Release Date Nov 02, 2018
Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.
Release Date Nov 02, 2018
Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.
I am going to leave “A Christmas Carol” and the Christmas Story to the gazillion adaptations that have come our way over the years and recommend some of Holiday films you may have never heard about. These are worth a rent and for some, a buy. Enjoy something different this Christmas.
Barbara Stanwyck stars as a famous expert on marriage, cooking and homemaking who is asked by her publisher to host a national hero for Christmas dinner at her famous Connecticut home. It should be simple, but she must scramble to keep the secret that she’s single, can’t cook and doesn’t own a home. With a lot of help, meticulous planning and split-second timing, the urban sophisticate may succeed . . . but the unforeseen happens when she falls in love with her guest in this classic romantic comedy.
If you are like me, and really fond of this old gem, do yourself a favor and get this version. It is a vast improvement on any other version I have seen, having been made from an original studio archival print, apparently. It is not perfect, but is close. There is some tiny sparkle in a few scenes, and one or two short damage places that should have been fixed. Far too many public domain versions have been released over the years that are pretty dismal in quality. Lots of talented performers in this film, and the camera work shows the care that was taken on many of the old black & white classics.
Personally, my favorite of all the adaptations.
Heavenly bells are ringing, jubilant choirs are singing and Christmas joy is blanketing the world like freshly fallen snow. But the Yuletide spirit has yet to warm Bishop Henry Brougham’s Victorian home. Struggling to raise funds for a new cathedral, the preoccupied young clergyman has neglected his loving wife Julia, and now only divine intervention can save their marriage! But the powerful and handsome angel sent from above has a mind of his own and teaching mortal Henry an immortal lesson inromance isn’t all he’s got planned! Starring Oscar(r) winners* Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven, and featuring “a stellar supporting cast” (The Hollywood Reporter) that includes James Gleason and Monty Woolley, this delightful romantic comedy is wondrous, witty and truly divine! *Grant, Honorary Oscar (1969); Young, Actress, The Farmer’s Daughter (1947); Niven, Actor, Separate Tables (1958)
Full Movie found on YouTube
Screen legends Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star in the heartwarming holiday classic Remember the Night (1940). Lee Leander (Stanwyck) is a petty shoplifter on trial for swiping an expensive bracelet from a local jewelry store. When her trial is postponed until after New Year’s, sympathetic Assistant District Attorney John Sargent (MacMurray) bails her out of jail. Together, they find themselves falling in love when he invites her to his family’s home for the holidays where she discovers the warmth and love she’s never had but always wanted. Featuring a wonderful supporting cast (Beulah Bondi, Sterling Holloway and Elizabeth Patterson), stylish costumes by Edith Head, a charming script by Preston Sturges, and superb direction by Mitchell Leisen, Remember the Night (1940) is a timeless holiday favorite that can be enjoyed every season.
A timeless Classic.
This is not a period drama film but I find myself watching it during the year because of the romance in it. I recommend this highly. (Hallmark)
Once in a while; a movie comes along that reminds us how powerful love can be. In the midst of war in Afghanistan; Captain Codey Cullen (John Newton; “Desperate Housewives”) is touched by a lovely card sent by Faith Spelman (“The Chris Isaak Show”) from the small picturesque town of Nevada City; California. As months pass; the card never leaves his side; giving him the strength to survive and setting him on a mission to find her. When Cody returns to the States; he finds himself coincidentally welcomed by her family and friends; but he remains hesitant to reveal the fateful connection that brought him to her. As a new Christmas approaches; Cody has one last opportunity to prove his courage – by taking a chance on love and finding the woman; the home; and the life he’s always wanted.
Full movie on Youtube.
More to be added.
Chapter Eleven (continued)
Rowena woke late on New Year’s Day 1816. It took her a few moments to recall what day it actually was. She was feeling relaxed, sated, alive … and content. Too content to have her attention turning on the demands of the day to come. Not yet …
The door to her room opened, and Meg bustled in, carrying a tray. Rowena stifled a shriek and hastily covered her nakedness, which she had discovered only now. Meg, her eyes dancing with mirth, laughed.
“Oh, my pet, do not blush, not for me. I can see that your husband treated you the way you deserve to be treated, and that is only decent. I knew the earl would be what you needed to secure your future. It is a dead shame that you met him this late in life. He should have come before your cavalry man did.”
Rowena stilled, her movement of getting out of bed halting, when Meg’s last words reached her. With an astounding clarity, they rang in her head like bells on an Easter morning. What would have happened if she had met Alex first, instead of Peter?
Alex scanned the gathering at his breakfast table with content satisfaction. His servants – and by now, there were a good, healthy number of them – were chatting in hushed tones, every single one of them smiling and happy. Mrs Hall, his long-time cook, had her kitchen maids and tweenies around her. Alex only remembered Trixie’s name, but she was now a housemaid under Meg Wallis, the housekeeper. That lady, seated beside her husband John had also gathered her troops, now two other maids, besides Trixie. He really should ask his wife to tell him all their names, Alex berated himself.
Further down the long table, his outdoor servants were seated, all of them speaking quietly with each other. Silas Mercher, his head gardener now had three boys under him, and Thomas Anderson, his head groom had four stable boys to help him ready the stables for the new horses Alex intended to purchase. Next to the grooms were the three tall footmen, Gregson, David and Reese Mortimer, sons of one of his tenants. Hannibal Mortimer had a large brood of some fifteen children, and the wages his sons would bring in would be very welcome in supporting the family.
Alex’ gaze wandered to the one person who really mattered at his table. At his right side, he most keenly felt Rowena’s presence. He focussed on her, wanting to see her as clearly as possible. His eyesight was still slightly blurred, yet he clearly saw the burgundy-coloured morning gown she wore. It was neatly cut, a bit generously tailored around the waist to accommodate her pregnancy. A square neckline advantageously showed her ivory shoulders and the onset of her lush breasts. How he remembered the exquisite feeling of those orbs in his palms, the previous night. He studied her. She was quiet, and savouring her new role as the lady of his house to the full. It was true that she had occupied the position since she entered Ketteridge House, yet now, as his countess, she had acquired a dignity which clung to her like a gown. A dignity her brother had stripped from her when he chased her from her home.
Come to think of it, Alex was curious about that brother of hers. After all, the man had a right to know his sister had married. Maybe a trip to Cumberland would not come amiss, as soon as the weather improved. Alex wanted to learn why Roderick Drake had cast his sister out, and subsequently, cast retribution on him on Rowena’s behalf. No man had the right to push his sister into danger like that.
Rowena … her small hands were toying with a bun, and she was not eating any of the offerings he had personally loaded onto her plate.
“You seem unwell, my dear,” he whispered at her ear, the words low enough not to be understood by their neighbours. “Is the food not to your liking? I have not heard your knife cutting through Cook’s lovely buns. Shall I order a fresh plate for you?”
“No, thank you. I am not very hungry.” Rowena answered calmly, although she did not feel calm at all. Instead, her nerves were dragged into acute awareness at the soft caress of his breath on her sensitive flesh.
“Well, then how are you feeling? Are you suffering from last night’s exertions?”
He had kept his tone light and teasing, but she blushed a fiery red. He found it endearing, but hid his smile.
“I will not answer such a blunt question at the breakfast table,” she said, grabbing her cup to drink and hide her red cheeks.
“Nevertheless, I feel we should discuss it, my dear. I fear I was less than gentle with you, after you came to my bed, the second time. Why did you come?”
Rowena swallowed her tea, grateful that it did not choke her.
“You were crying out,” she hissed, irritated that he should continue their all too intimate conversation. “As if you were in pain. I was concerned. You calmed down when I joined you.”
“Did I truly? I am amazed.”
“Alex, please!” Rowena was desperate now. Meg was already looking at them in wonderment.
“Very well, my dear, I shall not embarrass you further.”
He was rewarded by her grateful smile, a smile that brightened her face like a ray of sunshine. He was again reminded of how fiercely he had resented his blindness in the first days of their meeting. How it had affected him that he had been incapable of seeing that smile. It was a comforting thought, Alex reflected, to know that her smile would now be with him for the rest of his life.
It was an estate tradition to hand out presents on New Year’s Day, but it had not been kept up during the last five years. Reggie, Alex’ brother had not had enough resources for that, as Alex had explained to Rowena during their carriage ride to Ketteridge’s only inn.
“I was away in the Peninsula and had no idea about the estate’s finances. Reggie was too proud to inform me, which was unwise, because I could have helped him from the start. I gathered a good little sum during my army days, which I was able to invest wisely and with good results. It would have been so much better for the estate, had I been there at the time. Alas, fate decreed otherwise.”
“When did your brother die, Alex?”
Rowena had wanted to ask him about his family from the first days they met, but there had never been a right moment to do so. Now, in their warm, snug carriage, riding through white, frozen countryside, there was. Yet she noticed how her husband stilled, and suddenly seemed to withdraw. She took his gloved hand in hers.
“You know all about my family, Alex. Do you not think it fair that I know about yours, too?”
He nodded, then sighed. “What I am about to tell you, Rowena, is not common knowledge. I hope you will be discreet and not tell anyone, not even Mrs Wallis. Do I have your word on that?”
“You have it, Alex,” she replied, quietly but firmly.
He cleared his throat. “He died early this year. Reginald was twenty years my senior. He was born late in my parents’ marriage, when they had given up all hope on any offspring. My mother had a horribly difficult childbirth, and she nearly died, so my father swore Reggie would be the only child he would father. Yet twenty years later, I came along, and killed my mother. Suffice it to say that I was not exactly welcomed by my father. Reggie was his heir, I was a spare, although my father only thought of me as a useless, cumbersome brat. A murderous brat, to boot. I was left to the care of Mrs Hall and her kitchen maids for years, until Reggie stood up to Father. My brother took me under his wing, and sent me to Eton and afterwards, to Cambridge. After my graduation, I enlisted in the army. My father approved, because I would be out of his way, and away from the estate. He had told me on my eighteenth birthday that I was not to receive any financial benefits from his will. I had to fend for myself, he said, and that is exactly what I have done since.”
Alex stopped, suddenly aware of one very disturbing fact; why was he spilling all this to Rowena? He had never, ever talked to someone about this, except for Porter, who was as close as family to him. Yet he had – no, still was entrusting his deepest thoughts about his family to a woman he knew for a month. Not a mere woman, but his wife. Alex felt something shift inside him, into something akin to peace, to comfort, and safety. He was right to talk to Rowena.
So he continued, tightening his hold on her hand.
“Reggie was the closest I ever had to a father, to any parent, for that matter.”
“You must have been lonely, as a child.” Rowena had to swallow against the deep compassion that ran through her at the image of a small Alex, alone and lonely, left to the care of servants.
“No, not really. Mrs Hall, at that time a mere scullery maid, Mrs Bammer, the housekeeper, and Mrs Swanson, the cook, and also every maid, high or low, were mothers to me. They spoiled me something fierce, and it was a good thing Reggie rescued me and showed me my true self, as the second son of an earl. He pulled me out of the oblivion. I knew I would always find a home at Ketteridge House with Reggie in it, and for many years after Father died in 1804, that was exactly so.”
Alex swallowed, grief washing over him. He struggled but continued his tale. “I always hoped he would marry and have a family. Father had been directing debutantes to him for years, but Reggie never showed any interest at all. Reggie just whiled away his days, here on the estate. He gradually used up the last of the estates finances, simply because he had no energy to manage them. He just seemed to waste away in complete depression, and I had no inkling how to help him. When he died of an apoplexy, on June 16th of this year, on the exact same day I was wounded on the battlefield, the estate was in shambles. I did not know about his death until I returned here. When finally, at the end of October, I could bring myself to clear out his desk with Porter’s help, I found out why he was so depressed. Reggie’s interest was in men instead of women.”
“Oh … poor man. How he must have suffered from the loneliness. While your father was alive, he would not have had the opportunity to find a mate.”
“Exactly. And afterwards, he had his hands full with sorting out his inheritance. I discovered he had a friend … a lover … when he was at Cambridge University. The affair lasted for fifteen long years. He had to break up the relationship when he came to live on the estate, after Father’s death. Here it would have been impossible to carry on.”
With a slow, but ever-growing awareness, Alex realized one most important fact, and spoke of it.
“How have you learned about … people like Reggie?”
Rowena felt her cheeks grow hot. It was one secret she had never shared with anyone.
“The curate at my parish church,” she murmured. “Mr Thompson was the kindest, most considerate man I ever met. He was also young, and very handsome. At fifteen, I developed an infatuation for him, and impetuous as I was then, I told him. He could not confess to his being different from other men, of course. Instead, he directed my interests to Latin and Greek, something I lacked sourly in my education. My Meg is but a simple woman, even though she taught me reading, writing and simple mathematics. By the time I was eighteen, my infatuation had waned. I still liked – and still do like Mr Thompson, but since he had never done anything to encourage me, I recovered from my girlish fantasies.”
“Let me guess,” Alex interposed. “That rattled you. You could not understand why a handsome young man would not be interested in you.”
She turned hurt eyes to him, and he instantly regretted his rather pettish remark. “I am only teasing you, Rowena.”
She sighed, cast down her eyes, a fact he resented. He wanted to see her face, scan her eyes. She was talking about a man she had loved, albeit with an adolescent’s infatuation. For some reason, he found he did not like the notion that Rowena might have loved before. He had the same nagging feeling about her former lover, Johnston.
“No, you have it right, Alex,” she continued. “I was rather miffed at the time. So badly that I talked about it to Peter, when we were seeing each other. He laughed at me, said he could not understand why I had not figured out the reason. Then he told me Mr Thompson had all the characteristics of a … a sodomite.”
She shuddered, and Alex put his arms around her, furious with the bloody, callous idiot, who so viciously crushed her first love’s character.
“I did not know the word, let alone what it pertained. Peter explained it to me, and I was so shocked I could not sleep for days, trying to imagine such a relationship. How two men would … would, could …”
“Shhh,” Alex soothed. “Do not dwell on things you cannot understand. It was foolish of me to begin about Reggie’s state of mind.”
“No, no,” she protested, rather vehemently. “Alex, I appreciate you telling me about your youth and childhood, and about the brother you so clearly loved. We should always talk to one another, as husband and wife. A marriage is about trust, and comfort, and feeling safe. Please do not ever stop talking to me, I beg you.”
He was nonplussed, to say the least. What ardency, what passion she displayed with her statement. Lecturing him about marriage, no less! He struggled to find an answer, failed, and kept silent. Instead, he drew her closer. It was a mistake. As soon as her delectable curves melted into his hard muscles, desire coiled and wreaked havoc.
Rowena felt the change in him the instant it blossomed. She was in his arms, her cheek against his blue superfine, through which – thick, woolly cloth it might be – she could feel the steady, strong beat of his heart. She sank deeper against him, passion rising, desire leaping. How she loved being held by him. Her hand wandered downwards, and encountered the hard ridge straining his buff breeches. She looked up, smiled.
“I see that you, my lord, are definitively interested in me, indeed.”
He grunted, then drew her up until she was sitting in his lap. Swiftly, he parted her legs and rearranged them, so that she was sitting astride on top of his thighs, all of it in the blink of an eye.
“You know I am, you little minx …”
Oh, how she loved that low, heavy rumble, laced with desire. She kissed him, greedily, hungrily. He reacted, spread her mouth open with his probing tongue, reconnoitring, feeling, and finally conquering her haven. When the kiss slowed, he hiked up her skirts, and began stroking her thighs, bare above her stockings. Then he suddenly felt the baby kicking against the back of his hand. Lord! Should he even do this, now? His bride instantly and effectively ripped away his doubts.
Rowena gasped as the heat rose to an unbearable level. She fumbled for the buttons of his breeches, brushing aside the sides of his coat. He – in turn- began opening her drawers, tearing at the tiny pearl buttons.
Alex burned, passion driving him to a point he had never passed. Never had he taken a woman in a carriage – at least not in broad daylight. Yet he could not stop himself; he had to have her, now, this instant. She had already freed him from his breeches and was frantically trying to guide him to her entrance. He lifted her and swiftly lowered her onto his erection. She moaned, and he quickly took her mouth, stifling the sound. Revelling in the feeling of her hot moistness around him, he thrust, and she responded by pressing herself down. It was wonderfully marvellous. They both reached heaven within seconds, and Rowena clung to him afterwards, breath shallow and fast. Alex rubbed his cheek against hers, inhaling her lovely scent. He should thank her for so much delight, he mused.
The carriage rumbled over the cobbles that carpeted the High Street. Alex came to his senses and set Rowena from his lap, fastening his breeches, while he enquired if she needed help rearranging her clothes. She shook her head, cheeks reddened. He quickly kissed her on the mouth, grinning rakishly. “Here you are, my lady. Your first act as Lady Ketteridge.”
‘The Far Pavilions’ Set for $150 Million Remake in U.K.-India Co-Production
|They will use Indian actors and British production|
Joyeux Noel captures a rare moment of grace from one of the worst wars in the history of mankind, World War I. On Christmas Eve, 1914, as German, French, and Scottish regiments face each other from their respective trenches, a musical call-and-response turns into an impromptu cease-fire, trading chocolates and champagne, playing soccer, and comparing pictures of their wives. But when Christmas ends, the war returns…Joyeux Noel has been justly accused of sentimentality, but if any subject warrants such an earnest and hopeful treatment, it’s the horrors of trench warfare. The largely unknown cast–the more familiar faces include Diane Kruger (Troy), Daniel Bruhl (Good Bye Lenin!), Benno Furmann (The Princess and the Warrior), and Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot)–deliver low-key but effective performances as the movie dwells on the everyday elements of life in the face of war. Based on a true incident (though considerably fictionalized).
Director Keith Gordon based his excellent script for “A Midnight Clear” on the book by William Wharton, who had been seriously wounded in the Battle of the Bulge towards the end of WWII. He wrote of an American Intelligence team which came upon a team of young German soldiers, desperate to surrender to the Americans, in order to survive Germany’s last offensive. He wrote of fear and suspicion, pain and loss, friendship and hope and a snow-ball fight. And of the agreement to save the lives of the Germans, which went horribly wrong. A haunting, disturbing war movie without much war, looking tenderly at those who go to kill and be killed, and gently painting a truth: There are no real victors; all are wounded by war’s inherent, random cruelty.
Linda Hamilton, Cassian Bopp, Michael Elkin. On Christmas Eve 1944, three American soldiers and three German soldiers confront the realities of war and discover the true meaning of courage, as well as the true spirit of a blessed night. Based on real events.
An American soldier and a Belgian woman fall in love during a brief holiday truce amid the Battle of the Bulge. When fighting resumes, they promise to reunite on the first Christmas after the war ends if they’re both alive.
Oscar(r) winner* Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten top a stellar cast in this tender wartime love story about two troubled strangers who meet by chance and try to crowd a lifetime of love and laughter into eight days. “Studded with brilliant performances” (Variety), I’ll Be Seeing You “manages to ambush your emotions and hasten your heart beats” (Hollywood Citizen-News). After serving half of a prison sentence for accidental manslaughter, Mary Marshall (Rogers) is allowed a holiday furlough to visit her family. Keeping her history a secret, she falls in love with a kindhearted GI (Cotten) who’s struggling to overcome shell shock. Both long for a normal life. But can they have it if he learns the truth about her? *1940: Actress, Kitty Foyle
This is a powerful film, bringing some separate true facts together to make one single story. The film is set during World War ll, just two years into the war. Some German soldiers are shipped by train to Georgia, and at the station families are waiting for their loved ones, American soldiers, to arrive home by train. It is Christmas Eve and the German soldiers are hungry as they wait in the boxcar, and a young boy, Gordy, waiting for his father’s arrival, manages to steal some sandwiches and get some hot coaco to a couple of the soldiers. One of them, named Hans, gives the boy his cross medal as a token of thanks for his kindness. The boy gives the German soldier a toy soldier his father had given him. Hans tells him, “Sometimes even enemies can be friends, huh?” Despite the crankiness of several people who don’t want the soldiers there, when the German soldiers begin singing “Silent Night,” in German, the Americans reply by singing “Silent Night” in English. This miracle of a bridge of sorts between two warring nations is nicely done and touching.
This story is very well written by Mauriel Joslyn, and the film coasts along quickly. The human elements are touching and the director, Owen Smith, managed to convey a lot in a short amount of time as this movie runs only 37 minutes. Every nation should see this film! It is a film of hope, and a perfect Christmas story. –The Dove Foundation
|in Jamaica. It follows a strong willed young female slave July on a Jamaican plantation in the 19th century. She is a natural survivor, who begins her story as a slave, but ends it as the mother of a gentleman. Told from July’s perspective as she looks back over her life, the tone is funny, defiant and indomitable. Above all, it’s a powerful story about love and survival, with vivid set pieces of social unrest and turmoil, and characters who change and develop in unpredictable ways. It’s also a story about the injustices which humans inflict upon each other, and the unexpected ways in which people’s humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices.|
|The book was shortlisted for Man Booker Prize|