What a Character! Blogathon 2014: Wallace Shawn

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This post is my contribution to the What a Character! Blogathon 2014, sponsored by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken & Freckled, and Paula’s Cinema Club.

Yes, I’m going to do it.

I’m going to name drop.

One reason I chose Wallace “Wally” Shawn as my subject for this blogathon is because I had the opportunity to meet him many years ago. This was well before he became such a ubiquitous presence in movies and on television. I worked for the company that owned the theater that played My Dinner with Andre, his first major film success, for over a year in New York City.

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The British Empire in Film Blogathon: Young Winston (1972)

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This post is my contribution to The British Empire in Film Blogathon, hosted by The Stalking Moon and Phantom Empires.

The 1972 film Young Winston is based on Winston Churchill’s book My Early Life. A fan of the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, Churchill himself suggested to the producer Carl Foreman that his book would make an excellent film.

It took more than a decade, but Foreman eventually made the film (he wrote as well as produced it). He offered both directorial duties and the role of Lord Randolph Churchill to Richard Attenborough, who had previously directed only one other feature film (Oh! What a Lovely War). He declined the acting role, but agreed to direct the film.

Played as a young adult by Simon Ward, Churchill’s life is covered from the age of seven to his first election to the House of Commons. It moves back and forth in time, opening with his first sojourn to India as a war correspondent and his initial taste of battle. Then it flashes back to his arrival at school with his mother Lady Randolph (Anne Bancroft). It later covers his experiences in the Sudan and South Africa during the Boer War.

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Fairy Tale Blogathon: Fractured Fairy Tales (1959 – 1964)

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This post is Part 2 of my contribution to the Fairy Tale Blogathon, hosted by  Movies Silently.

Fractured Fairy Tales was a regular animated segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. (Do a search on Youtube. Many are available to watch for free.) The tales were narrated by Edward Everett Horton and voiced by June Foray (who also voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale), Bill Scott, Paul Frees and Dawes Butler.

When I was a little kid, I would watch Rocky and Bullwinkle now and then but never liked it. I guess because it was animated, network executives thought it was for children, so they would program it with other children’s shows and cartoons. It took me a while to figure out it really was for adults. The Rocky and Bullwinkle segments were a dead-on satire of Cold War politics. I had to grow up to get the jokes.

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Fairy Tale Blogathon: Once Upon a Mattress (2005)

FRONT ROW: DENIS O'HARE, TRACEY ULLMAN, CAROL BURNETT, EDWARD HIBBERTBACK ROW: ZOOEY DESCHANEL, MATTHEW MORRISON, TOM SMOTHERS, MICHAEL BOATMAN

This post is Part 1 of my contribution to the Fairy Tale Blogathon, hosted by  Movies Silently.

For the past couple of years I’ve been writing fractured fairy tales, so when Fritzi at Movies Silently announced the Fairy Tale blogathon, of course I had to have fairy tales of the fractured variety as my subject!

(Shameless plug: you can read two of my fractured fairy tales in the anthology Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After.)

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Boardwalk Empire Season 5 Finale: To Get to the End, Go Back to the Beginning

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The series finale of Boardwalk Empire was broadcast last Sunday, and I’m still reeling from its near-perfection.

As I mentioned in my post last year about the Season 4 finale, this show has never been a critic’s darling, or a pop culture phenomenon like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. I also mentioned last year that it stood apart from other anti-hero television series because its anti-hero was one of the least interesting characters in the story.

What a difference a year makes.

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Book Release Day: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After

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Happy Halloween and Happy Book Release Day for Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After!

Blurb: When it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

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Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Crossing the First Threshold

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This is Part 4 of my series on monomyth, or the hero’s journey.

1. Crossing the first threshold is the transition from Act 1 to Act 2 of your story.

Up to this point, your hero is still connected to her ordinary world. In many models of mythic structure, the first part of the story is referred to as “separation,” the second “initiation” and the third “return.” Crossing the threshold is the final separation from everything that is familiar to the hero and begins her initiation into a new world–the world of the adventure.

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Stage to Screen Blogathon: The Heiress (1949)

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This post is part of the Stage to Screen Blogathon, hosted by Rachel’s Theatre Reviews and The Rosebud Cinema.

The 1949 film The Heiress is an adaptation of the 1947 play of the same name by Augustus and Ruth Goetz, which in turn is an adaptation of the 1880 novella Washington Square by Henry James. The novella was inspired by a story told to James by an actress named Fanny Kemble, about her brother’s courtship of a dull but very rich young woman. While Washington Square remains to this day one of James’ most popular works, James himself disliked it.

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Cover Reveal: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After

Last year I took part in Project REUTSway, a writing competition that had writers twist classic fairy tales with horror elements. Two of my stories–”Earlobe” and “Deadman’s Ball”–were chosen for an anthology entitled Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After. Today is the cover reveal!

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Blurb: When it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

Release Date: October 31, 2014

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Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon: Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez

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This post is part of the Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon, hosted by Once Upon a Screen and Movie Star Makeover.

When I first chose director, writer, and actor Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez as my topic for this blogathon, I had no idea he had a life as dramatic as one of his own films.

The reason I chose him was based solely on the movies he directed during The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (Epoca de Oro) which began in the 1930s with the first Mexican talkie, Santa (1931) and lasted until about the mid-1950s.

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O Canada Blogathon: The Grey Fox (1982)

greyfoxposterThis post is part of the O Canada Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy.

When Kristina and Ruth first announced a blogathon devoted to Canadian film, my initial thought was “The Grey Fox.” This revisionist Western, starring Richard Farnsworth and based on the real-life outlaw Bill Miner, is one of my favorites of the genre.

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A TV Adaptation of Your Favorite Book is in the Works! Time to Panic!

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This past week, two TV projects based on books were announced:

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars), is in development at basic cable channel Spike.

Stephen King’s time-travel novel, 11/22/63, is in development at the streaming service Hulu TV.

May I take a moment to express how much I love these books?

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The Illogical Protagonist and Why Your Story Needs One

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In the movie The Godfather, two characters in the opening scenes are presented as possible protagonists:

Vito Corleone, the presumptive title character, who from the first scene is shown as the powerful head of a Mafia family.

Sonny Corleone, his hot-headed son, has been groomed as his father’s successor and loves the Mafia life.

On the surface, both seem a logical choice as protagonist of the story. They are the ones who fit into the world of the story, who want to prevail in it. In the beginning, it’s easy to assume that the story will be primarily about one of them.

Then we are introduced to Vito’s youngest son, Michael.

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