dangermousie: (Default)
Baby Mousie is stuffing her face with pasta and playing, and I am drinking chai latte and lunching on tomato soup while watching Casablanca - the local diner we went to is playing it with subs.

Heaven. Heaven heaven heaven.

I love Casablanca so much - a little more so with every time I watch it (though for the record, I am more of a Lazslo girl than a Rick one).

Speaking of classic movies, I wonder if my hint to Mr. Mousie about getting the Thin Man movies box set was sufficiently specific. I love those movies. It was the first time I realized marriage could be fun! (- was in high school at the time :))
dangermousie: (Firefly: Mal/Inara dance by pepperlandgi)
Today's pick is one of my favorite silents - the funny, bubbly, smart It which stars Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno.



The term "it", to describe sex appeal, was coined by the notorious British novelist Elinor Glyn. Ms. Glyn wrote deliciously trashy and extremely scandalous (for the time) romance novels. I have read a batch of them and they are delightful. She was also an extremely shrewd businesswoman who wrote books to keep herself and her husband living well, and moved to Hollywood to pursue an extremely successful career there.

But, anyway, on to the movie. Its protagonist is the spunky, no-nonsense shopgirl Betty Lou Spence (Clara Bow). Her awesomeness catches the eye of the wealthy, reserved owner of her department store, with the rather dated name of Cyrus Waltham Jr. (Antonio Moreno). A courtship full of fun, misunderstandings, and adorableness ensues. She takes him to Coney Island! He rides a streetcar for her!

So, why watch a movie that is over 80 years old? Because it's fun. I laughed out loud at some of the sequences. Because the glimpses into a long-vanished world are fascinating. Because of the heroine. Betty Lou has "it" in spades, but what really drew me how awesome she was. She was warm and real and practical and with a huge temper and optimistic and very strong (there is a subplot with her neighbour's illegitimate baby in which Betty Lou is great). I can't blame Cyrus falling for her because I fell for her myself. It is perhaps anachronistic to call a 1920s movie heroine feminist, but I will. (There are a number of silents which have very strong women in them - see Our Dancing Daughters). She rescues herself, she has strong opinions of right and wrong, she will not put up with wounds to her self-respect even from a man she loves, she stands up for those weaker than herself. Her (and the movie's) views on unmarried mothers (i.e. her neighbor) are incredibly progressive for the time. Basically, she is awesome.

The rest of the cast is second fiddle to Clara Bow but I really liked Antonio Moreno. His looks probably wouldn't make him a movie star today, but he looks like what an attractive wealthy man of the period would love to look like :) And I ended up liking his reserved character, and his chemistry with Clara Bow.

Have a clip from the movie:



Anyway, check it out, it's a delight! The entire movie is on youtube btw.
dangermousie: (Firefly: Mal/Inara dance by pepperlandgi)
Today's pick is one of my favorite silents - the funny, bubbly, smart It which stars Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno.



The term "it", to describe sex appeal, was coined by the notorious British novelist Elinor Glyn. Ms. Glyn wrote deliciously trashy and extremely scandalous (for the time) romance novels. I have read a batch of them and they are delightful. She was also an extremely shrewd businesswoman who wrote books to keep herself and her husband living well, and moved to Hollywood to pursue an extremely successful career there.

But, anyway, on to the movie. Its protagonist is the spunky, no-nonsense shopgirl Betty Lou Spence (Clara Bow). Her awesomeness catches the eye of the wealthy, reserved owner of her department store, with the rather dated name of Cyrus Waltham Jr. (Antonio Moreno). A courtship full of fun, misunderstandings, and adorableness ensues. She takes him to Coney Island! He rides a streetcar for her!

So, why watch a movie that is over 80 years old? Because it's fun. I laughed out loud at some of the sequences. Because the glimpses into a long-vanished world are fascinating. Because of the heroine. Betty Lou has "it" in spades, but what really drew me how awesome she was. She was warm and real and practical and with a huge temper and optimistic and very strong (there is a subplot with her neighbour's illegitimate baby in which Betty Lou is great). I can't blame Cyrus falling for her because I fell for her myself. It is perhaps anachronistic to call a 1920s movie heroine feminist, but I will. (There are a number of silents which have very strong women in them - see Our Dancing Daughters). She rescues herself, she has strong opinions of right and wrong, she will not put up with wounds to her self-respect even from a man she loves, she stands up for those weaker than herself. Her (and the movie's) views on unmarried mothers (i.e. her neighbor) are incredibly progressive for the time. Basically, she is awesome.

The rest of the cast is second fiddle to Clara Bow but I really liked Antonio Moreno. His looks probably wouldn't make him a movie star today, but he looks like what an attractive wealthy man of the period would love to look like :) And I ended up liking his reserved character, and his chemistry with Clara Bow.

Have a clip from the movie:



Anyway, check it out, it's a delight! The entire movie is on youtube btw.
dangermousie: (Firefly: Mal/Inara dance by pepperlandgi)
Today's pick is one of my favorite silents - the funny, bubbly, smart It which stars Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno.



The term "it", to describe sex appeal, was coined by the notorious British novelist Elinor Glyn. Ms. Glyn wrote deliciously trashy and extremely scandalous (for the time) romance novels. I have read a batch of them and they are delightful. She was also an extremely shrewd businesswoman who wrote books to keep herself and her husband living well, and moved to Hollywood to pursue an extremely successful career there.

But, anyway, on to the movie. Its protagonist is the spunky, no-nonsense shopgirl Betty Lou Spence (Clara Bow). Her awesomeness catches the eye of the wealthy, reserved owner of her department store, with the rather dated name of Cyrus Waltham Jr. (Antonio Moreno). A courtship full of fun, misunderstandings, and adorableness ensues. She takes him to Coney Island! He rides a streetcar for her!

So, why watch a movie that is over 80 years old? Because it's fun. I laughed out loud at some of the sequences. Because the glimpses into a long-vanished world are fascinating. Because of the heroine. Betty Lou has "it" in spades, but what really drew me how awesome she was. She was warm and real and practical and with a huge temper and optimistic and very strong (there is a subplot with her neighbour's illegitimate baby in which Betty Lou is great). I can't blame Cyrus falling for her because I fell for her myself. It is perhaps anachronistic to call a 1920s movie heroine feminist, but I will. (There are a number of silents which have very strong women in them - see Our Dancing Daughters). She rescues herself, she has strong opinions of right and wrong, she will not put up with wounds to her self-respect even from a man she loves, she stands up for those weaker than herself. Her (and the movie's) views on unmarried mothers (i.e. her neighbor) are incredibly progressive for the time. Basically, she is awesome.

The rest of the cast is second fiddle to Clara Bow but I really liked Antonio Moreno. His looks probably wouldn't make him a movie star today, but he looks like what an attractive wealthy man of the period would love to look like :) And I ended up liking his reserved character, and his chemistry with Clara Bow.

Have a clip from the movie:



Anyway, check it out, it's a delight! The entire movie is on youtube btw.
dangermousie: (Anime: Trigun Vash bero by howdyrockerba)
I have about 600 unanswered comments and I promise to get to them ASAP, but for now I am about to embark on a rewatch of one of my favorite movies of all time - El Cid with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, a grim and larger-than-life epic made in 1961. The story is about a Spanish nobleman and superb fighter (El Cid was a real historical individual) and his fight against corrupt Spanish noblemen, Islamic invaders (while made almost 50 years ago, the movie does distinguish between average/enlightened Muslims and the violent fanatics - it is the latter which El Cid fights and the latter which the native Muslim population itself is portrayed as not keen on. I appreciated the distinction), and anything that is against his unforgiving code of honor, including himself. At his side is his strong, fierce wife Chimene with whom he is locked in a love-hate relationship - she loves him (they were voluntarily engaged) but believes it is her duty to kill him because he fought and killed her father due to an insult to his own father's honor.



El Cid is very long - 3 hours - but I never feel as if I had to look at the clock. It manages to combine tragic romance, heroism and epic battles into an irresistible package. Its three "G"s (gorgeous, glorious, and grim) make me love it the way I love few other epics. Perhaps my love for it stems from my love of Icelandic sagas and Medieval epics - somehow it manages to get the same feel which one would get reading Chanson de Roland or Njal's Saga. It is based on the medieval chronicles about El Cid but it also owes a large debt to Pierre Corneille's famous play (which was my first exposure to the El Cid story).

I love Charlton Heston to bits in general - no man has ever been more suited to be in a larger-than-life epic or to portray unflinching, weary heroism - and he does not disappoint. Next to Ben Hur, this is my favorite role of his. I love El Cid for being an honest-to-goodness hero even as I pity him because his inability to bend or stay silent whenever he perceives anything against his too-rigid code utterly destroys his life. I love Chimene (but have I ever not loved Sophia Loren in anything?) because she is strong and smart and someone who is "allowed" the typically male prerogatives of honor and revenge. The complicated chemistry between El Cid and Chimene burns the screen. I love the weak, complicated King Alfonso and his strong, possibly incestuous sister Urraca. I love the look and feel of the movie.

It's not exactly a feel-good story, perhaps the opposite, but it really is something that emotionally draws me in. The modern movie I can think of that comes closest to the feeling is Kingdom of Heaven, but Balian is both more naive and a lot luckier.

Have a MV:



By the way, is anyone interested if I make old movies a semi-regular feature of this LJ? They have always been one of my loves. I know this LJ is rather drama-centric but in real life, dramas are only one of my many interests, and I'd like to talk about the others too.
dangermousie: (Anime: Trigun Vash bero by howdyrockerba)
I have about 600 unanswered comments and I promise to get to them ASAP, but for now I am about to embark on a rewatch of one of my favorite movies of all time - El Cid with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, a grim and larger-than-life epic made in 1961. The story is about a Spanish nobleman and superb fighter (El Cid was a real historical individual) and his fight against corrupt Spanish noblemen, Islamic invaders (while made almost 50 years ago, the movie does distinguish between average/enlightened Muslims and the violent fanatics - it is the latter which El Cid fights and the latter which the native Muslim population itself is portrayed as not keen on. I appreciated the distinction), and anything that is against his unforgiving code of honor, including himself. At his side is his strong, fierce wife Chimene with whom he is locked in a love-hate relationship - she loves him (they were voluntarily engaged) but believes it is her duty to kill him because he fought and killed her father due to an insult to his own father's honor.



El Cid is very long - 3 hours - but I never feel as if I had to look at the clock. It manages to combine tragic romance, heroism and epic battles into an irresistible package. Its three "G"s (gorgeous, glorious, and grim) make me love it the way I love few other epics. Perhaps my love for it stems from my love of Icelandic sagas and Medieval epics - somehow it manages to get the same feel which one would get reading Chanson de Roland or Njal's Saga. It is based on the medieval chronicles about El Cid but it also owes a large debt to Pierre Corneille's famous play (which was my first exposure to the El Cid story).

I love Charlton Heston to bits in general - no man has ever been more suited to be in a larger-than-life epic or to portray unflinching, weary heroism - and he does not disappoint. Next to Ben Hur, this is my favorite role of his. I love El Cid for being an honest-to-goodness hero even as I pity him because his inability to bend or stay silent whenever he perceives anything against his too-rigid code utterly destroys his life. I love Chimene (but have I ever not loved Sophia Loren in anything?) because she is strong and smart and someone who is "allowed" the typically male prerogatives of honor and revenge. The complicated chemistry between El Cid and Chimene burns the screen. I love the weak, complicated King Alfonso and his strong, possibly incestuous sister Urraca. I love the look and feel of the movie.

It's not exactly a feel-good story, perhaps the opposite, but it really is something that emotionally draws me in. The modern movie I can think of that comes closest to the feeling is Kingdom of Heaven, but Balian is both more naive and a lot luckier.

Have a MV:



By the way, is anyone interested if I make old movies a semi-regular feature of this LJ? They have always been one of my loves. I know this LJ is rather drama-centric but in real life, dramas are only one of my many interests, and I'd like to talk about the others too.
dangermousie: (Anime: Trigun Vash bero by howdyrockerba)
I have about 600 unanswered comments and I promise to get to them ASAP, but for now I am about to embark on a rewatch of one of my favorite movies of all time - El Cid with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, a grim and larger-than-life epic made in 1961. The story is about a Spanish nobleman and superb fighter (El Cid was a real historical individual) and his fight against corrupt Spanish noblemen, Islamic invaders (while made almost 50 years ago, the movie does distinguish between average/enlightened Muslims and the violent fanatics - it is the latter which El Cid fights and the latter which the native Muslim population itself is portrayed as not keen on. I appreciated the distinction), and anything that is against his unforgiving code of honor, including himself. At his side is his strong, fierce wife Chimene with whom he is locked in a love-hate relationship - she loves him (they were voluntarily engaged) but believes it is her duty to kill him because he fought and killed her father due to an insult to his own father's honor.



El Cid is very long - 3 hours - but I never feel as if I had to look at the clock. It manages to combine tragic romance, heroism and epic battles into an irresistible package. Its three "G"s (gorgeous, glorious, and grim) make me love it the way I love few other epics. Perhaps my love for it stems from my love of Icelandic sagas and Medieval epics - somehow it manages to get the same feel which one would get reading Chanson de Roland or Njal's Saga. It is based on the medieval chronicles about El Cid but it also owes a large debt to Pierre Corneille's famous play (which was my first exposure to the El Cid story).

I love Charlton Heston to bits in general - no man has ever been more suited to be in a larger-than-life epic or to portray unflinching, weary heroism - and he does not disappoint. Next to Ben Hur, this is my favorite role of his. I love El Cid for being an honest-to-goodness hero even as I pity him because his inability to bend or stay silent whenever he perceives anything against his too-rigid code utterly destroys his life. I love Chimene (but have I ever not loved Sophia Loren in anything?) because she is strong and smart and someone who is "allowed" the typically male prerogatives of honor and revenge. The complicated chemistry between El Cid and Chimene burns the screen. I love the weak, complicated King Alfonso and his strong, possibly incestuous sister Urraca. I love the look and feel of the movie.

It's not exactly a feel-good story, perhaps the opposite, but it really is something that emotionally draws me in. The modern movie I can think of that comes closest to the feeling is Kingdom of Heaven, but Balian is both more naive and a lot luckier.

Have a MV:



By the way, is anyone interested if I make old movies a semi-regular feature of this LJ? They have always been one of my loves. I know this LJ is rather drama-centric but in real life, dramas are only one of my many interests, and I'd like to talk about the others too.
dangermousie: (Default)
This scene from For Whom the Bell Tolls always makes me cry. Always.



I am not a total Hemingway fangirl but I adore his For Whom the Bell Tolls so. When I had a teeny tiny shelf my freshman year of college and so could only have a few permanent books of my own (as opposed to library ones), it was one of the ones I picked. And the 1943 movie is such a perfect perfect adaptation. And Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as pitch-perfect as Robert and Maria, just the way I have always imagined them. Apparently they got the seal of approval from Hemingway himself.

For some reason what really kills me is that in the context of the novel all that bravery and sacrifice was for nothing - Robert, Maria, the guerillas - historically they are on the losing side.

I always wonder what happened to Maria after the end of the novel.

Oh, and I still get shivers at the "No one has touched you. No one!" line.
dangermousie: (Default)
This scene from For Whom the Bell Tolls always makes me cry. Always.



I am not a total Hemingway fangirl but I adore his For Whom the Bell Tolls so. When I had a teeny tiny shelf my freshman year of college and so could only have a few permanent books of my own (as opposed to library ones), it was one of the ones I picked. And the 1943 movie is such a perfect perfect adaptation. And Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as pitch-perfect as Robert and Maria, just the way I have always imagined them. Apparently they got the seal of approval from Hemingway himself.

For some reason what really kills me is that in the context of the novel all that bravery and sacrifice was for nothing - Robert, Maria, the guerillas - historically they are on the losing side.

I always wonder what happened to Maria after the end of the novel.

Oh, and I still get shivers at the "No one has touched you. No one!" line.
dangermousie: (Default)
This scene from For Whom the Bell Tolls always makes me cry. Always.



I am not a total Hemingway fangirl but I adore his For Whom the Bell Tolls so. When I had a teeny tiny shelf my freshman year of college and so could only have a few permanent books of my own (as opposed to library ones), it was one of the ones I picked. And the 1943 movie is such a perfect perfect adaptation. And Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as pitch-perfect as Robert and Maria, just the way I have always imagined them. Apparently they got the seal of approval from Hemingway himself.

For some reason what really kills me is that in the context of the novel all that bravery and sacrifice was for nothing - Robert, Maria, the guerillas - historically they are on the losing side.

I always wonder what happened to Maria after the end of the novel.

Oh, and I still get shivers at the "No one has touched you. No one!" line.
dangermousie: (BSG: Helo/Athena by lyssie)
When I feel under the weather, I love watching the classic movies to cheer me up. Tonight's choice was the 1939 delight Balalaika, starring Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey.



Balalaika, made by Hollywood from a huge British stage hit of the same name, tells a story straight out of a romance novel (or a kdrama). It starts in 1914, right before the outbreak of World War I. Prince Peter Kuragin, an officer of the cossack corps, and Lydia Marakova, a popolar cafe singer, meet and fall in love. Only, both of them are hiding quite a secret - Peter is pretending to be a voice student while Lydia is secretly an anarchist, plotting the overthrow of the government and full of hatred for aristocrats and the military. That's quite a roadblock in a relationship.

The story is, of course, quite not realistic (and has little in common with real Russia), but it has a lovely melodrama logic. More importantly, both Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey were opera singers before they came to Hollywood and their incredible voices are shown to the best advantage by the movie's to-die-for soundtrack (a mix of opera, folk songs, and musical songs). Lydia falls in love with Peter when she hears him sing the Volga Boatman song (Nelson Eddy sings in in almost-unaccented Russian (!!!!) I was very impressed) and after hearing him, I cannot blame her. (Peter goes from infatuation and lust to proper pure love after hearing her pray to her mother. Ahhhh, romantic cliches).

So, if you want a romantic plot (and don't mind a side of cheese) with some gorgeous music, do check it out. It's on youtube.

Oh, and I have NO idea how the Code let them get away with indicating they spent at least one (or more) nights together pre-marriage. Shock! :P

Here they are singing Carmen:



Here is Nelson Eddy singing the Volga Boatman song. Vid behind cut )

Have a MV: behind cut )
dangermousie: (BSG: Helo/Athena by lyssie)
When I feel under the weather, I love watching the classic movies to cheer me up. Tonight's choice was the 1939 delight Balalaika, starring Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey.



Balalaika, made by Hollywood from a huge British stage hit of the same name, tells a story straight out of a romance novel (or a kdrama). It starts in 1914, right before the outbreak of World War I. Prince Peter Kuragin, an officer of the cossack corps, and Lydia Marakova, a popolar cafe singer, meet and fall in love. Only, both of them are hiding quite a secret - Peter is pretending to be a voice student while Lydia is secretly an anarchist, plotting the overthrow of the government and full of hatred for aristocrats and the military. That's quite a roadblock in a relationship.

The story is, of course, quite not realistic (and has little in common with real Russia), but it has a lovely melodrama logic. More importantly, both Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey were opera singers before they came to Hollywood and their incredible voices are shown to the best advantage by the movie's to-die-for soundtrack (a mix of opera, folk songs, and musical songs). Lydia falls in love with Peter when she hears him sing the Volga Boatman song (Nelson Eddy sings in in almost-unaccented Russian (!!!!) I was very impressed) and after hearing him, I cannot blame her. (Peter goes from infatuation and lust to proper pure love after hearing her pray to her mother. Ahhhh, romantic cliches).

So, if you want a romantic plot (and don't mind a side of cheese) with some gorgeous music, do check it out. It's on youtube.

Oh, and I have NO idea how the Code let them get away with indicating they spent at least one (or more) nights together pre-marriage. Shock! :P

Here they are singing Carmen:



Here is Nelson Eddy singing the Volga Boatman song. Vid behind cut )

Have a MV: behind cut )
dangermousie: (BSG: Helo/Athena by lyssie)
When I feel under the weather, I love watching the classic movies to cheer me up. Tonight's choice was the 1939 delight Balalaika, starring Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey.



Balalaika, made by Hollywood from a huge British stage hit of the same name, tells a story straight out of a romance novel (or a kdrama). It starts in 1914, right before the outbreak of World War I. Prince Peter Kuragin, an officer of the cossack corps, and Lydia Marakova, a popolar cafe singer, meet and fall in love. Only, both of them are hiding quite a secret - Peter is pretending to be a voice student while Lydia is secretly an anarchist, plotting the overthrow of the government and full of hatred for aristocrats and the military. That's quite a roadblock in a relationship.

The story is, of course, quite not realistic (and has little in common with real Russia), but it has a lovely melodrama logic. More importantly, both Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey were opera singers before they came to Hollywood and their incredible voices are shown to the best advantage by the movie's to-die-for soundtrack (a mix of opera, folk songs, and musical songs). Lydia falls in love with Peter when she hears him sing the Volga Boatman song (Nelson Eddy sings in in almost-unaccented Russian (!!!!) I was very impressed) and after hearing him, I cannot blame her. (Peter goes from infatuation and lust to proper pure love after hearing her pray to her mother. Ahhhh, romantic cliches).

So, if you want a romantic plot (and don't mind a side of cheese) with some gorgeous music, do check it out. It's on youtube.

Oh, and I have NO idea how the Code let them get away with indicating they spent at least one (or more) nights together pre-marriage. Shock! :P

Here they are singing Carmen:



Here is Nelson Eddy singing the Volga Boatman song. Vid behind cut )

Have a MV: behind cut )
dangermousie: (Default)
One of my favorite actresses, Jean Simmons, has passed away tonight. She was wonderful in many excellent movies (Elmer Gantry is in my top 10 movies ever) but I think my favorite Jean Simmons moment EVER is this delightful song from Guys and Dolls, in which slightly tipsy Jean gets forward with Marlon Brando.



G&D is actually one of my ultimate feel-good movies and this bit - it's my favorite in the whole movie.
dangermousie: (Default)
One of my favorite actresses, Jean Simmons, has passed away tonight. She was wonderful in many excellent movies (Elmer Gantry is in my top 10 movies ever) but I think my favorite Jean Simmons moment EVER is this delightful song from Guys and Dolls, in which slightly tipsy Jean gets forward with Marlon Brando.



G&D is actually one of my ultimate feel-good movies and this bit - it's my favorite in the whole movie.
dangermousie: (Default)
One of my favorite actresses, Jean Simmons, has passed away tonight. She was wonderful in many excellent movies (Elmer Gantry is in my top 10 movies ever) but I think my favorite Jean Simmons moment EVER is this delightful song from Guys and Dolls, in which slightly tipsy Jean gets forward with Marlon Brando.



G&D is actually one of my ultimate feel-good movies and this bit - it's my favorite in the whole movie.
dangermousie: (Default)
I plan to do a back-to-back watch of 1998 and 2008 adaptations of one of my favorite Victorian novels, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, whose tragic heroine is destroyed both by the sheer brutality of physical survival and the rigid social mores of Victorian England. I am clearly a glutton for punishment but then I like Hardy, so that is not a surprise...

(Yes, I am on a period fiction kick).

Want to hear an unpopular opinion?

I like Angel Clare. Yup, Angel from Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I first read Tess in March 2001 and fell madly in love with the novel. It remains my favorite Thomas Hardy work, because it makes me want to tear out my hair in despair less than his other books.

Tess herself is an incredible heroine - tragic, ground down by life, strong and weak at once, naive, lashing out. It's pretty common to like her.

But liking her husband Angel is not, usually, a popular stance. There are two men who loom large in Tess' life. First is Alec who rapes her (though there is an indication that Tess might have not struggled as much as she could and even 'surrendered' - Hardy does not use it to make Alec's act less reprehensible but to make Tess feel culpable under Victorian, opressive standards - those ridiculous standards are one of the driving points in the book and the root of her tragedy). Second is Angel, who marries her, leaves her on their wedding night in shock after discovering her past (Tess is an unworldly idiot who tells him) because of his likewise Victorian principles, and comes back to her because he loves her and recognizes he was wrong, but it is too late.

I think I like Angel in part because the only time we see Tess truly happy is when she was with him. His reaction is not praiseworthy but not surprising - he is not only a Victorian and a product of his time, but he is unworldly and ridiculously young and a purist, all qualities which the reader could see ten miles off, even if Tess couldn't.

And he comes back to her. In fact, ironically, while he left her because of the fact that she's had sex with another man, sex that wasn't willing (though in the telling of it to him, I am not sure how much Tess emphasized that fact and did not dwell on her 'shameful' surrender) but when he comes back to her, he begs her to come back even though she is now a kept woman. He doesn't seem to care she is a higher class of whore now. Not that she becomes a murderess even. And so I, as a reader, can't help but forgive him - he does make up for it.

Anyway. Apparently I am not the only one - yes. People make Tess/Angel mvs (this is from the excellent BBC adaptation).

They stood fixed, their baffled hearts looking out of their eyes with a joylessness pitiful to see. Both seemed to implore something to shelter them from reality. )
dangermousie: (Default)
I plan to do a back-to-back watch of 1998 and 2008 adaptations of one of my favorite Victorian novels, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, whose tragic heroine is destroyed both by the sheer brutality of physical survival and the rigid social mores of Victorian England. I am clearly a glutton for punishment but then I like Hardy, so that is not a surprise...

(Yes, I am on a period fiction kick).

Want to hear an unpopular opinion?

I like Angel Clare. Yup, Angel from Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I first read Tess in March 2001 and fell madly in love with the novel. It remains my favorite Thomas Hardy work, because it makes me want to tear out my hair in despair less than his other books.

Tess herself is an incredible heroine - tragic, ground down by life, strong and weak at once, naive, lashing out. It's pretty common to like her.

But liking her husband Angel is not, usually, a popular stance. There are two men who loom large in Tess' life. First is Alec who rapes her (though there is an indication that Tess might have not struggled as much as she could and even 'surrendered' - Hardy does not use it to make Alec's act less reprehensible but to make Tess feel culpable under Victorian, opressive standards - those ridiculous standards are one of the driving points in the book and the root of her tragedy). Second is Angel, who marries her, leaves her on their wedding night in shock after discovering her past (Tess is an unworldly idiot who tells him) because of his likewise Victorian principles, and comes back to her because he loves her and recognizes he was wrong, but it is too late.

I think I like Angel in part because the only time we see Tess truly happy is when she was with him. His reaction is not praiseworthy but not surprising - he is not only a Victorian and a product of his time, but he is unworldly and ridiculously young and a purist, all qualities which the reader could see ten miles off, even if Tess couldn't.

And he comes back to her. In fact, ironically, while he left her because of the fact that she's had sex with another man, sex that wasn't willing (though in the telling of it to him, I am not sure how much Tess emphasized that fact and did not dwell on her 'shameful' surrender) but when he comes back to her, he begs her to come back even though she is now a kept woman. He doesn't seem to care she is a higher class of whore now. Not that she becomes a murderess even. And so I, as a reader, can't help but forgive him - he does make up for it.

Anyway. Apparently I am not the only one - yes. People make Tess/Angel mvs (this is from the excellent BBC adaptation).

They stood fixed, their baffled hearts looking out of their eyes with a joylessness pitiful to see. Both seemed to implore something to shelter them from reality. )
dangermousie: (Default)
I plan to do a back-to-back watch of 1998 and 2008 adaptations of one of my favorite Victorian novels, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, whose tragic heroine is destroyed both by the sheer brutality of physical survival and the rigid social mores of Victorian England. I am clearly a glutton for punishment but then I like Hardy, so that is not a surprise...

(Yes, I am on a period fiction kick).

Want to hear an unpopular opinion?

I like Angel Clare. Yup, Angel from Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I first read Tess in March 2001 and fell madly in love with the novel. It remains my favorite Thomas Hardy work, because it makes me want to tear out my hair in despair less than his other books.

Tess herself is an incredible heroine - tragic, ground down by life, strong and weak at once, naive, lashing out. It's pretty common to like her.

But liking her husband Angel is not, usually, a popular stance. There are two men who loom large in Tess' life. First is Alec who rapes her (though there is an indication that Tess might have not struggled as much as she could and even 'surrendered' - Hardy does not use it to make Alec's act less reprehensible but to make Tess feel culpable under Victorian, opressive standards - those ridiculous standards are one of the driving points in the book and the root of her tragedy). Second is Angel, who marries her, leaves her on their wedding night in shock after discovering her past (Tess is an unworldly idiot who tells him) because of his likewise Victorian principles, and comes back to her because he loves her and recognizes he was wrong, but it is too late.

I think I like Angel in part because the only time we see Tess truly happy is when she was with him. His reaction is not praiseworthy but not surprising - he is not only a Victorian and a product of his time, but he is unworldly and ridiculously young and a purist, all qualities which the reader could see ten miles off, even if Tess couldn't.

And he comes back to her. In fact, ironically, while he left her because of the fact that she's had sex with another man, sex that wasn't willing (though in the telling of it to him, I am not sure how much Tess emphasized that fact and did not dwell on her 'shameful' surrender) but when he comes back to her, he begs her to come back even though she is now a kept woman. He doesn't seem to care she is a higher class of whore now. Not that she becomes a murderess even. And so I, as a reader, can't help but forgive him - he does make up for it.

Anyway. Apparently I am not the only one - yes. People make Tess/Angel mvs (this is from the excellent BBC adaptation).

They stood fixed, their baffled hearts looking out of their eyes with a joylessness pitiful to see. Both seemed to implore something to shelter them from reality. )
dangermousie: (Default)
Yes, I am on a classic movie kick.

Sometimes when I look at how lush some 1930s movies were with their fancy elegant gowns and gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, it is almost a physical pleasure...

I mean, look at this:



These are Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor in Lady of the Tropics, a doomed romance set in Vietnam the way only MGM made it look (any resemblance to real Vietnam is surely non-existent). Robert Taylor is an American on tour who falls madly in love with the gorgeous Hedy Lamarr (and who could blame him). However, *gasp* Hedy is a half-blood, with a white father and a Vietnamese mother - she and others like her are ostracized by the prejudiced European society (this movie is unintentionally quite telling about matter-of-fact and prevalent racism of the time). Nobody would blame Taylor for a fling but when he goes and marries her, this is clearly taking things too far! The lovebirds soon find that not only can they not live on love alone (nobody will hire Taylor now because he married a non-white woman who also used to be *gasp* someone else's mistress) but even Taylor's application for a passport for his wife so they can go back to America is stalled. For his own good, of course. *gag* Bad things happen. Really really bad things. It's all angsty and romantic and wonderfully tragic, but permit me to note that at the end, Hedy is dead (and Taylor inconsolable) thus puttting an end to plainly icky interracial cooties. To have a successful and viable interracial relationship in a 1930s movie was plainly impossible - it could show the love as true and other people bigoted, but that was as far as a movie of the time was willing to go.

A few more gorgeous stills )

Another glossy and delicious melodrama (decidedly undoomed, as it came from Pre-Code days) is the Joan Crawford/Clark Gable bonbon Possessed.



Just look at her dress. *weeps in envy and desire*

Even the title is somewhat provocative, invoking, rightly, carnal desires and kept women. Joan plays a small town girl with big dreams, who will do anything to get out of the slums and a hard life with a dull boyfriend. Cue her going to a big city armed with nothing but her stunning looks and her confidence. It is there she meets the upper-class Clark Gable. No nonsense and secure in what she wants, she offers to be his mistress in exchange for comforts of life. Since it's Joan Crawford decades before wire hangers (she really used to be gorgeous!) he readily accepts. Since it's Clark Gable, she finds herself in love with him. But can his political career survive the scandal of having a mistress? Will he be insane enough to propose to a low-class kept woman? Will they try to outsacrifice each other in delicious emo melodrama? You bet. I have read some hilarious comments on this movie which boiled down to 'every Depression-era woman would love to be so possessed - shamed by having to make out with Clark Gable who showers her with jewels.' Too true.

A few gorgeous gorgeous stills )

Is it any wonder I love kdramas - just look at the plots of these!

(Possessed is available on DVD and LoT is not. TCM plays it occasionally though).

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dangermousie

November 2012

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