Friday, October 27, 2023

The Friends Fur Life Blogathon

The Friends Fur Life blogathon is here!  Check back all weekend for more and more posts -- I will add them to the roster below as people submit their links to me in comments here or to Quiggy at The Midnite Drive-In.

The Roster

"101 Dalmatians" (1961)

My history with this movie predates me actually seeing this movie by about a decade.  When I was very small, my parents got me a whole slew of Disney read-along books with little vinyl records.  (I see these are getting kinda valuable, though mine isn't sealed up...)  I loved most of those records, and listened to them over and over and over -- my parents actually put an old record player in my bedroom that I knew how to operate by myself when I was as young as 3.  I could listen to the records while "reading" the storybooks whenever I wanted to, which was an absolute joy for this story-addicted girl.

BUT, I was so freaked out by Cruella deVille when I was little that I made my parents hide this record where I could not find it.  (I did the same with the Wizard of Oz record for the same reason -- too scary!)

However, when I was about twelve, I finally got to see the actual movie, and I fell in love with it.  In fact, to this day, it is only second to Robin Hood (1973) in my list of favorite animated films.

Everything about 101 Dalmatians pleases me, from the style of artwork to the voices of the characters to the story itself.  Pongo and Perdita are such a sweet couple, and so are Roger and Anita.  I love the courage of all involved in chasing down Cruella deVille to rescue the 15 kidnapped puppies.  And the warm-hearted readiness they all display to rescue and adopt 84 more puppies is even more admirable, I think.

But, as much as I love Pongo, Perdy, Roger, Anita, and the other puppies, I think my favorite character is Sergeant Tibbs, a barn cat who manages to decipher the Twilight Bark alert and puts that together with the fact that he heard barking at a nearby old mansion to figure out where the missing puppies are being held.  

It is Sergeant Tibbs who organizes the initial rescue, hides the 99 puppies, trips up the bad guys, and generally starts the saving of the day just about on his own.  All while ably convincing his "commanding officer" that it is he, not the sergeant, who is saving the day.

In case you haven't seen the movie, a basic rundown of the plot is this:  Pongo and Perdita are two Dalmatians who take a fancy to each other and finagle their owners Roger and Anita into meeting as well, with a wedding resulting.  And, eventually, fifteen little puppies resulting.  An old schoolmate of Anita's, Cruella deVille, wants to buy the puppies, but Anita and Roger won't sell them because she's clearly a horrible person.  Roger even writes a comic song about her.  Cruella has the puppies kidnapped, and Pongo and Perdita rush off to rescue their babies when the humans fail to find them. 

I have seen this movie dozens of times, and it never fails to make me happy!  Or to bring tears to my eyes during the rescue mission.  Such a delightful, heart-warming film.

This review is my contribution to the Friends Fur Life blogathon that I am co-hosting this weekend with Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In.  Check out the main post for all the fun entries!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Another surprise!

My Rock and My Refuge has won another award!  This time, it has been named the second place winner of the 2023 PenCraft Award for Literary Excellence in the Christian Historical Fiction category!

I am endlessly grateful to God for giving me the ability, tenacity, and opportunity to write books and share them with others. He has blessed my efforts so much. To God be the glory!

If you haven't read My Rock and My Refuge yet, but you love historical fiction, fairy tale retellings, Christian fiction, and/or very clean and gentle romance, I think you might like this book ;-)  It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in an 1870s Colorado silver mining town. If you have read it, please leave a review for it somewhere! Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Northwestern Publishing House, wherever. Even just a star rating or a simple "I enjoyed this book" is always a plus!

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Just Gotta Share This

It's a marvelous Alan Ladd fanvid that I found today and can't get enough of, and I thought I really ought to share it with you :-)

You're welcome :-D

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Autumn Blogging Events in the Offing

Just a quick post to highlight some blogathons that are coming up soon!

Nine days from now, The Midnite Drive-In and I are co-hosting the Friends Fur Life Blogathon, which is dedicated to pets and animal companions onscreen.  I'll be reviewing Disney's 101 Dalmations (1961) for that event, as well as co-hosting it.  We have a pretty nice line-up of participants going, but will always welcome more!  

Next month, 18 Cinema Lane is hosting the Familyathon November 16-20th.  I'll be reviewing the ever-funny Mr. Mom (1983) for that event.

Finally, the Hammer-Amicus Blogathon IV is being hosted by Cinematic Catharsis and Realweegiemidget Reviews the first weekend in December.  I plan to review The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) for that one.

Hope you're having a lovely October!  My month has been unusually busy so far, but I'm hoping everything will all settle down soon.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Movie Music: Miklos Rozsa's "Ben-Hur" (1959)

Yesterday -- October 4, 2023 -- was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charlton Heston!  I meant to finish and post this yesterday, in celebration, but life got in the way.  Still, only a slightly belated celebration :-)

Ben-Hur (1959) is the first movie I ever saw Charlton Heston in.  My family rented it from the video store one weekend when I was probably ten or eleven, and I absolutely loved it.  When we bought our own copy a few years later, I watched it once a year or so.  For years, I dreamed of a chance to see it on the big screen, and I was actually able to do that a few years ago!  My husband and kids and I got to go see it in the theater, and it was magnificent.

While I have seen Charlton Heston in many other movies over the years, Ben-Hur remains my favorite film of his, and my favorite performance of his.  So, today, I am reviewing the film's soundtrack.

This is the most majestic score I have ever heard, and I have many favorite themes which get featured in many different tracks. Miklos Rozsa 100% earned that Oscar, my friends. 

I'll begin with the "Prelude" because it's what opens the film, and because it has bits of most of the major themes in it, so if you're only going to listen to one track, this one gives you an excellent taste of the style and overall sound of this soundtrack. And yet it manages to meld so many disparate themes into a cohesive whole -- remarkable achievement, really. 

"Friendship" is mostly a lyrical song, but with a masculine sensibility. The title refers to the bond of friendship between the main character, a Jewish noble named Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), and Messala (Stephen Boyd), a Roman soldier. The destruction of their friendship sets the story in motion, as a beautiful childhood relationship dissolves under the weight of adult loyalties. 

"Parade of the Charioteers" is all barely-contained energy and mounting adrenaline. Even if you don't know there's going to be a famous, fantastic chariot race happening next, this music would cue you in that something awesome and exciting is about to take place. 

And now for something completely different: the "Love Theme." It's tender, pensive, yearning. An oasis of quiet gentleness among all the spectacle. But at the same time, not remotely boring. 

If you want a little more, "The Overture" is also fantastic, and it covers even more of the main themes than "The Prelude." Yes, Ben-Hur is such a colossal movie, it has an overture, and then a prelude. And an intermission. And it deserves them. 

Okay, I'll stop here :-)  If you like these samplings at all, do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing on YouTube, starting here. Then if you love it, buy the CDs, the big, long, full score, because it is completely worth it. I do not tire of this music. 

(This review originally appeared here at J and J Productions on October 13, 2015.)