Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Return with the Elixir

This is the 11th and final post in my series on mythic structure, or monomyth.

1. After being reborn and purified through a resurrection experience, our hero finally returns from the Extraordinary World.

The journey has ended. The circle is complete. The hero has, in some sense, returned to the point where she started.

2. It is not unusual for heroes to find themselves waking up in the Ordinary World after their adventure in the Extraordinary World. Continue reading “Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Return with the Elixir”


2015 TV Shows I Was Looking Forward To – How’d They Do?

Late last year I wrote about some television shows I was looking forward to in 2015. Most on the list have already been broadcast, so I thought it was a good time for a review before the official start of the 2015 Fall season. (Does that even have meaning anymore? Shows debut every period of the year. Oh, well, another topic for another day.) Continue reading “2015 TV Shows I Was Looking Forward To – How’d They Do?”


The Sublime Chaos of What’s Up Doc? (1972)

This post is part of the See You in the Fall Blogathon, hosted by Steve at MovieMovieBlogBlog. See the rest of the entries for this event HERE!

I have had some pretty intense arguments with other film fans about the value of physical comedy, especially in film.

Seriously. Like, knock-down, drag-out fights. (Well, no fists flew, but maybe there was some shouting.)

There is a mindset by some that physical comedy is somehow low-brow. That it’s basically stupid compared to the “high-mindedness” of verbal comedy.

Continue reading “The Sublime Chaos of What’s Up Doc? (1972)”


Lauren Bacall’s Bold Venture with Bogart on the Radio

This post is part of The Lauren Bacall Blogathon, hosted by Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Read the rest of the posts HERE!

Many years ago, when I first started getting serious about writing, I took Robert McKee’s very popular story structure seminar. It was particularly famous for McKee’s scene by scene (sometimes frame by frame) analysis of the movie Casablanca.

At the point where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s Rick and Ilsa confront each other for the first time, he froze the movie on each face, and declared:

“This is when movie stars had FACES!”

Continue reading “Lauren Bacall’s Bold Venture with Bogart on the Radio”


William Wellman’s Westward the Women

This post is part of The William Wellman Blogathon, hosted by Liz at Now Voyaging. Find the rest of the posts for this event HERE!

Since I was a little girl, I have loved Westerns. But even back then, I couldn’t help noticing one thing:

The general lack of women in most Western movies.

Sure, there would be the rancher’s wife, or the schoolmarm, or the dance hall girl (when I got older, I would learn they were actually prostitutes). But . . . it was pretty rare that women got a substantial role in a Western, which really bummed me out.

Over time, I was happy to find some exceptions to the rule. Recently, I reviewed one of my favorites: The Furies, directed by Anthony Mann, which stars Barbara Stanwyck. Three more of my favorites just happen to be helmed by William Wellman: Yellow Sky, The Great Man’s Lady, and Westward the Women.

Continue reading “William Wellman’s Westward the Women”


John Hurt’s Show-Stopping Turn as Caligula in I, Claudius

This post is part of the “Love Hurt” Blogathon, hosted by Janet at Sister Celluloid. Read the other posts about the amazing John Hurt here!

Robert Graves’ remarkable historical novels about the first Emperors of Rome were adapted for television in 1976 by the BBC. To this day I, Claudius is considered one of the best mini-series of all time. Though the production seems antiquated now, it hardly matters. Featuring many great performances, including Derek Jacobi as Claudius, Sian Phillips as his murderous grandmother Livia, Brian Blessed as Emperor Augustus, George Baker as Emperor Tiberius, Margaret Tyzack as Antonia, and Patrick Stewart as Sejanus, among others, it would take a lot to stand out in this crowd of amazing thespians.

John Hurt, as Caligula, does just that.

Continue reading “John Hurt’s Show-Stopping Turn as Caligula in I, Claudius”


The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: A Woman’s Face (1938)

This post is part of The Wonderful Ingrid Berman Blogathon, hosted by Virginie at The Wonderful World of Cinema. Read the other posts for this event HERE!

One of my very favorite classic Hollywood movies is the 1941 version of A Woman’s Face, starring Joan Crawford and Melvyn Douglas. Anna Holm, an embittered woman with a disfigured face, blackmails women who cheat on their husbands. Caught in the house of one of her victims’ husbands, he turns out to be a plastic surgeon who offers to operate on her face. The operation is successful, but Anna is still mired in criminal schemes.

Continue reading “The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: A Woman’s Face (1938)”


Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Resurrection

This is Part 10 of my series on mythic structure, or monomyth.

1. This stage is the climax of your story.

The Ordeal was the major crisis; now your hero is facing his final and most terrifying confrontation with death.

2. It is often a major set piece sequence. Continue reading “Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Resurrection”


Book Review: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

I am a huge fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, his epic tale of the first 100 colonists on Mars.

(Still waiting anxiously as of this writing for the TV adaptation. Hello, hello–any news on casting yet?)

I’ve read some of his other books, but none of them have captivated me in quite the same way as the Mars books.

Until now.

Continue reading “Book Review: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson”


The 1947 Blogathon: Forever Amber

This post is part of the 1947 Blogathon, hosted by Karen at Shadows and Satin and Kristina at Speakeasy. See the list of participants for this event HERE!

The anti-hero in popular culture is fairly common.

The anti-heroine, not so much.

One usually has to reach into the past to find an honest-to-goodness anti-heroine, and you’ll still only come up with a few: William Makepeace Thackery’s Becky Sharp, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara.

The anti-heroine, Amber St. Clair, of the 1944 novel and 1947 film adaptation Forever Amber owes a lot to these predecessors.

Continue reading “The 1947 Blogathon: Forever Amber”