Rope

Rope2.jpgOn May 21st, 1924 two popular college students from wealthy families did the unthinkable. Known today as thrill kills, a young boy became the target of these two’s dream of pulling off the perfect crime. Richard Loeb and Nathan Leoplold killed a young boy, Bobby Franks, just because they thought they were smarter than everyone else. In the Alfred Hitchcock movie Rope, the vile act that these two committed is played out, but in a much different way.

Right from the start we know that a murder has taken place. Brilliant college students Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan kill their classmate David by strangling him. From there they dump his body in a antique wooden chest. With a party starting later that night they decide to set up the chest as a table for their dinner guests. As the guests arrive they tell him that David would be arriving shortly. One of the guests is David’s girlfriend who is disappointed he didn’t show up. However, the guests don’t realize that he is dead in the antique chest that they have been using as a table. When Rupert Cadell arrives, Brandon and Phillip have a change of attitude towards him. Rupert had discussed with the class the art of murder, among other things. Unbeknownst to Rupert, he has inadvertently inspired them to murder their classmate by pulling off the perfect crime. As the party dies down, Rupert starts to find things around the apartment showing that David had been their earlier. Yet, when he questions Brandon and Phillip they deny him ever being their. When everyone has left, Rupert comes back to the Brandon and Phillips knowing that they haven’t been honest with them. Eventually, Rupert discovers the truth about David and tells Brandon and Phillip they have done the unthinkable. In shock, Rupert calls the police with the movie ending as the police sirens approach the house.

On May 21, 1924, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold committed a shocking crime that would only shock the world around them. By committing a murder just to show the world that they are smarter than everyone. In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Rope, the same type of crime is committed, but in a different way. But, the same motive behind the killing was to show the perfect crime.

The Philadelphia Story

Many people have heard of James Stewart. This prolific actor did more than act in his lifetime. He served in World War II and the Vietnam War where he rose to the rank of Brigadier General. His talents are proven on screen in the movie The Philadelphia Story for which he won his only Academy Award.

Tracy Lord is a young woman who has given up on her marriage. Trying to keep things under wraps as much as possible, she is a socialite who is constantly hounded by the press. Soon after the divorce, she plans on marrying another man. This marriage is set to be exploited in the news by many news outlets. Several reporters are up for the task of exposing the wedding. One of these men is Sidney Kidd who is desperate to climb up the ladder at his newspaper. From the time Sidney enters into Tracy’s world he finds that there is more than expected. One of the reporters who assists in guiding Sidney around is Mike Connor. A seasoned reporter, Mike works on stories like the one that Sidney is. But, Mike knows many people involved in Tracy’s life, therefore he is trusted by some and not by others. Things start to become more complicated for Tracy when her ex husband, Dexter comes back into the picture. Dexter is welcome back with open arms. Forming a friendship with Mike, Tracy starts to see that Dexter has changed his ways. However, Tracy is left with a decision on who she is to marry in the end. The night before the wedding Tracy gets drunk with Mike taking care of her. Sadly, Dexter sees this and believes that they are together. But, the next day this is dispelled when Tracy decides to marry Dexter, as Mike ends up with a friend of Tracy’s.

The Philadelphia Story is known as one of the best movies of all time. In this film we are introduced to the life of the rich and famous as a socialite struggles with her love life. James Stewart won his only Oscar for his role as Mike Connor’s in this 1940 classic. On May 20, 1908 James Stewart was a shining light that was born into this world to bring a smile to many faces.

The Flower Drum Song

Nancy Kwan was a beautiful actress who was able to help break down barriers. In the 1960’s she played a pivotal role in improving the acceptance of Asian Americans in films. One of her finest portrayals is in The Flower Drum Song.

The movie opens with Mei Li and her father enter San Francisco as illegal immigrants. This is due to Mei Li being part of an arranged marriage. Once they arrive, Mei Li is quickly swept into the new world around her. However, things are not good for Mei Li as she learns that the lead in a revue, Linda, is in love with her fiancee. Yet, Mei Li finds love for herself. With Linda by her side, Mei Li goes out of her way to show her father that she would be happier than with the man who she was arranged to marry. When the time comes for Mei Li to marry she reveals to the grooms mother that she entered the country illegally, thus making her unmarketable to her grooms family. With everything being resolved, Mei Li can marry the man she loves. While Linda ends up with her man.

Nancy Kwan was born on May 19, 1939 growing up to become a fantastic actress. In the 1961 movie musical The Flower Drum Song she proves her many talents to the world around her. Nancy Kwan was able to assist in breaking down barriers for equality Hollywood.

It’s A Wonderful Life

On May 18, 1897, Frank Capra was born. This iconic movie director brought to life some of the most beloved movies of all time. The Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life is one of his many achievements.

George Bailey’s life is closely followed by his guardian angel Clarence. Clarence watches as George prevents many tragedies, like the pharmacist killing kids and his brother dying. Throughout George’s life he ends up giving up a trip to Europe to protect his father’s business from being taken over by the towns greedy banker Mr. Potter. George knows Mr. Potter’s games and does not let him get the best of him. This is shown after George marries his sweetheart Mary, when the two give up their honeymoon to save people from debt when the stock market in 1929 crashes. As the years go by we learn that George and Mary have built a happy home with children. On the day that George’s brother is set to come home after receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II a large sum of money is lost. The money was used for Bailey Park, affordable housing. By coincidence the night is Christmas Eve, and with the money being lost George goes to Potter for help. However, Potter who has all of the money, decides to call the police on George. Upset, George returns home only to learn that his youngest daughter is sick and yells at the teacher on the phone. Angrily, George throws a fit upsetting his family. He runs out eventually jumping in the river after a man. That man turns out to be Clarence who shows George what life would be like without him. He learns that Potter runs the town with everyone who he knows and loves being bitter and angry. Eventually, George ends up coming back. Upon his return home many people show up donating the money to George for what he needs. From there the bell rings on the tree, showing that Clarence has gotten his wings. Blessed and faith reassured, George looks up with his family knowing that everything is going to be okay.

It’s A Wonderful Life is a true classic. The synopsis of this film is simple, yet inspiring. Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897 only to become a rags to riches story with movies like this on. In this film, he is able to bring a beloved story to life that is beloved by many.

Hairspray (2007)

The first movie post today was supposed to be yesterday May 17 because a historic event happened on that day in 1954. The groundbreaking case Brown v. Board of Education was voted unanimously by the United States Supreme Court that segregation in schools was unlawful. This paved the way for schools to desegregate so all children receive an equal education. In 2007 movie musical Hairspray this movie follows events in Baltimore that surround segregation. Although, not taking place in a school, this movie covers why segregation is wrong.

Tracy Turnblad loves one thing: dancing. She and her best friend Penny Pingleton run to her house after school every day to watch the Corny Collins Show. When it is revealed that there is going to be an opening for the show, Tracy goes to audition. Sadly, due to her size, she things don’t go well. When Tracy gets detention for skipping school, she meets Seaweed. Unlike Tracy, Seaweed has to face discrimination due to the color of his skin. Seaweed and Tracy become fast friends after he shows her some dance moves. Seaweed informs Tracy that his mother, Motor Mouth Maybelle, is the woman behind “Negro Day” on the Corny Collins Show. Tracy tells Seaweed that is her favorite part. However, when we go behind the scenes for Negro Day we learn that Maybelle is being ridiculed by the producer of the show Velma Van Tassel. When the time arises for there to be a dance, Tracy is dancing until she sees Seaweed on the other side of the gym. Seaweed encourages Tracy to dance with some of the moves he showed her. From there Tracy is recognized by the producers for the Corny Collins Show and wins a spot. For Tracy things start to change as everyone starts to recognize her. Yet, Tracy still has to deal with her over protective and agoraphobic mother. Tracy convinces her mother to become her agent helping her out through tough times. Yet, when Velma realizes that Tracy might win “Little Miss Hairspray” over her daughter she starts to take drastic measures. Velma makes it look like she and Tracy’s father are together causing a rift in the marriage. While Velma’s daughter Amber, tells Tracy’s mother about her being in the “Negro” section of town with Penny and the show’s heart throb Link. It is at this moment that Motor Mouth Maybelle informs them that “Negro Day” has been cancelled. This upsets Seaweed’s younger sister who has been wanting to be on the show for a while. Tracy says that she will take a stand with Motor Mouth Maybelle because she knows that this is wrong. However, her heart is broken when Link tells her that he is more concerned about his career. Later that night Tracy heads out in protest of the television station for what is right. But, she is arrested when she hits a cop on the head with a sign. This leads to many exaggerating reports about her. Link realizes that he loves Tracy and goes out of his way to make thinks right. Meanwhile, Tracy has hidden at Penny’s house and ends up getting locked in by Penny’s mother. Penny and Seaweed, who are now boyfriend and girlfriend, break her out. From there a plan is devised for them to sabotage the “Little Miss Hairspray” contest the next day. The plan works with Tracy being able to make her way into the studio. Once she reclaims her platform, Link goes out and gets Seaweed’s younger sister on stage where she shows how talented she is. Edna, Tracy’s mother, sees Velma faking the votes and manages to get her on camera admitting that she has been sabotaging the contest. In the end, Inez, Seaweed’s sister, wins the Little Miss Hairspray contest with integration being permanent for the Corny Collins Show. Oh, Link and Tracy are a loving couple.

Hairspray may have taken place after the historic Brown v. Board of Education verdict on May 17, 1954. In this movie, segregation between black and white is shown through the production of television. Only for a girl to show that segregation is wrong. In Hairspray, we are introduced to a world where segregation is accepted until one person, although a little naive, spoke up.

2016 Reading Challenge Book #10: The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

The tenth book of the 2016 Reading Challenge was published in 1604. Written by Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus is the book that I chose for the 1600-1699 period. In this play we are introduced to man who makes a deal with the devil, only for it to turn tragic.

Dr. Faustus is brought into the picture as a man who is convinced the end is near. Believing his work as a doctor is no longer useful he heads off on a journey to find himself. However, this journey involves him summoning the devil so he can make a deal with him. Once the deal is made with Lucifer, he promises to use magic instead of science for his medicinal practice. With the good and evil angels on each of his shoulders, Dr. Faustus is conflicted between honoring his pact with the devil and breaking it. Dr. Faustus signed the deal with the devil in his own blood, so it is not as easy to break. Using temporary powers, Dr. Faustus takes the time to explain that he is damned for all time regretting the deal with the devil. After his soul is damned to Hell, the chorus states that Faustus was damned to stipulation by him being turned asunder.

In this inspirational piece of literature we are introduced to a man who makes the ultimate mistake. Dr. Faustus broke a rule when he chose to make a pact with the devil for help. Christopher Marlowe makes it clear in his play that there is no reason to trust the devil. Published in 1604, The Tragrical History of Dr. Faustus is, not just a literary masterpiece, but a warning as well.

Wings (1927)

On May 16, 1929 the first ever Academy Awards took place in Hollywood. This would lead to the historic event of movies to take place every year. The first film to ever win the coveted Best Picture Award is the 1927 film Wings. In this World War I epic, Clara Bow and Buddy Rogers are able to bring this story to life through their amazing acting skills.

In a small town, pretty girl Sylvia Lewis is the apple of Jack Powell and David Armstrong’s eyes. The two vie for the young girl’s affection, ignoring all other girls around them. When World War I breaks out, they decide to enlist as combat pilots in hopes that it will bring Sylvia closer to one of them. The two rivals are set to work together in the same unit. They are roomed with another cadet who tries to mend a relationship, however he dies too quickly. From there Jack and David head off on dangerous adventures together. David’s plane is shot down and he is presumed to be dead. Having grown closer to David, Jack decides to exact the revenge on the enemy for his friend. Unbeknownst to Jack, a young girl who has a crush on him Mary, has joined the military force in hopes of growing closer to him. Yet, Jack wants to make sure that David’s death is avenged. Upon finding a dying David, Jack comforts him letting him know that he did not die in vain. When Jack returns home he receives a heroes welcome. But, Jack is bent on making sure that he meets David’s parents. Feeling guilty for the death of his friend, Jack asks for forgiveness. The only reply he receives that it was the war that killed his friend, not Jack. When Jack leaves, he is reunited with Mary realizing that he has loved him all along and not Sylvia.

Wings is one of the most beloved silent films of all time. On May 16, 1929, Wings won the first ever Best Picture Award at the Academy Awards. This well deserving war epic is to remain inspiring for all time

The Other Boleyn Girl

Many people have heard the name Anne Boleyn. The mother of Queen Elizabeth the 1st and the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was infamously accused of adultery and beheaded after being found guilty. On May 15, 1536 she was put on trial and condemned to death. In the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl we are introduced to a somewhat fictionalized version of Anne’s rise to power.

Mary Boleyn has just married her betrothed husband William when she meets King Henry VIII. Although, King Henry was supposed to take a liking to her sister Anne as a mistress, he chooses Mary instead. Slowly, Mary finds herself being forced into being the Kings mistress. With her father and uncle encouraging her for a power play, Mary goes further into a relationship with the King. However, the object of her sister comes into play when Mary learns that she has married without anyone’s knowledge through her brother. Upon hearing the of news Mary informs her family causing them to exile Anne to France.While Anne is in France, Mary’s husband dies and her affair with the King goes a step higher when Mary learns that she is pregnant. The King grants Mary’s family with lavish gifts of a new house and positions in the court. But not without the caution of Mary’s mother who tells her husband she is not pleased with what has happened to her children. Upon Anne’s return, King Henry VIII is quite taken with the younger Boleyn sister as Mary is confined to bed. Anne tells Mary that she is furious with her for causing her to be exiled. Anne goes out of her way to make the King hers causing the King to file for divorce. Once married to the King, Anne finds herself pregnant and gives birth to a daughter. Knowing her husband wants a son, Anne finds herself pregnant, but giving birth to a stillborn son. Anne attempts to convince her brother to give her a son. However, this does not happen, but is witnessed by her brother’s wife. Once the King hears this news, the trial proceedings for Anne and her brother are brought forth. Anne ends up being condemned to death, as does her brother. Mary attempts to save Anne’s life by writing to the King, but to no avail. With the Boleyn family named ruined in court, Mary leaves and lives the rest of her life out in the country with her new husband and children.

The Other Boleyn Girl gives us the details of how Anne had risen to power. For the time period, Anne was independent, bold, and strong. On May 15, 1539, Anne Boleyn was put on trial for: incest, adultery, and treason leading to a verdict of guilt. This trial was shown in the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl to show her downfall as the rest of her family.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

On May 14th, 1944, George Lucas was born. This man grew up to become the creator of one of the most beloved franchises of all time: Star Wars. In honor of his birthday, I have decided to do the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope.

The film starts off with a scroll explaining what is happening in a galaxy far, far, away. From there we are introduced to Princess Leia as her ship has been taken captive by Darth Vader. Leia is apart of the rebellion that is trying to stop Darth Vader. Just as everything is happening, Leia leaves a message in R2D2, a droid, in hopes of finding help. R2D2 and his pal C3PO are able to evade capture from the empire. However, they are taken captive by Jawas who take them to Luke Skywalker and his uncle to buy. By coincidence, Luke lives near to the man who Leia hoped her message would get to. Luke ends up following R2D2 to Obi-Wan-Kenobi, an elderly Jedi who knows more about the rebellion than he lets on. After finding the aunt and uncle who raised him dead, Luke ends up going on a mission with Obi and the droids to defeat the Empire. Along the way they meet smuggler Han Solo and his pal Chewbacca who they hire to transport them on their ship the Millenium Falcon. Along the trip they attempt to go to Alderaan, only to find it has been destroyed by the Empire. From there, they find  themselves in trouble when they learn that Darth Vader’s evil men have a tracking device that has hooked onto the ship. Luke learns that Leia is on the ship, so he, Han, and Chewbacca all go to save her, while Obi attempts to disable the device. Obi manages to do disable it and heads back to the ship. However, he runs into Darth Vader who kills him in a duel. The Falcon is boarded by the remaining crew, including Leia, and leave the Death Star. However, they are being followed again leading the rebels to end up in a battle. With the help of Obi-Wan-Kenobi’s spirit, Luke is able to embrace the force and help defeat the Death Star. Lukes act of heroism is rewarded by Leia, along with Han and Chewbacca for assisting in defeating the Empire…. for now.

Star Wars has gone on to become one of the most beloved franchises of all time. We are introduced to people in an imaginary world in space all from the mind of George Lucas. On May 14, 1944 this genius was brought into the world. The cinema that we know today, as well as many Star Wars parodies, would not be here if it was not for George Lucas’s imagination and dreams.

Friday the 13th

May 13th this year fell on a Friday, thus making it one of the most unlucky days of all. I was unavailable to do a blog post yesterday, so here is my movie for Friday the 13th. The 1980 horror film by the same name: Friday the 13th.

In the beginning of the movie we are introduced to a young couple in the 1950’s. The two are camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake where they are killed by an unknown assailant. Flashing forward to the present day, which was 1980, we learn that Camp Crystal Lake has been closed since the camp counselors were murdered. We learn all of this through Annie, who hears about it from the townspeople who call Camp Crystal Lake: Camp Blood. Annie is informed by the man who is driving her up that Steve Christie, the owner, has tried to open the camp time after time. However, each time something has prevented him, like the water being poisoned. The man drops Annie off as she continues to hitchhike to Camp Crystal Lake. Sadly, she is picked up by the killer and killed before she can arrive.

After Annie is killed, we are introduced to the rest of the camp counselors and the own Steve Christie. As with any other traditional horror film, one by one each of them are picked off. Eventually, Alice is left alone to fight off the killer who has come her way. After finding the dead bodies of the rest of her friends, she meets Mrs. Voorhees. Upon meeting her, she tries to calm Alice down. Alice starts to fear for her life when she realizes that the kind and somewhat grandmotherly Mrs. Voorhees is the killer. This leads Alice and Mrs. Voorhees on a chase where Alice ends up decapitating her. Once this over, Alice takes a canoe out onto the lake only to wake up the next morning. From halfway across the lake she sees the police officers as they pull up. She smiles with relief. But, this turns to terror as Mrs. Voorhees son Jason, who drowned at the lake and is the reason his mother went on a violent rampage, jumps out of the water and grabs Alice down under. Alice wakes up in the hospital only to be informed that everyone is dead and she is the sole survivor. Upon asking about Jason, she is told that there was no boy found. Leading Alice to realize that he is still there.

Friday the 13th is a classic thriller that had all the elements for a horror film. May 13th, 2016 fell on a Friday, the day when bad things are supposed to happen. In 1980, we were introduced to a horror movie franchise by the name of Friday the 13th.