Tag Archives: movies

OT: OK, now I want an otter. The charming “Ring of Bright Water”

Ring of Bright Water

Ring of Bright Water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have my ice pack on my shoulder and pain meds in my system and enjoying some nature therapy. The 1969 film Ring of Bright Water has been on this afternoon and I found it quite delightful. Starring real-life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna (of Born Free fame) and based on naturalist  Gavin Maxwell‘s book, the film chronicles the story of Graham (Travers), a  jaded Londoner, who adopts an orphaned otter, a situation that does not work very well in his London flat.

Graham, who has always intended to write a book, decides to move to the Scottish highlandswhere he and Mij the otter live in a ramshackle cottage. Graham manages to keep putting off writing that book (instead, he works on fixing up the place, he sketches Mij and takes notes about his unusual pet).  He also meets

Derelict bothy at Sandaig Sandaig is an evocat...

Derelict bothy at Sandaig Sandaig is an evocative place because this is where Gavin Maxwell wrote the famous book 'Ring of Bright Water'. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the very attractive town doctor, played by McKenna, and the three, along with the good doctor’s spaniel,  become fast friends.  There are orphaned geese which Graham rather ham-fistedly attempts to teach how to fly, and his harpooning of a toothless shark in hopes of feeding Mij (too bad it turns out he doesn’t like shark steaks) amongst other adventures.

It’s a sweet, humorous and touching film suitable for all ages, with beautiful scenery and a scene-stealing performance by Mij. Dang it, that otter is just tooooo cute.

Maxwell's Otter. The memorial to Gavin Maxwell...

Maxwell's Otter. The memorial to Gavin Maxwell - a very appropriate statue of an otter, beautifully sited on a promontory overlooking Luce Bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meet one of RA’s TH co-stars: the charming, talented Lee Pace


Lee Pace first came on my radar in the period comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. 

Cover of "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day ...

Cover via Amazon

Lee Pace in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day."

He was tall, dark and attractive and he definitely caught my attention. I  thought he was a Brit, but it turns out he was born in Oklahoma and spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia (his dad was an oilman). On returning to the US, the family lived in New Orleans and Houston, Texas. Lee is a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School and has done work in television, on stage and on screen. I never saw either of his television series (Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies), but the latter has been quite a cult classic and I hope to check it out in the not-too-distant future.


Wonderfalls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 177: Pushing Daisies

Day 177: Pushing Daisies (Photo credit: tsmall)

Lee’s breakthrough performance was the 2003 film made for Showtime, Soldier’s Girl, based on a true and tragic incident. Lee plays a transgender showclub performer who becomes involved with a young soldier, later beaten to death by a fellow GI.  It’s the sort of story that could have been handled in a cheap and exploitative manner; instead, the relationship is explored with great sensitivity and it’s beautifully acted by Lee and Troy Garrity as Barry, the soldier who unexpectedly falls in love with someone very different.

Lee is six feet, three inches tall with a deep voice.   Yet, he creates the illusion that he is a woman. He doesn’t come across as a drag queen with a lot of exaggerated mannerisms, but a very tall, willowy and graceful lady, and it is easy to see why the soldier would be attracted to Calpernia. Lee, already a lean fellow, lost 25 lbs. to play the role. He performance was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globes.

Lee Pace as Calpernia, the transgender showgirl in "A Soldier's Girl."

In 2006, Lee appeared in the fantasy adventure film The Fall, playing Roy, a silent movie era stuntman who is partially paralyzed in a fall. With both heart and body fractured, Roy is befriended by a little girl recuperating from a broken arm in the same hospital. He entertains her with tales of strange mythical heroes and their far-flung exploits. It is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen (I have now ordered it on DVD) shot over a couple of years in a half-dozen different countries.

A gif that shows Lee also knows how to rock the guyliner.

”]Cover of "The Fall (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]&...

Lee has also appeared in such films as  The Ceremony, When in Rome, A Single Man and has a role in Breaking Dawn Part 2.

He will be playing the elf king Thranduil in both of the upcoming Hobbit films.   He just might give Leggy some competition in the hearthrob elf category.  Lee’s trademarks are his bushy eyebrows and his shy, nervous but charming demeanor.

Lomelindi88's rendering of Lee as Elf King Thranduil in "The Hobbit."

We told them, didn’t we? Armitage to be “break-out star”



Our darling Laurie shared this new article  linked above with us in one of her comments on a previous post. As I said in my response, my poor tummy has been doing flip-flops ever since, and I don’t think it’s the spastic colon this time! 😉

I felt like doing this. How about you?

Od course, we have known for quite a while that Richard Armitage was a star–with a boatload of talent, an amazingly expressive face and seductive deep chocolate voice, leading-man good looks, Adonis-like physique, charisma to spare and sex appeal oozing out of every beautiful pore of his luscious fair English flesh. We’ve been waiting for the rest of the world to discover what a fantastic fellow he is. And now he’s on the brink of international stardom. And really, truly, could it possibly happen to a sweeter, more deserving gentleman? I think not.

"Jumping for Joy" by Laurie Parker. This could be us, ladies, RA's devoted fangurlz, on cloud nine and jumpin' for joy!!

Richard, I wonder–are you starting to feel it, too? Feel a little overwhelmed by the knowledge you are certainly going to be a much better known actor after The HobbitKnowing you, you are probably worried about doing the character of Thorin justice. From what I have seen thus far–you have nothing to fear. All your experience, all your hard work, all the blood, sweat and tears you have shed to build your career are coming together with your finely-honed talent to produce the Next Big Thing, the breakout star.

Perhaps that is part of the reason you’ve continued to lay low whilst you can; to enjoy relative anonymity for now. To get your head wrapped around it all. It is a lot to take in.

You have said you wanted to do what it takes to raise your profile and give you a chance to do more interesting roles.  Oh, my dear RA–your profile will be off the charts.

So in celebration of this article and of you, dear Richard, let’s take a Magic Carpet Ride and get Star Struck.

Bond or Baddie — Yea or Nay? (Poll)


Well, hello, Mr. Bond. Or, maybe not.

This subject has been discussed at other blogs but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give you a chance to voice your thoughts here. Every time I see Richard in a tuxedo, I usually find myself thinking of James Bond or some old-time movie star. He looks so dashing, handsome and suave . . . and he’s got the physicality for the role, that’s for sure. But of course, he is also a fantastically gifted actor, multi-faceted. We want to see him win awards for his performances. Can’t remember a Bond movie ever being nominated for Best Actor.
Would playing Bond be a step down for him, a move in the wrong direction?

And then there is the possiblity of playing a Bond baddie–in some cases, they’ve been the most interesting character in certain Bond films. A good villain can, in fact, steal the show (Gisborne, anyone?) So what do you think? Vote in the poll below and feel free to add your comments.

Six actors have portrayed Bond since the first film starring Sean Connery, "Dr. No."

Well-known actors including Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Robert Carlyle and Toby Stephens have all played roles as baddies in Bond films.

OT: An “Enchanted” movie favorite


Miranda Richardson enjoying the beauty of San Salvatore in "Enchanted April."

Joan Plowright, Josie Lawrence, Polly Walker and Miranda Richardson are the four British women who undergo a transformation in the film "Enchanted April."

I don’t know when I first ran across this movie on television, but it caught my interest immediately–good actors, gorgeous scenery, period costumes. I have watched it several times since then. Enchanted April, made for British television in 1991 and released theatrically in the U.S. the following year, boasts a talented cast of actors, many of whom were or became favorites of mine.

Based on a novel written in the 1920s by Elizabeth Von Armin and first filmed in 1935, Enchanted April follows the adventures of four English women–an elderly grande dame, a spoiled society girl, and two housewives who feel as if all the romance has gone from their live– who all find themselves longing for escape of one form or another.
One of the women, Lotty, played by Josie Lawrence, decides to rent a villa in Italy for the month of April and invites three other ladies to join her and share in the expenses.

Just as the spring flowers open and blossom beautifully around the Villa San Salvatore, so do we see a blossoming of these four women as they enjoy their stay in this magical place. When their husbands join them, the men find themselves falling under the spell of San Salvatore, too. There is humor and poignancy and the breathtaking scenery of Italy.

The film was actually shot in the same Italian villa that inspired the novelist to write her book, and the filmmakers do a great job capturing the period look and feel. Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker and Joan Plowright are ably joined by Jim Broadbent, Alfred Molina and Michael Kitchen in this charming, slow-paced and truly enchanting story.

Only recently was the film made available on DVD, but it is definitely one I plan to add to my collection.

Dear Sir Peter . . . Having Armitage Withdrawals. Send help soon.


Dear Sir Peter,

We were all awfully glad to hear another video blog entry is arriving soon. The fact is, we are all going a little Armitage drought-stir crazy. We are perusing his pics until our eyes cross, wearing out our DVDs, daydreaming about possible future roles, visiting the blogs constantly in hopes something new has popped up.  What do we need? Armitage. When do we need him? NOW.

So the sooner the better for that vlog, dear fellow. How many days is it now before the premiere?



Thorin, ride on in to see us, you hear?

An admirer and RA fanatic


Emily Blunt. (afterellen)

Natalie Portman and a dog who looks amazingly like our late, great pooch. 😀 (EW)
Kate Winslet(starpulse)

Gwyneth Paltrow (mainstylelist)

Naomi Watts (fanpix.net)
Cate Blanchett in her role of Galadriel. (photo by fanpop)

I’ve been trying to put together a poll this morning but polldaddy/wordpress just isn’t cooperating. So if you want to put your two cents’ worth in on this one, you will need to leave a comment. I have photos of some potential leading ladies for Richard, ranging in age from twenty-somethings to forty-somethings of American/British/Australian nationality. All have proven their acting abilities onscreen with several Academy Award winners . And a couple of them (Portman and Blanchett) Richard has worked/will work with, albeit not in a major capacity. I don’t know if he will have any screen time with Cate in The Hobbit; his work on The Phantom Menace was very slight. Richard has also mentioned Cate as a potential screen partner whose work he admires.

Romola Garai, (gentsanddames@blogspot)

Possible leading ladies for RA? Take a look.


John Williams, Grace Kelly and Rene Blancard in TCAT

Lucas North in black ops outfit makes one think what a sexy cat burglar Mr. A would make.

*Screencap RANet, other images Wikipedia)

Can’t you just see RA dressed from head to toe in black,that lithe body moving with the stealth and grace of a great dark feline, slipping in and out of the bedchambers of the wealthy to relieve them of their precious jewels? Wooing the gems (and other articles of attire) right off some unsuspecting and enamored female?

Yes, I’ve been watching Turner Classic Movies again. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love TCM with its uncut, commercial-free films from silents to great movies of more recent vintage. I am always discovering some new gem I have never seen and happily revisiting favorites. Thank you, Ted Turner.

Tonight I re-watched Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a ThiefSet on the French Riveria in the mid 1950s, it offers witty dialogue, a romance complete with fireworks and plenty of pretty for the eyes:  gorgeous location scenery, gorgeous attire worn by gorgeous Grace Kelly, not to mention Cary Grant looking suave–and quite gorgeous– in a tux.  There is also a lavish masquerade ball sequence  with attendees in 18th century attire including an anachronistic gold lame gown that must be seen to be believed.

Cary plays  John Roby, a former trapeze artist turned jewel thief (“To my credit, I only stole from those who could afford it”). Roby has been paroled from prison for his service to the French resistance in WW II and grows grapes and flowers to earn his crust these days. Kelly is Frances, a spoiled, bored rich girl ( Frances’ mother: “I wish I hadn’t sent her to that finishing school. I think they did finish her off”) traveling with her delightfully down-to-earth mum.

A series of jewel thefts is taking place on the Riveria and the authorities are sure Roby, “The Cat,” is back in business. Grant has to prove his innocence while trying to avoid the police . . .

It’s a very enjoyable movie and yet again, I found myself casting Richard in the lead role–elegant, intelligent, crafty, alluring with an interesting back story. And he gets the girl and lives past the final credits. I think you can see the appeal I find in that.

Wouldn’t he make a great cat burglar?

Richard’s headgear & silver screen chapeaux


Silent screen star Betty Bronson in a charming chapeau.

Bette as the newly made-over Charlotte Vale in Now Voyager.
Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Richard has worn various types of hats, helmets and headgear in his roles, from Mr. Thornton’s sober black top hat and Capt. Ian and Sgt. Porter’s berets to Monet’s jaunty caps. I generally quite like Mr. A in his headgear(Percy’s top hats actually helped to detract from RA’s less-than-flattering haircut for that role).
And I found myself drawn to look at some fabulous hats from the movies. You know me, I am a sucker for a great chapeau.

A favorite period romance: “Firelight”


Louisa (Dominique Belcourt) talks with her governess Elisabeth Laurier (Sophie Marceau).

Stephen Dillane and Sophie Marceau are the stars of the period drama "Firelight."

I happened across this movie one weekend on TV a few years ago and fell in love with it. Made in 1997, it is not a particularly well-known film, but it is one I believe deserves a broader audience. If you love a well-acted period drama that is moving and achingly romantic at times, Firelight just might be the movie for you.

The film opens in 1838. A young Swiss governess, Elisabeth, who is trying to help her father out of his mounting debts, agrees to bear a child for an anonymous member of the English gentry. A tragic accident has prevented his wife from being capable of bearing him a child.

The two meet for three nights at an island hotel. It is meant to be a business transaction, a sort of surrogate motherhood with no attachment developing between the partners. The Englishman will pay off her father’s debts. Any child conceived will be surrendered to the father at birth.

However, things do not go as planned. Elisabeth and the Engishman are surprised to find themselves drawn to one another as they make love by firelight, developing a deep attachment as they converse at the hotel and during walks on the beach. Afterwards, they return to their normal lives.

Nine months later, Elisabeth gives birth to a daughter, and while she gives the baby away as promised to the Englishman, she never forgets her. Elisabeth begans keeping a journal filled with watercolor paintings of flowers and plants, making a new page for each holiday and birthday they are apart.

When the little girl turns seven, Elisabeth, heartsick for her child, decides she must see her daughter and manages to track her down. She is hired as the child’s governess by the Englishman’s sister-in-law. Constance. Her daughter has a loving relationship with her father, Charles, but is a willful, arrogant, spoiled child who has never been disciplined properly–and it shows.

In spite of neither Charles or the little girl wanting her there, Constance insists the governess be given one month at her post to give her time to look for another situation . . .

There is a story that Elisabeth shares with Louisa which becomes integral to the plot:

It’s a kind of magic. Firelight makes time stand still. When you put out the lamps and sit in the firelight’s glow there aren’t any rules any more. You can do what you want, say what you want, be what you want, and when the lamps are lit again, time starts again, and everything you said or did is forgotten. More than forgotten it never happened.

For those who have not seen the film, I do not want to say much more about the plot.

The love of a mother for a child who does not know their true relationship, the attraction between two people who are forbidden to share their feelings and the determination to tame a willful heart for its own good are all part of this engrossing story.

Sophie Marceau is incandescent as Elisabeth, her beautiful and expressive face sometimes speaking volumes without saying a word; Stephen Dillane is equally impressive as Charles, a country gentleman struggling to maintain his property in the face of a profligate father while at the same time dealing with a catatonic wife.

I purchased Firelight on DVD through Amazon’s Marketplace and I consider it a welcome addition to my period drama/romance collection. (The film is rated R for some brief nudity and sexual content).

(art by Google Images)


Sir Sean sports a casual vibe in this Louis Vuitton ad.

My first crush on an actor was born in the Ritz Theatre in my hometown when I was five years old. The movie my family went to see was Thunderball, the fourth film in the Bond franchise.

I thought this larger-than-life man with the entrancing foreign accent was pretty cute. And as the years passed, he just got more and more attractive.

Kind of like someone else I know.

My first celebrity crush . . .

A true artist’s ‘Lust for Life’


Richard as Claude Monet in "The Impressionists."

One of his last paintings before Van Gogh took his own life.

These old boots remind me of my father's "brogans" and of high school art class still lifes.

One of Van Gogh's expressive self-portraits.

I am having trouble with my sleep yet again. And so, as I often do, I flip on the TV and go to Turner Classic Movies. It is one of my favorite satellite channels and right now they are presenting 31 Days of Oscar, with a plethora of award-winning films. It is a real feast for movie lovers.

This morning I saw for the first time the 1956 film, Lust for Life, based on the Irving Stone bio of brilliant-but-tortured post-Impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh. It is obvious that director Vincent Minnelli and crew had admiration and respect for Van Gogh’s talents and worked hard to get the right look for the film and also managed to remain reasonably faithful to Van Gogh’s true story.

Many museums and private owners allowed their Van Gogh paintings to be photographed for the movie. Shot in Metrocolor, it is inconcievable the film would have had the same breathtaking visual impact if shot in black & white. Van Gogh’s out-sized personality–his obsessive need for love and acceptance, passionate about capturing his artistic vision on canvas, driven by the inner demons of his mental illness that also drove people out of his life demanded a sweeping color canvas on film that matched the vividness of his paintings.

Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Oscar for his performance; having also seen Yul Brenner’s The King & I, I have to say I do consider Douglas’s the superior performance. He captured the intensity and passion of Vincent, his attempt to invest his canvases with an emotional honesty, with a life and vigor that practically leaps off the canvas.

Seeing Douglas’s performance as Van Gogh, I could not help but recall Richard as Monet in The Impressionists. Another one of my favorite artists, brilliantly portrayed. Both actors captured the artists’ “lust for life.” Who are some of your favorite artists?