You love them, you hate them, you love them again. Those who have sisters know the ups and downs. Those who don’t, take my word that the above song is pretty accurate.
Now I could go on about my sisters, but that’s not what this post is going to be on. Instead I am focusing on the sisterly bond between the Dashwood sisters.
With the Dashwoods we have three sisters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret; although Margaret doesn’t play as big a role as Elinor and Marianne.
Elinor is the eldest and she is the sense in the title. Elinor is only nineteen years old, but she is wise beyond her years and incredibly mature. She is level-headed, cool in judgement, and always thinks through very clearly on any decision being made. She’s pretty much the sensible older sister that has been copied and used in books, movies, TV shows, etc.
When Fanny comes in and is completely rude to the entire family, Mrs. Dashwood is eager to move out. But Elinor is able to stop her as she can keep a strong hold on her emotions as they need to stay there longer. Now she isn’t completely cold-hearted or an ice-queen. It’s just that she is a closed book.
“She had an excellent heart: her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong but she knew how to govern them…”
She has sense and knows when to say something and when not to.
This is something that no one else in her family does. Now it is true that keeping feelings in can be wrong.
But on the other hand that isn’t always the best thing. Having your feelings out in the world can also cause a world of hurt.
So let’s move onto the middle sister:
Now Marianne isn’t just some stupid or light-hearted, fluff type of girl. She is beautiful, kind, generous, etc. The only thing is, her feelings were never held in moderation. That is, never keeping them in check. If she is happy, everyone knows. And if she is sad everyone knows.
Pretty much she’s walking around with no filter.
More like feelings than thoughts.
But such is sisters. I did a paper on sisterly roles in college for my family psychology class. When you have sisters, especially those close in age, they tend to gravitate to opposite traits in order to create their own identity, be unique, and carve a role for themselves in the family.
So we have here Sense in Elinor and Sensibility (feelings) in Marianne.
Therefore one that strives for sense as that gives her support and makes her feel completely stable in life. The younger sister sees that her older one is extremely sensible, which makes her want to be the opposite and governed solely by feelings. Also Elinor is the eldest so she also feels more of having to be dependable and responsible for the family.
Now everyone knows that there are three things you should never break:
But I guess not everyone got that memo. Especially one in particular, John Dashwood.
But I am getting ahead of myself, let me back up just a bit.
So when we last left off on Sense and Sensibility, Mr. Henry Dashwood’s rich uncle had died and left his state entailed. That means the money and estate gets passed on only to the male heirs. When Mr. Henry Dashwood dies everything goes to his son John, leaving his second wife and three daughters out in the cold. Yep, entailment sucks.
But all is not yet lost. Mr. Henry Dashwood is not that old of a man. He is sure to live a long life and squirrel away enough money for his daughters. Everything is going to be just fine.
I know, that’s what you think. Within a year of having the riches, Mr. Henry Dashwood fell gravely ill, and soon death was knocking on his door.
As soon as Henry Dashwood discovers that he has no chance of surviving, he calls his son John for a meeting. He makes John promise to take care of his sisters. And John does promise.
“[John] promised to do every thing in his power to make them comfortable.”
So John isn’t a complete monster. In fact his biggest fault is that he tends to think of himself more than others. And this would have been easily fixed, if he had married a nice woman. The problem is, he married this.
This horrible, horrible woman.
So John decides to give them £1000 a piece. And that is perfectly generous (he could easily give more). After all, he has the rest of his mother’s fortune, and then he will be given £4000 a year. All is good. Only one problem:
As soon as the body is in the ground, she comes to the house and starts cataloguing everything. And when she heard the plans John had she was like no way!
She thinks that by removing £3000; their boy is going to the poorhouse. So she wheedles John into decreasing that amount.
“[Henry Dashwood] did not know what he was talking of, I dare say, ten to one he was light-headed…”
So John decides that he is giving too much and that he will instead give each sister £500. £1500 in all. It could be better, but at least it’s not nothing. But “Oh too much”, Fanny exclaims again, after all they are only half-siblings. It’s not like they are actually blood.
Did you just say what I think you said?
You girl are horrible and wrong. Half-siblings are real siblings! I know as I have one. It doesn’t change a thing. Fanny you make me so ANGRY!
I feel better now.
Anyways, as I was saying, Fanny thinks the amount is still too much. So John decides again to knock the amount down. Now they get £100. £300! That’s all!? Come on man. That’s horrid.
And still, this is far too much for Fanny.
“I am convinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving them any money at all. The assistance he thought of, I dare say, was only such as might be reasonably expected of you; for instance, such as looking out for a comfortable small house for them, helping them move their things, and sending them presents of fish and game…I’ll lay my life he meant nothing farther; indeed, it would be very strange and unreasonable…”
You know that is exactly what the dad wanted. Oh you, you are
Now those girls have hardly anything to live off on. And they will be unable to get married. If you thought the Bennet situation was bad, this one is much, much, much, much, much worse. At least they had a chance to marry off one of their girls to Mr. Collins, but here they have nothing.
Oh that Fanny! Curse You!
Replace Rothbart with Fanny
And you know what, she doesn’t even need it. Not only does John have a ton of money from his mother and now the entailment; but she comes from money too. Her mom’s loaded. And still, she has to begrudge these girls a few dollars.
Just goes to show you:
And that some people do not know how to keep their promises.
There was this hilarious musical comedy from the 1980s, that I just adore. The film is 9 to 5. It’s about three completely different women who befriend each other and have a crazy, comedic, adventure. Violet (Lily Tomlin) has been working at the company for years, and is better than the president, Mr. Hart, but keeps getting passed over for a promotion. Why? Because she’s a woman.
Doralee (Dolly Parton) is the secretary to the pig Mr. Hart. He likes her and has been trying to seduce her. Doralee is true to her man, but that doesn’t stop him from telling everyone that the two are doing it, and giving her the title of the company slut.
And then there is Judy (Jane Fonda). Her husband just left her for his younger secretary, causing her to be thrown out into the workforce, yet she knows zip.
After a girls night of fantasizing about actually killing their boss, the next day Violet thinks she accidentally poisoned him. The rest is hilarious. You should totally check it out.
Besides being an awesome movie, there is another reason why I’m writing about this. There is a character in the film, Roz, who is super annoying. She is a gossip, she is rude to the girls, she is a tattle-tale, etc. A horrible person. And guess what, I had one.
Yep, at my old job I had my own Roz and she drove me crazy too.
Ugh she was horrible to me around, as she was just so urgph. Infuriating! Her name was Wanda. You see Wanda had a superiority complex, where she had to always be in charge and when she was, she micromanaged you. It was horrible.
So the reason we got off on the wrong foot all started with this one night. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was an usher for a theater. It was part of my school and federally funded which meant that we had to rotate positions, and we were picked randomly to ensure no favoritism. So sometimes you were on the main floor, other times balcony, lead, underling-you pretty much did it all.
So one night I was lead and had four other people under me. One of them was Wanda. And Wanda didn’t like that. She didn’t like being “under” someone as she felt that she knew the area and deserved only the highest positions that the work offered.
It’s like get over yourself. A job’s a job and just do it. Stop trying to put on airs and be this hoity-toity person. She was just so aggravating.
So this particular time, I was checking out one of my other people, when I saw a commotion where Wanda was supposed to be at. When I got there I discovered that she had abandoned her post. You see once the show started no one was allowed in until there was a break in the scene. With Wanda gone, people were coming in and disrupting the patrons trying to focus on the show.
I had no idea where she had gone and now had to fill in for her along with apologizing to everyone who was upset at this. I immediately called to my supervisor and the other leads on the walkie-talkie to find out where she had gone. My supervisor was not happy about this and neither was I.
After another 15-20 mins, someone locates Wanda and she comes up and is pissed. I’m like seriously girl? You screwed up deal with it.
She starts yelling at me for causing all this drama when she had to do something important and help out someone in another area. I was upset with her, but calmly asked her “Why didn’t you tell me where you were going? I am your lead. I need to know where people are at all times because they have a job to do. You can’t just leave.”
I mean seriously.
She got all mad and started yelling at me again about how I made a big deal out of nothing and she had “something important to do” with helping out another person.
I was pissed and wanted to yell at her as she had seriously messed up and was YELLING AT ME!! ME??
But I knew it wasn’t the time. Besides:
So I stopped and told her to go and finish up the night. I then decided the best way to handle this, was to go to my supervisor. I told her what had happened, and since Wanda had already worked herself into a tizzy, the best way to handle it would be to tell everyone that they should let their leads know where they are at all times. My supervisor agreed with me and gave a lecture after the show. Wanda knew this lecture was aimed at her and was pissed. When I arrived in the locker room, she was in there talking to her friends. As soon as they saw me they stopped talking and started whispering.
I mean, I’m not stupid I knew they were talking smack about me. And for what? Doing MY JOB! Like you should have been doing. All I could think was, didn’t we leave all this behind? I mean seriously, we are supposed to be adults in college, not acting like silly high school girls getting worked up over nothing.
After that, the workforce was divided. Me or her. Yep, she had that many issues that she felt she had to justify her actions.
But that wasn’t the end of it. She then tried to make any time we worked together hell. She would watch me constantly and leave me dangling if I needed help. She would also watch to see if I made even the slightest mistake, so she could report it to the supervisor.
Now normally I would have taken this girl out.
I would have given it to her good verbal beatdown.
The only thing was I didn’t want to lose my job. You see I was a poor college student. I had grants, scholarships, loans, and worked two jobs to pay for school. I needed to work as much as I could.
In fact, more than not I just prayed we wouldn’t work on the same night:
And if we did work together, I just held my tongue.
But my last day of work (as I was graduating) she was really grating on my nerves. And I told my friends, you know what I don’t care. If she tries something, I’ll take her down as I don’t have to worry about keeping my job. Wanda must have sensed this, as she wisely stayed far, far from me. I might not have won the battle, but I won the war.
After all, I got the best thing. I was finally rid of Wanda and will never have to come into contact with her again.
So those of you who have been following me for a while are aware of a challenge I made a year ago. You see 2013 was the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice being published.
I was going to do this whole series of posts on the book, books based off of it, films, etc. You know, the whole nine yards. (Go here to read more about it).Unfortunately…
Life happened and got me off course. (Click here to read more about it). But I promised to continue to reread the book, watch the films, read the inspired fiction, etc until I had completed it all. It is a very long process and I have yet to finish it. However, as I was making these posts, I started thinking about how all the other books were being ignored. That made me sad, so I decided that I would read all her books, inspired fiction, film, etc.; at the same time and review them!
Yay that’s a lot, but it’ll mean that all her books will get a voice. Especially the widely ignored ones like Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.
So the next book I’m going to start doing a lot of posts on is Sense and Sensibility.
Sense & Sensibility was the first Jane Austen book to be published. Before Sense & Sensibility Jane Austen had written Pride & Prejudice and sold it to a publisher. Unfortunately, that company didn’t publish it at all, but just sat on her work.
Jane Austen bought the book back and instead went to work on another one Sense & Sensibility. She sent this one to a different publisher and the work actually went through in 1811. So this book was the one that really set her up as a writer, and developed fans, making the publishing of Pride & Prejudice in 1813 feasible and accepted.
So all you Pride & Prejudice fangirl and fanboys better say a hearty thank you to Sense & Sensibility because without it, Austen might have become so discouraged that she never wrote anything else. And who could picture a world without her in it?
Here’s to another 200 years!
What also makes this book special is that it is the only one to have two main characters, Marianne and Elinor. Persuasion is all about Anne, Northanger Abbey focused on Catherine, Emma is Emma’s story, Mansfield Park‘s attention is on Fanny, and Pride & Prejudice is all about Elizabeth. Yep, this is the only story that two characters are equally represented. You know what else that means? Double the Austen Heroes.
So get ready for the sense:
And the Sensibility
Here are a list of other adaptions that I will also be reviewing.
But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.
So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.; looked to it in creating their stories.
So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankenstein, or The Bride of Frankensteinpost]I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb! Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s father, Lon Chaney.
Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.
So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.
Look at this sweetheart
His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).
Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.
That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:
“Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright“
Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]
Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.
When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.
Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…
Making him the next werewolf.
The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!
They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.
Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?
Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.
[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]
Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.
Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.
Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.
Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!
Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.
The gypsy woman, Maleva, reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.
Maleva: You killed the wolf.
Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?
Maleva: The wolf was Bela.
Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?
Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.
Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!
Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.
Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.
Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?
Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!
Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”
Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by Jack Pierce for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London. Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.
That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.
The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.
Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.
The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The night Larry as the Wolf Man steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had felt sorry for his predicament.
Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!
He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.
“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?
Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.
Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”
Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!
YOU ARE MAKING THE SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!
DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!!DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!
And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.
So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.
Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Operawhere he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.
Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.
So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.
But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.
The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.
“Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”
Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time.
So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!