Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious (2015)

I wish we were talking about that awesome ’80s song, you know me…

But alas, no. We are instead discussing-Austentatious (2015)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Yes, I really, really do not like this show or how they portray the characters. But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

Ugh!

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. In the last episode Collins (Mr. Collins from P&P) was trying to get with Elizabeth:

Elizabeth is trying to find a home for the insufferable Mr. Darcy-like they right him really bad.

Uh oh

Emma hired Marianne temporarily and she is back to looking for a new job. But not doing well in that at all…mostly because they make her a dunderhead.

And Elinor got a promotion, had to deal with a mess at the office (she’s an accountant), and meet the handsome and fun Edward Ferras-IRS agent.

So in this episode Elinor, Emma, and Lizzie are hanging out at the coffee ship and Elizabeth lets Elinor have some of her smoothie-all I can think is no!! Never!!!

I never share drinks after I did with someone and they gave me a cold sore.

Lizzie is picking out colors for a family photo. Now is this really a thing? They always show people doing this in movies and TV, but my family only did it twice when I was a baby and the when I was sixteen. Otherwise our photos were just at weddings and events, etc. Did anyone have a family where they took family photos every year?

Elinor’s hair looks darker than the other episodes in the series, I wonder if she dyed it or if she wears a wig.

Hmm…

Marianne is applying but no one will hire her because of her lack of experience. Elinor acts like Marianne must be making this up to get out of working, but I remember it being like that. It’s hard out there.

But wait, Marianne does have some experience working for Emma and Darcy’s office. Why doesn’t she try a temp agency?

Hmm…?

Elinor finds out that the cafe is hiring and grabs an app for her sister.

Lizzie mentions that they took a “jean on jean” picture years ago…first of all-yuck that has bad idea written all over it. And secondly, no flashback? Really? I know this didn’t have a humongous budget, bit still-now that you have said it I want to see it. Since we don’t have that I’ll gift you with this.

And why is Lizzie looking at paint samples? Is that how you really choose a background?

So every one in the Bennet family wants a different color and its up to Elizabeth to find a compromise. I have to say that one thing this show does right is name drop her sisters, we hear Jane, Kitty, and Lydia. A lot of retellings cut them out-making Elizabeth an only child, or just have one sibling. It just doesn’t work in my opinion, as anyone with a sister knows-you guys influence each other and make each other’s personalities.

Elinor is thrilled that she scored Marianne an interview at the coffee shop. Marianne is still asleep, the call waking her up.

Marianne is less than thrilled and asks about free milkshakes. Elinor is not amused, but I think it is a valid question and I would have asked the same thing. You know me and free…

Marianne thinks food service is a bit lame, but agrees to come. Okay so Marianne finally has  cute outfit, yes, they were putting her in some weird stuff. Blue lace dress, small rope belt at the waist, and knee high boots-I’d wear that in a millisecond.

I love my shoes!

She plans to wear that to work and Lizzie isn’t sure it will work, but doesn’t say anything. I think she definitely should wear more comfortable shoes, but every coffee shop and cafe that I’d ever gone to, if they don’t have uniforms, their staff have worn all kinds of things. So it isn’t too crazy or anything.

The two are amazed at books that help you choose and coordinate colors and that people have “seasons”. I’m shocked they have never heard of this, I mean Marianne is supposed to be a fashionista girl. But I mean the terms “my color”, “having my colors done”, “what’s your season”, or “I’m a ___” are things people were saying before 2015. Although you know what I think:

And how could they have missed these with all the different shows on HGTV or WE or Lifetime?

Marianne is late for her first day and is all no big deal-really? Why do they always make Marianne so dumb.

And Elizabeth is over at Elinor’s at 3:30? Doesn’t she have a job and work to do? And why would she think 9 to 5 Elinor would be home at 3:30?

Elinor is trying to help Lizzie choose colors and patterns, but why? Didn’t we establish in the other episode that she has zero fashion taste? Why isn’t Lizzie asking Emma?

Maybe because she is the only one doing her job.

Lizzie is freaking out what color to pick and I’m just like go with Navy Blue. Navy blue is the best color that looks goos on everyone. I have never met a person that cannot pull of navy blue.

So we hear a bit about Lizzie;s sisters. Mary is conservative (gray turtlenecks), Jane classic and sweet (pastels), Lydia wild (neon, ’80s, and animal print), and Kitty slightly less wild that Lydia (a tamer version). I have to say good job writer’s, it appears someone read the book or saw a movie as this is spot on. I can imagine their modern-day equivalents wearing these.

Marianne bursts in, a mess and shares her day. She was told off by her boss, Eric, for being late, has to wear an apron, and messes up a lot. Well-jeez I don’t blame her. The guy didn’t even train her. Now I have never worked as a barista, but I think I would have a new employee come in early to show them how things are done and how to work the equipment. Do they just throw you into it? Can anyone chime in on this?

Eric rushes her again and again, which is odd as she just started. You think he would cut the new girl, on her first day, with no barista experience, a break. Seriously, I mean you saw her resume-what were you expecting?

Elinor is super controlling again and determined to make sure Marianne keeps her job and wants her friends to help. You can’t control the world Elinor. Bedsides, her boss Eric seems a bit of a jerk to me, he might just fire her.

Elinor

Is Elinor sitting on the Smoothie Shop’s couch with bare feet. Ew-that’s not your couch. That’s a public one. And why ARE YOUR SHOES off in a CAFE??

Anyways, Elinor convinces Emma and Lizzie to come by everyday and, make Marianne look good so that she can keep her job.

So here we are and I’m thinking this has like zero to do with Jane Austen. Like why even make a show based on the characters of Jane Austen when it has like nothing to do with it at all. It’s amazing when you compare this to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and see how well done that was in a modern adaptation that kept to the source material. Even Fall For You went on some other paths, but they kept the heart of the novels in there. What does any of this have to do with anything.

And why do they make Marianne so dumb and lazy. Marianne was a young rich girl, who suddenly lost everything one day, She never had to do anything as they had servants and she does’t adapt as quickly as Elinor. She also was a avid reader and a talented musician and had brains in her head.

So back to the show, not only has Elinor got the girls into it she calls up George, uh no they changed the name to something else-Garrett? I think? Anyways Knightley comes too. How long has Elionr been sitting there? Doesn’t she have a job? I mean I know she was promoted but I thought that meant more responsibilities-like dealing with the IRS, not more time to sit shoeless in a coffee shop. Still not over that.

So in the next scene Elinor is finally at work-finally. She complains about Marianne all the time not working, but hey you’ve been living in a coffee shop. She wears a t-shirt to work. I would expect a newly promoted accountant to wear something more professional, or at least not jeans-but whatever.

Lizzie interrupts her with bunches of clothes-and I ask, doesn’t she have a job she’s supposed to be working at?

Elinor listens to Lizzie as she complains no one is listening to her and actually gives good advice to her friend. They picked Lizzie to be in charge so she gets to make the decision and all have to live with it.

Knightley discusses Elinor’s “great plan” with Emma and Emma wants nothing to do with it from moment one thinks its a bad idea but wants to support her friend, that’s sweet.

Knightley talks to Emma–and hey, why isn’t he at work either, he has a job doesn’t he? I’m sorry I know I keep repeating myself, but its because of Elinor. She is always harping about Marianne not working, and in the other episodes we saw them all at their jobs-that them not doing that is a hundred times more obvious and in your face.

Kinghtley asks Emma why someone who loves love so much would be working in divorce. That’s what I’ve been asking to! Out of all the thousand professions in the world they could have given her-why the heck a divorce lawyer.

She says she is good at it even though it thoroughly depresses her. So Emma admits that is one of the reason she likes matching people up. Well if you hate it, why’d you pick that area of law.

What the heck!

Knightly complains about all disastrous dates he’s been on and all I have to say is why do we get this flashback, but no jean on jean? I really want to see that now.

I’ll just to google it.

I have to say Knightley’s reasons for why he doesn’t like the women were pretty shallow-what a jerk. One’s hair is too big, one talked too much too fast, and one mixed up her authors-okay not going to lie that last one I couldn’t deal with. If I had to talk to someone about Darles Chicken, Clom Tancy, and Sparkiles Nicks, I would go a bit cuckoo.

Emma and Knightley argue over why Emma is looking for Knightley’s match…blah, blah, blah and all I can think is that on Emma’s computer are a bunch of videos as if she is on Youtube. Well call me Elinor because I’m going to say it again Is anybody working?

And before you say well they are just meeting up at work or whatever, these scenes don’t have to be shot at the office. These all would have worked way better at a home, or a coffee shop, or park, etc.

I can’t tell what type of video they are watching but one looks like a dog on a skateboard (but it looks more like an ad), another is something in a baseball field, and the third two people on a couch.

Huhhhhhhh

Next scene is Lizzie in the park, so see-they could have done this in the park! BOOM!

Lizzie starts looking at the color book and says you are more important than my job, rent, or food-just kidding. She keeps looking at it and then just gives up.

Back at the cafe, Elizabeth and Knightley are hanging out at the cafe. And Elizabeth asks Knightley fashion advice. Now I find it odd that out of all the people in this show she hasn’t asked Emma, Emma who loves to give advice and loves fashion. Weird choice writers, weird.

Knightley thinks Mrs. Bennet’s choices are weird. He then listens to Lizzie and actually asks questions about it trying to help. Liz asks Knightly about his day and he tells her he has been doing nothing but what Emma says. Lizzie ask him why he doesn’t say no and he says its because it makes Emma feel good.

She then asks him if he ever thought about asking Emma out- and I’m like writer’s 10 points for you. It was done in a great way. Good job. Its like boom, so obvious to everyone you like each other-but Lizzie is tactful in suggesting it. It’s funny, but it actually reminds me of that scene in Emma (1996) AKA the Gywenth Paltrow version when Emma is all after all we aren’t brother and sister and Knightley is all, yes we are not brother and sister. In this Knightley is all we are friends, and Lizzie is all well friends make the best romantic relationships. It’s not the same but still a cute nod, whether intentional or not.

And then Knightley admits that he is interested in Emma. Cute.

Marianne makes a smoothie for a customer and does a really great job, but then accidentally spills it on him. Eric is all mad at her-but the customer seemed cool and it was an accident.  And it is only her second day. I don’t know-he seems extra harsh, but then again I have never worked food service so I can’t really say.

There is a cute moment where we have a horrified Marianne who feels so stupid at her mistakes and Elinor actually comforts her and shares a time about when she messed up on the job as a janitor and caused a girl to break her arm as she forgot to put up the wet floor signs. How awful! And I can’t believe she didn’t get sued for that!

Marianne tries to get her job back, but her boss is not buying it. Grant Kinghtley comes in and tries to convince the boss that Marianne is the best and should stay. Emma bosses Knightley around about how to “sell it” and they are so like in a relationship already. He really does “sell it” giving her $100 tip.

Lizzie shares how she picked the colors from the spilled smoothie on the guys sweater, and while she’s talking I noticed she looks really cute too-a blue and black gauzy shirt and her hair in a bun with front pieces curling. Finally! They had someone stepping it up on set with these outfits. You are on TV not radio, where what you wear matters.

Marianne comes bursting in excited that it worked and she has her job!

Grant tries to get his money back, but no dice.

He should just have Emma pay him back.

The cute guy Marianne spilled the drink on comes back as he thinks she is cute, and asks her out to dinner. Aw. But he’s not Colonel Brandon, so is he Willoughby?

If he is, then this show might get interesting-we have been missing a villian(s).

Hmmm

I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned…

For more Austentatious, go to I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to I Met Mr Darcy

For more Emma, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

Austen Avengers Assemble!

So back when Avengers: Age of Ultron came out someone did a post on what Austen characters they would have as the Avengers. I read it and did not agree with several of their choices.

So I decided I would do my own post, and meant to put the original link here, but forgot!

So sorry to whoever it was!

So I jotted down my thoughts, saved the draft and meant to come back and finish, but I forgot all about it. May 2015 was a hard month for me, I had an ear infection and an over 100 degree temperature-plus you know life-

But this year I have been going through my drafts trying to clean them out and finish my thoughts-and I spotted this. As The Avengers series is ending, not really as you know Disney is all about them dollars:

But as this is the “end”, The Avengers: Endgame, I decided what better time than now to post it?!

Another thing that is ending this year

So I did not like Avengers: Age of Ultron and after watching that movie I stopped watching The Avengers films all together. There are a lot of reasons why, and if you are interested go to this post. Basically-if I don’t like something, I stop watching the series. So just to clarify-I will only be using the superheroes from The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron films. I also will only be doing the female Austen characters and their Avenger counterparts, maybe I’ll do one on the men in the future, who knows? But as for now, let’s get this mashup started!

Another thing ending this year!

Jane Austen Avengers Mashup!

***Contains Spoilers***

We will start with Sense and Sensibility and work our way through the Austen novels.

Nick Fury-Elinor Dashwood

Elinor was a bit hard to find someone to match up with, but I decided on Nick Fury.

Nick Fury is the leader of The Avengers. He is the oldest of three, and has had to learn responsibility at a young age. After a long, illustrious career, he goes on to be the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only does he work for a secret organization, but he knows more about what is going on than anyone else in the movie-from secret families, wishes, covert agents, etc.

Elinor is the oldest of three and after her father passes away, has to take on responsibilities of the home. Elinor may not be the leader of a secret organization, but she is the secret keeper of this book. From illegitimate children, secret engagements, wards of the family, lost loves-etc she knows it all.

Both are intelligent and good judges of character, but can be fooled by a charismatic person (Willoughby and Robert Redford’s character in The Winter Soldier)

Now some may not see how level-headed and controlled Elinor could ever compare to the loud and aggressive Nick. While Elinor may not be as loud and curse, she does have moments when she too loses her temper.

It might not be a perfect comparison, but the one I felt was the closest.

For more on Elinor Dashwood go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner)-Marianne Dashwood

Both are controlled by their feelings so this was an obvious mashup.

Dr. Bruce Banner has had many incarnations-but what stands out to me is how he can range in emotions from sarcastic, witty, self-assured, to depressed, sensitive, and worried-ultimately running the full gauntlet…just like Marianne. Marianne, like Bruce, is confident, self-assured, and firm in her beliefs. When things happen in life, Marianne betrayed in love and Bruce’s Gamma Ray incident, both become depressed, sarcastic, and lose sight of who they are-both trying to give up on living. Ultimately, they work through these feelings and regain some of their confidence and sense of self-Marianne being more reserved and thoughtful while in Avengers Bruce accepts his green self and is able to use his ability to help and be a team player.

Both have deep emotions and can go to extremes when they feel. And when they feel, you see it-no hiding that from anyone.

Dr. Banner is well educated, read, etc-while Marianne has’t achived the samr level-she too is well read and educated (as she comes from a wealthy family).

Both need encouragement from friends/family and both also discover that someone they wouldn’t have thought at first is the person for them (although the Colonel Brandon and Marianne storyline makes a lot more sense than the Black Widow and Hulk one).

For more on the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner, go to Avengers Assemble

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to We Are Family: Austentatious (2015)

Thor-Elizabeth Bennet

So I was split between who to be the equivalent to Thor and finally after a long deliberation, settled on Elizabeth.

Thor is Odin’s heir and favorite son, although he is stubborn, impetous, and opinionated. Elizabeth is her father’s favorite daughter and is stubborn, obstinate, and headstrong. Both are fun, well-educated, and have great wit.

Both fall for people who they don’t begin on the right foot with. For Thor, Jane at first is not interested and gets upset with the way he talks and treats her, same for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but eventually they move past the misunderstanding and have a great relationship.

The thing that clinched it for me was the family drama. Thor’s little brother Loki causes a lot of problems, trying to take over the world, almost destroying everything and him. Elizabeth’s little sister might not have been as bad, but she too does what she wants-not caring how it affects everything and almost detstroying Elizabeth and the family’s reputation.

For more on the Thor, go to Anger Management

For more on Elizabeth, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Hawkeye (Clint Barton)-Fanny Price

So everyone hates on Hawkeye, he’s the “who cares” member of the group (at least we did back in 2015). Fanny Price, unfortunately, gets the same treatment. Both may not be flashy, have cool powers, the best romantic lead, money, etc-however, they are important characters and there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.

So Hawkeye had a rough start with his parents dying, being sent to an orphanage, running away to the circus, being betrayed by his mentor, and losing his brother and feeling alone. Fanny did not have the same type up upbringing, but understands what it is like to be alone. Sent from her family to stay with relatives she never met before, bullied by her cousins, being treated as a little higher than a servant, betrayed by her uncle when she won’t marry the man he picked out, etc.

In The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye turns out to be the linchpin of the group (Bones reference) -why? I don’t know, but he is. When everything is falling apart he knows what to do and takes them to his farm-keeping calm and helping lead the group out of this storm they are in. Fanny is the linchpin of her family, the moral compass, who helps right things after Maria runs off with Henry, Julia elopes in Ireland, and Tom gets deathly ill. They couldn’t have continued if it wasn’t for her calm demeanor.

The other thing I find similar is that both are observers of the group-Hawkeye sees from the “Hawk’s Nest”-watching out and watching the team, and Fanny “I was quiet, but I was not blind.”

For more on Fanny Price, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

Iron Man (Tony Stark)-Emma Woodhouse

Both characters were described by their authors as characters “only they would love”, so of course these two are the equivalent.

Tony Stark is wealthy, spoiled, and raised by parents who gave him a lot of power and free reign. He is a genius who inherits his family company at a young age and has to take responsibility.

Emma is also wealthy, spoiled, and raised by a father who gives her a lot of power and free reign. She might not inherit a company, but she does become mistress of the house and there is little doubt as to who her father will leave her estate to.

Both are powerful manipulators, using their power, prestige, wealth, and beauty. They can be reckless to the point of destroying lives (Emma almost ruins any chance of Harriet marrying and Tony you know almost destroys the world). They also tend to go too far and luckily have people who can bring them down to Earth and point them back on the right path, Pepper Potts/Rhodes and Mr. Knightley.

Both are betrayed by people they thought they were close to, for Tony it is Obadiah Stone, his father’s longtime partner, and Emma its Frank Churchill, the man all had been planning her to marry.

Both end up finding love with someone they’ve known for years, both more mature (in spirit and Knightley’s case age as well) who can see past their faults and help them be the best person they can be.

And of course, Gwenyth Paltrow is in both films.

For more on Iron Man/Tony Stark, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Dull Times Breed Disaster

Captain America (Steve Rogers)-Catherine Morland

Both are young, sweet, idealistic, and at times naive. “No one who had ever seen [them in their] infancy would have supposed [them] born to be [heroes]. [Their] situation[s] in life, the character of [their parents, their] own person and disposition, were all equally against [them].”

Steve was raised in Brooklyn, NY-and wants to go off and save the world. That wish is granted with the trip of a lifetime-to a secret lab, getting superhero powers, traveling to get war bonds and help improve morale, going off on his own “trip” to help his friend. Catherine is given the trip of a lifetime too, as family friends whisk her along to Bath (not as epic but still fun). There Catherine may not have gone through physical changes like Steve, but emotional ones as she grows up a bit and controls her imagination.  She also goes go off on her own separate trip (to Northanger Abbey).

Both have hiccups in their dating, with Steve being kissed enthusiastically by a WAC, even though he only has eyes for one girl. He tries to straighten it out, but it doesn’t quite work as well as he hoped. With Catherine, she only has eyes for Mr. Tilney, but gets manipulated out her walk with him by the enthusiastic Mr. Thorpe.

Many want to use Steve because of his abilities or his looks, the same with Catherine. They believe she is richer than she is and she falls victims to two men trying to play her as a game piece.

Both don’t always catch on to the jokes said by others. With Steve, he has almost 70 years worth of history and pop culture he’s missed out on, and Catherine doesn’t always pick up on sarcasm.

For more on Captain America, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White & Blue

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List

Black Widow/Natasha Romanova-Anne Elliot

So I had a hard time with Black Widow and trying to figure out who she worked best with. After a lot of deliberation, I finally settled on Anne.

Black Widow is woman who people look at and think they know her life story-but there is faaar more to her than you would think. Yes, she is a super spy, enhanced, and has a dark past-but it is way more convoluted with ups and downs. Anne is the same way…all look at her and see a kind woman who was proposed to once (by Charles Musgrove), but turned him down. What no one knows, and no one could fathom, she had a handsome sea captain after her, or that her cousin William Elliot is after her!

Both have been persuaded into making certain choices (in Black Widow’s case actual torture and brain washing, while Anne has an old family friend maneuver her choices.)

Both have a lot of secrets, and can blend easily into the background just as they can stand out and take control of stressful situations. They can be more intense than others think and are given great one-liners.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to You’ve Persuaded My Heart

So what do you all think? Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below!

For more Mash Ups, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce
For more on Avengers, go to Simply Fantastic
For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements
For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Heartbreak Kid
For more on Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?
For more Persuasion, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

So when I say I’ll be reviewing Emma (1996), most people think about this:

Emma1996

I however will be talking about this:

emma1996

So this film follows the book of Emma pretty accurately. It doesn’t have everything, of course, as it is only a hour and 47 minutes, but it does a good job. So how I am going to do this review is a bit different, instead of looking at the storyline I am going to review how the characters were portrayed and the set design.

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Set

Emmatableeating

So let’s look at the indoor set featured above. Now I know that A&E Television was trying to go for a more realistic feel, but heads up movie writers; if we cannot see the action happening then you need to skip “accurate” for enjoyable. Nobody wants to spend their money on something that can’t tell them what is happening.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

I agree that the chiaruscuro and candlelight is a nice effect, but not worth it. It is like when you watch Onegin and you have those scenes where you have no clue what anything looks like. Good thing for Ralph Fiennes’ amazing voice.

The rooms also lacked any pizazz or beauty.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

The outdoors were extremely lovely, and kudus to the screenwriters who show how the servants had to carry every component of the picnic up the hill for their Box Hill little party. That was great.

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Costumes

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So while Emma (1996) aka Gwyneth Paltrow Version had this absolutely beautiful and stunning costumes, this version’s ones were so boring. I mean even Catherine had better things  than what the very rich Emma wore in this.

And “poor” Elizabeth also wore more attractive and beautiful garments.

Pride&PrejudiceDarcyLetter

These ones were just too plain and not befitting someone as important as Emma. I mean even her ball gown was boring.

Mehsleepyhollownotimportant

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Mr. & Mrs. Weston

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV / Rex USA ( 525489SJ ) James Hazeldine and Samantha Bond in 'Emma' - 1996 ITV ARCHIVE

So in the book Miss Taylor turned Mrs. Weston was Emma’s governess, but in reality her confidant and best friend. While they don’t spend as much time together, with her married, in a new home, and concentrating on her new family; still they are buds. In this we hardly ever see Mrs. Weston and I can’t recall a scene in which she talks to Emma, except to warn her about Frank and Jane’s upcoming marriage. Great job there A&E turning her whole character into a little blimp in the story.

Mr. Weston also hardly has any scenes or interactions in this film, which is a complete shame as he is a incredibly cool guy.

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Harriet Smith

emmaharrietsmith

This is one area where the film was fantastic. I have not seen a portrayal of Harriet Smith as fantastic as the one done by Samantha Morton.

Wow

Wow

In this she doesn’t play Harriet as the empty flower pot or the kind-hearted klutz; instead Morton focused on the aspect of Harriet’s unknown parentage and ran with it in her presentation of the character. Before I watched this film, I never thought of what Harriet went through not knowing who her parents were. I mean if you think of how people treated those who were in a slightly lower class, but respectable (like the Bennets in Pride & Prejudice) imagine how they would treat someone who is unknown. When someone would not claim their child as their own, it typically meant an illegitimate birth, usually the mistress. So those girls in school were most likely not interested in becoming besties with Harriet, or having anything at all to do with her.

Noo!

Aw

This completely explains why Harriet is so eager to do everything Emma says. After so long of being alone; family-less and friendless, she finally has someone who cares about her and will do whatever she can to keep it.

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I have to say one of the best scenes is when Emma is chattering away about how Harriet’s father must be an important gentleman and you see Harriet looking down, brokenhearted saying something like I hope so.

Hope

The way she acts around Robert is also just adorable. You can tell she is crazy about him, but also scared. Scared of being abandoned again, rejected by her friend Emma, and making the wrong decision as she has no family to guide her.

I don't know what to do

Great job Morten.

And I truly mean it

And I truly mean it

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Jane Fairfax

6 governessjanefairfaxemma

Jane Fairfax is Emma’s character foil. While Emma doesn’t play piano well, paints okay, doesn’t read, has a meager education as she isn’t into studies, enjoys meddling, can be rude or snobby, and likes to do what she wants without thinking of others; Jane is the opposite. Jane is a superb piano player, an excellent painter, enjoys reading, has a high level of education, enjoys privacy, is kind, compassionate, and considerate of others. A regular Goofus and Gallant, (J.K. I love Emma). This is one of the reasons why Emma dislikes Jane, as she is envious of what she has accomplished.

Person hate talking

However, in this film they didn’t show that at all. Emma dislikes Jane, but we hardly see them react or why Emma is so jealous. We don’t hear others praise Jane, and the conversation when Emma is pumping Jane for information wasn’t intriguing.

This Jane hardly even seemed there, she wasn’t a very intriguing nemesis.

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Mr. & Mrs. Elton

Mr&MrsEltonEmma

So Mr. & Mrs. Elton are some of the villians in the novel and film. Mr. Elton proposes to Emma and when she refuses him he is extremely rude to her and Harriet; going out of town and picking out a shrew of a woman to be his wife.

hate her

In this depiction they didn’t have as much of a role. We see them for the crucial scenes of Elton proposing, them cutting Harriet, and so and so.

I didn’t like their depiction as they are supposed to be more hatable. You are supposed to extremely dislike them and want bad things to befall them.

GoldenGirlsEat&DieTrash

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Mr. Frank Churchill

Frank Churchill - 3creepy

Frank Churchill is also supposed to be the villian in the book. At first he seems like a nice, sweet guy, courting Emma; but in reality he is a major jerk. He ignores his father, ignores his real fiancé, and leads Emma on.

How rude

The Frank Churchill wasn’t quite as sleazy as he should have been, in my opinion, but he did a good job. He had a painted on smile and gave off an air of insincerity; which worked really great. This actor did a great job and I give him a ten.

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Mr. George Knightley

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I thought this was the worst depiction of Mr. Knightley. Where to start? Well first of all his hair. Why did they pick that particular hairstyle? It looks too mulletish and makes him have the appearance of a receding hairline.

ew! Gross Yuck

My biggest issue with Mark Strong as Knightley is that he is just too brooding to be Knightley. Knightley is older, but still relaxed enough to be best friend with Emma and joke around with her. He is serious but can also have fun.

Strong as Knightley is just brooding all the time and whenever he talks his eyes flash and he practically yells in anger. He makes me think of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast the way he reacts to everything and everyone.

Beauty and the Beast

I thought Strong made the character too dark, he would have been better as a Darcy than a Knightley.

I also didn’t like the scene of him with baby Emma, that was a little too weird. And the scene he announces his proposal he sounds as of he is yelling at everyone as if he is planning to destroy them all.

Gilmore girls creep

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Emma Woodhouse

emma kate beckinsale

I really hated this version of Emma. I thought Beckinsale was a horrible actor, just kind of staring off into space and being blank and like a piece of wood.

If she wasn’t being totally deadpan she had this creepy expression on her face like she wanted to devour everyone like a female praying mantis.

I thought it was horribly bland and boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

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Ending conclusion:

Something is not right!

I thought the way the characters were portrayed was boring, the transitions weird, and the film all around mediocre. There was no fun to it and the actors talked as if they were being paid an extra bonus if they could finish their lines in under three seconds.

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For more on Emma, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Emma adaptations, go to Mr. Knightley’s Diary

For more Jane Austen films, go to I Don’t Want You Far From Me: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

200 Years of Glorious Emma

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided instead of reading through each Jane Austen novel one by one, I will instead read four chapters of one and then move on to another, then another, etc; that way each book would get posted on. I decided to do this mainly because Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion are really forgotten in the Austen fan world. Also because it is more fun this way. I started with Pride and Prejudice as it turned 200 in 2013. Then I moved on to Sense and Sensibility as it was the first book published. I should do Mansfield Park next, but decided to wait as this year is a special year. Yes 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of 1985, of which I have written a post celebrating The Breakfast Club, will be posting one on Back to the Future, and one honoring the rest of the awesome stuff that came out that year. BUT, 2015 marks another anniversary, this Christmas marks the 200th Birthday of Emma.

emma

Emma is a very unique character unlike any of the other Austen heroines. Many people don’t like this book because they don’t like Emma. I know my friends who love Austen tend to like her least of all the Austen heroines as they think she is too shallow or silly. In fact Jane Austen herself said that in writing Emma:

“I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

Well I love Emma. Most likely because she and I have a lot of similarities.

WhichJAheroare YOu?Emma

Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, has meddled in friends’ love lives…need I go on?

I am who I am

I am who I am

There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences.

But Emma is more than just fluff and comedic moments. Through this novel Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one’s self (like Jane was able to) was nothing to look down on or pity.

Yep, just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

Emma_Buggin

Not to mention Emma has the amazing Mr. Knightly.

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Like with the other two books, I will also will be reviewing books and films that are either another version/interpretation of the story or based on the book with a twist. Hope you all enjoy!

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Books:

Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer by Jennifer Adams

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh & Jane Austen

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith edited by Christina Boyd

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

Mr. Knightley’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros #2) by Amanda Grange

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

Amanda by Debra White Smith

Daring Chloe (Getaway Girls #1) by Laura Jensen Walker

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

The Importance of Being Emma (Darcy & Friends #1)  by Juliet Archer

Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma by Rachel Billington

Only With You (The Jane Austen Academy Series #5) by Cecilia Gray

Emmalee (The Jane Austen Diaries #4) by Jenni James

Film:

Emma (1945)

Emma (1957)

Emma (1960)

Emma (1972)

Clueless (1995)

Emma (1996) AKA Gwyneth Paltrow

Emma (1996) AKA Kate Beckinsale

Emma (2009)

Aisha (2010)

Emma Approved (2013)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015)

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 5 (2015)

Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious, Episode 6 (2015)

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For more on Emma, go to Opening With…

For more quizzes, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder

Do you really believe in the perfect murder? Mmm, yes, absolutely.

So after years of his absence from my Horrorfest countdowns, I have finally included Alfred Hitchcock in not one, not two, but three posts.

Double double yay

Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite director. He was influential in creating new ways of filming psychological thrillers, he is often credited for creating the true horror genre/slasher film with Psycho (1960), and was just a pure cinematic genius. He is just amazing.

Awesome

Dial “M” For Murder is one of his highly known films (although not as known as Vertigo or Psycho). It has been referenced or parodied in countless films and TV shows. In the ’90s they even remade the film under the title A Perfect Murder. It starred Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortenson; but it wasn’t nearly as good.

MeanGirls I know right!

This film also started Hitchcock’s filming relationship with Grace Kelly. This film was crucial in her career as it made her stand out not only to Alfred Hitchcock but other directors as well, a huge step to becoming a permanent leading lady. After this film she starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock was impressed with her ideas and thoughts on the script in how a woman would act (especially regarding clothing), that after this film he allowed her to make all her own wardrobe decisions. She, like Audrey Hepburn,  quickly became known for her style and class. But that wasn’t the only thing that Hitchcock found attractive, he really liked her and fell for her; but she wouldn’t give him the time of day, (romantically that is). (For more information on Hitchcock and his leading ladies, I strongly suggest the book Spellbound by Beauty by Donald Spoto. It’s an amazing read!) And sadly she had to retire from acting at an early age as she married the Prince of Monaco. However short a career, it was an amazing one.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This film also reunited Hitchcock and Robert Cummings, who had starred in an earlier film, Saboteur (1942).  In this film Cummings plays an important role, but a smaller one than his earlier collaboration.

This film is also the only Hitchcock film to ever be shot in 3-D. In the 1950s, 3-D was super popular, so popular that some people came up with the idea of Smell-O-Vision to beat it (I’m serious!). Hitchcock didn’t want to shoot in 3-D, but until the late 1960s, studios had a lot more pull and Warner Bros. wanted it. Hitchcock obliged, although it did cause a few issues for him as he had to rework his known style to incorporate what 3-D was able to accomplish at the time.

So the film is based on the play of the same name Frederick Knott, and he also helped write the screenplay. It is set in England and as  you can guess from the poster, the phone plays a huge role in this film as well. That really seems to be a theme this month. I swear that wasn’t planned.

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

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So before I start the film, let me give you the background on the characters. Now as you watch the film things are revealed to you, but it’s easier for me to give them at the start.

So we have a couple, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) and his wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Tony was a huge tennis star and met Margot when he was competing. She comes from a very wealthy family. The two were married and Margot convinced him to give up competing as she didn’t like him being away. He complied and now sells sports equipment. However, as he no longer is the dashing tennis star, she lost interest in him and had an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) an American Crime writer.

keanu Whoa

As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.

BMW Kiss

“Margot Mary Wendice: Let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that.

Margot Mary Wendice: I haven’t told him anything about us.”

Margot tells Mark that she burned all his letters, except one. That one was stolen by a blackmailer who demanded payment, but he never picked up the money or returned the letter. She is worried that her husband will find out.

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

whoCares

He wants them to tell Tony all about the affair so that Margot can get a divorce and the two can marry. Margot doesn’t want to as “she feels bad” about hurting “Tony’s feelings”.

dial-m-for-murder-1954

Now I’m no expert, but if the person doesn’t want to break up the relationship, it seems to me that they want, to quote an old cliché, “have their cake and eat it too.” I think Margot likes the respectability of her marriage and doesn’t want the divorce scandel, but at the same time is heavily intrigued by Mark. And who can blame her? Robert Cummings is a looker.

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

That night Tony is introduced to Mark, him being Margot’s “friend”. The two discuss Mark’s profession.

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?

Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.

Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?

Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.”

Tony invites Mark to join him for a tennis party, and Mark agrees. Its all men, so Margot will be staying home. After a bit more pleasantries Margot and Mark leave to go out “as friends” to a theatre show that Tony didn’t want to see, while Tony stays home to “work” on some stuff.

dial m for murder

After they leave, he calls up an old friend. Swann (going by the name Captain Lesgate) from his old Cambridge days. He brings him there under false pretenses of wanting to purchase a vehicle from him. He then tells Swann that he wants him to murder his wife.

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that’s all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.”

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

dial-m-for-murder-1954-alfred-hitchcock-cummings-milland-plan-murder

Tony only married Margot for her money, and it really injures his pride to see her cheating on him and tossing him over like an old shoe. He followed her one day and discovered the affair.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

He wanted to kill Mark.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

He then moved to the idea of murdering his wife. But things changed…

“Tony Wendice: It’s funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn’t seen something that changed my mind.

C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

Back in the day, Swann was always getting into trouble for all kinds of stuff, and it struck Tony that he could commit the perfect murder. He then began extensive planning. He has been collecting £1000 over the year, under the guise of racetrack betting, etc.; compiling the money for such a purpose.

He even went to great lengths to get one of the letters from Mark and pretended to blackmail her. With Mark back in town he has set up the whole scenario on how to murder her even planning to use Mark as an alibi, as being the husband he will be the first suspect. All he needs is someone to do it for him. He has a lot of information on Swann’s background (as he has been tracking him) and uses it to blackmail him into completing his murderous plot. And he has to do it tomorrow.

He reveals his perfect plan.

“Tony Wendice: At exactly three minutes to eleven, you’ll enter the house through the street door. You’ll find the key to this door under the stair carpet here.

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

Tony Wendice: That’s the one. Go straight to the window, and hide behind the curtains. At exactly eleven o’clock, I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss. I shall dial the wrong number. This number. That’s all I shall do.”

His wife will answer the phone, and then Swann can strangle her and leave through the french windows.

perfect plan

Swann agrees to the plot as he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Tony is estatic as everything seems to be going along perfectly.

thats-how-its-done

But then things start falling apart. Margot doesn’t want to stay home. She is thinking of going out to dinner and seeing a movie. Mark thinks it’s a great idea but Tony convinces her to stay home.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Don’t make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Tony Wendice: Doing nothing? Why there are hundreds of things you can do. Have you written to Peggy, thanking her for the weekend? And what about those clippings? It’s an ideal opportunity.

Margot Mary Wendice: Well I like that. You two go gallivanting while I stay home and do those boring clippings.”

dial M for murder

Before Tony leaves, he stills Margot’s key from her bag and puts it in the marked hiding place. Keeping his key in his pocket, he and Mark leave for the party.

Back at the home, Margot has been working hard on her scrapbooking. She eventually goes to bed, putting everything away…at least almost everything. She actually forgets the scissors and leaves them by the phone.

That night everything starts being put into motion. Swann enters the place the same way that Tony planned it out. He leaves the key under the stair and hides behind the curtains waiting for the phone.

However, back at the party, things aren’t quite going as planned.

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.

What!

He hurries to the pay phone and makes the call, hoping that everything else goes accordingly. Margot gets up to answer the phone. As she is talking, Swann reaches out to strangle her.

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

But instead of overpowering her like he’s supposed to, Margot ends up getting him. As the two are struggling, she reaches for something…anything to stop him. She ends up grabbing the scissors and stabbing him with them, completely killing him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.

I don't know what to do

Tony tells her to touch nothing and wait for him. He’s on his way over.

As he heads over Tony freaks out. His plans have failed. But then something comes to him. A new plan, a way to fix things.

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

He decides to make it look like Swann was blackmailing Margot and that she murdered him rather than self-defense. He calls the police and sends Margot to bed. He then plants Mark’s letter in Swann’s coat, takes the key and puts it back in Margot’s handbag, and burns the scarf that Swann was going to use, replacing it with Margot’s stocking. He then tells Margot to make sure she doesn’t tell the police that he told her not to call the police. He’s worried how it might make her look. However, Tony is plotting very well, and the police begin to strongly suspect her.

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

The police figure out that Swann did not come through the French Windows. He must have come through the hall, as it rained the night before. If he had come through the garden there would be muddy footprints. Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) strongly suspects Margot and believes her to be the killer. We cut to a scene showing Margot on trial amd sentenced to be hanged.

perfect plan

Except thing are not quite perfect.  There are quite a few things Tony didn’t plan. One of which was getting rid of the money. As Tony mentioned, he’s been drawing a lot of money out of his bank every week, pretending to spend it on racehorses. He had planned to give it to Swann, but now is at a loss. He can’t put it back in the bank as there would be too many questions. He can’t keep it, if the police find it, it’s all over for him.

I don't know what to do

So he tries to spend it all. Unbeknowest to him, the police are watching him very carefully. And they notice this.

Months later, on the night before Margot’s execution,  Mark comes to speak to Tony. He tells him that instead of letting Margot die, he should say that he tried to murder her. That he hired Swann. This will give him some jail time but save Margot’s life. Tony does not want to do that.

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

Inspector Hubbard comes back to the flat to question Tony some more about the money he’s been spending. Mark hears this and starts searching, finding the briefcase full of money.

What!

Tony thinks of a lie quickly and says that this was the money Margot had to give to Swann, but then changed her mind and killed him. The Inspector listens and takes his comment as fact…or does he?

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

Now, if Tony was really smart he would have made up a different lie. I would have said that I realized there was nothing between me and Margot and was planning on leaving her. However, I knew that I wouldn’t get much money in the divorce (he signed a prenup), so I’ve been taking some money out, bit by bit. When the murder happened, I knew it would come to light and was afraid that it might put me in a bad light or under suspicion. I mean its not the perfect excuse, but at least it shows he wasn’t going to kill her as why remove money when he was planning on getting it all. But he doesn’t think that way.

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Hold on, that is illegal. He doesn’t have a search warrant or permission to be searching the house. Anything he finds will be immaterial and thrown out of court. I looked it up and  this is what it said:

By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.

So technically, anything he finds can not be used in a court of law. That’s it, Tony is allowed to go free.

TheEnd_Title_2

But of course this is a movie, and things go differently. Inspector Hubble discovers that the key in the purse does not work on the front door. He instead finds it under the stair carpet. This gives him the great idea of creating a little trick to discover if Tony is the true killer.

John Williams (Chief Inspector Hubbard) Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Inspector visits Tony and steals his raincoat, leaving his own, therefore taking Tony’s key. He calls the station and asks them to release Margot. She immediately returns home, but finds out that her key won’t work. Hubbard watches her and discovers that she does not know the key is under the stairs. The Inspector let’s her in and gets a policeman to take the bag back to the station. They then begin to wait for Tony.

perfect plan

Tony comes home from his errands and finds that he can’t get inside. His coat belongs to Inspector Hubble and he has the wrong key. When Tony discovers his key doesn’t fit, he goes down to the station to get Margot’s bag. When that key doesn’t fit, he looks under under the stairs and finds the key, giving himself away.

dun-dun-duuuun

Tony enters and figures out they caught him. Being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t fight them. He knows when he has been defeated.

Tony Wendice: [pouring a drink] As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way… How about you, Margot?

Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

Tony Wendice: I suppose you’re still on duty, Inspector.

TheEnd_Title_2

It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Dial “M” for Murder, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Past of a Man

For more on blackmail, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more films based on a play, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime