Thursday, December 31, 2009

Orphans of the Storm (1921)

orphans The Plague, the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the guillotine, blindness, poverty--what storm didn't these orphans encounter?

D.W. Griffith's last historical epic, Orphans of the Storm, stars the Gish sisters, Lillian and Dorothy, as two orphans facing uncertain times during the upheaval of the French Revolution. Recently orphaned and one blinded, the sisters leave the French countryside looking for a cure for the blind sister in not so gay Paris. The sisters become separated and each faces their own personal hell--one put out as a beggar, the other placed before the guillotine. Eventually the sisters are reunited, the blindness is cured, and all is well. Trust me, the story is too long (2.5 hrs.) to put every detail in this blog.

orph As someone who specialized in this area of history, I have an odd appreciation for this film. However, I do have a slight problem with the part where Danton rushes in and saves one of the sisters from the guillotine--once you went out in the death wagon you didn't come back with your head still attached, let alone still breathing.

It is said that this is the best acting performance of Lillian Gish's silent career. That is debatable--I prefer her in Way Down East. The film is a bit melodramatic, but still, it really is a silent classic.

(Warning: there are some Intense Scenes.)

Click to view movie.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Gone with the Wind (1939) drama/romance. Based on Margaret Mitchell's (1936) novel. Directed by Victor Fleming. Cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland.It received ten Academy Awards, a record that stood for twenty years. GONE WITH THE WIND is in the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films of All Time. List of (1998), it was number four. (2007) 10th Anniversary edition, it dropped to number six. In June (2008). AFI best ten films in ten American film GONE WITH THE WIND was the fourth best Epic film . It has sold more tickets in the U.S. than any other film in history. Today, it is considered one of the greatest and most popular films of the golden age of Hollywood.

GONE WITH THE WIND(1939), Is one of my top 5 "gotta see films". I love everything about it, the scenery, costumes, actors and story line of a young woman growing into a self-driven woman to succeed regardless of cost. If you were to ask me which is my favorite part of the movie. I would have to say the beginning, where Scarlett O'Hara, is sitting on the mansion's porch, on her family's plantation, sick of hearing the young men talk about going to war with the North. She would much rather talk about the next day's barbecue at Twelve Oaks.(Wilkes plantation.) When the twins tell her that Ashley Wilkes, is planning on announcing his engagement, to marry his cousin Melanie Hamilton from Atlanta, Scarlett can't believe it, because she is also in love with Ashley. Her father confirms the wedding announcement when he sees her on his way home to Tara, and warns Scarlett to forget about Ashley, because "like should marry like."

The next day, Scarlett tries to make Ashley jealous by flirting with all of the young men at the barbecue. Later, while all the young girls are supposed to retire for their afternoon nap, she sneaks into the library to speak with him. He tells her that he and Melanie are alike. Unfortunately, Scarlett still believes that he is in love with her. When he leaves, Scarlett heartbroken, throws a vase and is surprised to see Rhett Butler, a notorious womanizer, who has been hiding on a couch the entire time. She quickly becomes annoyed at him for making fun of her feelings for Ashley,

Later, that afternoon they hear the news that war has broken out between the North and the South, Scarlett can not believe her eyes when she sees Ashley kiss Melanie goodbye, as he goes with the other men to enlist, and on an impulse accepts the proposal of Melanie's brother Charles. Just after Ashley and Melanie wedding, Scarlett and Charles marry, Melanie, tells Scarlett that "now they will truly be sisters."
Click to view movie trailer.

Our World is an American television news series that ran for 26 episodes, from September 25, 1986 to May 28, 1987. The show was anchored by Linda Ellerbee and Ray Gandolf. Each episode of the series tells a story, through the use of archival film and television footage, one short period in American history. Our World aired on ABC. This is Our World presentation of: The making of Gone with the Wind.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontës only novel. It was first published in 1847.
The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors. (Wuthering means turbulent weather).Emily Bronte's, beloved classic was filmed in 1939. One of greatest years for motion pictures.

One night during a blizzard, Heathcliff has a visitor who turns out to be his new neighbor, Lockwood. Lockwood asks for someone to show him to the Grange, but instead Heathcliff allows him to stay the night. While trying to sleep, Lockwood hears a voice scream the name "Cathy" and feels an cold hand touch him. When Lockwood tells Heathcliff, he rushes outside, into the blizzard, calling Catherine's name. Not understanding Heathcliff's strange behavior, Lockwood asks Ellen Dean, the housekeeper, to tell him about Catherine. Ellen tells him the story, which began forty years ago....

One day, Cathy's kind father brings home an orphaned gypsy child, who is now to live with them. Cathy becomes quick friends with Heathcliff. Unfortunately, her brother Hindley will resent him his whole life. Heathcliff joins Cathy on a trip to Peniston Crag, where they pretend to be the king and queen in their make believe world.

After the the death of their father Mr. Earnshaw, Hindley takes control as the head of the household of Wuthering Heights and forces Heathcliff to labor under his cruel treatment. Heathcliff's only friends are, Ellen and Cathy. After spending a afternoon in their make believe world, Heathcliff and Cathy hear a dance taking place at the nearby Linton mansion. they decide to take a closer look when the Lintons' guard dogs, attack and injure Cathy.

While Cathy, who has been recuperating at the Linton estate, has fallen in love with the young Edgar, who can give her everything. Cathy and Edgar return to Wuthering Heights, they are surprised to see Heathcliff, who tells Cathy that he can not leave because he loves her. When Edgar insults Heathcliff, Cathy demands that Edgar leave the house.

One rainy night, Cathy tells Ellen that Edgar has proposed to her, and when Heathcliff overhears her say that marrying Heathcliff would demean her. He runs off before he hears her tell Ellen that she loves him, and feels that she and Heathcliff are one. Realizing that Heathcliff may have over heard her, Cathy runs after him in the rain. Cathy collapses and is found the next day by Edgar, who takes her to his estate. Soon after Cathy recovers from pneumonia she marries Edgar.

Many years pass, and Heathcliff, who disappeared on the night she became ill, returns to England a rich and distinguished gentleman, and secretly buys Wuthering Heights, by paying Hindley's debts. Heathcliff has come to claim Cathy's love, but she stops his advances. Heathcliff takes revenge on Cathy by marrying her sister in law, Isabela.

Will this unresolved passion eventually destroy them ?

Cast: Merle Oberson, Laurence Olivier, David Niven.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LILLIE (1978)- Volume 1 Episode 2 : MRS. LANGTRY.

Volume 1 Episode 2 : MRS. LANGTRY.

Lillie discovers Edward is not the millionaire she first thought. When Lillie becomes ill with typhoid fever, she and the doctor come up with a plan to tell Edward she needs to travel to London for her recovery. Lillie glad to be in London, has to go back to Jersey after she receives a telegram informing her of the death of one of her brothers. While she is with her family in Jersey, Edward joins a London sports club, which takes up most of his time. Lillie starts going to parties to a huge reception from high society.

To be Continued....
Credit- Tara Howard for photographs and historical Images.

Friday, November 6, 2009

LILLIE (1978)- Volume 1. Episode 1: EMILIE

Lillie (1978), TV series developed by David Butler for London Weekend Television. Starring Frances Annis, Anton Rodgers, Denis Lill, Peter Egan, John Castle.Based on the life of the infamous Lillie Langtry, a daring and independent woman, of the Victorian Age. Her beauty broke hearts and her behavior broke boundaries.
Volume 1. Episode 1: EMILIE

Emilie Charlotte Le Breton was born on the Island of Jersey. The only daughter of Rev. William Corbrt Le Breton. Becoming too wild for her governess, she was raised by her 6 brothers who also became in charge of her education. Because she was raised by her brothers she became a tom-boy, although over time developed into a beautiful woman. Lillie's mother decides to take her to London to expose her to society life, but she is too shy to socialize. When she returns home she falls in love with a local fisherman but her father forbids her to see him again. Her brother informs her of a family dark secret that ends her first romance. Heartbroken, she marries wealthy gentlemen, Edward Lantry the brother-in-law of her brother William's wife. One of the reasons she married him was that he owned a yacht, and she can finally escape from the Island.
To be Continued....
Credit- Tara Howard for photographs and historical Images.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CHERI (2009)

CHERI (2009). What a beautiful and tragic love story about two people who fall madly into a scandalous love affair. The only thing standing in their way is the big age difference. "Cheri" is a amazing period film taking place in France before World War I . One of the things that I loved about the story was that it completely relies on delicacies of things that are not said. Michelle Pfeiffer is outstanding as the aging mistress. "Lea". "Cheri" played wonderfully by Rupert Friend. Naturally, what happens to their relationship is heartbreaking. Cheri's, immaturity eventually gets the best of him and it's Lea who realizes what they have is a rare kind of love. This is long before Cheri does. Lea silently and slowly crumbles before our eyes over their break up, while hanging on to what is left of her dignity . What is to happen to Cheri?
Kathy Bates, is the comedic relief to this deep and dark love story.
I loved all the beautiful locations and sets. I absolutely love/love the elegant costumes.
Click to view theatrical trailer and elegant costumes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Persuasion (1995), is a wonderful romance novel written by Jane Austen. Although, it is not as light hearted as the other Austen films. It still is very good. cast: Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
It is about a young woman, Anne Elliot, who is talked into giving up the love of her life because he has no means to support her. Several years later, Wentworth returns as a successful Captain of the Navy. Anne has become a spinster and her family is fighting bankruptcy. She has never gotten over him. He has never forgiven her for her rejection and the emotional toll it has taken on him. One of my favorite scenes, which I feel sets the tone of this film. Is when Wentworth walks in as Mary and Anne are eating breakfast, the first time they've seen each other since their broken engagement. You can hear Wentworth's resentment in his voice, while Anne is overcome with the sight of him. Will their second chance at love be ruined by the social influences, or Persuaded by their own hearts?

The women's costumes were amazing in the crowd scenes.
Beautiful Naval Uniforms on the Gentlemen.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Wives and Daughters(2002), is from the unfinished Victorian novel of Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell. This wonderful Victorian soap opera, is full of romantic betrayals and secret marriages.
A wonderful romantic/comedy about a young girl Molly Gibson (Justine Waddell of "Mansfield Park,") and her father, a doctor (Bill Patterson). Their peace full lives are changed forever when Mr. Gibson marries the selfish, misguided Claire Fitzpatrick (Francesca Annis) and her daughter Cynthia (Keeley Hawes). A beautiful young woman, close to Molly in age, but the exact opposite from Molly's character . (Cynthia reminds me of a Marilyn Monroe of the Victorian age.)
The brothers Osborne (Tom Hollander) and Roger( Anthony Howell.) Hamley are the girls romantic interest in the story.The Hamleys come from old English family and the squire Hamley ( Michael Gambon) wants his sons to marry into "wealthy families." Molly falls for Roger and Roger falls for Cynthia. I also enjoyed the goodhearted Browning sisters, town gossip Mrs. Goodenough, mysterious Mr. Preston (Iain Glen) and the Cumnor family. Justine Waddell is wonderful as Molly and Michael Gambon and Francesca Annis are also wonderful in thier performances. The scenery, costumes are all beautiful. I loved/loved every moment of this film. Mrs. Gaskell, is now one of my favorite authors.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The Age of Innocence (1993) film directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Daniel-Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. It is from the book of the same name. The film won an Academe Award for Best Costume Design.
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, is my favorite Martin Scorsese film. And the film that got me hooked on "Period Films". The story is about Newland Archer, an affluent New York lawyer of the 1870s, engaged to May Welland, a beautiful socialite.

Newland begins to question the life he has planned for himself after the arrival of May’s cousin, the sophisticated Countess Ellen Olenska . Ellen wants a divorce from her abusive husband, a Polish count, which has made her a social outcast. Her family is concerned that her divorce will give the family a bad name. As Newland love grows for Ellen, he convinces her not to go forward with the divorce. He becomes disappointed with society and the idea of entering into a loveless marriage with May. He struggles with whether he will follow his family's wishes, or follow his own heart.

I was amazed at the wonderful attention to details Martin Scorsese showed in the film. I thought it was amazing how he brought out the hidden emotion of his characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Newland Archer waits for the Countess Olenska at her home, looking at the paintings on the wall, and her small collection of treasures from around the world. Through what he sees and what he touches he sees the Countess in his mind. Then we hear the arrival of a carriage, he still seems to be under her spell.((((sigh))) I love this movie.

I loved all the beautiful 1870’s Victorian costumes. Filmed in New York, with a few scenes in St. Augustine (Florida) and Paris.

Video: Documentary first of 3.

Fun Facts:

The lady standing to the right of Winona Ryder and admiring her engagement ring at the Beauforts' ball (just before Archer approaches and bows) is Tamasin Day-Lewis, sister of Daniel Day-Lewis, who was in town to visit her brother and drafted by Martin Scorsese to take the part. She's better known as the author of a series of cookbooks.

The interior of Mrs. Mingott's house was filmed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house in downtown Troy, NY, home to about 35 men at the time. Setup and filming took approximately three weeks and was done while school was still in session. The first floor was the only one used for filming and during shoots members of the house had to remain silent upstairs or leave the house. The shot of the house as a solitary structure on a small hill is movie magic, as the house is surrounded on both sides by other buildings.

Winona Ryder had written a book report in ninth grade on this very novel.

The film is dedicated to Charles Scorsese, father of director Martin Scorsese, who died just before the film was completed. He and his wife Catherine Scorsese (the director's mother) have a cameo appearance in the scene at the station.

Just past the middle of the movie, an exterior image of New York is shown. One of the buildings has "Schoonmaker's Painters Supply Store" painted on it. Thelma Schoonmaker has been Martin Scorsese's editor for years.

Jay Cocks first gave his friend Martin Scorsese a copy of Edith Wharton's novel back in 1980. At the time, he told Scorsese, "When you do that romantic piece, this one is you". It took Scorsese seven years to finally get around to reading the book.

The three lead actors - Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder - were all Martin Scorsese's first choices for the parts.

The painting of two Native Americans about to kill a young woman is a depiction of the death of Jane McRea. The event took place in 1777 in upstate New York, shortly before the battle of Saratoga, and was a key event in rallying Patriot militia. Jane McRea was the woman on whom James Fenimore Cooper based the character of Cora in "Last of the Mohicans". This book was made into the film The Last of the Mohicans, which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis.

Co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis both share the same birthday in real life.

Director Cameo Martin Scorsese: the photographer taking May's wedding picture.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


BECOMING JANE, this beautiful romantic/comedy, is loosely based on the life of Jane Austen. Anne Hathaway is wonderful in her beautiful portrayal of Jane Austen. The young Jane, daughter of a clergyman, receives a proposal from a wealthy nephew of an aristocratic Lady Gresham. She refuses because she has fallen in love with penniless lawyer to be Tom Lefroy. Jane Austen, writer, and a independant woman ahead of her time, resists the social pressure to marry a wealthy man from her family. When her brother Henry brings home his friend Tom Lefroy from London . Jane finds her love of her life in charming Lefroy. When they decide to elope to Scotland their plans are changed at the last minute when Jane has a change of heart. Thinking they would live in poverty , walks out of the train station. Years later, Tom Lefroy becomes the Chief Justice of Ireland and Jane Austen one of England's most famous novelists. Meet after an opera performance. One of my favorite scenes is when Tom brings his daughter, named after Jane, to meet Austen where she reads from her own book, and finishes when she covers her empty left hand.

I thought the cast did an excellent job in the film BECOMING JANE. Anne Hathaway’s skillful portrayal of Jane Austen was wonderful. Although, she is not my favorite Jane.

The costumes are another reason that i became hooked on "PERIOD FILMS". I am far from an expert.. but, I have to say I was a little disappointed in some of the dresses.

Becoming Jane was shot in Dublin and rural Ireland instead of Hampshire, England the birthplace of Jane Austen. Many scenes were also shot in Charleville Castle.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Pride & Prejudice (2005) film based on the Jane Austen novel . This second major motion-picture was produced by Working Title Films, directed by Joe Wright.

Pride and Prejudice (2005). I thought he used beautiful visuals and period locales to create this film. Filling it with details that tell about the Bennets family. From the films mist-filled and dream-like opening moments to its marvelous ball sequence and the wonderful ending, Pride & Prejudice is an absolutely a perfect representative of Jane Austen's book. Even with it's youthful out look it does not change the novel's late-eighteenth-century manners. i think of it is one of the best screen adaptations of this book so far. I loved Donald Sutherland as the father. And Darcy's formidable aunt played by Lady Catherine (Dame Judi Dench). I thought she was absolutely gorgeous.