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Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

This post is a fantastic post to tell you, dear readers, about the time I ran away to join the circus. I know there are plenty of kids that dream about doing this, but if you know me, you know, when I make a decision I stick with it. So, when I decided to join the circus, I took off.

You can imagine my mother’s horror when she arrived to pick me up from elementary school, and her daughter was nowhere to be found. This horror was compounded when my teacher told her I did not show up to school that day. I am certain her horror was even worse being in a foreign country.

Oh, did I mention I was five years old?

There are many things in my life I regret, but doing that to my mother is the worst.

This circus was pretty exciting it was a combination circus and carnival, but believe me, life in the circus is not all it is cracked up to be. It is work, work, work; I watched the roustabouts lay out hay, raise tents, build rides, and feed elephants and monkeys (that was the highlight). I remember the men were nice and were happy to explain what they were doing, but in retrospect, it is weird that no one thought to take the wandering five-year-old child back to the school across the street.

Fortunately, my mother found me, and thus ended my brilliant career as a German circus performer. I will be honest there is a part of me that wonders “what if,” because there is no business like show business:

“Annie Get Your Gun” is a film adaptation of the Irving Berlin musical based on the life of legendary sharpshooter, Annie Oakley, a woman who (unlike me) had a brilliant career in the circus. Here is the real Annie Oakley in a short film made by Thomas Edison in 1894.

The Broadway musical was written as a vehicle for Ethel Merman. Judy Garland was originally cast in the cinematic version; however, Garland suffered from exhaustion during filming and MGM recast Betty Hutton in the lead role. As a general rule, I am always on #TeamJudy, and it is unfortunate that Judy Garland was unable to complete the part. And despite being the better singer, Judy Garland does not seem the right choice for Annie Oakley.Here is Judy performing Annie’s first number, “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”

Judy performs well, but you can’t help but feel she is rolling her eyes at the number.

Here is Betty Hutton, performing the same scene, Betty Hutton is a natural comedian and is clearly having the time of her life. She is a much better choice for Annie, so, in this case, I am on #TeamBetty.

The Plot

“Annie Get Your Gun” follows Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody (Louis Calhern) and his famous Wild West show, a traveling circus, headlined by the smug, womanizing, and chauvinistic star performer Frank Butler, played by Howard Keel.

The circus issues a shooting challenge, to promote the circus to the locals. Famous sharpshooter Frank Butler will compete in a shooting competition with the local town hero if the shooter can outshoot Frank they will get $100. A local hotel owner sees Annie’s natural ability and her ignorance and offers her $5 to compete against Frank.

The dashing and handsome Frank reduces tough Annie to a slackjawed idiot, but Annie’s charms do little for Frank.

Annie arrives at the competition and she out shoots Frank and is immediately offered a job in the circus. Annie having fallen head over heels for that snappy dresser Frank agrees to join the show.

As the tour continues, Annie focuses on her goal becoming a woman Frank would be attracted to and appears as though her plan is perfect. Frank finally sees Annie as a woman.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill’s competitor Pawnee Bill keeps arriving in the neighboring town, with his headliner Sitting Bull. To attract an audience, Buffalo Bill decides to make Annie the main attraction; Frank attempts to swallow his pride, after all; he wants to marry Annie. …Until he sees her act.

Professional jealousy kicks in, and Frank leaves the circus to work with Pawnee Bill.
Annie becomes an international sensation, touring throughout Europe. Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Bill decide to unite and create one unified show.

But when Annie meets Frank the competition starts back up!

In true old Hollywood fashion, this mismatched couple manages to transcend their differences; but while “Annie Get Your Gun” is a charming musical with many enjoyable numbers and an adorable cast, so much of this film is cringe-worthy.

I’m An Indian Too
The most obvious problem is the song “I’m an Indian, too.” Fans of the 1999 Broadway revival version may not recognize this song, it was removed from the production and replaced with an adorable duet for two secondary characters “Who Do You Love, I Hope?”
“I’m an Indian, too” contains such charming lyrics as:

Just like Rising Moon, Falling Pants, Running Nose
Like those Indians
I’m an Indian too
A Sioux

But before we judge, we should consider the song in the context of its source. Irving Berlin, the composer, was a staunch activist for racial equality, as were Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the original Broadway producers. The song plays to an alarming number of racial stereotypes, though less alarming considering the film was made in 1950, and while the lyrics are disturbing, “Annie Get Your Gun” offers a positive portrayal of its native American characters.

Sitting Bull is an educated, shrewd businessman who is a wise counsel with matters of the heart. There is a complete acceptance between Annie and Sitting Bull, he adopts her as his daughter, and she is proud to become a member of his family, while the film appears to highlight cultural differences, it presents an entirely happy and accepting blended family, quite shocking for a movie from the 1950s.

You Cain’t Git a Man with a Gun

The film seems extremely sexist; Frank tells Annie to “put down her daddy’s gun and get her knitting needles.”

Annie defies the audience’s expectations; the circus attendees laugh at female entering a shooting competition, but she is clearly the more talented shooter. Then we consider Annie’s motivations, everything she does is to get Frank to want to marry her; songs drive home repeatedly that men do not want women who can shoot; they want a soft feminine woman; Annie immediately works to become Frank’s ideal woman. She joins the circus to be near him and is happy to work as an assistant, allowing Frank to shine. But while Annie is willing to bend, and wear beautiful dresses, it is Frank who must check his ego, and accept that he his second best.

“Annie Get Your Gun” ultimately teaches its audience that if a woman wants to catch a man, she has to be feminine, but women can be the breadwinner, and the one in charge, but they have to let men think they are in charge. Not tremendously bad advice.Especially for a 1950s film.

And while it is not a feminist masterpiece, “Annie Get Your Gun” is forward thinking for its times.

At The Circus

“Annie Get Your Gun,” tells a fictional account of real-life circus performers, and the song “There’s No Business like Show Business” perfectly captures the excitement of performing. Its circus scenes are thrilling, and the trick riding is impressive. I am fairly sure had I stayed with the circus, I would have been a trick rider.

–Summer

This post is part of the #AtTheCircus Blogathon.

The #AtTheCircus Blogathon has a soft rollout date see Le’s lovely post for an explanation.

http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/2016/11/atthecircus-blogathon-update-and-entries.html

Be sure to stick with Le and me, we will gradually roll out the posts for #AtTheCircus throughout the month of November.

We will gladly accept and promote your posts as we receive them!

 

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At The Circus – Blogathon

While it has been a shocking week for many in the U.S. and around the world, we hope you find a happy blogathon a welcome relief and join us for At The Circus.

My charming co-host Le and were very fortunate to have so many talented, excited, and willing participants for this online writing event, a salute to the greatest show on earth, so without further ado, I present AT THE CIRCUS.

Should you choose to join us this weekend, or at the later date Le has announced, your posts can be sent to my charming co-hostess Le here or to me directly on this page.

Thank you for standing with us, as we approach times of uncertainty and offering a burst of sunshine by posting #AtTheCircus!

This page will be updated throughout the day as posts are received!

Ciao for Now, Dearies

Summer

The Roster:

Wings of Desire | Moody Moppet

At The Circus | Movie Movie Blog Blog

Ring of Fear | Red Kimono

Susan Lennox, Her Fall and Rise | Old Hollywood Films

Circus Clowns | Movies Silently

Sunny | A Person in the Dark

Circus du Soliel – Worlds Away | Thoughts All Sorts (Link updated!)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space | The Midnite Drive-In

Charlie Chaplin and the Flea Circus | Big V Riot Squad

Lili | Christine Wehner

Billy Rose’s Jumbo | Love Letters to Old Hollywood

The Big Circus | Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings

Something Wicked This Way Comes | A Shroud of Thoughts

Shadows & Fog | Movie Rob

Bronco Billy | Movie Rob

La Strada | Cinematic Scribblings

The Walk | Reel Weegie Midget

El Circo/The Circus | Critica Retro

Charlie Chan at the Circus | Caftan Woman

Trapeze | The Wonderful World of Cinema

Nightmare Alley | Cinema Cities

Annie Get Your Gun | Serendipitous Anachronisms

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Dear Reader, if you have received this post via email, please go direct to Serendiptious Anachronisms, there are plenty of video clips embedded in the blog post and watching the clips will enhance your enjoyment of this post.

I was fortunate to grow up in a pro-Python family. Their bawdy, ridiculous, random sense of humor is hardwired into my DNA. My “Python” love is another trait I attribute to my grandmother. When I was little, she and I used to go to the movies and play “Cinema Roulette” basically buying a ticket for whichever movie was showing next. Well, in the pre-Summer days, she went to the theater and the ticket guy said “The Life of Brian” started a couple of minutes ago… She sat down in the theater to discover a biblical film and was quite pleased with her random choice… Until she saw the woman they cast as the Virgin Mary (Terry Jones) all she could think was “what a horrible woman!” Soon, she realized it was a comedy, which she enjoyed thoroughly, and ever since, all things Python have been a part of our family.

I love all things Python-related whether directly or indirectly, but my favorite Python film is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Why? This film has the BEST villain of all time.

Caerbannog!

“Behold the cave of Caerbannog!” In the blink of an eye, this vicious foe kills some of the bravest knights of legend. It takes a holy weapon to take out this vicious, cruel beast, with its razor sharp teeth:

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And he is a rabbit! This is what I wanted when I read Bunnicula, none of the blanched vegetable business. Caerbannog: mayhem and terror in an adorable bunny rabbit.

Of course, this not the first Rabbit to cause destruction in the film either.

Behold the Trojan Rabbit:

trojan-rabbit

In case you have not noticed this is a rather silly film, and the anachronisms are serendipitous.

For those who have not seen the movie a million times, let me give a brief synopsis. A very random British sketch comedy troupe lampoon the Arthurian legend. God sends King Arthur (Graham Chapman) on a holy quest, to find the Holy Grail, hilarity ensues.

montypythonholygrail390_0For a comic film, this film boasts incredible production values, with fairly authentic medieval costumes. Yet it is evident the expense went to securing prime locations, costumes, ambient lighting, and properties; there are no horses.

To remedy this lack of horses, Arthur’s manservant Patsy (Terry Gilliam) follows with two coconut shells providing the horse sound effect. There are no horses in the entire film.

In the clip above, you will notice they go on and on about swallows, this pattern is repeated throughout the film and most importantly in the bridge of death scene during the film’s climax, and you might think this is just a random running joke. But you would be mistaken. Readers of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King may recall the overlong ornithological conversations about birds between Merlin and Wart (Young King Arthur). The text, Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present suggests medieval scholars may notice the connection with the von Strasbourg’s tale of Tristan, there is a passage about a swallow traveling long distances for unusual nesting materials.

Like coconuts?

Okay, maybe that is stretching things, but it is evident that this film is well researched.

But what makes this film brilliant is the anachronisms.

It is hard to make the medieval world funny because it is removed from our own experience, yet this film succeeds because it taps into a modern response to divine mandates of kingship and power.

See a Marxist Peasant (Michael Palin) responding to the arrival of the King.

By disregarding medieval customs, we get great comedy.

At other times, the comedy lies in adhering to medieval logic Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones) can clearly identify a witch.

This film accurately depicts the grim and gritty life of medieval England but certainly has fun with it.

This movie is hysterical if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it, and if you know it by heart, then by all means treat yourself and see it again.

This blog is part of the Monty Python Movie Blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlog! Be sure the go there and check out all the great entries!

And beware of Rabbits!

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Ciao for now, dearies!

Summer

 

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Camp Kitsch Week 1: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)

 

Hello, welcome to Serendipitous Anachronisms, if this is your first visit, then be warned: this blog fluctuates between very high and very low cinematic arts. And we are going very low this Halloween.

Welcome back kiddie cats because CAMP KITSCH is back in session!

This year’s theme is “Kitsch Me Baby One More Time.” Yes, I did get my title from a Britney Spears song. If you have not experienced Camp Kitsch, check out last year’s session “Summer Camp: The Season of the Kitsch” For “Kitsch Me Baby One More Time”  we have only two rules:

  1. All films reviewed are Halloween specials.
  2. All of these films have been pre-screened by yours truly; hence the name, this will avoid covering less savory pics such as Werewolf in A Girl’s Dormitory. (No, really, don’t try to watch this film, I know it is a tempting title, trust me).

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

the-paul-lynde-halloween-special-adReaders, you may recognize Paul Lynde as “Uncle Arthur” on Bewitched and “Harry MacAfee” in Bye Bye Birdie. If not, then you are missing out on something truly spectacular, if you want to know the definition of the word “Campy” watch Paul Lynde.

Snarky, hysterical, why should this man not be given a Halloween special?

Too bad he wasn’t given one.

Let’s just say right now this show may have witches and pumpkins on the set, but this show has nothing to do with Halloween.

And the jokes, oh the jokes, that is where the true horror lies.

To put it simply this show is stupid, it is awful, it is terrible, and yet I cannot help but love this travesty.

The show opens with a series of vignettes featuring Paul Lynde dressed as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and ready for Valentine’s Day. The running joke is his housekeeper Margaret (played by Margaret Hamilton) telling him, it’s not Christmas, it’s not Easter… The joke goes on way too long, will someone please buy this man a calendar?

MARGARET. I’ll give you a hint; it’s filled with witches, spooks, and weird creatures of the night.

LYNDE. Oh, sounds like Hollywood Squares.

While the pre-recorded laugh track goes crazy, it’s a stinker, and when the opening monologue starts the jokes get even worse.

LYNDE. I was fat, Mom put me in a shower curtain, it didn’t fit. So she let it out, and I went as the Hindenberg, it was a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, we go into our first musical number which is a parody of the song “Kids” from the musical Bye Bye Birdie.

dance-number

So Margaret and Paul, having enough of those “pesky kids,” get in the car and drive to Margaret’s sister’s house.

As it turns out, they are both witches!

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I guess the Doctor Who scarf was readily available in 1976, totally jelly.

In exchange for helping the witches clean up their bad PR, Lynde is granted three wishes.

What follows is the most hastily compiled mess of skits I have ever seen in my life.

“The Rhinestone Trucker”

lyndepinkyLynde uses his first wish to be a trucker named “Big Red.” Big Red wears a white leather rhinestone jacket, unbuttoned to the navel with a hairy chest, white leather pants, and silver boots.

Big Red and his arch rival played by Tim Conway, both want to marry the same waitress “Kinky Pinky.”

The writers having written themselves into a hole choose to exit the scene by transitioning to a CB Radio, hoe-down, musical wedding number. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

I am tired making these silly calls,

I wanna get out of my overalls.”

Umm… You’re not wearing overalls. This number makes absolutely no sense.

Just when things get horrifically unwatchable, KISS arrive to play “Detroit, Rock City!”

What? Why are they in Witchiepoo’s house? Who cares! It’s KISS!

“The Great Lover”

paul-lynde-florence-hendersonFor Paul Lynde’s second wish he is transported to the Sahara Desert, for a romantic Rudolph Valentino fantasy, with an icy British adventuress, played by Florence Henderson (a.k.a. Carol Brady) a woman so cold she turns a glass of wine into ice cubes:

HENDERSON. Why are you wearing that earring? 

LYNDE. Because I am a very chic sheik. 

Oh, the horror.

Strangely enough, Lynde is still wearing the silver platform boots from the Big Red sketch.

“The Hollywood Disco”

For the third wish, Lynde takes the two witches to a “Hollywood Disco.” The house infiltrated by dancers in orange wigs. For entertainment, and I use that word very loosely, Florence Henderson sings an operatic rendition of “Old Black Magic” to a disco arrangement. This song might be the worst thing I have ever heard in my life.

Just when things hit an all-time low, KISS return and sing “Beth.”

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Lynde: I can take one look at you, and tell you how you got your look and your name, you had a fight, and your mothers told you to kiss and make up.

D’oh! These jokes are not just bad they are terrible. Fortunately, someone had the foresight to end this banter early and let KISS play “King of the Night Time World.”

But rather than end the show on a high note, they opt for a full company rendition of “Disco Lady.” Everyone is doing the hustle. Except for KISS, who are banished to the balcony. Like they are too cool for school. But hindsight is 20-20, we know they were just plotting on how to tap into this disco craze because three years later they recorded their own disco song “I was Made for Loving You.”

My understanding is that The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a “lost treasure” it aired on ABC October 29, 1976. Bootleg copies were distributed amongst KISS fans for years. The original footage was found, and The Paul Lynde Halloween Special was released on DVD.

I think you would have to be a KISS fan, to render this madness watchable, but if you are in the mood for some truly terrible jokes, a few completely unplausible storylines, and a strange mish-mash of musical numbers, then, by all means, watch  The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

Ciao for now, Dearies!

mousetrap

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

Hello, Darlings!

When I found out Christina Wehner and Little Bits of Classics were co-hosting an Agatha Christie Blogathon, I was excited, but when I discovered it was interdisciplinary, I was thrilled because there is nothing I would rather talk about than Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap. You might wonder why with so many acclaimed classic Agatha Christie films, I am covering a play on a movie blog?

I have had the tremendous good fortune to star in this play as “Mollie Ralston” in three separate productions.

So without further ado, I present Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

An Illustrious Beginning

When the BBC contacted the royal family for a program suggestion to celebrate Queen Mary’s 80th birthday, the Queen requested an Agatha Christie radio play. “Three Blind Mice,” a half-hour radio play was written in honor of the Queen, would later be expanded to the full-length stage play The Mousetrap, and an enduring classic was born.

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Agatha Christie cuts a cake with a sword at the Mousetrap 10th Anniversary Party

The Mousetrap became the world’s longest-running play in the history of British Theatre, it opened on October 6, 1952, at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham, and the original production is still playing at the St. Martin’s Theatre in London.

Let me make this clear. It is not like Les Miserables, or Phantom of the Opera where several separate concurrent professional productions are running, this play’s original production has not closed, it is still in its first run, 64 years later!

60th-anniversary

The 60th Anniversary and production number 25,000 included a star-studded cast,  including Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville, and Iain Glen

While this is a phenomenal feat, there is a downside to this nifty little factoid; the production moved to the West End under the agreement that the producers will not release adaptation rights to movie executives, until six months after the initial production closed.

While licensing is available for stage productions through Samuel French, the outcome of the play is a closely guarded secret, so this post will be spoiler-free.

The Plot

The show begins with the melody of “Three Blind Mice” followed by what sounds like the discovery of murder.

Mousetrap Set

As the curtain rises we see a large manor home and hear a radio broadcast:

RADIO BROADCAST. A murder has occurred at twenty-four Culver Street in Paddington. The victim was a Mrs. Maureen Lyon. The police are now anxious to interview a man seen in the vicinity, wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat.

A woman enters dressed like the suspect and hides a mysterious parcel in the room, and exits. Shortly after that, a man enters also dressed as the suspect hides a parcel in the home.

We soon learn these people are newlyweds Mollie and Giles Ralston. We also learn that these people clearly have something to hide from one another. They are both evasive with one another about their actions earlier that day. Shortly after World War II, the couple inherited a large estate. The couple converts the home to an inn to generate an income, but they have no experience in the hospitality industry:

GILES. We’re rather mugs at this game.

MOLLIE. They bring luggage. If they don’t pay, we hang onto their luggage. It’s quite simple.

Having not bothered to check references of their guests, Giles is uneasy is about opening their home to strangers, but Mollie is optimistic. And when the guests begin to arrive, Giles feels even less secure in their new venture.

Their first guest arrives wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat. Christopher Wren is an odd architect, with messy hair and strange taste in neckties. After a small hitch in their newly budding relationship, Christopher and Mollie hit it off, Giles in nonplussed.

CHRISTOPHER. I think I’m going to like it here. I find your wife most sympathetic.

GILES. Indeed.

CHRISTOPHER. And really quite beautiful.

MOLLIE. Oh, don’t be absurd.

CHRISTOPHER. There, isn’t that like an English woman? Compliments always embarrass them. European women take compliments as a matter of course, but English women have all the feminine spirit crushed out of them by their husbands. There’s something very boorish about English husbands.

And once again, someone arrives wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat.

This time, it is Mrs. Boyle, a stern woman ready to disapprove of everything she sees.

MOLLIE. No indoor staff, just us.

MRS. BOYLE. In-deed? I understood this was a guesthouse in full running order.

MOLLIE. We’ve only just started.

MRS. BOYLE. I would have said that a proper staff was essential before opening this kind of establishment. I consider your advertisement was most misleading.

Meanwhile, Christopher Wren now feeling comfortable in his new home, is behaving even stranger:

CHRISTOPHER. I do adore nursery rhymes. Don’t you? Always so macabre, that’s why children like them.

We then meet our next guest, Major Metcalf, an incredibly amiable and friendly chap (think Nigel Bruce as “Dr. Watson”), who happens to be wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat.

MAJOR METCALF. How d’you do? Absolute blizzard outside. Thought at one time we shouldn’t make it. If it goes on like this, I should say you’ll have five or six feet of snow by morning. I haven’t seen anything like it since I was on leave in 1940.

He is followed by Miss Casewell, a rather manly woman with a firm handshake (a Katherine Hepburn type), a twisted sense of humor, and incidentally wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat.

MISS CASEWELL. Looks like we’re going to be snowed up here.Weather forecast says heavy falls expected. Motorists warned, etcetera. Hope you got plenty of provisions in.

GILES. Oh, yes my wife’s an excellent manager. Anyway, we can always eat our hens.

MISS CASEWELL. Before we start eating each other, eh?

With the guests all in place, the Ralstons begin to prepare for dinner noting that other than Major Metcalf all their guests seem rather odd or unpleasant.

Suddenly the doorbell rings, again and Mr. Paravicini arrives, a strange Italian man, whose car is broken down on the side of the road. Paravicini is clearly aware of the mysteriousness of his arrival and plays it up to the hilt.

PARAVICINI. Yes, the unexpected guest. The guest that you did not invite. The guest who just arrived, from nowhere, out of the storm. Who am I? You do not know. Where do I come from? You do not know. Me? I am a man of mystery. (Laughs). But now I tell you this. there will be no more arrivals. And no departures, either. By tomorrow-perhaps even already- we are cut off from civilization. No butcher, no baker, no milkman, no postman, no daily papers. No one and nothing but ourselves. That is admirable, admirable, it could not suit me better.

Incidentally, he too is wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat.

The next morning, tensions mount as this incompatible group of strangers live under one roof. As the snow piles up, it is clear that everyone is trapped in the home.

The guests are alarmed when they find out Scotland Yard has telephoned to let the Ralstons know they are sending Detective Sergeant Trotter to the house. Shortly after that, the telephone dies. As the roads are blocked with snow, the young detective arrives on skis.

attenborough

A young Richard Attenborough played the first “Trotter”on stage

MRS. BOYLE. I suppose that’s what we pay our police for, nowadays. To go about enjoying themselves at winter sports.

The Detective reveals that the murderer of Maureen Lyon (the woman mentioned in the radio broadcast) left a clue at the previous crime scene, the address of the Ralston’s home. The police suspect the murderer and Maureen Lyon are connected through a previous court case where a child in foster care died at Longridge Farm several years back. Acting on their suspicions the police investigate everyone staying at Monkswell Manor.

DETECTIVE SERGEANT TROTTER. With instructions to get full particulars of everyone in the house, to report back on the phone, take whatever measure he sees fit to ensure the safety of the household.

GILES. Safety? What danger does he think we’re in? Good Lord, he’s not suggesting someone may be killed here.

TROTTER. I don’t want to frighten any of the ladies, but frankly, yes, that is the idea.

GILES. But why? The whole thing is crazy!

TROTTER. It’s because it’s crazy that it’s dangerous.

MRS. BOYLE. Nonsense.

MISS CASEWELL. I must say it’s a bit far-fetched.

CHRISTOPHER. I think it’s wonderful!

When the detective finds out the phones are out of service, he becomes concerned. And while everyone else is trying to figure out what happened to the phones, Mrs. Boyle is murdered. What follows is a fairly tense potboiler thriller as the detective interrogates the guests one-by-one to find out who committed the murder. As it turns out everyone has a motive,means, and opportunity.

In the grand tradition of The Mousetrap, I will not reveal the ending.  This is one of the most widely produced plays in the world, I highly recommend seeing it staged live.

What is in those packages Mollie and Giles are hiding? Is Miss Casewell a woman? Is Mr. Paravicini traveling in disguise? Why is Christopher Wren behaving so strangely? Who cut the phone lines? Who is connected with the Longridge farm case? Who killed Mrs. Boyle? Who will be next?

You can also read the published version of the script available through Barnes and Noble here.

And if anyone needs someone to play Mollie, I’m free!

Ciao for now, dearies!

 

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Here I am with brown hair playing Mollie Ralston! Characters L to R Miss Casewell, Giles Ralston, Mollie Ralston, Mrs. Boyle, Major Metcalf, Mr. Paravicini, Detective Sgt. Trotter, and Christopher Wren

Resources

Saunders, Peter. The Mousetrap Story. London: St. Martins Theatre, 1992. Print.

sunshine-blogger

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hello, my darlings! Some days you got to celebrate, and the party is today because Serendipitous Anachronisms won a Sunshine Blogger Award from Thoughts All Sorts.

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Little Miss Sunshine

I cannot tell you how flattered I am. If you are not following Thoughts All Sorts, this blog offer perspectives on cinema, books, and music, three of life’s greatest pleasures, no?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer award distributed amongst bloggers, very similar to a Liebster. I find it incredibly flattering to be awarded by a fellow blogger because they understand the work that goes into a blog.

The rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award are:

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions they set you
  • Pick another 11 bloggers (and let them know they are nominated!)
  • Set them 11 questions

So here we go!

Q1: If you could somehow transport yourself into a movie and be a character, who would you be?

A1: I would like to be in any old Hollywood musical, but I would still want to be cool, I would love to be Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas.

Q2: A good book and a good movie are lovingly waiting for you at the same time. Do you read or watch a movie?

A2: I think my money is evenly spread between books and DVDs, so it depends on my mood, I don’t think I can pick here.

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Q3: Do you find yourself quoting movies (or books) or singing lines of songs to colleagues (or friends) when an opportune moment presents itself in a conversation or situation?

A3: Oh we are supposed to wait for an opportune moment? I do this constantly! I sing and dance, a lot.

Q4: Night owl or Early bird?

A4: Both, late afternoon is my slump time.

Q5: Which movie from your childhood will you always have a soft spot for even if it isn’t as great as you remember it?

A5: At the risk of offending many, I am going to say all phases of “Star Wars.” I still love “Star Wars,” but I just don’t think those films are as great as I did as a kid. 

Q6: What languages do you speak?

A6: A little Spanish, a little German, a little French, a little Latin. I would love to learn Tolkien’s Elvish languages, but that would be even less useful than my Latin.

Q7: What is your perfect holiday destination?

A7: Anywhere with lots of culture and lots of shopping. 

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Q8: Have you ever met anyone famous?

A8: I have met a lot of famous people, but the highlight of my childhood was meeting the New Kids on the Block. They aren’t necessarily the most famous people I have met, but I was pretty obsessed with them as a kid. I am pretty certain I can still do all their choreography too.

Q9: Vampire or Werewolves?

A9: I like both, but I will probably go with Vampires because Vampires are better looking.

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Usually.

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Okay, nevermind, Vampires aren’t attractive, but they seem cooler, than werewolves. I am really into Southern Gothic Architecture, Vampires suit that landscape better.

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Q10: What is your guilty pleasure (book, movie, or series)?

A10: Here is something I rarely admit, I secretly love reality tv; I recently started this horrible reality show called “90 Day Fiance” which follows international couples who have met online. The overseas fiance come to the U.S. to meet their intended on a 90-day visa, during this time they have to get married or get deported. The show is horrible, like a car wreck, but I cannot look away. I am also a huge fan of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” this show combines costume construction, talent, lip-sync, make-up, and beauty! I also like “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” my favorite on that show is Heather Dubrow, she is so classy compared to all the other ladies.

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Q11: If you could transport yourself back in time to live in another era/age, which would it be?

A11: I must have access to equal rights, plumbing, and refrigeration, which limits things, but if I could be fabulously wealthy I would love to love in Edwardian or Elizabethan England or France during the age of enlightenment. Of course, these choices are all motivated by fashion.

Now it’s time to “Spread a Little Sunshine*; my honorees are bloggers who I subscribe to and bloggers who make my inbox a little brighter. *That was a “Pippin” reference, points to anyone who knows that song.

  1. Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood
  2. Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
  3. Geoff of The Telltale Mind
  4. Spinenumbered of Make Mine Criterion!
  5. Jay from Assholes Watching Movies
  6. Gary from Cracked Rear Viewer
  7. Table 9 Mutant from Cinema Parrot Disco
  8. Jaina from Recap Retro
  9. Emily from The Vintage Cameo
  10. Molly from Dreaming in the Balcony
  11. Film Score Hunter from The Cinematic Frontier

I realize accepting this award is time-consuming, so I won’t be offended if you do not spread the sunshine onward.

Meanwhile here are your 11 questions, should you choose to accept the fabulous award.

  1. Are there any films that you adore that you do not blog about because they do not fit the focus of your blog?
  2. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, which movie would you choose and why?
  3. Are you currently reading anything?
  4. Do you have creative outlets other than blogging?
  5. Do you prefer fruity treats or chocolatey treats?
  6. What is the one seriously underrated film you wish everyone would watch?
  7. Coffee or tea?
  8. How did you settle on your blog name?
  9. If you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be?
  10. Who do you think has the best speaking voice in Hollywood?
  11. If your home had to be decorated to fit in the world of a specific film, which film would dress your living space?

Finally, there are many badges out there for the Sunshine Blogger Award, I made a custom classic horror movie badge in Wes Anderson fonts and colors for movie bloggers, you are free to use it, find another online, or create your own!

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Ciao for now, dearies!

Summer

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A Salute to Gene Wilder’s Wonderful Whimsical Charm

I cannot begin to express how saddened I was to hear of Gene Wilder’s passing today at the age of 83. Gene Wilder was a huge part of my cinematic upbringing. I remember being little and watching VHS tapes (yes, VHS tapes) of films like Young Frankenstein (Franken-Steen) See No Evil, Hear No Evil (“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Woman?!” might be the best line ever written), The World’s Greatest Lover, and Haunted Honeymoon. Gene Wilder was hysterical.

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Announcing “At the Circus Blogathon”

The Circus is coming to town!

When Le from Crìtica Retrô invited me to co-host the “At the Circus Blogathon” I was beyond excited, I had such a lovely time hosting the France on Film Blogathon but thought it would be much more fun to co-host an event.

So here we are Serendipitous Anachronisms “fun classic media with an academic twist” and Crìtica Retrô “classic film with a tropical twist” (we are very twisty over here) uniting forces to pay tribute to The Greatest Show on Earth- The Circus!

It is my pleasure to invite you to take part in the At the Circus Blogathon Continue reading

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The Babadook (2014)

DookDookDarling Readers, as you know, Serendipitous Anachronisms is technically a classic movie blog. Yes, occasionally we delve into the 90s or 2000s, but rarely do we ever cover something one would refer to as “contemporary media.”

How gauche, no?

So imagine my astonishment when the thought went through my mind, “I am going to watch and cover The Babadook” as I was driving home from work this afternoon. So hang on my darlings as we throw caution to the wind, throw all the rules out the window, and dive into the strange world of the Babadook. Dook. Dook.

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Jason and The Argonauts (1963)

This post is part of the Sword and Sandal Blogathon hosted by Debbie Vee at Moon in Gemini, and what better film to cover, than a movie where swords and sandals have great significance.

A one-sandaled man shall come

The prophets tell Pelias (Douglas Wilmer), he will be victorious in battle; he shall win the throne of Thessaly from King Aristo because Zeus (Niall MacGinnis) has ordained it. In tribute to the gods, Pelias offers his sword to Zeus. However, Zeus has also ordained that Pelias will lose the throne to one of Aristo’s children. Continue reading