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Everything posted by Hikari

  1. I didn't get it at first and then I realized it's the chorus to the Shawn Mendes/Camilla Cabello pop song of the same title. He's got other phrases he uses . . Matthew McConaughey and others saying "I like your cut, G." and "Honey, I'm home." His Tom Hiddleston was perfect, as was his Andrew Scott. His Cumberbatch was very very good . . hard to get as deep as the 'Batch. Downey, Jr. had me cracking up. Mycroft very good also. Really, just give this kid a berth on SNL already. He's the next Bill Hader.
  2. I wasn't sure where I should put this, but this thread seems most appropriate. Lucas Arnold will amaze you with his vocal dexterity. This is only one of many compilations he's got on TikTok/YT. His run of Marvel/Sherlock characters starts at the :17 mark.
  3. Hi, Herl, That middle one is my favorite. His eyes are exactly the same as in his younger face as Inspector Lestrade. He is my absolutely favorite Lestrade and I only regret that he could not time-travel so as to be part of the ensemble of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films. It would have been of inestimable value to me to see Colin's face during the famous exchange: Lestrade: In another life, Holmes, you would have made an excellent criminal. SH: Yes, and you, sir, an excellent policeman. Eddie Marsan excels at this decidedly blunder-head version of Lestrade. What I seem to recall about Mr. Jeavons' performance is that he projects an air of too much class and competency to be the dolt that Lestrade is in the popular mind. Like Watson, he's been watered down to an idiot in popular use, when in fact, SH calls him 'the best of the Yarders'. Damning with faint praise perhaps, but Holmes does seek out Lestrade consistently for his aid, more than any others of his colleagues. That's got to mean an at-least grudging respect on Holmes's part. SH recognizes Lestrade's commitment to his duty, his doggedness & his personal bravery in the face of danger--traits that Sherlock Holmes shares, even if Lestrade's intellect, like all other mere mortals', falls short of Great Brain standards.
  4. And the reason Sherlock generally has no one else around him besides John is because he likes it that way--he will tolerate other People as he must but he does not go out of his way to cultivate other friends. Those who choose to engage with Sherl put up with his idiosyncrasies and frequent verbal abuse. Not many people are willing to do that. For such an important personage in events of the greatest partnership of all time, Mike Stamford (simply called 'Young Stamford' in ASIS; don't think Young Stamford actually gets a first name) functions as a plot device never to be seen or heard from again. It's hard to imagine that SH had anything like the intense connection with him that he later shares with Watson, but in Stamford, another medical man, he found at least temporarily, someone else who didn't tell him to get stuffed and was at least, a mild friend willing to do him a favor. There may have been something a bit self-serving in Stamford's introduction of Holmes & Watson--Stamford did not want to be Sherlock Holmes's flatmate himself and realized he needed to get things sorted so that didn't happen. If it was a slightly back-handed favor, we are glad he did it.
  5. Notice that his preferred audience is generally an audience of one--John. SH seeks Watson's approval and admiration (not that he would admit to it) and for the most part, all other people are noise. When he shows off for a larger gathering (e.g. at the Christmas drinkies) it's because he's in a mood and wants to be as irritating as possible in the hopes that everyone (save John) will Go Away. He enjoyed showing off for the Woman but he learnt his lesson there . . that didn't work out so well. However did SH function before Watson entered his orbit?-- Interesting question. Maybe he didn't feel the need of an audience until the perfect one walked into his life.
  6. Oh, I see Sherlock's MBTI profile debate has cropped up again. I too lean toward INTJ, though he does often seem more or less equally balanced between opposing characteristics (E/I; J/P) We are all a mix of everything to varying degrees. I think SH's ability to morph into seemingly contradictory types at the drop of a hat is the reason the (invented) backstory of him being a travelling actor in his youth, prior to the consulting business is such an appealing idea. Fundamentally, I think SH skews to Introversion because his inner life is so active, his down moods so intense that he doesn't get off the couch for days, and his consideration of 'people' and their silly demands are not top priority. But, like a consummate performer (many of whom are self-admittedly very introverted in real life), SH can adopt the costume of the Extrovert when it suits. He retired before he was even 50 and went to the seaside to tend bees . . .I'd say the fascination with bee husbandry goes to to Is because the Es would not have the patience for such intricate, painstaking work. I do think SH prefers bees to people. For all his faults, SH has also been called a sort of Christ figure by some, and actually he's got such an array of strengths that he's very hard to 'type'. As somebody said, he makes his own rules. Kind of like Jesus Himself in that regard. We can't subject Jesus to the MBTI either because as the perfectly balanced personality, He'd come out even on all categories.
  7. I love the picture of Una taking tea and dishing about the Troublesome Tenant with the other Mrs. Hudsons . . including the 'real' one, I presume. The Troublesome Tenant is not with them because he is still tending bees near Eastbourne and doing unspecified tasks on Her Majesty's secret service.
  8. A fellow Sherlock enthusiast friend informed me of this sad news last night via a text message and it has cast a pall since. Una was a few months younger than my mother, both born in 1937. Based on the last photos of her taken in December 2019, she did not look well, a marked contrast from the vibrant lady pictured just a few years prior. Perusing the photos of her earlier career amongst the many tributes that have been pouring in, I see that smile was always the same, and she was a real dish! Una's characterization of Mrs. Hudson will go down in the annuals of Sherlockiana as one of the very best. She gave the landlady of Baker Street real humanity, wit, acerbity and moxie. As Stephan Moffat so eloquently put it: the brightest light in Baker Street has gone out. May it shine out brightly forever in an even better place.
  9. BBally, It could be successfully argued, I think, that when "Complete Jerk Holmes" makes an appearance in Canon, it is usually only to Watson, since it is with Watson that Holmes can completely let down his hair. There are moments of biting acerbity/put-downs to the oft-abused Inspector Lestrade and other hapless members of the official police force . . and Holmes rarely bothers to disguise his disdain for members of the noble classes who have displayed their callous disregard for those they consider 'lesser' than themselves. IN his turn, SH makes plain how much above this kind of aristocratic boor he places himself. What struck me the most during my first really thorough reading of the Canon is how solicitous toward members of the so-called 'lower classes' and most especially women Holmes is. In "A Case of Identity", Watson has to physically restrain his flatmate from beating a two-timing man senseless with a riding crop in defense of a lady's honor. This is really a far cry from the condescending, misogynistic Holmes of popular reputation. I think most people have not in fact read all the stories, so their conception of Holmes is derived from 'other' treatments of him in popular culture, or from a line here or there taken out of the context of the whole. Under the facade of scientific detachment built up by decades of rigorous self-discipline, which can make him *seem* like little more than a deducing machine at times to more ordinary humans like Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes is actually a very passionate and deep-feeling man, I find. He has schooled himself not to *show* his feelings very often, but he does have them, and one supposes that he feels even 'more' than a more outwardly expressive individual. Dr. Watson did his friend a disservice by promoting the idea that Holmes dislikes and distrusts women. There may be some lines SH says that can be interpreted thusly, especially by a close associate who thinks of the fair sex far more often than he seems to think about his medical practice. I have also concluded that sometimes SH's more shocking or off-putting pronouncements, which his Boswell transcribes verbatim without gleaning the underlying puckishness are Holmes being contrary on purpose to wind up his flatmate. I don't see Jeremy Brett mentioned in your opening piece, but I think Mr. Brett embodied these two sides of Holmes very well. Of course, when Mr. Brett embarked on the part, both he and his Watson were nearly 50 years old and were portraying the established middle-aged versions of these characters which are the default settings in the popular mind. When we first meet up with Holmes and Watson and they with each other, Holmes is still shy of his 27th birthday and Watson is a year or so older. Significantly younger than either of our BBC pair were when they 'met'. Though truthfully I was shocked to learn that Ben was 34 years old; I'd thought him a decade younger and a recent drama school graduate. His Holmes is definitely written as the 'snotty antisocial Millennial Holmes' even though Ben was already getting a bit long in the tooth to be considered strictly a young up-and-comer. People matured faster in the Victorian era out of necessity, even Sherlock Holmes. There is very little evidence in the text that Sherlock was ever so rude to Mrs. Hudson, for example and ACD's Holmes is nothing but effusive towards his elder brother--admiring and suitably humble in the presence of an even greater brain-power. But if we consider the glimmers of the undergraduate Holmes and the 'nascent consulting detective around town' who hadn't actually engaged any clients yet which we get in Canon, Holmes' knack for rubbing people the wrong way, especially those in authority, was definitely less polished down when he was younger.
  10. Sorry about the white boxes--don't know how to remove them. But it's a nice illustration by Sidney Paget, no? Incidentally I share a birthday with Sherlock's primary illustrator.
  11. Hello, Distrofol, and welcome! I thought it best to go right to the source--Sir Arthur's text--since my mind was a bit hazy as to the circumstances of young Mr. Oppenshaw meeting his untimely death. The Five Orange Pips is in the public domain on the Internet, so I reproduce the relevant portion here for us to have a look at. *************************************** "I thank you," said the young man, rising, and pulling on his overcoat. "You have given me fresh life and hope. I shall certainly do as you advise." "Do not lose an instant. And, above all, take care of yourself in the meanwhile, for I do not think that there can be a doubt that you are threatened by a very real and imminent danger. How do you go back?" "By train from Waterloo." "It is not yet nine. The streets will be crowded, so I trust that you may be in safety. And yet you cannot guard yourself too closely." "I am armed." "That is well. To-morrow I shall set to work upon your case." "I shall see you at Horsham, then?" "No, your secret lies in London. It is there that I shall seek it." "Then I shall call upon you in a day, or in two days, with news as to the box and the papers. I shall take your advice in every particular." He shook hands with us, and took his leave. Outside the wind still screamed, and the rain splashed and pattered against the windows. This strange, wild story seemed to have come to us from amid the mad elements—blown in upon us like a sheet of sea-weed in a gale—and now to have been reabsorbed by them once more. Sherlock Holmes sat for some time in silence, with his head sunk forward and his eyes bent upon the red glow of the fire. Then he lit his pipe, and leaning back in his chair he watched the blue smoke-rings as they chased each other up to the ceiling. "I think, Watson," he remarked at last, "that of all our cases we have had none more fantastic than this." "Save, perhaps, the Sign of Four." "Well, yes. Save, perhaps, that. And yet this John shaw seems to me to be walking amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos." "But have you," I asked, "formed any definite conception as to what these perils are?" "There can be no question as to their nature," he answered. "Then what are they? Who is this K. K. K., and why does he pursue this unhappy family?" Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair, with his finger-tips together. "The ideal reasoner," he remarked, "would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it, but also all the results which would follow from it. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone, so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents, should be able to accurately state all the other ones, both before and after. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. To carry the art, however, to its highest pitch, it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge; and this in itself implies, as you will readily see, a possession of all knowledge, which, even in these days of free education and encyclopædias, is a somewhat rare accomplishment. It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavored in my case to do. If I remember rightly, you on one occasion, in the early days of our friendship, defined my limits in a very precise fashion." "Yes," I answered, laughing. "It was a singular document. Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin-player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco. Those, I think, were the main points of my analysis." Holmes grinned at the last item. "Well," he said, "I say now, as I said then, that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. Now, for such a case as the one which has been submitted to us to-night, we need certainly to muster all our resources. Kindly hand me down the letter K of the American Encyclopædia which stands upon the shelf beside you. Thank you. Now let us consider the situation, and see what may be deduced from it. In the first place, we may start with a strong presumption that Colonel Openshaw had some very strong reason for leaving America. Men at his time of life do not change all their habits, and exchange willingly the charming climate of Florida for the lonely life of an English provincial town. His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of some one or something, so we may assume as a working hypothesis that it was fear of some one or something which drove him from America. As to what it was he feared, we can only deduce that by considering the formidable letters which were received by himself and his successors. Did you remark the post-marks of those letters?" "The first was from Pondicherry, the second from Dundee, and the third from London." "From East London. What do you deduce from that?" "They are all seaports. That the writer was on board of a ship." "Excellent. We have already a clew. There can be no doubt that the probability—the strong probability—is that the writer was on board of a ship. And now let us consider another point. In the case of Pondicherry, seven weeks elapsed between the threat and its fulfilment, in Dundee it was only some three or four days. Does that suggest anything?" "A greater distance to travel." "But the letter had also a greater distance to come." "Then I do not see the point." "There is at least a presumption that the vessel in which the man or men are is a sailing-ship. It looks as if they always sent their singular warning or token before them when starting upon their mission. You see how quickly the deed followed the sign when it came from Dundee. If they had come from Pondicherry in a steamer they would have arrived almost as soon as their letter. But as a matter of fact seven weeks elapsed. I think that those seven weeks represented the difference between the mail-boat which brought the letter, and the sailing-vessel which brought the writer." "It is possible." "More than that. It is probable. And now you see the deadly urgency of this new case, and why I urged young Openshaw to caution. The blow has always fallen at the end of the time which it would take the senders to travel the distance. But this one comes from London, and therefore we cannot count upon delay." "Good God!" I cried; "what can it mean, this relentless persecution?" "The papers which Openshaw carried are obviously of vital importance to the person or persons in the sailing-ship. I think that it is quite clear that there must be more than one of them. A single man could not have carried out two deaths in such a way as to deceive a coroner's jury. There must have been several in it, and they must have been men of resource and determination. Their papers they mean to have, be the holder of them who it may. In this way you see K. K. K. ceases to be the initials of an individual, and becomes the badge of a society." "But of what society?" "Have you never—" said Sherlock Holmes, bending forward and sinking his voice—"have you never heard of the Ku Klux Klan?" "I never have." Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. "Here it is," said he, presently, " 'Ku Klux Klan. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern States after the Civil War, and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country, notably in Tennessee, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Its power was used for political purposes, principally for the terrorizing of the negro voters, and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but generally recognized shape—a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts, melon seeds or orange pips in others. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways, or might fly from the country. If he braved the matter out, death would unfailingly come upon him, and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. So perfect was the organization of the society, and so systematic its methods, that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity, or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. For some years the organization flourished, in spite of the efforts of the United States Government and of the better classes of the community in the South. Eventually, in the year 1869, the movement rather suddenly collapsed, although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date.' "You will observe," said Holmes, laying down the volume, "that the sudden breaking up of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers. It may well have been cause and effect. It is no wonder that he and his family have some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. You can understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men in the South, and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until it is recovered." "Then the page we have seen—" "Is such as we might expect. It ran, if I remember right, 'sent the pips to A, B, and C,'—that is, sent the society's warning to them. Then there are successive entries that A and B cleared, or left the country, and finally that C was visited, with, I fear, a sinister result for C. Well, I think, Doctor, that we may let some light into this dark place, and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the mean time is to do what I have told him. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night, so hand me over my violin, and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen." It had cleared in the morning, and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. Sherlock Holmes was already at breakfast when I came down. "You will excuse me for not waiting for you," said he; "I have, I foresee, a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw's." "What steps will you take?" I asked. "It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries. I may have to go down to Horsham, after all." "You will not go there first?" "No, I shall commence with the city. Just ring the bell, and the maid will bring up your coffee." As I waited, I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye over it. It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart. "Holmes," I cried, "you are too late." "Ah!" said he, laying down his cup, "I feared as much. How was it done?" He spoke calmly, but I could see that he was deeply moved. "My eye caught the name of Openshaw, and the heading, 'Tragedy near Waterloo Bridge.' Here is the account: 'Between nine and ten last night Police-constable Cook, of the H Division, on duty near Waterloo Bridge, heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. The night, however, was extremely dark and stormy, so that, in spite of the help of several passers-by, it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. The alarm, however, was given, and, by the aid of the water-police, the body was eventually recovered. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name, as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket, was John Openshaw, and whose residence is near Horsham. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station, and that in his haste and the extreme darkness he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landing-places for river steamboats. The body exhibited no traces of violence, and there can be no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident, which should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the condition of the river-side landing-stages.' " We sat in silence for some minutes, Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him. "That hurts my pride, Watson," he said, at last. "It is a petty feeling, no doubt, but it hurts my pride. It becomes a personal matter with me now, and, if God sends me health, I shall set my hand upon this gang. That he should come to me for help, and that I should send him away to his death—!" He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation, with a flush upon his sallow cheeks, and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long, thin hands. "They must be cunning devils," he exclaimed, at last. "How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. The bridge, no doubt, was too crowded, even on such a night, for their "HOLMES,' I CRIED, 'YOU ARE TOO LATE'" purpose. Well, Watson, we shall see who will win in the long run. I am going out now!" "To the police?" "No; I shall be my own police. When I have spun the web they may take the flies, but not before." ****************************** It seems to me that the only 'Why' here is that in this case, Sherlock underestimated how imminent the threat to his client was. The man was young, fit and assured Holmes that he carried a firearm. He was not supposed to be wandering in lonely areas. But he didn't stick to the crowded streets and his gun wasn't of any use. With no injuries on the body, it seems that he was simply shoved into the Thames and being unable to swim, drowned. Had he taken a taxi from Baker Street, he would have survived the evening. Maybe Sherlock should have insisted. That he didn't was a mistake of judgement, which the Great Detective makes rarely, but he does make them. He's not infallible, and he was unfamiliar with this particular gang of assassins, the KKK. My recollection is that SH didn't seem to care very much that he had endangered his client . . who may have been kidnapped from the street and dumped in the river rather than being lured to the riverbank and going there of his own accord. I see that SH was on the contrary, very upset and depressed about what he had allowed to happen. But he doesn't linger long. The young gentleman also had some responsibility for his own safety and could have asked for an escort, or even to stay at Baker Street until it was daylight. Seems that he too underestimated the threat he was under, despite having the precaution of a gun. Had Holmes or Watson gone with him to the station, they might have been killed as well, so at least it was not a worse outcome, though the worst possible one for Mr. Openshaw. Mr. Holmes is a consulting detective, not a bodyguard for hire, nor is Watson. The client knew better than Holmes the people he was dealing with and yet he still went out on London streets alone at night. I don't think SH deserves all the blame here for what happened.
  12. Re. Watson's gambling Our good doctor is a temperate man . . Yes, there's the occasional drinking. He and Holmes both smoke (Sherlock, more) Despite Sherl's fondness for the pipe, cigarettes as a secondary smoke fix, and of course, the cocaine needle, his taste for alcohol seems pretty moderate and in bounds. He appears to have zero interest in gambling but he would of course be good at it. No doubt a whiz at counting cards and any other forms of strategy, how different the stories might have been had ACD opted to write the adventures of a gentleman card shark instead of a consulting detective. Perhaps Arthur didn't make Sherlock more of a gambler because he himself abstained from it. A Game of Shadows has a chess match between Moriarty and SH--something that never happened in the stories. Conan Doyle's Sherlock never played chess and I can't remember him even mentioning it. Since chess is the ultimate in logical deduction and strategic thinking, it is quite odd that the Great Detective does not play. Doyle did not know how, so there you go. Rather than suspecting the Doctor of cockfighting or playing the ponies (though he might make the odd wager on horses or dogs) I think the bulk of his gambling debts would have been accrued at the card tables of his gentleman's club. Wagering and winning at games of chance would fuel his soldier's drive toward risk/reward. I think he knew that he had a tendency to waste money on wagers . . not an addiction perhaps, yet, but an extravagance and the potential of losing more than he could afford, particularly if he was between medical practices. So he took the preemptive step of having SH lock up his access to his funds, for his own good. Watson is an exemplar of the Victorian ex-military gentleman and the club was the gentleman's retreat and opportunity to social network. Watson retained his membership (I think he may have had more than one) but adventures with Sherl soon replaced the Doctor's need (or available time) for hanging out so much in his clubs.
  13. A recent discovery for me, from a virtual friend, a troubadour named Paul in Richmond, UK. It feels like a song I've always known, but I'm sure I'd never heard it until about 3 weeks ago. I like my friend's version better but this is the one that hit the airwaves in 1969.
  14. Here's the latest project, and Britbox keeps trying to entice me with a free trial to watch it. An ensemble procedural drama, with MF playing the lead detective in a murder investigation. While I am drawn to these types of stories, the landscape is absolutely cluttered with them. MF appears to be channelling John Watson here somewhat, if John had become a policeman instead of an Army surgeon. For better or worse, John Watson is who I hear whenever he speaks (unless he is doing the Minnesota accent That's just the way it is.
  15. I miss Hobbity Watson Freeman. His attempts to be anything else sadly do not interest me. Apparently Mr. Freeman would like very much to be an even more diminutive English DeNiro, but that really isn't where his gifts lie. We don't need another Tom Hardy; we need a Bilbo Watson. Please come back!
  16. Um, what is going on here? PS . .OK, it's looking normal now. When I first posted, all I got in the above space were two blocks that said Page 1 and Page 2. My post wasn't appearing. New one on me!
  17. Cor, that was a nifty trick! Didn't realize the Chunnel went from London Paddington to Dublin. America is a vast country geographically, but due to being surrounded by ocean on both sides makes us like an island in our thinking at times. A gigantic overgrown island, to be sure, but the effect of being isolated from other countries is the same. Not that we have taken it upon ourselves to learn very much about the countries with which we do share a landmass, to be honest. I will always remember a conversation I had with an Irish girl I met while we were both teaching English in Japan in the 1990s. She had attended secondary school in England--don't ask me where now because I've forgotten--but she went with some school friends on a trip to France. The locals in the shops and whatnot were pretty rude to this group of young ladies--but when they found out that this girl was Irish, their tune totally changed. They were falling all over themselves to be nice to her, in spite of her tentative French--and only to her--because she wasn't English. I had a laugh at that. I liked her immediately. She also admitted that she had flunked Irish language class.
  18. https://guernseydonkey.com/guernsey-legends-duke-richard-of-normandy-and-the-devil/ The tale of Duke Richard of Normandy (William the Conqueror's brother) and his settlement of Guernsey after being dropped on the island by the Devil was first published in written form in 1576 according to this article. The tale itself is probably 500 years older than that. The author no doubt is a fan of Conan Doyle, but she took her inspiration from her Guernsey heritage and not Arthur's Victorian story published more than 300 years after this legend was. Arthur himseld took The Devil's Foot from a botanical specimen, so he didn't invent that, either.
  19. Apologies for a classic American blunder. Actually, I am aware the Northern Ireland is part of the UK and the Republic of Ireland is not. I should have amended my earlier lumping her in with the two actresses from England. To be honest the great majority of my countrymen don't know that 'Ireland' and 'Northern Ireland' are different.
  20. I think any resemblance to The Devil's Foot was coincidental; that is a plant-derived drug and the Devil's Claw of this book refers to a mineral deposit on a cliff in Guernsey that looks like a claw mark made by a beast. In ancient Guernsey folklore, it is said to be the spot where the Devil made landfall on the island. There's a lot of witchcraft lore of this type. Both legends revolve around Satan who just gets around everywhere in the world. The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society was written by Mary Ann Shaffer who sadly passed away prior to publication. The final rewrite and edits were done by her niece, Annie Barrows, who is credited as a co-author. I assume that Potato Peel Pie is a Guernsey dish but I have not yet started the novel. I will be taking a virtual tour of Guernsey very soon and hope to find all this out.
  21. I stayed up til the wee hours to finish a cracking book in a new series, "The Devil's Claw" by Lara Dearman. Set on the Channel Island of Guernsey, it follows a young newspaper reporter on the trail of a potential serial killer who, with the help of the local police chief, finds disturbing links to the cases of six island girls found drowned on the beach over a period spanning 50 years. I have recently found out a lot more about Guernsey (setting for the NYT best-seller/movie, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"). The island is strongly influenced by its Norman heritage with its own brand of French patois, and was occupied by the Germans during WWII for 5 years--the only occupation of British soil during the war occurred in the Channel Islands which are halfway between England and France. Renoir painted there for 6 weeks in the summer of 1883. For a very small place, it is full of lively culture and fascinating history and folklore, much of which the author, a Guernsey girl now living in the U.S. has sprinkled throughout her book. Now I'm off to check out the second in the series.
  22. I suppose tutoring goes to 17, though kids in the performing arts get a lot of dispensations. They may only study with the tutor for 2 hours to meet the requirement, so it's not like a full school day. Along with that, people under 18 have restrictions on how many hours they can be on-set for child labor laws. When a production window is tight, they need to have everybody available for some grueling 14-16 hour days at times. There's been a long tradition of adults playing teens (Grease, hello?) and most of them look young enough to get away with it. This does create unrealistic expectations about how sophisticated real teens are supposed to look, though. When 16-year-olds aspire to copy a character who is supposedly their age but is actually being played by an actor who's 28, they can set themselves up for poor self-esteem. It's the exception rather than the rule when an actual teen gets to play a teen. "Little Women" is particularly challenging because the characters are supposed to grow from 'little women' into actual women over the course of the two halves of the book, spanning some ten years. This is most noticeable in Amy, as Beth, the second youngest doesn't get to live long enough to have a life. But Amy goes from an elementary-aged child into a young woman old enough to get married, at least 20 years of age. It's easier for the other actors because their maturation isn't so transformative. I think out of all the many productions of LW we've had, only one, the 1994 movie, chose to have two actresses play Amy. Since the childhood scenes with Amy are so memorable a part of the first half (the limes at school; her feud with Jo; the burning of the book; falling through the ice), I think it was the better choice to have child Amy portrayed by an actual child. There wasn't much of interest left for her adult replacement to do, other than snag Laurie, but the 'grown-up' portions of the story are the weaker ones anyway. Florence Pugh, who played Amy in the new version is one tough cookie. I could easily envision her in a movie about female MMA fighters or Army recruits. I thought her tough, rather masculine demeanor was entirely wrong for quintessentially girly-girl Amy, but her performance isn't even the biggest beef I had with that version. It's a lengthy list. I will always be partial to the 1994 movie, even though at first blush, tiny gamine Winona Ryder didn't seem the best fit for Jo, physically. But she can act, and she's got Jo's inner fiestiness and spunk. There was a PBS miniseries version a few years ago which I didn't think good, either, but the Jo was a standout, in my opinion. She was Maya Hawke, daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. She was 19 years old and had never acted before. Both physically and artistically she had a coltish, fresh quality that embodied Jo perfectly, and had no problem playing slightly younger than she was at the start. Megan Follows was 16 when she was cast as Anne of Green Gables, despite the producers' concerns during the audition process that she might be too old. Anne, like Amy, is 11 years old at the start of her story. Anne is supposed to be an exceptionally mature 11 -year-old, given her hard life and her natural old-soul personality. In the pigtails and pinafore, MF looked, if not as young as 11 exactly, young enough to pass for maybe 13. She is physically tiny, with a sweet voice and delicate manner. That was a gamble that paid off. Dorothy Gale of Wizard of Oz is 11 years old at the start, too, and was played by 17-year old Judy Garland, who absolutely no one thought was anywhere near 11. A Kansas farm girl in the 1930s was accepted to be more innocent like a younger girl, even if the reality was somewhat different. There seem to be a lot of 11-year-old heroines popping up in literature . . Hermione Granger is that age, so too is Alice in Wonderland, if I'm not mistaken? It's a very delicate age--one foot in childhood, the other on the cusp of starting to become a woman. A rough age for casting directors!
  23. I suppose in 1860, the accent would have been rather different. The actresses are all from the UK with one Australian. Soairse Ronan (Ireland) (Jo) Emma Watson (England) (Meg) Eliza Scanlen (Australia) (Beth) Florence Pugh (England) (Amy) Of all the girls, only Eliza was a teen (just, she was 19 at the time of filming). All the rest were mid-20s, and Emma Watson was 29. The ages of the little women at the start were: 16, 15, 13 and 11. 23-year-old Florence Pugh who's got a deep husky voice of a gin palace hooker was much too mature and knowing for child Amy . . dolled up to look like a little girl, the effect was child prostitute ala 'Pretty Baby'. Ronan is a gifted actress but I didn't care for her in this part. For some reason, the artistic decision was made to make three of the four little women blondes, probably because Ronan is a natural blonde, though in the book, only Amy is. The naturally brunette Pugh had a bad dye job/wig.
  24. Nor I with them, quite often. The recent "Little Women", for instance. Apart from Chris Cooper as Mr. Lawrence, I wouldn't have selected a single one of those actors for that piece, Meryl Streep inclusive, because she was hamming it up, rather, and the part was so tiny as to be somewhat beneath her . . .2-3 scenes long it was. None of the 4 leads were actually American, which is odd in such an all-American story. It'd be like "Pride & Prejudice" with Kristen Stewart as Lizzie and Dakota Fanning as Jane. Give me a break. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by unconventional casting. Leo DiCaprio knocked my socks off as Jay Gatsby for Baz Luhrman, and I didn't see that coming.
  25. I read "The Alienist" a few years after it had made a publishing sensation (pub. 1994). In the mid-late 1990s, there was only one person who I thought would do for the character of John Schuyler Moore, the "Watson" to Dr. Lazlo Kriezler's "Sherlock Holmes", and that was John Cusack. Moore is presented as a bachelor-about-town of about 30 or so, and John Cusack was the perfect age at the time. I was probably influenced by his rather similar character in "In The Midnight Garden of Good and Evil", but you have to admit that JC is crackerjack at these types of parts. Even though the titular alienist is presented as a man of only 40 years old, which means that Daniel Bruhl is a perfect age for it, I always interpreted the central relationship to be more mentor-protege than a match of peers as the miniseries presents. Luke Evans as Moore is only 10 months younger than Bruhl and looks older. So the, if not father-son, but maybe nephew-wise uncle dynamic I had envisioned doesn't really work when the characters are same age. Who better to play a paternal psychiatrist than Anthony Hopkins? Admittedly, his Dr. Lechter was influencing me here too; Tony was only three years out from his Oscar win for Silence of the Lambs when Carr published his book. I didn't think a feature-length film could do justice to the complexity and sheer scale of this story, so I was pleased that it was being made as a limited series for television after all this time. I just regret that the ship had sailed on my casting picks, as I think they would have been awesome.
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