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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Period Film Quotes Game {February 6th}


It's been awhile since we've had a quote game and I had lots of fun choosing quotes for this game! Hopefully these aren't very difficult to guess. Have fun!

To Play: Read the quotes below and guess the period film and the names of the characters who said them in the films. I'll respond with your score. Answers will be posted next weekend.

Scoring: One point for every correctly guessed period film and character. A total of 21 points can be earned.


Period Film Quotes

Quote #1
Character 1: It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language chiefly made by men to express theirs.

Quote #2
Character 1: I have lived a full life here. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been excluded from every glimpse that is bright. I have known you, Mr. Rochester and it strikes me with anguish to be torn from you.

Quote #3
Character 1: I have seen a great many things. I have attended all the world's worst disasters, and worked for the greatest of villains. And I've seen the greatest wonders. But it's still like I said it was: no one lives forever.

Quote #4
Character 1: Exceptional children are often the product of unremarkable parents.

Quote #5
Character 1: I must say, though, the worst of Bath is the number of plain women. I frequently observe that one pretty face would be followed by five and thirty frights.

Quote #6
Character 1: You think if you shake me hard enough something profound with come out, but I assure you, I am profoundly shallow.

Quote #7
Character 1: Did he tell you that he loved you?
Character 2: Yes. No. Never absolutely. It was everyday implied but never declared.

Quote #8
Character 1: It is not pleasant for me to say these things, but I must tell you the truth while I still can, proving myself your friend by the most faithful counsel, trusting that sometime you will do my faith in you greater justice that you do it now.

Quote #9
Character 1: You talk easily of hours, sir. How long do you think an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?

Quote #10
Character 1: A mother's love holds fast and forever. A girl's love is like a puff of smoke - it changes with every wind.

~*~

Happy guessing!




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)

This is my second film review for the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge that I'm hosting and is also a film that I've been meaning to review since I went to see it in the movie theater back in Spring 2015.
Thomas Hardy adaptations usually aren't on my list of "must see" period dramas but Far From The Madding Crowd (2015) was on that list mostly because of actress Carey Mulligan and the lovely trailers released that featured her singing a lovely old English ballad.
Watching it on the big screen was a wonderful feast for the senses and had me eating up every moment of this 119 minute film.
 I really enjoyed this film and with just a couple scenes skipped over it is a timeless tale appropriate for teens and adults.
Far From The Madding Crown (2015) is a new favorite of mine because of it's lovely music, incredible scenery, gorgeous costumes, wonderful actors, strong characters and engaging story.


Story: The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy, a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous landowner and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance. - Written by Fox Searchlight



Costumes: At the beginning of the film it states that the events are supposed to happen in Dorset, England during the 1870's so I did some research on styles from that time period and discovered that particularly the ladies styles range from 1870-1890 sometimes using things that are a little bit before the time period. I really love the wardrobe designed for Bathsheba Everdene, all of her outfits and hairstyles are gorgeous and although her gowns are sometimes ahead of the fashions of the day and sometimes lean more towards the early 1900's I find that the lack of lace, bustles and off the shoulder gowns really suit the character's independent spirit and landowner status very well. It's interesting that Seargant Troy is also given a mustache and long sideburns, two very popular things (and I believe started to be a requirement) for soldiers during that time period. Overall the costumes may not be quite right for the time period but they suit each character perfectly!


Scenery: Scenes are shot on location mostly in Dorset, England but also in the counties of Somerset, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. There's a nice little list at IMDb that tells where most of the places in the film were shot. The scenery is gorgeous and really showcases the farming life at that time period, the ruggedness of the open country and how farmers live by the weather. I particularly like the Winter time and Harvest time scenes that are shown. The houses are lovely, particularly Mr. Boldwood's house is so grand inside and out! The cinematography is a feast for the eyes!


Music: Perfectly lovely background theme music, composed by Craig Armstrong, that captures the wildness of the heroine and the scenery. That is also mingled well with traditional sounding dances and country ballads. My favorite song in the film is the song sung by Bathsheba and Mr. Boldwood at a harvest dinner, their voices blend so well together! This song (Let No Man Steal Your Thyme) is also played at the end of the film and I not only had to stay and listen to the whole thing but sung it over to myself in the car while I was driving home! The tune is very catch and rather haunting in a way!


Questionable Content: This film is rated PG-13, mostly for some brief sexual content. Basically there are two scenes that are the culprits. Firstly when Sergeant Troy is on the screen there is a lot of sensual undertones. When Troy first kisses Bathsheba he touches her inappropriately through her clothes. Later when they are married it briefly shows the beginning of their wedding night and the next morning. At their wedding celebration Troy and some of the men that work for Bathsheba get a little drunk and rowdy and start singing a rather lewd song whereupon the ladies leave the room, this scene isn't bad since it's intertwined with Gabriel saving the freshly cut hay from a thunder storm. There is also a little violence at the end, not really very gory but it is completely unexpected (unless you know the story) so it could be a bit traumatic for some viewers.


Actors & Characters: There are one or two recognizable faces and some wonderful actors who I'd never seen before. The cast is so well chosen and perfect for this film!

  • Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene - The bold and fiercely independent heroine of the story, she has good business sense and makes a success of the farm she inherits from her uncle. Although she is smart in the business realm, she makes many blunders in matters of the heart, but then it is difficult with three suitors after her hand. Even though she sometimes makes very hasty and wrong decisions, I found it easy to understand her and sympathize with her troubles. She's very human and flawed character, but does learn from her mistakes. You'll know actress Carey Mulligan from Pride & Prejudice (2005), Bleak House (2006), Northanger Abbey (2007), Doctor Who: Blink and The Great Gatsby (2013) and it's lovely to see her take the leading role in another period drama!  
  • Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak - Hardworking farmer, honest, gentlemanly and always does what is right, but is often unlucky in business. He knows what he wants and asks for Bathsheba's hard in marriage after not knowing her very long. Later when he falls on hard times he is employed as a shepherd on Bathsheba's farm and becomes her friends and adviser. Gabriel is an amazing character and sometimes you only hold out hope for Bathsheba because you know he loves her so much. It is nice that his love for her is constant but he's not going to spend his days pining for her when she doesn't love him back. Matthias is a Belgian actor who has been in some period set films but this is the first time I've seen him in a film, he does such an amazing job portraying the strong, silent type hero Gabriel Oak! 
  • Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Francis Troy - What can I say about Sergeant Troy except errrr! and ugh! He is very much like George Wickham (P&P), John Willoughby (S&S) and Henry Crawford (Mansfield Park) all rolled into one with a little bit of Marius Pontmercy's (Les Miserables) youthful impetuous nature. From the moment he enters Bathsheba's world I found myself screaming (inwardly, I was in a movie theater after all!) "no, no, no!" at the both of them. He's a very smooth operator and you can tell that every flattering and blunt statement he says to Bathsheba have been used on other girls, she can even tell this and yet she falls for him hard and fast. And yet you can see that Sergeant Troy does have a heart in there somewhere because of the love that is shown for Fanny Robbin. Actor Tom Sturridge has been in a couple other period set films but nothing I'd recommend. He played the part of Troy perfectly making him a character viewers will love to hate!
  • Michael Sheen as William Boldwood - At first he seems like a very reserved and prideful character, but you soon learn he's just protecting a very fragile heart that's been wounded before. He's an extremely sad character and a few of his scenes made me cry more than any other part of the film and make him one of my favorite parts of this story! He does give his heart completely and it's rather incredible the extent his love for Bathsheba is shown and the sacrifices he makes. On the other hand it is sad that he never really seems to truly understand what Bathsheba needs or wants, and maybe never really cherishes her independent spirit. As Bathsheba says "I hold that many's life in my hands, his sanity too perhaps." I've never seen actor Michael Sheen in anything else but he has been in a few other period set films. I really enjoyed his performance in this film and loved hearing his smooth Welsh voice singing along with Carey Mulligan on one of the main songs.  
  • Juno Temple as Fanny Robbin - Sergeant Troy's young innocent sweetheart who was also a servant at Bathsheba's uncle's farm. Through a mistake they end up in different churches on the day they are to be married and she has a rather tragic end. Such a sad figure, common in Thomas Hardy stories. I've seen Juno Temple in a few period films and she was perfectly tragic in this one.
  • Jessica Barden as Liddy - Bathsheba's mischievous young companion / ladies maid who she brings under her wing. Liddy is a very fun character because she is high spirited and enjoys teasing the young men but she sometimes get's Bathsheba into trouble by encouraging childish behavior. 


My Thoughts: I've never read the book so I'm not sure how this film measures up but I do know that it is quite condensed compared to the 1998 miniseries. This film reminds me of Jane Eyre (2012) in that it is on the shorter side presenting a more condensed and slightly romanticized version of the story with lovely music, scenery and costumes. I do pretty much love everything about this film, it's slightly odd because in general I prefer the more tight laced Jane Austen adaptations but this period drama just has so many feasts for the senses and a bittersweet tale that captured my heart right away. I've seen Far From The Madding Crowd (2015) about four times already and don't find myself getting tired of it yet so it's definitely going on my favorites list!


My Recommendations: Because this film is rated PG-13 for "some sexuality and violence" it's not recommended for younger kids but teens and adults will probably fine and the couple "bad" scenes can easily be skipped. I really enjoyed this film but those who prefer sweeter and more stayed period dramas such as Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell adaptations might not like this very much. But if you enjoyed films such as Under The Greenwood Tree, Far From The Madding Crowd (1998), Jane Eyre (2012), Great Expectations (2011), Lark Rise To Candleford (TV series), Middlemarch (1994) or Daniel Deronda (2002) then you will probably enjoy Far From The Madding Crowd (2015).


Have you seen Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)? What did you think of it?

Was this review helpful?




Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Period Drama Challenge Recap & Tag Questions


As the part of the 2016 Period Drama Challenge at the end of each month I'll be posting a list of the participants, reviews for that month and give you some tag questions to answer. 

 So far there have been 27 comments on the Period Drama Challenge post. 15 people have said they will be participating in the challenge. From those participants links to 12 film reviews have been left in the comments.

 If you haven't left the links to your period drama film reviews from January on the original post go and do it now or comment here! :) 

 And if you haven't entered the 2016 Period Drama Challenge there's still plenty of time to do so!


15 Participants:
Rose of An Old Fashioned Girl - 10 films
Heidi of Along The Brandywine - 5 films (may do more)
Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy - 12-15 films
Tom of Motion Picture Gems - 8 films
Birdie of Lady of the Manor - 8 films
Lois Johnson - 8 films
 Éowyn of High Noon - 5 films
Faith of Just Way Too Boss - 5 films
Abby P of Lavender Spring - 5 films
Catherine of Based On The Book - 5 films
Mary Horton of Sunshine and Scribblings - 5 films
Carissa Horton of Musings Of An Introvert - 10 films
Jenelle Schmidt of JenelleSchmidt.com - ? films
Jayne M of Adventures At Tiny Toadstool - 12-15 films
Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm - 12-15 films


12 Reviews:
First Love (1939) by Éowyn of High Noon
Banished by Jayne M of Adventures At Tiny Toadstool
The Water Diviner by Jayne M of Adventure At Tiny Toadstool
Cinderella (1914) by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy
We're No Angels (1955) by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy
Oliver Twist (1997) by Carissa Horton of Musings Of An Introvert
Call The Midwife by Catherine of Based On The Book
Cinderella (2015) by Heidi of Along The Brandywine
The Inheritance (1997) by Éowyn of High Noon 
Beyond The Mask by Carissa Horton of Musings Of An Introvert
Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World by Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm


 January Tag Questions: 
(Answer here in the comments or on your blog)
1. What period dramas did you view in January?
2. What is your favorite Charles Dickens film adaptation?
3. Would you rather visit Pemberley (Mr. Darcy's residence) or Downton Abbey (Crawley family residence)? Why?
4. If you could be any character in a Jane Austen novel for a whole day who would you be and why would you want to be that character?
5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in February 2016?





Saturday, January 23, 2016

Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World (2003)

This is one of those films that has been on my "to review" list for quite awhile now and I'm finally getting around to finishing this review as part of the 2016 Period Drama Challenge.

Before viewing Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World for the first time, I had debated watching it. I'm not a huge fan of "war films" and wasn't sure weather the content was appropriate. After reading a brief snipet on one of my favorite Jane Austen blogs that likened the hero Captain Jack Aubrey to Captain Wentworth of Persuasion I knew that I had to watch this film for myself.

What I found was a lovely tale, simply told, that takes place all at sea (with a brief jaunt across a deserted island). A film that swells the heart with fervor for the British navy and left me repeating Louisa Musgrove's words from Persuasion (1995): "I do admire the navy. These men have more worth than any other set of men in England!"


Story: During the Napoleonic War the navy represented England in the seas. Captain Jack Aubrey runs a tight ship, but when they meet up with the French ship The Acheron in the fog they are beaten badly. Captain Aubrey decides to follow chase, but the longer they sail the more his ship and crew fall apart physically and emotionally. Will they survive as heroes or die with no one to mourn?




Music: In the dramatic opening, scenes that show what life on board shop is like, music is used sparingly and this is very well done because you also get to hear the sounds of the ship. As the film progresses more music is heard, simple and fitting the Regency era. Captain Aubrey and Doctor Maturin play the violin and cello together in the evenings, mostly classical pieces like Mozart and Bach, but they sometimes break into more folk-like music. The crew often sings sea-shanties to raise their spirits and those are such good fun and show off the actors voices. Overall the music is wonderfully period appropriate and suits each scene perfectly.



Scenes: Shows the closeness of the ship but without seeming overly crowded. Horizons at sea are gorgeous. As they sail through South America they land on a small island with rocky terrain but the views are still remarkable.



Costumes: No fine Regency costumes are needed here since most all of the film is about sailors out to sea. The sailors' uniforms are well made and fit well, down to the youngest midshipman. No spotless sailors here, their uniforms and other clothing articles get wet, sweaty, dirty, bloody and all the rest like real clothing would have.


Language: Even for sailors their language is mostly clean and there is little swearing. The worst I hear was by a sailor they picked in a rowboat he does use the F word once briefly and I probably caught it because I had the subtitles on. There might have been a couple sh--s and da--s but I can't recall. Speech is mostly Regency era appropriate and fun to hear orders and such being given and sounding in every day use.



Inappropriate Content: Sailors might have a bad reputation when on land, but even pirates of their era were expected to behave with honor and under certain rules on board ship. No women are ever on board The Surprise and no sexual content is in this film. There is some drinking shown and spirits are high due to that but nothing lewd is shown or mentioned.


Violence: Scenes of war aboard ship are shown. Exploding cannons that destroy ship and wood, attacks from enemy ship, charging another ship, fighting with swords and clubs, a sailor receives lashes, sailors are injured, one young man has to have a limb removed, other men die through injury or being lost at sea, some vomit during rough seas and one man removes a bullet from his own gut but nothing too gross is shown. Overall not a lot of blood is shown and the Captain and crew are not brutal.



Familiar Actors: Many familiar actors from BBC period dramas do a fantastic job in their roles. Several actors have played sailors in other films or portrayed other Regency era characters. These are a few I recognized:
  • Russell Crowe as Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey - Also in Robin Hood (2010), Les Miserables (2012).
  • Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin, Surgeon - Also in David Copperfield (2000),  A Knight's Tale, The Young Victoria
  • James D'Arcy as 1st Lt. Tom Pullings - Also in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (2001), Poirot: The Mystery of the Blue Train, Marple: The Moving Finger, Mansfield Park (2007), The Making of a Lady.
  • Lee Ingleby as Hollom, Midshipman - Also in Ever After, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (2001), Marple: Nemesis.
  • Robert Pugh as Mr. Allen, Master - The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Marple: A Murder Is Announced, Bleak House, Poirot Cards On the Table, Lark Rise To Candleford, Robin Hood (TV series), Robin Hood (2010), Doctor Who, The Hollow Crown.
  • Richard McCabe as Mr. Higgins, Surgeon's Mate - Persuasion (1995), Foyle's War (TV series), Vanity Fair (2004), Jane Eyre (2006), Cinderella (2015).
  • Billy Boyd  as Barrett Bonden, Coxswain - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy


"Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth into raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy: their friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness; protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved." - Chapter 11, Persuasion by Jane Austen

My Thoughts: Jane Austen's Persuasion is one of my favorite novels and Persuasion (1995) is one of my favorite period dramas of all time and this film really fits in with that story. Master and Commander show the nobleness and adventures of naval officers during the Napoleonic war, such as those experienced by Captain Wentworth, Admiral Croft, William Price or even Jane Austen's own brothers Francis and Charles Austen. Similar to the Horatio Hornblower films but with even less violence and questionable content. Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World is definitely a new favorite period film in the Regency era and one that I would watch side by side with Persuasion film adaptations.


Recommendations: Rated PG-13 mostly for some military violence and brief language (most barely audible). I wouldn't recommend this for younger viewers but for teenagers on up it is quite alright. If you like the Horatio Hornblower films, Persuasion adaptations, Poldark (TV series) or military films in general you will probably enjoy this film.

Have you seen Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World?

Was this review helpful?




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Period Drama Actor: Alan Rickman


Last week we lost a very talented actor who portrayed a wide variety of characters in his 69 years. Every Janeite or Period Drama fan will easily recognize our own dear Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility (1995). Here's a look at some of those roles and a bit about the actor's life and some quotes.

Interesting Facts:
Full Name: Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman
Height: 6' 1"
Born: 21 February 1946, Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Married To: Rima Horton, who he met in college in 1965. Alan once said: "She's incredibly tolerant. Unbelievably tolerant. Possibly a candidate for sainthood."

Short Bio: Parents are Bernard Rickman and Margaret Doreen Rose. Has English, Irish and Welsh ancestry. Before becoming an actor, he studied graphic design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and at the Royal College of Art, forming a successful graphic design company, Graphiti, with several friends. He didn't start acting until he was twenty-eight year old. During his time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he worked as a dresser for actors. Called stage acting his "first love" and often took breaks from film and television to preform in plays. Lost his short but difficult battle with cancer on 14 January 2016.

Personal Quotes:
"I do take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously."

"I approach every part I'm asked to do and decide to do from exactly the same angle: who is this person, what does he want, how does he attempt to get it, and what happens to him when he doesn't get it, or if he does?"

"I don't play villains, I play very interesting people."


~*~

A Few Of His Roles:


Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet (1978 TV Movie)
One of Mr. Rickman's first television roles was as Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet. He looked so young! I tried to find a video clip but alas there are none available on YouTube.

~*~


Obadiah Slope in The Barchester Chronicles (1982 TV Mini-Series) 
Besides Sense and Sensibility (1995) this has to be my second favorite of Mr. Rickman's period drama roles. Obadiah is a slick operator with a pious air who at once makes the viewer laugh and cringe! Below is a few funny scenes that a YouTuber put into a video, the last one with Obadiah falling flat on his behind always makes me laugh!


~*~


Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
I don't really recommend this film but this rather odd version of the classic Robin Hood story is proof positive that Alan Rickman was excellent at portraying bad guys! An interesting happening in this film sees Alan Rickman acting alongside Geraldine McEwan for the second time, the first time being in The Barchester Chronicles.

~*~


Colonel Christopher Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
This is definitely my most favorite role that Mr. Rickman has taken on. In this film he perfectly captured the kind, gentle and passionate nature of the mature army colonel who finds true love with the passionate Marianne Dashwood. When I think of this adaptation some of the loveliest scenes that come to mind include Colonel Brandon showing his true love for Marianne by putting her needs and the needs of her family above his own needs. Below is a clip of my most favorite Colonel Brandon scene where he reads a poem from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene to Marianne.



My heart melts into a puddle after viewing this scene! Yes, Alan Rickman is definitely my favoritest Colonel Brandon of all time! And I for one don't mind in the least that Emma Thompson made up a first name for this Jane Austen hero, there is something handsome in the sound of Christopher Brandon! Also check out this short interview from the set of the film.

~*~


A few other roles:
  • Voice of Blue Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland (2010) & Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
  • Professor Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter films (I've never seen them myself but it's one of his best known roles)
  • Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest (an oddball sci-fi flick where he plays an alien)
  • Voice of Marvin the depressed robot in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (alongside Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy!)

~*~


His Voice
One of the most interesting and lovely things about Alan Rickman was his unique voice. Here's a recording of him reading Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 in his rich smooth voice (or "dark foreboding tones" as Anne Shirley might say).


~*~


So here's to the incredible Mr. Alan Rickman. You dear sir will be sadly missed. Below is a video clip that made me tear up when I watched it because while writing this post I felt like Marianne in the scene. Thank you our Colonel Brandon! You were a true gem and will never be forgotten.


~*~


What is your favorite Alan Rickman role?

How many of these films have you viewed?



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