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 Continue reading

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? Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Meeting with the Mentor

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This is Part 3 in my series on mythic structure, or the hero’s journey.

1. Even though this stage of the journey is positioned after The Call to Adventure and The Refusal of the Call, the Meeting with the Mentor can happen at any point in the story.

It is common for the hero to meet their mentor figure at some point during the first act (first third or so of the story) but there is no restriction on when the hero can meet her mentor for the first time. Dorothy doesn’t meet Glinda until after she crosses the first threshold (enters Oz). Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, on the other hand, meets swordmaster Syrio Forel before she crosses her first threshold (escapes King’s Landing in the guise of a boy). Continue reading

WWI in Classic Film — South: Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic

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This post is part of the WORLD WAR ONE IN CLASSIC FILM Blogathon hosted by Movies, Silently and Silent-ology. Click HERE to see posts by other participants.

Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which was supposed to be the first to traverse the continent of Antarctica, is one of the great survival stories of all time. It shares a close anniversary with Great Britain’s declaration of war against Germany at the beginning of World War I. The expedition ship, Endurance, set sail from London on August 1, 1914. War was declared on August 4. After discussing it with his men, Shackleton offered the ship, supplies, and men to the war effort.

He received a telegram from the Admiralty with a one word message: “Proceed.” Continue reading

The 1984 Blogathon – Irreconcilable Differences

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This review is a contribution to Todd Liebenow’s 1984 Blogathon at Forgotten Films.

I think I was the last person to join Todd’s 1984 blogathon. 1984 saw a remarkable number of classic/terrific/good films, but they were already snapped up by other bloggers. When I went through the very short list of films that were still available, Irreconcilable Differences immediately jumped out at me. It’s one of those movies where the sum of its parts is far greater than the whole. Some of those parts I truly love. The others–not quite as much. But I still find myself watching it whenever it appears on TV.

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The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

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I recently started watching the new TV series Outlander, based on the popular books by Diana Gabaldon. I have never read the books. The series sounded like something I might enjoy, about a woman who time-travels to 18th Century Scotland.

After watching two episodes, I’m already done with it.

I see people raving about the show on Twitter and other social media. Like Charlie Brown, I don’t know how to argue with success. Something is resonating with many viewers, and I don’t mind that they are enjoying it.

But to me it’s a major disappointment. It made me think of how the term “strong female character” is so often misconstrued. Continue reading

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Call to Adventure & Refusal of the Call

harrypotterletter2This is Part 2 in my series on mythic structure, or the hero’s journey. I am combining the next two stages of the hero’s adventure, The Call to Adventure and Refusal of the Call, because they are so closely connected.

1. The call to adventure is issued by the herald archetype. This may be personified in a character i.e. Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games, the Tarleton brothers in Gone with the Wind, the droids in Star Wars: A New Hope. Or a herald can be an item such as the letter from Hogwarts in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, the dead body washed up on the beach in Jaws, or the burning bush in The Prince of Egypt. (For more on the herald archetype, please check out my previous article on the subject.) Continue reading

7 Tips For Creating Memorable Characters

Debbie:

Had a mishap in the kitchen this weekend and am nursing a mild burn, so I didn’t get around to writing a blog post. I’m reblogging this oldie. Hope you enjoy!

Originally posted on MOON IN GEMINI:

1. Don’t become over-dependent on character charts. I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of character charts. I don’t think a lot of the information on them is necessary for creating (or for a writer “getting a grip” on) characters. No one cares how many freckles or moles your character has, or what the character’s favorite flavor of ice cream is, or that the dog they had when they were growing up was a poodle named Muffy, or what job they had when they were 17, unless a detail like that is critical to the story.

The worst thing about character charts is some people fill them out and think they’re done creating their characters.

If you feel that character charts are helpful, by all means, use them. Just realize when you finish one that you’re not done, you’ve only just begun.

2. That said, details are important.  Without…

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The British Invaders Blogathon: The 1960s Royal Costume Dramas

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This post is part of the British Invaders Blogathon hosted by Terry Towles Canote at A Shroud of Thoughts. Click HERE for a list of all the entries!

When I was a kid, my mother rarely took me to see children’s movies. Partly because at the time (the late 1960s) there weren’t that many children’s movies made, partly because, well, she just didn’t like sitting through children’s movies.

So I was taken to see grown-up movies from a very young age. My mother has always been interested in history, and loved the royal costume dramas coming out of Great Britain at the time. She imparted this love to me. Continue reading