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

So Happy Indepedence Day. It is time for another:

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

Hmm…I don’t know!

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

I can’t stop watching!

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

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

I started with one episode and was hooked!

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

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

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

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

The horror! I can’t even think of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It sucks!

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

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

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

That is not what life is like.

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

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

Ugh! Work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Emma (1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Replace beauty with money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smarming and plotting away.

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

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

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

Or celebrating our Independence!

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

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

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

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

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

I love Murder She Wrote, I grew up watching the reruns on TV Land and Hallmark. The story was of widowed, retired school teacher, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) who becomes an author-published under the name J.B. Fletcher.

As she goes about life she gets pulled into all these different murder mysteries. using her intellect and observational skills to solve the crimes.

So this episode is 12 of season 8. In this we are back in Jessica’s hometown of Cabot Cove where her good friend Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) is casting people for the community play he is putting on-a historical tale about the beautiful Rachel Abbot who was falsely accused of being a witch.

In the middle of casting a storm quells up, wind and thunder and beautiful woman enters to try out for the lead.

Her name is Mariah Osborne and she is new in town, living in the old Walker home. She blows everyone out of the water-giving life to role as if she was Rachel Abbott. She gets the role while the judge is played by Judge Willard Clinton and the prosecutor by the local insurance rep, Nate Parsons.

Great choices

Sheriff Mort Metzger and Jessica aren’t impressed with the story or on how her line of the bells ringing-bells did ring. He tries to tell them how shivers ran down everyone’s spines, but the two just laugh at him.

Jessica goes to the archives to do some research when she runs into Mariah. They introduce each other as Mariah explains that she was checking out the actual court transcripts.

Mariah says that she thinks Cabot Cove has a history of ganging up on people. Hmm-wonder why she fells that way?

Suspicious

Mariah heads to the Winthrop mansion, to return Lydia Winthrop’s shawl she borrowed the night before at rehearsals. There she meets Lydia’s husband, Charlie Winthrop, who is recuperating in a wheelchair and suffering from muscle spasms. Again Mariah mentions standing up for wrongfully accused-hmm wonder what or who she is getting at?

Now we know Mariah is not a witch, but there is something so creepy about her-how she appears everywhere, Every word seems to be dripping with a deeper meaning.

Just so creepy

As she leaves the house she notices that Charles isn’t really injured-he’s faking it. He walks over to his safe and takes out something in it.

Oh?

That night someone breaks into the safe at the Winthrop house. When the police question them, Lydia points the finger at Mariah.

Nothing appears to be missing, just rose petals everywhere-weird. But then Lydia reminds them of Mariah’s line “rose petals scattered in memory of blood spilled.”

Things get complicated. Stories of Mariah having a black cat, a cauldron, and walking around at midnight in black. Sheriff Mort talks to Jessica, and she tries to bring them all back to reality but it is hard as the stories grow and Mariah’s actions kind of feed into it.

Mariah goes to Nate to get fire insurance and question about the house-but they do not have records that far back as there was a really bad fire and the records were lost.. Lydia also is there to speak to Nate abut more insurance since their break in.

In the next scene we see Dr. Seth helping Mariah carry paint home. Jessica sees them and warns Mariah to beware of fires-the paint is highly flammable. Hmmm.

Suspicious

That night Nate’s shed burns down and there was a pentagram on the door. They try to question what was in it, but that is all buried under witch questions.

Everyone starts talking about how Rebecca Abbott said she would return in storm and fire and death, which is what happened since Mariah Osbourne came to town.

Things don’t get better at rehearsal. She has all her lines memorized, making people believe maybe their were no lines to memorize-maybe she knew already.

During the rehearsal Mariah adds in some lines at Lydia’s character, calling her a bitter and barren woman. Lydia becomes furious-everyone protests-but Mariah assures them she pulled it from the actual trial records.

Hmmm….

Seth calls a break, and Mariah and Judge Willard Clinton flirt. That night he finds a note from “Rachel” to meet him at the belltower for a secret rendezvous. When he gets there, rose petals are everywhere and he is pushed out the window to his death.

SPLAT!

Sheriff Mort and JB discuss the case-Mort knowing that Mariah isn’t a witch-but just doesn’t know how to explain all the witchy stuff.

They go to question Mariah and she tries to defend herself and even gives them a writing sample. JB searches the room and finds a scrapbook on “Monica Walker” articles and one of Mariah by a boat.

Oh?

JB tries to get more info-but all the records are gone from city hall and the newspaper. She turns to the only source left-Dr. Seth. Dr. Seth tells her that Monica used to work for Charles and Lydia but was accused of stealing a necklace, and served years in jail-on her release she sold her house and left, never coming back.

JB goes to question Lydia and Charles. Charles is recovering nicely from his fall on the stairs and Lydia put more insurance on he house since the break-in. JB questions what happened to her original necklace, but Lydia never received it back.

Hmm…

JB also sees Charles walking-sees that he is a liar. Jessica doesn’t comment on it, but asks who oversaw the Monica Walker case, it was Willard Clinton.

JB investigates the crime scene and runs into Nate who is also investigating. Jessica finds dark hairs on a nail and takes them to the police.

On the case

Meanwhile, the sheriffs have been working hard. They discover that Mary Lynn Walker was the one who broke into the Winthrop house. They go to Mariah and found out the truth-her name is Mary Lynn and she returned to Cabot Cove because she wanted to clear her mother’s name. She is searching for the necklace or other proof. She claims she did not kill Willard Clinton. She gets arrested anyway.

Jb questions Nate and is pretty sure she has it all figured our when the hairs come back as wig hair instead of real hair.

What?

JB finally puts the screws to Lydia and she spills. Her husband was cheating on her with Monica Walker. So Lydia conspired with Nate to stage a fake robbery, and have Monica Walker framed for the murder, with Willard Clinton helping her. When he met Mariah/Mary Lynn he started to feel bad, and in order to keep her secret, she murdered him.

JB has solved another case and kept her head in the midst of it all.

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

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

For more Angela Lansbury, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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

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

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

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

To all you haters

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

And stars Robert Redford!

Swoon

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

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

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

Hmm…

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

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

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

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

The only thing we are missing is a beautiful blonde.

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

What a jerk

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

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

Atwood: Wait!

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

Atwood: Yes, it was.

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

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

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

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

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

Higgins: Are you crazy?

Joe Turner: Am I?

Higgins: Look, Turner…

Joe Turner: Do we have plans?

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Turner: They’ll print it.

Higgins: How do you know?

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

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

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

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

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

With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

St-Patricks-Day-Flowers.jpg

Yes it is time for our annual countdown of great Irish heroes from film and books. Let me tell you, this year was hard. I had two, then that grew to seven in August. After a lot of thinking, it finally rounded out to seventeen.

I’m great

But then I realized one of those on my list wasn’t actually Irish!

I was sunk.

It was down to the wire…but with a little luck I finally found someone.

irishblessing

4_leaf_clover_banner

17) Lady Bess Sedgwick from At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie

At Bertram’s Hotel is a Miss Marple mystery, in which Miss Marple goes on vacation for a fortnight to the place she though was the most delightful place of her youth, Bertram’s Hotel. Miss Marple enjoys the hotel, it looking as if it hadn’t changed a bit since she was young, but at the same time feels uneasy. It almost seems as if there is evil lurking about the place. Besides old friends she sees Lady Bess Sedgwick, best described as an adventurer, and also becomes interested in the interactions of a young girl, Elvira Blake. Soon a train is robbed, a Canon goes missing, jewelry is stolen, young girls are running off to Ireland, a race car driver is causing discord with mother and daughter, the doorman is murdered: and Bertram’s is right in the middle of it.

Why Lady Bess Sedgwick is Awesome: *Contains Spoilers*

Bess Sedgwick is an amazing person who has done everything daring you can think of. She was a member of the French Resistance, she fought German troops, she flew solo across the Atlantic, driven racing cars, saved two children from a burning building, and is the second best dressed woman in England. But she isn’t all great- she has a string of marriages, gave her daughter up to her ex- husband (and guardians after his death never having contact with her), is a crime syndicate boss and thief. However, what earned her a spot on this list was that even though she spent her whole life being selfish and just doing what she wants and likes, is that when her daughter was in trouble she was there for her and tried to take the blame for her to let her daughter live. It might not have been the morally right thing to do, but it showed how much she loved her daughter in that she was willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter.

For more Agatha Christie, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

afea2e40b84116fdf4073a1ce3656fd8

16) Shannon Christie from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter, Shannon (Nicole Kidman), on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanent, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land in the West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West will not be an easy one.

Why Shannon Christie is Awesome:

At first she appears to be nothing but a spoiled brat, but as we continue to watch the film Shannon has some real hutzpah. She will not live off Joseph, but sets off to help provide for their travel West, working in horrible conditions of a chicken factory. When she and her family finally go West, she is instrumental in showing them the skills she learned and teaching them what they must do to survive now that they are no longer gentry, but just like everyone else.

For more on Far and Away, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

4_leaf_clover_banner

black-dress-8-please-dont-eat-the-daisies-doris-day-david-niven

15) Professor Laurence MacKay from Please Don’t Eat the Daises

Professor Laurence MacKay (David Niven) is leaving the academic world to become a drama critic. His wife, Kate (Doris Day), is at first thrilled for him, but as he becomes more sought after and being invited to parties nearly every night; she starts to wonder if the fame will go to his head and that he will change for the worse. When the lease comes up on their apartment, and they find themselves going to homeless, they decide to live their dream of being in the country. However, Laurence finds it hard adjusting to country life and the constant repairs of the house. Kate sends him back to New York to finish his book, while she completes the house. Throw in the mix a Broadway writer angry at his bad review plotting revenge on the MacKays and a starlet setting out to seduce Laurence; and you have one highjink-filled film.

Why Professor Laurence MacKay is Awesome:

Laurence does spend a majority of the film a jerk as fame and flattery have turned him from the person he was into this stranger; but when such things are pointed out to him, he realizes his mistakes and the old Laurence resurfaces. Above all he loves his wife and his children, turning down the siren and staying true to them.

For more on David Niven, go to On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

4_leaf_clover_banner

14) Regan Reilly from The Regan Reilly Mysteries by Carol Higgins Clark

Regan is the daughter of mystery writer Nora Reilly, and funeral director Logan Reilly. Instead of joining either parent’s professions, she decides to become a private investigator.

Why Regan Reilly is Awesome:

She is a great private detective who is always looking in every direction for the answer to any problem that may come her way. She is a likable character,intelligent, along with being caring and compassionate. I am looking forward to reading more of her novels.

For more on Regan Reilly check out my sister blog Mysterious Eats with Decked

4_leaf_clover_banner

idonthaveacrushlifeplan

13) Bridget Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, middle child, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is the youngest, an adorable sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Bridget Hennessy is Awesome:

While at first Bridget only cares about her looks and popularity, we see that as the show progresses and she grows up that her character develops and she begins to extend in her interests and hobbies. She cares about her family and tries to be there for them; especially after the death of her father. The fact that her ex-boyfriend is dating her sister bothers her at first, but ultimately she cares more about her sister and wants her to be happy. She may not be the most intelligent person in schoolwork, but her kindness and compassion grows with her.

I love the episodes when she dates her tutor Jeremy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I wish they had had more of him.

For more on 8 Simple Rules, go to It’s Fantastico!

12) Finn O’Finnegan from Too Many Leprechauns Or How That Pot o’ Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow by Stephen Krensky

Finn O’Finnegan returns home and finds that leprechauns have invaded his town of Dingle, making shoes and keeping anyone from the town from sleeping, working, or cooking, etc. O’Finnegan comes up with a plan to out trick them, and be able to enjoy his mother’s soda bread.

Why Finn O’Finnegan is Awesome:

This is a cute children’s book with a great main character in O’Finnegan. He looks like a rogue or a rascal, so a lot of people don’t trust him; but it doesn’t matter what he looks like, he has brains in his head and uses them to not only outsmart the Leprechauns, but save his whole village. A hilarious story and perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day.

1961-the-parent-trap-cd2-gblog8514-21-30

11) Sharon McKendrick from The Parent Trap

Susan is traveling to camp from California. She meets Sharon from Boston. This wouldn’t be unusual except for the fact that they look exactly alike. That’s right, Sharon and Susan are twins, separated after their parents divorced, as each took one sister home with them. The two become friends and decide to switch places in order to get to know the other parent and reunite their parents. Unfortunately, a lot has changed while Susan was away. Her father met someone and is engaged! Now the girls are trying to reformulate their plan to break up her dad and his fiancé, and get their mom and dad back together.

Why Sharon is Awesome:

So both girls are Irish on their mom’s side, but as Susan wasn’t really raised by her mother, I decided to include only Sharon.

Sharon is very talented in music, conversation, art, elocution, etc. She is also very intelligent, putting together the fact that they are siblings long before Susan.

We also see that out of the two, Sharon is quieter and kinder; trying to be friends, or at least civil, with Susan in the beginning, only going to war after the first shots were fired. Sharon is also very brave as she lets her untrained sister cut her hair and pierce her ears, (there are some things I would never let my sister do even though I love her). A fun and sweet character you can’t help but love (and so much better than the remake.)

For more on The Parent Trap, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Hayley Mills, go to That Darn Cat

4_leaf_clover_banner

10) Paul Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy (John Ritter) is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is adorable and a sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Paul Hennessy is Awesome:

Paul Hennessy is a great dad. At times he can be a little overprotective of his girls, but he only wants the best for them. He knows how guys are and he wants to help their teen years be good ones, (he also is having a hard time letting go). As always John Ritter is hilarious, I just like to think of Paul Hennessy being Jack Tripper with a family.

For more on John Ritter, go to She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

4_leaf_clover_banner

9) Sarah Nolan from Must Love Dogs

Sarah (Diane Lane) is a 40-year old, divorced, kindergarten teacher. Her brother and sisters are all happily married, and her father is dating (on the internet); so they all think it is time she put herself out there and started again. After an embarrassing snafu in which she ends up accepting an email invite from her father, she tries to navigate the dating world, both electronically and physically. As she begins dating, she finds herself drawn between two very different men: the strong, silent, divorced, father of one of her students (Dermot Mulroney); and the talkative, less orthodox, unexpected, recently divorced boat craftsman (John Cusack). Whom will she choose? Or will this voyage into dating confirm that she is better off with a dog?

Why Sarah is Awesome:

I like that Sarah is a very real character, expressive of people today who are lost in the new way of dating; along with being comfortable in herself and what she likes/wants. She enjoys a quiet life of being with friends, family, animals to love, old movies to watch, etc. You connect to her because she could easily be you, a friend, a family member; she just feels so real.

Also Sarah is brave to begin dating after her jerk of a husband. She also is sweet and funny (only negative, it takes her a while to spot the real winner of the two men.)

4_leaf_clover_banner

Under Capricorn Dining eating

8) Lady Henrietta Flusky from Under Capricorn

This film takes place in early 19th Century Australia. Australia has formerly been a place where England sent their criminals: serving out their sentence and living there, or returning home to England. Now however, more and more “good” citizens have found themselves emigrating to Australia and civilizing the towns. The new Governor, Sir Richard, arrives bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare. Charles meets, Samson “Sam” Flusky, an ex-convict, former murderer, and prospering land owner. He intrigues him in a business deal and brings Charles to his house, in which he meets Sam’s wife, Lady Henrietta, who turns out to be an old family friend. Charles soon spends all his time at the house and finds something strange about Henrietta’s actions, as she is no longer the same woman he knew. As with all Alfred Hitchcock films, there is suspense, mystery, and an old secret’s truth is revealed.

Why Lady Henrietta Flusky is Awesome:

Now if my little synopsis has encouraged you to watch the film, then stop reading. If you aren’t interested in watching the film, proceed.

Lady Henrietta spends most of the film going insane from her guilt at killing her brother, the guilt of Sam taking the blame for it, not understanding Sam’s drive (he feels unworthy of her), unable to figure out how to talk to him, and being harassed by a maid who is hoping to replace her as Mrs. Flusky.

However, we discover later how much Henrietta cares for her husband. She loves only him and would do anything to help him. When an accidental shooting looks like he will spend the rest of his days in prison, she is willing to speak up and admit who really killed her brother, (something she would have done in the beginning to save him but was stopped by Sam), and go to prison if it means securing Sam’s freedom. She loves him and would do all she can to help him in any way.

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

For more Ingrid Bergman go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

Back to the future hey mcfly marty mcfly

7) George McFly from Back to the Future

In Back to the Future Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox, accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents not to meet. So not only does he have to discover a way to get back to the future, he also has to get them back together before he ceases to exist.

Why George McFly is Awesome:

George is an incredibly sweet, intelligent, and talented guy. He’s the type that you always want for a friend. A geek, he has never dreamed of stepping out and taking a risk; even though he is in love with Lorraine. However, with a little encouragement from Marty, (and Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan), he will do anything to stand up and protect the person he cares most about.

For more on George McFly and Back to the Future, go to I Will Face My Fears for You: Back to the Future (1985)

libraryphiladelphiastoryckdexterhavenmikeconnor

6) Macaulay “Mike” Connor from The Philadelphia Story

Tracy Lorde (Katherine Hepburn), high society girl, is planning on getting married again and wants everything to go perfect, but unfortunately that is not in the cards. First, her ex-husband C. K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) returns to her life trying to reunite. Spy Magazine wants to do a feature on her and have sent in a reporter, Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Jimmy Stewart), and a photographer to do the story. She has to contend with them snooping around and try to hide that her father has run off with a dancer. She enlists her uncle to pretend to be her father, which as you can tell brings on gaffes and guffaws. As Tracy spends time with Dexter Haven, Connor, and her fiancé George Kittredge; she starts to wonder who it is she is really in love with and wishes to marry.

Why Mike Connor is Awesome:

Mike is a top reporter: sarcastic, snoopy, cynical, sharp edged, cold, and full of wit. However, while he seems like your typical newshound, there is much more to him than meets the eye. Connor has a romantic soul; a compassionate and tenderness about him that is revealed in the short stories he has written and when he romances Tracy. At first he is a little prejudiced at the upper class, seeing them as snobs looking down at him; but when such judgement is proved false he realizes his mistake and finds himself enjoying the company of the upper crust. A great character and played wonderfully by the fantastic Jimmy Stewart.

For more on Jimmy Stewart, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

5) Detective Phoebe O’Hara from Kindergarten Cop

Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been on the case of putting away drug dealer Cullen Crisp for a long time. Every time they get a witness, Crisp somehow finds out and takes them out. The only one left is his ex-wife, but she took off with their child, and changed their names. They have managed to locate the area she was in, but have no idea their names or what they look like. All they know is that the child is six years old. He is partnered with Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed), ex-kindergarten teacher turned detective. They are going to pretend to be husband and wife while she teaches at the school in order to hunt out which kid is Cullen Crisp Jr. Unfortunately, O’Hara gets food poisoning and Kimble has to be the teacher. He thinks it will be a cinch, but those of us who have worked with kids know nothing is ever that easy.

Why Detective Phoebe O’Hara is Awesome:

I just love this character. Here is a petite woman who is is incredibly strong and able to hold her own against the toughest criminals. She is intelligent and quick witted, assessing situations and navigating them on the fly. For instance, when she realizes that Kimble is attracted to one of the teachers, she rewrites their cover story in seconds, becoming his “sister” and flawlessly speaking in an Austrian accent. I also love that she is always eating, and not just healthy food, but good food, calories don’t matter. Besides that she is hilarious, every time she is on the screen I am cracking up. A fantastic and fun character.

4_leaf_clover_banner

4) Doris Walker from Miracle on 34th Street

Doris is in charge of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade but is experiencing a major problem when the person she hired to be Santa is drunk! Luckily she finds a man who is the exact image of Santa and can have him fill in, a man who goes by Kris Kringle. He is then hired on at the store and becomes even more invested in her life as he moves in with her  neighbor (and guy she is interested in); along with befriending her daughter and helping teach her how to be a child. But when Kris insists that he is the “real” Santa Claus, it lands him in a mental facility, the only way out?A huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is “real”.

Why Doris Walker is Awesome:

So some of you might be wondering, how do I know that Doris Walker is Irish, after all, Walker is an English name? Well, first of all Walker is her married name so it has no bearing on her ethnicity, and secondly: every character that O’Hara plays is Irish because she is Irish.

Doris Walker is a great character because here is a woman who was so totally destroyed by her husband’s misdeeds (we are never told what they are but they must have been bad), but works hard to not only provide for herself and her daughter; but be sure to spend as much quality time with her. She is kind and caring, not wanting Kris at first in her life, but once she gets to know him finds herself falling for his charm and wanting to help him in any way. She stands up to others trying to trick him and get rid of him, vowing to be no part of their evil plan. She spends a lot of time going against imagination, blind trust, and faith for realism; but in the end realizes she is wrong and tries to raise her daughter to believe in those intangible things and to believe in Kris. “I was wrong when I told you that, Susie. You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him.” She even “writes a letter to Santa”, encouraging and supporting him.

For more on Miracle on 34th Street, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Maureen O’Hara, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

3) Andrew O’Brien from Copper

Copper is about the NYPD in the mid 19th century. New York is a crazy place with the Civil War  going on bringing tension between Southerners and Northerners; the racial clashes between “Americans”, “White” Europeans, Irish, and African-Americans. Corky is one of the “coppers” trying to keep the notorious Five Points in line with its murders, thievery, prostitution, opium trade, etc.

Why Andrew O’Brien is Awesome:

Andre O’Brien is a good man. He is good to his woman, making her his one and only, along with not staying out too late but being home at night (as if he didn’t she would probably belt him). He’s a good friend, always  there for Corky when he is needed, no matter the job. Honorable and loyal to the end. He is also a good cop; protecting, patrolling, and caring for the people in his community. That’s why I put him up so high, he’s all around a great man and as everyone knows a good man is hard to find.

For more Copper, go to Simply Fantastic

2) Father Lonergan from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born Boxer Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one but Father Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland Thornton tries to adapt to the culture and at the same time falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Father Lonergan is Awesome:

Father Lonergan is a kindly priest who cares about the people in the community and tries to help them in any way he can. He is the first to accept Sean Thornton into the community, as others are not quite so welcoming of an “American” (they don’t recognizing him as Irish). Father Lonergan is helpful in not only explaining the culture and the way life is to Thornton, but there to counsel him and Mary-Kate through their matrimony.

Even though Father Lonergan is Catholic, and is most of the people, when the Protestant church is about to be shut down by its overseers for lack of members, Father Langoren gets his congregation to pretend they are part of the church so that Rev. Playfair can remain in the area. Even though he might not agree on everything, Father Lonergan is there for any one who needs help in the community, no matter what.

But while Father Lonergan is a kind priest, there is a lot more to him than one would imagine. He is an avid boxing fan (which is how he knows Thornton’s secret) and the leader of the local IRA. For him he doesn’t want to have bloodshed or bombings (which is what most of us think of when we hear IRA), but he wants to unite the Irish people so that they achieving independence and freedom.

For more on The Quiet Man, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

1) Jessica B. Fletcher AKA J.B. Fletcher from Murder She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher is a retired, widowed schoolteacher from Cabot Cove, Maine. When she writes a book for fun she never dreamed it would take off as it did or that she would become one of the best-selling mystery writers in the United States. Besides writing her stories, Jessica always manages to come upon a mystery and murder. Using her Miss Marple-ian way of observing; she manages to solve every case she comes upon (and still have time to write).

Why Jessica B. Fletcher is Awesome:

No matter how wealthy, famous, or powerful she becomes: Jessica always stays the same. She never uses any of this to abuse others, manipulate those she comes across, or have it mold her into a different person. She still visits her extensive relatives, always having time to aid them in anything they need. She is never too busy to make new friends (from all walks of life), help a struggling writer, give advice when needed, tutor those who need help, fundraise for charities, etc. Even when she solves case after case, she never lords over the police or tries to take over investigations; she is respectful and offers her observations. She is kind, caring, understanding, compassionate, adorable, sweet, intelligent, and never says I told you so.

For more on Murder She Wrote, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

4_leaf_clover_banner

So that ends my list for this year. You all know what I’ll be doing with the rest of my day. Eating some soda bread made by my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. And my yearly tradition, watching the Disney Channel Original Movie: The Luck of the Irish.

The_Luck_of_the_Irish

4_leaf_clover_banner

For the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes 

For the 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

4_leaf_clover_banner

The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

confessionoffitzwilliamdarcy

The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy: A Novel by Mary Street

I know it is hard to rewrite a classic tale. You have the spirit of the original writer looming over every word.

janeaustenghostdo'tmesswithwork

You also have the fans who are just ready to hate on you:

HateEverythingthewomen

But that doesn’t mean you have to write the most boringest version of Pride & Prejudice I’ve read so far.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

On the cover it says:

“The Holy Grail of [Pride and Prejudice] sequels for many Darcy fans.”

I don’t think so.

Majorly

Majorly

Darcy is just so closed off and robotic, no warmth, sadness, surprise; any emotion at all!!!

processinginfo

Every word just makes me want to go to sleep. I need MY CHARACTER TO HAVE REACTIONS! EMOTIONS! FEELINGS! SOMETHING!!! ANYTHING!!!!

Screen shot 2015-12-15 at 11.44.16 PM

Just not worth your time at all. Try reading An Assembly Such as This or Darcy’s Story.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more books from a Jane Austen Hero’s perspective, go to Darcy’s Story: Pride and Prejudice Told From a Whole New Perspective

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Be It Ever So Humble

For more works based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

christmas-flowers-banner

So today’s Christmas Carol is one I am sure you have never heard of. In fact I can’t recall where I first was introduced to it, but I love this carol.

Today’s is I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In). This song was printed sometime in the 17th century, the most known version being printed in 1833. Many question the three ships, as how would three ships come to Jesus in Bethlehem.

I think it was a way to blend modern times with the biblical three wise men.

christmas-flowers-banner

For more Christmas Carols, go to Joy to the World