The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

The murderer is never the one you initially suspect.

I love Agatha Christie:

This was one of the first stories I ever read of hers. When I was about 10, my nana heard I liked mysteries and asked if I had ever read Agatha Christie. I hadn’t so she gave me a collection of stories in a book: Murder in the Mansions, which contained The Seven Dials Mystery, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House.

All of them amazed me, but especially Crooked House. When I saw it on Amazon Prime, I had to watch it right away.

The film starts off with millionaire Archimedes Leonides’ death. He is survived by Brenda Leonides, his 30-year old widow; his sons, Phillip and Roger; his daughter-in-laws, Magda and Clemency; his grandchildren: Sophia (Stefanie Martini), Eustace (Preston Nyman), and Josephine (Honor Kneafsey); along with his sister-in-law, Lady Edith de Haviland.

Charles Hayward (Max Irons [Jeremy Irons’ son]) is an ex-embassyman in Egypt, and OSS agent, and has become a private investigator. Things haven’t been booming, but it appears that today will be different. He has a client today!

When he goes in he sees Sophia Leonides, otherwise known to him as Sophia de Haviland, an old flame.

Sophia and Charles met in Egypt when she worked for Sotheby’s, using her mother’s maiden name to hide her true identity. They had a relationship but it was broken off when Sophia found out that Charles was dating her not only for her, but to also find out information on her grandfather.

She comes to him to ask him to investigate as her grandpa did not die of natural causes. Someone poisoned him with his eyedrops. In order to avoid scandal she would rather he come in than Scotland Yard. Charles agrees and goes to the “Crooked House”.

With this term you know that no one in here will not be a suspect. All characters are duplicitous and dishonest. And all have a reason to kill Archimedes. He’s was a mean man who would tease and pull and play with all those around him, enjoying his power. Everyone is stuck in this crooked house and have to follow his rules-there is no ability, money, or anything they can do to leave.

We’re trapped

First we have Lady Edith de Haviland (Glenn Close), she always cared for Archimedes, but he married her sister. After her death Lady Edith stayed on in the house helping to raise the boys and their grandchildren. Could his marriage to Brenda finally made him snap? Did she hate how he was controlling the children and grandchildren?

Brenda Leonides (Christina Hendricks) is the 30-year old widow and the one who gave her husband his medicine every day. She’s the most likely to slip it in, but why? Could it be she regretted being cooped up with that old man? His family? Could she have a lover that she wants to be with, but with Archimedes’ money?

Phillip (Julian Sands) burnt through his trust fund with gambling and had to be rescued by his father. He is stuck there as his history books and screenplays are nothing nobody wants. He wrote a new play, something his wife could star in, but his father won’t fund it. It could help him break away-could he have murdered his father for freedom?

Magda (Gillian Anderson [Yes Scully from X-Files]) is a former actress in the theater. Her husband and father-in-law have both thrown money at her plays and lost and lost. Now this screenplay could be her ticket back to stardom but Archimedes would not pay. Did she do it?

Roger (Christian McKay) inherited one of the family buisnesses, the catering and restaurants. He completely dropped the ball on it, his dad constantly having to pull him out of a black hole. This time his dad said no more money. Did Roger take care of it?

Clemency (Amanda Abbington) has never wanted to stay in the crooked house. She has always wanted to leave, but her husband was Daddy’s boy and never could. Did she finally snap and take care of it?

Sophia was called back from Sotheby’s to “help” with the family business, however she didn’t do much. Did she regret being in the house? Did she want to leave and felt there was only one way out?

Eustace had polio when he was younger, giving him a limp in one leg. His grandfather made him be tutored at home, i order to “keep him from being bullied.” But Eustace has always resented this control and being stuck in the house his whole life. He wants to go out, be with real people, out in life. Did he finally snap?

Hmm…

Josephine is always writing and scribbing in her notebook-a Harriet the Spy. She goes from room to room watching, observing-mostly undetected. Did she see something? Or was she mad that he stopped her dream of becoming a ballerina?

Hmm…

To make things worse, Charles still has feelings for Sophia. Will this cloud his judgement?

Which one which one? And will Charles survive the crooked house?

Horrorfest VII: Your New Nightmare

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

HORRORFEST!!!!!!

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

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

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

For more Sherlock Holmes, go here.

So here we go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Most Romantic Moment #11

Rear Window (1954)

So I know you are probably thinking:

crazy

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

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

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

Hmm…

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

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

**Spoiler Alert**

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

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

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

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

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

Wow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Long Fatal Love Chase

LongFatalLoveChase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

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

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

Why Didn’t You Stop Me, Sam? You Know How Much I Hated Her! Why Didn’t You Stop Me?: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

Why didn’t you stop me, Sam? You know how much I hated her! Why didn’t you stop me?

So I love Kirk Douglas:

How can you not like this face

In fact I even wrote him a fan letter once, but have yet to hear back from him.

Oh, well

Anyways, I picked up a great book not too long ago about his life, The Films of Kirk Douglas [although it ends with The Indian Fighter (1955)]. I found the book to be interesting, well written, and hard to put down.

So the first film that Kirk Douglas was in is called The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. It sounded so interesting-film noir about a woman who destroys one man after another in her pursuit of money, power, and love.

So when I spotted it on Amazon Instant Watch, I knew I needed to watch it immediately.

However, as I started watching the film it turned out that was sadly mistaken. This film was nothing like what I thought it would be like.

I know, right?

So the film starts out with young Martha Ivers, niece to Mrs. Ivers (Judith Anderson) the richest woman in the town. Her aunt controls everything and everybody, except for one-Sam Masterson. The two were trying to run away together, just to be free, but are found out and Martha is sent back with her aunt.

Martha Ivers as a girl: You don’t own the whole world.

Mrs. Ivers: Enough to make sure you’re always brought back to me.

Mr. O’Neil, her tutor discovered where she was hiding. Mr. O’Neil is a super brownnoser, trying to get Mrs. Ivers to help his son Walter become more by blessing him with a good education. Mrs. Ivers thanks him for his help, but in no way does she care about him or his needs.

Meanwhile, upstairs Martha and Walter are talking when Sam arrives to take her with him. Everything is going well until Mrs. Ivers senses something is up, as Martha has been far too quiet, and heads upstairs. Sam sees Mrs. Ivers and runs off, Mrs. Ivers trips on Martha’s cat (which Mrs. Ivers hates), Mrs. Ivers begins to hit the cat with her cane, and Martha becomes so angry that she takes the cane, beats her aunt, and Mrs. Ivers falls down the stairs dead.

Walter saw everything, so Martha takes him into her confidence and gets him to lie with her to his father, Mr. O’Neil. She says a man came in and attacked her aunt.

Mr. O’Neil looks at the body and Martha and figures everything out about what really must have happened. But he goes along with her, using this to tie the two kids in the closest bond imaginable.

Time passes and we pick up in the present with Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) who is driving along. Since he ran away Sam has been everywhere, with all kinds of women, and done  little of everything-although he gets his money from gambling. He is surprised to find himself back in his old area, so surprised that he crashes his car and has to stay in Iverstown until it is fixed.

He discovers that Walter O’Neil (Kirk Douglas) and Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) married and that Walter did get the fancy education, making him district attorney. Sam heads off looking around the changed town and meets a young, troubled, blonde, Toni Marachek

Hmm…

For me this is where the story seriously tanks.

Ugh.

Sam falls in love with Toni after just meeting her. It is really weird as he is this tough guy who takes whatever he wants from people, you know, and then this girl gives him like 3% of her life story and he is hooked. I thought the whole interaction was dumb and not necessary. It was also extremely boring.

Eventually after a lot of blah, blah, blah

Blah, blah

It turns out Toni is an ex-con and that since she didn’t take her bus home like she was supposed to, she broke probation and was sent back to prison. Sam is so upset that he lost his “love”

YOU JUST MET HER AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HER!!!!!

So he goes to Walter to try and get him to spring her. Walter has become an alcoholic, his life devastated at the fact that he helped send an innocent person to prison. When Sam comes in asking for things, Walter assumes that Sam witnessed the death of Mrs. Ivers and is trying to blackmail them.

Meanwhile, Martha runs into Sam and she likes what she sees more than ever. She never got over Sam, and even though Walter loves her with every part of his being, she can’t stand him. She constantly tries to come on to Sam and rekindle their childhood interest.

Meanwhile, a jealous Walter tries to take care of Sam-using Toni to set him up and sending guys after him to rough him up a bit.

Ouch

Sam survives and comes to take revenge on Walter. The two fight, with Walter trying to shoot Sam, but Sam wrestling it out of his hands.

Martha runs off to a private rendezvous with Martha and as they are talking it is revealed that Sam never saw anything.

Martha Ivers: Why didn’t you stop me, Sam? You know how much I hated her! Why didn’t you stop me?

Sam Masterson: I wasn’t there.

Martha Ivers: Why didn’t you stop…[realizes] You, weren’t there?

Sam Masterson: No, I left as soon as I saw your aunt enter the room.

Now armed with such knowledge, Sam makes a double play. One-he starts demanding more from Walter while two-making Martha care for him again.

What jerks

It all comes to a head when Walter and Sam fight, Walter falling down stairs, drunk, and discovered by Martha. Martha tries to convince Sam to kill her husband so they can be together.

Help me! I’m confused!

Sam refuses, and then Martha tries to get Walter to kill Sam. Sam doesn’t like where everything is going.

Eventually Sam leaves, and Walter and Martha are left together in their twisted web of deceit and division. Martha tries to say something to Walter, but he shoots her.

Wow

Afterwards he turns the gun on himself.

Sam and Toni take off into his car free forever.

I thought this was horrible. I was looking for mystery, plotting, intrigue, evil woman creating downfall everywhere she went, etc. Instead we got insta-romance and boring melodrama. I would just pass this film on by, not worth your time at all. And let me say, I cannot fathom how every girl was going ga-ga over Van Heflin. He’s not that attractive or particularly charming.

And yeah, again no banner for this film. I don’t know why I picked so many bannerless films this year. Oh, well.

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

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more film-noir, go to It’s A Hard World: Backfire (1950)

For more Kirk Douglas, go to Make My Day

For more with Judith Anderson, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

So it has been a while since I reviewed the first episode for Horrorfest V. I had meant to do it in December, but then wasn’t able to as I was so focused on the 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves.

I was planning to do it in January, but then I was trying to finish the 30 day challenge as I was behind.

Then February came with Romance is in the Air: Part V and the evacuation; and the next thing you know it is almost April, but here we go.

So I actually enjoyed the first episode, which surprised me as I did not care for the book. In the TV show it looks like they are playing up the supernatural aspect more and trying to make it more mysterious.

I didn’t care for their portrayal of Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I enjoyed the way Darcy was played.

We last left off with Elizabeth discovering a letter burned by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Will we discover what it held?

Will Wickham be put on trial for the murder of Captain Dennys?

Will the Darcy-Bennet-Bingley family stay strong or be ripped apart?

Now will my views stay the same or change?

So we start off this episode with Darcy having a tender moment with his son ad I like that they included this in the TV show instead of just shutting the children off. I know that most parents in his position and wealth didn’t spend a lot of time with their children, having them occupied with governesses and the like; but I feel like both Darcy and Elizabeth would play a bigger role in their children’s lives. I mean look at the way he treats Georgiana.

Lydia is staying with them for the ordeal and Darcy meets with the doctor who had been looking in on her, and sends him on his way. Elizabeth tries to gather the servants to deal with the situation and calm everyone down. Sadly, Mrs. Bennet is going to cause issues with her dramatics-as always- but luckily the Doctor hadn’t left yet and can deal with her exclamations.

The servants are agog and shocked at when they find out the ball is canceled, but of course they can have no such thing with what Wickham is facing.

So Wickham is being such a

All he does is go on and on about what he wants.

 I mean he is in jail for murder and all he wants is for Darcy to go to his every whim and get him a better room.

But interestingly, Wickham seems to have something on the Colonel as whatever he asks for, Colonel Fitzwilliam supplies.

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Wickham, a secret deal?

One things this TV show does really well, is play around with the setting. They show the grand estate, the opulence, but also how empty it is- creating a beautiful contrast. We have the beauty and decorations, showing how they should be happy for Christmas and the ball but instead faced with such horror-and each filled with loneliness.

Darcy and Elizabeth are having miscommunication issues. Elizabeth keeps trying to talk to him, but Darcy has retreated into himself and is so cold toward her.

You need to communicate with your wife, man.

Seriously

Elizabeth is completely broken hearted about everything that has been going on and thinks back to one of her early days as Mrs. Darcy and how everyone talked about her and her family. Poor Elizabeth. She now wonders if Darcy regrets marrying her, as she has tied him to the very man he cannot stand and wanted to never see again.

Henry Alveston lends them his skills as a solicitor and prepares the family for what will happen and what they should do.

Georgiana also wants to help but Col Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy wants to send Georgina far away to distance herself from everything, but Georgiana doesn’t want to go. Poor girl, poor Georgiana. She has gone through so much and has faced such trauma but still remains strong.

Darcy is brooding, Colonel Fitzwilliam is brooding, Henry is brooding, etc. I know I have said I love brooding men, but we have too many.

Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, the one who is investigating as Darcy is related to Wickham, returns to interview everyone about what happened that night.  Nothing seems quite right, and Sir Selwyn is on the case to solve it. He questions Lydia but she isn’t helpful at all.

Ugh!

She is an empty flowerpot-her and her mother.

Elizabeth tries to speak to Darcy about the letter she found, but he won’t even discuss it and refuses to believe that his cousin could have done anything wrong. He is closer to him than any other, of course he would believe the best.

Unfortuantely, Elizabeth did not know that her dad was sitting in the library and he has overheard the whole fight.

So embarressed

He tells her that he called for Jane, and she and Bingley will be arriving soon to aid the family.

The two then go one to laugh at Lydia and her outrageous behavior. I loved this addition as I thought it was a cute image of her and her father’s relationship and shows how much she is his favorite.

Elizabeth questions the maids who saw the “ghost” the other day as she is trying to find out more about the woman. Could it be the same one that hissed at her? Elizabeth tells Sir Selwyn about the woman, hoping it might help bring Selwyn’s view on someone else, but no dice. Sir Selwyn is focused on only one man.

Colonel Fitzwilliam sees Georgiana with Henry and doesn’t like it at all. He wants to marry her and he doesn’t trust Henry at all, even though Henry is trying to help him.

I know, right?

Jane arrives and setss out to comfort all. She tries to support Lydia, but all Lydia does is go on and on about her needs and wants. Ugh, what a jerk. She and Wickham deserve each other. Jerks flock together.

Colonel Fitzwilliam finally tells everyone  where he was when he took off that night. He says that he had a meeting with a lady who needed help with her brother and he was trying to protect her reputation. Is he telling the truth?

Hmm…

I can’t help feeling for Darcy. Poor guy- this is tearing him apart.

When they attend church all  the people can talk about is Wickham’s arrest. Lydia totally loves the drama and plays up her role of the injured wife for all to see and feel sorry for.

Ugh.

Oh come on. I really want to punch her in the face-Sidney from Scream style.

I love the minister of their church. He is hilarious! He knows that the big turnout is because they all want to gossip about the murder and isn’t above getting the little digs and letting people know that he knows what they are up to.

Elizabeth tries to hold Darcy’s hand, and get support but he breaks the hold and instead goes off with their son.

Jane and Mr. Bennet team up to take care of Mrs. Bennet and Lydia to try and shield the Darcys.

Let me just say that I love this version of their father as he is so hilarious and animated.  This Mr. Bennet is much more active and how I believe Jane Austen wrote him.

Henry tries to propose to Georgiana and I have to say I really like him and want them together. In the book he was so bland, boring, and seemed to be a good choice for the villian. He’s much better in the TV show as James Norton was just fantastic.

Elizabeth and Jane decide to visit the butler’s cabin and check on his sick son William. Darcy drives them over but remains in the carriage. As the ladies are walking over to deliver the books for William, Elizabeth spies Louisa with her baby nephew George that she brought back from her sisters. But to Elizabeth’s shock she sees Louisa os nursing the baby!

You know what that means. The baby George is actually her child. But why the pretense? Why won’t the father help her take care of him? Who is the father?

The two cut their visit short as something not right-besides Louisa being the real mother-the air is thick with tension. As they leave, Will creepily stares at them through the window.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

When they get back to the carriage, it turns out that Darcy has now disappeared. Jane goes into the cariage while Elizabeth searches the woods. Where could he be? Maybe the grave of the crazy grandfather?

Hmm…

Yep, he’s there. Of course, he doesn’t tell Elizabeth anything and she has to find out the story from Georgiana. It turns out that their great-grandfather was a gambler and almost lost Pemberely. Darcy is afraid, has been afraid since a boy that he will be the Darcy to lose everything. His proposal makes a lot more sense now doesn’t it?

Elizabeth understands her husband more than ever and why duty is so important to him. And knowing this causes her heart to break even more. She reveals to Jane that she is afraid that Darcy regrets her, regrets everything, that they embarrass him. The cold way he acts, how he is shutting her out-it is killing her.

Stress, shame, scandal- it is all too overpowering.

Darcy goes to visit Wickham in his cell, and this is not fun or pleasant. Darcy thinks back to when he forced Wickham to marry Lydia, that was ot pleasant either. Wickham is so evil! He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than himself. He didn’t care a twig about Lydia, he already has the price prepared to which he can be bought off. Sock him in the face please, someone.

We need a modern adaption where someone knocks him in the face pleaseProm and Prejudice has a good whack in it but I want more.

I have to say that when I first saw Matthew Goode, I didn’t think he could be Wickham. Prior to this I had only seen him in Chasing Liberty, as undercover British FBI agent that is protecting the President’s daughter. But he completely blew me away in his performance. He is probably the best Wickham I have ever seen as he is just so deplorable! I mean words cannot describe how horrible and hideous this character is.

I mean he is sitting in jail about to be determined whether or not he will be tried for murder and all he can think of is being famous!

Yes, he is trying to use his “experience” to make him money. And then he has the gall to try and get money from Darcy. Slap him please.

Seriously

Darcy agrees to help if Wickham is released. Wickham assures him he will be as he did not kill his friend. But if not him, then who?

Hmm…

Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are just awful to Darcy, so Jane takes them away, hoping that she will be able to isolate the damage they will make. Let me tell you, she and Wickham are a matched set as she created her own memoirs to “cash in” on his arrest.

Ugh.

Back at the Darcy’s Colonel Fitzwilliam asks for Georgiana’s hand. Darcy is a great big brother and wants her to decide, but is very pro-Colonel. Elizabeth is extremely against it, vehemently discouraging about the Colonel’s traits. It is really odd as six years earlier, Elizabeth was thinking about marrying the Colonel herself.

As I said before, I don’t like this version of Colonel Fitzwillam. They make him act like such a jerk and nothing at all like the jovial version in Pride and Prejudice.

Sir Selwyn calls Darcy to look at some carvings he found close to the murder site. Darcy knows nothing about it but Selwyn thinks he is the one who carved the tree, a big FD for Fitwawilliam Darcy.

Louisa comes to Elizabeth and tells her the truth about the baby. She feel in love with a handsome soldier, Freddie Delancy. When she discovered she was pregnant she hid it from her parents and brother, staying with her sister until her son was born. Freddie promised her that he would take care of her, marry her, and take her and their son away from her. However, Elizabeth knows that this probably will not happen. Most likely Mr. Delancy is a fake name and has taken off.

Henry has returned and asks for Georgiana’s hand, but she turns him down. When Elizabeth goes to talk to her, Georgiana admits that she loves Henry, but must do her duty to protect Pemberley and the Darcy name. She choses Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Noooo!

Darcy heads off to the inquest, what will be the outcome?

This TV show is so much more dramatic than that dry dust of a book. I feel like I don’t know what will happen next even though I have read the book! The emotions of the scenery and the actors just sends my pulse running and has completely captured me. Good job all.

Henry goes to Darcy and offers his help again, and all I can say is good thing they know a lawyer. Such a sweet guy even though his love and dreams have been crushed- a real man.

 The inquest such a lively affair, I have never seen anything like that in present times.

Elizabeth decides to head to the inquest to speak to Darcy and take thim lunch, having Louisa accompany her.

The witnesses go on the stand and tell their stories, and it does not look good for Wickham, not at all. When Wickham takes the stand, he claims  he is innocent, but the other quickly twist and destroy his testimony. It doesn’t help that Wickham is a cocky little jerk.

What a jerk

The question comes about why he is banned from Pemberley and Darcy has to take the stand. Darcy goes up there and is a total rock, telling them all that Wickham is an affable man and not violent.

Jury sent out to consider verdict-will he go on trial or be acquitted?

Elizabeth reveals to Elizabeth that she sent off letters trying to discover the regiment that Freddie Delancy is with, but they have no record of him. Freddie does not exist, he is a liar, is missing, and most likely will not come back into Louisa’s life. Louisa is heartbroken and sets out to deliver Darcy’s food when she sees Wickham and recognizes him. He is Freddie!

The episode ends with Wickham to go on trial; shouting by all; Louisa hystrerical; and a fade to black!

THAT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

It made me want to watch the next episode immediately!

So I’m still not happy with a couple of things (the way the actors portray Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam), but everything else in this TV series is just downright AMAZING! You definitely need to check it out.

For more on Death Comes to Pemberley, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Too Pretty

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels, nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are actually a prince
  • One is  a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it  vulgarly, what do you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

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

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

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders