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Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! To start us off we have:

****Contains Spoilers****

So I watched this during the COVID-19 #shelterinplace with my friend for her birthday. As we couldn’t be together, we decided to each watch at the same time and then text each other our thoughts. It is hard enough trying to make plans and now we have more time, but can’t get together.

Ugh! It’s so unfair

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Now I’m not a big Miss Fisher fan. I have watched the show but I don’t really like the content. The mysteries are okay-usually there isn’t a whole lot of detecting and the answer just comes at the end. I’m not a fan of the book series either as I read a couple before I watched the series and just couldn’t get into it.

What I do like about the series is the characters-that’s the only reason I kept watching them: Mr. Butler Dorothy “Dot” Williams, Constable Hugh Collins, Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson, Cec, Burt, etc.- and I like how they interact with each other and Miss Fisher.

So quick recap for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) grew up poor but after WWI inherited a distant relatives fortune and now has boundless dollars. She does whatever she wants in 1920s Australia, often being asked to look into mysteries or crimes that have happened. She has a best friend/companion/lady’s maid in Dot, fosters a young girl Jane, hires two taxi drivers to assist in her investigations (Cec and Burt), and is constantly helping out/being a thorn in the side of Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson and his Constable Hugh.

This film takes place after the final season, when we last saw the crew Phryne saved her father, Dot and Hugh married, and Phryne asks Jack to pursue her twice. So now that the recap is over-let’s move onto the mystery.

Mystery, you say?

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So we start off the film with the opening lines of “agitators” and I totally thought it said alligators. My friend did too, not a good font choice.

So we start off with a figure-Miss Fisher-running through the streets of a Middle Eastern city. Oh no, her hijab caught on a stick, I hate when that happens, you know your clothes get caught on things.

The hijab is pulled off and we get to look at Miss Fisher’s dress- it sure is something, look at all those sequins. Miss Fisher always has fantastic clothes.

So while Miss Fisher is running through the streets, all I can wonder is, where is Dot?

Hmm…

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Or why is Miss Fisher there?

Hmm…

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And where is Detective Jack (Nathan Page)?

Where is everyone?

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So Miss Fisher is searching for someone/something. Ew, she was scaling the wall and then put her gloved hand in hr mouth-gross. That wall is probably super dirty as I’m sure it has never been cleaned. 

So she is looking for a Shirin. Why is she looking for Shirin? How does she know her?

What the heck?

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Police follow Miss Fisher in a car while she and Shirin are on a motorbike. Good thing cars didn’t go fast back then or else they would be easily caught. They ditch the bike and get on top of a train with Miss Fisher in her heels being able to manage that.

I hate when movies and book do that. The train is going through a tunnel and she isn’t going to make it! Fade to black. We then switch to Australia

Oh, no! Is that Dot crying? Aw, she’s pregnant, she and Hugo are having a baby!

How sweet!

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This timeline feels off, but that happens when they make movies. So it turns out that Miss Fisher is presumed dead again, and they are holding a funeral in London. Hugh and Dot can’t go because she is so far along, but Jack journeys to it.

The funeral starts, and Aunt Prudence doesn’t sit on a regular chair but has to have an armchair. She has to have the best of the best.

So the funeral is interrupted by a plane overhead, and it is so obvious that it is Miss Fisher. So now that we know she is crashing her funeral, who are all these other people?

I mean for real!

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I mean right away I know that one guy is Rupert Penry-Jones, you know Captain Wentworth, but who is he in the film?

I looked him up and his character is Jonathan Lofthouse, but who is he to Phryne, they never say in the film-although the flirt a lot so we know he isn’t a close relation.

Hmm…

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Oh no, poor Jack. He won’t be happy, I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack with how many times Phryne has “died”. Oh..his face might get stuck in that expression.

Phryne: Why are you so angry?

Really? Really? And you just kissing everyone like it’s no big deal. Ohmygosh! I wanted to slap some sense into her. Don’t you know how that would make Jack feel? And then she is all tell me what you wrote in your eulogy and he’s all it says I’m done with you. And she is offended? Really?

You know why he is angry and you are being so caviler with his feelings. He believed you dead! Phryne ca be fun, but in this she is kind of a jerk-especially the way she flirts in front of him with all these other guys in front of him. Like this guy wanted to marry you, he LOVES you and you don’t care one iota for his feelings.

And who are these people? Especially the guy she keeps kissing-Jonathan? Like why does she know them why are they at the funeral?

Hmm…what’s going on?

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Jonathan and his older brother are fencing while taking about the war and those two have serious issues. They also are talking a bit about what happened in WWI, but there is a whole angry subtext going on underneath.

So the Sheikh is Shirin’s uncle and he and Eleanor, the wife of Jonathan’s brother seem too close.

Hmmm…

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So Sheikh Kahlil Abbas, Jonathan, and his brother-I guess I should look his name up…let’s see Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse. Seriously? Who came up with that name? Anyways…They have some business plan that they are doing-something that needs to go through or else the Lofthouses will lose everything as Lofty sucks at keeping the finances together.

I’m pretty over it and are focusing on more important things. When is Jack coming back? If he has just a cameo I am going to be very disappointed.

We need more Jack!

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Hmm…is this sheik a good or bad guy? They seem to be setting him up to have a secret of some kind but is it a red herring or foreshadowing?

Seriously

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I really miss Mr. Butler the Butler. He was awesome. This butler is super creepy and weird. He slinks around and freaks me out.

Shirin Abbas gets a note from someone saying he is a friend of Shirin and has information regarding the death of her family. When she was little her whole tribe was killed in a sandstorm. She remembers someone slaughtering everyone and sparing her-but the English government has gone with the sandstorm story and jailed her for stirring things up (that’s why Phryne had to save her). Phryne doesn’t want her to go, but decides to take her place.

Phryne goes to see Jack to assist her who is staying at a pretty crappy hotel, I mean the door is pretty see-through. Jeez Phryne, you could have offered him a room at the mansion you are staying at Phryne.

I mean for real!

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Jack is also made because Phryne got married! WHAT????

So she didn’t want to marry Jack as she “wasn’t ready” but then went and married some other guy?

This girl!

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They go to the meeting place, a church, which is pretty deserted. If this was me I’d want my back to the wall as it is the perfect point to assassinate someone.

Phryne finds the friend who looks crazy and possibly drugged. He speaks of demons.

So with the WWI talk, the Sheikh, the English government controlling the country, and most likely the massacre of the tribe- here are my theories:

A) Maybe this guy was one of the English troops (best guess from all that was said earlier and how they mentioned the sheik is now indebted to the government) sent to kill the tribe but spared her a she was a toddler.

B) Maybe the sheikh isn’t really the sheikh but they murdered the tribe to hide the fact that they were placing someone else in who would allow them to takeover the country. The solider spared the girl because she was so young and she had never met her uncle before so she wouldn’t be able to tell if he is or isn’t the real sheikh.

He gets shot, TOLD YOU! Perfect place for an assassination, but passes on an emerald amulet . They call the police who are incredibly rude to Jack, and he holds their passport and Jack is upset that he can’t return to Australia. Phryne is mad at him, but geez-Jack has a real job and is not rich like you. Remember he took off time for your funeral.

I mean for real!

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Like you grew up poor, you think you would remember parts of what it was like.

They go to meet Phryne’s friend who is involved with art and antiquities, she had run into him on her earlier escapades, and he goes upstairs to look for something He takes a really long time and they hear a noise. Phryne follows as she is all Danger? Where? Let me at it! She doesn’t even want Jack to go with her.

Such a man!

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So that guy is safe, but another one comes in and then a fire, wow it went 0-6 real fast.

Phryne runs after the thief but doesn’t shoot at him and he disappears in the fog. Well you should’ve hit him in the leg or something.

Jack saves the amulet and Phryne and him get really close when the firefighters come. They are like oh yeah, there is a fire.

They show the necklace to Shirin who remembers it. She has a flashback to her mom holding it. I think it might be a key as the way it is shaped, it could fit into something. My friend also pointed out it is a triangle-just like her tattoo.

Supposedly, there is a tomb and they were supposed to protect it I’m guessing. Th necklace MUST be a key. They also find a compass. Hmm, maybe it is supposed to be like in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and they need it to find the crypt of tears.

Hmm…treasure?

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The Lofthouses and the Sheikh were involved in what looks like a shady business deal. Hmm…thought so.

Phryne wears a sweater with a big “PF” on it. Wow, I have no words.

Wow…

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So the Sheikh wants Shirin to forget all about the past and focus on London and the ball they are throwing her. I can’t hep but think that it is a huge deal to accept her so she should be happier, but when she leaves the Sheik, he seems to be thinking about it. Is he planning something bad or helpful?

Hmmm…

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Shirin tells Phryne about the past and says it was three men who destroyed the village-I would have thought they would need more to destroy a whole village.

I think the Sheikh is somehow involved and that the men forced the mother to open to the tomb.

Hmm…

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That night at the party Jack looks good in his fancy duds.

That evening the Sheikh fights with the Lofthouses, not wanting to agree to the deal anymore. Maybe he isn’t involved. Hmm….

Hmm…

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Everyone is shouting secrets at this party, like shouting. The extra in a yellow dress and gold jacket was like oops, heard all of that. Mr. Lofthouse and the Sheikh are causing a scene as well.

All I can think is, why did Phryne marry that other guy. They better tell us, and soon.

This is like the worst party ever, at least no one died…but just wait…Oh no a gunshot! There it is.

The cop on the scene is pretty sharp putting things together. When it comes to alibis Jonathan tries to protect his brother (or him), by saying they were together, but the butler says no he and Jonathan were together. Wow really threw the older brother under the bus. Hmm…we know that Jonathon wasn’t with his brother, so why would he lie?

Hmm…

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Maybe the butler doesn’t like the Lord of the manner, but then again who does?

So the Sheikh is the one who is dead and Phryne sets off to investigate his room. She looks in a vase and finds a ginourmous emerald. Why would you have an emerald that big and hide it out in a tomb in the desert. Why wouldn’t you take that to your palace?

I mean for real!

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So Alexander the Great curses the emerald that whoever takes it death will follow. How come he had those powers? Where did they come from? I wish I had powers like that. I’d be cursing all kinds of objects.

Phryne decides to leave for the Middle East and the tomb and Jack wants to go with her but sorry only two fit in the plane and she’s taking Shirin. Ouch.

Jonathan going to come too and fly Jack, but how can they do that when Scotland Yard had their passports?

So they end up in the Middle East and the guide they hire is really shady. He has a big rifle and is all that’s for hunting. What do you hunt in the middle of a sandy desert?

Hmm…

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Obviously he is lying, but why? Who put him up to it? Who is behind this all. The Sheik died so that leaves us with Lofty, Jonathan, Lady Eleanor, and the butler. There is no others they introduced unless Shirin is secretly a child mass murderer. They wouldn’t…would they? Nah!

Hmm…

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I think Jonathan might be the one in on it, why else would he leave his brother behind if he wants to “help” him so bad. That seems weird.

Hmmm…

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Phryne of course looks glamourous in the hot desert and is all made up. She seduces the guide so they can overpower him and get the truth. Someone paid him to delay him. Who? Who? The guide doesn’t know.

Such a man!

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She and Jack fight and he brings up her husband, at least we will get the truth about her husband, the Maharajah…but no Jack storms off and Phryne follows him falling into quicksand? Okay…whatever.

It turns out that the Maharajah is gay and there were rumors and he was going to be killed so to stop them Phryne married him but doesn’t live with him. Like how does that make sense at all? He could’ve married anyone and how does the wife not living with him keep people from thinking he was gay?

I mean he’s royal! He could command anyone to marry him. And most royal marriages married for an alliance and to produce heirs or for wealth, not love. It makes more sense for him to marry a royal woman to have a child and then continue with his life and what he is doing. This is the stupidest thing ever. What royal parents or people would want their maharajah to marry some Australian woman who doesn’t even live in the country. This is incredibly dumb and just a plot device to keep Phryne and Jack apart.

So the tattoo does help lead the way and they find the tomb. So Jonathan is being really strange, and I am hardcore believing it is Jonathan right now.

They get i the tomb and find Alexander’s desert bride, the first time we heard that one.

What??

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Watch out she might come alive like in The Mummy.

They find a knife with initials on it and I know it will be JL, for Jonathan Lofthouse as he is weird.

So he wanted to return the emerald as his troop came and slaughtered the tribe for it. He felt guilty and after the Sheikh died hid it in the room as he knew Phryne would find it and return it. Okay I feel like you could have handled this a lot better in a completely different way. It seems really convoluted.

Or plot!

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But he says he did’t kill the sheikh? If Jonathan didn’t do it, then who did?

Hmm…

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It turns out the butler is there in the tomb and he did it. Yes the butler did it.

Yes the butler did, but why? It doesn’t make sense? And how could he afford to get there or know where to even find this secret tomb. This whole thing makes no sense.

This doesn’t make sense!

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But Phryne knows, it is because he is secretly Jonathan’s father?

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

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HUH???!!!

How did she know? Where were the clues? I mean he liked Jonathan better than his older brother, but just because Mr. Carson liked Mary better than the other girls I never suspected that he was secretly her father.

How did the butler not only get the money and knowledge to travel to the middle of nowhere, but how did he beat them?

What??

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The butler is going to kill them, but Jonathan saves them as the tomb collapses-all make it out but those two. Phyrne and Jack are now alone in the desert, what happened to Shirin? And they end up sleeping together which I don’t like as Phryne was a GIANT jerk to him in this and Jack was so moral and wanted to marry Phryne not just be another guy she sleeps with.

As they are traveling a man comes from nowhere with a message that Phryne’s husband is dead and they need her to solve the crime. How, what, why?

So this film didn’t work for me. First of all Miss Fisher works because of the contrast between her and all the other characters-so removing her from them didn’t work at all.

Second, Detective Jack Robinson didn’t really work in this scenario either. In Australia, he is in a position of power, he can get information, he has a role-going to England and the Middle East doesn’t work for him. He has no power, he can’t do anything, he has no role to play but follow Phryne around.

And third, Phyrne is completely callous and rude in this. Like she does her own thing, and is light and airy-but she never is cruel like this.

Fourth-this story sucks. Like what were they thinking-this plot is everywhere. They should have thought smaller, kept it in Australia, and created better mystery. Like where were the clues? Everything just felt so out of left field. And what was up with this mythology of Alexander the Great?

For more female private detectives, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to The Last Puzzle: The Last Christmas, Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

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Do You Ever Read the Books You Burn?: Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

So today ends Banned Book Week. As this is the first time in forever that it runs into October, I thought what better time than now to review this movie.

Guy Montag: Do you remember what you asked me the other day: if I ever read the books I burn? Remember?

Clarisse: Uh-huh.

Guy Montag: Last night I read one.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is one of my absolute favorite books. I was first was introduced to it at the age of 10, when I came across my parents watching the film, this movie. I didn’t quite understand it, so my mom gave me the book to read. Since then I read it at least once a year.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th…

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So I don’t always love when they turn a book into a film as usually the film greatly disappoints, but in this case I love this film. Although I do dislike one thing. I can’t stand Julie Christie in the dual roles of Montag’s wife Linda and Clarisse, the woman who makes him start questioning what he believes. I know why the director chose it-to highlight the differences, contrast the personalities, etc.-but I think it makes it seem like he falls for her because she looks like his wife instead of who she is. It turned out to be a last minute decision as they couldn’t get who they wanted (Alfred Hitchcock wouldn’t let Tippi Hedrun go as he was obsessed and controlling her). The studio wanted Julie Christie and François Truffaut decided to have her as both characters.

François Truffaut was known to say he disliked SciFi films, and a friend suggested that he try Fahrenheit 451. He did and was hooked, feeling he needed to make a film of it.

But all was not happy on the set. Terrence Stamp was supposed to be Montag, but dropped out and was recast with Oskar Werner. Werner is the only one in the whole production to have a different accent, German to everyone’s English. I don’t mind as it is another thing that sets him apart from the others. He and Truffaut did not get along, and Truffaut said that if he hadn’t wanted to make film so bad and spent so much time raising money for it, he would have walked. Even though the two had their differences and fights, the end result of the film looked good to me and remains a favorite dystopian future film.

So we start the film off with seeing how every house has antennae. Everyone watches TV, are they also being watched?

Hmm…

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The credits are read out to you instead of you reading-to go with the no reading anything in the future. This adds to the creepiness. of the film.

Creepy…

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They start the film off immediately with them going in the firetruck all dressed in black suits similar to Nazi uniforms. The firetruck is an old fashioned one that just holds the men-there is no fire hose.

The music playing makes me think of Psycho-the way the music lifts and falls increasing your anxiety. I looked it up and it is by the same composer, Bernard Herrmann.

I can’t believe I got that right!

So back to the film-a man is calmly eating an apple in his home receives a phone call-warning him to get out. He leaves with nothing, running. The fireman come in and start searching for books, finding Don Quixote  in the light-I read somewhere that a lot of the books used are the directors favorites.

They have nasty looking tools they use to search everywhere-the TV is full of books, it being completely fake. You couldn’t do that today with these skinny ones. After they collect all the items they take them outside and burn them all.

I’d be freaking out if those were my books.

A little boy picks up a book off the ground and looks at it, curious. A fireman looks at him-and dad, scared, throws it on the fire.

So in the book all the firemen look alike, one of the reasons why you are given that vocation. They are all dark haired and tall, same build. In here, most of them are all a shade of blonde, ah Nazi ambience again. It makes sense as Truffaut was a preteen during WWII, I’m sure the experiences really affected him, espechially seeing the Nazis taking over French cities. He probably used some of those experiences when directing this.

It is really unsettling to see these men in black and they all look so much alike-a faceless horde in a way.

SUPER creeped

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Captain Beatty, Montag’s boss refers to Montag in a kind of the third person-just by his last name. No I You, etc. No individuality at all. 

Montag rides the train home, and runs into Clarisse. In the book she was a teen and a representation of innocence. In here she is a woman, which is not a bad change as they decided to go the route of a romantic relationship.

Clarisse talks to him, and she loves to talk. It seems a bit odd has she comes up and talks to him, I feel it made more sense as a teenager, as being young you wouldn’t always know or recognize social cues like an adult would.

Hmm…

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They get off at the same stop because they are neighbors and Clarisse talks to him and asks him if it was true that firemen used to put out fires instead of starting them. Montag laughs at her, and says houses have always been fireproof-firemen have always destroyed books.

Clarisse asks about why Montag does it, and Montag gives the spiel of what they told him, books are rubbish. Clarisse continues to press him on it and Montag continues giving the spiel. I like this because it shows that Montag isn’t thinking about it or believes in the books being an evil to society, but that he has been taught that and never gave it another though-but now, those questions have started a seed in his head.

Clarisse asks him, “Do you ever read the books you burn?” and he repeats the spiel again…but something has him thinking….

Hmmm…

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Montag gets home and the TV is on, the TV is always on. His wife is obsessed with the TV calling them “her family”, the announcers being referred to as “cousins”. he TV tlks to people nd calls them  cousins, evryone is one hapy family. His wife, Linda, is so checked out, she only cares about watching TV.

That night she has a special part in the episode. At times the show will pause as they will ask a question and wait for Linda to reply. Montag is checked out of this as he is bored-his upcoming promotion is blah, life is blah, wife is blah. This makes me think of The Truman Show when Truman starts thinking, why did I choose this life and then realizing he didn’t really choose it.

I love all the little touches Truffaut has with the newspaper being just has pictures. I never noticed it before but it looks like the Ku Klux Klan on the back.

While Montag “reads” the paper, Linda watches a mini TV by her bed, I told you that’s her life. She has to watch 24/7.

She’s glued to it. (Picture from Ringu)

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Next day at work everyone congratulates him on the promotion, but he’s not as thrilled as he should be. One thing I really like about this is seeing the Montag teach the new recruits. I think it adds to the film. Montag is currently teaching them about concealment-must learn to where you would hide them. Hide in every day objects like toasters, use cylindrical objects like thermos to trick the firemen, using empty TVs, even hiding them in the house construction, etc. All the things he talks about will be shown again in the film as hiding places.

Montag gets called to come see the Captain. When they greet their higher ups they do a saute across the body, again reminiscent of Hitler and the Nazis. I definitely think some aspects of this were influenced by the Occupation of France and WWII

The boss looks though the file, as he wants to talk to him about the promotion. In his file are only pictures-ones from every angle, in fact they look like prison photos. Their whole interaction is strange but we learn a lot about the world they live in. You see Montag is married, childless, says little, and agrees with everything that his boss says. The perfect man to be risen up in power. That’s their ideal person.

That night, Montag gets home and finds the TV off-strange. Something is wrong as Linda always has the TV on.

Something isn’t right…

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Linda has overdosed on drugs. Earlier Montag asked her about how many pills she took and she laughed shrugged it off. He calls 911 and no doctor or nurse come. Instead two guys come to pump her stomach and give her a transfusion. I liked in the book how Bradbury described it as a snake going into her, in my mind I aways saw them as like plumbers snaking a drain. The guys are jolly and joking, just another day this happens all the time. The guys joke and laugh as they go out that “tomorrow she’ll be hungry for all types of things”.

The next day Linda is normal, nothing is remembered. Montag is upset and tries to talk to her but she doesn’t care she just has an appetite for everything and all is forgotten as all seems fine, in fact more than fine.

That’s just how I am.

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The next day Montag takes the train home and sees Clarisse, thinking about what she said.

One thing that is interesting seeing people on the train, people are all in love with themselves. When he’s on the train he sees the girls looking at themselves and admiring their beauty and the boys doing the same. No one interacts with each other, or talks to each other, etc. They are too busy focused on themselves. It’s like that Billy Idol song, Dancing With Myself. All they care about id their reflection.

The next day Montag comes home with something in his pack. He stuffs it in the bathroom. What is it?

Hmm…

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A book?

It is a book!

He’s reading David Copperfield! I really like how they show him reading with his finger under each word. I know they probably did for the camera-but it is how a lot of people read when they first learn.

The next day Clarisse is walking with an older lady and they see Montag, watching him on the train as well. Clarisse goes alone and plans running into him. I don’t like that as much as in the book Clarisse, looked for him at first but then they continued to run into each other organically as Clarisse’s innocence and her total opposite of what was normal to him-intrigued him.

So Clarisse is upset and runs into Montag, the two go into a coffee shop and shares what is going on. She’s upset as she was dismissed from work (she was on probation as a teacher). Montag tells her to go and talk to them, but she doesn’t want to go lone. Clarisse calls Montag’s boss as Linda and says he is sick. I can’t believe Montag would go along with that as he is such a yes man, but I guess that is why he agrees with Clarisse.

So watching this film, I don’t really like Julie Christie in the dual role. I know money was tight and that’s why they ended up doing it that way but I really wish they had another actress in this. Julie Christie as Linda is perfect-she’s froth, light, no substance-only focused on the shallow things in life and checked out-but Christie as Clarisse is where I feel she struggles. It’s not wholly her fault, she trying to be do completely different people, which is extremely tough. Clarisse is light, carefree, innocent, naive, and endearing-Christie tries to do it but instead of being young she comes off as if she is trying too hard to be carefree. It doesn’t work for me.

When they get inside the school the kids all dress the same and are doing their multiplication in perfect unison. It’s really creepy and reminds me of the scene in A Wrinkle in Time when all the kids on the planet do everything in perfect unison.

SUPER creeped

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At the school the children all run from Clarisse in fear. They loved her a few days ago, and now they hate her. Someone tosses her belongings tied up in a scarf and slide them down the hall-very clear their message: get out and stay out.

I really like the set of this film-the hallway is long and foreboding. The predominant clothes are red, orange, black, and gray-like fire and firefighters.

Montag admits to Clarisse that he read a book-wow the whole David Copperfield in one night?

Now that he started, he can’t stop. He has more and more book every night, he’s reading and thinking, even reading the dictionary.

Mildred wakes up one evening and starts investigating  finding a ton of them. She’s upset and wants them gone, but Montag is too protective.

Guy Montag: [to Linda] You’ve spent your whole life in front of that family wall. These books are my family.

Montag starts asking Linda questions about their relationship. When did they meet? Why did we get married? How did we fall in love? Linda cannot remember, neither can Montag. It makes me think of The Truman Show, when he starts thinking about his life and how it all happened.

How did this all happen!

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The next day Montag tries to use the fireman pole but it’s not working. He has to take the gorgeous spiral staircase. If I ever built a house I would want a spiral staircase as it is just lovely. Anyways, the bell rings, and the men get dressed and go out, instead of the pole, Montag has to take the stairs.

They go to the house and find it unlocked, strange. It’s a beautiful Victorian and the lady comes out-it was the one that Clarisse had been talking to, the teacher who was fired and she took their place. She laughs at the men when she sees them and quotes:

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.

This lady is awesome-the way she stands up to them. They try to push her around and she laughs in their faces. I hope that if I ever stand up for my beliefs I’m as cool as she is.

Her house is full of books.

There are books everywhere and in everything-every place they could be hidden. They toss them downstairs to burn them.

The hous has a secret room-a secret library.

That’s soooooo cool!!!!!!!!!

Captain Beatty takes Montag upstairs and tells him that every fireman once in their career wants to read one, a book-but he cautions Montag that there is noting.

The Captain: Listen to me, Montag. Once to each fireman, at least once in his career, he just itches to know what these books are all about. He just aches to know. Isn’t that so?…These are all novels, all about people that never existed, the people that read them it makes them unhappy with their own lives. Makes them want to live in other ways they can never really be…Look, all stories of the dead, biography that’s called, and autobiography. My life, my diary, my memoirs, my – intimate memoirs…Robinson Crusoe, the Negroes didn’t like that because of his man, Friday. And Nietzsche, Nietzsche, the Jews didn’t like Nietzsche. Here’s a book about lung cancer. You see, all the cigarette smokers got into a panic, so for everybody’s peace of mind, we burn it….You see, it’s… it’s no good, Montag. We’ve all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

As Captain Beatty rants, he goes through the different books in the library. Here are a few I caught the names of: Othello, Vanity Fair, Alice in Wonderland, Edicts of Aristotle, Robinson Crusoe, Madame Bovary, The World of Salvador Dali, Holy Deadlock, Confessions of an Irish Rebel-etc.

Montag steals a book, but another fireman spots him.

Beatty’s philosophizing is interrupted when they find out the lady won’t leave the house. Montag wants her to be forced to leave, but Beatty doesn’t care and says if she wants to die she can die.

They spray the house with kerosine, but instead of them lighting it up, she has matches in her pocket.

Yep, she’s going to decide when the fire will come. The men run while she burns with her “family”. Montag is the last one out, shaken by the scene. Uncertain of how to feel, what this means, what is right, what is wrong, etc.

Linda and her friends are all gathered watching TV, their talk is meaningless and shallow. Montag is mad and and upset about what happened and shares about how he saw the lady being burned. He’s angry and lashing out at these empty husks-not living but just killing time. Mntag brings out a book and reads it to them, a passage from David Copperfield. One lady, Doris, starts crying as the words evoke emotion in her.

“There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.”

All the ladies leave. Montag is like an addict, a book addict.

He is compelled to read, he wants to read everything-he feels the need to catch up-as there is just so much and so little time.

That night Montag has a nightmare. He’s i the schoolhouse, on the train, at the lady’s house who burned up, instead of the lady it is Clarisse and he sees her burning.

You know I realized watching the film this time that Clarisse and Montag actually haven’t spent a lot of time together in the film. I feel like they had more meaningful conversations in the book.

Hmm…

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That night Clariss hears the siren and sees the firemen coming to her house. She grabs her go bag and escapes through the roof. The next day Montag goes to work but feels sick. Linda can’t stand the books and begs him to get rd of them threatening to leave him as she can’t live with the fear and anxiety, but Montag ignores her

Montag goes to talk toClarisse and finds the house boarded up and that they were arrested last night. Montag has to know if they are alright and hurries to work. Outside, Montag spots Captain Beatty yelling at a recruit. Montag uses that time to sneak into the captain’s office to find out what happened to Clarisse. He uses a stud in his glove to unscrew the window in the door and reach in and unlock it. Very Macgyver. But unbknowst to him, downstaies the captain has just been given the file.

Will Montag get out in time!!?

Oh no! The music emphasizing every step of the Captain.

Montag gets caught, and the Captain shows him the pictures of those that were imprisoned and those that escaped. The captain thinks he wants he house, but questions how he got into his locked office. Before Montag can reply he faints from relief and is sent home.

Mildred decides she can’t do this anymore and reports Montag.

Meanwhile, Montag searches for Clarisse and finds her getting off the train. Clarisse stayed away all night but needs to sneak into her house to get something. She is searching for a list of names and addresses of people hiding, Montag offers to help as it is something he knows how to do and is really good at. Remember he taught all the recruits.

He discovers it in a vase-cylindrical objects, and burns it for Clarisse.

Clarisse admits that she picked hjm out-she thought he would help them. Montag tells her he knows as he realized it when the woman burned herself. Clarisse shares she did it as she was afraid that when they tortured her she would spill everything.

Clarisse shares with him that there is a place where the book people live. People who have escaped from society-they live far away in the hills and country-all have  a book committed to memory. No longer themselves, they are a book.

Or years.

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Clarisse asks him to come with him, but Montag has unfinished business. Things he wants to do here, to try and destroy the power of the fireman. They part ways both believing they will never see each other again.

Linda packs up at the house, taking her clothes and a picture of herself (wow, that’s telling), while Montag goes to the station to try to give his resignation-but Beatty refuses it and convinces him to take a final call. When they stop at the house, Montag realizes it is his house!

Montag helps pull all the books out, although he does stuff one in his uniform. They give Montag the flame thrower to destroy it and he burns his bed-the betrayal of his wife.

Then the tv he always hated, the family. He then burns the books-Moby Dick,  Don Juan, The Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Plexus, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, MAD, Lolita, The Brothers Karamoz, etc.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not the books.

Everytime I watch the books burn my heart breaks a little and it makes me want to cry. This would be me:

Montag won’t let them burn his special book, and when Captain Beatty tries to pull it from him and threatens to arrest him-he turns the flame thrower on Captain Beatty, and the house.

Montag runs away and the authorities call out to all citizens to look out their doors for Montag, a man running and report if they find him. They use all those pictures in his file to splatter across TV.

So in the film, Clarisse told him where to go to find the book people, while in the book he just runs to the country. In both, all people live in the city and no one ever goes out to the country which makes it the perfect place to hide out.

Montag is hidog as they search for him. In the book they sent a mechanical hound that searches for him by his DNA with a needle full of toxic substance that will find him and prick him, killing him. I don’t think they had the technology a the time to make a creepy and realistic looking one. I don’t really want to watch the remake with Michael B. Jordan as you know how I feel about remakes:

I espechially do not like HBO ruining books I like (I did not like The Big Little Lies adaption)-but I would be interested to see how they have they do the hound.

As Montag walks he comes upon a group of people. One man greets him and shows him to a TV where they watch Montag’s capture.

What??

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In the future, people have short attention spans and cannot keep the viewers waiting. They must have a climax and they find a guy just walking down the street and shoot him down.

We see different people walking around-hey there is the guy from the very beginning! So remember how the film didn’t have a lot of money? The Book People at the end were mostly played by members of the film crew.

Some of the book people are Plato’s Republic, Wuthering Heights, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pilgrim’s Progress, Waiting for Godot, The Jewish Question, The Martian Chronicles, The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, The Prince, Pride and Prejudice (spilt between two people as it was originally two volumes), etc.

One day society will want them again and books will be printed again.

Montag’s “special book” is Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe. He will be memorizing it and runs into Clarisse,

I love at the end how everyone is walking and reciting their books, Montag reading and trying to memorize his. The lovely words from all different books running over each other as the snow falls.

Everytime I watch this I always winder, which book would I want to memorize? Which would be the one I think is the important enough to carry on to the next generation? I feel like it would be too hard to pick one.

 

For more on Fahrenheit 451, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

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Who Kidnapped the Girls’ Soccer Stars?: North Mammon, Criminal Minds (2006)

So Criminal Minds-I was a HUGE fan when it first aired and I watched it faithfully for seven years-only stopping when I moved from the dorms to an apartment that didn’t have cable.

I was so invested in this show as I was deeply interested in behavioral analysis. When I first went to college I studied psychology, hoping to work for the FBI one day…however, I hated the psychology classes as we kept having to talk about ourselves (I ended up switching to history).

One of the other reasons I wanted to watch this show was for Thomas Gibson.

So Handsome!!!

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Yes, I was a fan of his from Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Dharma and Greg. So when I saw the content of the show with this actor-I was gone. I needed to watch it-the remote is MINE!

I have to watch it.

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And to top it all off-Mandy Pantinkin, his most famous role being of course, Inigo Montoya, was also in the show. I love him!

So the show is about the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit which is comprised of the leader Agent Hotchner and Jason Gideon. The rest of the team consists of Elle Greenaway, the sexual predator profiler (who ends up leaving and is replaced by Emily Prentiss). We also have Derek Morgan (played by the very handsome Shermar Moore) and appears to be the standard tough guy, ex-athlethe, charming, ladies’ man-but you find out there is far more to him than what appears at first glance. Spencer Reid is a super genius and the youngest member of the unit. He is only 22 in the first episode but already has three PhDs, two BAs, and has a photographic memory. Reid is utterly adorable.

Rounding out the team is Agent Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the liasion between the FBI and the town they move into to help out. She’s sweet, kind, adorable; and when the show dropped her the fans revolted, bringing her back. Rounding the team out is Penelope Garcia, the quirky, adorable computer whiz and annoying Emily Prentiss (I don’t like her).

That’s just how I am.

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There are a lot of memorable Criminal Minds episodes, but the one that really stuck in my mind was this episode, “North Mammon”. I think it largely had to do with the fact that it was a “J.J.” episode. Every team member had their “special episodes” were something in a case resonated with them and brought out why they were interested in this line of work and some of the reasons they took the path they did. As J.J. is one of my favorite characters it made this episode extremely memorable.

So the episode starts off in North Mammon, PA. The high school and town are going crazy with a pep rally as the BIG GAME is happening in a week. Having gone to an art school, I never experienced this but I have seen Friday Night Lights-football is huge in some towns.

Three girls are unimpressed and OMG one of the girls is the crazy girl in Accused at 17-the one that murders the girl and then tries to frame her friend. Oh, no…I looked it up. She just looks like the same girl but isn’t. Phew! That wouldn’t have boded well.

The three girls are having a girls’ weekend-house to themselves, pizza, probably movies. Two go in first while the third girl stops to bring in the trash barrels, and is kidnapped. The kidnapper threatens to kill her and uses that to grab the others. All are put in a concrete slab basement. Even creepier-the man knew their names. Why is he doing this? Who is he? One of the girls has a bad cough, and being in that basement only aggravates it.

Their kidnapper wants them to choose: two can live while the third will be murdered, their choice.

So as you can tell, this episode has a lot of Saw feeling to it. Saw came out in 2004, and spanned all kinds of sequels so it heavily influenced the media. Although when I was watching this, the scene with the girls on the basement made me think of Glass, when the cheerleaders have been kidnapped.

So the mom of one of the missing girls contacts J.J. through her friend, J.J.’s aunt-knowing that J.J. was a soccer star like her missing daughter she thinks she’ll understand that her daughter didn’t run off. You see they have been missing for five days and no one is looking for them or taking her concerns seriously.

Such a man!

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Brooke Chambers’ father went out of town and her two best friends stayed with her-Polly Holmfeild and Kelly Seymour. The two girls disappeared, but left a message about going off on a road trip-the exact verbatim message.

That’s not a real message, they have been threatened.

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When J.J. presents this to the team they question whether the girls just to off-but J.J. shuts them down. She was one of those girls, and knows they wouldn’t mess up full ride scholarships by taking off like this.

Gideon also points out that the message says they would be back on Friday, they only have a few days left to find them.

The team heads out to North Mammon and meets Police Chief Yates, who isn’t worried. They haven’t been able to locate Brooke’s father either-but that isn’t unusual, he often goes on long business trips-he’s a lawyer.

The team immediately knows that whoever this person is has been watching the girls as they know a lot about them-they knew they wouldn’t be at homecoming, that Brooke’s father was gone, that the other girls’ parents were at the pep rally, and that they could have the girls leave them messages, etc. Someone has been stalking and watching them and in a town that small it isn’t an outside-someone in the community.

So which person is a secret psycho?

from Psycho II

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I know a lot of people didn’t like it but I thought it was an interesting concept and take. A short of When a Stranger Calls, but with a community instead of house. Most likely the guy will be someone who seems trustworthy or normal.

Hmm…

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Gideon starts walking to find a vantage point of where the person was watching them and discovers a spot with a perfect view littered with cigarette butts. There are a ton, someone has spent a lot of time watching.

Hmm…

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So the town is still in celebration mode for the homecoming game, Chief Yates is a former football star back in the day and sees nothing wrong with it.

Meanwhile back with the girls they are starting to turn. It has been five days with no food, little waterm trapped in a basement, and being taunted by a man. The girls have started to unravel, unsure of how much time they have spent there. Brooke is growing sicker and sicker with her cough. Polly is by her side while Kelly is seriously going crazy-crazy and angry being trapped in their.

I’m going crazy.

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The team finds the girls’ car and search it. They discover the quarterback’s cap, but he’s ruled out as everyone saw him at the pep rally. Mr. Chambers finally shows up (hey-he’s the dad from the Mentalist “Red Tide” episode.) Mr. Chambers comes in during the debriefing and makes a scene. He sure doesn’t look like a lawyer to me or talk like one-sounds more blue collar.

The team shares that the guy they are looking for is a predatory abductor, they usually build a nest before they take someone, and it is always a secret and secure place. They will also inject themselves into the investigation. The person will also, obviously, be missing from the pep rally.

Hmmm…

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They run the cigarette butts and the DNA matches with the girls’ soccer coach. They go to get him but Chambers gets there first and starts beating his legs with a tire iron-revealing he’s had a pedophile charge, soliciting an underage minor (she was a prostitute that “lied about her age”) and Mr. Chambers got his old football buddy off.

However, Don was seen at the pep rally and it seems off that kidnapper would leave cigarette butts full of DNA when he was so precise and removed all trace of himself in the house, so someone is obviously framing him.

Yes, whoever this person is wants these community “leaders” to all turn on each other. While the town is doing that-so do the girls in the basement. Kelly has a plan and Brooke can tell it is a dark one-one that doesn’t bode well for her.

The next day the trash guys discover the girls’ soccer uniforms behind the motel. The team moves to the motel and find out that one guy, John Sherman, uses the room once a month and pays an extra $100 to leave no paper trails-its Mr. Chambers. That’s right, he never left town.

Seriously

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They then question Mr. Chambers and it turns out he did lie about being away. He was staying at the motel where he meets a friend once a month-a man. It is a small town and he wants to keep that hidden.

So watching this, it is clear that whoever is doing this is trying to turn these “football stars” against each other and reveal secrets. Who could dislike them so much? Is there someone they bullied who is trying to get revenge? Is it someone who never got the recognition they felt they deserved? A fourth wheel to this golden trio? But if it is is to get back at these football stars why take these girls when only one is related to them? What is the plan here?

Hmm…

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The girls are growing worse and Kelly tries to convince Polly to give Brooke up to be killed so they can be free. Polly refuses because she will not sacrifice her friend. But how long will that last?

Kelly tries to use the love Polly has for her mom to convince her-after all Brooke is cick-she is going to die anyway. Kelly works on her and wins her over. Kelly calls to the kidnaper who throws in a hammer to the room. They not only have to choose who will die, but but kill them.

The next shot we see Polly wrapped in a blanket and another girl coming out of a basement wrapped up in a blanket too so we can’t see her. Is it Kelly? Or Brooke?

Hmmm…

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Meanwhile the parents are going insane. They are supposed to be working together on finding out who the kidnapper could be, but are just gossiping, yelling, and blaming each other. J.J. has had enough and yells at them all.

I know a lot of fans didn’t like this episode as they felt it was unrealistic, but in this moment it reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “Monsters on Maple Street”, how a little thing that causes mistrust can make people turn against each other.

The unsub drive the girls to North Mammon…weird.

Meanwhile, the agents have decided enough is enough-time to split the guys up. Before they can, Brooke Chambers’ phone turns on and they get a hit. The two girls were dropped right outside the police station.

Man this unsub is ballsy. Just right in front of them-no fear this sicko.

The first girl is Polly, as we all knew, and the second one is Brooke-Kelly is dead.

Ohhhh?!!! What happened? I can’t say I’m sad as Kelly proved to be an awful friend as she was going to kill her friend.

Kelly’s father brings up that they all played football together-the championship being tonight. J.J. thinks that might be the clue they need-maybe someone on the team?

Hmm…

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The girls are in shock, but J.J. speaks to Polly. J.J. is the heart of the team and relaxes and reaches out to her-calming her and bringing her to the present.

Meanwhile, Brooke is sharing what happened with the police and other agents- they were hungry, thirsty, and cold. Kelly was trying to get Polly to help her kill Brooke. Meanwhile, Brooke hits Kelly with the hammer and collapses.

Poor Brooke-hearing your friends plan to kill you and then having to kill someone to save yourself-someone you thought was your very best friend.

These girls are going to be needing double the therapy.

Polly picks out their kidnapper from the football photo and it is Marcus Younger-the garbage man who found the girls’ soccer uniforms. It turned out he was the former star of the team until he blew his knee out-right before the championship game.

They find his house and check the storm cellar-and there he is, just waiting. Just sitting there with Kelly’s dead body waiting or the FBI and police to find him. This to me is one of the creepiest scenes-he is smug, relaxed, calm, even delighted to be found-and chilling next to a dead body.

He smugly tells them I never touched the girls or came into the room, I just revealed their inner nature.

What a jerkwad! He wants revenge for how he was treated when he got hurt-how he was tossed aside and forgotten. His teammates weren’t his true friends, and he wanted to show that these girls they are teammates that are also not true friends, that when the chips are down they would betray you.

What a jerkwad crazy psycho man. They don’t make it clear whether he has been plotting this for a while and waiting for them to get to the right age, or if it was just seeing them and the cheer for the championship that he snapped.

I know a lot of people didn’t like this, but I found this to be a very intriguing episode and unsub. Definitely one that sticks with you.

Wow!

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J.J. is upset over everything on the plane home as all the memories from her childhood are coming back. I really like this post scene as Hotch encourages her to be a profiler, and J.J. shares she prefers being where she is, as she likes being the one the family can turn to, and the one to choose the next case. It is really touching as we the viewer and the team all got to know J.J. better and see into more of who she is.

I enjoyed it as it was so different from the other episodes and a real look into J.J.

For more on Criminal Minds, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more horror TV episodes, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

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Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

“Time for you to awaken, Master. Time for you to go out.”

So last year I was lamenting that I couldn’t think of any films I wanted to open Horrofest with from the 1950s as that was the year I was going to start with. I mentioned some films I really wanted to do, but both came out in the 1940s.

So as this year it is time to start off with a 1940s film, I was like why not do one of the ones I mentioned in last year’s post? I already reviewed Rebecca last year, so I chose The Return of the Vampire. 

I loooove this movie!

I saw it year ago on TCM and it has stayed with me my whole life. You know a movie is good when it hooks you years ago and you stay hooked.

The film was just so engaging and has beautiful cinematography. Plus it also has Bela Lugosi! You cannot go wrong with him in anything, let alone in a Vampire flick. I just love him.

So this film was actually supposed to be a Dracula sequel, but Universal threatened to sue Columbia Studios so they changed it to The Return of the Vampire and instead of Count Dracula, we have Armand Tesla.

We start this film during WWI with a vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) stalking the streets of London and using the war as a cover-who cares about people suffering from anemia and a few deaths when there is a war on?!

But someone does, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and her colleague Professor Walter Saunders (Gilbert Emery) run a clinic and are baffled by the anemia.

Hmm…

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Tesla is furious and uses his slave, a werewolf formally known as Andreas Obry, and the two break into the clinic. When he can’t finish his off his former victim he decides to make Saunders pay and goes after his granddaughter.

Professor Saunders, meanwhile, has concluded that the victim was attacked by a vampire. The victim dies and when Saunders goes home he sees a man feasting on his granddaughter. The vampire flees and Saunders saves his granddaughter Nikki (Nina Foch) by giving her a blood transfusion. While her life is saved for now, she will always be in danger. The vampire will continue to search for her to finish the job, and he will also be able to control her.

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane search for the Vampire in order to stake it and kill it.

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They search out the local cemetery in order to search out the Vampire. They are both attacked by a werewolf who is being controlled by the Vampire-but once they stake the vampire the werewolf returns to his normal form of Andreas Obry.

Wow!

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Professor Saunders and Lady Jane know that the only way to keep a vampire dead is make sure the stake isn’t removed from the heart-remove the stake revive the vampire. They bury the coffin and make sure it is well hidden.

Time moves forward and the year is now 1942. Nikki has fully recovered from her experience, having no knowledge of the attack and is engaged to Lady Jane’s son John (Roland Varno). Andreas Obry has recovered from his experience and has become an assistant to Lady Jane.

You know thinking about this movie in 2020 it is really cool that the Vampire hunter/Doctor is a woman. I mean you wouldn’t expect it in the 1940s, and you certainly don’t see it in modern vampire stories (except Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but she basically is Van Helsing. Not the Hugh Jackman version, but the original one from the 1930s.

Of course what comes to mind is Jane the Vampire Hunter:

So Professor Saunders has passed way and Lady Jane decides to share about the vampire with Scotland Yard detective Sir Fredrick Fleet (Miles Mander) . He doesn’t take her seriously, but he does take the murder of a man seriously. He wanted to arrest Lady Jane, but she convinces him to check the body. If it is a regular man, he will be decomposed. If a vampire-his body will not have aged a day.

Stay the same age forever…

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Lady Jane is going to show Sir Fleet but then a bombing raid occurs. One of the bombs hits the cemetery and a lot of bodies are dug up and two gravediggers are set to put all to right. When they come across Tesla’s body they find the stake in the heart and feel bad for the man. They pull it out and the Vampire returns!

The first thing Tesla does is contact his slave telepathically as he will need his help in moving the coffin and such. He calls to his former slave and werewolf Andreas.

Armand Tesla: [Offscreen, as Andreas walks in the woods] Andreas! [Andreas can’t locate the sourceAndreas!

Andreas Obry: [Suddenly seeing Tesla] You! You have no power over me! That was ended many years ago! I’m no longer your slave! Dr. Ainsley has cleansed me of all the evil you forced upon me! You can’t bring it back! You can’t! I won’t let you! I won’t!

Armand Tesla: You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master! [In a commanding toneCome here!

Andreas Obry: I won’t! [He moans]

Armand Tesla: [Commandingly] Look at me, Andreas! [There is a closeup of Tesla’s eyesLook at me!

Andreas Obry: [after Andreas undergoes a metamorphosis into a werewolf] Andreas, come here! [Subserviently] Master, you have returned.

This is a fantastic scene, as you see Andreas really trying! He really, really wants to believe it is true that has overcome this. Looking at this as an adult it resonates so well as you have met people trying to overcome things, thinking they have, but then something happens and they are right back at the bottom again-addiction, toxic relationships, etc. It is extremely well done and poor, poor Andreas.

Now that Andreas is controlled by Tesla he sets him out for his first mission protect the coffin and find him a new identity. Andreas comes across a scientist recently escaped from a concentration camp, Hugo Bruckner. Dr. Hugo Bruckner was freed by help of the Resistance, something Lady Jane is a part of, and will be working with her. Man this vampire is extremely evil to murder a concentration camp survivor.

Tesla takes on the identity and slips into the Ainsleys’ and Nikki’s life. Some of you might wonder why Lady Jane doesn’t recognize him, but she only fought him that one time over twenty years ago, and at night in a foggy cemetery.

Lady Jane is throwing Nikki and her son an engagement party. Sir Fleet shows up and Lady Jane takes the Professor Saunder’s manuscript and locks it up, not wanting Nikki to ever find out about what happened. Tesla/Bruckner shows up, is introduced, and given free reign of Lady Jane’s office and laboratory. He uses this time to steal Saunders’ manuscript, the one Sir Fleet read. All are charmed by him except Sir Fleet, as he feels something is not quite right.

The next night the manuscript is somehow left in Nikki’s room and she reads it and finds out the truth. The Tesla calls to her…and the next day she has been drained of blood! Oh no!

Then they… then my mom made me stop watching it.

I know I was soooooo invested. What happens next? Will Nikki be alright? How will they defeat Tesla? I don’t recall exactly how old I was but this was well before google and we didn’t have TiVo or any blank tapes I could use to record, although my mother wouldn’t have let me as we were leaving the house and they weren’t going to leave the TV on with no one home. So I had to scan the newspaper and TV guide until it was on TV again.

So after she was drained of blood they transfused her. She survives but as we saw in The Horror of Dracula last year, that can only last so long. They need to find this vampire and kill it!

Stake through the heart.

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Lady Jane starts to investigate and questions the grave robbers when the body cannot be found. She and Fleet also search Bruckner’s room and discovers the mirrors are all set down and a ring that she recalls from Tesla.

Fleet had had Andreas followed ad he was seen trying to change into a werewolf and found with Bruckner’s effects, his real effects.

Meanwhile, Nikki and John are attacked and Nikki starts to believe she has been transformed into a vampire. She pleads with John to stay away as she doesn’t want to hurt him. But you know these men in this old classic horror films-it doesn’t matter they are staying in this relationship and with the girl. How guys aren’t like that now? Most guys I know would be out in no time at all.

In reality, Tesla has been feeding. Tesla attacks Lady Jane, but she carries a cross and uses it to deflect him.

Wow!

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So there are two amazing things I noticed about this scene. First can we just stop and appreciate that Lady Jane has a giant organ. Man, you are a girl after my own heart. I can’t play the organ but if I had money I would want a giant one and learn how to play it. Then I could be my own version of The Phantom of the Opera. 

Second-I love how in this scene she seems so meek and mild-and then bam-she’s got the cross and she flings it out at him. Lady Jane is awesome!

That’s awesome

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Later that night Tesla calls Nikki to him again and she and Andreas answer the call. Meanwhile, Lady Jane ad Sir Fleet have decided to follow them. They come upon them in the cemetery but a raid interrupts their pursuit, although Fleet shoots Andreas, mortally wounding him. Andreas begs his master to save him, but Tesla coldly refuses.

Andreas Obry: Heal me, Master. I am hurt!

Armand Tesla: What is that to me?

This was so exciting when I watched it. First of all I really wanted to know what happened after waiting so long. Secondly this scene has the vampire, the damsel, bombs, a gun-you just didn’t know what would happen next!

Tesla leaving Andreas to die is the wake to reality he needs. He grabs a nearby cross and thrusts it at Tesla, coming between him and his victim-Nikki. A bomb hits and the sun comes up, melting Tesla to nothing.

Wow!

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This is one of the first films to show a vampire disintegrating like this. It was actually censored in England for being too graphic. Oh, 1940s-if you saw the stuff we have today, although I have to say it was pretty yuck.

Of course Nikki and John get their happy ending, and Lady Jane stays awesome.

It was fantastic! I just loved it and you know who else would have if she existed-Catherine Morland.

You know it.

Please note that this is being said sarcastically.

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So that’s our start with Horrorfest IX what else will it bring? Who knows! I start every year off with a plan but you know how that goes-anything can happen! Stay Spooky people!

For more Vampire films, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more WWII, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

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Horrorfest IX: The Spookiest Time of the Year

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories. Every year I have enjoyed doing it although sometimes I have fallen behind because of life getting in the way. Usually I have the posts written, and it is just the editing that slows me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes SO much time to do.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock‘s
  • that is animated 
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • that is something Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although last year I had several. We had Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans with Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soonalong with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again

Another tradition I added is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did the Dia de Los Muertos calaveras mask. This year I had a harder time deciding, and finally settled on, Jane the Vampire Slayer-because of the film I will be reviewing tomorrow:

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, ghosts, spooky old houses, buried treasure, aliens, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

 

 

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The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery #4) by Carrie Bebris

So this is the fourth book in this Jane Austen mystery series. I have an…interesting relationship with this series. You know I love mysteries, so when I first came across this I was so excited! Jane Austen mysteries?!!!!!

Mystery, you say?

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So I read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it!

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

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The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

After a break I decided to read the third book North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley) as I plan to review a mystery every month (to stay in theme for the year) and because it has Northanger Abbey in it. It was good, but it really didn’t have as much Northanger Abbey stuff in it as there should have been.

I want MORE Northanger Abbey!

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I liked the book, but was disappointed that there was hardly any Mr. Tilney in it and zero Catherine Morland. Extremely disappointing, but the rest of the book was good.

Hmm…

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So now on to this one. My excitement for this was also high as I was excited to see Mansfield Park in something as it literally gets no love.

So one thing that happened in this book that is very different from the others is that there is no supernatural elements in it at all. The first book had a woman possibly going crazy/being mind controlled, the second a mirror with the evil spirit of the Dashwood’s great-great grandfather who possesses his great-great-grandson. The third we had the benevolent spirit of Mr. Darcy’s mother aiding Elizabeth through her pregnancy. In this, there is nothing.

So we start the book off with a Elizabeth and Darcy staying with Roger Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother and the earl (you know the one that inherited everything making it impossible to marry someone without money). Lady Catherine is there with Anne as well. So remember in the last book…maybe not…quick review. So Darcy and Elizabeth were in Bath to meet with this super special doctor, who was a total jerk.

This dude, ugh!

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There they received a note to visit with Captain Tilney, Mr. Henry Tilney’s older brother to visit and got caught up in a robbery of a dead man. No, it really tuned out that the man they thought was Captain Tilney was actually pretending to b him as the real Captain Tilney died a day earlier. The only one who could help them was Lady Catherine, so she traveled with them to Pemberley leaving Anne in Bath, with her companion.

She’s free!

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Back in present time, Elizabeth was feeding her daughter early one morning when she runs into Anne. Elizabeth’s surprised to see her up so early, but Anne tells her she wants time to herself and Elizabeth understands-its hard to go from the freedom of Bath to then be back with your controlling mother, Lady Catherine.

The next day at the ball Elizabeth manages to get Darcy to distract Lady Catherine so that Anne can dance. She dances with her cousin Col. Fitzwiliam, who has always liked her. OMG, what if they were to get together! That would be great! Look at me, matching up people like Emma.

They also meet a Mr. Crawford, one of the people who dances with Anne. We know Mr. Crawford.

Just in case you haven’t read or seen the film, in Mansfield Park Mr. Crawford is an immoral man raised by his uncle. His biggest hobby is to seduce women, he likes them falling in love with him.

He and his sister Mary go to visit their half-sister and intersect with the Bertram family at Mansfield Park. He starts to seduce Maria Bertram who is engaged, with no plan of follow through, but it hooks her. Later he starts to fall for Maria’s cousin Fanny, trying to woo her, but when he returns to London he runs off with her.

He’s a bad boy

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Time has passed, so he is free from scandal-Just like the Count in Anna Karenina. It’s really not fair that he didn’t get something worse.

Mr. Crawford asks Anne to dance with him, but she refuses. Elizabeth tries to get her to take him up on his offer but she goes upstairs and to bed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy has found out that Lady Catherine wants to have an engagement between Anne and Lord Sennex’s son, Neville (a horrible man with am extremely awful and abusive temper.)

That night they retire and Elizabeth finds a note from Anne, but decides to wait until morning to read it.

Oh no, that’s important-you should read it now!

The next day Lady Catherine starts an uproar when Anne is found missing. She doesn’t want Lord Sennex to know as she hopes that she can get her in time for Anne to marry his son. They search everywhere for her but cannot find her. Lady Catherine latches onto Anne’s letter to Elizabeth and in there it is revealed that she decided to follow Elizabeth’s advice and run off with Mr. Crawford.

Oops! She misconstrued Elizabeth encouraging her to dance with her encouraging her to run off and elope.

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy run off to follow them hoping that they can reach them before they are wed at Gretna Greene. Oh, poor Darcy this is the third elopement he has tried to stop. Lady Catherine is furious beyond furious and blames Elizabeth 100%.

The two men follow and Colonel Fitzwilliam seems extra invested? OhMyGOONESS! Maybe he was in love with Anne but never did anything about it because he thought she was going to marry Darcy, and let’s face it Lady Catherin would never pick him even if he is a Fitzwilliam. Thinking back he did seem awfully eager to dance with her?! Hmmm…

Hmm…

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They reach Gretna Greene and are too late, Anne is already Mrs. Crawford.

Darcy kind of starts to lecture her but she rips him a new one when she shares how she feels! Her whole life her mother has been telling everyone they would wed and chasing all suitors always and then he up and married some other girl and she is just growing older. Ouch, I feel bad. I had never thought about Anne’s predicament.

Darcy and the Colonel try to warn her that Mr. Crawford could be a gold digger but she tells him she has seen plenty of those and knows Crawford isn’t one. She is extremely upset that she has to marry the cruel Neville Sennex and saw this as the only way out. The men are resigned and start to take her home, but unfortunately the wheel of the carriage breaks Anne injures her leg, and their are stuck by Mansfield Park.

So will we see Fanny and Edmund and the whole gang?

No.

A few Mansfield Park characters have brief moments but they aren’t really even in the story. This was the problem I had with the other books. Why bother to bring in the other titles and stories if you aren’t going to use them?

I mean, you could set this anywhere else and just add new characters, like the Sennexs. But instead Bbris gets my hopes up making it sound like we will see all the gang and we don’t, and that really upsets me. Why do this? Just to get my hopes up?

So Lady Catherine is angry and wants to make sure that Anne’s inheritance will stay controlled by her and she sends for her lawyer and he, Lady Catherine, and Elizabeth all travel to Mansfield Park.

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When all arrive they discover that Henry Crawford has a very bad reputation. They hear the whole story of how he ran off with Maria Bertram Rushworth and how he had proposed to Fanny Price Bertram.

Anne starts to regret her decision, especially after his other wife comes to town.

It turns out years ago he pretended he was just a sailor and got involved with this girl Meg and then left. He sent her money, but after a fire burned the farm and the death of her only family member she goes to find her husband, the only clue being a jewelry box that leads her right to Mansfield Park.

So now who is really married to Mr. Crawford? They call the magistrate who is of course Edmund Bertram speaking on behalf of his father and it is a real sticky wicket. Mr. Crawford married Meg first, but under a false name, but one he was well known so a good lawyer could say that it was legal. And then there is Anne who married him under his legal name. This sound like a Poldark or Mary Balogh novel.

To make things even worse Mr. Rushworth and his mother, along with Maria Bertram Rushworth and her Aunt Norris, all converge on Mansfield Park to speak to Henry and give him a piece of their minds-ALONG with Lord and Neville Sennex (who happens to be friends with Tom Bertram and stays over at Mansfield Park).

Elizabeth and Darcy remark that things would be a lot easier if he was dead…

So I’m sure you all saw what was coming next. He escaped on his horse and there is a search party out for him. They finally discover his dead body.

At first the Bertrams want to declare it a suicide but after Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam look it over they discover he was murdered.

So who did it? Was Anne angry that she may not be legally wed, but also that she has lost all standing in society? Was it Lady Catherine upset that first this man upset her plans and then that he embarrassed the de Bourg line? Could it be Mr. Bertram, Tom, or Edmund…wait not Edmund as he is a minister, Sir Bertram or Tom avenging the humiliation of their sister? Mr. Rushworth out to get revenge for Mr. Crawford sleeping with his wife!? His mother for embarrassing the Rushworths? Maria, angry that he remarried and is in society while she is doomed to be an outcast forever? Aunt Norris, furious that someone hurt her favorite girl? Meg, the first Crawford wife, furious that he lied and abandoned her? Colonel Fitzwilliam maybe trying to get rid of the competition? Lord Sennex or Neville for the embarrassment? Mr. Darcy…haha yeah right it isn’t him or Elizabeth.

We’ll never know.

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Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are on the case to figure out who and why and get themselves and their family out of this entanglement in order to return home.

But then it is discovered that Henry Crawford isn’t really dead. Well then, who was murdered? And if Mr. Crawford didn’t die was he the intended victim or the murderer?

Hmm…

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To further complicate things it turns out that Mr. Crawford has some sort of amnesia and thinks he is a sailer named John married to Meg (the first wife and first wife connection).

It turns out that the person is after Henry Crawford as he is murdered, then Neville is killed, and Colonel Fitzwilliam declare his love for Anne- the Darcys need to find the truth before whoever it is is planning on striking again.

So the mystery was really good, and the double identity and then Crawford turning out not to be dead really threw me for a loop. I had to read to the end.

Tell ME!!!!!

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The mystery and the characters were really enjoyable, my only compliant was that I wish it involved more of the Mansfield Park characters. I want to see Fanny, Tom, and William Price.

From Mansfield Park Opera

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For more by Carrie Bebris, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

For more Mansfield Park variations, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

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Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

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I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

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So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

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Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part III

 

So as you can see in the title, I didn’t get to finish this chapter. This has been an expensive chapter.

Creators of Choices

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It has been two months, so quick recap.

From the beginning.

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First of all, this chapter starts off with a warning:

This chapter contains scenes of implied sexual violence that may be upsetting to some players. Discretion is advised.

What does that mean? This sounds bad…

Hmmm…

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In the last part, I found out that my father is dying, and instead of keeping it from my arch-enemy, my stepbrother Mr. Marcastle, I told him. He has been trying to destroy me, but it is his father too. Family, right?

While I am commiserating, my maid Briar gives me a stack of love letters. Of course I want to read them-maybe something sweet about my parents or even useful information that can help me is in them?

I discovered that my grandfather is the one that tore my parents apart. Shortly after my stepbrother’s fiance warns me that I need to hurry home as my stepbrother and stepmother are plotting against me. As I was about to leave, I ran into the Duke Richards who is not interested in me saying no to him, he threatens me and now I have the option to strike back. You know what I am going to do.

I verbally filet him and make it clear-I’m not interested in him at all!

Unfortunately, being told no, just set the Duke “afire”. He then tries to attack me, but I evade him and kick him in the balls.

ninjaAustenlandfightkickpunch

As he writhes in pain he continues to insult me, and laughs at my interest in Mr. Sinclaire and calling him a gentleman. For those of you who may have forgotten, Mr. Sinclaire is a gentleman who was very good friends with my father, gives off the Mr. Darcy vibes, and one of your possible love interests (the one I’m leaning toward). I mean how can I not-he’s so Mr. Darcy.

That was defintely worth the diamonds I spent.

But its not over, unfortunately-the Duke gets up and grabs me, he’s not letting me go easily. In fact, I’m sure he has very unsavory plans for me. I’m surprised though, I know I’m lower than him, but I am an Earl’s daughter, not just a maid or serving girl. I mean, there would be repercussions. But before anything could happen who should come marching in?

Yay! Aw yeah, Mr. Sinclaire, and with a sword!

The Duke tries to shrug off Mr. Sinclaire but Mr. Sinclaire knows him too well and takes a firm stand, edging his sword closer to the Duke. Yeah, show him!

Th Duke gets scared off…for now. But we will worry about him later, I have a dying dad and a handsome hero. I was sure relived when he came and he admits he was too, and that he has feelings for me.

But why is he here? Mr. Sinclaire saw the Duke coming over and found that his feet were bringing him my way. Aw! He wanted to make sure I was safe as he knows something about the Duke and doesn’t trust him. But what is the secret?!

Tell ME!!!!!

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He admits he can’t stop thinking of me and that he doesn’t know what he would do without me. I know I should be worried that my father is dying, but I can’t help feeling a bit mission accomplished. I mean this is the guy I want and I need to get engaged to ensure I inherit everything, right? Wait-I shouldn’t be like Marianne Dashwood, I need to be like Elinor and temper myself. He may not propose and my grandma still wants me to get with the Duke.

It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire has decided that it is time he stops keeping things hidden. Ohhh! Story time! So who do you think he will be more like? Mr. Darcy?

Colonel Brandon?

Maxim de Winter from Rebecca?

It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire’s wife betrayed him with the Duke and they were lovers!

Mr. Sinclaire offers to share his story and I’m like yes please! I want to get to know Mr. Sinclaire more and get the dirt on the Duke, I might need it to make sure my grandma doesn’t set me up with him.

I didn’t have enough diamonds so I said forget it and ended up buying some as I just had to know!

Tell ME!!!!!

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So Mr. Sinclaire was married before and his wife passed away five years ago. They used to be very close to Duke Richards, Mr. Sinclaire would even invite him over for an annual London dinner and other events.

Six years ago they were having a dinner party-the Duke was there as always, and Mr. Sinclaire’s wife Roselyn (which you will recognize from the book Bloodbound) everything seemed well and normal BUT, that night Mrs. Sinclaire disappeared from her hostess duties, and Mr. Sinclair went looking for her and found her and the Duke together.

The Duke didn’t even care that he was caught! What a jerk!! He reminds of that jerk in Poldark, Monk Adderley-thank goodness Ross killed him (in a duel).

Poor Mr. Sinclaire-he describes it as a dagger in his heart. Ohh-such a romantic hero! I LOVE it. Pixelberry can write some characters so well.

Mr. Sinclaire found out that not only was Roslyn cheating on him, but she never loved him-she just married him for his money.

And that’s not all…

Mr. Sinclaire turned her out, but she became pregnant with the Duke’s child and he ended up taking her in after the Duke refuse to help her. Both she and the child died in childbirth. Ouch, that was really sad-like more than I was expecting.

I wonder of he still loved her, but when I ask-he says he no longer does as someone else has made his heart open again…

No winder Sinclaire hates the Duke. I thoroughly hate him too.

But aw, Mr. Sinclaire admitted he loves me. I should be happy, but playing these books have led me to see that something bad is going to happen.

This tender moment has been sweet, but my father is ill and I need to get back to see him before he passes on. Mr. Sinclaire escorts me to the stables and offers to come with me but I turn him down. Why? I don’t know as most women would not travel alone. What if I was taken upon by gypsies? Thieves? Murderers? Rapists? The Duke?

Such a man!

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Mr. Marcastle took the carriage but I might be able to beat him on horseback-good thing I bought my own horse back in Chapter 5.

Luke Harper is coming with me, okay good that makes sense. The two of start off for my father when the chapter ends.  Will we make it on time?

So that chapter is finally finished, man I couldn’t believe it took so long. It was an expensive chapter, but for once I feel like it was worth every diamond. Until the next chapter…

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part II

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part I

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Brown Sugar and Cream Cheese Scones

So last weekend I had a tea party with my friend and sister.

I wanted to share this amazing Golden Tip Lapsang Souchong tea from Crafted Leaf Teas. I got us chocolate biscuits, made Cucumber and Chicken Salad sandwiches, and for dessert the Triple Berry Salad

And then it came time for the scones. The previous recipes were ones I had made before, but for the scones I wanted to try something new. My friend had bought me a subscription to a tea magazine for my birthday, the first magazine being on Teatime Celebrations, and I thought I would try one of its recipes. You know me and holidays!

So I was flipping through the magazine and I had a hard time choosing between Brown Sugar and Cream Cheese Scones from Mardi Gras teatime and Cranberry Spice Scones with Maple Cream from Autumnal Harvest Tea. I eventually decided on Brown Sugar and Cream Cheese Scones with plans to make the cranberry ones at a later date.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flours
  • 1/3 Cup of Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Cup of Cold Salted Butter, Cubed
  • 3 Ounces Cream Cheese, Cubed
  • 3/4 Cup plus two tablespoons of cold Heavy Whipping Cream, divided
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Garnish: Turbinado Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl: whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in cold butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Add cream cheese, stirring to combine, but leave in cubes.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of cold cream and vanilla extract.
  7. Add the mixture into the flour mix, until it is evenly moist. (If dough seems dry, add more cream-1 tablespoon at a time).
  8. Working gently, bring the mixture together with hands until a dough forms.
  9. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 4 to 5 times.
  10. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to be 3/4 inch thick.
  11. Using a 2 1/4 inch fluted round cutter, cut 12 scones from the dough.
  12. Place the scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  13. Brush scones with remaining cream.
  14. Garnish tops with turbinado sugar.
  15. Bake until edges are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 mins.
  16. Serve warm.

I also made some mock clotted cream to go with them:

So first of all, I completely recognize that I rolled these out too thin. I wasn’t paying attention to how thick they should be and then just got carried away. They don’t really rise so it is important to make sure  they are the right level of thickness.

These scones weren’t horrible but they turned out a bit plain. They definitely are in need of clotted cream, honey, jam, etc., something to give them a little more umph. But not bad-I would definitely make these again if I wanted to showcase a nice jam or something. They definitely do not overpower the tea or the meal. My sister put the cream on the scone and topped it with berries from the Triple Berry Salad and that came out really good.

For more scones, go to Scottish Oat Scones

For more recipes, go to Super Easy Classic Deviled Eggs

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Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

I was reorganizing the library’s young adult graphic novels and came across this book. It has a gothic and spooky old house, a secret society, a mysteriously hidden treasure, and teens being trained to be a part of a thieving ring.

Of course it sounded right up my alley.

And not just perfect for me, but for someone else…Catherine Morland. Yep, another book for Catherine Morland’s Reading List.

What is Catherine Morland’s Reading List? The idea came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen, (and I still do), I devoured books that I know, if Catherine Morland was real and alive, she would have been reading.

It started with reading one, and then before I knew it I had a list of thirty I was planning on reviewing. What can I say, other than:

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala

We start off with Katherine “K” Westree dressed in all black with a mask, running at night from a wild boar.

We then go back three weeks earlier…K is a orphan who was placed in an orphanage run by a woman called Mother Claude, who was using the orphanage to create a ring of cat burglars, thieves, and pickpockets.

She forced the kids to do it, threatening and abusing them if they didn’t. If they tried to run away, she would hunt them down and force them back.

The were eventually found out and all the children sent to reform school. After K served her time she stayed on as a live-in counselor for the younger children. She was then located by her aunt who had been searching for her, and her aunt invited her to live with her at Bellsong Academy, a spooky gothic mansion.

Haunted house!

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When she arrives at the Academy things are not as she expected. Apparently the school has lost funding and there are only three students there at this time, orphans who have nowhere else to go: Dory, Morrow and Zel. And it turns out that she can’t see her aunt as she is deathly ill and fully covered in bandages.

Now this made my radar go off. Anytime people are all covered up in bandages like that, it means they aren’t who they really say they are. That’s not her aunt, something must have happened to her.

Hmm…

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The people running the academy are  the headmistress Mrs. Turtledove, teacher Dr. Kuvac, teacher Mr. Dell, and teacher Mr. Fahr. There also is a very creepy handyman who goes by Stump and the housekeeper Ms. Mund.

Everything seems off with the other girls and the faculty. And then K hears a voice in the wall warning her that she is being watched. Definitely creepy!

SUPER creeped

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That night K sneaks out of her room ad uses all her training to try to get in her Aunt’s room, but is caught by the other girls as they have been watching her. It turns out the school is another thief ring,  but an “old, established” one called The Obtainers. Her mother and father were a part of it, and her aunt as well.

K’s father chose to leave the group when she was little and took K with him, that’s why she was never a part of it until now. The rest of the ring are glad she is here as she is incredibly talented and they need her help. Bellsong Academy originally belonged to the Quinn family. When Anodyne Quinn inherited the house she discovered that her family fortune came from pirating, she was deeply ashamed she had been benefiting from stealing from others. She decided to give back by opening the Bellsong Academy, the first woman’s college west of the Rockies. After she passed she left provisions so that it would continue on. There is a rumor of treasure hidden somewhere on campus and no on has ever found it.

Hmm…treasure?

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The other thing she left behind was three paintings-one in her youth, one in middle age, and the third as an older woman posing with the graduation class. Each painting was given to a separate family in the neighboring village, they were given a large sum every year-and all they have to do is put their painting on display. The map to the treasure is rumored to be found within those three paintings.

Rebecca (1940)

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K finds this extremely odd that they need her to “borrow” them, and I agree. Like if they are this all important and amazing league of thieves why haven’t they done it already?

I mean for real!

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K isn’t interested but they insist they need it to keep the academy going and to pay for her aunt’s care. The other girls try to convince her as they give her the grand tour of the property-old time fountains, a sun dial, a “haunted cabin”, a prehistoric sinkhole, and share the stories of the serial killer, “The Moon Killer”, who was rumored to run around the woods.

Spooky…

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K decides to train with them, as why not what else has she to do, and they have a practice room right out of a superhero comic. K outshines them all and that night joins them as they break into the first house.

Each house is eccentric and when they leave they are missing a girl. Did they decide to take off and get their freedom? Were they captured? Is The Moon Killer back? Is there something nefarious going on in those houses?

Hmm…

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K manages to score every painting and starts putting the clues together. But finding hidden treasure isn’t the only surprise she will discover.

This was really interesting mystery/gothic tale and I liked the character K and the twist ending at the end. I had figured out half of it, but the other half surprised me.

Wow!

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The only thing I don’t like is that we never find out what happened to the other girls. I searched but it doesn’t appear that Sala wrote a sequel. I guess it will be an unsolved mystery.

We’ll never know.

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I really enjoyed the the style of it too, it has an Edward Gorey feel to it, and I just love Edward Gorey. I recommend reading it even if it has a few loose ends.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Poison Diaries

For more mysteries, go to Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

For more Gothic fiction, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: House of Salt and Sorrows

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