February 29

Today is a day that only comes once every four years. February 29, is an extra day that is added to the calendar. This day comes with some interesting traditions that are still known today. Some of these traditions are funny, while some are thought as crazy. Then there are superstitions that are still around on this special day. Here are some facts about this day

  • 1918 Spurgin Political Glamour Mutoscope Fashion Harem Leap Year Beauty Question: A woman can propose to man on February 29. If a man refuses then he can be fined. In fact in Denmark if a man says no he has to buy her twelve pairs of gloves. Meanwhile, if a man says no in Finland he has to buy her twelve skirts.
  • In Greece it is considered unlucky to get married during a Leap Year.
  • In Italy and Russia, a Leap Year is not exactly celebrated. In Italy it is said to be a bad year. While in Russia, they claim Leap Years are associated with bad weather and a higher risk of dying.
  • Hoppy Leap Day 2012: In Taiwan it is believed that parents are more likely to die.
  • In Scotland, Leap Years are considered to be bad for livestock.
  • A whole leap month is added to the Chinese calendar every three years.
  • ~Leap Day~February 29, 2012 next one is February 29, 2016     Leap Day is every four years....almost. It's every four years except years ending with "00" that are not divisible by 400. The year in which this occurs, is called a Leap Year.: People born on February 29 are called ‘leaplings’. They celebrate their birthdays on either February 28 or March 1. In some countries, it is March 1 by law.
  • There is a club for people born on February 29.
  • The Leap Year Capitol of the World is said to be the city of Anthony, which sits on the border of Texas and New Mexico. They hold a huge Leap Year celebration that lasts four days.
  • Today is known as Rare Disease Day. There are about 7000 diseases that are considered rare.
  • Modern Olympics are always held on a Leap Year.

Leap Year

Redhaired woman in a green dress with a man with stubbly beard wearing a grey top and blue jeansEvery four years February has an extra day. All of this is represented in the movie Leap Year. Starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, this 2010 movie follows the love life of a young woman who considers proposing to her boyfriend. This romantic comedy has the tradition of a woman proposing to a man on this day.

Anna has been with the same man for the past four years. She becomes frustrated with him because he has not proposed yet. So, when she learns of the tradition that a woman can propose to a man on February 29 she makes the trip from Boston to Ireland to see him. However, the flight does not go as planned causing her to be a couple of miles from where she wants to be. Enlisting the help of a reluctant bartender she finds is able to find her way to Dublin to where her boyfriend is. Yet, Anna finds herself attracted to the bartender who has helped her along the way. Ultimately, Anna finds herself making the toughest decision of who she wants to end up with.

Leap Year follows the age old tradition of a woman proposing to a man. Anna decides to take advantage of this tradition. This romantic comedy does have its ups and downs, yet, it does stick true to a tradition that is sometimes taken advantage of.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962).jpgWhen the first vaudeville show opened on February 28, 1883 in Boston a new form of theater was born. These actors would put on shows that would lead them to travel across the country. Making little to no money at all, many of them were able to make names for themselves when movies became popular. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 movie that follows the life of a former vaudeville actress and her famous movie actress sister.

Jane Hudson grew up as the loving daughter to her father. The star of a vaudeville show that made her famous, Jane finds herself spoiled. In the background, we are introduced to her sister Blanche who is jealous of her sister and spends most of her time backstage with her mother. However, the limelight changes for Jane and Blanche. Blanche becomes a famous movie star, while Jane fails at moving beyond the vaudeville stage. As time moves on we are introduced to a paralyzed Blanche and a controlling Jane. Both sisters live together, yet they hate each other. Blanche spends most of her time in her home trying to convince Jane to let her go. While Jane spends most of her time reliving her childhood by playing with a doll that looks like her. Blanche stays true to the times. However, Jane is unable to accept that she is not the cute child star she used to be. When all of this becomes a reality for Jane she takes things out on her sister in a horrific manner that results in a terrible downfall for Blanche.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane premiered in theaters in 1962. This psychological thriller gives us a little glimpse into the life of vaudevillian life. Although, not the entire film follows this, we see through Jane’s actions what life must have been like for her. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane is a classic thriller that reveals what happened to some vaudeville performers once motion pictures became the biggest thing.

The Band Wagon

The Band Wagon poster.jpgVincent Minnelli directed some of the finest musical films of all time. The Band Wagon is no different. The story about a man who is concerned his career is taking a nose dive. Only to be reassured when a couple of friends write a Broadway show that reassures him that his career is not declining as fast as he thinks.

Tony Hunter has spent much of is life on stage and screen singing and dancing. He does fear that the time is coming for him to retire. However, when his two friends Lester and Lily contact him to star in a Broadway show he signs up immediately, despite misgivings from the director. After the director makes many changes to the musical, he meets his costar Gabrielle. A beautiful ballerina, Tony is attracted to her and is intimidated by her beauty at the same time. All of this prove to be too much for Tony. After nearly giving up, Gabrielle convinces him to do the show. He agrees, one night he goes and visits the director and demands the show go back to what it originally was as a musical comedy, not a dark drama. This proves to be disastrous, yet it inspires Tony to take complete control of the production.He does so and the show is a success with Tony and Gabrielle falling in love.

Vincent Minnelli directed this musical masterpiece. The Band Wagon is considered to be one of the best musicals to come out of MGM. Born on February 28, 1903, Vincent Minnelli became one of the most celebrated directors of all time.

The Grapes of Wrath

Wrathposters141.jpgJohn Steinbeck is one of the most beloved authors of all time. His books bring us into the world of those who are hardworking and downtrodden. Many of them work jobs that people look down upon during the Great Depression. This is no different in his novel The  Grapes of Wrath. This well known book became an Academy Award winning movie in 1940. Following the life of the Joad family as they leave Oklahoma for a better life in California.

When the film starts out we are introduced to Tom Joad who has recently got out of jail. When Tom returns to his parents house he discover that they are gone as is many of the land around him. He is informed that his family is preparing to head out west and is living near by. When Tom finally catches up with his family he is welcomed back with open arms. His mother, Ma Joad, was concerned that she would have to leave without him. His sister Rose of Sharon is expecting a child with her husband. While his younger siblings are happy to see him. However, the trip to California is not without tragedy. The patriarch of the Joad family dies just as they leave Oklahoma and Tom finds himself in trouble again for defending a man against a camp guard. There are many migrant camps that the Joads stay at on their way. Ma Joad finds herself comforting Rose of Sharon who miscarries her child (in the book the child is stillborn) after her husband runs off. Tom ends up accidentally committing a crime that leads him to flee his family for their own safety. He does so with Ma Joad reflecting on their journey by stating that they need people who are like them.

The Grapes of Wrath is a film that opens our eyes to the troubles of the Great Depression. Everything that happened to the Joad family was a reality for many families who were trying to find a better life for themselves. This film shows that the road to redemption was not an easy on. Based on the book The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck we are shown the tragedy that can be fall an all American family. John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, only to bring about  brilliantly written books that reflect chasing the American dream.

BUtterfield 8

Butterfield8 movieposter.jpgElizabeth Taylor is considered to be one of the greatest actresses of all time. Starting out as a young child she captured the hearts of millions with her talents on and off the screen. Not only was she an actress, but a humanitarian who donated to many charities that she cared about. In the 1960 film BUtterfield 8 she won her first Academy Award for her portrayal as Gloria Wandrous.

When the film opens up we are introduced to Gloria as a young woman who spends most of her nights with different men. In the opening scene she wakes up to see there is money left by the man who she slept with last night. Thinking this is a way of him calling her a prostitute, she writes no sale in lipstick on the mirror and takes a mink coat to cover herself up. Later she gets a phone call from him, who explains that the money was meant for a new dress, since he tore the last one. Throughout the film, we are introduced to many people who are good friends with Gloria. However, they do not agree with her lifestyle. Gloria continues on to have an affair with a married man, however, she decides to end it. All of this leads to Gloria deciding to leave to start a new life in Boston. However, the married man has a different ideas including, divorcing his wife and marrying Gloria. All of this upsets Gloria leading to disastrous results.

BUtterfield 8 was not a film that Elizabeth Taylor enjoyed doing. Yet, she did win an Oscar for her role. Born on February 27, 1932 she would rise to become one of the most iconic actresses in history. BUtterfield 8 may not have been her favorite film to do, yet it is still a classic today.

The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents Poster.jpgJack Clayton directed some of the most popular movies of all time. Yet, not many people know who this British director is. He passed away on February 26, 1995 leaving behind an amount of films he produced and directed. One of those films is The Innocents. Starring Deborah Kerr in this haunting 1961 movie, we are introduced to a governess who quickly learns the children who she cares for are not what they seem.

Miss Giddens applies for a job for bachelor. Not caring much about the fact that she has no experience, she gets the job. The children who she is assigned to look after are his niece and nephew who he doesn’t care much for. Miss Giddens learns that the previous governess died suddenly a year ago. Overlooking the tragic passing of the former governess, she forms friendships with the house staff. The job as governess starts off as normal and easy for Miss Giddens. The children are polite and friendly. However, their behavior scares her from time to time. The behavior of the children gets to her once the boy recites a disturbing poem and the girl dances strangely by the lake. All of these activities frighten Miss Giddens as death starts to be the for what the children have to say. Soon Miss Giddens learns that death comes more commonly that she thought in this family. Learning more from the children and the friends she has made, she finds out some of the close family have died. All of this finally leads up to an ending that still haunts Hollywood today.

The Innocents is just one of the many films that Jack Clayton directed in his lifetime. This terrifying 1961 classic is a ghost story that has an ending that many people don’t realize until the final scene. Jack Clayton passed away on February 26, 1995 leaving behind a quiet legacy of brilliant film work.

A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork orangeA.jpgAnthony Burgess wrote one of the most iconic books of all time. A Clockwork Orange premiered as a book in 1962 only to become one of the most well known movies of all time. In 1971, this dystopian novel became a movie that reflected the future in a terrifying way. Through the eyes of a sociopath who only cares about violence, rape, and Beethoven we are transported into the mind of what the world looks like to him.

Alex DeLarge is the main character of this film. However, we do not like Alex right at the beginning. We learn that he and his friends are common criminals who partake in various delinquent activities. One night he and his friends go and rape the wife of an man. Later on Alex, takes his crimes to a higher level when he accidentally kills a young woman while attempting to rape her. Alex is sentenced to prison. One day he is given the chance to participate in a study. He does so, but not with out the consequence. The techniques are seen as barbaric by some. He does believe it works and he is set free. On the day that Alex is set free, he bumps into his droogs who are now police officers who violently beat him. Before this happens he discovers that his parents have rented out his room. Later on he finds himself at the house of the man who’s wife he raped. The man does not recognize Alex because he was wearing a mask at the time. He does come to realize who Alex is once he hears him singing “Singin’ in the Rain” in the shower. The very song that Alex sang as he raped his wife, while the droogs paralyzed him. The man tries to take advantage of Alex and drive him to suicide as revenge. The plan almost works when Alex jumps out the window. Yet, Alex survives and is visited by a politician in who convinces Alex to join him in making the world a better place through more studies.

A Clockwork Orange is an iconic film by Anthony Burgess who used color and sexual scenery to represent how Alex saw the world. The novel that was originally written by Anthony Burgess reflected everything that is wrong with a near future dystopian society. Anthony Burgess was born on February 25, 1917 to bring about a new era of writing. Through the eyes of Alex DeLarge we are introduced to the world in a different way.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Wilhelm Grimm and his brother Jacob created some of the most beloved fairy tales of all time. Wilhelm, the younger of the Brothers Grimm, was born on February 24, 1786 in Germany. He and his brother were able to write one of the most iconic fairy tales of all time: Sleeping Beauty. In 1959, Walt Disney strayed a little away from the original story of Sleeping Beauty in the movie.

When the movie opens we are introduced to a kingdom where there is a King and Queen who long for a child. When they finally had a daughter the entire kingdom rejoiced in a festive celebration. Everyone in the land was invited, except for one. Maleficent is the most feared witch who is scorned for not receiving an invitation. After barging in on the middle of the three good fairies granting their wishes to the child, Aurora, she casts a spell so they would die. Merrywether, had yet to grant her wish goes along and makes it so that she would go into a deep sleep only to be awaken by true loves kiss. Merrywether and her fellow fairies, Flora and Fauna, come up with the idea of taking Aurora and raising her as their own in an attempt to stop Maleficents magic. They do so, promising to return before her sixteenth birthday when the spell is supposed to take effect. One day in the woods, Aurora, now going by Briar Rose, meets Prince Phillip. Little does she know hat this is the man whom her long lost parents have betrothed her to. The two fall for each other with her telling him to meet up with her at the cottage she was raised in. When Aurora returns home, the fairies inform her of her true identity. Shocked and frustrated with the fact that she can’t marry the man who she met in the forest (she doesn’t know his real identity), she runs and cries. After the fairies return her to the castle she is left alone to dwell upon her lost love alone in a room. The fairies return into the room just in time to see a hypnotized Aurora taken by Maleficent to prick her finger on a spinning wheel. She does so, and the fairies case a spell so everyone does not have to live with the grief. Meanwhile, Phillip informs his father of Aurora and gets the same response as she did. This leaves Phillips fatehr to ponder whether it is more important for his son to marry a girl he loves or a princess whom he has met only once as a child. Later the fairies return to the cottage only to learn that the man whom she fell in love with is Prince Phillip and he has been taken away by Maleficent, who set a trap. The three good fairies go to set Prince Phillip free. They do so using their magic to make sure that he reaches the palace in time to wake up Princess Aurora with true loves kiss. Yet, Maleficent casts a spell so that thorns grow quickly to prevent him from reaching the castle. But, he makes it through infuriating Maleficent causing her to turn into a dragon. He narrowly defeats Maleficent with the help of the fairies. Phillip is then shown to be running into the castle to the highest tower towards Aurora only to awaken her with true loves kiss. When Aurora and Phillip realize who the other person is they smile with joy. Phillip and Aurora make their grand entrance with the kingdom rejoicing at the return of the princess.

Sleeping Beauty came out in 1959 from Walt Disney Studios. It did not receive the popularity that Walt Disney had hoped for. Yet, today, it is regarded as a Disney classic. Wilhelm Grimm and his brother are responsible for the story of Sleeping Beauty. Wilhelm Grimm was born on February 24, 1786 only to become a popular teller of fairy tales that live on today.

Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of our fathers.jpgWhen I got home today I was reminded that one of the most iconic photographs ever taken happened. The “Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima” has become known as one of the best photographs ever taken being published over and over again. All of this is reflected in the 2006 war film Flags of Our Fathers. This film follows the regiment of the men who had partaken in this iconic raising that is represented in the photograph today.

We are introduced to two of the men who are home on leave. They come home as heroes for their partaking in raising the flag at Iwo Jima. We are told the rest through flashback. In this film we are introduced to the horrors of war that surrounded these men when they were fighting. Starting out at Camp Tarawa where they are heading out to fight the Japanese forces in World War II. After landing on the beaches the men head up to Mount Suribachi despite the wind and rain. After making it to the top of the mountain, photographer Joe Rosenthal captures: John Bradley, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Rene Gagnon, Michael Strank, and Harlon Block raising the flag on top of the mountain. Yet, this is not the end of the story for these men. They still have to continue fighting a war that is going on. Three of the men pass away the next day in battle. While the other three live and fight. As the film goes on we watch as Rosenthal’s photo is reprinted over and over again. The three remaining soldiers are requested to go home to go on war bond shows. The three are reluctant at first, yet they agree to go. After their return home they are struggling to adjust to life away from the battlefield and unwanted fame. One of them, Ira Hayes, faces discrimination for being Native American and struggles with alcoholism passes away due to exposure from freezing outside. After following Ira Haye’s tragic death, we go onto John Bradley telling his son James about what happened. The film ends with a flashback of the men swimming in the ocean after raising the flag.

Flags of Our Fathers was directed by Clint Eastwood. Everyone knows about the photograph that was taken on February 23, 1945, yet many people are unaware of the story behind it. This film gives us a glimpse into what not just the five men who did when they raised the flag on Mount Suribachi that day, but what happened to them after. Three of them, Franklin Sousley, Michael Strank, and Harlon Block passed away a couple of days after the flag was raised. While the other three were able to return home. We are able to get a glimpse into what the three remaining soldiers went through when they returned as heroes. Flags of Our Fathers has the reminder as to why American’s have the freedom today.