Saturday, December 10, 2016

Movie Spotlight: Rio Bravo (1959)

I almost didn’t do this review. I wanted it to be easy I guess... for every word to rush with the perfection of a mountain stream. Then it came - who said it was comfortable for a mountain stream? If water had feelings wouldn’t it be a bit painful for the water to be jounced around like that? Yet that is what makes it so madly beautiful. I’m not saying this review will be in rounded beauty of form, but it is here because I really want to share it with you!

And yet, with all that tangle of emotions Rio Bravo as a story, is in fact, almost glaringly simple.

The Big Bad Guy is trying to intimidate the Good Guy into releasing the other Bad Guy.

The End.

Really on paper that’s it and once you see that the Good Guy is John Wayne, farewell to any doubt that he will give in, but in truth that is just the beginning.

It doesn’t say anything about the tough love of Chance (John Wayne) in driving his friend to crack out of the well of self-pity. Not really throwing his weight around too obnoxiously he just does it and does it right and if that steps on a few people's toes so be it.

Next is Stumpy, the rather nutty old man who is loyal to the backbone.

Then there is Colorado Ryan who feels like a breath of cool air in all the dusty strain that goes on in the rest of the movie. Chill to his fingertips with an easy smile and quips that leave people thinking, he owns his classic role of cowboy. However, with his gleam of humor and the way he can hold himself passionless about the situation and yet totally be with it, he plays the role with a stunning, unique turn of hand.

And then… then, there is Dude. Words fail me people, they really do. His character and everything about him is superbly shown. Some girl broke his heart and he’s lonely and betrayed and it’s just so sad. So he sinks to the depths, only held from drowning completely by the loyal hand of Chance. There is his struggle against the weight pulling him down, which is powerful and inspiring and frankly really tough to watch sometimes as you hear all the misery he’s known. Finally he comes out and is able to look back across his pain. Then suddenly he becomes the balancer, the straight thinking one, his smile is back and his eyes aren’t quite so tragic. He can relax and it is all so beautiful. Yes, you could say I like him and his story just a bit. :)

The music - Dimitri Tiomkins wrote the theme song (anyone else hearing echoes of High Noon?) and Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson both sing, ‘nuf said.

Leaving me with a smile, a warm grand feeling inside, and maybe just a few tears, it ranks right up there with High Noon  (yes, it's that high!). This story definitely worked its way into my heart.

I could not post this without a shout-out to my terrific sister Arwen who introduced me to this, (and hundreds of other great stories), and is my general "Did-I-get-this-right?" person. Thanks old thing.

And…. This is my second post for The John Wayne Blogathon hosted by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy and Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me the impetus to revel in some of my Favorite Sort of Things. :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Movie Spotlight: The Big Trail (1930)

Google names this film as an "epic western", which is rather surprising perhaps as it was made in 1930, but is.... it... EVER! In fact so greatly laid on is the epicness that it is almost overwhelming. Imagine it as a history of the pioneers come alive. Floods, blizzards, the perils of the desert; each of the dangers the pioneers faced are shown in gritty frankness; not spoken of but shown, and as such it is a very impressive work indeed. And the people - ! They all look exactly like an old photo come to life. Yes, this film is worthy of being watched for the detail alone.

Now for my favorite parts - because though the above may be very educational there are other things to it as well...

Catching a glimpse of a young, rather lumberjack looking Ward Bond - he isn't even credited, but the few glimpses one can get of him made the film for me. :)

The heroine... and her siblings - You don't get to see any really close-ups of her brother and sister, but I absolutely love the interactions of the trio. Throw John Wayne in the mix, and you just wish you could see more of them all as a family.

Catch the name in the last sentence (and on the movie cover and all these screenshots)? Yes, my friend, this film stars the great and honorable John Wayne in one of his first big picture starring roles. This was before his image was really developed in the film we all know and love known as Stagecoach (1939) and he is still very much his twinkly boyish self and I love that a lot. From start to finish his character is just fun to watch... besides which his outfit is pretty neat. :)

Honestly, John Wayne as Breck Coleman, embodies this film with an energy that is as thrilling and marvelous as the rest of it is, and it is in that, I think, in which lives its epicness.

Posted as part of The John Wayne Blogathon hosted by Hamlette of Hamlette's Soliloquy and Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me the impetus to revel in some of my Favorite Sort of Things. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review: The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey

Those stories. . . the ones you've seemingly always known, the ones always there for you - The Light of Western Stars is one of those for me. It's not the only one of course, but it is at the heart of the list. After A Speckled Bird it was the first really and truly grown-up book I ever read, and the tingling bedazzlement of it has never left.

The tale starts with the greatest thunder-clap of any story I've read. The rest of the story rolls out in charming views and moments of cozy repose varied with nail-biting suspense ending in a conclusion of breath-taking height. In the words of the story: Life changed for her in that instant of realization and became sweet, full, strange; the entire ending, as delicately done as those words, leaves you on tip-toe to see what happens next, yet even as you wonder you surely know it will be altogether quite lovely.

The characters - I haven't truly talked of them have I? Except that in a way I think I have because they are the story. Stillwell - the crusty old cattleman toughened by a hundred desert storms. Al and Florence as sweet and refreshingly honest as a western couple should be. Each of the cowboys: Nils, Link, Monty Price, and Ambrose who, with his little French maid wife, together are simply adorableness itself. Most of all there are Madeline aka Majesty and Gene Stewart. Majesty, having traveled the world, meets Stewart the man holding all the rough pulse of the desert within him and discovers, to her shock, that she really knows nothing at all about life. Their relationship is just as thrilling as one might expect from such a beginning.

Re-reading is something I love and am always doing. Discovering a different angle on a view you think you know as well as your own hand which, come to think of it, I'm always noticing new things about, too. This time it was the so-to-speak interlude in the mountains. A little bit tiresome I remember thinking, and on my past visits I liberally skipped over it to the more heart-pounding parts. And guess what? The “interlude” I discovered is far more exciting than I first supposed, its very quietude being wherein its vivid life begins. From that wonder, caught in words without conversation, the rest of the story spills out in powerful beauty of free-flowing waters and the dreaminess unfurling still holds me fast.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Book Review: Downright Dencey by Caroline Dale Snedeker

There are the stories you either love, or dislike, or the ones that hold so much of each. It is the gift of story that in each visit or time spent pondering over it can reveal a different secret, but perhaps it is in the last category that those revelations are most surprising, Downright Dencey is one of those for me.

I distinctly remember at the end of my last reading, scrunching my face and figuratively throwing it across the room (because throwing books, just isn't done!) and proclaiming my dislike for it. Yet strangely enough just a couple of days ago I found myself picking it up, and not just to peruse my favorite parts, but to read it once more from beginning to end. What is more I finished my reading of it. 

I love, I truly love the relationship between the heroine's Mother and Father. It's adorable. The flashbacks to their romance are quite my favorite part. The atmosphere of old New England - and on no such lesser place than Nantucket - is also told in perfect detail.

So you perhaps wonder about the mysterious feelings outlined at the beginnings of this review? It's ever so slightly bittersweet friends, which is ever so slightly silly for me to make a fuss over as I have a slight inclination to writing such stories myself (witness my first published story). Perhaps it is because of the youthfulness of the characters, but the story left me with a wistful feeling. I felt I could reach out and touch it like summer cobwebbed grasses, and like those cobwebs it is touched with a subtle charm that lingers with me.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Spotlight: Little Women (1978)

Persuasion and Little Women - one British and elegant, the other as brimming with cozy American charm as they come. One similarity betwixt them? I used to think there was NO perfect film version for either, I would ramble at length upon the topic, it was really one of my most eloquent topics. Another thing they share? I found out I was wrong and not just a touch, but completely 100% so! Persuasionof course, was several years ago; however, Little Women was scarce a week past and what's more surprising is that, in the pleasantest of ways, the story and the way it was told have been a splendid picture of my Spring.

Accuracy to book -
There is a fair amount of mixing and stacking of events, but it doesn't feel rushed. At 3 hours and 20 minutes it really isn't, as it allows great freedom to immerse yourself in its world; which is one of the most beloved things about the book. Many little bits are tied in, such as Jo standing by an oak tree toward the end of the film hinting toward the whole "burr" conversation between Meg and Jo in the book. and even to Fred's cheating at croquet, except here he does it to Amy. 

Scenery/Sets - Films from the 70's and 80's are rarely known for their splendor, but honestly that very simplicity is one of the points about them which I so love, and this one is no different.  I feel as if I could walk into it, or even work the unique beauties that make its charm into my own life.

Costumes- Such a colorful and fresh range of style with full splendid skirts for the girls, and proper suits for the men. Meg's blue gingham looks light and refreshing, Jo has a sage scarf and minty dress which look especially pretty on her, and she has the most cozy looking plaid dress with elbow sleeves and ruffles... in addition to which their Christmas ensembles at the end are all the merriest things. 

Music - Bouncy, fun and very much in the family centered, period drama mood of the film.

Characters -

Other Ones - My favorite rendition of Marmee, Dorothy McGuire had lots of experiences with being a mother so that was little of a surprise, she is indeed a wonderful mother figure and the interactions between her and Mr. March are everything they should be. :) Greer Garson as Aunt March is her usual, brilliant, quick fire self. She is also an extremely active and good hearted Aunt March. As Marmee puts it: "Funny old lady, I should have known I could count on her." Also, Mr. Laurence is your perfect, gruff, grandfatherly Victorian gentleman.

Meg and Mr. Brook - She isn't my very favorite nor exactly what I picture in the book, but then she isn't exactly my favorite there either... Together though they're quite cute and fit in well with the rest of the family.

Beth - Beth is sweet, gentle perfection.

Amy - In many ways I think her portrayal, at the heart, is the closest to how the book paints her. Her and Laurie's relationship still isn't quite as expounded upon as in the book, but it is greater than that shown in the other films. Even when they are younger you can see how they fit together, and what scenes they do have are adorable.

Laurie - Absolutely jolly! He also reminds me, for some reason, of someone we've known for ages, which is rather fun. :)

Jo - I've always felt like Jo was somewhat of a kindred spirit, but this one... almost every conversation and happening in her story I chime with PERFECTLY, and the conversation she has with Marmee before Meg gets married... it's absolutely startling how every word, every sentiment fits with my life and emotions right now. And okay, it's dreadfully fun to at last have a blue eyed blond haired Jo. :)

Professor Bhaer - You get to see the Professor and Jo get to know each other, particularly in his attempts at teaching her German and their walks in the park with her and her girls, and he with his lads. He brings out the girlish, almost shy, side of Jo's nature in a way that is delightful to see. "Perhaps you will climb a tree for me... I challenge you miss, I race you to the top."  - to which her uncertain, but covertly delighted surprise at this statement is so sweet.

Professor Bhaer and Jo... I watched the "umbrella scene" thrice and teared up every single time.

The End.

Final Thoughts - I touched upon it in my description of Jo, but this entire film is comfortable and stirring, filled with not only inspiration, but motivation to move toward where it beckons.

 I  UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY LOVE IT! And yes, I used caps shamelessly to write that sentence, because nothing else would encapsulate my emotions upon it.

This review was first posted as part of Miss Laurie' 2016 Period Drama Challenge! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review: Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.

The girl, Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

In my “papers” somewhere or other there is a very long, very rambling, and very enthusiastic review for this story... But it simply wouldn’t do.

Because that’s not quite the story. Not that I don’t feel rambling and enthusiastic about it, but the beauty of this story (and the other books in this series that I have read so far for that matter) is its fresh simplicity. Oh no, not simplicity of plot, that takes some breath-taking spins on the good-old fairy-tale. But they have a “moral” and the story spins out around it. For instance, this one focuses on the power of love. Not so much romantic love as the kind of love that grows strong even when there is no earthly way it could have grown there. Love that grows in forsaken places and transforms frozen wastes into places of abundant and pure beauty. Or sunflowers as the case may be: a flower I love and whose symbolism is stunningly beautiful in here.

It’s “Cinderella” with a twist completely opposite to the original, but that doesn’t weaken the center of the tale in the least. Cendrillon is forsaken and lonely... it’s just who she’s forsaken by (and who becomes her family). That, my friends, is my favorite part.

The end is perhaps a little rushed (as in, she only knew Certain People some twelve hours before she has Very Definite feelings for them), however that didn’t really bother me because of other people and happenings. Hence I thought it actually worked out quite adorably.

It is a golden, sunshiny, romantic tale to set your heart aglow on the coldest of days.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

Her whole life, Jane had believed her father was dead. It was, therefore, quite a shock to receive an invitation to stay with him for the summer on Prince Edward Island. From their very first meeting, Jane falls in love with her charming father and his whimsical cottage on Lantern Hill. A whole summer of fun and adventure, meeting neighbors, and making friends―far away from her grandmother's dreary house in the city. If only she could get her mother to come too.

As Jane juggles her love and loyalty for both parents, she dares to dream...a dream that she and her parents could live together without Grandmother directing their lives―of a house where they could all find home.
(from Amazon)

I went on a holiday this past week (six days by my record) to Canada in Toronto and on P.E.I, to wit the coziest little place tucked up in a hill overlooking the gulf. It was named Lantern Hill and I was with my friend Jane (isn't there some poem or children's book that mentions “my friend Jane;”? I think it's in My Mama's a Llama… where am I going with this?) Let us return to Jane of Lantern Hill because that's where I was. And oh, was it a glorious time. Baking, exploring the country-side, looking through her little bedroom window at the moon above the hill, delighting in all the blooming green things in her garden, listening to the sound of the gulf. It doesn't matter that I was a thousand miles and 75 years away from there, I was still there. Because that, my friends, is the magic of story and most especially the gift of Montgomery.

All of L.M. Montgomery's stories are made of beautiful descriptions, but this one surely has the most beauteous of them all, for instance…

The little flower-beds were edged with blue forget-me-not's and in one corner was a big, clump of early, dark red peonies. Violets and plots of red and white daisies grew under the parlor windows.

And each one becomes only more lovely, perfectly showing the world through the eyes of a deep-hearted young girl.

The girl Jane: lover of spring winds and the call of the sea, practical and house-wifely, with a fine glow of imagination. She is exactly that type of person who would make the dearest of friends.

Her father Andrew Stewart is one of those men with keen jaws, laughing eyes and fly-away hair (where are they all now I wonder? :)) and you may be sure it was awe-filled admiration for me at the first word of description. He might just equal Roger Penhallow as one of my Favorite Heroes. Let there be a shocked pause, because that means I really like him.

Jane's mother is golden, laughing, and not quite grown up in many ways for her status in life because her wealthy childhood was not one to mold her well for its challenges. However, she does makes Jane the most darling mother and behaves quite well at the end. And her name is Robin. One of my aunt's is named that and I’ve always thought it the prettiest name, so I ended up quite loving her.

Reading this story is as if you have the magic gift to be able to pop into the wondrous freshness of spring at any moment and that is a very dear gift indeed. Yes, siree, I loved it and you may well believe that Jane of Lantern Hill and her refreshing tale are now on my shelf of most beloved stories.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: The Inheritance by Lousia May Alcott

I was inspired to order this book again after seeing the movie adaptation of the story last week, so this is almost more of a comparison post than a proper review; however, first I will talk about the writing style which obviously isn't that connected to the movie.. or is it? There is a definite 'distance' created by the overtly poetic writing style which is somewhat betrayed by how it runs through your head! As I told my sister, I partly read it so fast because I was starting to think about the most everyday things in a fluting high flown style which is rather irritating in daily life. Not that I dislike poetic imagery (L. M. Montgomery is one of my muses), but the Gothic overtones of this got a whee bit head-achy. :)

The movie softens, no, does away with, the melodrama, leaving the natural intensity of the scenes and story to play out all the more profoundly. The workings of the story are vastly different from that of the book, but the spirit of it -- the integral parts of Percy giving his friendship so freely to Edith, her courage and skill with horses (though only slightly seen in the novel), even all the way to Edith looking “long and sadly” at the portrait of her father -- are all neatly tied in.

Perhaps it's my excitement for anything Ivanhoe, but I thought the whole imagery with the tableaux, Edith as Rebecca and Arlington as the Templar (while perhaps quite blatant) worked very neatly into their relationship. Having there be a Hamilton son certainly makes the whole disinherited thing a bit stronger, but why oh why was Edith so submissive to all of Ida's orders? It drove me crazy! It does make her more Cinderella-like to be sure, but I didn't see why Edith owed any especial deference to her. Why, if Lord Percy had been but a touch less observant he might have never seen anything of it! Observation, however, is the very keystone of his character which is something they bring out very well in the movie and also a character trait I highly admire/respect, so all is well. :)

Do I think it can be completely compared to the movie? Not at all. The book is quite melodramatic, with crumbling walls and single dropping tears – whereas the movie, in its thoughtful friendship, refreshingly gentle romance and adorable humor is one of the most everyday-like costume dramas I have ever seen.

Though the book was rather slower than I remembered it being, I had a great deal of fun remembering and placing little anecdotes and keys from it as seen in the movie and enjoyed my re-visit to it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Golden by Cameron Dokey

Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed...forever.

I usually review only books that I’m totally crazy about, but really, that creates a very lopsided view of my reading. (Well, mayhap not quite so lopsided, as I tend toward reading only books that I know I will like, but I’m trying to branch out from that too. :))

So I decided to begin with this book. A book that I half like, from an author whose stories I love. Sounds good, yes?

To begin with the plot was just a little too scrambled for me. I liked most of the individual parts, but I couldn’t quite see how they were bound together. I will say no more here lest I give away the story, but only that some of the Strong Reasons for Things felt a little weak to me. And some of the dialogue was just a wee modern for my taste, but that’s just old-fashioned me.

Now for the happily delicious bits. First the big one: I loved how Rapunzel (later Susan) has no hair. Absolutely none. There are many books where the hero falls in love with a heroine because of her beautiful character, but the heroine just happens to be ravishingly beautiful, as well (though there is nothing wrong with that -- in fact, I enjoy that, too). Beauty of character is truly what gives the living glow to any loveliness. But I thought it was really neat how in Golden that is simply swept away. Yes, she has beautiful eyes, but they are hardly spoken of and it is her character that is laid clear and for which everyone loves/learns to love her for. You know the gift her hero brings her from his travels? Extravagant head scarves - each more shining and imaginative than the last. He brings her a covering! Ah, there could be some very neat imagery here!

I also like Rue’s romance with the prince; because it’s just plain cute.

As with Belle, this story is sparkled with nuggets of lovely prose and description, one of my favorites being the part where Rapunzel is running across the plain after being confined in the tinker’s wagon for several days. Even as I lay reading the book I could feel the great emptiness of the plain around and the joyous pounding of her feet upon the ground as she ran.

Now I’m finished, but I received a surprise while writing this. Examining and putting my thoughts in order, I think I might just like this story better than I first supposed. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Movie Spotlight: The Inheritance (1997)

Lately the name of a certain costume drama has been floating around this place, to wit, Lark Rise to Candleford. Many feeling terms have been applied to it (one of which coming to mind is Favorite Period Drama Ever), but that's not quite accurate, because before LRTC there was (and still is)... The Inheritance! And The Inheritance really is truly nearly perfect.

Firstly now, a synopsis:

Edith Adelon lives as the companion to the daughter of a wealthy family. Her life is a happy one, only slightly clouded by the knowledge that someday she will have to leave the only place that has ever been home to her. But time has a way of beginning things before you know it. A friend of the family, James Percy comes to ride in one of the greatest events in the neighborhood, the Greenscup. He and Edith connect in their love of horses and Edith soon finds herself falling in love with the very man specially “imported” to marry the shrewish cousin of the family. This cousin soon becomes a conniving enemy who will stop at no deceit to ruin Edith's chance at happiness.

And that is my own description and I'm really rather pleased with it, which is exceedingly nice. :)

The Music - Simply put, it is cantering put to music. Just listening, you can almost feel the musical inflection of the horse beneath you. Lyrical, thrilling and totally romantic, it whisks you away into the magic of olden days.

Sets and Scenery - Are so beautiful! I have little idea of where it is actually supposed to be set, but it looks like it must be in the South somewhere or it might be in California. The house looks very Spanish-inspired from the outside. But the exact locations don't really matter, because it's not really about accuracies, but just utter loveliness. And the overall coloring is so lovely: dusty brown and golden with tints of rose and just a general golden glow.

The Costumes - Bustles, riding outfits, ruffled ballgowns... it's all a pure delight. :) I talked more about most of my favorite dresses in this post. One I didn't mention was Edith's ballgown, which is creamy, ruffled and simply elegant. And her hair is so gorgeous. Could anything be more refreshingly lovely? The men's garb (i.e. James's) as it ranges from practical riding clothes to distinguished evening wear, is also positively wonderful.

The Characters -

Edith Adelon - I love how her humor and gentleness is coupled with just enough spice to make her terribly fun without being feisty. She knows uncertainty at times, but is always confident in truth. She's constantly inspiring while yet making you feel she would be the jolliest of chums. :)

James Percy – First, let us have a moment of silence. His name!!! Isn't it the neatest thing? Louisa May Alcott did have a knack for perfect names. :) Handsome and accomplished, he knows just how to put a shy person at ease (let alone knowing how to handle an overly-interested-young-lady) and his character is truly beautiful. He has everything a true man can and should have. A man that can be respected, with patience and just enough dash to make him very fun. :)

James and Edith together – First their meeting: oh, the sweetness... I can hardly bear it! So quiet and unassuming and there is a HORSE – his horse – there, too. Could it be better? In fact, could any of their relationship be better? The entire thing is simply beautiful, as in tear-worthily beautiful. And as their love grows – on a base of mutual interests and friendship – it will clearly be one for a full and joyful lifetime together.

Mr. And Mrs. Hamilton - The couple who have raised Edith. You know what I said about James and Edith? Well, here it is about twenty-some years later! They are different people, so it no doubt looks a little different than James and Edith's will, but it still has the wonderfulness factor. The humor between them is hilarious. And she is such an elegant and thorough gentlewoman. Honestly, she is really one of my favorite movie characters. Their daughter Amy – the young lady Edith is companion to – is truly bubbly and sweet, treating Edith much more like a sister than anything else.

The Villains... Are truly terrible! I mean, they must be on the list of the Worst Period Drama Villains Ever: sophisticated, cunning, and altogether simply infuriating.

And hence, some of the parts you should know about: Basically, the villain tries to force a kiss on Edith and there's a scuffle, but he gets his just deserts. The whole part is really easy to see coming. Also, some of the villainess's dresses especially are fairly low-cut.

So I reach the end of a review and once again words fail me. How do I adequately write of something where the glow of beauty is more felt than anything else: with the ache of sympathy as Edith meets and undergoes all the pain and misunderstanding that any true Cinderella knows, and then the deep bubbling joyful glow when she meets her “prince” and at last finds 'home.' It's all entirely heart-wrenching, romantic, and utterly beautiful!

Note: This review was first posted for Heidi's Cinderella Week and Miss Laurie's 2016 Period Drama Challenge!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Movie Spotlight: First Love (1939)

Except... it wasn’t first love for me. I wept and gnashed my teeth over it (pretty image, is it not? :)). The teacher was too nasty (I said)… her family was odious… and that was the end of the matter for me. Or so I thought.

But then, months later, I saw it again and (what is that line from Tangled? “And it's like the sky is new”).. I know that’s a romance song, but that part is so true for this story. Because I fell totally in love.

So it’s through those new eyes that I present this review –

First thought: Connie’s teacher is rather hard, but it’s the hardness of love that teaches what the world is like so that it won’t crush and then shows that love can be found even in the busiest, blindest of places.

But what is this place? The sparkly splendor of 30’s high society, complete with its crazy fur, dainty high-heels, and the swirling shimmer of the ladies’ shining skirts… It’s the stuff dreams are made of and, believe me, the perfect setting for a Cinderella story!

This movie has, I think, the funniest meeting between Cinderella and her “prince”, which gets only more comical as I think of the other versions. Ever After has him (ahem) borrowing her horse (such a little gentleman :)) and Cinderella 2015 has them both riding (love that scene so much!) But in this one Connie, obeying the order of her cousin to delay Ted Drake (i.e. The Prince) till she gets there, lures away his horse with some sugar cubes from the place where he tied it. And hence proceeds the most hysterical game of tag: with Connie in front and the horse galloping after, with Ted in hot pursuit. After which Ted very niftily pretty much saves her life. Totally adorable, I do assure you. :)

From there, the story only gets sweeter, from the interference of the “Nasty Stepsister” to the dreamiest ball sequence. Connie and Ted dance to a medley of Strauss waltzes thus instantly putting Strauss, and waltzing in general on my list of the Most Romantic Things Ever. The dance also includes the neatest fade-out effect with the other couples fading away, leaving them dancing in an empty ballroom and then having a lovely conversation on the terrace which overlooks New York City.

The entire story is entwined with songs that are variously joyful and as heartbreaking as they come. But the best moment? The end of course. (I’m skipping over the dividing part on purpose because second only to Slipper and the Rose it is the most heart-wrenching of the Cinderella partings.)

But I won’t tell you much of it… only that it is stirring, tugging your heartstrings, and utterly lovely with promises of a future all the brighter for dear Connie.

Aren't they the cutest ever?!!

Thus ends one of the loveliest (in both senses of the word) movies of all time, leaving you with a sigh of the dreamiest kind, a nice cozy feeling that glows to the tips of your fingers, and the feeling that love at first sight might just be possible after all.

Note: This review was first posted for Heidi's Cinderella Week and Miss Laurie's 2016 Period Drama Challenge!

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