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”


Put on Your Tin Foil Hats: Paranoia in 60s & 70s Films

paranoidThis post is part of the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon hosted by Fritzi of Movies Silently, Ruth of Silver Screenings, and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen. See the full roster of the other entries HERE!  Also take a moment to stop by Flicker Alley, the sponsor of this blogathon!

The image you see on the left here was a popular poster during the early 1970s.

I saw it every day in my kitchen as I was growing up.

If you’re not old enough to remember the late 60s and early 70s, it’s a little hard to explain the atmosphere of the times. It wasn’t all peace and love and drugs and rock and roll. Besides the split in the country over the Vietnam War, it SEEMED (especially, I think, to children) as if there were assassinations happening ALL THE TIME. I don’t remember John Kennedy’s assassination, but one of my earliest memories is watching his funeral with my mom. That was my first experience with the concept of death. Continue reading “Put on Your Tin Foil Hats: Paranoia in 60s & 70s Films”


Sex and Death on a Sunday Afternoon: Blood and Sand (1941)

This post is part of the SEX! (Now That I Have Your Attention) Blogathon, hosted by Steve at MovieMovieBlogBlog. Please check out the other sexy posts for this event HERE!

Blood and Sand, starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Rita Hayworth, is the third of four film adaptations of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez’s novel Sangre y Arena. It takes place in Seville, Spain–where I was born and lived when I was a small child.

Continue reading “Sex and Death on a Sunday Afternoon: Blood and Sand (1941)”


Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Road Back

This is Part 9 of my series on mythic structure, or monomyth.

1. The Road Back is the transition from Act 2 to Act 3 of your story.

The hero has completed her initiation and is now an evolved hero. It is time for her to begin her transition from the Extraordinary World back to the Ordinary World.

There’s still a long way to go, however. The road back is filled with more danger and challenges for the hero.

2. At this point, antagonists may have been completely vanquished . . . or not. Continue reading “Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Road Back”


Local Hero: Life Really is a Beach

This post is part of the Beach Party Blogathon, hosted by Ruth at Silver Screenings and Kristina at Speakeasy. Find the other great posts for this event HERE!

There are many memorable 1980s film comedies, and quite a few have one thing in common: an implicit approval of the “Go-Go 80s” mentality. Money is honey, and it doesn’t matter how characters go about acquiring it, whether through kidnapping or jewel heists or stock fraud. Even a kid who wishes himself into an early adulthood could hit the heights of corporate life.

Scottish writer/director Bill Forsyth’s 1984 film Local Hero is a rebuke of this mentality, though it is probably the gentlest of rebukes you’ll find. There are virtually no villains in this film. Indeed, in spite of the film’s title, there really aren’t any heroes, either.

The only true hero is a place–an astonishingly beautiful bay in Scotland with a special beach that works like magic on the characters. Continue reading “Local Hero: Life Really is a Beach”


Fury Road and the Optimism of Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Stories

Brad Bird, director of the film Tomorrowland (as well as The Incredibles and Ratatouille) did some complaining in interviews recently about the popularity of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories.

Here is part of what he said in an interview with Wired Magazine:

“At one time the future was consistently presented as this bright thing where all these problems were going to be solved. I remember that feeling of wow, starvation will be solved and the air will be clean, weapons will be obsolete because we’ll understand that there are better places to put our energy. And gradually that vision has just been nibbled away at until it’s basically not there. And what’s in its place is this very dark, negative version that everyone seems to have accepted.”

I haven’t seen Tomorrowland, so I’m not going to judge the film, but many film critics point out that Mr. Bird explicitly berates society in the film for abandoning the can-do optimism of the 1960s space race in favor of gloom and doom scenarios.

Continue reading “Fury Road and the Optimism of Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Stories”