Happy Memorial Day

Photo courtesy of heavy.com

I hope everyone out their has a wonderful Memorial Day. Although today many people are celebrating the day off with cook outs, going to the beach, and other fun activities, I hope you remember why we have today off. There are many men and women who have given their lives for the United States of America so we can live in a free country.

Saving Private Ryan

May 30 in the year 2016 is being celebrated as Memorial Day. On this day in America, we honor and remember all who gave their lives for their country. In the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan we are reminded of why we have freedom in America with the realistic warfare that was brilliantly portrayed.

When the movie opens we are introduced to an elderly World War II veteran and his family. Upon reaching a grave at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France, he collapses. The movie flashes back to June 6, 1944 where American soldier are preparing to land on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy Invasion. Captain John Miller is a ranger who gives the men who serve under him final orders before they reach the beach. Once at the beach the battle begins. In what many consider to be some of the most realistic cinematic warfare, many soldiers are lost including three brothers by the last name of Ryan. When this news reaches Washington D.C., it is learned that their is one brother left. General George Marshall demands the return of Private James Ryan, a paratrooper in France. However, they are unable to locate him with orders being given to Captain Miller to retrieve him. Along the way, Captain Miller loses two of his men Private Carpazo and medic Irwin Wade. Eventually, they are able to reach Private Ryan and inform him of the death of his brothers. When James Ryan learns of the death of his brothers he is reluctant to return home out of guilt for the men who he serves along side. This upsets the men under Captain Miller because they lost two men who were looking for him. However, there is not much time to convince Ryan because there is a German Panzer Division on the way to where they are. When the Germans arrive a battle ensues killing all except one of Miller’s men. When Captain Miller is mortally wounded he tells Private Ryan to “earn this”. As Miller dies we are brought back to the elderly veteran and his family. We learn that James Ryan survived the war and returned to France to honor those who were unable to live a life that he had. He asks his wife to come over and confirm that he is a good man. His wife does so at Captain Miller’s grave confirming he is worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and the other men. The film closes with the American flag waving as the credits role.

Saving Private Ryan is a shocking reminder as to why American’s are able to have the freedom we have today. The movie shows us warfare that soldiers suffered for the country we live in today. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day, but don’t forget why we have it.

White Christmas

I know that May 29 may seem as an odd day to write a post about a Christmas movie. However, on May 29, 1942 the classic song White Christmas was recorded by Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers, and John Scott Trotter’s orchestra. This song would go on to become the best selling single in history. Irving Berlin’s classic song became a hit with the movie White Christmas in 1954.

Bob Wallace and Phil Davis are old army buddies. The two have spent their time since World War II ended performing in night clubs becoming well known performers. One night they make the acquaintance of two sisters. Judy and Betty Haynes end up taking Phil and Bob to Vermont with them to perform at an inn. Upon arriving at the inn they learn that their old army leader is running it. Sadly, the inn is not doing as well as they hoped. Learning that the man who they called Major General is falling upon financial ruin they decide to do something special. They start up a show to be performed around Christmas time. The two contact their friends at the Ed Sullivan Show in order to get their friends from the army up to Vermont. However, things go awry when Phil and Judy reveal a fake engagement in order to convince Bob and Betty to get together. This backfires with Betty accepting a job elsewhere leaving a distressed Judy and Phil to tell a furious Bob.When Bob heads down to the Ed Sullivan Show in New York in order to do his broadcast he contacts Betty who tells him that it was a fake engagement. Betty tells Bob that she will stay. When Bob does make his announcement, Phil and the staff make sure that the Major is no where near the television. After this Bob heads back to Vermont to organize the surprise with no Betty. When Christmas Eve approaches all of the members of the Army unit Phil and Bob were in they arrive. The Major is surprised and overwhelmed with joy at the presence of  the men in his former unit. He tells them that he is grateful for them as this will be a Christmas Eve he will never forget. In the meantime, Betty arrives back in Vermont only to win over Bob’s heart again as they perform a dance together. As do Phil and Judy as the curtain closed to the classic song White Christmas.

It is sometimes hard to believe that a Christmas song is the best selling single in history. On May 29, 1942 this song was recorded by Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers, and John Scott Trotter’s orchestra. Irving Berlin’s classic song became a hit in the cinemas in 1954 in a movie by the same name of White Christmas.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

A young girl accompanied by a black cat is flying on her broomstick over a city with seagulls surrounding her. To the right is the film's title and credits.Phil Hartman was quite the comedian. This inspiring comedian passed away on Mary 28, 1998 in a murder homicide. Although, his life was cut short, he is still remembered for his talent. In the 1998 anime film Kiki’s Delivery Service he voiced the character of Jiji for the English version.

Kiki is a witch who heads off to the city to complete her training. After saying good-bye to her parents, she and her cat Jiji head off. Upon arriving in the city, she is astounded by the people around her. Many of them are in shock to see a witch, while others are amazed. She finds a place to stay with a baker, Osono. In order to pay for her room and board, Kiki delivers the baked goods. While doing this she makes a friend out of lonely artist Ursula. One day, Kiki finds that her magic is fading due to the stress of her delivery service. When she realizes that she could lose her magic powers forever she consults Ursula. When she hears the story about Ursula’s artist block, she decides to take a break from magic for a bit. All of that comes to an end when a boy, Tombo ends up in danger in the sky. Tombo has been an annoying boy who has a crush on Kiki. Finding the courage in herself, Kiki borrows a broom flying to Tomboy saving him from death.  When Kiki lands she is applauded for her bravery. Feeling confident, Kiki continues on with her training alongside Jiji and the new friends she has made.

Phil Hartman may not have been the original voice of Jiji in Kiki’s Delivery Service. But, his voice is heard loud and clear in the English dub. On May 28, 1998 the world lost a fantastic comedian in Phil Hartman when he passed away. He is still remembered today as an inspirational comedian who is still beloved by many.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Vincent Price became known for his distinctive voice and performance in horror films. Many people who have starred in horror films have been inspired by him at least once. In these films he is able to keep a calm demeanor while setting the mood for the movie. On May 27, 1911, this legendary horror actor came into the world. In the 1959 movie, House on Haunted Hill his skills are again utilized in a fine performance.

When eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren decides to “throw a party” for his wife he decides to make it the best one yet. Bribing the guests with ten thousand dollars each, they learn that there really is no party, just a haunted house Loren wants them to investigate. Throughout the film, each of them are armed with a gun as each of them fall prey to a different ghost. One of them, Nora, becomes more and more convinced that there is a ghost that is trying to push her to a psychotic break. Eventually, it is discovered that there is a more sinister plot behind the haunting. When one of the guests discovered that someone faked their death more secrets start to become revealed. With the ghosts scaring and killing each of the guests, they learn that it is them against spirits who are trying to frighten them, as well as warn them. What is the secret that keeps these ghosts there?

Vincent Price had a very distinctive voice that was used through out many films, especially the horror genre. In House on Haunted Hill, he is able to bring to life an eccentric millionaire who wants to learn more about the property he is on. On May 27, this deceased and legendary actor would have turned one hundred and five. But, he lives on through redefining the horror genre with his methods.

Dracula (1931)

Bram Stoker created one of the most iconic vampires of all time. Dracula has gone one to become one of the beloved, yet feared, villains. On May 26, 1897, this historic novel was published for the first time. As time went on, the book grew into a play. Eventually, in 1931 Dracula became a film starring the legendary horror movie actor Bela Lugosi.

When Renfield arrives in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, he is immediately taken a back by the townspeople. Upon hearing that is where he is heading some are silent, some are praying, while others warn him of the danger that is there. Once Renfield arrives at the Counts castle he is shaken by the man who he is to visit. He watches him walk through spiderwebs even though he is welcoming. As expected, Renfield falls victim to Count Dracula when the vampire bites him in his sleep. Dracula takes advantage of the opportunity to travel back to England with Renfield. However, Renfield is deemed mad due to the Count hypnotizing him instead of turning him into a vampire. Once in England, Dracula makes the acquaintance of John Harker and his fiancee Mina. Instantly, taken in by Mina, he starts hunting her to make her his own. Luckily, for Mina, Dr. Van Helsing discover’s Draculas secret when he sees he has no reflection in the mirror and turns away at the symbol of a cross. Knowing that Renfield has fallen victim to Dracula, Van Helsing starts to smartly warn people of the Count’s actions. Only to have them be ignored, until Mina is attacked. Investigating more about the vampire, Van Helsing heads off to the sanitarium where Renfield is staying to learn his strengths and weaknesses. Against the better judgement of the hospital, Van Helsing lets Renfield go in order to understand Dracula’s hold on him. While this is going on Mina has fallen under the complete spell of Dracula. John learns of the villainous vampires just as Van Helsing comes back. The two work together to stop Dracula. Once Dracula is staked things start to go back to normal as the credits role.

In 1931, Bela Lugosi brought the vampire who has been parodied multiple times to life. Without Bram Stoker, there would be no Count Dracula to haunt us in our dreams. On May 26, 1897, this iconic vampire came to life on the pages of a book to haunt people for generations to come.

State Fair (1945)

Jeanne Crain was born on May 25, 1925 leading a life in film. Not only could she act, she became known for her ice skating skills on the ice. Although, there was no ice skating in the film I am writing about, she was a woman of many talents. In the 1945 movie State Fair, she is able to bring to life a small town girl who finds herself on her own adventure.

The Frake family is preparing to go on their annual trip to the State Fair in their home state of Iowa. The only one who is not looking forward to the trip is their daughter Margery. After going to the fair many times, Margery only looks to this as a break from her duties on the family farm and from her fiancee. Before they leave, her fiancee tells her about the farm he hope to build which would mean that Margery would be living the same life as the one she is leading now. Once the Frakes head off to the state fair things start to change. From the moment they arrive, Margery and her brother Wayne find themselves in love with new people. Wayne meets Emily who keeps him from being arrested for a crime he did not commit. Sadly for Wayne, he learns that Emily is already married.While Margery finds herself being taken with Pat, a reporter covering the fair. In the meantime, the Frake family win many awards throughout the fair for pickles and their pet pig. When the fair ends, the Frake family return home. The parents are happy with what they have won. But, the children are heartbroken over the two people who they fell in love with. Shortly after they arrive home, Margery receives a phone call from Pat who insists that he marry her. Ecstatic, Margery takes off to go meet Pat and introduce him to her family. As for Wayne, he goes after Eleanor, a local girl who loves him, and he learns he has the same feelings for him. The movie ends with the Frake family back to being happy with a bright future ahead of them.

State Fair came out in 1945 was able to high light Jeanne Crain with her talent for singing. Born on May 25, 1925, she was a woman of many talents who became known for more than acting and singing. Today, she is an unsung hero for inspiration for many generations to come.

The Young Victoria

On May 24, 1819 one of the United Kingdoms greatest monarchs was born. Queen Victoria is remembered today for her grace and economic growth through out the country with her husband Albert by her side. In the 2009 film The Young Victoria we are introduced to the early years of Victoria’s reign.

When the movie opens we are introduced to Victoria’s prestigious upbringing. We learn that her life has been dictated by her parents due to her being the heir apparent to the throne. As she grows older the talks of Victoria marrying comes up. Eventually, King Leopold of Belgium offers his son Albert to be her husband. Lucky for Victoria and Albert the two find themselves fond of each other. Soon after her birthday party her father, King William, dies. This leaves the door open for Victoria to ascend to the throne. She reveals that she will devote her life to Kingdom and country. After her ascension she is able to prove all off this by making her mark in Parliament and not accepting Albert’s reasoning for taking their relationship further. However, Albert is much more fond of Victoria. Eventually, Albert and Victoria decide to marry due to their love for each other. But things aren’t as peachy as they seem for Albert due to him feeling inadequate. Yet, Albert does receive some more duties at the insistence of Victoria’s mother. Later on Victoria ends up surviving an assassination attempt due to Albert throwing himself in front of her. This act of bravery cements Albert and Victoria’s love for each other among other things. The movie ends with a title card stating that they were married until Albert’s death.

Queen Victoria is still known as one of the United Kingdom’s greatest monarchs for her strides in improving the economy through changes to the military and industries among other parts. In the 2009 movie The Young Victoria we learn about her early years into the throne as she grows stronger as a Queen. She ruled the country for sixty-two years with many people remember Queen Victoria for her many achievements.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde are two of the well most known criminals of all time. They became a folklore for robbing banks and evading police capture that took the nation by storm. On May 23, 1934 they were killed in a shoot out in Louisiana by police. Through pictures and legend they still live today as a dynamic duo who are still enjoyed through the media. In the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde they are brought to life on the big screen.

Bonnie Parker is instantly taken by Clyde Barrow when she spots him outside her bedroom window. She sees him trying to steal her car, she goes out to confront him only to find herself robbing banks with him. Along the way she meets many new people who join what is known as the Barrow gang. Many of the jobs they commit are small robberies. However, things go badly when a bank robbery turns deadly. When Clydes brother takes the life of a bank teller he informs his wife that there is no turning back now. Things aren’t that good between Blanche, his wife, and Bonnie as they have a feud that has been escalating. Everything goes bad when Buck is killed and Blanche taken prisoner. After this they continue on with their bank heists. Things go bad again, when C.W. a member of their gang botches another bank robbery. This time it is Clyde who takes the life of a man. The frustrated crew find a police officer and kidnap him. They take him to a remote location where they humiliate him before letting him go. Sickened by what has happened to him, the police officer heads off to give the local law enforcement information about the criminals. Soon after C.W. is captured by police where he gives them the final information for the police to capture the two. However, the police decide the only way to take down Bonnie and Clyde is to kill them. When Bonnie and Clyde are driving down the road they spot a friend of theirs. They pull over only to realize that they are in an ambush too late. In a mass shoot out Bonnie and Clyde are killed. The movie ends with a police man looking at the bullet riddled bodies of the criminals.

Bonnie and Clyde are still known as folk heroes today. Even though they were bank robbers there are still festivals, movies, music, and books inspired by them. In 1967 Bonnie and Clyde came to the big screen with there historic crime sprees staying in tact with the legend we all know today.

The Hound of the Baskerville (1939)

Without Sir Arthur Conan Doyle there would be no Sherlock Holmes. One of the greatest fictional detectives of all time was created by the man born on May 22, 1859. In the many short stories that he had written about him, Arthur Conan Doyle made people smile and wonder what would happen next. In several movies, Sherlock Holmes would be remembered. In the 1930 movie The Hound of the Baskerville, was based on one of most iconic pieces of work involving Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are called away to watch upon a young man who is believed to be in danger due to a curse. However, Sherlock is a little too busy and asks Dr. Watson to go in his stead. At the insistence of Dr. James Mortimer, Watson watches after Sir Henry Baskerville. We learn of the curse of the Baskerville involving a hound that is brought upon by a demonic dog that had killed his ancestor. Throughout the years the hound has haunted the Baskerville name. Watson and Henry become close acquaintances waiting for the arrival of Holmes. Watson discovers that Sherlock has been living on the grounds waiting for the right moment to appear. Sherlock explains that he knows something more sinister is going on, but knew that his footsteps would be tracked. With the death of a man believed to be the murderer, Sherlock and Watson decide to “leave” for London. However, Holmes knows better telling Watson that Henry is in danger. But, Holmes has to catch him in the act in order to prove who the villain is. Meanwhile, back at Baskerville Hall, Henry announces his engagement to Beryl Stapleton who lives across the moors with her stepbrother. It is revealed that Beryl’s stepbrother is behind the murders that have been happening. When Sherlock and Watson arrive, they are able to stop him by exposing him. Much to the shock of everyone their, he is arrested with peace and happiness being restored to the Baskervilles after all of these years.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the most iconic detective of all time in his works. Sherlock Holmes is known as one of the greatest detectives to ever grace literature. In the 1939 movie The Hound of the Baskerville we are introduced to the detective portrayed by Basil Rathbone as the lead. In his role as Sherlock Holmes, Basil Rathbone is able to bring Doyle’s detective to life like no other.