Throwback Thursday Part III-The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin is an icon. His movies are watched and re-watched time and again.

One of his greatest movies, (to this fan’s opinion at at least), is The Great Dictator.

The movie starts during World War I. Two soldiers, a man named Adenoid Hynkel and an nameless Jewish barber are both fighting for the country of Tomania. Flash forward twenty years. Adenoid Hynkel is now the dictator of Tomania, whose goal is get rid of the Jews. The unnamed barber has been in the hospital for twenty years and has no memories of the past two decades. He is unaware of the persecution that the Jews have been facing.

Hannah (Paulette Goddard) takes an interest in this barber.  The barber is saved from the persecution that his fellow Jews are facing by Commander Schultz, whom he saved during the war.  A sudden policy change is on the books and appears to be good. But the dictators may have other reasons for the change.

Charlie Chaplin was known to use his movies to make statements about what was happening in the world. This movie is no different. It’s the funniest, it’s the most political and it was made at a time when World War II was on the horizon. If you have never seen this movie and watch one scene, I recommend the final speech by the barber as Hynkel. Best part of the movie.


Throwback Thursday Part II- Little Women

Little Women, for me as a reader, was a rite of passage. I was introduced to the March sisters at a young age. A precursor  of my addiction to classic literature by female authors in the 18th and 19th centuries, Little Women holds a place in my heart.

There have been several film adaptations of the novel. The most recent big screen adaptation was released 20 years ago.  Inhabiting the lives of the March sisters are Trini Alvarado (Meg, the sensible eldest sister), Winona Ryder (Jo, the tomboy who wishes to be a writer), Claire Danes (Beth, the homebody) and Kirsten Dunst / Samantha Mathis (wild child Amy). Rounding out the cast is Susan Sarandon as Mrs. March, Christian Bale as Laurie, Gabriel Byrne as Friedrich Bhaer and Eric Stoltz as John Brooke.

I like this movie. It’s true to the book while not sacrificing cinematic quality. This movie is good and still holds up after 20 years.

I recommend this movie.

Throwback Thursday-You’ve Got Mail

Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy,  Humphrey Bogey And  Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Every era has it’s favorite pairings. Actors who work on several projects over the years and just work on screen together in their respective characters.

In the 90’s rom com’s were defined by one movie couple: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

They made three movies together. The third, You’ve Got Mail , premiered in 1998.

At the dawn of the internet age, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) are rivals in the book selling business. She owns a small, independent book shop. He works in the family business, owning Fox Books, a huge Barnes and Noble like chain bookstore.  They are also falling in love over the internet. Joe finds out who his internet pen pal is in in real life. He tries to win her over, but Kathleen still does not know that her internet pen pal and her business rival are one and the same.

Written and directed by the late rom com queen, Nora Ephron, You’ve Got Mail is not as cliche or as sappy and rom com movies have become since then. It’s got a zing, a life, an twist that is fun while still retaining the standards of a romantic comedy. And of course, the subtle nod to Pride and Prejudice never hurts.

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