Dark Times on the Ranch: Ramrod (1947)

So back during my 30 Day Challenge, several years ago, I talked about something I had accomplished-my intense thesis paper. The professor had noticed my love of film, and recommended that I choose that for my project and I did. I chose to write about the Civil Rights era and Western film.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

I know, it sounds weird, but there were actually a lot of Western films that correlated with the changes occurring due to the Civil Rights Movement. It was different, it was ambitious, it would be a perfect change from anything anyone else had done. And it was all those things , and a lot of work and time.

Afterwards, for another class I decided to stick with the idea-but this time with women in Post WWII Westerns. WWII allowed women more freedoms, as they had to take on previously masculine roles and duties. Westerns became the perfect avenue for this as historically women played a major part in “settling the West,” for example, thousands of women journeyed West under the Homestead Act. I discussed five influential western films that presented strong cowgirl characters and broke away from previous molds: Ramrod (1947), Red River (1948), Montana (1950), Rawhide (1951), and Calamity Jane (1953).

They were all fantastic films, but only two could work for Horrorfest VII: film-noir Ramrod and suspense-thriller Rawhide.

As I reviewed Rawhide a few years ago, I thought I would include Ramrod this year.

In Ramrod, Veronica Lake plays a rancher’s daughter, Connie Dickason, who is trying to fight against the town bully and main villain, Frank Ivey. Her father wants them to marry, but she refuses as she cannot stand the brute. She originally hopes that her fiancé Walt Shipley will stand up to Ivey, but after he takes off (too scared of Ivey), Connie decides to forgo pinning her hopes on a man and tries to take down Ivey’s regime herself. She and her ramrod, or foreman, Dave Nash (Joel McCrea), intend on doing everything by the law, but after Ivey attacks and wounds a friend, Connie takes matters into her own hands.

This is a revolutionary role, as while Connie is depicted in domestic roles, cleaning and cooking, we are shown this is not the extent of her knowledge as she is a strong, smart, woman, who can ride a horse, work with animals, and knows the land. When she first declares her intent to run the cattle farm, the other ranchers state that she is “emotional and excited”, and that there is no way they will let her move her cattle onto “their grass”. To such blatant chauvinism, Connie coolly responds that it isn’t “their land” but open range, therefore open to all and they have no legal way of keeping her from it.

In the beginning of the film, Connie is shown living off her father wealth, everything about her life is not her own; however, after she is deeded the ranch, and decides to run it, she claims the West as her own, proving that she belongs there and has a place in that society. She takes on what was at the time considered a male-dominated concept of striking out on her own and carving a future for herself. At first Connie tries to accomplish her goals through others, but we later see Connie donning the “white hat” and decides to go after Ivey herself.

“Dave: What did you expect him to do?

Connie Dickason: Marry me and stay and fight! Not stick a note under my door and run…wasn’t strong enough was he?

Dave: [Shakes head] No. Connie

Dickason: Well I am. Strong enough to beat both dad and Ivey at their own business. They broke Walt and I’m going to fight back! I’ll make Circle 66 an outfit they’ll respect.”

The only thing I don’t like about this film is that Connie is supposed to be seen as not the main villain, but morally corrupt. Her plans to stampede her own cattle in hopes to frame Ivey and imprison him, go awry, leading to the death of many and causing her to lose her ramrod Nash to the demure dressmaker, Ruth. Even though we aren’t supposed to root for Connie, as she went about things following the concept that the “ends justify the means”, I did. This same type of character was used quite often in male heroes, such in Destry Rides Again (1939) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962). In both of those films the main characters make a decision to not use guns, but rather words when dealing with problems. However, both main characters reach a point where they realize that the only way to handle the situation is on the enemy’s terms, such as Connie does. This makes Connie a cowboy vigilante who is not afraid to break the law in order to achieve justice.

Another concept I feel is extremely interesting about this film-noir western fusion, is that Veronica Lake’s character not only has a lot of similarities with Western heroes, but is also more like the male protagonist in a Film-Noir than our “hero” Nash. Most film-noirs have a male protagonist who is on the hunt for something, trying to solve an issue, or achieve justice; and a lot of times they fall in that morally gray area; breaking the law, using deceit to get answers, fighting or shooting an opponent, etc. They are clearly better than whatever crook, gangster, mobster, or murderer they are facing off against-but at the same time they do things that are not morally right in their pursuit of truth and justice. Nash is very boring and unmemorable; and while he “cares” about justice, he does very little to try and accomplish it. The writer of this may disagree with me, but to me the real hero is Connie.

Another feature of this film that I feel is incredibly well done is Connie’s complete motivation: she wants justice done. I cannot think of another film that allows the female protagonist to stand up against the villain for the simple fact that they want to stop their corruption. Most films a woman has to have her heartbroken by a man, a family member killed, trying to prove themselves to their father, etc.-making it more vengeance rather than justice. From the very beginning when we meet her character her only goal is to stop Frank Ivey.

“Connie Dickason: And there’s something else you might as well hear now. This isn’t just a fight between father and daughter. You’ve pushed Frank Ivey at me ever since I can remember. For years I’ve watched him run things his way–the town, the valley, you and now me. No one’s ever had the nerve to stand up to him, well I have! And I’m warning you dad, don’t get in my way. And that goes for Frank Ivey! NOW GET OUT! GET OUT!”

Yes, she was planning on marrying a man who was “run off” by Ivery, but that was never her motivation to stop Ivey. In fact the film made it clear the only reason why she wanted to marry Shipley was not for any romantic reason, but because she thought he was strong enough to stand up to Ivey. When she loses him she isn’t heartbroken, but even more determined to stop this villain herself. It’s incredibly different from films made then, and now, and is such a great concept. I wish there were more films that used this type of motivation.

In my opinion, it is a great film. Connie is a fantastic character who knows her purpose in the West, a cinematic cowboy (cowgirl), and is a strong, individual character that is a far cry from the previous depictions who’s only purpose was to ride off into the sunset with the hero.

I highly recommend it for any Western or film-noir fan.

For more westerns, go to Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

For more film-noir, go to This Is Fate We’re Talking About, and If Fate Works At All, It Works Because People Think That THIS TIME, It Isn’t Going to Happen!: Dead Again (1991)

This is a Bad One, the Worst Yet. I Need the Old Blade Runner…: Blade Runner (1982)

I need ya, Deck. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.

So this movie was reccommended to me by one of my closest friends. She said I would love it. It is a dystopian future film, and you know how I love that…

wow

Plus film-noir, one of my faves!

Has Harrison Ford as the star

Has android/cyborgs:

And the film is about questions of morality, the soul, what it means to be human, is it wrong to create life, etc. You know…

And…

Jurassic Park (1995)

So what did I think if it?

I HATED IT

Huh?

I know-it makes no sense. How can all these elements blend together, and not be something I love? It makes no sense!

So the film is based of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? by Phillip K. Dick. It is set in 2019 and follows Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford, who is a bounty hunter hired to “retire” (kill) replicants. Replicants are androids who look like humans with extras -such as speed, agility, and strength. They have no empathy or other emotions and are created for services-mining, sex, etc. Deckard is the best in the business, the “Blade Runner”, and is hired to take down a serious group of runaway replicants-Roy Batty, Zhora, Leon, and Pris.

He visits Tyrell Corp. to speak to the owner and creator of the replicants. Tyrell asks him to talk to his assistant Rachael who is beautiful, intelligent, a femme fatale, and a replicant. So good she almost fools him.

I didn’t think she was a very compelling character. I also didn’t get the relationship between the two-I didn’t feel any chemistry. I thought Rachael was very robotic and lost in the eyes.

Meh.

The rest of the story has Deckard trying to track down these killers-while we also see their side of everything. They want to live and as people-not four years on the outerplanet mines where they are worn out, or used for sex/to excite people. Life is not good for them and they want better.

In theory it should be good, but I just did not get into it. The visuals were good, but the people- I didn’t feel their emotions. I know a lot love it, but for me it was a complete wash.

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

For more film-noir, go to You Don’t Know Which Way to Turn, There’s No Place to Hide, Nowhere to run…: The Blue Gardenia (1953)

For more dystopian futures, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 

For more cyborgs, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Harrison Ford, go to I Know You Can Do This: Working Girl (1988)

For more bounty hunters, go to I Only Care That You Succeed: How I Met Your Mullet, Raising Hope (2014)

You’ve Persuaded My Heart

So we all know that Northanger Abbey is celebrating its 200th birthday. Well it isn’t the only one. When Northanger Abbey was published in 1818, it wasn’t published singularly like the other novels. Instead it came as a 2-for-1 deal, published jointly with Persuasion. 

Her brother Henry published this one and like Northanger Abbey, chose the title. We will never know exactly what Jane would have called it. But it doesn’t matter, it is a great book whatever it is called.

It is often called a wish fulfillment as old lovers broken apart are reunited years later, something Austen herself hoped would happen with her love, but never did.

The technical aspects of the navy seem to be based on Austen’s brother Captain Austen, and one of the main characters wives, based on her sister-in-law. That’s pretty cool and sweet of her to include them.

Hmm…

She also uses a strong irony in this as Anne was rich when she turned down poor Wentworth, but when he returns Anne is poor and Wentworth rich. I simply love this book because it seems so real, how the characters react and treat each other are the emotions they actually would.

Austen also does a great line about women being portrayed as a “femme fatale” so often as men are the writers of these novels; therefore the view is biased. Great book to check out, and we will be! We will be going through the book ourselves and checking out the great character of Anne Elliot:

And Captain Wentworth

And a whole crew of great characters!

Along with going through the book I will also be reviewing the books that are based on the novel or “rewrites” or “twists” on it.

Books:

Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove by Elizabeth Adams, KaraLynne Mackrory, and Lona Manning; edited by Christina Boyd

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends #2) by Juliet Archer

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

The Lady Anne Elliot Wentworth, Duchess of Glastonbury by Timothy Figueroa

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

Captain Wentworth’s Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #3) by Amanda Grange

The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz

“The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” by Jenetta James from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

Persuaded (The Jane Austen Diaries #3) by Jenni James

Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion: Jane Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes by Regina Jeffers

None But You (Frederick Wentworth, Captain #1) by Susan Kaye

For You Alone  (Frederick Wentworth, Captain #2) by Susan Kaye

”One Fair Claim” by Christina Morland from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes &; Gentlemen Rogues edited Christina Boyd

Holiday Mix Tape by Beau North and Brooke West

Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

Anne Elliot, A New Begining by Mark Lydon Simonsen

Possibilities (The Austen Series #6) by Debra White Smith

Film:

Persuasion (1960)

Persuasion (1971)

Persuasion (1995)

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

Reading One Page Turns Into the Whole Book: Jane Austen Book Club (2007) Valentine’s Day Post 2020

A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007) Valentine’s Day Post 2014

Persuasion (2007)

You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more on Persuasion, go to Jane Austen Bridal Shower

For more on Anne Elliot, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more on Captain Wentworth, go to I’m On a Boat

Is Christine the Ultimate Femme Fatale?

As this is Noir November #Noirvember, I thought it was no better time to talk about one of the top classic femme fatale.

I hate Christine, I think she was a horrid little urgh.

wordICan't say Toy Story

And I don’t use that lightly. First we see her all upset at Raul for being rude and condemning Erik

“Why do you condemn a man who you have never seen, whom no one knows about and whom you yourself know nothing?” (pg. 104)

But then she’s like I’m so scared of him. Aaah! She makes him sound evil, even though the story is hardly anything.

She heard this wonderful voice and begs him to teach her.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears, Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

You see that!!!! You see that!!!

What???!!!

She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.”

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

you're evil

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

Poor guy

And she goes on about being captured by a madman and held prisoner, BUT he treats her well. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

Seriously?

So she falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

Wow

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though she is packed with beautiful gifts. All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

Seriously

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted.She can’t live well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off. 

She tells Raoul this as each visit “increased her horror.”

Now what’s really interesting is after Christine has told her tale, Raoul asks her:

“You are frightened…but do you love me? If Erik were good-looking, would you love me, Christine?” (pg. 132)

Hmm…

And what does Christine say? Does she say NEVER, I don’t love him I LOVE YOU? No. Does she say that Erik is a horrible person, and she could never love him? No. Now what does she say?

“She rose in her turn, and put her two trembling arms round the young man’s neck and said: ‘Oh my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last.” (pg. 132)

You see that!!! You see that!!! SHE NEVER ANSWERS THE QUESTION!!!! And you know why???!!! Because the answer is NO! She don’t love you Raoul, she’s using you just as she used Erik. She could have easily answered she loved you, but instead she deflected the question and gave you a kiss. I hate when people do that, urgh!

Let me tell you something, if you ever are having a serious and deep conversation with someone and they deflect you with a kiss, hug, sex, whatever, you need to get out of that relationship because they are not serious about you. Should’ve seen it Raoul, except you were to busy focusing on that kiss that you missed it.

Meanwhile, Christine, the little actress starts playing Erik to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abraod. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling and a loser when they consider what their arch rival’s is feeling?

See Erik isn’t the monster, Christine is! She just goes and destroys two men’s lives-never thinking about them or how it affect them; all she cares is about her self.

Yeah, that’s why I hate Christine Daaé.

For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to President of the “I Don’t Like Raoul Fanclub”

For more on Christine Daaé, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more femme fatales, go to That Girl is Poison

That Girl is Poison

So if you have been following me for a while, you are quite aware of the fact that I am a huge Batman fan. For any superhero fan you have got to have a favorite villain. And mine is Poison Ivy.

poisonivy DC comics

I’ve always loved how she is this super stong feminist, girl-power; yet at the same time isn’t above using seduction and feminine wiles to get what she wants. Plus, I don’t know, she always seemed so cool. So back in April my friends and I were discussing Halloween costume ideas and that’s when I decided I was going to be Poison Ivy.

Go here to see who you are.

Go here to see who you are.

But then I ran into a few problems with the putting of the costume together. You see her original outfit is like a green sweetheart leotard, tights, and boots. Not a lot there and October is cold. I wasn’t going to do a leotard and tights. That’s crazy!

No thank you

So I decided to reimagine her outfit. Instead of the tights and leotard I decided a corset top, shrug with a high villaness collar, green leggings, and my yellow 5 inch platform shoes.

hot pretty sexy

But things didn’t quite turn out as I planned.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

The corset and shrug looked awesome, it was the leggings that ran into some issues. You see I have a large butt.

curvy

And I do like it, but it can cause some problems. One of which being that leggings don’t always cover its ampleness like they should.

Stupid, stupid

So then we had to change plans. I was going to go with a skirt and tights, although it wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted pants because if I was an evil villian that is what I would wear. I would want to be able to kick somebody. Luckily my sister heard of my dilemma and told me she could make me some pants.

Double double yay

Everything was going according to plan. The only thing left to do was my hair. And we know how that usually goes.

Hair humidity lion king

But it went better than I thought it would. You see I had thought about using a wig, but they are so itchy I decided to dye it instead (temporarily). I went to the beauty store and was warned my hair was too dark of a color the red wouldn’t show. I told the workers I understood that, but I didn’t want bright Ariel hair, I was hoping for a more auburn-y color.

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

So I ask my sister to help me as she has died her hair multiple times. She went to work and the results were…well let me start that by saying my hair is unusual.

DisneyJHair

Yeah, it doesn’t do what most people’s hair does. Even my hairdresser has remarked on this. When you want it to be wet, it dries instantly. When you want it dry, it is resistant to the hairdryer. When you want it parted on one side, it flips to the other. When you want it pushed back, it wants to go forward.

hair no control

So she was trying to slick my hair back to put the dye in, but it kept going forward. Luckily, I had read online that when you dye your hair you should put vaseline along the hairline to protect the dye from staining your skin. It was a good thing I had read that, or else I would have come out looking weird.

Queen of outer space

When my sister was done putting the dye in. She showed me her gloves and it looked like we had just murdered someone, the way the dye had gotten everywhere. It was like a Dexter episode.

large_Dexter_Morgan_Bloody_Hand__93640

Ayways, after I sat the most time allowed, we washed my hair. Sadly it looked like all the dye was running out into the tub and that my hair was the same color.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

But I figured, oh well. If nothing happens, then at least I have a great story to blog.

Yeah-Dean-dean-winchester-33251540-500-300

Well, I was wrong. Not all  the die did wash out. It still looked red!

hair dying

I really liked how it came out. You see my hair is a golden brown with blond and copper natural highlights. The whole mane ranges in lights and darks. The dye came out really cool, witth some areas being a really dark brown, auburn, red. While others were much, much brighter. I actually really like it and am considering dying it permenantly. I could totally pull it off as I have the two thinngs needed to be a sucessful redhead. 1) I have light eyes-green. 2) I do not tan at all, but remain white year round. The only issue I face is money!

So here’s the pic of my costume and hair. My sis and friend went as Catwoman and Harley Quinn, making us the three tantilizing women of Gotham.

PoisonIvyHalloweenDC costumes copslay

Yep you should join the dark side.

Star Wars Dark side power Darth vader

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For more on Batman, go to I’m Batman!

For more strong, independent women; go to How to Catch a  Man

For more quizzes, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

For more on Star Wars, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines