Daily Archives: July 26, 2020

RIP Olivia de Havilland

If we lived in an ideal world, we would all live to old age. But we do not live in an ideal world. If one is lucky enough to see the golden years of their lives, then perhaps, they have come close to an ideal world.

Veteran actress Olivia de Havilland died earlier today. She was 104.

Two of her best known roles are Gone with the Wind (1939 and The Heiress (1949).

In Gone with the Wind, she played Melanie Wilkes, the Jane Bennet to the Elizabeth Bennet of the book, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh).

In The Heiress, she played Catherine Sloper. Catherine is torn between her emotionally abusive father and a suitor who may be interested in her for the wrong reasons.

In addition to her storied career, she was an activist. The De Havilland Law is named for her, giving actors greater freedom in choosing their roles.

May her memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Movies, Pride and Prejudice

Cursed Review

The myth of King Arthur has existed for thousands of years. From a writing perspective, the good thing about myths is that it open to a variety of interpretations.

Cursed premiered last weekend on Netflix. Based on the comic book by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, the series follows Nimue aka Lady of the Lake (Katherine Langford). On the verge of adulthood, she, like many girls in their late teens or early 20’s, thinks she knows it all. With dark magic in her blood, she is persona non grata to those around her.

Then the Red Paladins destroy her village and kill her mother. The Paladins have an end goal of ethnically cleansing the land of Fey (magical non-humans) and their supporters. Charged by her dying mother to take an ancient sword to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård), Nimue starts on a journey that will change her fate. Among those who join her on the journey are the brother/sister duo of Arthur (Devon Terrell) and Morgana aka Morgan le Fay (Shalom Brune-Franklin).

*Note: I have not read the comic book, so the review is strictly based on the series.

I enjoyed this non-traditional retelling of the King Arthur tale. I enjoyed it because while it is still familiar, it is not the same story that has been repeated for thousands of years. The main reason it works is that it is told from the female perspective with an eye on expanding a woman’s role in this world. In the traditional Arthurian myth, there are two distinct types of women: the love interest/damsel in distress (Guinevere) or the evil witch bent on taking power (Morgan le Fay). Boxed into these stereotypes, these women are not allowed to more than a one note character.

The other reason it works is that the world is turned upside down. Merlin is not the wise, old Obi-Wan Kenobi type whose sole task is to mentor the future ruler. He is old, but his life and his choices are complicated.

It also helps that the casting is both gender and color blind, reflecting both the world that exists within the narrative and the real world of the audience.

I recommend it.

Cursed is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Netflix, Star Wars, Television, TV Review

The Last Winter of the Weimar Republic: The Rise of the Third Reich Book Review

History has a way of teaching the current generation as only history can. But, we must be willing to listen.

The Last Winter of the Weimar Republic: The Rise of the Third Reich was released earlier this year. Written by R diger Barth and Hauke Friederichs with a translation by Caroline Waight, the book tells the story of the short time in which democracy turned into fascism in the 1930’s.

The book starts in November of 1932. The Weimar Republic is Germany’s version of democracy between World War I and World War II. The country is in shambles. The economy is crumbling as multiple political parties vie for power. President Paul von Hindenburg is presiding over a country in which democracy is on the verge of disappearing.

As political intrigue over takes the German political system, the Nazis slowly begin to take hold of power. Germany and the rest of the world will never be the same.

Two things struck me. The first thing was that this book is that it reads like a political thriller. Instead of being a fictional story with the fictional ending, it is a real story with an ending that resulted in war and the loss of millions of lives. The second thing is that the events in the book are a lesson that some political leaders in 2020 desperately need to learn.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Poldark