Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 1-2

So Happy Indepedence Day. It is time for another:

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

I was trying to decide what to  post today and was split between Poldark, which takes place after the Revolutionary War and The Buccaneers which is about a group of ladies “invading” England. After a long deliberation, Buccaneers won out.

So I first stumbled on this about six or five years ago when I was scrolling through Amazon Prime looking for the next thing to watch.

I started with one episode and was hooked!

The one thing that really struck me when I was watching it was all the famous actors in it. I mean there is the amazing James Frain as Julius, Duke of Trevennick; why, why, why hasn’t he been in a Jane Austen film yet?

Then there is Spy Kids mama Carla Gugino who plays the lead, Annabel “Nan” St. George.

And Greg Wise, (best known to Jane Austen fans as Mr. Willoughby), as the strong upstanding, Greg Thwaite.

This miniseries is what I consider to be “what would have happened if the Austen characters married the wrong people.” You know the Wickhams, Willoughbys, Churchills, Thorpes, etc.; of the world.

The horror! I can’t even think of it.

So I have yet to read the book and am going to focus on the movie only. There are a few changes-which you will see.

So the series takes place in the Gilded Age, after the Civil War. The St. Georges have become extremely wealthy in the aftermath, Mr. St. George being the third wealthiest man on Wall Street. They have moved to Newport Beach but find it hard to enter society as they are “coarse” and “nouveau riche”. It doesn’t matter that the St. George’s have more money that a whole coastline of “old money” people put together, they are not considered polite society. This hurts Mrs. St. George who wants nothing more than to finally be accepted.

Mrs. St. George was actually from a “good family” and married beneath her (as Nan shares), but her husband made a ton of money in the aftermath of the war. She reminds me a lot of Mrs. Bennet, but isn’t so worried about marrying her daughters off as she is in hoping they can get invited into society.

She is joined as an outcast with Elmsworths (who I don’t know what their money is in, I don’t think they say. The housekeeper from Two and a Half Men plays the mother-but all I can see her as is the grumpy housekeeper in that show and the murdered one in Murder She Wrote.) And rounding out this group are the Clossons. Mr. Closson met his wife in Brazil and married her, making his money in the ranches and plantations she owns combined with the casinos in New York that he owns. Their daughter, Conchita has an even harder time with society as all assume her to be a “dark-skinned Native”. So-yes no one wants them.

However, Conchita is invited to the right parties as she is newly engaged to Lord Richard Marabel, and everyone wants a real English Lord at their party. Remember A Change of Fortune?

Mrs. St. George, feeling desperate, hires an English governess to instruct her younger daughter Nan, and give her family some ummph. Ms. Laura Testvalley arrives from England, happy as the St. George’s not knowing any better are paying her a small fortune. She’s doing way better than she would  have in England. Too bad Jane Fairfax wasn’t born later.

Ms. Testvalley tries to instruct the girls and smooth out their rough edges. But they still are not invited anywhere.

It sucks!

Ms. Testvalley knows Lord Richard as she was governess to his sisters, and I don’t know if this is true but I always felt they had a “thing” in the past. They seem too close, if you know what I mean.

The big party of the summer is happening, and the only one who gets an invite is Conchita, and only because her fiance is Lord Richard. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth and Nan’s older sister Virginia St. George, pretend to be Lord Richard’s sisters so they can go to the party, but they are later found out. Awkward!

Nan cannot go as she is not “out” in society, watching this I do get where Mrs.Bennet is coming from. It isn’t fun when you are stuck at home because your older sister isn’t married. Nan is adorable, fun, but a young girl. She thinks being a mistress is “exciting” as you have freedom and can do what you want. She even idealizes Ms. Testvalley’s life. Ms. Testavalley tries to help her with her naivety, but there is only so much she can do.

That is not what life is like.

Mrs. St. George is bemoaning  that she cannot get invited anywhere, when Ms. Testavalley comes up with the idea of a London Season. She understands the American class system better than Mrs. St. George and knows that if the ladies go to England, when they return-everyone will be begging them to attend their functions. Mrs. St. George agrees and they are off.

In England, Conchita marries Richard and meets the family. There are huge issues as they come from very different cultures. Richard is the black sheep of the family, a gambler, loose with everything, etc. He thought marrying the wealthy Conchita would solve everything, but that’s not how it works out for him. Conchita’s family expects him to take care of their daughter and actually work for a living.

Ugh! Work!

Richard was kicked out of the family home and Conchita allows him back in as his father would never kick out a woman, especially one as beautiful as her.

Richard exits the picture, using the allowance she gets to live his life however he wants, and leaving the fiery, fun-loving Conchita in a cold, damp, mansion with the uptight well-to-do family.

Meanwhile, the St. Georges and Lizzy have come to England. Ms. Testavalley wants them to do well and enlists another expatriate, her old friend Ms. March. Ms. Testavalley just wants aid in teaching them proper manners and how to follow society rules, but Ms. March has a better idea. Ms. March was once a young girl who came to England for a season, and it was hard to get into English society. In fact she was going to marry Lord Brightlingsea, Richard’s father, but was left at the altar. It seems that there was some nefarious plot, (I personally think that Lady Brightlingsea found a way to trick him, but that’s just my opinion.) Ms. March wants revenge and plans to do so by getting all the girls with wealthy, important, high-society men.

The girls visit with Conchita who is very unhappy, lonely, and determined to take a lover to ease the days. She loves having the girls to visit with her and brighten her days. She takes them to visit with Guy Thwaite. Every girl loves him but he is “unmarriageable” as he has no money. When his mother died she left him £20000 or £50000 (depending on who is telling the story). His father invested it and lost it all. Many a lady wouldn’t mind marrying him as he is handsome, intelligent, and comes from a great family-but he refuses them all as he wants to have his own money, he doesn’t want to just live off his woman.

This kind of character gives me mixed feelings. He reminds me a lot of Carl from O Pioneers! and both characters infuriate me. One one hand you have to admire a guy who wants to have his act together, provide a life for his family instead of mooching off the woman, and be a man. But on the other hand, having so much pride you waste so much time. And you might lose the girl to another.

Guy and Nan hit it off right away and she falls hard for him. He likes her, but even though she is extremely wealthy, he wants to have his own  money so he’d be worthy of his future wife.

I admire you and I’m angry with you. I’m angire or admry

So Lady Brightlingsea is not a happy woman. Conchita is pregnant, but Richard is never home and the money she brings in is not as much as this family would like to fill their extremely diminished coffers. And to add to it, her older son, the good one, has given no heir and has no interest to marry. He’s been involved with an older woman, Idina Hatton. Idina needs money and rents her cottage out to Ms. March, who brings the girls there. There they have fun and throw little parties.

From Emma (1996)

Nan is bored of those things-as she can’t really join in-and she and Ms. Testvalley go down to the countryside where Nan runs into Julius, Duke of Trevennick. Julius has been breaking hearts of all the ladies as no one can pin him down. He isn’t interested in any women as all they want are his title, he seems sweet but there is also something off-putting about his love of clocks and solitude. Like I get your an introvert, but it seems a tad…controlling. I don’t know.

Moving on…Nan impresses him as she has no clue who he is, loves the ruins as much as him, and is just full of innocence, childlike wonder, imagination, feelings, etc. She’s like a mix between Marianne Dashwood and  Catherine Morland.

The Duke is taken with her and invites her to tea-the two talking and he continuing to be struck by her.

Meanwhile, Virginia and Lizzy have both been struck by Lord Seadown’s “sad eyes”, “brooding nature”, and melancholy demeanor. Oh man, you know the type.

Lord Seadown on the hand has been doing some calculating. His extremely dwindling coffers compared to the GNP of the Elmsworth and the St. George’s. Virginia is a better choice as her family has a lot more money. Seadown boasts of his plan to his brother and how he’ll have the better deal.

One day Lizzy, Virginia, and Conchita are having a little party, when Idina shows up, angry that Seadown stood her up. She makes a scene and yells at Virginia. Virginia is a classy lady, but Lizzy won’t stand the way she is being treated and lets all know that Virginia and Seadown are engaged.

The two marry and Virgina is ecstatic over being married to her love, Lord Seadown, becoming the future Lady Seadown, and winning over her rival Lizzy. But the marriage happiness is short lived as Seadown reveals that he only married her for her money and will be using it to redo the West Wing.

Replace beauty with money

Virginia is crestfallen, but that’s not the worst of it-Lord Seadown just uses her money-giving all love and affection to Idina.

So now we are left with little Nan. Guy is extremely interested, but lets her know that he is not going to marry anyone without money. He also thinks that Nan is too young at 18. He is going to South America for two years to work on the railroad and make his fortune. Nan insists that she is not too young, as her mother married at 18. But he says no and walks out of her life.

You’re making a huge mistake!!!!!!! Come back, at least propose!!! Don’t leave her!!!!!!!

Julian on the other hand is very interested in Nan and goes to speak to her but finds her out. He instead speaks to Ms. Testvalley about his wanting to marry Nan. Now in an interesting twist Ms. Testvalley really discourages him against. She warns him that Nan is young and he should wait as in a year or two-after she’s grown up a bit, she could be an incredibly different person.

This reminds me of Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet. If Mr. Bennet had not been taken in by a pretty face but really spent his time getting to know Mrs. Bennet or maybe had a longer engagement he would have realized she isn’t the right person for him. But they both were young and didn’t think.

Julian ignores Ms. Testvalley and goes to Nan who is crushed and heartbroken and lonely. When Julian proposes he gives her a puppy! A PUPPY!!! There is a guy who knows how to do a good proposal, Mr. Darcy could take notes. She’s sad, crushed, alone as her sister and friends are married ad gone and she says yes.

So Nan becomes the crown jewel for Ms. March and Ms. Testvalley as she snagged the Duke, just under a Prince. Wowee!!

Yes the americans have won and conquered the English marriage market.

So here we have as I see it-Lord Richard is nothing but Mr. Wickham. Charming on the surface but a gambling bounder who only cares about having a good time for himself. We get a glimpse of how life would have been if Wickham succeeded in marrying Georgina or Miss Gray.

Then we have Lord Seadown. He reminds me of Mr. Elliot or Mr. Willoughby. But are as calculating when it comes to maintain their fortunes/way of lifestyle. Either would do all they can to keep it.

Smarming and plotting away.

And then we have the Duke. I’m not sure who he best lines up with, he seems like a nice catch…but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

So I was going to do the whole series in one post, but there is just too much. I’ll do a secondary post on the last three episodes.

In other news, I’ll be spending this weekend with my niece. I usually post every three days, but I might have to postpone as I don’t what we will be doing. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July, whether it is just another day:

Or celebrating our Independence!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Gilded Age, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more 4th of July posts, go to Let Freedom Ring

So I like to joke and have fun, but I’m going to end this post on a serious note. I just want to thank all past and present who have served to protect not only my country and my rights, but those around the world.

This is Not the End…It Will Never End

I love October:

I’m so sorry it is over.

I love doing Horrorfest and I am so happy that this year I was able to do all 31 days!

Let me apologize for the messy postings, they weren’t as edited and full of images as I would have liked but I was so eager to have 31 posts done for publishing that I didn’t take the time I should have to make sure they were fully ready for publishing.

But I did it!!!!!!!

Great choices

So let’s see I promised you horror, suspense, mystery, film noir, monsters, ghosts, Alfred Hitchcock, Lifetime movies, aliens, witchcraft, murder, and cyborgs.

And what did I deliver?

Hmmm…

So lets start off with our yearly films. We always have Alfred Hitchcock, this year with me finally reviewing The Birds and a nod to Psycho with a Boy Meets World episode. Our Tim Burton film with Edward Scissorhands; a double dose of Disney with Maleficent and The Great Mouse Detective; an animated film with The Great Mouse Detective; yearly Stephen King film with The Tommyknockers; and a double dose of Vincent Price with Edward Scissorhands and The Great Mouse Detectives.

Our Lifetime movie in The Stranger Beside Me. I watched a ton of them but only reviewed one-probably because this one struck close to home.

AHHHHHHH!!!!

Had some spy action in The Glass Bottom Boat andThree Days of the Condor

And a lot of film-noir with The Blade Runner, The Blue Gardenia, Deadline at Dawn, A Letter to Three Wives, and Possessed 

I also for the first time, reviewed a video game It Lives in the Woods for Horrorfest. I’m thinking about doing it again next year.

We had horror-comedy in Fashion Model and The Glass Bottom Boat

Lots of psychopaths: multiple family members in American Gothic; the husband in Double Jeopardy; the dad in The Good Student; Griffin in The Invisible Man; the car jackers in Nocturnal Animals; the criminals in Rawhide; and the husband in The Stranger Beside Me.

We had quite a few literary nods-Sherlock Holmes with Basil of Baker Street, Agatha Christie’s Crooked House, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, and Phillip Pullman’s Ruby in the Smoke.

Had our Jane Austen fix with the final review of Death Comes to Pemberley. Now I guess I’ll have to review Pride & Prejudice & Zombies in order to keep Jane Austen in Horrorfest.

Mystery, you say?

Aliens in Independence Day and Tommyknockers:

Witches in a Murder She Wrote episode:

Cyborgs in The Blade Runner:

Classic monsters with Dr. Jekyll in Sccoby-Doo, Dr. Jekyll in Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf, and the Invisible Man in his first film appearance.

So as you see, there is something for everyone. For all the films and TV shows reviewed:

The Invisible Man (1933)

Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

Fashion Model (1945)

Deadline at Dawn (1946)

Possessed (1947)

A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

Rawhide (1951)

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

The House of the Arrow (1953)

The Birds (1963)

The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Blade Runner (1982)

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The Witch’s Curse: Murder She Wrote (1992)

The Tommyknockers (1993)

The Stranger Beside Me (1995)

The Psychotic Episode: Boy Meets World (1999)

Double Jeopardy (1999)

Independence Day (1999)

The Good Student (2006)

Ruby in the Smoke (2006)

Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Maleficent (2014)

American Gothic (2016)

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Crooked House (2017)

It Lives in the Woods (2017)

 

I Just Read Books: Three Days of the Condor (1975)

I am not a spy. I just read books! We read everything that’s published in the world. And we… we feed the plots – dirty tricks, codes – into a computer, and the computer checks against actual CIA plans and operations. I look for leaks, I look for new ideas… We read adventures and novels and journals.

We watched this film in a class I was a teacher’s assistant for, America at the Movies. Some of you might not feel that isn’t a mystery but more of a political drama, but au contraire, this film won the Mystery Writers of America’s 1976 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. So it counts!

To all you haters

I  loved this film. You have a movie that centers on reading books

And stars Robert Redford!

Swoon

The film starts out with Joe Turner (Redford) just doing day to day “office work”. Turner works at the American Literacy Historical Society-preserving the books that are important to the culture and history of our times.

Just kidding-that is the cover story. In reality Turner works for the CIA, codename Condor. His division reads mystery and spy novels looking for secret messages, plots, concepts, ideas, etc. It’s an easy job, pretty much all you do is read all day. Sounds perfect to me!

Turner reads one novel and submits it to CIA headquarters as the book has a few questionable elements and has been translated into many languages.

Hmm…

One day Turner steps out to get lunch for the staff. While he is gone, armed men enter the building and promptly kill the six staffers on duty. When Turner arrives, he discovers the dead bodies.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scared, Turner follows protocol and reports in, giving codename “Condor”. He is supposed to meet his head of department, but it all turns out to be a trap. Now Turner is in a cat-and-mouse game, trying to outwit the CIA and assassins.

I love this as it is so similar to The 39 Steps or other Alfred Hitchcock films. Just normal guy, doesn’t really know what is going on and gets caught up in this big huge adventure.

The only thing we are missing is a beautiful blonde.

Enter, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), a woman he encounters by chance that he forces to take him to her home and keeps her hostage, using her apartment as a hiding place.

What a jerk

This doesn’t last as the man after him, Joubert, discovers his hiding spot and sends the hitman after him. Turner does manage to overcome the hitman disguised as a mailman. He gets a name and address of Leonard Atwood, Director of Operations of the Middle East and why the killings happened.

Joe Turner: What does Operations care about a bunch of damn books? A book in Dutch. A book out of Venezuela. Mystery stories in Arabic.

Atwood: Wait!

Joe Turner: What the hell is so important about…[He stops as he sees the connectionOil fields. Oil. That’s it, isn’t it? This whole damn thing was about oil! Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

Atwood: Yes, it was.

The book was fictional, but hit too close the truth and the story had to be eliminated, and those who had read it. Joubert comes on the scene and kills Atwood, the head of the CIA determining that he is too much of a liability. They have decided to let Turner “go” for his ingenuity-but will they really? Joubert warns Turner it will never be over. Just like in The Godfather, he gives him notice of how the hit will go down.

Joe Turner: I’d like to go back to New York.

Joubert: You have not much future there. It will happen this way. You may be walking. Maybe the first sunny day of the spring. And a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know, maybe even trust, will get out of the car. And he will smile, a becoming smile. But he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift.

Turner meets with CIA operative Higgins in public-Times Square. Higgins talks more about the “plan” Turner stumbled on.

Joe Turner: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

Higgins: Are you crazy?

Joe Turner: Am I?

Higgins: Look, Turner…

Joe Turner: Do we have plans?

Higgins: No, absolutely not. We have games. That’s all. We play games. ‘What if?’ ‘How many men?’ ‘What would it take?’ ‘Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime?’ That’s what we’re paid to do.

Joe Turner: Supposing I hadn’t stumbled onto a plan; say, nobody had?

Higgins: Different ballgame… the fact is, there was nothing wrong with the plan. No, the plan was alright; the plan would’ve worked!

Turner wants out and has insurance to protect himself. He gave The Wall Street Journal the whole story-anything happens to him it is published…or will it?

Higgins: Hey, Turner! How do you know they’ll print it? You can take a walk. But how far if they don’t print it?

Joe Turner: They’ll print it.

Higgins: How do you know?

It is a powerhouse of an ending. Is Turner safe? Will he be protected? Or will he be living his life always looking over his shoulder?

We will never know. That’s the beauty of its creepiness.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Who Did I Marry?: The Stranger Beside Me (1995)

For more spy films, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

It’s the end of the world

You know, I was having a hard time thinking of what movie to open with. What ’60s movie do I like?

Hmm…

Then I stupidly remembered The Birds. Of course!

It’s perfect!

This movie is one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies ever. I simply adore this film so much. It has everything that makes up a good film. And I can just watch it over and over again.

So I don’t remember what exactly got me into Alfred Hitchcock, but I became obsessed with his films. I do know how I was introduced to The Birds. It was through Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club.

Huh?

I loved the BSC books as a kid and read them all even belonging in the reading club that sent you two books a month and a little newsletter. I don’t remember if the newsletter or a book mentioned it, but I remember reading a note by Ann M. Martin about how she loved the film The Birds and because no one she knew had a VCR they could only watch it when it was on TV. Whenever it aired they would plan a sleepover and watch it with friends.

I can’t stop watching!

I became consumed with the idea of watching it, did and loved it. It was the first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever owned, me ordering it and planning on purchasing one every year on my birthday or Christmas and having the whole collection when I was an adult (did not happen sadly).

Later, a friend of mine. knowing how much I loved it, took me to Bodega Bay so I could see it in person and all the sites used in the film. It was so cool seeing everything and I later took many more trips out there. Here I am with the house that is used as a schoolhouse in the film. I blurred myself out as there are a lot of weirdos on the internet, no offense dear readers.

They also used to have a museum full of things from the movie and marketing/promotional materials, but it always had weird hours, then they closed it, then they had an awesome shop which doubled as a mini museum-but then the person died who owned it and the collection moved. Here I am with an item when they still had it.

Back in 2011, Tippi Hedren actually came out to do a promotional thing at Bodega Bay. I lived near there when I was going to school, but unfortunately I could not go and meet her as I had scheduled a trip home to be with family. However I had truly amazing and awesome friends who went out and stood in line and got her autograph my DVD. I tried to pay them back, but they would not let me know the price if it or let me do so.

I’m lucky

So while it was an amazing film done by an amazing director there is a sad twinge to the story as well. Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her really. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto

So that’s enough background, let’s move on to the review!

The film is based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, this being the third of her works being published into a film-following Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. However, this story and her story have nothing in common besides birds attacking. And before we discuss the film, let’s watch the trailer.

So the film starts off in San Francisco where we have Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hedren, going into a bird shop to pick up her myna bird.

***little side note Alfred Hitchcock strolls on by***

****Second side note, by the way there is no music track-just bird noises****

*****And can I just say she is wearing a stunning green suit. I love it and wish I owned one just like it, although I have nowhere to wear it to.*****

Melanie notices a lot of birds in the air, thinking it odd, but moving along.

Huh?

Unfortunately her bird has not arrived yet. The shopkeeper goes to call and she waits along at the desk. In walks the gorgeous Rod Taylor, and Melanie decides the same thing. Pretending to be the shopkeeper so that she can talk to him and put the moves on him.

He wants lovebirds for his sister’s birthday. He can tell she is not a shopkeeper but is trying to embarrass her, asking her questions she has no clue to the answers. When he asks to see a love bird it escapes around the shop causing havoc. And the real shopkeeper comes out to try and catch it. He reveals to Melanie that he knows who she is and has been playing her the whole time. It turns out that she went to court over a broken glass window and he was there too. He’s a lawyer and believed she should have served time for what she did, not gone off scot-free because she is a wealthy woman with a famous father.

She’s offended, but not so that she takes down this handsome man’s license, has a friend of her father run the plate, buys him lovebirds,and tracks down the address of a Mr. Mitch Brenner.

She’s got it bad, and is slightly creepy-but I kind of understand as Rod Taylor is a dreamboat. Who wouldn’t want to run into him again.

She brings the birds to his house and plans to leave them outside with a cheeky note, but his neighbor informs him that Mitch is gone for the weekend to visit his family in Bodega Bay.

A little funny that neighbor knows so much, but hey this is the ’60s. People actually knew their neighbors.

So Melanie drives the curvy winding coast road to Bodega Bay, which I have done plenty of times, and I always thought it was weird that the birds never flap around but just move with the vehicle. They don’t act like normal birds. It has always been my theory that they are the demon seed that start the revolution against people. They are just too quiet and creepy.

This is the only video I could find. There was originally no music

She goes to the post office, which you can visit, so that she can find Mitch’s address. The postmaster shows her the way to go. When you go now everything is compeletly different, but you can still look across the water like she did.

The Tides restaurant still exists, although it has been redone as there was a fire. In fact they were allowed to use it for filming only if the main male character was named after the owner of the Tides, Mitch Brenner. So yes, that is how Rod Taylor’s character got his name.

Melanie asks for the name of Mitch’s sister, but the postmaster doesn’t know. He directs her to the school and the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), to get the actual info. Turns out the name is Cathy.

Annie asks Melanie a few questions about her relationship to Mitch. Hmm, sounds like there is some history there.

Annie Hayworth: Did you drive up from San Francisco by the coast road?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: Nice drive.

Melanie Daniels: It’s very beautiful.

Annie Hayworth: Is that where you met Mitch?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Annie Hayworth: I guess that’s where everyone meets Mitch.

Melanie heads out into a rented boat with the birds. She sneaks up to their house in heels, not an easy feat, goes into the house and drops off the birds.

Now Tippi Hedren may be a beautiful woman but I would be extremely creeped out if someone did that to me. I mean she doesn’t even know him but tracked down not only Mitch’s home address, but boyhood address. A bit creepy and stalkerish.

Mitch, however, is besotted.

As Melanie heads back across the bay, Mitch takes his car to meet her.

******Can I stop and go on a slight sidebar here? Feel free to skip over if you wish. I just love Rod Taylor in that white sweater. I don’t know what it is but he is extra dreamy.

Drooling is over back to the movie*******

So Melanie gets dive-bombed by a gull, and pretty badly hurt and bleeding. Head wounds are the worst. Here is were I guess it starts, the first shot in the revolution.

******Side note: The man who asks Mitch what happened, is the real Mitch Brenner.*******

Back to the film. They go into the resturant where Mitch tends to her wounds. She questions him, wile he tries to get to why she came. Melanie tries to play off her stalkerish by saying it was on the way to visit Annie, the schoolteacher, but Mitch knows that its a lie, therefore confirming to us that there is something between Annie and him, or was.

Hmm…

Melanie tries to play it cool, but she can’t hide the fact she had the serious hots for him. Come on Melanie, you tracked him down-don’t try to be haughty.

Mitch’s mom Lydia comes in and is introduced to Melanie. Lydia is the original ice queen and horror future-mother-in-law. Ouch. And Jessica Tandy is a great actress, one line “Oh I see”, packed with serious weight. Let the games begin.

Ouch

Melanie is trying to head home but get tricked into coming to dinner as “she was staying the weekend” and won’t give up her lie. A girl has her pride after all.

She goes to Annie’s and wheedles staying there for the night. She tells Annie that she didn’t plan on staying long, which Annie replies she knows. That’s weighty right there, she knows as she didn’t plan on staying long either.

Melanie goes to dinner and meets cute little Cathy-friendly, cheery, adorable child. They mention that there is something wring with the chickens, They don’t like the feed…maybe because they are craving something else…like human flesh!

When Lydia calls her supplier it turns out her chickens aren’t the only ones on hunger strike. She agrees to see the farmer tomorrow to see if something is wrong with the chickens. And there is!

I love how Alfred Hitchcock plays the foreground and background against each other, both parts having things happen that go with the story, important, tension building, and just plan good.

We also found out that law and order Mitch is a defense attorney for “hoodlums and criminals”, interesting. Definitely a deep character.

Wow, there is more to him than I thought.

Cathy invites Melanie to her birthday party the next day, while in the kitchen Mitch and his mom start talking. They have a slight weird relationship as in someways his mom speaks to him as a child and in others their relationship is more spousal. Not that anything incestuous is going on, but as if that is the role that his mother put him in after his dad died.

We find out that there is a lot of interesting things in Melanie’s life. She jumps into fountains naked, tours Europe, and is always in the papers. A 1960s Sabrina van der Woodsen Debutante thats always doing something.

Mitch roots out the truth from Melanie about Annie, and starts goading her about her past misadventures, but Melanie isn’t having any of it. Good looks can only carry you so far Mitch.

Mitch Brenner: What about the letter you wrote me, is that a lie, too?

Melanie Daniels: No, I wrote the letter.

Mitch Brenner: Well what did it say?

Melanie Daniels: It said ‘Dear Mister Brenner, I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality.’

Mitch Brenner: But you tore it up?

Melanie Daniels: Yes.

Mitch Brenner: Why?

Melanie Daniels: Because it seemed stupid and foolish.

Mitch Brenner: Like jumping into a fountain in Rome?

Melanie Daniels: I told you what happened!

Mitch Brenner: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?

Melanie Daniels: Oh, I don’t give a d*** what you believe!

Mitch Brenner: I’d still like to see you.

Melanie Daniels: Why?

Mitch Brenner: I think it might be fun.

Melanie Daniels: Well it might have been good enough in Rome, but it’s not good enough now.

Mitch Brenner: It is for me.

Melanie Daniels: Well not for me!

Mitch Brenner: What do you want?

Melanie Daniels: I thought you knew! I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked, good night!

We see the creepy birds watching from phone lines, congregating at the barn-waiting for the call to strike.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

Back at the house Annie and Melanie have brandy and Annie tells her her story and what happened. She met Mitch in college and fell in love, followed him here but Lydia got in the way. She kept them apart. She doesn’t want a daughter-in-law, she just wants her children. Annie didn’t want to lose him and stayed out here.

Then Mitch calls his ex-girlfriend for his new one. Ouch!

Poor girl

Melanie is apologized to and invited to the birthday party agreeing to come.

Both Annie and Melanie are surprised when a bird crashes into their door.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

At the party Mitch takes Melanie off to the side with alcohol. She wants to head home as she has work. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works at the airport, on Tuesdays she takes classes, on Thursdays she has her club and lunches supporting a child through school, etc. Normal society things. Appears there is more depth to this party girl. Hmm…I wonder if the creators of Gossip Girl have ever watched this.

Hmm…

Mitch makes a joke about a mother’s care ad it turns out she has serious mother issues. Her mother abandoned them at age 11. A theme of mother’s issues is nothing new to Alfred Hitchcock as he himself had a ton and used the theme in many films, the most famous being Psycho.

At the party they are playing a game when the gulls show up and start attacking all the kids. Dive bombing and scratching. They try to help shoo them away and get everyone into the house.

Mitch is worried for Melanie ands invites her to stay the night there to be safe. And seriously, I think it is the love birds. Even with the cloth over them that should put them to bed as it is “night” they still squabble like crazy stopping only, when Cathy remarks on them. And just after, tons of sparrows come down the chimney attacking them. All cower in fear while Mitch tries to fight them off. Melanie moves Lydia and Cathy out of the room, to safety. After the attack and birds are gone they call the police, but there is nothing they can do about it.

The next morning, Lydia takes Cathy to school and then heads out to question the farmer about the chickens being sick. Lydia goes in looking for him and instead sees broken teacups, just like how hers were destroyed by the bird attack. The rooms are quiet and face the same destruction as hers and then she sees it!

Him, the dead birds, his eyes!

So freaky the first rime I saw it. Oh, and still remains a scene that terrifies most.

Traumatizing children for all time.

Lydia races home and leans on Mitch, telling him what happened. Mitch heads over to the police that are called when he and Melanie have some very tender intimate moments. Relationships speed up when danger mars your every moment.

Lydia is worried over Cathy, with the large windows at school and the broken ones at the dead body looming in her mind. We see another side of Lydia as well, more vulnerable, worried-maybe Mitch comes home not just to help his mom but because without his aid they would loose the land. Hmm…thats one thing I love about this film, on the surface it is one thing but there are many sides to all these characters.

Lydia asks Melanie to pick up Cathy as she is very worried about her and Melanie heads out right away. Melanie goes to the school, but decides to wait a bit until recess. The kids are singing and she stays outside when we have this amazing scene.

Melanie runs in and warns Annie about the jungle gym. Annie tells them they are conducting a fire drill as not to scare them and directs them to run to different places. Of course the birds attack. Poor kids.

Melanie ends up in the diner calling her newspaper mogul father and telling him the story of what happened, All listening to every word she is telling her father.

We are introduced to Mrs. Bundy (BUNDY AHH) who is an ornithologist and for the birds, Giving us some serious information on the birds.

Traveling Salesman: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!

Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.

Deke Carter: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?

Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world…

Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.

Mrs. Bundy:…probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!

We get a bit of debate as a Captain interjects that he also hates birds and wishes they were all gone, them having attacked one of his ship captains. Melanie states that the birds are killers after the kids. Everyone keeps talking down to Melanie as she tries to tell them that it wasn’t just a few but a ton and a series of different kinds.

Mitch shows up asking for Kathy, who is at Annies. Just as they argue the birds attack again. Mitch tells Melanie to stay behind as they take out a guy pumping gas causing it to flow over the ground. An unsuspecting smoker sets it off and boom.

This causes a big sign that the other birds can see and they all come in swarming. The pyre’s have been lit.

I’m in shock

All go out of the restaurant (Why? Don’t know) and we have the famous telephone scene.

They actually have a telephone booth and Tippi Hedren mannequin at one of the shops there and you can get a picture with it.

Mitch gets her out and they head back to the restaurant. Hiding with others. Mrs. Bundy, I notice you are quiet. Not talking down at her anymore are you?

One of them is hysterical, blaming Melanie. In a way I believe she is right. Although it isn’t Melanie, but those love birds.

Mitch and Melanie run to the schoolhouse to get Cathy finding Annie’s dead body.

Cathy is safely inside, but utterly traumatized. Mitch carries Annie inside and covers her with his coat. Then the three speed off to the Brenner house.

At the Brenner home, Mitch patches up the openings, prepping the house for an attack. He notices that there appears to be a pattern. They attack, disburse, regroup, attack again. Why?

Hmm…

Melanie tries to contact her father but the lines are cut. The birds isolating them and making it unable for them to reach anyone or get even local radio.

Lydia starts to freak out wanting answers, the tension exploding. All are succumbing to it.

Cathy wants the love birds with her, NOOOO nor those evil things. Even now they are probably plotting.

Now they wait, trapped. Kathy gets so anxious she makes herself sick. Then they wait again. Hearing them, being taunted by them.

I’m crazy

We have the first attack of gulls breaking windows and trying to peck through the door. Mitch being the one to take action and stop them. Then Melanie goes up to the attic.

Poor Melanie. they tend to her, but she is banged up. This scene was horrible to film. Seven days of birds being thrown at her, again and again.

Mitch uses this time of quiet to plan an escape. Melanie needs a hospital, so he and Cathy start getting things ready, not knowing what will face in the outside world or if they will be able to ever come back.

I like how Hitchcock ends the film with us not knowing if they make it out okay. We never know if everything will go back to normal. What or who caused this? I think it makes the film stronger and gives you the opportunity to create your own theory from each of his clues.  If they had given us an answer, it probably would have been lame no matter what was chosen, we would have found faults. Sometimes it is better just not knowing.

So there we go,  believe my theory or create your own. Either way watch the film.

This film changed how I look at birds. I never liked them before and hated them ever since. I’ll never look at another the same way again. Especially when they get in large groups or swarm overhead.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

After I showed this film to some friends who had never seen it, a few days later we were shopping at a store. As we are leaving, my one friend looks behind us at the store and goes ashen. She freaks out and tells us to run. As we are I look back and see a ton lined up on the store watching, then deciding to take off. We all ran as fast as we could to the car struggling in, and  speeding home. Nothing happened, but a film like this just sticks to you.

And our facebook banner:

So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest VII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks. thrills, and chills that are to come.

For more on The Birds, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

For more Daphne de Maurier, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

Horrorfest VII: Your New Nightmare

So tomorrow is October 1st, you know what that means:

HORRORFEST!!!!!!

31 Days of horror, suspense, mystery, film noir, monsters, ghosts, Alfred Hitchcock, Lifetime, aliens, witchcraft, murder, cyborgs, and more.

Last year Horrorfest was a bit of a downer. My charger broke and I tried to catch up but only was able to do like 17. This year I am working overtime to be sure that I have them all finished.

A couple years ago I put Jane Austen in a costume and added it to my Horrorfest tradition. Last year I Moreland dressed up as Sherlock Holmes, so I decided to have Jane do so this year.

For more Sherlock Holmes, go here.

So here we go!

To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

To start Horrorfest II from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

 

I Can Keep Up With You: Rear Window (1954)

Most Romantic Moment #11

Rear Window (1954)

So I know you are probably thinking:

crazy

An Alfred Hitchcock movie as romantic? Well, keep reading and you will see.

L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart) is a magazine photographer and has traveled everywhere and photographed everything taking risks to get all kinds of thrilling shots. One such amazing photo caused him to break his leg so now he sits at home recuperating. Not one to enjoy idle time, he looks out the rear window of his apartment and glances the lives of others.

He starts watching one neighbor closely, and the strange way he is acting, believing that he murdered his wife.

Hmm…

He gets his girlfriend and nurse to help him investigate. But will this stay a simple amusement or turn deadly?

Most Romantic Moment: I Won’t Let You Get Away

**Spoiler Alert**

So throughout the whole film Jeff and his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) are in a conflict. She wants to get married, but Jeff doesn’t think they are right for each other. She’s a Park Avenue princess who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on dresses she’ll wear once. He a humble photographer who treks the globe living out of a suitcase.

Lisa has tried to convince him it could be otherwise, but no dice.

Jeff: She’s too perfect, she’s too talented, she’s too beautiful, she’s too sophisticated, she’s too everything but what I want.

Stella: Is, um, what you want something you can discuss?

If you look at all her clothes they are expensive, feminine, something you can’t really do something in but just look pretty. That is until the end. After Jeff just accusing her of being fluff and having no substance-she proves her verve and that she is of sterner stuff by going in and investigating the man they suspect of murder in order to find evidence.

Wow

And at the end we see her in something very different.

We have seen that Lisa is someone who can keep up with Jeff and as classiq says, “the casual outfit Lisa wears at the end of the movie was Hitchcock’s way to suggest she was the sporty type, Jeff’s type, after all.”

If a women like that is willing to go from her amazing frothy creations to something like loafers, jeans, and a shirt-you know she loves you.

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For the previous post, go to I Won’t Let You Get Away: Holiday Inn (1942)

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to I Would Suffer Anything to Save You: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more Grace Kelly, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

 

What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

What do they want you for?

Murder.

Drop me off anywhere along here okay? I don’t mess with the Big M.

So I don’t know about you all but one of my favorite actors is Gene Wilder:

It is a spoof of the thriller, disaster, and mystery films. In fact it reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes, but definitely more ’70s flavor.

George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) is a quiet book editor that is traveling from Los Angeles, CA to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. He is hoping for a quiet time alone on the train, but life is not planning that.

He meets Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), secretary for Professor Schreiner, who has a new book coming out on Rembrandt. She comes on to him and the two get close in a few short minutes. 

But then things start going a little strange. He sees a dead body hanging outside his window.

I know, right?

George wants to investigate it, but Hilly says he is drunk and should just come to bed with her. Of course George ignores the body and goes with Hilly.

The next day, George looks at the book Hilly gave him about Rembrandt and sees a picture of the author-who turns out to be the dead body he saw last night.

George gets thrown off the train by the minions that took Professor Schreiner out and finds himself meeting up with a fun farmlady who helps him make it back to the train. 

Finally

Afterwards, George confides in a vitamin salesman, Bob Sweets, who spoke to him earlier, and it is revealed that the guy is actually an FBI agent, named Steven, who is investigating an important art ring. While they go to make an arrest-Steven gets shot. Now George finds himself branded a murderer in the press, on the run as a fugitive, thrown off the train, and it looks like Hilly has moved on to the super rich Roger Devereau.

But George won’t give up. He needs to get the truth, get is girl, and get back on that train. He ends up teaming up with thief Grover T. Muldoon (Richard Pryor). The rest of the film is full of hijinks, hilarity, and thrills.

Now there is one thing that people won’t like. There is a scene in which Grover tries to help George hide from he police by painting him black and teaching him “to be black” with George failing of course. It is funny, but there is quite a few out there who might find it offensive.

If you like thrills, mystery, parodies, etc-you should check this out on Netflix.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more Gene Wilder, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns into the Twilight Zone

For more train centered films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more horror-comedies, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)