Right off the bat, I had a feeling about this 1947 movie...and I can't say that it was a good one. While an engaging enough story, the main feature of this film was to champion the feminist movement. Warning, I'm going to spoil this one for you.
Set in the late 1800's, when the Suffragettes had taken to the streets demanding equality, this is the story of a young female typist...who falls in love with her boss (and vice-versa [isn't that one of the dangers?]), but refuses to give up her "right to work" as his wife.
Betty Grable makes a beautiful, and sympathetic, feminist who wants both worlds--marriage and a doting husband and the "right" to work like a man. I am not a person who will argue that a woman being able to support herself is wrong, but once married in particular, it is a woman's duty to submit herself to her husband and come home (assuming she had been part of the workforce). [We'll skip the discussion of extenuating circumstances; I'm speaking in generalities here.]
Her boss is against women working...however, he's essentially blackmailed by his very feministic aunt into keeping the young lady...and then he keeps her around because he is attracted to her. By the end of the film, John has changed his tune and knuckled under to the pressure and ceded that even married women have a "right" to work outside the home.
That is how the movie has it's "happy ending". Being of the persuasion that women are, in general, to remain at home (not to be ornament or bumps on a log or slaves or anything of that sort), the film left a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure however that my grandmothers, had they seen it, would have loved it--it's romantic, it's funny, it has singing, and it champions what they wanted for themselves and their daughters. My mother once told me that her aunt, who herself was in the workforce, stated that "America went [wrong] when the women went to work."
So, in all, I would not recommend this film...it's sneaky, though blunt, in it's agenda. I have seen better musicals by a long shot anyway.
This 1974 film has some potential--the story that is.
Due to the vintage, the acting and historical accuracy left something to be desired (as well as the script), but the actual story isn't that bad.
The film follows the true story of the Sager family, but most particularly the eldest son, John, as they head out for Oregon from Missouri. John, at the age of 13 or thereabouts, has potential, but he is lazy, mean, and even disrespectful (at least in the film version. I would be interested in reading the book...)
After a couple of disasters, John is left, the eldest of seven children, to take care of his siblings. He determines to fulfill his papa's dream and go on to Oregon. The way is frought with danger, difficultly, and disease, but still he presses on, with his six younger siblings, one a babe in arms, to his goal.
The story has great potential--particularly when you take into account the fact that Christianity is not entirely absent.
But this is where the real disappointment comes in. The Christianity which could have been clear and present is only marginal and not as orthodox as it could have been (there is some clearly unorthodox theology in one particular scene). The growth that John could have shown is lacking--there is character growth implied, but it's not really shown. Instead of seeing a John that learns to be a man and to love his siblings, we only get sundry glimpses of it, to be covered back over by the harsh, bossy John. It's somewhat confusing actually...
There is an distinct element of 1970's children portraying 1840's children that just doesn't work. This, among other things, makes me wonder how much of the 1970's twist was put on the story and how different the book is.
I would not bother watching this film a second time because it wasn't really that great of a movie, but the story...that I would like to see made again from a distinctly reformed, Christian persepective.
This 1942 film is by far one of my favorites. I first saw it as a little girl (one of the myraids of old black and white films set during WWII that we checked out of base libraries) and loved it then. I was quite pleased therefore to find a copy floating around at a Goodwill store.
The film follows the lives of the Miniver family during the beginnings of WWII. The Minivers are a typical middle-class English family...the eldest son is enrolled in Oxford and is home on vacation when the war is announced--from the pulpit of the village church.
Soon the eldest son, Vin, is in the RAF and Mr. Miniver is part of the home guard. The war comes close to home with bombings, a downed German pilot, and the men of the village being called out in the middle of the night to asisst in the Dunkirk rescue (that is a pretty neat scene).
Underlying the main story is the sub-plot of Vin and Carol's romance and the rivarly between Lady Belding and Mr. Ballard's roses--incidently, Mr. Ballard named his prize rose the "Mrs. Miniver".
The basic worldview of this film seems to be Christian--the faith of the people is shown as being part of their lives. In fact, the opening music (and threaded throughout the movie) is that of one my favorite hymns "O God, Our Help in Ages Past". That is one of the underlying themes of the movie--evidenced by Mr. Ballard's Scripture quotation (out of Psalms, I believe). (He is a gentle, kindly man.)
The Miniver's are a typical middle-class English family, servants and all. They are a close-knit family, from a loving relationship between husband and wife to a friendship amongst siblings. Vin, the eldest, is a student at Oxford when the film opens. Mr. Miniver is the head of his house, the man to whom his wife turns when life gets complicated. They have a few playful moments that lighten some of the mood in the film.
The romance between Vin and Carol wasn't as "fast" as I had remembered (I guess 11-year-olds miss a few things). Vin had spent his childhood observing Carol, granddaughter of Lady Belding, so when the two of the get thrown together, it's not really unsual that he soon has feelings for her. Carol is a little more reserved about the idea, wanting to make sure he's serious before taking any definite steps. There is some kissing between them, but (spoiler) it's interesting to note that Vin asks Carol if it'd be 'okay' before he kisses her the first time.
Which brings up some observations about Vin's character growth (some of which can only be mentioned in the form of spoilers, so if you don't want that, skip this paragraph). Of all the characters, Vin Miniver has the most character growth. Upon his arrival home from school, he's cocky, somewhat self-important (though still a nice kid), and rather opinionated--he is rather ungracious in his declaration of certain ideas. His temper is both stoked and softened (in that order) by the kindly challenge given him to put his ideas into practice by Carol. [If I may mount a soap-box momentarily...this particular instance shows how girls can gently encourage young men to follow their vision rather than just have grand ideas in the relm of the intellect.] Vin apologies later for losing his temper, though not redacting his ideas (which is fine). By the end of the film, Vin has become a man--gentle, strong, and compassionate. We see him put aside his own grief, great as it is, to show love to a similarly grieving person. In his grief, Vin does not go off on some hair-brain sucidal mission (which is probably what one would see in a modern film), instead, we see him with his family, in church, listening to words of comfort and encouragement...and then singing "Onward Christian Soldiers".
The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn't been struck to the heart. And why? Surely you must have asked yourself this question. Why in all conscience should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed? I shall tell you why. Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom! Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right.
I have included the words of the Vicar's closing speech in the bombed church--for these words are stirring and remind us not only of another battle we as Christians must daily fight, but that this was the reality for the people of the British Isles during WWII. Their civilians were bombed--old men, women, and children were killed. These people had an evil regime breathing down their throats and life was hard...and they held up bravely under it.
May God defend the right!
This series is great; a self-conciously Christian look at D-Day.
There are seven episodes: 1) The Theological Signficance of the Second World War; 2) The Strategic Overview [basically of the whole Western theater]; 3) The Theology of Leadership on D-Day [kind of a brief overview of each national, as well as military, leader]; 4) Deception, Intellegencee, and Spying for D-Day; 5) The Decision to Go; 6) The Men of D-Day and the Meaning of Manhood; and 7) The Aftermath.
Hosted by Douglas W. Phillips and William Potter (military historian extraordinaire), the series is shot in Rome, Normandy, London, and St. Andrews. There is some reenactment footage as well as an interesting use of clips from previously made films such as The Longest Day (1962) and Band of Brothers (2001). The use of actual footage is very widespread and I personally, like that aspect.
Naturally, some of the most special moments are those where the viewer sees and hears the veterans telling parts of their stories.
I highly recommend this and I look forward to watching it again!
Wow.... I would most definitely not recommend watching this very powerful film right before bed. You won't sleep because "Vive Cristo Rey!!" will be ringing in your head.
For Greater Glory tells the story of the Mexican Cristeros War (1926-1929). I never even knew this particular conflict had happened until I first watched the trailer for this film late last year. This war was essentially the Mexican Catholics fighting to keep their religious freedom (and thereby other freedoms) against a tryannical and godless Federal government.
The film follows several different characters and groups of people, their stories all interconnected and weaving together to form a greater tapestry. There are really two main characters: Jose and General Enrique Gorostieta.
Jose, who starts the film out playing a practical joke on the local padre, becomes, even at his young age, an inspiration not only to General Gorostieta, but to many others who know him. One remarks (and this is proven to the full): "He is braver than most men." Jose's mantra is indeed, "Vive Cristo Rey!!"
Strangely enough for a man leading a fight for religious freedom is a man who is not religious (in the sense of being Christian)--a man whom even his wife calls an atheist--General Enrique Gorostieta. For all that, he knows the "talk" well (partly due to his wife's dedication) and he does not discourage the faith of his men. He rather encourages them in it, as evidenced by this line (it has to be one of my favorite lines of the movie): "You have to remember that men will fire bullets, but God will decide where they land! Vive Cristo Rey!"
General Gorostieta struggles with the notion of faith, God, and though it is not mentioned in such a way, providence. Speaking of which, the theology of this film, both spoken and implied, is fairly orthodox. There were of course, "Catholisms", but there really weren't any "bad theology!" red flags that lept out at me.
Among the other characters are the priest-general Father Vega, General Victoriano 'El Catorce' Ramirez, the men and women of the League for Religious Freedom (I believe that's right), Jose's family, and even an American ambassador.
This was the the first time I ever knowingly sat down to watch an R rated film. Before purchasing this movie, I was reading someplace about it and the gentleman remarked that he thought it had gotten an R rating because of it's protrayal of faith, freedom, and the willingness to die for it than for the actual violence.
In my opinion, the horror and violence of the time was dealt with very well--it was disturbing, but not overly gory or graphic. In fact, I think the fact that is was not overly graphic made it more potent. One gets the sense of horror, terror, and heartbreak without having to actually stare at it.
There were no really inappropriate scenes--the closest one might get is the brief shot of the ladies in their underclothing (more than what most women wear to the beach these days), putting strips of cloth with bullets in them around their middles.
There was really no language to speak of either...there is only one instance that I can remember--and of all people it was Father Vega!
This is a film that calls up many emotions--it is filled with courage, loyality, betrayal, love, hate, forgiveness, cruelty, heartbreak, pride, faith, self-sacrifice, and overarching all, a love of God and a willingness to fight and die for His name and the freedom to worship him without fear.
There is but one more thing that I want to say (and hopefully it is not really a spoiler--so beware, just in case): The ending of the film is not what we would call a "happy" ending. It is hopeful however, which is about the only reason one can finish film without feeling cheated. In retrospect, if it had had a happy ending, it would not have been so powerful. (It was, as far as I can tell, sticking pretty close to the actual history--so perhaps that is why.)
P.S. I most certianly do not recommend this for small children's viewing....
I would classify this 1943 film as "war movie with a lot of comedy and a little romance". Destroyer is the story of the USS John Paul Jones II from the day her keel was laid to her acceptance as a fighting ship.
Steve Boleslavski (more commonly known as Boley), is an old has-been sailor with a long and interesting history--much of which we discover throughout the film. He "built" the second John Paul Jones and manages to get himself aboard the new ship as First Chief. In the process, he pushes out the younger Micky Donohue.
Old Navy and New Navy clash as the "Jonesy" goes out for her sea trials--twice. Regarded as unfit for duty, she's relegated to a mail carrier--much to the disgust of the crew. Lt. Commander Clark (the ship's captain and an old friend of Boley's), finds himself with numerous transfer requests on his hands.
Boley manages to save the ship--in a figurative sense and literally--twice simply because of his love for her and the Navy. His little history lesson about Captain John Paul Jones was really one of my favorite scenes.
(I persist in calling the ship "her" because it fits with the tenor of the film as the following quotation will show: When Kansas [played by the inestimable Edger Buchanan] asks Boley, "Why do you call a ship a 'she'?" Boley responds, "Because she's like a woman--she curves in the right places, wears a coat of paint, and squawks loud in an agrument.")
While Old Navy (Boley) and New Navy (Donohue mainly) butt heads, Commander Clark sets up a little scheme to try to get them to work together--knowing both are good men and could learn a lot from each other. The scheme includes Boley's pretty daughter Mary, who just adores her dad and knows that if he gets kicked off the "Jonesy" it would break his heart. Not to give too much away, the scheme doesn't work out exactly like it was supposed to....
All told, I really enjoyed this film. The story was quite engaging. There was character growth in both the main characters, Dad is not portrayed as dumb (maybe a little set in his ways, but not stupid), and of course, Edgar Buchanan provided plenty of humor as Kansas. Brave, sacrificial manhood is encouraged, even while the old sailor tells the scared kids that it's alright to be scared--and even to cry! "It'll do you good..."
No language, no gore, a small amount of kissing...See below for my one big area of 'issue-taking'--it's a spoiler.
Beware: spoiler! I don't agree with the "underhanded" way the Micky and Mary got married--most particularly Micky's chicken-ness in telling Boley about it. It's an example of how not to get married, even though there really was nothing wrong with the match so to speak--and if Boley hadn't been serving with Donohue, he probably would not have had any real objections.
This English film made in 1940 is an adaptation from the book by the same name. I imagine that had one read the book some issues, like the nature of Thomas Arnold's "revolutionary" ideas, would be somewhat clearer.
Tom Brown's School Days is the joint story of Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby (a boys school) and Thomas Brown, a student and son of one of the trustee's (at least I think that is what he was); also to a great extent it is the story of another lad, East.
Dr. Arnold's dream is to reform boys schools, he desires to produce a generation of "God-fearing" men (I use quotation marks for that is the langauge of the film). He encourages manliness and honor in his boys. He decries cowardice for what it is. He expells boys for lying--for that is an outworking of cowardice. One of the main things he fights against is the bullying.
Tom is bullied as the "new boy". Tom's bravery in the face of one particular incident inspires the boys of the "Forth Form" (I suppose that is much like a grade), to fight back against the school bully, Flashman, and his special henchmen.
I cannot say much more without spoiling the climax, but I will go so far as to say that Tom is faced with a choice that has the potential to cause him disgrace and/or heartache no matter which choice, the right one or the wrong one, that he ultimately makes.
I found this film to be quite encouraging in it's protrayal of boys as young men--men who cry with a broken heart, rejoice with their friends, have compassion on the downtrodden, and fight bravely against bigger and stronger oppressors. The viewer is left rooting for the boys to be manly, Godly, brave young men. We are disappointed when they fail, but encouraged as they pick themselves up and face forward into the fray again. I'm actually interested in reading the book after watching the film.
This 1990 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's book, ranks high up on the scale of my "favorite" movies.
This movie is quite accurate to the book (which I have read--Stevenson being one my favorite "children's" authors). It is rare, at least in my viewing experience, for films made from books to be as closely aligned as this one is.
The story follows young Jim Hawkins from the day the mysterious (and drunken) "Captain" Bones arrived at the Admiral Benbow Inn.
When the Captain dies, Jim comes into the possession of the famous pirate Flint's map of Treasure Island, under some rather dangerous and disturbing circumstances. Soon he is aboard the Hispanola with Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, Captain Smullet, Long John Silver, and a crew of (mainly) pirates.
Upon reaching Treasure Island, the pirates and the remaining "loyal" men match wits and trade lead. At the center of the action is Jim Hawkins, acting with bravery and presence of mind. Ben Gunn also makes an apperence and helps in the fight against the pirates.
There are a few things I would like to note: 1st--there is some language in this movie. One could cut it and not really lose any dialogue. It could certainly be worse, but that does not excuse profanity. (Most of it is in the form of the D- word.)
2nd--the music is outstanding and really adds to the film. Without the "olde English" style music, this movie would not quite have the 'real' feel that it does. Speaking of feeling real, there is one scene where Jim gets his first taste of being a sailor. I found myself rocking in the rhythm of the "Heave! Heave!"--partly due to the music, but partly because of the angle of the shot. (Not that this has anything to do with the storyline exactly...)
3rd--Jim is a manly youngster. In fact, Long John declares at one point (to the pirates), "He's more of a man than the lot of you!" (or something to that effect). This is quite encouraging and pleasing. He shows fear, but he overcomes it rather than succumbs to it. He is an honorable lad to the point that when he gives his word he will not go back on it, even if it results in his death. Jim is a loving, respectful son to his mother and a respectful young man towards his superiors. He's also not a bad hand with a pistol...
4th--there are some scenes that might frighten a young child. The main ones I'm thinking of occur close to the beginning with Blind Pew....he's scary enough looking with the rag over his eyes, but once that gets removed and one sees the makeup job, it can really give one a jolt. I remember the first time I saw this movie, I nearly jumped out of my skin. It's not so bad the second or third time around, but it's still startling.
This is one of those movies that I want to watch again as soon as I'm finished with it, because it is just that good.
Produced in 1944 and starring Van Johnson as Ted Lawson, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a story of Doolittle's famous raid made in April 1942.
The story told in this film is also true...Ted Lawson is the pilot of a B-25 bomber. The story begins as he and his men are shipped to Eglin Air base in Florida to train for an extremely secretive mission. Which includes learning how to take off with only 500 feet of runway...
Ted's beloved wife follows him and we discover a blooming, solid relationship between the two. "Tell me honey, why are you so cute?" Ted asks multiple times. "So I could get such a good looking fellow..." Ellen always responds. This interchange is playful, but says much about them. Ellen is a wonderful military wife. She sends her man off with a smile, even while the tears lurk behind her eyelids. I very much appreciated this portrayal of an army wife. I also liked that the romance is between husband and wife. (There is enough kissing to cover the bases.)
After a successful bombing run, things go haywire...the rest of the story covers the men's return to the United States...along the way, they meet with rainstorms:
And some very kind Chinese:
Among the stars in this film are Robert Mitchum and Spencer Tracy as James Doolittle himself.
One gets the sense of actually being in the airplane during the flights...one can almost get motion sickness. Like many war movies of the era, it includes actual footage of the planes taking off, flying, and dropping their ordinance.
There is no language and nothing objectionable--unless you really cannot stand kissing in movies.
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a fine movie. I give it a 5-star.
The Story of Dr. Wassell is based on a true story. The movie weaves together two threads of Dr. Wassell's life. The one is backstory, shown throughout the film as flashbacks. The second is the heroics of a humble country doctor turned Navy medical officer.
Dr. Wassell is a Navy doctor on the Island of Java when the Japenese land in 1942. The men under his care are sailors from the ships USS Marblehead and USS Houston. When the island is evacuated, only the walking wounded are shipped out. Dr. Wassell refues to leave, so with the remaining stretcher cases, he braves the coming trouble. Each of the wounded men have their own part in the story. Without them, The Story of Dr. Wassell would not exist.
The only material that might be objectional in this film is the Javanese girls clothing (which really isn't bad). There are only two instances of kissing and that isn't overly dramatic. There is no language and the blood and/or violence is very tastefully handled. The element of romance is several cases is probably very much Hollywood, though
for some reason I suspect based on actual fact.
I might not suggest this film for very young children--for starters they wouldn't understand everything going on--though they could certainly get a laugh out of sailor Johnny Leeweather's hijinks. I first saw this movie when I was upwards of 10 (I can't place it exactly) and remember finding certain scenes somewhat disturbing. Even now they are, but more because I understand the gravity of the situation, than out of childish upset.
There is one scene that some might object to where Dr. Wassell addresses a statue of Buddah...almost like he's praying. I am not sure really how that was intended by the either the character or the director, but I found it almost comical while also understanding that prayer to anyone or thing beside God is sinful.
While the story is of serious import, it does have the moments of humor that good directors always seem to manage to slip into their films to lighten a dark moment.
All told, this movie ranks up there among my favorites. I give it a 5-star for engaging story, clean language, acting, and special effects. Made in 1944, the special effects are outstanding. You honestly think you just saw the road explode into black dust when a bomb lands.
The Story of Dr. Wassell is a movie I certainly plan on watching again sometime....
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.