wanted: dead or alive episode review/analysis – “secret ballot”

[This post was written for the 3rd Annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon, hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts.]

Ohhhhhh, that glare at the camera. EPICNESS.:

Wanted: Dead or Alive is an outstanding (though little-known) western TV show that ran during what many refer to as the ‘golden age of television’.  Westerns were hugely popular with TV audiences in the 50’s and 60’s and Wanted: Dead or Alive slipped through the cracks for whatever reason, running for only three seasons.  It might have been entirely forgotten, had not the show’s star, Steve McQueen, gone on to bigger and better things. 

Still, even apart from McQueen’s excellent turn as Josh Randall, Wanted: Dead or Alive is still a great western show, unique in that the lines aren’t as clearly drawn between good guys and bad guys as in some westerns.  Josh himself is often ostracized from ‘polite society’ because he’s a bounty hunter and at times the wanted criminals he pursues turn out to be decent people, falsely accused.  It’s an interesting take on the classic western. (And besides the uniqueness of the show, there’s cool guest stars, too, like James Coburn, Mary Tyler Moore, Lee Van Cleef, DeForest Kelley, and Martin Landau.  And that’s just naming a few.)

Anyway, today I want to discuss one of Wanted: Dead or Alive’s most powerful episodes, in my mind – ‘Secret Ballot’.

The episode begins with Josh riding down the street of a small town.  There’s  a large banner strung across the street that says NED EASTER FOR MAYOR.  That doesn’t make The Bad Guys happy, the ones who just a moment before were gloating about the much smaller poster that advertises their favorite candidate, Barney Pax, the current (and corrupt) mayor.  One of the bad guys is Steve Pax, by the way, Barney’s brother, and you can imagine what the town’s like if the mayor and the sheriff are not only corrupt, but brothers as well.

Anyway, one of Steve’s lackeys goes over, swings a rope over the banner, and yanks it down.  Josh takes exception to this and suggests that the guy put it back up.  That doesn’t go over well with Steve or his two deputies, of course (I dunno if the two guys hanging around with Steve are actually his deputies, but I’m just going to guess that they are) and they ‘suggest’ that Josh should move on.  (Surprisingly, he does.)  And then there’s this great little exchange that always cracks me up.

Henchman #1: “You figure Ned Easter’s hired a gun to run his campaign?”
Steve: “[If] he did, it’s the greatest mistake since buttermilk.”

Cut to the opening credits. (Which are awesome, I might add.)

So, after the credits, Josh goes into the town schoolhouse which has become Ned Easter’s campaign headquarters.  Ned and his wife, Carol, are excited/happy/pleased to see Josh, but when Josh tries to explain what he’s doing in Crater City, Carol hurries Ned out the door.  We soon find out why – Carol doesn’t want Ned to know that she sent for Josh because apparently Ned thinks he can beat Pax alone and “he’d be furious” to find out that Carol doesn’t think so…?  I guess? (Fun fact: Ned is played by John Lupton, who I first saw in Disney’s The Great Locomotive Chase.  It was neat to see him in a Wanted: Dead or Alive episode.)

After Ned leaves, Josh and Carol discuss some things, like how Ned’s the first person to stand up to Barney Pax, how Ned deserves to win the election more than anyone else, and how Barney made Steve sheriff to keep all his dirty dealings and murderous tricks legal.  There seems to be no way of stopping Barney, especially because he tends to scare people out of voting for anyone other than him.  But then Josh pulls out a wanted (dead or alive, naturally) poster for Steve Pax, alias Steve Patrick.  According to Carol, the poster could win the election for Ned, I guess because it would discredit Steve and so people would be less afraid of Barney’s threats.

A moment later, they hear gunshots from outside.  Steve’s deputies are riding back and forth, shooting their guns, and one of them goes so far as to throw a lasso around Ned and drag him along the street until Josh shoots him (the deputy, not Ned).  Then the deputy tries to shoot Josh.  Then Steve tries to shoot Josh.  Then Barney shoots the gun out of Steve’s hand and does the whole ‘concerned civil servant’ act and it’s nauseating, but what can you do?  Ned does try to do something, ’cause in the next scene, he’s talking to a bunch of people (it’s nighttime, just so you know), but his efforts appear to have been successfully thwarted when Dolly, who owns the town’s saloon, shows up with a carriage full of dancing girls from Denver City.  But Josh sees through her. (Duh.)

“Excuse me.  Now you didn’t bring these girls all the way from Denver just to heckle up Mr. Easter’s campaign, did y’ now?”

Dolly gets pretty angry, but even more so when Josh shows her the reward poster for Steve Pax.  Then he gets Ned to read it out loud and everyone drifts away from Dolly and her dancing girls, so I suppose it made a pretty big impression.  Later on, at the schoolhouse, Ned tries to get Josh to change his mind and leave Crater City instead of sticking around and maybe getting himself killed.  That’s when you learn Important Backstory Information ’cause Josh mentions that Ned (‘Corporal Ned Easter’) went out of his way to help him a couple times (during the Civil War, I’m assuming).  And that just makes what happens at the end of this episode even more heartbreaking and just…ugggggh.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dolly shows up at the schoolhouse with a message for Josh: Barney Pax wants to see him.  Josh follows her into a room at the back of the saloon, where she leaves him to wait, saying she’ll go get Barney.  While Josh waits, he either hears a noise coming from a closet in the room or just assumes that someone might be hiding in there, and when he opens the closet door, out tumbles Steve Pax.  Dead.  There’s a bullet hole in his back and, of course, Barney and and a couple of his/Steve’s friends come in right then and find Josh standing over Steve’s body.  Barney takes his (Josh’s) gun.

Commercial break.  I’d like to point out right here that Steve Pax is played by DeForest Kelley and I promised my dear friend Maribeth a screenshot just of him since she’s a huge Trekkie (and I’m a second-hand one because of her), so here it is. 

By the way, Barney was the one who killed Steve, or at least ordered the killing. I don’t think it’s ever proven or said outright, but you just know.

This post is getting super long, so I’m just going to go over the next few scenes as quickly as I can.  Barney goes to the schoolhouse and tells Ned and Carol that Josh is being held on a murder charge and will be hung for it…unless Ned agrees to step out of the campaign, leaving Crater City in Pax’s slimy hands.  Ned agrees to do so, on the condition that he can see Josh first, to make sure he’s still alive. (Oh, and Barney also says that the printer in town, who owes him a few favors, will swear that he printed the wanted poster for ‘Randall’ just to smear the Pax brothers.)

To make a longish scene short, Josh ends up escaping from the room he was being held in.  But Ned still agrees to give Barney the whole ballot, because Barney says that he’ll make sure Josh is hunted for the rest of his life, until he ends up dead.  Barney wants the agreement in writing, and Ned goes back to the schoolhouse to write it all down.  Carol is angry that Pax has finally succeeded in stopping Ned and, in a frantic attempt in stop Ned from taking himself out of the running to save Josh’s life, she ‘admits’ that the reason Josh came to Crater City was to see her, that he’s been writing to her for months, that he’s been trying to convince Carol to go away with him.  Ned doesn’t believe her and still plans to go ahead with what he feels is the only way to save his friend. (Note: I can kind of see where Carol’s coming from, but I really, really, REALLY don’t like her.)

Let me just say that whoever cast this episode did a great job because the actors and actresses all perfectly inhabit their roles, making Ned upright and honest, Barney seemingly upright and honest but with a certain untrustworthiness, Steve a creep (sorry, DeForest Kelley fans!), Carol conniving, and Dolly cheap.  It’s very interesting, watching them all play off each other.

Anyway, Barney comes over and takes the written agreement from Ned.  When he leaves, Ned asks Carol if what she said about Josh was true (as opposed to something she just said to make turn him against Josh so that he wouldn’t give up the election).  And she says “Oh, what difference does it make now?”.  PLENTY of difference.  A years-old friendship is at stake!  UGH.  Ned goes off to find Josh after that little exchange (I don’t know if he still believes Carol’s lies or not right here) and once he’s gone, Carol grabs a gun and goes off to the saloon to see Barney.  Meanwhile, Josh has slipped back into the saloon’s back room and listens in on Carol and Barney’s exchange.  She threatens him with her gun so that she can get Ned’s agreement back.  Barney says that it’s already at the printers, but that’s a lie, as Carol points out – he hasn’t had enough time.

Things happen really fast after that.  Josh opens the door he’s hiding behind and Carol turns and tries to shoot him.  Josh slams the door shut and then Barney fires three shots at said door.  Then Barney cautiously enters the room, Josh emerges from the closet with his shotgun ready, Barney turns from the window to Josh, and Josh shoots him.  Obviously, Barney dies and that’s the end of him.  Dolly seems quite upset about it, though…but enough about those two.  Josh gives Ned’s paper back to Carol.  In all fairness to Carol, I think it was more of a reflex thing, her shooting at Josh, based on their little exchange right after she gets the paper back.

Josh: “Well, that’s the resignation.”
Carol: “Josh, I…I almost killed you.”
Josh: “Yeah.  You almost killed me.” [He says it with his signature little grin/smirk/smile, so he’s not mad at her or anything.  And then he leaves, with very dramatic music playing on the soundtrack.]

And thennnn there’s The Awful Tag Scene.  Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Basically, Carol comes running down the boardwalk after Josh and tells him about some of the lies she told Ned and she’s all ashamed and upset and kind of puts her head on his shoulder and then Ned walks up and asks Josh if what Carol said was true and Josh says “Yeah, she told you the truth” and then Ned gives him a look and he walks away and it’s horrible, it really is, because of (among other things) the expression on Josh’s face as he leaves.  Plus, he and Ned were such good friends.

The ending of this episode is powerful and unexpected and completely unfair, but that’s sometimes life, y’know?

*sigh*

Despite the ending, I do love and admire this episode.  It’s one of the finest – if not the finest – of the entire show.  And here’s a bunch of pictures for ya’ll – all the screenshots that I couldn’t really find a place for in main body of the post (except the one of Dead Barney Pax which doesn’t really belong anywhere).  I’m not one to let good screenshots go to waste. 😉

Have you seen this episode of Wanted: Dead or Alive?  What do you think of it?

Eva

my definitive ranking of {almost} every Pixar movie

I say ‘almost’ because I haven’t seen A Bug’s Life or Brave yet.  But I don’t feel like waiting to do this post.

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Pixar is awesome.  End of story.  However, not every one of its films has reached the same level of spectacularness (sad to say) so I thought it would be fun to finally decide where each movie stands in my mind + heart.  Expect a few surprises and lots of fangirling.  And feeeeeels because it’s Pixar, for crying out loud. (Please excuse the terrible pun.)

LET’S DO THIS.

~The Good Dinosaur~

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Where did you go so wrong, Pixar?  The story is predictable, the characters are dull, and the mix of realistic scenery and cartoon-like dinosaurs is more than a little weird.

~Cars 2~

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Wayyyy too much focus on Mater, a story that feels more like an Illumination Entertainment Studies plot-line, and no emotional grip. (A must for Pixar, in my opinion.)

~Finding Dory~

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The story is all over the place (I really dislike how the characters spend more time out of the water than in the water) and the new characters don’t really make their mark on the list of Epic Secondary Pixar Characters.  The new short film that came on the DVD, Piper,  is almost perfection, though.

~Ratatouille~

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The food looks delicious, but I don’t like rats.  And the whole rat-controlling-the-human thing (I forget names so easily) was a little odd, I thought.  Favorite part?  Peter O’Toole voicing the exacting food critic.

~Toy Story~

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This is where the rankings get tricky.  And this is also the point where the positions on this list become more fluid, depending on my mood.  Toy Story is fresh and funny and the characters are unique and lovable (BUZZ), but it still kinda falls flat for me.

~UP~

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Most of UP is not particularly interesting (for me, anyway).  It’s good fun, very entertaining and colorful, but when my siblings watch it, I usually just stick around for the prologue, the bit where Carl discovers the other half of Ellie’s scrapbook, and the ending.  Still, it’s a charming film.

~Monsters, Inc.~

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I know so many people go on and on about Tom Hanks and Tim Allen’s rapport in the Toy Story films, but I think John Goodman and Billy Crystal deserve to be mentioned just as often in that respect.  And the world of MI is endlessly fascinating.  (Plus, y’know, JAMES COBURN.)

~Finding Nemo~

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The visuals in this film are stunning and I really like how Marlin and Nemo’s stories are given equal time/importance throughout the movie.  Pixar has a knack for creating great minor characters and I love all the fish in the tank that Nemo ends up in – they’re so funny.

~Toy Story 2~

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I enjoy the Western element of this film.  Also, Buzz’s unfailing devotion to finding/rescuing Woody.  ALSO the whole subplot with the other Buzz and Zurg and that ridiculously funny “No, Buzz, I am your father!” scene.  I’m definitely not as attached to the Toy Story movies as some other people, but the second movie is one of Pixar’s best.

~Toy Story 3~

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Stuff I like in this one: Ken and Barbie’s romance (I know it’s unbearably cheesy, but still…), the Very Elaborate Escape Plan, the final scene, Bonnie, and Buzz and Jessie’s relationship.  Oh, and all the end credits scenes.

~Monsters University~

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Mike makes me laugh a lot, tear up a little, and cheer inwardly as he navigates the world of Monsters University, all while in the shadow of some big guy who’s inheriting good grades while Mike has to work extra hard to earn his.  Plus, I just happen to love prequels.

~WALLE~

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The music in this one, guys.  You can’t beat it.  Swingin’ songs like ‘Put on Your Sunday Clothes’ and ‘La Vie en Rose’ and Thomas Newman’s delicately beautiful score. (Just listen.)  Add to that one of the tenderest love stories ever portrayed on the big screen, and you’ve got a great snapshot of what makes Pixar so amazing.

~Inside Out~

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Sure, a lot of the concepts are too big and complex for little kids to understand, but what makes Inside Out work so well is the colorful characters (literally), the fantastical road trip through Riley’s mind, and, let’s be honest, Bing Bong.  Definitely a winner in every way.

~The Incredibles~

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Love the prologue, love the sixties spy movie-esque soundtrack, and I love the themes of family and married love and not hiding who you really are.  And the characters are golden and beautiful.

~Cars~

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I’ll just let my review do the gushing talking when it comes to Cars. (Which a lot of people view as one of Pixar’s weakest films.  What even???)

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You’ve been a brick to read through all of this.  Thanks so much!  Now let’s discuss the wonders of Pixar in the comments, shall we?

Eva

the movie tag

{I ripped this tag out of a library book  took this tag from Sidewalk Crossings.  Thanks, DKoren!}

Because ‘Hugo’ (2011) is a movie about movies.

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~Favourite foreign film –The Lady Vanishes’ (1938), a British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

~Most underrated film  So many!  There’s one gem of a WWII film, ‘Saints & Soldiers’ (2003) that I wish was better known.  There’s also Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ (1973), ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ (1986), and ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007).  And the Air Bud film franchise (forget Air Buddies, though).

~A film that makes you happy – I’ve got some films I call “mac ‘n’ cheese movies” like ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960), both of the Anne of Green Gables movies (the Kevin Sullivan ones, of course), ‘The Happiest Millionaire’ (1967), ‘State Fair’ (1945), the second and third Night at the Museum movies, and ‘Cars’ (2006).  All of those make me enormously happy.  (By the way, I call them “mac ‘n’ cheese movies” ’cause they’re like comfort food for me.  Only movies.)  ‘The Outsiders’ (1983) also makes me happy, but in a different way.

~A film that makes you sad – Um…just one? *looks at DVD shelf for inspiration* ‘The Great Locomotive Chase’ (1956) was pretty devastating when I was younger (especially for a Disney film, of all things) and while it doesn’t hit me in the exact same way anymore (now that I’ve got movies like ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993) and ‘Titanic’ (1997) and ‘The Ox-Bow Incident’ (1943) under my belt) it still saddens me.  So I’m going to go with that.

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~Favourite love story in a film – Currently?  Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse from BBC’s ‘Emma’ (2009), Don and Kathy from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952), and Flynn and Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’ (2010).

~Favourite actor/actress – Favorite old Hollywood actor: Dana Andrews (with James Coburn in second place).  Favorite old Hollywood actress: Audrey Hepburn (with Ingrid Bergman in second place).  Favorite modern actor: TomCruiseandHarrisonFord.  Favorite modern actress: Cate Blanchett?  I guess?

~The best plot twist/ending  –  Ooh!  Ooh!  I have the perfect answer for this one.  Absolute favorite movie ending EVER is the ending to ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ (2007).  When Nicky is listening to the radio (or is she watching TV?) and the newscaster says that nobody’s found Bourne’s body yet and then that delicious music starts playing and she smiles and then it cuts to him swimming away.  It’s gold, I tell you, and I can’t describe it well enough – you just have to watch it for yourself.  (The runner-up for this category would definitely be the ending of ‘The Great Escape’ (1963).)

~The best opening/closing credits – Opening credits?  ‘The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming’ (1966).  Always makes me grin.  As for closing credits, I’m partial to the closing credits to any Marvel movie I’ve seen, ’cause they’re so cool. (Plus, mid- and after-credits scenes for the win.)  Also, ‘WALL·E”s (2008) closing credits are simply the best.

~The best soundtrack/score to a film – HOW CAN I ANSWER THAT?  Impossible.  Hagood Hardy’s score for ‘Anne of Green Gables’ (1985) and James Powell’s score for the How to Train Your Dragon movies would definitely be near the top of the list, though.  And Elmer Bernstein’s iconic scoring for ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960) is awesome as well.  But, really, there are wayyyy too many for me to list here.

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~Favourite classic film –  Besides ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960) (which I’ll be putting down as an answer to the last question) my favorite classic film would most likely be ‘Casablanca’ (1942).  There are loads of other classic films that I adore, of course, but ‘Casablanca’ has always been special to me ever since it changed my opinion of old black & white movies.

~A film that you hate – Pinocchio’ (1940). *shudders*

~A film that changed your opinion about something – Well, I wish I could say something deep and powerful in answer to this one, but the only thing I can think of is how drastically ‘Minority Report’ (2002) changed my opinion of Tom Cruise (for the better).  Oh, and of course, ‘Casablanca’ (1942) changed my opinion of old movies (again, for the better).  As did ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (1935), come to think of it.

~A guilty pleasure  The Air Bud movies.  So much cheese, but so much nostalgia and feels and amazingness, too.

~A film that you used to love but now hate – Basically any animated movie my little brothers have watched to death.  Also, ‘Frozen’ (2013) because it’s actually pretty lame. (At least, in my opinion.)

It’s still a gorgeous movie, though.

~Favourite film sequel – ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989), ‘Catching Fire’ (2013), ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’ (2009) ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ (2014), and ‘Anne of Avonlea’ (1987).  All superb sequels.

~Film character you relate to the most – I don’t really relate to fictional characters all that often.  Rilla Blythe and Darry Curtis are two with whom I feel the most connection (and they’re so different, too!) but that’s only when it comes to the book (Rilla of Ingleside and The Outsiders).  I guess Belle, from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991), would be my answer.

~Favourite film quote – “I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow.”  “How exciting!” (Larry and Teddy from ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb)  That one always makes me tear up just a little and it’s so inspiring.  I tend to like conversations in films better than just single quotes, though. (Mostly funny conversations, if we’re being specific.) (Mag7 does have some super-duper one-liners, though.)

~A film that you wish more people had seen – In theatres, do you mean?  I really couldn’t say, so just take a look at the films I put in the ‘most underrated film’ category.

~The most hilarious film you’ve seen – ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007).  There are lots of great comedies I’ve watched in my time, but that one always makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.  ‘The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming’ (1966) also amuses me greatly. (As well as the Night at the Museum movies and basically every animated film ever.)

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~A film you wish someone would make – Not counting all the book-to-film adaptions I want, I’d have to say that ‘Finding Coral’ would be my first choice.  It would be the third film in the ‘Finding Nemo’ (2003) series and would begin with Marlin (somehow) finding out that Coral didn’t actually die, but instead was seriously injured/lost and now Marlin and Nemo have to set out on an epic quest to find her.  THIS HAS TO BE A THING, AMIRIGHT? (Note: this was originally my brother Ezra’s idea, but I’ve adopted it.)

~Favourite film from your favourite actor/actress  –  Dana Andrews – ‘Laura’ (1944) // Audrey Hepburn – ‘Charade’ (1963) // Tom Cruise – ‘Minority Report’ (2002) // Harrison Ford – ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989) // Cate Blanchett – ‘Cinderella’ (2015)

~Favourite documentary – I don’t watch documentaries.

~Favourite animated film – ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007) and ‘Cars’ (2006).  Also, the How to Train Your Dragon movies and ‘Robin Hood’ (1973) and ‘Tangled’ (2010) and, oh, just tons and tons of others.  I guess it all depends on my mood, really.

~Favourite film based on a book/comic/etc. – ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014).  ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014) is great as well.

~Favourite film villain – That is such a hard one to answer, because what does it really mean?  Evilest villain? (President Snow from the Hunger Games movies)  ‘Favorite’ in the sense of one that I have a weird, unexplainable liking for/crush on? (Ben Wade from ‘3:10 to Yuma’ – 1957)  A villain that I alternately despise and understand? (Professor Callahan from ‘Big Hero 6’ – 2014)  Is it a villain that’s so suave and smart that you can’t help but be fascinated by him? (Waldo from ‘Laura’ – 1944)  Or is it a villain that isn’t really a villain at all? (The Winter Soldier from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ – 2014)  How am I supposed to answer that? 

Oh, wait.  I just did.

~A film that you love but everyone else hates – ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ (2008) because seriously, people.  Why all the hate???  It’s a clever, interesting film that, while it doesn’t feel the same as the first three, still delivers fast-paced adventure and enough nostalgia to tug at your heartstrings and, admit it, Mutt isn’t all that bad.  And neither is the movie as a whole.

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~A film you wish you had seen in theatres – *shrugs* (This post is so long already and I’ve only seen a movie in a movie theatre once.)

~Favourite film from your favourite director  – Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’ (1946), William Wyler’s ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946), and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ (2002).

~Favourite film from your childhood – That would be Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ (1973).  I’ve got it memorized.

~Your favourite film of all time – ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960).  And if you didn’t know that, you’ve obviously just stumbled across my blog, ’cause I’ve talked about my love for this film in at least three posts.  It’s a gloriously amazing movie with The Best Cast of All Time and The Best Soundtrack of all Time and The Best Quotable Lines of all time.  If you haven’t seen it, what on earth are you waiting for? 🙂

Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven (1960):

Wow.  That was a looooong post.  Congratulations for making it all the way down here!  Now let’s talk about all these movies (and more) in the comments, ‘kay?

Eva

valentine’s day 2017: #relationshipgoals

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~”If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” – #relationshipgoals

~When some famous movie star takes you into an empty set and creates a beautiful (albeit fake) rose-trellised garden flooded with moonlight and star dust and then proceeds to sing you a song and you realize he’s more than just a shadow on film. – #relationshipgoals

~”I’m your density.” – #relationshipgoals

~How Jack looks at Rose and vice-versa. – #relationshipgoals

~”You were my new dream.” – #relationshipgoals

~Anne and Gilbert and how she cracks the slate over his head at first but then when he’s dying she shows him her book and then they get married and go through so many ups and downs and then WWI breaks into their family but they’re still strong for each other and love each other. – #relationshipgoals

~”I let her go.” – #relationshipgoals

~TheMarried Life Montage’ from UP. – #relationshipgoals

~”Stay with me?”  “Always.” – #relationshipgoals

~When your husband’s slowly killing you with a combination of poisoned tea and sheer terror and then the guy you really love shows up, ready to rescue you, and then actually does while under enormous pressure and plenty of danger and you’re just hanging onto him, trusting him to get you safely away. – #relationshipgoals

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious:

~”Baby, all your facial parts are in the right place.” – #relationshipgoals

~Robin Hood + Maid Marian, any version/adaption of the story EVER – #relationshipgoals

~”Fraulein…I want you to stay.” – #relationshipgoals

~Steve and Peggy and how even before Steve got all tall and buff, Peggy liked him because of the thing with the grenade and he’s smart and funny and pretty awesome to boot, and how Steve was sort of scared of her at first (not really, but pretty much) and then their friendship/professional relationship deepened into something beautiful and then he died and she got married and it’s just too much, guys, but it’s still #relationshipgoals.

~”Will you love me just as much when I’m normal?”  “I’ll be insane about you.” – #relationshipgoals

~Larry Daley and Amelia Earhart’s rather unique relationship in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – #relationshipgoals

~”You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you.” – #relationshipgoals

~Also, y’know, my mom has stuck so close to my dad’s side during his battle with cancer and my grandparents have been married for almost fifty years, so I have the greatest #relationshipgoals examples right in front of me every single day.  And that’s a blessing I’m hugely grateful for. ❤

Legit photo of my parents.

Eva

“i’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain…”

AKA all my favorite old Hollywood movie musicals.  And there are a ton.

// Mary Poppins – 1964 //

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A singing nanny, a cross father, and plenty of magical (and sometimes animated) adventures.  This one makes me cry simply because of Saving Mr. Banks (though even before that, ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ always did leave me a little teary).  There’s plenty of smart humor in this one, so adults and older teens can enjoy it, too.  ‘Feed the Birds’ is simply wonderful.  Favorite part of the film?  The finale.

// State Fair – 1945 //

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Dana Andrews is splendid in this film, but everyone else turns in a great performance, too.  The songs give me all the happy feelings, as does the way the whole thing turns out perfectly in the end. (When Elisabeth and I watched this for the first time, we were getting a little worried when there was only about two minutes left and Margie and Wayne were still mopey.  Thankfully, it all turned out fine.)  Favorite part of the film?  All the songs.

// Singin’ in the Rain – 1952 //

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For the longest time, this was my favorite movie.  And it still is one of my favorites.  I love the friendship between Don and Kathy and Cosmo – it’s so fun to watch! (Especially during ‘Good Morning’.)  The costumes are the BEST and Jean Hagen totally deserved her Oscar nomination.  Fun fact: my siblings and I used to sing the songs to this so often that Mom literally banned it for about a year.  Favorite part of the film?  Debbie Reynolds.

// The Happiest Millionaire – 1967 //

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*siiiiigh* This movie is my happy place.  The songs, the story, the characters, the actors…all of it.  Cordy’s relationship with her dad is so sweet and the romance is adorable and the Sherman brothers almost outdid their song-writing turn in Mary Poppins with this movie.  Plus, it’s so very funny.  Favorite part of the film?  The ball, I think.  Or the whole opening when John is getting used to the Biddles’ way of doing things.

// Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – 1954 //

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The first time I watched this film, I hated it for some inexplicable reason. (I was quite young.)  Then I watched it just last year and I loved and adored it.  It’s so perfect!  Millie is one of the best heroines in the history of cinema, in my opinion, and the Pontipee brothers are…unique.  And lovable, too.  Favorite part of the film?  The barn-raising scene, of course.

// The Sound of Music -1965 //

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Christopher Plummer kinda makes this movie what it is.  I mean, Julie Andrews is QUEEN and all that, but there’s just something about Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp that puts The Sound of Music on my list of favorite musicals.  I also enjoy all the children (you really need to read Forever Liesel by Charmian Carr) and Eleanor Parker as the Baroness.  Favorite part of the film?  Maria’s wedding. ❤

// White Christmas – 1954 //

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Favorite Christmas movie and one of my very favorite movies in general.  Most of the songs make me feel like my heart is filled with sparkles and little glittery hearts and diamonds.  Love it.  Also, the characters are great, especially Judy and Betty, and Dean Jaggers as General Waverly makes me cry and it’s just…gahhhh.  So amazing.  Favorite part of the film?  Either ‘Count Your Blessings’ or the bit where they surprise the General.  I can’t decide.  Oh, and all the costumes.

How many of these movie musicals have you seen?  What are some of your favorites?

Eva

book review: the lost girl of astor street

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Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

From the glitzy homes of the elite to the mob-run streets of 1920s Chicago, Stephanie Morrill’s jazz-age mystery shows just how far a girl will go to save her friend.

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First of all, take a look at that cover.  Drink it in.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?  Well, let me tell you that the story inside fully measures up to the glamour and elegance and intrigue that the cover promises.  Just so ya’ll know before I go any further into this review, I was given an advance copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street in exchange for my honest review.  I didn’t know much about the story before I started reading, just that the cover was pretty and it was historical YA fiction and I kinda sorta knew the author from the writing blog that she co-runs.  Oh, and A FREE BOOK.  Always exciting, right?

Anyway, I started reading and got sucked in pretty quickly.  And it ended up surprising me.  For one thing, since The Lost Girl of Astor Street is a YA novel, I expected there’d be a love triangle (especially since there’s at least three available guys that Piper could’ve become involved with) and I determined I’d slog through it and focus on the other aspects of the story, but there wasn’t a love triangle at all.  Huzzah!  What I got instead was an adorable, swoony romance that complimented the mystery side of the story without overpowering it. (I like my romantic subplots to be sweet and to the point.)

I quite liked all the characters.  Piper, of course, was determined and stubborn and actually quite inspiring since she’s the same age as me and doing so much with her life.  I did think she cried a little too much, even considering the extreme circumstances swirling around her, but that could just be me.  Lydia was a dear, as were Walter and Emma and Matthew.  Mariano was the BEST, in my opinion.  I even liked Nick.  It was so fun to read a solid, interesting novel with immensely likable characters who were easy to fall in love with.

The setting of The Lost Girl of Astor Street was beautifully drawn, both the place and the time period.  It’s always satisfying to start reading a historical novel and realize that the author has researched everything so well, and that’s what this book did for me.  1920’s Chicago was a fascinating place to ‘live in’ for several hours and as I read this on my Kindle, I kept checking to see how much I had left, not because I was bored, but because I didn’t want the story to end.  Oh, and I enjoyed the Italian mafia angle to the story – I’ve always been fascinated by The Mob for some reason, so that was cool.

Overall, The Lost Girl of Astor Street was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I’d recommend to fans of Downton Abbey and period dramas in general (books, movies, and TV shows).

Eva