Mary Queen of Scots First Images

(ctr) Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I
(ctr l-r) Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and James McArdle as Earl of Moray


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.

Christmas “Must See” Films

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.


Christmas in Connecticut (1945) 

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.


Little Lord Fauntleroy 1936

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.


The Bishop’s Wife  1947

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


Remember the Night  1940

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.


It’s a Wonderful Life 1946

A timeless Classic.

This is director Frank Capra’s classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it’s Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey’s dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. But first, Clarence is given a crash course on George’s life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed: rescuing his younger brother from drowning, losing the hearing in his left ear in the process; enduring a beating rather than allow a grieving druggist (H.B. Warner) to deliver poison by mistake to an ailing child; foregoing college and a long-planned trip to Europe to keep the Bailey Building and Loan from letting its Depression-era customers down; and, most important, preventing town despot Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Mills and reducing its inhabitants to penury. Along the way, George has married his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed), who has stuck by him through thick and thin. But even the love of Mary and his children are insufficient when George, faced with an $8000 shortage in his books, becomes a likely candidate for prison thanks to the vengeful Potter. Bitterly, George declares that he wishes that he had never been born, and Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, shows him how different life would have been had he in fact never been born. After a nightmarish odyssey through a George Bailey-less Bedford Falls (now a glorified slum called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he has touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life. Capra’s first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It’s a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was perceived as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic.


The Christmas Card 2006

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.





The Far Pavilions


THE FAR PAVILIONS, an epic novel by MM Kaye, will be adapted into expensive, sweeping, 30 episode epic series in an English Indian co production.
Produced by Michael Ward and Colin Burrows for Beautiful Bay Productions, the $150 million worth saga will tell the 19th century  story of an Englishman brought up as a Hindu during the British Raj and his passionate love for an Indian princess. Back in the 80’s HBO had a mini series on it with Ben Cross, Amy Irving, Omar Sharif and Christopher Lee!
Personally:  I must admit I could never give up my copy of the original.  Love Ben Cross.  The Story is sweeping. Amy Irving never seemed to fit the part, but Ben Cross as a British Officer was heavenly. (LOL)
He’s fallen in love with a woman who must attend her dead husband into the fire pyre and be burned alive. SATI


‘The Far Pavilions’ Set for $150 Million Remake in U.K.-India Co-Production

More than 30 years after HBO turned it into its first-ever miniseries, the M.M. Kaye novel “The Far Pavilions” is being re-made for television as an epic U.K-India co-production budgeted at £113 million ($150 million).

Beautiful Bay Prods., which is run by Indian-based Michael Ward and British-based Colin Burrows, will make the series. It will stretch to 30 one-hour installments, although no broadcast or streaming partner has been confirmed.

The producers said the project will feature big-name Indian talent and a British-Indian crew. Post-production will be handled out of London by an as-yet-unconfirmed outfit in the English capital.

The 1978 novel tells the story of an Englishman brought up as a Hindu during the time of the British Raj. He falls in love with an Indian princess in the story, which was previously made for TV by HBO as a 1984 three-part miniseries (pictured) starring Ben Cross, Amy Irving, Omar Sharif and Christopher Lee.

Ward, who has re-versioned “The Far Pavilions” as a play, said the time was right for a new adaptation of the novel. “It’s the perfect time to take my stage adaptation of Mollie Kaye’s masterpiece much further and deeper into its Indian cultural landscape, and to invite the best of Indian and British talent to contribute towards turning it into a high-end television series authentically written and cast for a global audience,” he said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is in Mumbai as part of the ongoing U.K.-India Year of Culture. “I’m delighted to announce this landmark collaboration on ‘The Far Pavilions,’” Khan said. “It represents the best of British and Indian talent and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that London is open to partnerships, to collaboration, to creativity and for business.


Adrian Wootton, chair of Film London and the British Film Commission, added that “The Far Pavilions” will be a boost for London, which generates an estimated £1 billion annually in investment from filming and associated activity. “This adaptation promises to be a sumptuous spectacle in its own right,” Wootton said, “but it’s also indicative of how our above- and below-the-line talent can come together to create a production that harnesses everything from Indian locations to London’s world-famous post-production expertise.”

Khan has been pressing the flesh with Bollywood stars on his India trip, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif. Khan noted there is a long tradition of the British and Indian film and TV sectors working together.

“Whether it’s Bollywood hits such as ‘Judwaa 2’ and ‘Mubarakan’ being filmed on the streets of London, or blockbusters like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ – British movies filmed on location in India – the creative bond between India and the U.K. is as strong as ever,” he said.

They will use Indian actors and British production

Wartime Christmas


Joyeux Noel 2005

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).


A Midnight Clear  1992

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.


Silent Night 2002

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.


The Christmas Truce  2002

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.


I’ll be seeing you 1945

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


My Christmas Soldier  2008

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



BBC One has also announced a three part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s epic and award winning novel THE LONG SONG about the dying days of slavery

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

The Aeronauts

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones who will team up again after The Theory of Everything in THE AERONAUTS a period adventure based on true events about two 19th century hot air balloonists in which Felicity Jones will play balloon pilot Amelia Wren and Eddie Redmayne will be scientist James Glaisher. In 1862, they embarked on an extraordinary journey to discover the secrets of the heavens. In the process, they fly higher in an open balloon than anyone ever has – either before or since. They make breathtaking discoveries, but as they ascend to the highest reaches of the atmosphere, they are forced into an epic fight for survival. War and Peace BBC mini series helmer Tom Harper is directing the movie.

Production Company: Amazon Studios

Tom Harper will helm Aeronauts!