cathy cries that she is sorry; but, she is so sick of being bullied. The doctor dismisses the nun and tells her to get medical attention for her hand.

During this first meeting, the doctor learns Cathy lost much of her memory before Spring of that year. He learns she is sane and totally cognizant of her surrounding. She explains she did falsely accused the hospital gardener of molesting her because that is what insane people do. He learns that she is charming and more importantly,  she is not hopeless.

Cukrowicz has her transferred to the Lions View, the state hospital where he works. He allows her to wear her own clothes and share a room with the nurses.  He wants her to trust him and feel as free as possible under hospital conditions. All goes well until Cathy’s mom and brother show up to tell her Sabastian left his fortune the their side of the family.

However, Aunt Vie is contesting the Will unless they agree to sign the papers to have a lobotomy done to Cathy.  They just came by to tell her the “good” news that they signed the papers and the inheritance will not be tied up in probate court. Her brother assures her that the surgery is nothing more than “like your getting her tonsils taken out.”  How any intelligence fell from this Darwin family tree is beyond me.


Let’s just say Cathy did not take it well. There is an attempted suicide, more therapy, and some revelations about the family beliefs.  Love is being used by someone you love. No sane person can hate.  Hate is not being used.  A sane person cannot hate. The doctor also learns the real reason Sebastian took his mother or Cathy with him to vacation: He used them as “bait to procure” men and boys.  Remember homosexuality was considered an illness in the 50s. According to Cathy,  Sebastian would refer to people like food on a menu: that one looks delicious or I am famished for blondes. According to Vie, Sebastian was chaste.

Finally, the doctor with find more answers with the aid of socpolamine hydrobromide (truth serum).  During a budding romance between the doctor and Cathy, there are more family’s revelations discovered and finally,  an absolute shocking death scene. How this movie ever passed the movie moral codes of the 1950s is a miracle in and of itself. Everything is implied; but, it does not need interpretation for the mature audience.  I hope you see this classic, if you haven’t seen it. My only complaint is that it is a bit too long: one hour and fifty six minutes to be precise. So, be prepared to take a short break or two.

What  I learned

1) Tennessee Williams based this one act play, like many of his plays, on his personal life. He was raised in staunch puritanical home. This is a home where his own homosexuality would never be accepted.  He went through years of psychoanalysis to cure his homosexuality, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. While away at school, his sister, Rose, started to babble “unthinkable things” about their father.  His mother had her institutionalized where she was lobotomized. It forever silenced and incapacitated her. Williams always felt guilty that he was not there to stop it. He never forgave himself or his parents. His play “The Glass Menagerie” was written with her in mind. Williams’ sister Rose reminds me of another sister who name was Rose: Rosemary Kennedy who was President John F. Kennedy’s sister.  Rosemary was a shy and easygoing child but grew up to be a rebellious and moody teenager.  When she reached the age of 23, she had a lobotomy that left her with the mentality of an infant. She spent most of her life institutionalized.  The Special Olympics was founded in her name.

2) Lobotomy is a surgery that uses a thin brain needle (ice pick) that is inserted into the frontal lobe of the brain. It causes permanent brain damage. The United States has conducted over 50,000 of these operations between 1946 and 1956 on record. That is the most surgeries done than in any other country. It was used as a “cure” for anything from depression, compulsive disorders, epilepsy, schizophrenia etc…

3) Frontal Lobe is the part of the brain that controls:


Some have referred to a lobotomy as “Soul Surgery.”  In many countries, it is illegal.  Some like the United Kingdom still perform a few of them under extreme conditions. It is said that a successful lobotomy alters the emotional state. However, it never improves cognitive abilities; but, it can make them worst.

3) American Actress Frances Farmer did not have a lobotomy.  Her biographer lied. She was scheduled to have it done; but, her father intervened and put a stop to it. She did suffer from acute alcoholism which led to being institutionalize several times during her life. Alcoholism destroyed her career and life.

Behind The Scenes

Montgomery Cliff was in a serious car crash in 1956.  He should have died from his injuries. Thankfully, he did not; but, he was left with multiple surgeries over the span of his life to fix his damaged body. This led him to alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs.  He was in constant pain for years after this accident.  Because of that, he could not physically work for long periods of time.  He needed constant breaks.  Apparently, the Director and Producer hated him for this; and, they might have been a homophobes too.  They were extremely condescending and  demeaning to him.  Katherine Hepburn tried to defend him, along with Taylor. The Story goes that Hepburn was so annoyed with the director that when the film was finished, she stood up and walked in front of him; then, she spat in his face.  I always liked the grit in Hepburn.


There so much more that could be written about this film’s medical issues and the presumably cures; but, that cannot be done adequately in a one blog format. So, I hope you too view this film with a fresh pair of eyes and discover more medicine that I have missed. This film does provide a Hollywood romance and happy ending.  It it not so dark to depress the audience; but, it does make one contemplate many issues that arise in the movie. Just for it’s artistic elements alone, I would recommend it; but, also for a bit of history and the medical mindset of the 50s too.

For more blogs on medicine in the movies, please use the link below:



Where Would We Be Without Villains? The Great Villain Blogaton 2017

Seriously, why would Billionaire Bruce Wayne ever need to put on the Batman suit if it wasn’t for the flavor of the week, villain?  Of course, he could wear it for Halloween or to attend a ComicCon convention, or even if he is a bit kinky in the bedroom.  But let’s face it, without a villain, a big part of who Wayne is would fade away.  The Batman would retire and not be needed anymore. He would probably end up as a CEO of various corporations worrying about profit margins and his trophy wife’s spending budget. The fact is that day agendas of the superrich is not as exciting as stopping a maniac from destroying the world.  The spice of life is making the world a better place for everyone and all living creatures. Simply, in the world of the arts, we need villains; so, men and women can become heroes.

One of my favorite Batman (1966 -1968) villains is Vincent Price as the Egghead.  To me, Price is the ultimate Villain.  He has great screen present with that low menacing voice and an evil laugh to die for. According to many actors, playing a villain is a lot of fun.  I used to laugh at how Egghead loved to pronounce words that started with “ex” as egg.  Like the word, excellent would be pronounced egg-cellent or egg-actly for exactly.  There is a humorous story about Price on the Batman set. He actually started an egg fight with the other actors and crew.  Price must have been a lot of fun to work with.  I often wondered if they cast him as Egghead because he was a was an actual gourmet chef, besides being an remarkable actor. Sometimes, villains can resemble other villains too.  Don’t you think Tom Hardy’s Bad boy Bronson looks a little like Egghead in these pictures?

Now that I have established the need for villains, on to the next questions: How is a villain defined; and, what is an example of a great villain? To find a working definition, I used the meaning of the word, nemesis.  In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the Greek goddess of indignation against undeserved good fortune. She is the goddess of fairness and a balanced proportion of reward.  In other words, she is the goddess of “sour grapes” and “that’s not fair” emotions.  This is the basic ingredient to the making of a villain.  It is also something that all humans have experienced, to some degree.

So, I believe it is safe to say that there must be a little villain in all of us.  You probably heard the Native American story of two dogs fighting within the soul of every man.  One is evil and the other is good. The kind of man you are depends on which dog wins the fight: one is a hero and the other is a villain.

Maybe this is why we have such guilty pleasure while watching our favorite villain on film.  The elements of a great villain is purely conjecture. However, I believe they must share similar characteristics with the hero.  Usually, they have:

  1. A Brilliant Mind
  2. Are Wealthy (at some point)
  3. Obsessive
  4. Have Unique Personality Traits
  5. Ingenious Plans and Strategies
  6. Some Minions or A Sidekick
  7. A Public or Secret Identity
  8. A Strong sense of a Wrong that must be Righted
  9. A Willingness To Sacrifice All In Order To Win

My favorite film villains are on a long list.  However, as I mentioned before, Vincent Price is at the top.  Price appeared in over 100 movies and has over 200 film credits to his name. They range from documentaries to voice overs. His voice overs include Saturday Morning cartoons, Scooby-Doo and the Thirteen Ghosts (1985);  animated Disney movie, The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Tim Burton’s short Vincent (1982). This also includes work in the music industry.  For instance, his voice was recorded on rocker Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare album and in pop star Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982).

When it comes to film acting,  he is in superb company with the likes of Sir Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.  As a matter of fact, all three of them appeared in two horror movies together: Scream and Scream Again (1970) and House of Long Shadows (1983). Lee and Price were in a total of 4 films together and shared the same birthday, May 27th.  Price is ten years senior to Lee. Crushing’s birthday was May 26th and was 2 years younger than Price.

With a film career that spanned over 50 years, there are many great movies starring the villainous Price. To choose only one as a favorite is near impossible. However, there is one movie that I thought went beyond the pale in regards to horror movies. I first saw it in the 80s even though it came out in 1971: The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

This movie is described as a comedy-horror movie.  I did laugh quite often watching it, as well as being shocked and “grossed out…”   Yes, it truly was a lot of fun. The movie begins with a hooded dark figure who is playing a console organ on a platform with a red curtain background.  After all the credits roll by, the hooded figure finishes his song and steps off the platform onto a ballroom floor.

There are some doll-like figures with various musical instruments in their hands.  He (Phibes) places coin in a slot and turns a crank. They start to play their instruments while he begins to lead the small orchestra into playing a beautiful melody.  Then, a door opens and a gorgeous exotic women (Virginia North) sauntered down the steps. She approaches the conductor (Price); and, they begin to waltz around the room as the orchestra of robot dolls continues to play.

Once this new tune stops, the lady leaves.  The hooded figure lowers a covered bird-cage through a hole in the ballroom floor.  On the lower level is a car garage.  We see a fashionably dress lady receiving the cage.  As she places it in a car, the dark hooded man takes a seat in the back of the car.

In the next scene, an elderly gentleman is reading a newspaper in bed. His apartment is lavishly furnished.  Once he is asleep, we see a ceiling skylight window being slowly opened.  Gloved hands are gently lowering the covered bird-cage into his room. A few minutes later, the empty cage and its cover is pulled up by the same rope that lowered it into the room. The sleeping gentleman is awaken by an odd scratchy, sucky noise.  Soon, we see him being attacked by bats. The man is bitten to death by hundreds of bats in his London flat.

When Scotland Yard shows up, they are completely shocked and puzzled by the bats in his room and with the manner of his death. As inspector Trout (Peter Jeffery) says it: He was shredded to death.  Right here in the heart of London. Tom, the other inspector, remarks that it is the second strange death of a doctor in a week.  The other doctor/victim was discovered with boils all over his body made from Bee stings.  Inspector Trout asks: Bees in his Library?

So, 34 minutes into the movie, we have 4 doctors murdered in bizarre ways; and, Dr. Phibes has not uttered the first word; but, his music is great.  During another murder, a clue is found by the inspectors.  A necklace with a Hebrew symbol etched on an emblem was accidentally dropped at one of the crime scenes. It symbolized one of the ten curses/ plagues that God delivered to a pharaoh of ancient Egypt.  Which is kind of funny because Vincent Price played a baddie working for the same pharaoh in The Ten Commandments (1956) with Charlton Heston.

The inspectors are told by Dr. Vesalius, Joseph Cotton, that he found the connection to all murdered doctors, which included himself.  We learn that nine doctors had the same patient; Victoria Phibes; and, she died six minutes into surgery. Her husband, Dr. Phibes, raced to the hospital to be by her side; but, had a car accident.  His car plummets over a cliff, catches fire and blows up. Vesailus was the head surgeon.

Did he really die in that accident? Was that Dr. Phibes body in the coffin?  Or, was it someone else? It has been suggested that this is a spoof about avenging oneself against the medical industry.  In light of the medical profession today, I can understand the analogy.  Just a note, this is not the first time Price and Cotton were in the same movie. Cotton starred in Laura (1944) along with costar Price.

Without spoiling the ending for those who have not seen this film, I really urge you to watch this 70s movie classic.  Yes, it is dated; and, yes, the graphics may look silly compared to today’s films made with CGI and green screens; however, it is still a fun experience to watch and when it is all said and done, that is all that matters anyway.

This post is part of The Great Villain Blogathon 2017.   Please read about more film Villains using the following links.  Many thanks to the three blog sites who hosted The Great Villain  Blogathan 2017: Shadows and Satin, Sliver Screenings and Speakeasy.

The Great Villain Blogathon 2017 – Day 2 Recap

Villains 2017

I do not own any of these images


Goin’ South with Jack Nicholson

There are only a few Western comedies that I like:  I enjoy Mel Brooks Blazzing  Saddles (1987) with Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little and Paleface (1955) with Bob Hope and Jane Russell.

However, neither of these have an authentic Western feel to them. Which is one of the reasons why Goin’ South (1988) with Jack Nicholson and Mary Steenburgen has been added to my personal Best List.  This movie has all the standard elements that is in a Western Hollywood movie: cowboys, outlaws, a posse, bar room fights,  saloon gals, shoot outs, rail road building, bank foreclosures, Mexicans and Indians, romance, jealous suitors, love for a horse ( named Speed), etc…. Even with all the Hollywood fanfare, Goin’ South has more.

This movie has  some historical content within its sense of time and place.  The time is during the late 1860s – 1870s and the place is a Texan town, near Mexican border. One of the reasons that it seems so realistic is due to the filming location.  Along with some film history, the location used was in  Durango, Mexico.  This was John Wayne’s favorite filming location. The town is basically the same  set Wayne used for the movie Chisum (1970). They only changed some colors and signs.

Another aspect of the authenticity of this film is the historical background of the character, Henry Moon.  He once rode with the infamous Quantrill’s Raiders who became an embarrassment to the Confederate government during the Civil War (1861 – 1865).  The Raiders followed the command of William Quantrill who basically did what ever he wanted to do.  Under his command, they perfected the use of guerilla warfare successfully against Northern Union troops. However, when Quantrill led a retaliation raid against Northern sympathizers, and massacred 180 civilian men and boys, the Confederate government decommissioned Quantrill (1863).  Eventually, Quantrill loses control of his men (known as Bushwhackers); and, they  split up into smaller bands of outlaws.

From one of these groups, a smaller group of outlaw gangs emerges. It is the infamous gang is known as the  James – Younger Gang (Jesse and Frank James’ gang).  To many Southern people, these outlaws were heroes still fighting the war against the corrupted North and their carpetbaggers ( unscrupulous opportunists). This is one of the reasons they were able to elude the law.  Many southern home welcomed these outlaws and hid them too.

Henry Moon wanted to ride with the Younger Gang; but they didn’t think Moon was cunning enough to keep up with their criminal standards. They were probably right.  Henry decided to  start his own outlaw gang of thieves, the Moon Gang.  Hollywood has given these Raiders much attention over the years.  Here are just a few, who rode with Quantrill on film.


Another historical bit of authenticity in this movie, is the town ordinance.  It is now estimated that over 750,000 men were killed during the Civil War. In the 11 Southern states that fought the war, it created a shortage of eligible marrying men. To help the womenfolks and the procreation of the Southern population, some towns had a special ordinance to save a man (not for a murder) from execution. Some people might have preferred the rope when compared to the idea of marrying. Henry Moon was not one of those people.

Nicholson Directs and Stars

This is Jack Nicholson’s second film as Director and his first, of two films, with him as a leading man and director. This project was not planned this way.  Nicholson only wanted to Direct this film. Fortunately, things didn’t work out as planned.  I cannot imagine anyone else playing the role of Henry Lloyd Moon (horse thief) as brilliantly as Nicholson.  This performance is pure Jack, TNT.  There is a lot of manic energy and fun when Moon makes himself act a fool just for the fun of it.  He can also be crass and appalling while at the same time make you laugh so hard that tears appear in the corner of your eyes.  Nicholson’s performance comes across like a shot of whisky: a bit strong at first, then soothes to a delightful perfection.

One the best decisions Nicholson made as a director is making sure that Mary Steenburgen received the female lead in his film.  As a working waitress and trying to break into show business, she auditioned for the part of Julia Tate.  While waiting in the casting office, she briefly met Nicholson.  He  gave her one page to read.  That page grew to many pages of reading; until, three hours later, she was hired.  This film is her debut appearance in a major motion picture.

The Plot

Henry Moon is a criminal about to be hanged as a horse thief.  In the old west, there was nothing as low as a horse thief.  As a matter of fact, some people thought hanging was too good for them.  However, after the Civil War (1860 – 1864), there is shortage of men.  In some western towns, there was a town Ordinance that allowed a property-owning woman to save a man from being hanged provided they got married.  Once married, the redeemed man was required to stay on probation for the rest of his natural life.  Meaning, he must never break the law.  This includes no alcohol consumption, no beating his wife, no gambling, or running away. For some, this would probably be a true test to their character. For Henry Moon, this was “down right” impossible.

The movie begins with a posse chasing Moon on his trusty steed, Speed.  They race over a dusty Texan terrain.  Moon is trying to reach the Rio Grande; so, he can cross over into Mexico. Texan law men cannot arrest him there.  Moon is barely ahead of them as he and Speed continue to swim/walk/run across a small section of the river. Once on the other side, Speed exhaustively falls down. Moon is excitedly jumps around and screams like a maniac: We made it. You can’t touch me.  The law men continue their pursuit and ride through the river.  They promptly rope the running Henry Moon to the ground and arrest him and his horse.

While awaiting his execution, Moon isn’t aware of the town ordnance for saving a condemned man (as long as he is not a murderer). So, when groups of ladies come in to “get a gander” of him, Moon is verbally abusive to them.  He said he felt like a caged animal on display.  Besides being on exhibit, Henry only visitors is his outlaw gang.  He was hoping for them to break him out of jail.  Sadly, they were not up to saving poor old Moon.  They just came to say goodbye and  see if he had anything that he wanted to give to them before he left this earth.  Moon’s gang is composed of one woman, Hermine, (Victoria Cartwright) and three men: Hog (Danny DeVito), Big Abe (Jeff Morris) and Coogan (Tracey Walter).  DeVito would later direct Nicholson in Hoffa (1992).

Sheriff Andrew Kyle (Richard Bradford), lets Moon know it is time for him to go and proceeds to explain the town ordinance to him too.  Moon realizes too late that is the reason all those women coming in to have a look at him.  After all the insults the town’s women endured by Moon, most of them wanted to see him hang.

The first time Julia Tate (Mary Steenburgen) sees Henry Moon, he is standing on a Scaffold with a thick rope around his neck and his hands tied behind his back.  He is begging for any women to take him and save his life.  Two saloon girls, sitting in chairs are watching the hanging event from the end of the street. One remarks to the other one:  This one is pretty stupid.  He is sure to hang.

There is one fragile, elderly widow, Frances, who is moved by Henry’s pleas. She claims him for her own. The Sheriff reminds her that she is a “mite elderly” to be a bride. Frances does care because “he was a veteran of the war; and, he deserved a second chance.” Henry is so elated that after the rope is removed from around his neck, he jumps down and gives her a cuddle.  She is so overwhelmed; her heart stops beating; and, she kneels over dead.

Video clip of elderly Florence savings Moon from a hanging

As they are dragging poor old disappointed Moon back up to the scaffold, soft-spoken, Julia claims him for marriage. Everyone is in shock.  The Sheriff asks her several times if she drunk.  Deputy Sheriff Towfield (Christopher Lloyd) is in unbelief because he has begged Julia to go out with him for a date; and she refuses. Don’t worry about Lloyd getting the girl because he does later in the film Back to the Future III  (1990) as the Professor falls in love with the schoolmarm (Steenburgen).

Mary Steenburgen’s  is totally convincing as the shy, refined and secretive Julia.  Julia Tate is a young lady who sees her marriage to Moon as a marriage of convenience for a business transaction, only.  She is no more attracted to Moon than she was to the Deputy Sheriff Towfield. In other words, the marriage is a sham, not real.

The wedding ceremony
The Newlyweds and their neighbors

Once the couple is married, Julia wastes no time in letting Henry know why she married him.  She needed him as a laborer to work her secret mine.  They only had 30 days before the bank foreclosed on her property.  At the same time, the government was taking her land under Eminent Domain law; since, they needed to build a railroad through the property too.  So, she had to put up with a noisy land surveyor from the railroads while she was trying to keep her gold mine a secret.

As Julia is explaining all of this to Henry, he knows all too well how all of this is going to work out.  He asks her if her recently deceased father believed there was gold in this secret mine.  Julia tells him that her father did not “believe enough.”  Henry says, “Sounds like he was the brains in the family.”

As if the two don’t have enough problems, the neighbors come over to welcome Henry and to advise the newly weds on what married people do best. Little do they know that this newlywed couple have no plans to consummate their marriage.  One lady even goes as far as telling Julia if she is uncomfortable during copulation: Just think of canning peaches. Moon is very disappointed when he finds out Julia does not want to can peaches with him.  To add more stress to Henry’s unfulfilled desires about his bride, he discovers that she was a virgin too.  Not since the African Queen (1951), has there been such an unlikely romantic pairing as Henry Moon and Julia Tate.

So, as they work the mine, hating each other and sometimes, really liking each other, they discover gold.  Now, this is a business partnership Moon can really get behind.  They work as fast as they can and decide to take some of the gold to town to lock up in a box at the bank.  Just like vultures who smell dead meat so does Moon’s old gang smell gold.  They make a surprise visit bringing gifts of alcohol.  Non-drinking Julia gets drunk and lets it slip about the gold.  Henry, being Henry, makes a deal to betray Julia behind her back.  But, he soon realizes he has fallen in love.  The question is does she love him? And for that, I hope you watch the movie for yourself to find out.

Christopher Lloyd is his usual quirky, funny self.  Unfortunately, John Belushi is not. I hate to say it because I really like Belushi’ s work.; but, his talents were wasted in this movie.  His character was underdeveloped; and, he used a  stereotypical Mexican accent which is not funny to me.  He had just completed Animal House the same year as this movie.  Although he was a well-known comedian on television’s Saturday Night Live (1975) he was not a film star yet. Goin’ South was he second movie; and, it was released after Animal House was released.


Some Behind the Scenes Drama

Apparently, Nicholson and Belushi constantly clash on set.  It must have been difficult for both of them.  When Belushi was asked how he liked working with Nicholson the Director, he said: In the end, Jack treated me like shit on Goin’ South.  I hate him. When Nicholson was asked what he thought of the director, he said: The Director of this film is one selfish demanding egomaniac.  And the leading man isn’t much better. 

In truth, Nicolson treated his cast as extended family on set.  According to the producers of the movie, Belushi had a “short fuse” and was constantly fighting with them. When they did not give in to his petty demands, he sulked.  The more his sulked; the less his role became.  This is unfortunate because it would have been interesting to see what his totally engaged talents would have done in the final outcome of this movie.

When Christopher Lloyd was attended a Back to The Future Convention in 2016, he was asked which movie did he have the most fun making.  He said, Goin’ South; and, he wished more people knew about it.  That is “one fun little movie.” I couldn’t agree more Mr. Lloyd.

Happy 80th Birthday Mr. Nicholson, this  April 22, 2017.  This is part of a Jack’s 80th Birthday Blogathon hosed by Gill at Realweegiemidget.  Thank you Gill for such a lovely invite to your Blogathon.  I hope you, the reader,  will want to read more posts about  other Nicholson films.  I almost did this blog on “The Last Detail” (1973) which is my number one Nicholson movie.  So, I am really looking forward to reading  the blogs at this site. Just click on the link below to find more about this amazingly, gifted actor and Director and his work.



Click to access Hacker-Hilde-Jones_Civil%20War.pdf


Second Golden Boy Blogathon: William Holden in Born Yesterday (1950)

William Holden (1918 – 1981) was an unknown in Hollywood in 1938; yet, he was given the desperately sought after lead in boxing movie, Golden Boy (1939).  Upon its released, it became an instant success, and so did Holden. This was his screen debut; and, much of his success he gallantly attributed to his co-star Barbara Stanwyck, who took the 20-year-old under her wing. From 1939 to the year of his his death, on April 1st, he sent her flowers as a reminder that he will always be thankful for her friendship and support. This speaks volumes about the character of William Holden.

Unfortunately, my appreciation of Holden came much later in my life.  Part of the reason why I didn’t get caught up in the awe-inspiring Holden might be because of my mother.  They belonged to the same generation.  She was born in March; and, he was born in April of the same year. I avoided most of his movies because I didn’t understand my Mom’s enthusiasm over his work.  As a typical teenager in angst, I wanted to distance myself from my mother’s tastes and opinions. During the 60s and 70s, there truly was a generation gap.

To my mother, Holden always appeared young, talented, and engaging



She also saw him as the romantic, handsome actor in a leading role.


I tried to watch one of his movies on television when I was ten years old.  I watched Stalag 17 (1953). Realistically, I was too young to understand this WWII war movie.  As a kid, I heard so much about him that it was like watching a family member suffering at the hands of his “friends.”  When he received a brutal beating for being an assumed traitor, it traumatized me. Now, it sounds silly; but at that time, it was painful.  After that experience,  I didn’t want to watch any of his movies again.  That is, until 35 years later.

When my mother passed away in 2002,  I stayed home from work, sick. Needing a distraction from feeling miserable, I turned on the television and began watching Turner Movie Classics (TMC).  It was airing Born Yesterday (1950).  As I watched it, I thought about my mom and what her reaction might have been as she had watched it.  Then, I started to laugh. Eventually, I enjoyed the movie for its own merits.

Like most people, as I have matured, so has my tastes and perceptions. For me, William Holden’s work became an acquired taste.  Now, each time when I watch one of his movies, I marvel at how wonderful he is on the screen.  Born Yesterday (1950) was the first movie that I truly enjoyed watching. Then, came Sabrina (1954) followed by Stalag 17 (1953), again! He won his only Oscar for his role in this movie. But, the best movie, for me was Sunset Boulevard (1950). However, for this post, I decided to write about the movie that begun my appreciation of all Holden movies: Born Yesterday.

Link for Movie Trailer for Born Yesterday

Born Yesterday (1950) and some kudos too

Judy Holiday was a successful stage actress who played Billie Dawn on stage.  She was a newcomer by Hollywood’s standards.  It was quite shocking to many people when she won an Oscar for her performance. Holiday’s Oscar completion that year was Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in All About Eve, Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, and Eleanor Parker in Caged, not too shabby to say the least.  Holden was also nominated as Best Actor in Sunset Boulevard.

Many of Holden films were acclaimed; but, when it came to winning an Oscar, he described it like this to film critic, Roger Ebert:

Apart from winning for “Stalag 17,”  I’ve been the bird in a lot of badminton games where other people won.


As you watch Holiday’s Oscar winning performance, let me assure you that Holiday, herself, is not a “dumb Blonde.”  There have been reports that her IQ was 171.  I tell you this just in case you confuse the actress with her part in this movie.


Born Yesterday Movie Summary

Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) is a self-made tycoon who has more money than he can ever spend with an insatiable appetite for power.  His business is in steel junk. Like all filthy rich men, he has come to Washington D.C. to buy a senator.  He brings with him his girlfriend of seven years, Billie Dawn (Judy Holiday).  Billie is an ex showgirl who is barely literate.  Harry and his 100,000 lawyer use Billie to sign most the business transactions to give Harry protection from his illegal practices

To help smooth out Harry’s reputation in D.C., his lawyer hires a free-lance journalist, Paul Verrall (William Holden), to write a glowing interview about the millionaire.  As the lawyer explains, Paul is one of the reporters to watch out for. If Harry “takes him in” then, he has nothing to worry about later.

However, during an initial meeting with the senator and his wife, Billie embarrasses Harry with her lack of social graces and general knowledge about the nation’s capitol. The lawyer asks Harry why not send her home. Harry says he thinks he is in love with the “dumb broad” and wants to keep her around: They enjoy playing Gin Rummy.


Then, his lawyer suggests that Harry hires Paul Verrall to not only write an interview about him but to also tutor Billie about Washington and its politics. Unbeknownst to Harry, Paul had briefly spoke to Billie just before as he met Harry for the first time.  Harry offers him $200.00 a week and Paul agrees.  When Harry asks Paul why he agreed to tutor Billie, Paul says he  loves to educate voters about their government.  He then admits that he would have done it for nothing (He does not add because he had already met Billie).


Paul later explains to Billie, A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in. He explains further that a democracy is only as good as the people in it; and all the bad in the world is bred by selfishness. Surprisingly, Billie is a quick learner. She and Paul develop a mutual respect for each other while falling in love too.

You naturally feel sorry for Billie because Harry degrades her at every turn.  He constantly yells at her to shut up!  When Harry wants to prove how “stupid” she is to Paul, he asks her “What is a peninsula?” Billie says, “it is some  kind of medicine.”

Later, Paul asked Billie if she knew what Democracy was.  She answers, “yeah, that means not Republican.”  Later, when Billie begins to question Harry’s intelligence and his illegal practices, he begins to suspect what it is she is actually learning. Billie asks Harry who was Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776).  Harry does not have a clue.  He becomes angry and yells at Paul that he is not paying him to teach Billie about dead people: I am paying you to teach her how to act with live people.

While things heat up between Paul and Billie, things go sour for Harry and Billie.  The lawyer persuades Harry to propose marriage to Billie since she owns more of the company, on paper, than he does. Besides, the lawyer warns, a wife cannot testify against her husband in a court of law. This would further protect Harry in his illegal dealings.

Meanwhile, Paul gives Billie books, newspapers, and visits to historical monuments, museums, and government buildings. During it all, they discuss political ideas and the ideas behind the concepts of liberty and equality. Charming Paul is kind and patient as he strives to help her realize there so much more to life and to learn. I really enjoyed the scenes filmed in the D.C. area as Billie is learning about the struggle for freedom. It is in these scenes that we see her begin to discover her own individual power too.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, at least not any more than I have already. I hope you have the opportunity to watch this classic.  It is interesting to compare how much has changed and evolved in U.S. politics and in our civil rights since the making of this film in 1950.

Some Closing Thoughts About William Holden

Holden’s movie career span was over 40 years and included over 75 movies.  However, not all was Golden, in his life. Despite a few professional setbacks, I also learned that he had some very sad days in his personal life. He and his youngest brother, Bobbie, served in the military during WWII.   Robert was a Navy fighter pilot and was killed in action (1944).  Much later, in 1966, he was in a car accident where alcohol was involved and a person died. To have experienced these two horrific tragedies would have caused an enormously amount of sadness in anyone’s life. It is not too surprising that he battled with alcoholism for years.

Holden died four months after the release of his last movie, Blake Edwards’ S.O.B. (1981). Sadly, many people remember his death first before they recall his movies.  They recall the tragic circumstances that surrounded it: it was accidental, he was alone, and he was not discovered for days.

Fortunately, there is an overabundance of wonderful things to say about his work and his life.  For those who were lucky enough to have known him, he was described as a gentleman who was kind and honest.  To his peers, he was fun to work with and was the calming force for many on set.  To his fans, he will always be one of Hollywood’s finest actors.  To my personal delight, I also learned he managed/ partnered a wildlife preserve in Africa: A man after my own heart.

William Holden always played the worldly, intelligent cynic. A witty hero who was slightly tainted as to not to be confused with a generic Prince Charming or Golden Boy. The characterization of his roles were complex with layers upon layers of good and not so good personal traits. His portrayals were believable enough to convince you that you might have met this person or someone like him, in real life. One of his gifts as an actor was to convey a sense of realism in all of his roles.

I hope you will read more Blog posts about William Holden and his movies.  With that,  I would like to thank Virginie Pronovost at The Wonderful World of Cinema for hosting The Second William Holden Blogathon.

Use the following link to read more blogging tributes to a great actor and his work.



I do not own any of these images



April Showers in The Movies Blogathon: Pride And Prejudice (2005)

Many thanks to Movie, Movie, Blog, Blog for hosting April Showers Blogathon 2017.  I enthusiastically urge you check the link below for more posts on other movies that use rain to enhance its movie experience:


After a particularly harsh Winter, it feels natural to welcome Spring with some sort of celebration.  Being able to stay outside for long periods of time, you are able to see nature bursting with new life as it graces us with images and scents of  blooming flowers, fresh air and wet green grass. As it rains, you can feel the growth of new beginnings. As true with most things in life, there is an upside and a downside.  The negative reactions to change could also include degrees of fear, uncertainty, and apprehension.  As a result, people tend to be a bit anxious about changes, especially when it affects their future, like a new love.

Nothing affects the future like a budding romance in the Spring. It is one of nature’s strongest forces. However, no matter how glorious it feels to be in love, there is a stark reality. There is no guarantee that it will last, forever. In the United States,  50% of all marriages end in divorce and many, who don’t divorce, wish they could have chosen a different spouse.  The positives and negatives of Spring romances are a reality that affect life on this planet, for better and worst.

No one understood these Spring Romances better than Jane Austen in her novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813). She presents rules, obstacles and warnings of how to, and not to, fall in love with the wrong person. The main  characters, Elizabeth Bennett (Lizzy) and William Fitzgerald Darcy, represents a couple who struggle with these rules. They approach each other with as much honor and passion as any knight on a battlefield. The emotional duel between these two head strong, intelligent people is like nothing ever written before; even  when compared to Shakespeare‘s standards of fearsome love battles: Beatrice and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing or  Katherine and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew.  Austen’s Lizzy and Darcy tangle with the Forces of Nature too; and no amount of reason or strong will can stop them from hating the fact that they are falling in love, despite their best efforts not to do so.

Of course, the real test of this classic tale is to transfer their love battle to the Hollywood screen, with all its explosively charged passions still in tact within the confines of polite society.  How does a film maker translate this magical and sensual tale to the screen and still be true to the book?  How do you take people from another time in multi-layered clothes, who are not allowed to touch each other, let alone talk openly or privately without a chaperone, appear sexy and passionately in love for a modern audience?

In my humble opinion, Director Joe Wright‘s film, Pride and Prejudice (2005), had accomplished just that. It is the most beautiful and sensual retelling of any romantic classic that I have ever seen.  It is so beautifully made,  I believe it is visual poetry. And poetry, as we all know, is the language of love.

How does Wright make a classic love story into poetry on film?  It is accomplished with careful and artistic use of the movie making elements of cinematography, filming in lush locations, employing the right melodic music,  having a great story, with wonderful actors set in lavish sets and costumes. And perhaps, and even more importantly, the use of the Seasons with its natural elements. Much of this film’s imagery, is a product of an artistic utilization of the natural landscape and weather. Since April Showers is the theme of this post, and romance is the background, I want to focus on one a scene in this movie that uses rain, in particular, in conveying the emotional tone and the movement of the story..

Summary for Essential Scene

During 19th century Merry England, the Industrial Revolution was soon to begin as the war with Napoleon was nearing its end.  On the home front, life was routine.  Women, for centuries, were needed to help increase their family’s fortunes by marrying wealthy men.  They were not allowed to inherit the family fortune if there was a male relative about who could inherit instead.  These woman faced eviction if these male relatives so chose (Entailment in Property law).


The Bennett Family consisted of a Mother, Father and five daughters. With no sons to inherit, an estrange male cousin, Mr. Collins, will inherit the Bennett estate, Longboure, once the Father passes away.  So being a good mother, Mama Bennett (Brenda Blethyn), who has a complete lack of any tack or finesse,  finds it imperative to hunt and capture good husbands for her young daughters.

This is made very difficult, because the money that should have been saved to add to their dowry (to attract suitors) was foolishly overspent on new dresses and frills to lavish on her favorite daughters and the home. Father Bennett (Donald Sutherland) basically lets Mother Bennett have her way in most cases to avoid listening to her nagging.  Elizabeth loves and admires her father’s witty intellect. She finds solace in her father’s company when they discuss and debate concepts introduced by the books they have read.  Thanks to her parent’s unhappy marriage, Elizabeth is determined to marry for love, only.  Poor Elizabeth, due to  the family’s unfortunate circumstances, Mama Bennett is near manic and extremely manipulative in her matching making efforts. You know the philosophy: The ends justified the means.


At every opportunity, she would “present” her daughter’s before men of wealth, usually at local dances.  Jane (Rosamund Pike) is the eldest and prettiest daughter. She is a very sweet natured young Lady; but, she is also extremely shy. Jane and Elizabeth are each others confidante.  The family relies on Jane to find the wealthiest husband in order to save them from poverty. Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is the second daughter and also very pretty. She is very intelligent with an independent spirit. She doesn’t always filter her words when she speaks her mind. Which is a huge turn off for most men.

When Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) and Elizabeth eyes first connect, they both like what they see. This is why Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy if he likes to dance.  His response is: Not if I can help it. It is too crowded and loud to continue the conversation.  It is at this same dance that Jane attracts the attention of a new wealthy neighbor, Charles Bingley (Simon Woods).  He walks up and introduces himself, his two sisters, a brother-in-law and his best friend, Mr. Darcy.  He asks Jane for a dance. Mama Bennett is pleased to be sure; but, she sees the wealthier, Mr. Darcy, standing behind his friend.  Without missing an opportunity, Mama Bennett begs Darcy to dance with one of her daughters; then, she nearly pushes Lizzy ( Elizabeth) on Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is naturally embarrassed.  Darcy who is completely disgusted by Mama Bennett’s obviously crass attempt at  “head hunting” turns his back on them all and stalks off.  Shocked by his rudeness, Lizzy is equally disgusted by his snub.

Elizabeth soothes her mothers hurt feelings and her own by agreeing that Mr. Darcy is “ill-favored” despite his wealth. He does appear arrogant and haughty; but, in his defense, he is overly shy and inept at social function.  So much so, that when he gets nervous, he tends to stutter.  Of course, Mother Bennett agrees with Lizzy; and, advises her never to dance with “the man” even if he asked her too.  Elizabeth promises never to dance with Mr. Darcy.

Later, Elizabeth hears Charles Bingley trying to urge his friend into dancing. He compliments Jane, “She looks like an Angel” and says that Lizzy is quite handsome too.  At this, Darcy went to a place, no man in his right mind, should ever go.  Miss Austen, please excuse my paraphrasing.

He says: She is not handsome enough to tempt me.  I didn’t come here to give “consequence” (boobie prize) to girls who have been rejected by other men.

Oh yeah, Darcy went there.  Guess who over heard it? Yep, Elizabeth. The War is on!  So, what does a young, powerless women do to get back at someone who has insulted her very core? You heard the expression: A best defense, is a great offence.  Lizzy perseveres and pretends, it did not bother her.  Then, she smiles the most dazzling smile she has ever smiled before, and looks straight into the eyes of Mr. Darcy, as she sides pass him on the crowded dance floor. She then finds her closet friend to whisper what Darcy had said.  He is still watching (bewitching?) sees both woman look back at him and laugh.

The lines are drawn; yet, we know both Darcy and Lizzy cannot continue this confusing entanglement for too long. She believes the horrible lies and gossip about Darcy.  He constantly reminds himself of her common breeding.  At every opportunity she tries to avoid him; and, if she cannot avoid him, she sarcastically teases him about his pride. He interprets this as a coy flirtation.

When Darcy hears that someone said Elizabeth was the Local Beauty, he not only says that it must have her mother who said it; but, he also adds that her mother must have been a “wit” or joking.  All awhile, Darcy continues to fall helplessly in love with her; until, he cannot take it anymore.  He decides to degrade himself and declare his love.  He knows that Lizzy must agree that she is very fortunate to have him propose since he is her superior.   He understands that he has much to lose, his reputation, family respect and his own self respect…”but it cannot be helped.”   Elizabeth has everything to gain.  How could she refuse him?

Just before he proposes to Elizabeth, they attend Church service.  She is told by Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, that Darcy bragged about helping his friend Bingley dodge the marriage bullet with an “unsuitable” young lady.  Lizzy knew that the unsuitable young lady was her dear sister Jane.  Elizabeth also understood that Darcy destroyed her sister’s happiness and possibly her family’s as well.  This truth, along with the many lies told to her from Mr. Wickham (Darcy’s enemy), is overwhelming. Elizabeth runs from the Church just as a thunder storm is about to break loose.  Darcy runs after her, and finds her under a stone pavilion, sheltering herself from the storm. This is the climax of the movie.  Here,  Director Wright creates a vividly visual poem .  I have included a link below to watch this magnificent scene. Confrontation and open truth, can be brutally painful; but, it can also cleanse the spirit for change. The rain, music, and emotions are one. Their sounds are as vital as any lover’s heartbeat.

Even with the Academy Award winning music by Dario Marianelli , the lush locations, brilliant cinematography by Roman Osin , and the incredible performances under Wright’s direction, this scene is unforgettable as a result of implementing the thunder storm as a leading character.  It is one of the most passionate and powerful scenes in movie history. Enjoy!

The Darcy’s Proposal in the following link:




Breaking Hollywood: Of Human Bondage (1934)

Bette Davis is America’s greatest actress. Although, if you were to have said this to her, she would have probably told you it is Katherine Hepburn.  This could have been a typical Davis response.  There is no humble attempt to say thank you or to say there are many great actresses.  No, the irony is in the subtle acknowledgement of the term “greatest” and with that, her honest opinion. Fans of Davis expected no less of her. She possessed a cutting wit and remarkable intelligence. No one knew what she would say; but, what they did know is that their reaction to it would be either laughter or complete awe. Bette Davis was a lot of things to a lot of people, good and bad.  However, she was constantly true in her performances and strived for perfection, in every role.  She understood that if the public accepted her, everything else concerning her work was trivial.

What is not trivial is that I able to pay homage to such an Icon of the Silver Screen through the Second Annual Bette Davis Blogathon hosted by Crystal from In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.  Please check out more blogs written about Davis and her work from other bloggers paying her tribute too by using the link below:

During the span of her career (1929 – 1989), she starred in 124 movies. She was  nominated 11 times for an Oscar and won 2 for Jezebel (1939) and Dangerous (1936).  Davis was always proud of the fact that her work as an actress was a priority. It was only seconded by her first priority, her audience.  She presented each character she played with realistic honesty.  It did not matter if that honesty or realism left her looking less than stellar or glamorous.  She put it this way: It was all just a matter of learning not to subdue or conceal the person who was really me.   Honesty in her work by bearing a part of her soul on screen makes her work an authentic Art form. Bette Davis is the definition of a true artist. There was no one like her then; and, there is no one like her since.  She courageously accepted unlikable roles that other actresses turned down and refused to do.  They believed portraying such unpleasant characters would typecast them and limit future roles.

Presently, I can think of only two other actresses who had the similar chutzpah and impact to that of a Davis performance: Charlize Theron’s portrayal of serial killer, Aileen Wu0rnos, in Monster (2003), and Meryl Streep’s portrayal of manipulative and mean Violet Weston in August Osage County(2013).  One of the main differences between their superb characterizations and that of Davis’ portrayal of Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934) is that Davis’s portrayal is more powerful and a “hell’va” lot more chilling.  Davis devoured her roles of an evil shrew and bought the idea of a powerful women to new heights. To most audiences of the 30s and 40s, this was shocking.  All this happened at a time when most people still seen women as powerless beings in need of a strong man to make their decisions and protect them.

It All Began With “Of Human Bondage” (1934)

In 1929, the studio bosses didn’t know what to do with Davis.  She didn’t fit the beautiful, silver screen actress mold.  This small-framed, shy, attractive (not beautiful) blonde, with pop eyes came to Hollywood from the New York stage at age 22.  Sexy is not an adjective they used to describe her. What they did describe was her distinctive New England accent. Remember, in 1929, talkies were new to the movie industry.

So, they put her in movies, that did not distinguish her or utilized her talents.  She went from Universal Studios to Warners Brothers in the space of two years.  Davis described her early work as “Dumb Dame” roles.  Months before RKO considered borrowing her from Warners to play Mildred, Davis walked off a Warners set in protest of being assigned a secretary role with 12 lines.

RKO Studios was looking for an actress for the movie adaption of a novel by British author, W. Somerset Maugham, Of a Human Bondage. The male lead in the project was British actor Leslie Howard.  Many actresses turned down the female leading part because the character, Mildred Rogers, was so loathsome that they were afraid it would destroy their careers.  Since Davis felt her own talents were wasted at Warners, she felt she needed the part and hassled lamented campaigned Jack Warner for it.  Luckily, Warners wanted one of RKO’s actresses, Irene Dunne, for their movie, Sweet Adeline (1934); so, they loaned Davis to RKO in order to get Dunne for their movie.  Warners also made Davis a promise: After she completed Of Human Bondage, she would to do a movie, Housewife (1934) for Warners.  They promised to give her better parts in quality movies once she finished filming in Housewife. However, while Davis was making Housewife, Warners also refused to loan her to Columbia Pictures for the lead in the Academy Award winning film, It Happened One Night (1934) with Clark Gable.

*Davis learned quickly: it doesn’t matter how well you are liked.  What is most important is to be memorable.

Bette Davis Breaks the Hollywood Mold in “Of Human Bondage”

Davis gave a tour de force performance in Of Human Bondage.  She tackled that role of Mildred Rogers with unrelenting raw emotion.  Pretty Mildred became the best “Bitch” the silver screen has ever seen. She was as mean and cruel as any powerful, cruel man ever dared to be. She was not the child like Victorian lady before World War I; indeed, Mildred was a by product of that war.  She was a women of the Jazz Age with the mindset of a flapper, a vamp, a gold-digger, a Tomato, and  an “It Girl.” She was obsessed with wealth and all that it could give her.  She symbolized the times with her outward beauty; but, inwardly she was ugly and shallow with a complete lack of compassion (psychopath or sociopath, maybe?).

A Summary

A timid and shy, young British artist, Philip Carey, (Leslie Howard), has been painting in Paris for four years when he finally asks his art teacher to honestly tell him if he is wasting his time in becoming successful artist. His instructor honestly answers him: His paintings are nice but quite mediocre. Disheartened, he returns to London to begin studies in medicine.  His father was a doctor; so, he could carry on with a family tradition and could be in service to help people.

Although, he is ultra sensitive and painfully self conscious of his deformed club foot, he makes some friends with the other medical students.  Boys being boys, they particularly enjoy looking at his nude paintings of  Paris models.  One of his friends, impressed with Philip’s experience with the ladies, persuades him to speak for him to a pretty teahouse waitress that he is infatuated with but too nervous to talk too.

Philip first sees Mildred Rodgers (Bette Davis) laughing and flirting with an older patron, Emil Miller (Alan Hale)  at his table. His friend asks him if he thought she was marvelous.  Philip said no.  She is anemic. Then he asks Philip if he thought she might be in love with the gentleman.  Philip replies, “of course she is.” This is the “thinking” Philip’s reaction.

When she comes to wait on their table, Philip teases her to try to get her to smile and laugh with them.  Instead of being charmed, she takes offense and rudely turns her back on them.  Philip does not leave with his insulted friend; instead, he stays and tries once more to charm the abrasive cockney speaking waitress. He stays until Mildred reluctantly returns to wait on his table again.  He tries to be polite, charming, and complimentary.  He asks her for another chance to make her smile.  Her reply: Maybe I will or maybe I won’t. Then, she turns her back on him again.  Since she seems unattainable, and at least two men want her, how could Philip possibly refuse the challenge. You can see that he is enamored with her.  As he gets up from the table to leave, he passes in front of Mildred. She notices his limp. She makes a distasteful sound and looks away with disgust.

When he returns the following day, he sees her flirting with Miller again.  He decides to sketch her face while he waits. When he is through with the drawing, he taps on his glass to get her attention.  She reluctantly  leaves Miller’s table.  Philip flips the drawing over to get her attention.  She smiles and leans over him to get a better look. She asks if that is her face.  Teasingly, Philip relies,  it looks like you, doesn’t?  She becomes offended again. And Philip is even more intrigued by her response.   He asks if she would dine with him and go to the theater. She agrees to meet him at Victoria station. After their strange, mixed signals, first date, Philip literally dreams the impossible: As they are elegantly dancing, she looks into his eyes; and, he sees in her eyes her love for him. Once awake and back in medical school, he struggles through his studies. While in class, he begins to daydream of her too. Then, he skips his studies to go  see her.

When Mildred breaks a later date with him, she lies and tells him she has to go stay with an ill aunt. He must have sensed that she was lying because he becomes frustrated and tears up the recently purchased theater tickets.  He decides to meet up with her after her shift to try once more to get her to go out with him.  She coldly rejects him.  He confronts her and asks if she is going out with Miller. She doesn’t deny it.  Philip finally realizes that she is waiting for Miller in the same manner he is waiting for her.  He tells her if she doesn’t go out with him that night, she will never see him again.   Mildred relies, Good riddance to bad rubbish.

As Philip sadly goes back to his flat, he runs into his partying friend, Henry Griffith,(Reginald Denny) with a lovely young woman on his arm, Nora Nesbitt, (Kay Frances).  Philip eyes light up at seeing the lovely young woman.  His friend invites him for a drink.  Philip refuses. Harry then, looks at Nora, and suggests to Philip if not a drink, maybe “desire?”   Again, Philip refuses and goes into his room.  He can hear the lively party through his flat’s walls which makes it even more difficult for him to study.  His mind wanders; and, again he begins to daydreams of Mildred.

Once back at school, we find Philip daydreaming of Mildred while taking his midterm exams.  Not surprisingly, he fails his exams.  When his friends try to persuade him to go out drinking in order to cheer him up, he refuses. When Harry asks him what would help,  Philip can only think of seeing Mildred again. So, we next see them both together on another date.  Before their following date, Philip decides to ask Mildred to be his wife. Instead, of accepting, she lets him know she is engage to marry someone else, with money.  She also informs him that she hates to eat and run; but, she must meet her fiancé at the theater. Later that evening, he sees her leaving the theater with Miller.

Henry seeing Philip so brokenhearted advises him that the cure for getting over one woman is to find another one. So, a rebound relationship with Nora Nesbitt is exactly what the doctor ordered.   Happily for Philip his love life changes for the better; but, like most rebound relationships someone is going to get short changed and hurt.   As Nora’s lover, he learns that she is a romance writer who writes under a male pseudonym. She is kind and supportive of him in everyway, lovely girl, Nora Nesbitt (Kay Johnson). This was the lady on Henry’s arm the night of the party. She falls in love with Philip and encourages him to focus on his studies.  With Nora, Philip is moving on with his life in the right direction.

Then, it all falls apart when Mildred shows up in his apartment: penniless, distraught, and pregnant.  She tells him that her husband deserted her. Compassionate Philip sees her in such dire straits that he cannot stop himself from helping her. He gives her money and confronts Miller.  Miller refuses to help Mildred because he is already married with children.  Philip asks her why she didn’t tell him the truth about not marrying Miller. All she would say is that she couldn’t tell him.

Philip decides to marry her once the baby is born.  And the story continues, with Mildred increasingly being ungrateful, unfaithful, manipulative and controlling.  Mildred Rogers is the demonic harpy that haunts every person’s dreaded fear of being in the worst type of toxic relationship.   However, don’t lose all hope for sensitive, kind Philip because this is after all, a Hollywood movie. But, to learn how it ends for Philip and Mildred, I encourage you to see this unforgettable  movie.

A Link to yet another break up between Philip and Mildred.  And a peek at Davis and Howard brilliant performances.

Difficulties on Set

Like every beloved novel, adapting it to screen can be a bit tricky.  And, like most adaptations, it is the fans of the books who are its most supportive and  critical, especially when it comes to casting. When British actress, Vivian Leigh, was cast to play the part of Scarlett O’Hara in American movie, Gone With The Wind (1939), fans of the book began a protest.  Same thing happened when American Actress, Renee Zellweger, played Bridget Jones, in British made movie, Bridget Jones Dairy (1998).  So, it goes without saying, many people were not happy with the news that American Actress, Bette Davis, is going to play Cockney speaking Mildred.  Even British gentleman actor, Leslie Howard, was very upset that she was chosen.


In the beginning, Howard shut down.  He refused to interact with Davis during the down time between scenes while they prepared sets.  He went off to himself, with book in hand, and ignored his surroundings while he read and escaped.  In her close up shots, he refused to act his lines.  He just “threw them at her” while she was being filmed. According to Davis, one of the cameramen she befriended told her that he informed Howard that ” the kid, was running away with the film.”  Howard’s attitude soon changed; and, he began to respect Davis’s performance and professionalism.

During filming, both Howard and Davis became very sick.  Howard became sick  ironically with toxic poisoning.  It became a life or death situation. His doctor did emergency surgery to remove his tonsils.  With both stars in such a weaken state, the studio decided on a tactic to save on filming time and money. They build six small sets on a revolving stage. This had never been done before.  This saved on the wait time between the set changes.  Eventually, the film finished by deadline and within budget constraints.

A few Examples of Davis’s Professionalism

To prepare for the role, Davis needed to speak with a realistic and natural Cockney accent. Davis hired a British maid.  She never told the maid the real reason she hired her because she wanted to hear and emulate her natural Cockney accent without the maid unconsciously dressing it up.

As Mildred’s atrocious lifestyle catches up with her, she becomes a shell of the healthy and beautiful woman she was.  Davis wanted to make sure that she looked as realistic as she could.  She did not want to look like a glamorous beauty playing a part. So, Davis did her own make up for those later scenes. As Davis described it: consumption, poverty, and depression doesn’t look pretty, as you can see for yourself in the photos below. The top picture is of course when Mildred is very sick.  You can compare the differences in her appearance from the last two pictures.  I think Davis created an extremely convincing look.

What is Human Bondage?

I admit that I did not read W. Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece; so, when I first saw the title, Of Human Bondage (1915), I thought it was about slavery or some sort of burden forced upon a person.  After, I saw the movie, I thought it was about toxic relationships and obsession. Even Nora Nesbitt says this to Philip when he breaks off their relationship: I love you, you love her, and she loves Miller. All three of them are victims of unrequited love bondages. And, I would have been quite happy to leave it at that; but, the purpose of this blog is to find life lessons with their universal connections through the arts.

So, I did a little research and found that Maugham took his title from a philosophy book, Ethics (1883) written by Baruch Spinoza.  In the foreword of  his novel, there is a definition of Human Bondage which is a quote from Ethics:

The importance of man to govern or restrain the emotions I call bondage,  for a man who is under their control is not his own master…so that he is often forced to follow the worst, although he sees the better before him.

Human Bondage is not really about a relationship with another person.  Instead, it about how you make decisions and the way you, yourself, reacts to them.  Perhaps knowing the full title or titles of this section may help: Of Human Bondage OR Strength of Emotions.

Men are prey to their emotions, according to Spinoza. He explains that men are conscious of their actions and desires but are ignorant to their causes.  Making the best choices should be based on the final end or an actual goal. If every decision you make is based on how you feel, you are setting yourself up for a potential fall.  You are not really in control of your life because you relinquished that control to your emotions (feelings).

This kind of bondage is generally how most people operate their lives, unless you are Mr Spock.  So, in the movie, Philip Carey is enslaved to his emotions about Mildred; and, Mildred is enslaved to her uncontrollable lust for wealth. Personally, I think you need a little of both in your life: we should have thoroughly “thought out” strategies or goals;  and, you should have moments of just letting it go, and embrace the moment.  A little of both is the key….moderation between the two.

I believe Bette Davis did both too. In her work and career, she was in control; but, in her personal life, her emotions became her master. Davis had four marriages. When it came to love, she gave up control to her emotions just like Philip Carey and Mildred Rogers.

According to Davis, the love in her life:

I have loved people who cared little or nothing for me and when people have loved me, I have been embarrassed…in order not to hurt their feelings, I have often acted a passion I didn’t feel. 

So, was she only attracted to people she knew didn’t love her?  If someone loved her, did she get embarrassed because she felt she didn’t deserve their love?  Love at best, is a slippery slope for most of us; but, knowing what qualities you want to see in your partner is at least a start to finding someone you think is good for you. If you put no thought into what your want, you could easily end up in a very toxic relationship. The continuous ups and downs of an overly emotional relationship can be very addictive; but, it seldom leads to long lasting happiness.

Movie Impact

Unbelievably, the Academy of Motion Pictures, snubbed Davis’s performance.  Many actors and actresses wrote in her name as a nominee on their ballots and then voted for her.  This is a first. So, the Academy allowed the “written in nominee” for that year only. The following year, they hired an accounting firm, Price Waterhouse, to take over the security of the ballots and the counting of the votes.  It still continues today and has worked out very well…except for the 2017 scandal of giving out the wrong envelope for Best Picture. We all remember, “it is not La La Land;” but, can most people honesty remember which movie did win?

One reason why the Academy snubbed Davis could be due to Warners Brothers Studio. Warners was a bit embarrassed by Davis’s performance in Of Human Bondage.  Here was their contract player delivering such a magnificent performance in another studio’s movie.  They tried to bury the publicity about the movie involving her name.  To say Warners might have influenced the Academy in not nominating her would not be a stretch of imagination.

Two years later in 1936, Davis wins her first Oscar for Dangerous. Davis claimed it was a “Consolation Prize” for not winning for Of Human Bondage. She also claims that she named the statuette, Oscar. She says the backside of the Statuette’s “posterior” resembled her husband’s squared one. His middle name was Oscar.

Davis set the bar high for future actresses in her breakout role as Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage. Bette Davis considered herself to be a actress first and  movie star second.  To  rest of the world and of course her fans, she is Bette Davis…Hollywood legend.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts about Davis during this special Blogathon.

Second Annual Bette Davis Blogthon

Click on the following link…




Great Blog on Leslie Howard with many primary sources and documents about Howard’s work:

Some Movie Favorites in Ten Questions


I was Tagged by Blogger, Gill, from the  Realweegiemidget blog site. She is a wonderful blogger and friend who has taken me under her wing as a newbie blogger.  Without her and MPC (My Peak Challenge), I would not have had the courage to blog. Like most of you, I love movies; so before I even dreamed about blogging, I followed Gill’s hilarious and informative blog posts which centered on movie reviews from the 1980s to the present. I learned a great deal from this “expat” from Scotland who lives in Finland with her “Darlin’ husband and super cool Step-Dudes.”  I also want to mention that she gave me an appreciation for the T.V. Show Dallas.

Gill awarded me and other bloggers an Entertainment award. All I have to do is answer ten questions about my favorite movies: So here they are. Some these questions focused on Christmas movies and the other did not. The title of the question is typed in red lettering and the actual question is typed in blue.

Here are My Movie Mentions/ Favorites: 

Note: The first 3 questions are Christmas/ Holiday Related ….movies can be of any genre or year.

  1. All I Want For Christmas is You/ Which DVD/Blu-Ray would you like to receive this year?

I know this looks more like Holoween instead of Christmas presents; but, I love these old classic horror films. These two collections came out in May of 2017 on Blue-Ray.  Both have 6 movies a piece. The last movie has comic duo Abbott and Costello meeting these monsters.

A) The Mummy Complete Legacy Collection (2017)  There are six Movies from 1932 – 1955. .

B) Dracula Complete Legacy Collection (2017)  There are six Movies from 1931 – 1938.

2) Jingle Bell Rock/ What is your Favorite soundtrack or song from a Christmas film?

A) Charlie Brown Christmas  (1965) I love the jazzy soundtrack to this television special; so, I had to include it. Guaraldi’s music really sets the mood and reminds me my Christmases as a child. Plus, it is great to listen to while you are wrap presents.

4DC4C256-36CD-4DCE-82E7-30E2ED651145B) Scrooge (1970) Great songs to compliment Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Strangely, my favorite tune is “Thank you Very Much.” It is sung in a possible future at Scrooge’s funeral…meaning, he done a nice thing by dying.  Horrible I Know; but, great song.


3) Let it Snow/ What are your 3 of your favorite Holiday Movies? 

A) Christmas Vacation (1989) Need I say more.  This one hit home about family gatherings over the Holidays. It humorously captured the stress of the Holiday.  When Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) frantically declares that his family was on “the threshold of Hell,” I knew that this was my number # 1 Christmas movie.


B) The Lost Christmas (2011) This is an unusual Holiday movie.  It is gritty, mysterious and magical at the same time. Eddie Izzard stars as a homeless man who wakes up without prior knowledge about himself; but, who understands and “knows things” about the perfect strangers around him.


C) Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Edmund Gwen’s portrayal of St. Nick is perfect. I used to believe that he was Santa Claus, moonlighting on a movie set.  This lovely story of a child’s need to believe in Santa Claus is just sublime.  Watching adorable Natalie Wood, and the beautiful Maureen O’Hara and handsome, John Payne only adds to the charm of this sweet Christmas movie.



4) Donald Trump/ List A film that divides opinion…

I picked Locke (2014) as my dividing movie. During the whole movie, Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is driving his car on a journey that he is not sure he wants to take; but, he knows he must.  We listen in on his phone conversations for 90 minutes as he is pressured to meet several deadlines at the same time. We listen in as he solves problems and makes life altering decisions with people from every corner of his life, past and present.

I thought it was a brilliant piece film making; and, Tom Hardy’s performance is totally mesmerizing and believable as Locke. I admired Ivan Locke; and, more importantly, I cared for him. Hardy deserved at least a nod from the Academy for this performance.

Even though I loved the creative way this movie was made, not every one felt the same way.  Many thought it was boring and a total waste of time. Hence, a movie that divides us.


5) Brexit/ What is your Favorite British Film…

Shakespeare in Love (1998) has all the things I love to see in a movie: the Arts, romance, humor, history, great acting, lovely costumes, and gorgeous settings.  And as if that was not enough, Shakespeare’s sonnets and poetry 🙂


6) Fidel Castro | A film that divides opinion…/ Which film do consider as culturally significant?

The Big Lembowski (1998) is a comedy/crime drama by the Cohen Brothers.  It was a flop when it was first released.  It was ten years later before it became a cult movie. Now, this movie has a c following that the Rocky Horror Picture Show people would envy.  The Dude (Jeff Bridges) just wants to get his frickin’ rug back:  That’s all, mannnn. It’s all about the Dude and his friends who just want to bowl; but life keeps throwing unexpected bowling balls curve balls at their “just is” happy philosophy.  But, the “Dude Abides” after a decade and now, according to the Rolling Stone, The Big Lembowski is “the most most worshipped comedy of its generation.” That rocks!


7) Starbucks/ What is your Favorite Film Franchise?



Yes, it is coming back for a 5th installment.  The action packed franchise will once again save the world. Too bad all the adventure is in the past.    Reports have confirmed the Older Indy (Harrison Ford) will be cracking his whip once more for his fans as he dodges snakes and crazy fascists.

8) McDonald’s Happy Meal/ Your Favorite Childhood Film?

Doctor Suess’ book is wonderful as it teaches children (and some adults) the true meaning of the Christmas spirit.  I adore the television version of How The Ginch Stole Christmas (1964) and Ron Howard’s movie The Ginch (2000) version with Funny man, Jim Carry.


9) ‘Cheeky Nandos’/ What is your Favorite Comedy?A

Here I go again. I love these old monster movies. Who to better spoof them than funny man, Mel Brook: a comedic genius.  He spoofed two classic horror movies, Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) in this one movie. Due to this comedy, I still cannot listen to the song, Puttin’ on The Ritz, without busting out in laughter. RIP Peter Boyle, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldmen, Terri Garr, Madeline Kahn, and Kenneth Mars.


10) A Must See MovieWhich  film would you want all of your followers to watch?

Any movie with John Garfield.  No great actor should ever be forgotten.

Here is a list of Garfield movies on the following link:

The flowing information is for tagged bloggers only!

The Tagged Bloggers Are:

  1. Ruth at Silver Screenings
  2. Mike at Mike’s Take on The Movies
  3. Crystal at In Old Days of Classic Hollywood
  4. Auroras at Once Upon a Screen
  5. Kristina at Speakeasy
  6. Kgothatjo at KG’s Movie Rants
  7. Charlene at Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews
  8. Fritzi at Movies Silently

Now, that you know who Tagged me, most of you are probably wondering what this is all about. Okay, in a nutshell, according to the forces of the universe in Social Media, getting your blog Mentioned and Tagged is a good thing. It could expose your site to more readers. Plus, it helps us to better network within our blogging community. In addition, it allows bloggers to say a friendly Hello and get to know some of their peers. Either way, it is a fun way to recognize other bloggers wh you love to read.

I hope you join in the fun and write a post (copy and paste, if you like) and Tag 8 other bloggers. In your post please say who tagged you (me) and something kind about my blog or why you follow me. Below, I will share with you all, my category favorites.

Remember, the 8 Bloggers you Tag will Tag you back and share something about your blog in their post. Once you post your favorite films in the list provided, don’t forget to tag me too. I look forward to reading your lists!

Please copy and paste as much as you like of this post to help you organize your Tagging post for others, especially the questions template for the various categories. There is a “clean” one at the end of this post.

So looking forward to reading your replies… now you’ve been tagged!!!!

And the template…. Cut and Paste (or write in your time)

All I Want For Christmas is You | Which DVD/Blu-Ray would you like to receive this year?

Jingle Bell Rock | Favorite soundtrack or song from a Christmas film?

Let it Snow | 3 of your favorite Christmas films…

Donald Trump | A film that divides opinion…

Brexit | Favorite British Film…

Fidel Castro | A film that divides opinion… A film considered culturally significant

Starbucks | Favorite Film Franchise…

McDonald’s Happy Meal | Favorite Childhood Film…

‘Cheeky Nandos’ | Favorite Comedy

One film you want all of your followers to watch…