Robin Williams Blogathon: Impressions

This actor and comedian will be missed for a very long time. Anyone who had caught his act or watched his movies knew there was some kind of genius lurking there. He was manically funny and his dramatic performances were near perfect. He won an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting (1997); and, he had 83 nominations from various film industries and 63 wins. Whether drama or comedy, he sublimely did it all. The ancient Greeks would have considered him the consummate performer, like Buster Keaton. They are a combination of hilarious laughter and heartbreaking tears; or, as the Greeks considered it, an illusion of perfection within the arts of entertainment.  You only had to see Williams once, regardless where; and, he made an impression that you would not easily forget.

His improvisations were pure magic. As with most performing artists, many aspects of his personal life would make it into his act. For instance, he was very proud of his Scot heritage. You can see some of this in the following video clip. In this clip, he is impersonating a “pissed” (into his cups, smashed, drunk…) Scot. This particular Williams character ended up inventing the game of golf. Take a look, if you have not seen it or if you want to laugh again. This displays Williams’ trademark of energetic impersonations along with the hilarity of his wit.

Before I continue, I would like to thank Gill from Realweegiemidget and Crystal from In The Days of Classic Hollywood for hosting this much deserved tribute: Robin Williams Blogathon. To read or see more of this tribute, please use the following links:

https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/announcing-the-robin-williams-Blogathon

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/awakenings-1990/

The first fleeting impression I had of Williams was from TVs reboot of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In (1977).  Williams was mixed in a fast paced kaleidoscope of comedians doing their gags and short skits. However, he stood out even then. He was young, handsome, and wearing a funny-looking cowboy hat. He wowed me in only a few seconds. Anyone who saw him knew he was different and unique. I tried to catch the show the following week. Either, I missed it; or, it just didn’t never aired.

 

I don’t think I saw him again until the highly popular Mork and Mindy (19781982). He was not a cowboy this time. No, he was a cute, funny-looking space alien who is befriended by the pretty Mindy (Pam Dawber). For those who don’t remember it, this show is a cross between My Favorite Martian (1999) and the Earth Girls Are Easy (1989). For most of us, it was the first time we heard the words: Nano, Nano! Who knew then that “Nano” technology would be in our future?

 

Williams claims he was heavily influenced by many great performers and actors. However, I think his greatest influence came from comedic icon and the first inductee to the Comedic Hall of Fame: Jonathan Winters. If you seen Winters act when dressed as a women, you might think: this is Mrs. Doubtfire’s American cousin: Maude Frickert. If you never seen Winters impersonation of the 87 year old Maude, then I encourage you to watch the following short clip of “her” with Dean Martin. They are setting up a commercial for a sponsor of The Dean Martin Show in what they call a “station break.”

The jokes are a bit dated and sexist; but, it was “naughty” fun for audiences of the early 60s.  The similarities between the two crossdressing elderly, spitfire-characters cannot not be missed. Both are immensely enjoyed by their adorning fans.

After Mork and Mindy were married, they soon announced a baby on the way. Their half Alien/human newborn would be “hatched” into a baby named Mearth (Jonathan Winters). Due to Williams admiration of Winters, this should not have surprised people; but, it did. You had to watch it to understand how ridiculously funny those last few years were on that show with this comic marriage.  Those two together, Williams and Winters, was akin to a comedic molotov cocktail.

 

 

Here is a clip of them ten years later after the show ended. They are on the Johnny Carson Show. Carson had alreadied interviewed Williams before they brought out Winters.  Winters had just won an Emmy for another TV show; however, he did not attend the awards to receive it. Williams was obviously elated to be there with the iconic funnyman.  This clip is just a glimpse of what it must have been like with these two geniuses working together. Their respect and admiration for each other can be seen through the details.

In addition to Winters, Robin Williams credits others whose influence had an major impact on him, especially, when it came to acting. He loved watching British actor, Peter Sellers (Pink Panther, Doctor Strangelove or how I Stopped worrying and love the Bomb) and Dustin Hoffman (Tootie, Hook).  They each impressed upon him the need of learned, practiced characterization.  Each character, no matter how large or small the part, deserved serious study.  Hoffman taught Williams this during the making of Hook: Preparation is key to a great performance. This advice must of become extremely important to the “The King of Improvisation.”

Williams will be involved in 105 film productions. Most, if not all, delivered a character, good or evil, with a degrees of heart and humanity.

The first time one of Williams’ performances surprised me was in Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again (1991). This is a wonderful movie that salutes the styles of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Wells. With that said, this movie has passion, murder, mystery and the possibility of reincarnation. It travels from post WWII in the United States (filmed in black and white) to the present (filmed in color). In the past, Branagh is German composer Roman Strauss. He marries a much younger musician, Margaret (Emma Thompson). She is murdered and Strauss is executed for the crime. In the present, Branagh is cynical private eye, Mike Church. Most of his work comes from tracking down missing heirs.

A lawyer contacts Church to locate a professionally ruined psychiatrist, Cozy Carlisle (Robin Williams). What a great name for a psychiatrist, Cozy. Apparently, that was his problem. He got too “ cozy” with his patients. Church locates him working in a grocery store’s freezer locker.

Church is called by his priest to come back to the orphanage (converted Strauss mansion) where he was raised. They have an female amnesiac who just appeared at their gates. Unfortunately, she is so traumatized, she is mute too. As if that is not enough, she has nothing on her to identify her. Church really doesn’t want to deal with this kind of case; but, his priest knows how to guilt him out. Once Mike meets this woman, he is immediately intrigued. He gives her a temporary name, Grace (Thompson).

Eventually, Mike ends up taking her to hypnotist, Franklyn Madson (Derek Jacobi) who also has a antique shop. Church and Grace learn of the Strauss murder under hypnosis. While in the hypnotic state, Grace appears to relive her past life as Margaret Strauss, (the murder victim). As a result, Grace finds her voice but not her memory of her life in the present. Church’s instincts tells him not to trust Madson.  Instead, he and Grace pay a visit to the bitter and angry, ex-doctor, Cozy Carlisle. Church wants his advice about the possibility of reincarnation.  The following two clips completely contain this conversation. Until this movie, I never seen Williams in such a dark role. It was brilliant, of course.

 

Even as this darker character, Cozy Carlisle, Williams delivers a punch line to Branagh’s Mike Church. I liked how this movie explores other beliefs. Although the answers differ by various religions, the questions remain the same (why we are here; or, what is our place in the greater scheme of things). The answers will always be debated; but, even with confusing answers, the questions are always pursued and are infinitely more interesting.

The following year Williams passed away, a very dark movie (his last) was released, Boulevard (2015). I was saddened that such lovely person as Robin Williams is not here anymore to make us laugh. No, I didn’t see it, nor at that time, did I want too.  However, time soften the heart; and, I decided I want to see it. I want to be fair in honoring all of Williams’ work.

For a while, I wanted to remembered the smiling and gifted performer in happier movies. A few years, after he passed away, Americans in the United States were given the “another” last movie with Robin Williams. It was released in the U.K. in 2015 but not in the States.  It is a scientific comedy…Yessss: Absolutely Anything. Williams does the voiceover for the dog, Dennis. The trailer looks funny; and, I am looking forward to watching it.

It is directed by Terry Jones (Monty Python) and it is written by Jones and Gavin Scott. I took the liberty of copying the cast lists from Wikapedia. Here is the link:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolutely_Anything#Cast

Feast your eyes on all of this talent.  As far as the voiceover cast, you might as well call it “Monty Python” with Robin Williams.

CAST:

Simon Pegg as Neil Clarke
Kate Beckinsale as Catherine West
Sanjeev Bhaskar as Ray
Rob Riggle as Colonel Grant Kotchev
Robert Bathurst as James Cleverill
Eddie Izzard as Headmaster, Mr. Robinson
Joanna Lumley as Fenella
Marianne Oldham as Rosie
Emma Pierson as Miss Pringle
Meera Syal as Fiona Blackwell
Mojo the Dog as Dennis the Dog

VOICE CAST

John Cleese as Chief Alien
Terry Gilliam as Nasty Alien
Eric Idle as Salubrious Gat
Terry Jones as Scientist Alien
Michael Palin as Kindly Alien
Robin Williams as Voice of Dennis the Dog
Again, I have not seen this movie; but, I guarantee you that I will by this weekend; even though, the movie received lukewarm reviews.  That’s nothing new. Most comedies receive lukewarm reviews; or, they are totally trashed. It just makes me happy that Williams, in the voice of “man’s friend,” comes from this space age comedy to make us smile, again.  Let me know in the comments if you seen it and if you enjoyed it.

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Again, that you Gill and Crystal for hosting the Robin Williams Blogathon.  Don’t forget to see more tributes to Robin Williams using the following links:

https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/announcing-the-robin-williams-Blogathonhttps://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/awakenings-1990/

Reference Links:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rogerebert.com/reviews/amp/dead-again-1991

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

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0101669/

http://ew.com/article/1991/08/30/dead-again/

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D0CE7DB1F39F930A1575BC0A967958260

Paying Christmas 🎄Forward With Outlander-Season 3

With a new year, you can expect new challenges.  As a blogger, my year started out with a FANtastic challenge. This year I have been offered the opportunity to write a post that “pays forward” The Twelve Days of  Christmas. The gifts given here is from the popular television series, Outlander, specifically Season 3. These gifts were given to fans of Outlander throughout this past year of 2017.

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The illustration of this Children’s book has a Scot theme with characters who remind me of Highlander Jamie Fraser with his wife, Claire.

Many people, including myself, believe that the true spirit of Christmas should not be celebrated once a year but everyday of the year.  So with that said, allow me to present to you, dear reader, with The Twelve Days of Outlander. I begin this post by highlighting “some” of Season 3’s main events.  It would be impossible to include everything in this post from Season 3; since, there is an over abundance of memorable scenes and surprises. So, I begin by discussing some of those major events (plot and subplot themes). I will include the first and second day of Outlander gifts 🎁 to fans within this long review. Afterwards, I will conclude with listing the final ten gifts.

🚫SPOILER WARNING🚫

If you have not seen Season 3 or read Gabaldon’s Voyager, you need to know that this post is loaded with spoilers. For those of you, like me, who are in Droughtlander (a space of time between two seasons), I hope you will enjoy this post; and, for you, who are just curious, I hope you too will enjoy the post.

What are some of the Events in Season 3?

Jamie and Claire Fraser’s twenty years of separation, the Battle of Culloden, their reunion, the journey and adventure to rescue Wee Ian Murray from pirates, fighting the Bakra and a Sea wreck on the coast of the New World.

The Reunion and Tweny year Separation

Season 3 is based on the third book, Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon. Personally, this is one of my favorites from the eight-book series. One of the most significant events in the book is the Jamie and Claire reunion after being separated for over twenty years.  Here we find a much older Jamie and Claire struggling to find their comfort zone in each other’s hearts and matured lives.

Let’s face it: An 18th century Scottish Highlander-warrior has different skill-sets and cultural perceptions when compared to a 20th century English mother and Combat-Army nurse who had struggled to become a Civilian surgeon in the late 1950s. Without a doubt, they will need years to work out their personal differences and on going martial issues.  Added to these tantamount obstacles, there is also a bit of explaining to do for all their decisions and mistakes made during the last twenty years.  On the first night of their reunion, Jamie questions Claire about her motives for coming back to him, 20 years later. To say the least, time travel is a bitch.

Jamie drives home the point: He is not the same man that she once knew. Now he has additional aspects to his complex life: 7-Years as a cave dwelling hermit, ten more years of prison, smuggler, printer, treasonous writer, second marriage, his son: Willie… Nor, is she the same Claire, he once knew: a mother who raised a twenty year old daughter, a married woman of 23 years to Frank, a doctor with a Harvard degree, Women’s Liberation, The Civil Rights Moment, a man on the moon, penicillin…. Regardless of the time traveling consideration, life has a way of changing us through our experiences. Claire and Jamie are no exception to this rule.

Personally, Claire has more trust issues and lacking a bit of confidence in herself.  Whereas Jamie is extremely stoic and definitely trusts no one, completely. Due to his criminal actions, Jamie is very complex person with a very complex life. For instance, depending on what he is doing at the time, he has various names or aliases for of his various actions or occupations.  Obviously, Jamie and Claire have major difficulties to resolve in their ongoing relationship. Fortunately, they have common bonds besides their enduring love for one another, both mirror each other in courage and perseverance. Plus, they have aged well; and, they are still the sexiest couple on film and probably on the planet.

 

 

🎁 🎼 So, on the First Day of Outlander Gifts 💝 fans were given a hilarious and imaginative parody of Jamie and Claire’s visit to Couples Therapy provided by MTV’s funny man David Horowitz ….🎼 Fala La La La 🎶 La La La🎶

 

🎁🎁 🎼 On The Second Day of Outlander Gifts 💝 fans were given superb performances by Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Grant O’Rourke, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, David Barry, Steven Cree, Laura Donnelly, Hanna James, and by the whole hard-working cast. In addition to the performances, fans were gifted by the producers, directors, writers, art and set designers, cinematographers, makeup artist,  and anyone who worked on any part of Season 3’s  episodes. Thanks to you all for your gifts of creativity and hard work…🎼 Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

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The following contain several gifted scenes and pics from Season 3: The Separation years and the Battle of Culloden (Episodes 1 – 5).

Another Major Event in Season 3: The Battle at Culloden

🚫Dear Reader: Unless you are suffering from Droughtlander (the space between seasons) or you just like to read, you may wish to scroll through the next several paragraphs; until, you reach the rest of the Outlander “Pay It Forward” Gifts 🎁 🚫

Another major event in Season 3, the book and Scottish history:  the Battle of Culloden. The last battle for the Jacobite Rebellion. The images within these scenes are not only memorable but eerily beautiful.

 

 

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The opening scene has to be one of the best in television history.  If Sam Heughan’s (Jamie Fraser) performance in these scenes does not receive critical praise; then, I am convinced that critics are either dishonest in their reviews; or, they haven’t a clue as to what a great performance looks like. As the scene begins. an unconscious and wounded Jamie is lying among the massive number of dead on the battlefield.  He awakens with his body partially covered by the dead body of Captain Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies).  His first thoughts: I am dead. He goes in and out of consciousness as he remembers bits and pieces of the battle and his life with Claire (Caitriona Balfe)

Jamie is waiting for death. He wants to die. He not only wants to end his physical pain; but, his emotional heartbreak as well.  This was the last major battle of the Jacobite Rebellion. They fought to put the “rightful” King (Prince Charles Edward Stuart/ aka Bonnie Prince Charley) on the British throne.  With the poor leadership of Prince Charley (Andrew Gower) along with terrible strategies, the Battle of Culloden becomes a horrific defeat for the Scots. Scotland will forever be changed due to hundreds of years oppression that follow this defeat. Most highlanders were killed in battle or soon after. Jamie wanted to die in that battle. He sent his wife and unborn child into the future, never to see them again. Of course, he wanted to die. In his mind, life was not worth living anymore.

As he suffers from his wounds, he awaits for the Angel of Death or the blade of a British solider’s bayonet to end his life. All around him, wounded highlanders are killed by British soldiers. Then, a light snow descends from the night sky.  Near him, he watches a bunny rabbit scampering about. While lying there, Jamie has a vision of Claire.

His cousin, Rupert Mackenzie (Grant O’Rourke), finds him dying.  He refuses to leave him there and helps him off the battlefield to a small cottage (the only building) on the battlefield. Eventually, the remaining Highlanders are found and  kept there as prisoners; until, each is executed: One at a time while the other prisoners can can hear the shots.

 

Jamie listens as each man gives his name to be recorded just before they are shot. Then, near the cottage, Jamie painfully listens to the fatal shots.  Sadly, some of the men were as young as sixteen.  The tears start flowing when Rupert says his goodbyes to Jamie after he volunteers to go next.

 

 

Twenty Years of Separation for Jamie and Claire

For Claire: Co-parenting her daughter, Brianna, with Frank is a double edge sword: She loves that Frank is a wonderful father; but their marriage as a couple is void of passionate love.  She cannot forget Jamie, especially while loving his ginger haired daughter. So, she continues to pine for him even though he died two hundred years ago. To her credit, she tried to leave Jamie in the past. She even agreed to never speak of Jamie or to tell Bree about him while Frank was still alive. However, talking and thinking are two different things. So, cleansing Jamie from her was impossible for Claire. Nothing can stop Claire’s love for Jamie Fraser. Naturally, Frank resents her for this.  For Bree’s sake they remain together as parents; but their marriage is a sham: “friends”  with benefits as Frank promises to be discreet with his girlfriends. How utterly lonely for Claire. This will have a negative effect on her self-confidence and trust in others.

Frank cannot compete with the memories of Jamie.  As a result, Professor Randall looks for love and companionship with his female students. Unfortunately for Claire, Frank not only left her feeling lonely and unwanted, he also did not appreciate her mothering duties. He encourages her to go back at school. However, once her schooling was complete, he resented her leaving their home and child to go to work and making friends like Joe Abernathy.  Frank was a man of his times. He accepted the social rules of separating the races while he secretly thought Claire was having an affair with Joe.  This was not touched on in the show but was mentioned in the books as one of his reasons for wanting to take Bree back to England and leaving Claire. I am glad the writers left this out.

Claire has entered into a “man’s profession” of medicine. She receives little support except for her friend of color, Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson), who is also on his own due to “Separate but Equal” policies of segregated America and during the Civil Rights Movement. These are major changes in Claire’s life which also affects Claire’s character and personality.

There are plenty of life changes for Jamie Fraser as well. He was seriously injured in the fatal Battle of Culloden. But he lived when nearly every warrior he knew and fought side by side with died. He survived. Despite the fact, he is sent home to die, he survives and becomes a hunted man. To avid capture, he lives in a cave for seven years; and,  he hunts food at night and sneaks it to his sister’s home at Lallybroch. He provides food for his sister’s family who happens to be his only family now. While hiding in his cave and avoiding capture, he becomes part of the Scottish lore, The Red Bonnet.

Eventually, after young Fergus (Romann Berrux) has his hand lobbed off, thanks to the to the Redcoats trying to find Jamie, he has had enough of his family being harassed and arrested because of him.  He decides that it is time to turn himself in to the redcoats.  He begs his sister to work with the British to trap him; so, she can collect the award money.  This award money is desperately needed to help all the families on the Lallybroch lands.

 

Jamie goes back to prison for another ten years. There his finds his “godfather,” Murtagh Frizgibbons (Duncan LaCroix), barely alive; yet, he too is a survivor of the Battle at Culloden.  Eventually, Jamie is befriended by the new prison commander, Lord John Grey (David Berry).  Grey is secretly gay and falls desperately in love with Jamie knowing Jamie cannot and will return his love. Yet, the two men learn to trust each other, eventually.  Grey realizes he is fortunate to earn Jamie’s trust and friendship. Both men respect each other and consider the other as a honorable man.

The following is a clip of a scene between Jamie and Grey as they reveal their sorrow for love ones they lost.

 

Grey’s  appearance in Season 3 is pure joy. He is a fascinating character that Gabaldon has dedicated another series of books too. I hope if there is a spin-off show off of Outlander, I hope it is Lord John Grey.

When the prison closes, Grey prevents Jamie from going into transportation to the American colonies as an indentured servant. Instead he arranges for Jamie to go to the English country estate of Helwater. Jamie’s rebel prisoner status is kept a secret from the Earl’s wife, Lady Louisa Dunsany (Beth Goddard).  The Dunsanys’ son was killed in a battle against the Jacobites. When Jamie expressed sympathy for the Dunsanys’ lost, he explained to the Earl that he understood since he had lost his own two children.  The Earl of Dunsany was moved by Jamie’s statement.  He agrees to give him a small stipend and his prisoner status to be kept secret. Although Jamie remains a prisoner, he is “hired” as a groom due to his skill with horses.

 

Poor Jamie! Why does everybody want to jump his bones? Soon after he begins his work as a hired groom,  he is blackmailed by the Geneva Dunsany (Hannah James). A seventeen year old daughter of the Dunsanys who is arrogant, lacks self-discipline and is spoiled rotten. In addition, she is a virgin who is betrothed to the Earl Of Ellesmere (a man in his 60s).  She is determined that her first sexual experience will be completed with someone she is actually attracted to and is powerless to refuse her. Hello, Jamie!  According to Geneva, Jamie is an ideal candidate because he has been married; and “he will know what to do.”

Two days after Geneva loses her virginity to Jamie Fraser, she marries the elderly Ludovic Ransom, The Seventh Earl of Ellesmere (James Cameron Stewart).  Apparently, one night of love-making with Jamie was too much for Geneva’s fertile eggs. Geneva becomes pregnant; and, nine months later, she delivers a healthy baby boy.  Sadly, Geneva, like many women of her time, dies within hours after giving birth. As the Dunsany family gather to Geneva’s dying side, she confides to her sister the identity of the real father. Soon after Geneva dies, a grieving Isobel (Tanya Reynolds) confronts Jamie. She is interrupted by a servant who cries for their help. Lord Elesmere verbally attacks Geneva’s grieving parents. He yells about the betrayal and sham of his marriage. He knows the child could  not be his; since, he and Geneva had not consummated their marriage.  He is beyond angry: Raging mad is a better description. The Dunsanys beg Lord Elesmere to give the baby to them.  Suddenly, he threatens to kill the newborn. As he holds a knife over the baby and about to plunge it into its small body, Jamie shoots a pistol and kills Elesmere. Jamie kills the Earl; but, he saves his own son.

William makes child number three for Jamie. The first two were girls: Faith and Brianna. Even though Jamie never met either of them, he continued to feel the hurt and pain of a Father who lost his children. On the other hand, his son, William, is there; and, Jamie can see, touch, and speak to him. What he cannot do is claim William as his own. Eventually, Lady Dunsany shows her appreciation to Jamie for saving her grandson’s life. Through her husband’s influence, she offers him a promise to obtain his pardon from the King.  After years of being hunted and held as a prisoner, he can finally be free again and go home to Lallybroch. Jamie thanks her but asks if he would be allowed to stay on as a stable hand instead. He cannot leave William behind; nor can he confide this to Lady Dunsany.  Instead, he explains that his family in Scotland are on hard times; and, they need the money he sends them. So, Mackenzie (Jamie) stays on at Helwater as a free man, a groom; but, more importantly, as a father to watch, observe, and be near his son, William.

A major obstacle appears  as William (Clark Butler) grows older. By the time he is six, his has a near identical resemblance to Jamie. The only difference is their hair color. Willie has his mother’s dark hair instead of Jamie’s Ginger hair. However, people are starting to notice Jamie and William’s uncanny resemblance.  Jamie will not jeopardize Willie Ransom’s wealthy inheritance and title as the future Eighth Earl of Ellesmere.

Mackenzie/Jamie tearfully says goodbye to the Dunsanys, Lord John Grey and his son. Isobel and Grey marry and become legal guardians of Willie. They both promise Jamie to love and protect Willie while keeping Jamie’s secret.

 

Jamie goes home; but, he is painfully lonely. He misses Claire and their baby; and his his heart aches for Willie. So, his sister plays matchmaker. At Lallybroch on Hogmanay (Scot’s New Year Eve party). Jamie is charmed by two adorable little girls. The younger one’s name is Joan (Layla Burns), and; has red hair like Brianna; and, her slightly older sister’s name is Marsali (Lauren Lyle).  They plea with Jamie to dance with them. Which makes Jamie laugh; since, it is usually the males who ask the females to dance. During Jamie’s dance with both girls, Jamie openingly laughs and smiles. He has a soft spot for children; plus, he was reminded of his own two lost daughters. Because the girls are fatherless; and Jamie yearns to be somebody’s father and someone’s husband again, he marries their mother. The mother is “A want-to-be-Jamie’s girlfriend” Laoghaire Mackenzie (Nell Hudson).

This is definitely not one of Jamie’s wisest decisions.  The marriage fails almost before it started. He soon finds himself, alone again, and  making a living as a printer in the city of Edinburgh. There, he finds very little profit as a  printer. So, he resorts to the lucrative, but criminal, side business of smuggling French wines into England. He is always taking care of love ones first; so, he sends money to his sister, Jenny Murray (Laura Donnelly) and her family in Lallybroch; and, he also sends money to Laoghaire for her care and his “adopted” daughters. To save money, he has arranged for a free room that is close to the docks and harbor. It includes free meals and privacy in a location that is another shocker for our honorable Jamie Fraser: a brothel. This is provided by a Madame who not only owns the brothal but who is also one of Jamie’s best customers. She buys a great deal of smuggled French wines.

The Reunion of Claire and Jamie

That moment when Claire and Jamie see each other after twenty years is priceless. Take a look at it in the following clip.

Has Jamie and Claire changed after twenty years?  Without a doubt. No matter how much the lives and personalities have changed, there is one thing that stays constant: Their connected souls.  When your love is shared Soul Deep, there is nothing that can separate you from that love. Jamie and Claire will learn to adapt to each other’s changes and begin a new life together.

The next scene reveals their awkward awareness of each other:

 

The long-awaited event of Jamie and Claire’s Reunion is not the only romantic event in Season 3. There are other loving couples such as Bree and Roger and Fergus and Marsali.

We are introduced to an adult Bree (Sophie Skelton) in the sweetest romance with a Scot who is Oxford history Professor, Roger Wakefield (Richard Rankin). Bree lives in Boston. Roger travels from Scotland, at Christmas time, to present to Claire proof that Jamie survived Culloden. Plus, he wanted to see the Randell ladies because he has a huge crush on Bree.  When Bree learns that Jamie survived Culloden, she encourages her mother to go back to him. She wants to make her mother happy again; and, she wants to thank Jamie for his sacrifice and love. This may be the only time she can communicate to her real father that she loves him too. Claire travels back in time to find Jamie Fraser again.

Once back and reunited with Jamie, Claire is shocked and surprised to learn of Jamie’s second marriage to Laoghaire Mackenzie.  This is a shocker since Laoghaire tried to have Claire burned as a witch. Laoghaire wanted no obstacles in her way in securing Jamie’s love. Claire also finds the Lallybroch family has grown up since she had last seen them, especially wee Ian (John Bell). Young Ian is a sixteen year old who is determined to be with his idolized uncle Jamie that he repeatedly runs away from Lallybroch to be with him.

We also learn of  the deaths of Black Jack Randall and Claire’s first husband, Frank. Finally, we meet Jamie’s newest loyal friend, Lord John Grey (David Barry).  I hope some smart producer or producers will make this character into a spin-off series. The Grey books are crime solving mysteries with a lot of humor in them. Plus, Jamie Fraser appears in some of the books to help him out.

A brief summary of the Second Half of Season 3

The second half of the season is like the rollercoaster ride of adventures. Wee Ian is kidnapped by pirates while trying to recover a small treasure chest hidden on a small island in Northern Scotland. Jamie and Claire use Jamie’s uncle Jarred’s ship, the Artemus, to follow and rescue the lad.  While at sea, a British man of war seizes the Artemus looking for doctor to help treat the crew who are quickly dying from an unknown disease. Claire volunteers to go on board against Jamie’s objections. The British Captain (Charley Hiett) promised to return her; but, he lied. One of the British crew recognized Jamie as Alexander Malcolm: A Scot printer who is wanted by the British crown for treason and the murder of a government employee. In fact, it was actually Claire who accidentally killed the government inspector while she was defending herself from being sexually assaulted in Jamie’s room at the brothel.

Voyages And Shipwrecks

Since most of the senior officers have died from the mysterious disease, a recently promoted and very young, Captain Leonard keeps Claire on board his ship to make sure Jamie follows him to Jamaica. He hopes his much larger and faster ship will reach Jamaica before Jamie’s cargo ship. He wishes to set a trap and arrest him for murder and treason. The Captain of the Artemus has agreed to help the British captain capture Jamie.  When Jamie insists they throw cargo overboard in order to make the ship lighter so they could catch up with the British man-o-war.  The Captain wastes no time in having Jamie arrested and thrown in the brig.

Before reaching Jamaica, Claire jumps overboard and swims ashore to a small island.  Jamie’s ship hit rough waters full of rocks and cliffs.  They are shipwrecked on the same island that Claire swam to. Neither knows the other is there.

Once they discover each other, they repair the ship’s mast and sail to Jamaica. Looking for Jamie’s nephew, young Ian who was kidnapped by pirates, they inadvertently purchases a slave. Jamie also discovers that his friend, Lord John Grey, is the new governor of Jamaica.  He and Claire go to the governors’ ball to see if Lord Grey can assist in finding the boy.  They ask their  slave to inquire from other slaves information that help them find Ian too. For his help, they promise to free the slave. He confirms that young Ian is seen at the Abernathy estate.

Before, the Frasers reach the estate, Jamie is arrested by Captain Leonard.  Before Jamie is incarcerated in a prison cell, he is bought before his newest best friend, Governor Lord John Grey.  This next scene is one of my favorites for the whole season. It not only showcased the actors’ prowess, it was exciting to watch John Grey’s “set down” to Captain Leonard. There are three actors in this scene. One of them, Heughan, never says a word; but, his reactions to the other two men, as they  confront each other over the his arrest, speaks volumes for his acting chops. This scene is one of favorite scenes in the season. Kudos to David Berry. Watch how Jamie’s buddy (Lord Grey) handles the ambitious Captain Leonard. It is brilliant.

Of corse Jamie and Claire locate Young Ian at the Abernathy estate.  However, the widower, Mrs. Abernathy, is none only Gellis Duncan. Another time traveler who befriended Claire. Gellis is a “witch” and Claire thought she burned at the stake in order to help Claire escape her fate. She is also bat shit crazy. She hired pirates to steal young, virgin boys in order to bathe in their blood, to remain young.  Mrs. Abernathy is known as the mysterious monstrosity known as the Bakra.  Lucky for young Ian, he was not a virgin. Of course, Jamie and Claire will save him from certain death.

When escaping Jamaica, their ship runs straight into the eye of a hurricane. At the beginning of episode 13, the last episode, Claire says: I am dead. Just like Jamie did at the beginning of episode 1 of season 3. While Jamie awoke, seriously wounded, Claire didn’t wake, she was drowning in the ocean. Again, this is one of the most stunning scenes I have ever seen on film. As Claire drifts to the ocean bottom, Jamie is finally seen trying to cut the ships ropes from her body. Then, he kisses her and breathes his last breath as he blows air into her mouth. This is the following scene.

 

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Outlander Pay It Forward GiftsContinues 

With the completion of season 3 overview by highlighting superb performances and production Gifts (Day Two 🎁 🎁), let us continue the Outlander Christmas “Pay it Forward” in the spirit of The Twelve Days of Outlander 🎶

🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Third Day of Christmas, Starz Outlander gave fans Seasons 3 and the working of Season 4; and by the January of this year, they received yet another gift: the “probable” gift of Seasons 5 and 6….Fa La La La La Fa La La

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Forth Day of Christmas, Outlander presented to fans a Twitter account from the writers of the show: @Outlander Writers. This a Twitter account that fans may directly ask questions to the writers after each episode has aired. Fans receive feedback to their questions every Tuesday…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Fifth Day of Christmas, Outlander presented to fans online corrected scripts, Behind the scenes pics and discussions, games and quizzes for each of the Season 3 episodes (13)…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

Writers Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia discuss the last episode with executive producer Ron Moore.  These discussions can be found for each episode.  These discussions have interesting behind the scenes information. Thanks Matt Roberts, I now want to use a water hose too after listening to you describe how much fun you had in spraying Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

Link to all the Outlander goodies for Season 3

http://www.outlandercommunity.com/

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🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Outlander presents to fans opportunities at Con Gatherings to meet and greet:  cast members, producers, writers, and musicians. These gatherings may include photos with fans, autographs, eating and dancing….Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

 

Link to 2017 Gathering with Cast Members:

http://www.outlandertvnews.com/2017/04/outlander-cast-appearances-for-2017/

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Seventh Day of Christmas, Outlander presented fans with wonderful new costumes from Terri Dresbach. Season 3 is known as the season of the Skirt for Claire and the Tricorne hat and blousy shirt for Jamie…Fa La La La La Fa La La La🎶

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Eighth Day of Christmas, the Outlander cast, crew and producer, Ron Moore, provided numerous opportunities for Questions and Answers from Ten minutes to thirty minutes; off and on throughout the year.  These are really fun; and, if they pick your question, it feels like you have won the lottery. In addition, cast and crew are constantly tweeting fun stuff about their work and playing practical jokes on each other. For instance, they love stealing each other’s phones and taking selfies of themselves; then, sharing them on Twitter… Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

I must add Steven Cree who plays Ian Murray. Ian is Jamie’s best friend since childhood. He even married Jamie’s sister, Jenny.  Steven is also a real life friend to Sam Heughan. Cree loves to use his Twitter account to engage Outlander fans with his Heughan Talks video clips. Cree disguises his voice to talk for Sam (the host with the most) and Sam’s guests, like Michael Jackson. These guests are actually dolls or pics on the computer monitor or on a tablet. Once, for 2017 Christmas, he filmed the real Sam. It reminded me of my sister who aggravated me while I tried to ignore her. Of course, you can tell, both men are having a great time, along with the fans.

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Ninth Day of Outlander, fans were gifted with the added the talents of NEW CAST MEMBERS! Here are a few that comes to mind; but, there were many more …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

David Berry, John Bell, Lauren Lyle, Caesar Domboy

 

Hanna James, Wil Johnson, and Gary Young

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼On the Tenth Day of Outlander, the fans were gifted with a lovely surprise: Murtagh Fritzgibbons (Duncan Lacrox) survived Culloden.  In the book, he was killed as he “killed” Black Jack Randall. Some fans do not like it when the main storyline is distorted from the books. I loved that Jamie’s wise and experienced “godfather” was found in Ardsmuir prison. I hope to see much more of him in Season 4 …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Eleventh Day of Outlander, fans were gifted with the sweetest Christmas scene between Roger and Bree.  Their first Christmas together and a kind of bittersweet date; since, Claire just left to go back through the stones and back to Jamie.  When Roger first visits Claire and Bree, he confessed that he wanted to spend an American Christmas with them. He wanted to eat Boston cream pies and eat lobster rolls. Claire told him that the few Christmas traditions the Randall’s had shared had consisted of reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to a much younger Bree was much younger.  Of course, Claire realizes that this was the first Christmas Roger would celebrate without his father who recently died. She also understood that he wanted to spend Christmas with a friend who knew his father and who has a beautiful daughter that he was seriously crushing on. In the following scene, Bree is comforted by Roger. Her mother just said goodbye. Bree watched her from the window as her mother takes a taxi to the airport for a flight to Scotland. I think Bree and Roger are so adorable as they try to cheer each other up and rekindle the joyful spirit of Christmas together. I am  really looking forward to seeing more of these two and Season 4…Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

 

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 🎼 On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Outlander fans could once again see some their past favorite actors and characters help Season 3 become the BEST SHOW on TELEVISION. Thank you actors, all: for reprising your roles …Fa La La La La; Fa La La La🎶

And of course the whole recurring cast of Outlander, including production teams, writers, and crew that make this show an exceptional delight to watch and follow as the “gifted” fans do. People say that Outlander has the best fans. When in truth, how could they be otherwise with such wonderful gifts from such an Outstanding show. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year everyone.

 

Realweegiemidget Reviews’ Gill Jacob, offered up the “pay it forward” using The Twelve Days of Christmas theme as a challenge to several bloggers. She chose our particular topic, I am honored she singled me out to write a post on the Outlander. I pride myself as one of the millions of avid Outlander fans (book series and the show). I hope you will enjoy reading this post whether you are a fan too or even if you know nothing about the show. If you would like to read other ”Pay it Forward” posts with the focus on other popular TV shows and movies, please use the following link:

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/

 

To Bloggers:

I am am not going to tag you in order to draw you into a public challenge. Instead, I hope you do write your own “Pay it Forward” in the spirit of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It would great for you to join in the fun, especially after you read other  posts submitted to this Blogathon. However, my friends, I truly hope you will not be offended that I included a few of you have in my tags at the bottom of this post. I hope that it is not too intrusive. If it is, please let me know. I hope everyone has a wonderful and successful year.

***I do not own any of the images found in this post***

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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.

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The wedding ceremony
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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.

lloyd-and-belushi-in-south

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.

https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/

jack42

References:

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/4597/Goin-South/articles.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077621/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2

http://www.binghamton.edu/history/docs/Hacker-Hilde-Jones_Civil%20War.pdf