the 2017 reel infatuation blogathon: glenn ford as ben wade in ‘3:10 to yuma’ (1957)

(A list of the other posts in this blogathon can be found here.)

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‘3:10 to Yuma’ (original, not re-make) was the first Glenn Ford movie I ever watched (besides ‘Is Paris Burning?’, which I watched before I knew who he was).  I can’t be sure, it being so long ago and all, but I believe my attention was more on Van Heflin, who I’d seen and liked in a couple other films (‘Shane’, for one).  It wasn’t until I read Hamlette’s in–depth analysis of ‘3:10 to Yuma’ that I found myself drawn to Glenn Ford’s Ben Wade.  But I didn’t re-watch the film until after I’d seen Blackboard Jungle and fallen head-over-heels for Richard Dadier.  (My crush on him probably had something – though not everything – to do with my liking for Ben Wade, come to think of it.)

Anyway, I watched ‘3:10 to Yuma’ again and thus began my one and only crush on a bad guy, a villain, an outlaw. (Unless you’re counting Robin Hood or Bucky, which I don’t.)  I mean, I’ve had an interest in several villains before (mostly Disney ones, ’cause they can be pretty epic in that twisted for evil way) but I always found it weird and vaguely disturbing when girls would swoon over Loki or Richard Armitage’s Sir Guy.  They’re murderers!  They do evil, nasty things!  (And to be honest, it’s a very fine line, crushing on Ben Wade, because he is a murderer and he did do evil things.  So I try not to be too obsessed.)

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The biggest obstacle to my wholeheartedly crushing on Ben is something that happens in the first few minutes of the film.  Ben and his gang hold up a stagecoach and proceed to steal the money from it.  In the middle of all this, the driver of the stage grabs one of Ben’s men and holds him hostage.  And Ben proceeds to coolly shoot both the driver and his own man, just like that.  I believe the screenwriter(s) did this to establish Ben’s reputation early on in a relatively short movie so that we, the audience, understand why the mere mention of Ben Wade elicits such a strong, fearful response in the ranchers and townspeople.  And we definitely do understand.

Personally, I think that Prince is a way more cruel, cold, and calculating than Ben, but the whole scenario with the driver/Ben’s man getting shot is still quite violent and disturbing.  In some ways, though, I think it’s incongruous to Ben’s charming demeanor throughout so much of the rest of the film.

And Ben is charming.  He really is.  First with Emmy, the saloon girl, and then with Mrs. Evans.  It’s pretty hard not to at least grin during the scene where he eats dinner with the Evans family. (Especially when Dan’s sons go off about how Dan could shoot Ben if he wanted to.  Or the whole thing with saying grace.)  And when he talks with Mrs. Evans, I think that on some level he might be trying to make her feel more at ease around him, trying to let her know that he poses no threat to her family.

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Then, of course, there’s what he says to her after supper…

“I’m obliged for your hospitality.  I appreciate it, and your husband too.  I hope I can send him back to you all right.”

I know it may be silly to think this, but… <33333

That isn’t an idle hope/wish/promise of Ben’s, in my opinion.  Ben means what he says (always, I think).  Even though my brother, Ezra, thinks he’s psychotic, the way he keeps picking away at Dan in the hotel room, talking and talking and talking and trying to bribe him and bringing up Dan’s family, I tend to take an entirely different view of things (surprise, surprise).

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I don’t know when it happened (feel free to share your thoughts about the following in the comments), but I have a theory that eventually, at some point, Ben went from hounding Dan simply because he wanted to escape, to hounding Dan so that Dan could walk out of that hotel room alive (by taking Ben’s bribe).  Like I said, I don’t know when Ben switched his thinking on all that (and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be clear in his mind either), but I believe there was a switch.  And that’s what really counts.

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least some mention of the ending of this film, so… (SPOILERS GALORE)

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Dan and Ben make their way to the train station against all odds, with Ben’s gang shadowing their every move.  It’s a tense, fast-paced scene with plenty of nail-biting moments.  But they get to the station, which is the important thing.  And as the train pulls up, swathing Dan and Ben and the gang in clouds of steam/smoke, Prince yells at Ben to duck so he can get a good shot at Dan.  Only Ben doesn’t.  And at the last minute he and Dan jump on the train and, just like that, they’re gone. (Well, not just like that…the gang runs after them and Dan shoots Prince.  But anyway.)

The last couple minutes of the film are powerful stuff.  The theme song, the glorious rain, the smile on everyone’s faces, and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Ben can finally turn his life around for good. (Or at least for better.  Because even though redemption is definitely not a theme in ‘3:10 to Yuma’, I could easily see a fanfiction sequel written with just that in mind.)

And, after all, Ben Wade has escaped from Yuma before.

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Eva

the robin hood week tag

As many of you probably know, there’s a Robin Hood blog week going on right now, hosted by Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell….  So far, the event has been lots of fun – fun that, I’m sure, will continue throughout the week.  In honor of the occasion, Olivia has created a great tag, and here are my answers.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian

~What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?

That is so difficult to pin-point.  For movies/TV shows, it was either Disney’s animated adaption (#nostalgia), the 1938 version, or a super old black & white TV series.  For books/stories, it could’ve been the Great Illustrated Classics version, the Robin Hood story in my grandma’s Disney anthology (based on the Richard Todd film), or the classic Howard Pyle stories.

~On a scale of 1 to 10, how big a fan are you?

Seven or eight.  Surprisingly enough, I’m not a huge fan of Robin himself (in any adaption/re-telling except Disney’s animated), but there are lots of things about pretty much any version that I love.  Mainly, the other characters and historical coolness and all the different legends.

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~How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?

MAN.  Do you know how hard that is to answer?  Let me see…

  • 1938 Errol Flynn movie
  • 1973 Disney animated movie
  • 1952 Richard Todd movie
  • BBC TV series
  • A few episodes of the 1950’s TV show
  • 2012 Tom and Jerry Robin Hood movie (this one is rather awful, but some of the songs are good and Robin Hood is voiced by Jamie Bamber who also plays my dear Archie on Horatio Hornblower, so there are some good points about it)
  • Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Paul Creswick’s The Adventures of Robin Hood: An English Legend
  • Great Illustrated Classics The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (adapted from Howard Pyle)

That’s all I can remember for right now.  I’ve read/seen some versions of Ivanhoe as well, but I don’t remember Robin Hood in any of those.

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~What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?

Robin Hood (1973) with BBC’s modern TV series and Paul Creswick’s novel as second and third favorites.

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~Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)

Of course.

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~Who is your favorite Merry Man?

Depends on what adaption I’m watching. (I don’t really care much in the book versions I’ve read.)  In the 1938 movie it’s Will or Littlejohn.  In the 1973 movie it’s Robin Hood himself.  And in the BBC series, it’s Will in the first two seasons and Allan in the third.

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~Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?

Another tough one!  Olivia de Haviland is Maid Marian, in my opinion, but Lucy Griffiths’ portrayal is one of my favorites as well.  And in Disney’s animated film, Marian is such a sweet, gentle lady…it’s very difficult to decide.  I think Olivia de Haviland wins, however.  She is radiantly perfect as Robin’s lady love.

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~Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?

No and no.  However…

Isn’t exactly true for me, of course, but the point still stands.

~Fact or fiction — which do you think?

I’m going to go with something along the lines of what my British Literature textbook said: that there were probably a bunch of guys who did similar things to what the legendary Robin Hood did and, sure, there may have been a few songs written about them, but I think it’s mostly just a bunch of stories that sprang from people’s imaginations.

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~Do you think Robin Hood has been “done to death,” or are there still new twists that can be found?

I don’t know how many new twists there are (I do dearly want to watch ‘Robin and the 7 Hoods’, though!) but I’m not tired of the Robin Hood story yet. (There’s tons of adaptions and re-tellings waiting for me to discover anyway.)  And even if every movie and book and and novel followed the same legends every time, there would always be new actors and actresses, new scriptwriters, and new writing styles.  I don’t think the classic stories and characters will ever truly grow old.

Thanks for the tag (and the blog week), Olivia!  I’m lovin’ it. 🙂

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Eva

the adventures of robin hood (1938) VS. robin hood (1973) VS. bbc robin hood

Olivia from Meanwhile, in Rivendell… is hosting a Robin Hood week and, naturally, I had to join in the fun.  I’m an ardent fan of Robin Hood – the character, the books, the movies, and the TV shows (yes, there is more than one).  It was a bit difficult to decide on what I should write about, as my options were almost limitless, but since movie (and TV show in this case) comparison posts are so much fun, I thought I’d do another one.

-Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: I think many people view this re-telling of the Robin Hood story as the definitive version, and it’s quite easy to see why.  Many of the plot points from the original legends are brought to the screen in glowing Technicolor – from Robin and Littlejohn’s battle over the bridge to the archery tournament to the return of King Richard.  While the film can be episodic at times, it flows together well.  Two thumbs up!

Robin Hood: This adaption is more a series of entertaining, swashbuckling vignettes than a cohesive whole – and I’m fine with that.  It’s good, solid, entertaining fun.  Not until Prince John calls in all the taxes and Friar Tuck is put in jail does any real plot come together (besides the thread of Robin + Marian throughout).  Still, like I said, it’s good fun and a great interpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

BBC Robin Hood: How do I go about describing the story?  It’s a three-season TV show, so there’s lots of plots and subplots and romances and drama and all that good stuff.  I will say, however, that in terms of accuracy to the original Robin Hood stories, BBC’s adaption falls short.  Very, very short.  Don’t get me wrong; the episodes are still awesome.  They just don’t stick close to all those thrilling tales of old.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: Errol Flynn seems born to play the role of Robin Hood and he makes the part his own with his customary swagger, feats of derring do, and more than a few glimpses of Robin’s romantic nature (in his scenes with Maid Marian, of course).  Flynn’s delivery of Robin Hood’s speeches stirs the heart and he never misses a beat in the entirety of his performance. (Those sword fights…)

Robin Hood: In many ways, this Robin Hood (appropriately enough, a fox) differs little from Errol Flynn’s portrayal (nothing wrong with that). After all, Robin is supposed to be the brave, bold, daring leader with a dash of cheekiness and plenty of heart.  This Robin has all of that, and more, and there’s something about either Brian Bedford’s voice acting or the animator’s skills (or my own mushy, gushy feels – or all three) that makes me love this Robin Hood the most of any portrayal I’ve seen.  I mean, seriously, when he says “Keep your chin up.  Someday there’ll be happiness in Nottingham again.  You’ll see.” I get this close to crying.  Every. Single. Time.

BBC Robin Hood: For whatever reason, a lot of the show’s fans don’t much care for Robin himself.  I guess I can kind of get that, ’cause he can be a jerk and all, but Gisborne is a murderer and everyone loves him, so… Anyway, Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood is much darker than either Errol Flynn’s or Brian Bedford’s.  He’s also a deeper character, more nuanced, more interesting, which only makes sense – it is a TV show, after all, with much time to develop its characters.  I don’t wholeheartedly like this Robin Hood, but I sympathize with him and I can respect him.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood: You’ve got most of the classics here: Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy, Maid Marian, Littlejohn, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Much, King Richard…these are staple Robin Hood characters, and each is portrayed about as perfectly as you can get ’em.  Love it.

Robin Hood: There aren’t as many classic characters in this one – and all of them are talking animals (there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like it should be pointed out). Skippy & Co. take up a relatively large chunk of the movie, and the only member of Robin’s band that makes it into animation is Littlejohn. (Mayyyybe Friar Tuck.)  There is Allan a Dale, though, which is nice.  And Maid Marian and Prince John and the Sheriff.  And King Richard.  You could say Sir Hiss is a counterpart of Sir Guy, but I don’t see much resemblance.  Overall, in terms of accuracy-to-the-originals, it’s not as good as The Adventures of Robin Hood, but not quite as bad as…

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, sure, a lot of the characters have the same name as their legendary templates, but that’s about where any similarities end.  Marian is a feisty action girl.  Friar Tuck is a warrior priest.  Allan is a trickster.  Much is Robin’s former manservant.  Will Scarlett is a carpenter.  The Sheriff, Sir Guy, and Prince John are appropriately villainous, but BBC gave them each a life of their own.  King Richard is a jerkface (well, at least that’s accurate) and there’s lots of new characters, too.  Like Edward and Djaq and Kate and Isabella.  I do adore most of the characters, though.

-Music-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Erich Wolfgang Korngold captured the essence of the story of Robin Hood with his incredible score.  It’s bold and daring and instantly recognizable.  Plus #nostalgia for me, especially the bits of scoring when Robin and his men attack the treasure/taxes procession and also when Robin and Littlejohn fight on the bridge.  It’s an awesome score.

Robin Hood: This being an animated Disney film, there are songs.  My favorite is ‘Love’ (I’m still going to do a BBC Robin Hood fan-vid to it someday) – it beautifully encapsulates Robin and Marian’s relationship.  And all the other ones are great, too.

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, so there’s the main theme (this being a TV show) that just is Robin Hood to me.  Plus a great soundtrack throughout the show, plus two songs that are first sung aloud and then used for the duration of the series in their instrumental forms and it tugs on the heartstrings, y’all.  First the song that Alice sings to little Littlejohn, and then the one that Eve sings to Much.  Music is my thing and I love how the show reuses its musical themes to great – and often emotional – effect.

-Love Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The traditional Robin + Marian romance.  Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland were paired in a bunch of movies, most of which I haven’t seen, but I doubt anything could match the chemistry they have in this film.  At first, Marian doesn’t care much for Robin (an understatement) but after seeing his true motivation, she quickly falls for him (after all, it’s an under-two-hours-long movie).  A sweet, gentle love story.

Robin Hood: Another lovely romance.  Robin and Marian get a love song, fight side by side at the archery tournament, and get married.  No tragedy, no heartbreak (well, except when Robin’s about to get executed – my heart!), and plenty of shippable moments.  The only complaint I have is that Marian disappears after ‘Phony King of England’ and doesn’t return until the last scene.  Apparently, there was an alternate ending in which Marian found the wounded Robin and hid him/nursed him back to health, which would’ve been EPIC, but anyway…

BBC Robin Hood: *bawls* Sure, they’re annoying in the first season, but adorable in the second.  AND THEN SHE UP AND DIES.  It’s so unfair.  Still, I wholeheartedly ship BBC Robin and Marian.  They’re wonderful together. (And I love all the other ships, too, like Will + Djaq, Much + Eve, and Guy + Meg.)

-Ending-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Guy, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Everyone else gets pardoned and lives happily ever after.

Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (+ Trigger + Nutsy).  Everyone else gets pardoned, Robin and Marian marry, and “that’s the way it really happened”. (I refuse to believe differently.)

BBC Robin Hood: King Richard gets captured and imprisoned (I HATE HISTORY), almost everyone dies, and nobody lives happily ever after.  Ugggggh.

-Overall-

It’s a tough choice because each of these versions of Robin Hood is so different.  One is a 1938 Technicolor show-stopper, one is a little-known Disney flick, and one is a uniquely modern BBC production.  It’s difficult to chose!  I think that The Adventures of Robin Hood is closest to the spirit of the original legends.  Disney’s animated adaption is the most fun (definitely) and has the added attraction (for me, at least) of being hugely nostalgic.  And BBC’s Robin Hood is, in turn, enormously awesome and frustrating.

However, I’m going with Robin Hood (1973) as my favorite of the three.  Because I love, love, love it (even more than BBC Robin Hood).

NEVER FORGET THE OUTLAWS.

Eva

william holden in “the devil’s brigade”

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I’m writing this post as part of the 2nd Golden Boy Blogathon – A William Holden Celebration.  Since duplicates weren’t allowed, I wasn’t able to write about Holden’s portrayal of Sefton in Stalag 17 (his best role of all time, I do believe).  I wasn’t able to write about just how much I love and adore him in The Horse Soldiers as the brave, kind, and caring Major Kendall.  I wasn’t able to write about how wonderful he and Audrey Hepburn were together in Sabrina and Paris When it Sizzles. 

So, I decided to go with The Devil’s Brigade, ’cause that’s a pretty great movie on its own even though I didn’t think there was much to write about William Holden’s character, Colonel Frederick.  I mean, he’s the one who gets the First Special Service Force together, but I’d say that the film focuses more on the members of the Force in general than their commander.  However, going into this film determined to watch Colonel Frederick opened my eyes to just how much he does.  He’s the glue that holds the force together.  He’s never been in combat before the film starts, but despite that, is always at the very front of the fight, first when the Force captures a German-held town (losing no men and taking all the Germans prisoner) and then when they take Monte la Difensa.  He’s the one who fights for the Force to stay together when it’s in danger of being disbanded.

And the Force loves him in return.  My favorite scene in the whole movie is Colonel Frederick’s birthday party.  It’s such a great little moment of happiness and joy and celebration and camaraderie in the middle of the difficult, near impossible missions the Force undertakes.  But William Holden’s incredible acting comes through the most in the heartbreaking bits.  Like when the Colonel goes around to several of his men as they’re prepping to take the mountain and basically he’s saying goodbye because he knows that most of them won’t make it out – and he probably won’t make it out either.  Or when that Canadian officer gets shot and killed (I hate that I can’t remember his name) and Colonel Frederick just hands the radio receiver to his aide because he’s sick and tired of it all.  The Colonel’s grief comes through to you in a very real way because Holden always totally inhabits his roles, making you believe, for just that moment, he’s really the character he’s playing and not actually William Holden.

Overall, The Devil’s Brigade is a great war film and William Holden does a super job portraying Colonel Frederick (who was actually a real guy and the only American serviceman to receive eight Purple Hearts in WWII – I just looked it up on Wikipedia).  Plus, his character is friends with Dana Andrews’ character, which is simply splendid for screenshots. 🙂

Though neither of them look very friendly or happy right here.

Have you ever seen The Devil’s Brigade?  What did you think of it?  And what did you think of William Holden as Colonel Frederick?

Eva

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

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.

_________________________________________

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

the lost girl of astor street clue hunt: clue #11

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of reading an advance e-copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street and I loved it just as much as I’m sure you guys will.  My review will be posted tomorrow, but for now, let me just say that this book is a sparkling mystery filled with memorable characters and has a plot that twists and turns at every step.  Perfect for mystery lovers or people who can’t get enough of period dramas like Downton Abbey.

Anyway.  The real purpose of this post is not to talk up The Lost Girl of Astor Street (that’ll be tomorrow, like I said) but to provide you with the next clue on your clue hunt – the eleventh one, in fact.  If you have no idea what this is all about, just go to the author’s blog (she’s the first stop on the hunt) and you can find out.

And the clue is…

TO

Here’s the full roster of all the blogs that are participating in the clue hunt so you can easily go around and collect each one.

Clue 1: Stephanie Morrill
Clue 2: Some Books Are
Clue 3: Gabriella Slade
Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book
Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls
Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books
Clue 7: Heather Manning
Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell
Clue 9: Noveling Novelties
Clue 10: Kaitee Hart
Clue 11: Classics and Craziness
Clue 12: Zerina Blossom
Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan
Clue 14: Keturah’s Korner
Clue 15: That Book Gal
Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer
Clue 17: Hadley Grace
Clue 18: Lydia Howe
Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany
Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm
Clue 21: Lydia Carns
Clue 22: Broken Birdsong
Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft
Clue 25: Roseanna M. White

Have fun!

Eva