Thank You for Boarding the ‘Travel Gone Wrong’ Blogathon!

I know my fourth blogathon, the ‘Travel Gone Wrong’ Blogathon, ended two weeks ago. However, I wanted to provide enough time for participants to submit later entries. But now that the event has come and gone, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who “boarded” this year’s blogathon! As usual, the ‘Travel Gone Wrong’ Blogathon was successful, with a variety of topics being discussed. I enjoyed reading every article sent in, as they provided a great collection of written work! The fun continues because I’ll be hosting my fifth blogathon! But that official announcement will come later this year. Stay tuned!

Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Have fun on vacation!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Revolving Door

Characters coming and going on a television show is nothing new. It has happened on When Calls the Heart on multiple occasions. But in this season, it seems like the arrival and departure of characters has become more common than in past seasons. Most of these characters have returned to Hope Valley, such as Henry Gowan. But some characters have permanently left the show, like Jesse and Clara. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just a coincidence. However, this constant change in When Calls the Heart’s landscape feels like a revolving door. And, honestly, I think it’s kind of exhausting. As of May 2022, no announcements about season ten have been made yet. But if When Calls the Heart does receive another season, I hope this issue gets, somehow, resolved.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart season nine poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel

Season: 9

Episode: 11

Name: Smoke on the Water

Major stories:

Plans to re-open the coal mines are still underway. Because of these plans, Arthur and Jerome are continuing their stay in Hope Valley. They have recruited Collin (the man who gave evidence to Henry in the previous episode) to inspect the coal mines. But after the inspection, Collin tells them that the mines could be re-opened, even though it would be difficult. This contradicts what Collin told Henry in the episode prior, that there was no way the mines could safely re-open. Henry suspects Collin had been paid off by Jerome, even asking Collin if that is the case. When Henry doesn’t receive an answer, he angrily leaves the mines. Later in the episode, Collin admits to Henry he was indeed paid off by Jerome. However, Collin claims he took the money to improve his quality of life, as his health has been declining. Upset by how easily persuaded Collin was, Henry decides to take matters into his own hands. During a rainy day, Henry takes every piece of dynamite he can find and blows up the coal mines. He confesses what he did in a private meeting between Bill, Fiona, and Lucas. Though no one was hurt by Henry’s actions, the damaged coal mines seem to be more trouble than the investors are willing to put up with. But, for now, Henry must go to Benson Hills, as Bill tells him to lay low for a while.

With everything going on in Lucas’ life, Lucas feels he needs a break. He takes a short out-of-town trip, with the trip being so short, I didn’t even realize he had left Hope Valley. Despite the short length of this trip, Elizabeth suspects Lucas has changed. During dinner at the Saloon, Lucas tells Elizabeth that, while on his trip, he missed the remoteness of the big city. Not only does this comment bother Elizabeth, but the fact Lucas still hasn’t given Elizabeth her birthday gift is also bothering her. This causes Elizabeth to think Lucas doesn’t want to date her anymore. During her and Rosemary’s “salon day”, Elizabeth tells Rosemary how she feels about Lucas. Rosemary reminds her friend of her assumption about Lee from this season’s fifth episode. She also reminds Elizabeth to be honest with Lucas. One rainy day, Elizabeth visits Lucas at his office, telling him how she feels about everything since his return to Hope Valley. Lucas clarifies on his statement from the Saloon, claiming his priority has always been to be with Elizabeth and her son. As for Elizabeth’s birthday gift, Lucas reveals this gift is a pair of earrings. While Elizabeth is grateful for her gift, she is disappointed he didn’t propose to her. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth discovers Lucas took another out-of-town trip.  

Heart image created by Dashu83 at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundimage created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-valentines-day-and-heart-card-with-happy-valentines-day-and-heart_1747001.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Florence is still upset over the potential re-opening of the coal mines. After seeing several posters advertising new mining jobs, she not only takes them down, she also yells at Lucas for being partially responsible of the recent events. Throughout all of this, Florence notices how calm Ned has been. When she questions him about it at the Mercantile, Ned says he has always had a calm disposition. He also says having a hobby has taken his mind off of stressing situations. During this conversation, Florence decides to take up dancing again. At the salon, Florence is practicing ballet en pointe. Things seem to going smoothly at first. But when she goes en pointe, Florence ends up developing a cramp in her arches. A few moments later, Mollie, Fiona, and Faith attend the salon for a small get-together. The point of this get-together is to support Florence through these changing times.

Rosemary still hasn’t told Lee about her recent news. She is hesitant to tell him because she continues to believe it’s “too good to be true”. Meanwhile, Lee receives his own news. On more than one occasion, Arthur has visited the Valley Voice’s office with a business opportunity. Later in the episode, Arthur reveals what this business opportunity is. Arthur not only wants to include the Valley Voice in his network of newspaper publications, he also wants Lee to come work for him. Lee doesn’t accept the offer, as he feels his place is working alongside Rosemary. Arthur encourages him to reconsider the offer.

Minnie and Angela have returned to Hope Valley. With this return comes a letter to Joseph from his father-in-law. Even though the contents of this letter are never revealed, Joseph appears to be bothered by them. The next day, Joseph and Minnie discuss what was in the letter. Though this conversation is vague, it seems like Joseph’s familial support is called into question.

Image of ballerina preparing to dance created by Pressfoto at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People photo created by pressfoto – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • In this season of When Calls the Heart, it seems like the show’s creative team is indecisive over whether they want to start another love triangle. Nathan has been seen interacting with both Mei and Faith. But, in my opinion, Kevin McGarry doesn’t have strong on-screen chemistry with either Amanda Wong or Andrea Brooks. If I had to be brutally honest, it feels like When Calls the Heart’s creative team banked a little too hard on receiving another season. I understand moving on from any relationship takes time. But the fact the screenwriters haven’t committed to a possible love interest for Nathan this season kind of proves my point.
  • Even though Florence has danced only a few times this season, I’m glad this new side of her is being shown! This has become good character growth for Florence and has given the fans a sweet surprise. With Florence’s renewed love of dance, it does make me wonder if we are one step closer to, one day, seeing that theater Rosemary’s been dreaming of?
  • On Twitter, I’ve seen some speculation that Lee could end up dying in the season finale’s saloon fire. Personally, I don’t think that’s the case. Both Lee and Rosemary have been the glue that have kept When Calls the Heart together. They also happen to be two of the show’s most popular characters. I could be wrong about Lee’s fate. But, in my opinion, if Lee and/or Rosemary were to get written off When Calls the Heart, the show would lose more viewership than they already have.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? What do you think will happen in the season finale? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Children of a Lesser God Review

May’s theme for Genre Grandeur is ‘Best Picture Nominated Movies that didn’t win’. As the Oscars have been around for more than fifty years, there were plenty of titles for me to choose from. But I knew the main-stream, bigger name films were going to get selected by other participants of Genre Grandeur. So, I decided to choose a movie that was not only off the beaten path, but also less talked about than other films. This is one of the reasons why I’m reviewing Children of a Lesser God. Eric Binford, from Diary of A Movie Maniac, is another reason why I chose to write about the 1986 project. While talking about non-preachy movies containing messages, I brought up the Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Sweet Nothing in My Ear. After Eric mentioned how he loves Marlee Matlin, I realized I have never reviewed any project from Marlee’s filmography. I have seen Sweet Nothing in My Ear, as well as a handful of Switched at Birth episodes. But I’ve never discussed the ABC Family show on 18 Cinema Lane and I didn’t review the 2008 Hallmark Hall of Fame film. It should also be noted how the last time I wrote about an ’80s movie was last September.

Children of a Lesser God poster created by Paramount Pictures

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Since Marlee Matlin is one of the reasons why I chose to review Children of a Lesser God, I will talk about her performance first. While portraying Sarah, Marlee’s facial expressions and body language were expressive. They were also as fluid as her sign language. During an assembly, Sarah witnesses a performance from James’ students. At first, she appears content, not seeing any issue with the performance. But as the performance goes on, Sarah’s face progressively changes, appearing angry for reasons not yet revealed. In fact, Sarah becomes so upset by this performance, she ends up breaking a mirror. The strength of Marlee’s acting abilities not only allowed her to stand on her own, talent-wise, but also go toe-to-toe with William Hurt!

In Children of a Lesser God, William Hurt portrays James. The first thing I noticed about his acting performance was how he was able to balance the light-hearted and serious moments of the story! Toward the beginning of the film, James is explaining to his students why they should learn to speak. To demonstrate a likely scenario, James does a hand-stand, in an attempt to make his point. Later in the film, James learns more about Sarah. She explains how, in high school, her male peers would desire an intimate relationship with her, yet refuse to take the time to get to know her. During this conversation, James becomes frustrated over things he can’t change, such as Sarah’s past. Similar to what I said about Marlee’s performance, William was also expressive in his role. The expressive nature of his performance is what helped him maintain a consistent portrayal!

Several scenes show James interacting with the students in his speech class. These scenes are meant to serve as the more light-hearted moments of the film. One of the students in this class is Lydia. Portrayed by Allison Gompf, Lydia was not afraid to try new things. In fact, she was one of the first students to try speaking. What helped Allison and her character be memorable was her on-screen personality. It was so bubbly and up-beat, you can’t help but smile every time she appears on screen!

The on-screen chemistry: As I just mentioned, both Marlee and William gave solid performances individually. However, they also performed well together! The strength and expressiveness of their acting abilities worked in their favor and complimented one another. These aspects of their combined performance allowed them to showcase a relationship that felt realistic. One of my favorite scenes in Children of a Lesser God takes place when James wants to listen to one of his records. But shortly after he puts on a Bach record, he is overcome with guilt. James turns off the record, telling Sarah he can’t enjoy the music because she can’t hear it. A few moments later, Sarah puts the record back on, as she knows how much James enjoys the music. Through the acting, as well as the screenwriting, this scene is a great example of the sacrifices and compromises that can take place within a romantic relationship.

 An introduction to deaf culture: Whenever I talk about a movie highlighting a specific culture/community, I try to remind my readers that the film in question is not the “end all, be all” when it comes to discussing that culture/community. This is the case when talking about Children of a Lesser God. The students in James’ speech class are their own individuals, displaying distinct styles and expressing unique perspectives. These students, including Sarah, have their reasons why they either want or don’t want to speak. At one point in the film, James’ students perform in their school’s assembly. Throughout this performance, they sing, dance, and sign while on stage. The joy expressed by these characters can be seen and felt. This scene shows one can experience joy when they’ve found a place to belong.

Sign language alphabet image created by Freepik at freepik.com. Hand sign vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

What I didn’t like about the film:

A confusing title: With a title like Children of a Lesser God, I’m going to safely assume “children” is referencing deaf people, with the title itself emphasizing how deaf people are just as important to society as hearing people. But in the movie, Sarah is the only deaf character the story revolves around. Yes, there are deaf characters featured throughout the film. However, these characters are shown as well-adjusted individuals who aren’t prejudiced or mistreated. As I mentioned before, Sarah recounts a situation that happened to her in high school. Sarah’s mother, portrayed by Piper Laurie, shares traumatic events Sarah experienced in her life. But all of these events happened prior to the film. With all this said, the title, Children of a Lesser God, seems confusing.

A limited presence of James’ students: As I said earlier in this review, the moments where James interacts with his students were meant to be the more light-hearted moments of the film. But throughout the movie, the presence of the students themselves were limited. I really liked the camaraderie between these characters, as it made their connection seem believable. Because of the student’s limited presence, it left few opportunities to get to know them. Sure, we learn about them through their experiences in James’ speech class. But compared to James and Sarah, I felt like I, as an audience member, only became familiar with James’ students. I kind of wish they had received their own subplot.

No appearances from Ruth: When Sarah’s mom is talking to James about Sarah’s past, she mentions her other daughter, Ruth. She also mentions how, in high school, Ruth’s male peers were more interested in Sarah. Despite Ruth getting brought up in the story, Sarah’s sister never appears in the film. Personally, I think this was a missed opportunity. It would have been interesting to hear the perspective of a sibling of someone with a disability. I also wanted to know how Ruth felt about what Sarah went through in high school. In the movie’s opening credits, I learned Children of a Lesser God was based on a Broadway play. I haven’t seen this play, so I don’t know if Ruth is a character that is meant to be in the story. But, like I said, it still feels like a missed opportunity.

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My overall impression:

Children of a Lesser God is a character-driven movie. With these types of films, you need a cast that is so strong, it gives the audience a reason to stay invested in the overall story. That is exactly what this 1986 production achieved! Even though Children of a Lesser God primarily revolves around Sarah and James, the supporting cast was great to watch. Presenting an introduction to the deaf culture also helps. Though I liked this movie, there were some aspects of this project that could have been stronger. I wish James’ students had received their own subplot and Ruth had appeared in the story. But as I said in this review, Children of a Lesser God is based on a Broadway play. Therefore, I don’t know what was in the original source material. As I close this review, I’d like to say I can’t speak for whether Children of a Lesser God should have received the Best Picture award. That’s because I haven’t seen Platoon or the other films nominated in 1987.

Overall score: 7.7-7.8 out of 10

Have you seen Children of a Lesser God? Which movie do you think should have won Best Picture in 1987? Please let me know in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Tea for More Than Two

Something I noticed about this episode of When Calls the Heart is how often beverages were referenced. Not only that, but there were scenes showing these characters consuming these beverages. From the way I saw it, those scenes served as a symbol for what the show itself is about. When Calls the Heart has a pace that is on the slower side. Consuming a beverage typically involves slowing down and taking the time to enjoy what you are drinking. Another thing I noticed is how these characters were consuming these beverages in company. This means they shared their beverage with someone else. Sometimes, watching a show is better with others. It’s also nice to have someone else to talk to when it comes to all things Hope Valley! Speaking of Hope Valley, let’s start this re-cap of When Calls the Heart!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart season nine poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel

Season: 9

Episode: 10

Name: Never Say Never

Major stories:

Because of Lucas’ plan to foil Wyman, his innocence is uncertain to the residents of Hope Valley. Until hard evidence is brought forth, Bill places Lucas in jail. While in jail, Elizabeth gives Lucas a new pocket watch with the inscription “Our Time Has Come”. He says he has a birthday present for Elizabeth, which a small box is later revealed. At his office, Bill receives a call from a lawyer in Grandville. This lawyer is representing the man who hit Nathan and Newton with his vehicle. This man claims he not only planted the ledger books in Lucas’ office, he was driving away in order to not get caught. After this information is given, Bill gives Nathan a choice. The aforementioned lawyer presents an offer: let the man who hit Nathan and Newton go free in exchange for the ledger books. Nathan knows this offer will be difficult to accept. On the one hand, harming a Mountie is a serious offense. But those ledger books would be more than enough evidence to prove Lucas’ innocence. Nathan contemplates this decision throughout the episode, as he wonders if it’s right to forgive one wrong with another wrong. Eventually, Nathan accepts the offer from the Grandville lawyer. He even pays Elizabeth a visit with this news.

Jerome Smith returns to Hope Valley, in order to settle the petroleum plant deal. But this time, he has brought Arthur Gilchrist with him. While in Hope Valley, Arthur seems interested in both Fiona and the coal mines. He even carries these interests into the petroleum plant meeting. Lucas, now out of jail, attends this meeting as well. Even Henry dramatically shows up, after being out of town for a few episodes. The reason why Henry was out to town was so he could obtain evidence, from a man named Collin, that the coal mines are in no condition to reopen. In a private meeting with Jerome, Henry finds out it was Arthur’s idea to re-open the mines, as Jerome claims his only focus was the oil. Both Henry and Jerome agree to open the mines, unless there is something preventing them from doing so. Meanwhile, Rosemary plans to report on the mines re-opening. She feels the residents of Hope Valley have a right to know what is happening. But Elizabeth thinks the release of Rosemary’s article would smear Lucas’ reputation. Rosemary does publish her article about the mines, which, predictably, causes tension in Hope Valley. Florence is, understandably, so upset by this news, she slaps Henry in the face when she crosses paths with him in town. Fortunately, this news doesn’t destroy Rosemary and Elizabeth’s friendship, as Elizabeth apologizes for her hesitance over the article publication.

Illustrated tea and table set image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. Mint tea vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Minor story:

At the start of the episode, Rosemary feels nauseous. Faith thinks Rosemary has caught a “stomach bug” that has apparently been going around Hope Valley. Instead of attending a meeting with Arthur Gilchrist about the Valley Voice, Rosemary takes it easy by drinking tea and resting. Later in the episode, Rosemary visits Faith again, unable to understand what is going on with her body. Faith then comes to the conclusion Rosemary might be pregnant. Not wanting the news to be “too good to be true”, Rosemary decides not to tell Lee just yet. Speaking of Lee, he visits Joseph at the café, apologizing for his interference with the Canfield’s loan. Joseph forgives Lee, stating how he wanted to get the loan himself.

Pocket watch with confetti image created by Freepik at freepik.com. Christmas clock photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Toward the beginning of this episode, Nathan has a conversation with Fiona about the petroleum plant deal. Kevin McGarry and Kayla Wallace (the actor and actress who portray Nathan and Fiona) not only had really nice on-screen chemistry, they also had strong banter! I’ve heard Kevin and Kayla don’t want their characters to end up in a relationship together, as they don’t want their real-life relationship to be affected by what their characters experience on the show. But, honestly, I wouldn’t oppose the idea of Fiona and Nathan forming a romantic relationship!
  • With how much beverages are referenced in this episode, I’m surprised Hallmark or a shop on Etsy hasn’t created teas inspired by When Calls the Heart. Some examples of possible teas are Gooey Butter Cake flavored tea representing the Canfield family, strawberry tea representing the ice cream parlor, and blueberry scone flavored tea representing the café. I can only speak for myself, but I would certainly consider purchasing When Calls the Heart inspired tea, especially if they were created with natural ingredients.
  • While I’m glad we finally received some answers over whether Rosemary and Lee will start their own family, it’s kind of frustrating how Rosemary’s news is not a confirmation. It’s also frustrating how we’re receiving this news toward the end of the season. I really hope Rosemary and Lee aren’t given a miscarriage story, as that would be cruel for both the Coulters and the fans.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? What you think Lucas will be Elizabeth for her birthday? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Song of Bernadette Review

Shock and sadness. That’s how I felt when I discovered the passing of Patricia, from Caftan Woman, on Twitter. Upon hearing the announcement of the Caftan Woman Blogathon, I wanted to participate as a way to pay my respects to a fellow blogger. Over the years, Patricia has recommended several films for future reviews. So, it was only fitting for me to choose one of her suggestions for the event. Since the blogathon is commemorating a loss, I felt The Song of Bernadette was the most appropriate choice out of the recommendations on my Pinterest board. This also compliments other religious/faith-based films I’ve reviewed in the past, such as Ben-Hur and The Carpenter’s Miracle. With all that said, let’s start this review of The Song of Bernadette.

The Song of Bernadette poster created by 20th Century Fox

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: One of my favorite movies is Portrait of Jennie. Jennifer Jones’ consistent and captivating performance is one of the reasons why I love that film so much. In The Song of Bernadette, Jennifer’s portrayal of the titular character reminded me of her portrayal of Jennie. This is because she has a talent for pulling off an innocent demeanor without coming across as childish or immature. Throughout the film, Bernadette claims she is dumb. Yet, when asked what a sinner is, she tells the local reverend a sinner “is someone who loves sin”. The reverend even comments how Bernadette chose to say “loves sin” instead of “commits sin”. Personality wise, Jennifer brought a gentleness to her character. When speaking with one of Lourdes’ members of police, the policeman gets details of Bernadette’s story wrong. In a polite manner, Bernadette corrects him, pointing out the policeman’s errors in a soft-spoken voice. This innocence and gentleness allowed Bernadette to be taken seriously by the audience.

On 18 Cinema Lane, I have reviewed several of Vincent Price’s films. In most of these movies, Vincent portrays a character that can exude a sense of fear for the audience. But in The Song of Bernadette, his role of Vital Dutour was very different from his other roles. One reason is how Vincent is a part of an ensemble instead of a main focus in the story. Another reason is how Vital’s actions and choices were not chosen to cause fear. Despite all of this, Vincent carries his character with elegance and arrogance. In an effort to get to the bottom of Bernadette’s “visions”, Vital questions her story in his office. He speaks to Bernadette with a stern voice and presents a no-nonsense attitude. By interacting with her in this way, Vital is attempting in enforce his authority, thinking he will get his way. But because of Bernadette’s strength in her faith and her innocent demeanor, she is able to stand up to Vital. With that, both Jennifer Jones and Vincent Price are able to, acting-wise, go toe-to-toe with each other!

The set design: The Song of Bernadette takes place in the French countryside of 1858. But according to IMDB, the movie was filmed in California. Despite this, the set didn’t look like a set. Instead, it looked like a small French town from the 1850s! The architecture of Lourdes’ buildings was simple. Materials such as stone cover these structures. A traditional roof shingle design is displayed on top of these buildings. Like any well-researched production, the attention to detail was not overlooked! Vital’s office boasts two impressive things: a large desk and fireplace. The desk is a big piece of furniture that is coated in darker wood. Small, gold detailing can be found on the side of the desk. The fireplace is a massive marble structure, with etched detailing just below the mantle. Attention to detail and thorough research made this on-screen world an immersive environment!

Correlations with Biblical stories: When I reviewed the 1959 film, Ben-Hur, I talked about how certain Biblical events were incorporated into the overall story. With The Song of Bernadette, I could pick out moments that felt like unintentional correlations with some stories from the Bible. Toward the beginning of the film, Bernadette’s father is hired to dispose dirty rags from hospital patients. Shortly after being hired, Bernadette’s father can be seen pulling the wagon filled with dirty rags up a hill. This scene reminded me of the Crucifixion story, when Jesus is carrying the cross. The scene can also serve as a reminder how everyone has their own cross to bear, literally or figuratively. After Bernadette sees her first “vison”, Bernadette’s neighbors offer Bernadette’s family extra food they had acquired. The neighbors’ multiplying of food is reminiscent of the story where Jesus multiplied two fish and five loaves. Because this scene takes place after the first “vision”, I saw it as a miracle similar to the aforementioned Biblical story.

Using little to no dialogue: In two scenes, the movie’s creative team did a great job using little to no dialogue! One of them was the aforementioned scene where Bernadette’s father climbed up the hill. Orchestral music replaces any dialogue, which captures the emotions of Bernadette’s father. A long shot showcases the journey, elaborating how small Bernadette’s father is compared to the hill. This scene visually explained how difficult his life is. Another scene that used no dialogue is when Bernadette experiences her first “vision”. Not only is orchestral and choir music incorporated, the creative team uses a spotlight to accentuate Jennifer’s facial expressions. At one point in this scene, wind blew unexpectedly, signaling something was about to happen. Both scenes were able to say so much while saying so little!

The Caftan Woman Blogathon banner created by Lady Eve from Lady Eve’s Reel Life and Jacqueline from Another Old Movie Blog

What I didn’t like about the film:

The under-utilization of Antoine and his mother: In The Song of Bernadette, the titular character appears to be friends with a man named Antoine. Antoine also appears to be close with his mother. These two characters were only shown in a handful of scenes. Even when they were included in the story, their significance in the overall plot was weaker. The under-utilization of Antoine and his mother was disappointing, as I felt they could have offered more to the story. But since this movie was based on a book I haven’t read, I’m not sure if the limited presence of these characters is close to the source material.

A few ignored details: Toward the beginning of the movie, a friend of Bernadette’s explains to their teacher how Bernadette has asthma. This diagnosis is brought up on a few occasions by Bernadette’s family throughout the movie. But, for the most part, this detail was ignored and had little significance in the story. There were times when Vital Dutour was seen wiping his nose with a handkerchief. At one point in the story, he claims it’s “influenza”. However, it isn’t clearly explained what he’s medically dealing with. As I already said, The Song of Bernadette is based on a book I haven’t read. But if the creative team knew they weren’t going to utilize these details, it makes me wonder why they would include them in the movie?

Rose illustration image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Incorporating faith into film can be a tricky task. On the one hand, you don’t want to run the risk of alienating those who aren’t religious. At the same time, you want to acknowledge the beliefs of those who choose to include religion in their lives. The Song of Bernadettefinds a way to achieve “the best of both worlds”! Bernadette’s story is shown as a procession, a good exploration of how religious phenomena can affect a small town. The film doesn’t seem to take sides when it comes to the actual topic. Yes, some people make fun of Bernadette because of her “visions”. But there’s no antagonist or villain in the movie. Lourdes’ mayor and his friends don’t believe Bernadette. However, none of the men are religious, approaching the situation from a legal and literal perspective. Even the town’s reverend isn’t quick to assume the “visions” are religious. Out of all the movies I’ve seen this year, so far, I’d say The Song of Bernadette is the strongest one! If you are interested in checking this film out, I think Easter would be an appropriate time to see it. Personally, I wish I had seen it sooner, especially since I can no longer thank Patricia for the recommendation.

Overall score: 8.2-8.3 out of 10

Rest in Peace Patricia

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Masks We Wear

On this episode of When Calls the Heart, there is one character who wears a mask for the majority of the story. While the audience learns the motive behind the mask, it was interesting to see how the other characters responded to this decision. Some characters knew what was going on, so they helped this character in any way they could. Others had no idea what was happening, turned off by the sudden changes in this character. But this episode serves as a reminder how, sometimes, we truly don’t know someone. That is why, throughout the show, the residents of Hope Valley attempt to get to know each other. Whether it’s a simple, friendly conversation or an elaborate celebration, the show’s creative team has, more often than not, given both the characters and the audience an opportunity to become emotionally invested in a characters’ story. There are even times when these characters have become fan favorites. So, have you figured out which character was wearing a mask in this episode? Find out if you’re right in my re-cap of When Calls the Heart!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart season nine poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel

Season: 9

Episode: 9

Name: Recent Memory

Major story:

Wyman Walden has returned to Hope Valley. But this time, he wants to purchase the Queen of Hearts Saloon. Fiona also returns from San Francisco with some not so good news. According to Fiona, Henry was straight forward when asking about the investors’ intentions for the mines. Due to Henry’s angry approach, three of the investors had to remove Henry from the conference room. The investors also propose to remove Henry from the petroleum plant, but on one condition. This condition is Lucas has to stay with the petroleum plant for one more fiscal year. Meanwhile, with the saloon, Lucas attempts to bluff Wyman into purchasing the saloon. But Bill has beat him to it.

In a private meeting with Wyman, Bill confesses he’d like to become mayor again. Using specific laws, Bill comes up with an agreement with Wyman; he’ll give Wyman the saloon and drive Lucas out of town if Wyman will help Bill in his mayoral quest. After putting on that figurative mask, Bill only tells a handful of people what he’s doing. For those who aren’t aware of Bill’s plan, they are put off by his sudden change in character. Nathan is one of those characters put off by Bill’s changes. Bill eventually informs Nathan what is going on. But Bill tells Nathan in enough time to concoct a plan. Later in the episode, Bill meets Wyman to collect the payment for the saloon. Before any transactions occur, Bill arrests Wyman on multiple charges, including an attempted murder charge from another town. Meanwhile, Julius Spurlock tries to drive out of Hope Valley, in an effort to run away from accountability. Nathan catches up to Julius, even shooting Julius in the arm to stop him. After everything is said and done, Bill finds a way to return the money Wyman took from unsuspecting business owners. When Lucas finds out about Bill’s plan, however, he is upset. Lucas explains his own plans for conning Wyman. Unfortunately, this plan brings suspicion toward Lucas’ character.

Money image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/bills-and-coins-in-isometric-design_1065328.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

With Minnie and Angela on an out of trip to St. Louis, the café is short staffed. Joseph is able to find a few of his friends to help for the time being. During Lee’s time working in the kitchen, Joseph discovers what Lee did with his and Minnie’s new loan. He confronts Lee about this at the café. Lee apologizes for getting involved, claiming his good intentions. Joseph is upset he wasn’t asked first. At dinner one evening, Cooper confesses he’d like to be his own boss. This confession comes after Joseph askes about Cooper’s decision on attending church. Even though Joseph is supportive of his son, he reminds Cooper how he shouldn’t become too big for his britches, especially when it comes to God. The next morning, Cooper askes his father if they could go fishing. Joseph tells his son how they have work to do, despite being the boss of the café. This gets Cooper to consider his previous decision.

One morning, Faith discovers Mei is leaving for Chicago. While Mei is on her way out of town, Nathan comes to the saloon, asking why she is leaving. Mei explains Geoffrey is pursuing the fake charges against her, meaning she has to appear in court. Nathan arranges for an officer to look out for Mei. Later that evening, Faith crosses paths with Nathan. This leads them to discuss marriage. Nathan claims marriage isn’t on his “to-do list”. Meanwhile, Faith says she and Carson drifted apart because she wasn’t ready to get married. They both agree to get ice cream, especially since Faith has a key to the ice cream parlor.

While helping Lee fix his hair at the salon, Rosemary confesses an editor from Hearst Publishing has expressed interest in including the Valley Voice in their collection of publications. After Fiona finds out this editor is Arthur Gilchrist, she calls him from the Mercantile. Later in the episode, Fiona discovers, through a phone call, that Arthur plans to visit Hope Valley in the near future. She also remembers Arthur is one of the petroleum plant investors. Fiona visits Rosemary and Lee at the saloon and explains all of this to them. They agree to keep their distance from Arthur. Meanwhile, Lucas confesses to Elizabeth what has been happening with Wyman. In an effort to keep Lucas safe and because Elizabeth’s birthday has arrived, they agree to let Lucas spend the evening on Elizabeth’s couch. The actual celebration was a small, intimate affair. But it did give Elizabeth and Lucas a chance to bond and spend time together. With everything happening in Lucas’ business life, Elizabeth has been stressed about his well-being. After Wyman and Julius have been arrested, she thinks Lucas is in the clear. But when she learns more of Lucas’ plan, her stress over Lucas returns.

Birthday cake image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/chocolate-birthday-cakes-collection_765437.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/birthday”>Birthday vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I’m going to be honest: Mei’s story has become, so far, the most disappointing one this season. This is because it is the most frustrating. In my previous episode re-cap, I pointed out how Mei’s story was strung out for more than half the season. This made me to wish her secret had been revealed sooner, so the audience could spend more time getting to know Mei. Now, she has left Hope Valley, with only three episodes left in season nine. Because Mei has been so guarded and secretive for so long, I don’t feel like I truly know her as a character. That creative decision has led me to not feel emotionally invested in her or her story. If Mei returns for a possible tenth season, that would be nice. But if she doesn’t, I wouldn’t mind her departure too much.
  • When I look back on When Calls the Heart as a whole, I can’t think of many bonding, heart-to-heart moments between parent and child. These moments between fathers and sons are also extremely rare. Therefore, it was nice to see Joseph and Cooper talking and spending time with one another in this episode! Through these interactions, the audience learned more about where Cooper was in his journey of faith. We also received some wisdom from Joseph. These moments were my favorite in this episode and I hope we receive more of them if When Calls the Heart is granted season ten!
  • While visiting the saloon one evening, Nathan wore a long, black, tailored coat. Despite never seeing him wear this coat before, Nathan (as well as Kevin McGarry) looked great wearing it! I hope to see him wear this coat in future episodes!
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What did you think of this episode? Would you miss Mei if she left When Calls the Heart? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Buzzwordathon 2022 – Review of ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett

With my Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon underway and the start of May around the corner, it’s time for another Buzzwordathon book review! For April, the theme is ‘Big & Little’. Participants had one of two options: 1. Read a book that has the word ‘big’ or ‘little’ in the title or 2. The title has to feature a word associated with ‘big’ or ‘little’. Because I happen to own a beautiful copy of A Little Princess and because ‘little’ is in the middle of that book’s title, I decided to read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic! The 1905 story has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. However, this is the first time I read it in a novel format.

Here is a screenshot of my copy of A Little Princess. Sorry if the cover’s bottom half appears blurry. I tried to capture how sparkly the cover is. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

While reading A Little Princess, I became nostalgic of the 1995 adaptation, as I have loved that film since its release. So, it was interesting to read how similar and different the movie was from its respective source material. One major difference is how Frances provides explanations for character motivations and situations. I haven’t seen the 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess in years. From what I remember, though, Sara’s dad goes missing during battle and is assumed dead. This provides the catalyst for Sara’s struggles and lost fortune. Looking back on the film, it never made sense, to me, for Sara to lose everything simply because her father was missing in action. If her dad knew there was a chance he could be in danger, wouldn’t he have created a will for Sara? The source material provided a stronger explanation for the lost fortune, as Sara’s father invested in diamond mines, but his money was mishandled. Even though this situation is resolved by the book’s end, the inclusion of these explanations was a strength for the book itself!

Princess tiara image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/ornamental-princess-crowns_1109199.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Another strength of the book is how Frances used descriptions to flesh out the characters and their world. At the beginning of the story, Sara is referred to as “wise beyond her years”. She’s also described as “intelligent”, “imaginative”, and “courageous”. Interactions between characters and narrations from an anonymous narrator provide proof of those statements. On the first day of class, Miss Minchin gives Sara a French textbook in preparation for an upcoming French lesson. Throughout this scene, Sara tries to explain to the headmistress that she already knows basic French, as she grew up learning the language from her dad. It’s not until the French teacher arrives that he and Miss Minchin discover how advanced Sara is in French. In the 1995 adaptation, important and timeless messages and themes can be found throughout the story. That is also true for the source material! Because Sara imagines she is a princess, she assumes how a princess would behave. This includes assuming how a princess would treat others. After finding some money on the ground, Sara plans to buy some food from a nearby bakery. But just before she enters the bakery, Sara sees a girl who appears to be worse off than herself. With the found money, Sara purchases a set of rolls. But she ends up giving most of the rolls to the aforementioned girl.

Here is one of the full page illustrations that is featured in my copy of A Little Princess. Artwork created by Ethel Franklin Betts and found on https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Little_Princess.

Even though A Little Princess has been near and dear to my heart, I’ll be one of the first readers to admit it is not a perfect or near perfect book. Though this flaw wasn’t consistent throughout the text, there were times when parts of the story were repetitive. A portion of the book’s last chapter provides a great example, as it re-caps almost everything that happened prior to that point. As a reader, I don’t like longer chapters. This can, sometimes, cause a book’s pace to be slower. While A Little Princess’ pace was steady, the book contained longer chapters, with thirteen pages given to the longest chapter. In my copy of the book, there are full page illustrations that bring to life certain parts of the story. I honestly wish these illustrations had a more consistent presence, as they could have broken up some of the chapters. Other than that, though, I still enjoyed reading A Little Princess all these years later! I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to read it again!

Overall score: 4.1 – 4.2 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: Because A Little Princess was published in 1905, some of the words and phrases are reflective of that time, with their context different from today. A few of these words are “queer”, “gay”, “fat”, and “chubby”. At one point in the story, a man from India is referred to as “oriental”. There is also a stereotype about Chinese people included in the text. Again, these parts of the story are reflective of the book’s time; 1905.

Travel Lessons I Learned from Movies and TV

Movies and television not only provide entertainment, they also tell a story through a visual medium. Something else movies and television do is teach lessons through those stories. Throughout my life, I have learned so many lessons from various movies and television shows. How to travel smart has been one of them. As my blogathon’s theme this year is ‘Travel Gone Wrong’, I have decided to share a list of six travel related lessons I’ve learned over the years! This is especially exciting, as it’s the first list I’ve created for one of my blogathons! The list is based off of movies and shows I have personally watched. I also tried to present a combination of programs where the mishaps were met with either hilarious or horrifying results. Now, have your boarding ticket ready, as we’re about to start this list!

Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Never Tell Strangers Where You Will be Staying (Especially if You’re Traveling Alone)

When I reviewed the 1962 film, Cape Fear, I said the most effective “scary movies” are the ones that involve real-life situations. A movie that definitely belongs in that discussion is the classic, Taken. The 2008 title showcases the dangers that can sometimes present themselves in international travel, without coming across as a PSA/cautionary tale/“after school special” type story. This is because the film places more emphasis on the action within the project. Every time I think of this movie, I always speculate how Kim and Amanda might have avoided their plight had they not told a group of strangers, who ended up being human traffickers, which hotel they were staying at. It also didn’t help how they revealed they were both traveling alone. There’s a saying that goes “Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet”. Well, as Kim and Amanda’s situation shows, that isn’t always the case, especially since some people’s intentions are not great. Watching Taken reminded me how you should only share your hotel and travel status with people you know and trust.

Pink travel backpack image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/travel-lettering-with-watercolor-pink-backpack_2686676.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

If You Want to Start any Relationships with the “Locals”, Take the Time to Know Them First

When I refer to “locals”, I’m referring to anyone who is from a particular travel destination, whether it’s “across the pond” or across town. For this point, I have two examples to share. The first is from a movie I reviewed back in January, Red Corner. While in China for business related reasons, Jack becomes attracted to a woman he briefly met at a nightclub. Attraction gets the better of them, as they end up sharing intimate relations with one another. The woman is discovered dead the following morning, with Jack declared a suspect in her murder. The second example, which also involves a man named Jack, is the Lost episode “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Within the flashbacks from that episode, Jack forms a month-long, intimate relationship with Achara, a character I mentioned in my latest Sunset Over Hope Valley re-cap. During their relationship, Jack becomes frustrated that Achara won’t share what her “gift” is with him. Taking matters into his own hands, he barges into her place of employment and demands an explanation. When Achara’s revelation isn’t enough, Jack forces her to give him a tattoo, even though she initially refuses his request. Their relationship ends disastrously, with Achara in tears and Jack unofficially banned from Thailand.

Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen. Photo originally found at https://www.thehollywoodroosevelt.com/pool/tropicana-pool-cafe.

I’ve said before that, in my opinion, starting or ending a relationship shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’ve also said that both members of a relationship should be equal to one another. Taking that into account, it’s important to remember when two people come together to form a relationship, they bring with them elements of their lives, which includes their respective cultures. This is where my two examples come in. Despite Jack from Red Corner spending such a short amount of time with the aforementioned woman, he had to deal with her government, a government he was not familiar with. He was also not familiar with the Chinese language and cultural beliefs. This, to an extent, left Jack at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, in Thailand, Jack from Lost didn’t respect Achara’s cultural boundaries. As I mentioned earlier, she initially refused his tattoo request. During their confrontation, Achara told Jack her tattoos are “not decoration, it is definition”. Achara also said Jack couldn’t receive a tattoo because he was “an outsider”. Though she doesn’t provide details to her comments, Achara implies her tattoos have a strong connection to her culture. But whenever Jack and Achara are shown having a conversation, they seem to purposefully avoid talking about anything personal. When I first reflected on “Stranger in a Strange Land”, I knew Achara and Jack’s relationship didn’t last for a reason. Rewatching it years later reminded me why. Honestly, both parties from both relationships could have avoided so much heartache if they had taken the time to learn about and from one another. Sometimes, the best way to know more about a specific culture is to interact with those who are a part of it. Seems to me both aforementioned relationships missed a great opportunity.

Illustrated African landscape image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. Background vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Be Mindful Who You Place Your Valuable Belongings With

Traveling with valuable belongings is inevitable. This has been the case since the concept of traveling was born. A valuable belonging can be almost anything, especially according to the decade. In the 1980s, one of these valuable belongings was camcorders/video cameras. Priceless, irreplaceable family memories were captured on these devices. At the time, they also carried an expensive price tag. I’ve only seen about half of National Lampoon’s European Vacation. The one scene I vividly remember is when the Griswald family have their video camera stolen. Clark asks a passerby to take his family’s picture with the camera. During this photo session, the passerby suggests the family stand in a nearby fountain. After the Griswalds take this suggestion, the passerby runs away with their video camera. While this scene is meant to be played for laughs, a serious point is to be made. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to take a picture of you with your chosen electronic device. However, if you are in possession of a valuable item, being mindful is key. If something doesn’t add up, don’t hesitate to say or do something about the situation. Similar to what I said about Taken, place your belongings with those you trust.

Travel suitcase image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/water-color-travel-bag-background_1177013.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

On Your Trip, Know Where Every Member of Your Party Is

A movie I have never talked about on my blog before is the live-action adaptation, Madeline. I’ll admit it has been years since I’ve seen this film. But from what I remember, there is one scene that perfectly fits this discussion. The titular character and her classmates are at a local carnival on a field trip. Toward the end of this trip, Madeline is late for their bus ride home. To avoid getting in trouble, one of Madeline’s classmates holds up a hat to look like Madeline was sitting in her seat. This leads Miss Clavel to assume Madeline was with the rest of the class. But, in reality, she was somewhere else. During any trip, there is so much to think about. Keeping your party together is one of them. If Madeline had told one of her classmates or even Miss Clavel where she was going or how long she would be gone for, the school community would have one less thing to worry about. There’s no “modern” technology present in this film. But if Madeline had access to a cell phone, she should have kept it on and with her at all times. Miss Clavel is known for saying “Something is not right”. Had Madeline been in worse danger than was depicted in the movie, something would have been very wrong.

Snowy mountain image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-background-of-snow-track-and-mountains_968656.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Leave Enough Time to Gather All Your Belongings

A running joke on The Middle is “the blue bag”. This blue bag contains important items, such as snacks, and is meant to travel with the Heck family whenever they go on a trip. Unfortunately, this bag is, more often than not, forgotten. When this realization occurs, the family typically asks in unison, “You forgot the blue bag”? A reason why this bag gets left behind is because the Heck family usually rushes to get to their destination. In my years of travelling and watching The Middle, I know how essential it is to be prepared. This is why I always pack the day before I leave for a trip. The day before I plan to leave, I also gather what I know I will pack and put those items in one place. This has saved me so much headache and stress.

Colorful travel suitcase image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/beautiful-illustration-of-travel_2686674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Take Advantage of the Opportunities Around You

Ok, so I know I’ve been sharing lessons I’ve learned relating to more serious, travel related situations. Well, this lesson is serious, but not in the same way. Travelling, whether near or far, can give you opportunities to explore new places, meet new people, and grow as an individual. Two characters who take advantage of this are Brooklyn and Joe from Anchors Aweigh! For the majority of this story, Joe and Brooklyn travel to Los Angeles/Hollywood after receiving permission to leave their Navy base. During their travels, they make new friends, fall in love, even helping make a dream come true. Brooklyn and Joe also visit places not highlighted in a travel guide. But none of that would have been possible if they hadn’t been open to the possibilities of their surroundings. So many discoveries are waiting to be found when you travel. They can come in all different shapes and sizes. How do you find them, you ask? Just be aware of what your surroundings have to offer.

Have fun on your travels!

Sally Silverscreen

The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon is Ready to Set Sail!

All aboard the blogathon train! Spring is a time when vacations are either in the planning stage or just beginning. This is one of the inspirations for my Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon! As was mentioned in the official announcement post, plans can either go hilariously or horrifyingly wrong. So, for this year’s event, entries are classified accordingly. All the participant’s posts will be found on this one communal post, in order to locate them easier. With that said, grab your suitcase and fasten your seatbelts! We’re off on a blogathon adventure!

Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Sally from 18 Cinema Lane — Travel Lessons I Learned from Movies and TV

Hilariously Wrong

Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews — FILMS… Our Ladies (2019)

Ruth from Silver Screenings — How to Have a Miserable Vacation

Rebecca from Taking Up Room — The Hardys Take Manhattan

J-Dub from Dubsism — Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies – Volume 131: “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”

Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy — “French Kiss” (1995)

Classic Movie Muse from The Classic Movie Muse — 5 Reasons Why You Should Watch The Great Race (1965)

Horrifyingly Wrong

Debbie from Moon In Gemini — The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon: Train to Busan (2016)

geelw from “DESTROY ALL FANBOYS”! — The Passenger, Or: Boarding? Pass!, The Gift Or: “Where’s Waldo?” Or: “Really Dead Letter Office”

J-Dub from Dubsism — Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies – Volume 130: “Airport”

Eric from Diary of A Movie Maniac — THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)

Evaschon98 from Classics and Craziness — movie review: flightplan (2005).

Take 3: Death on the Nile (2022) Review + 415 Follower Thank You

When I reviewed Curious Caterer: Dying for Chocolate for my last Blog Follower Dedication Review, I figured by writing about a mystery film, I would be giving the readers what they wanted. Well, for my 415 Blog Follower Dedication Review, I decided to give my readers yet another mystery, as both reviews for Curious Caterer: Dying for Chocolate and Cut, Color, Murder have been quite successful. This time, though, the movie in question is a more current mystery production from the big screen. Recently, my family rented the 2022 adaptation, Death on the Nile. This is the follow-up title to the 2017 adaptation, Murder on the Orient Express. On 18 Cinema Lane, I have gone on record to state I was not a fan of Murder on the Orient Express’ ending. I would say why, but then I’d have to spoil that movie for my readers. With that said, I watched the 2022 film with an open mind, hoping the ending would be better. But was that enough to be stronger than the 2017 title? Join me as I review Death on the Nile!

Death on the Nile (2022) poster created by Kinberg Genre, Mark Gordon Pictures, Scott Free Productions, TSG Entertainment, and 20th Century Studios

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Sometimes, in ensemble films, there is at least one performance that steals the show. In the case of Death on the Nile, I can’t say that happened, as everyone’s performance was equally strong. So instead, I’m going to talk about how all of the actors and actresses appeared at ease in their roles. Every interaction among the characters seemed natural. Despite the talent being on different journeys in their career, there was a shared chemistry to be found. Gal Gadot did not star in Murder on the Orient Express alongside Kenneth Branagh. However, when they interacted together, it felt like their characters, Linnet and Hercule, had known each other longer than their total screen time. Even actors and actresses whose characters developed their own relationships created a believable on-screen connection. Bouc is a close friend of Hercule’s, but wasn’t brought up or featured in Murder on the Orient Express. Rosalie is a character who made her debut in Death on the Nile. Despite never meeting prior to this film, Rosalie and Bouc formed a romantic relationship that felt genuine. Their bright smiles and warm embraces present the impression they were always meant to be together. It’s interactions like Bouc and Rosalie’s that allowed the overall acting performances to be enjoyable to watch!

An atmospheric setting: The majority of Death on the Nile takes place in Egypt, specifically on the Nile River. Despite a cruise ship being the primary setting for the story, the characters make an excursion to an ancient Egyptian tomb. I’m not sure if Death on the Nile was filmed on-location, on a set, or if everything was green-screened. No matter where the movie was filmed, this particular location was very atmospheric! The structure was covered in a warm sandstone, reflecting the nearby natural landscape. The interior walls were covered in hieroglyphics, only seen through torch light or a flashlight. Before the characters entered the tombs, a long, overhead shot showcased their entry. Even though a structure like this one would likely never be done justice through filmography, it emphasized the scope of a location of that scale!

The Egyptian tombs were not the only atmospheric location in this film. When it comes to the S.S. Karnak, the creative team knew what style they wanted to execute. Boy, did they stick the landing! This ship was posh, bearing the word “elegant” like a badge of honor. The floor was a dark wood, which nicely contrasted the white shiplap walls. Polished glass windows surrounded a grand sitting area, separating patrons into an isolated, beautiful world. Even this aforementioned sitting area was a sight to behold! A detailed oriental rug hosted an island to a set of plush armchairs and a sofa. An elegant bar overlooked both the seating arrangements and the windowed walls, which showcased a perfect view of the river. When I first saw this ship on screen, it looked, to me, like a miniature version of the Titanic.

The use of black and white imagery: Within the mystery genre, black and white imagery has been, in my experience, used rarely in more recently released titles. Even in Death on the Nile, this kind of imagery had a limited incorporation in the movie. But the use of black and white imagery is what stood out to me. This film’s very first scene is captured in black and white. However, it took place during World War I, with the rest of the story taking place in 1937. The distinction of past and present through imagery was clever and visually interesting. This creative tactic was used again later in the story. But this time, color was included to force the audience to focus on that scene’s particular aspects. Like I said about the previous scene, it was an interesting and clever way to use black and white imagery!

Magnifying fingerprints image created by Balintseby at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/glass”>Glass vector created by Balintseby – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/fingerprint-investigation_789253.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The mystery’s delayed start time: One of my least favorite aspects of the mystery genre is when the mystery starts at a later time in the story. This is because I prefer mysteries to be more interactive and get to the heart of the matter sooner. Unfortunately, Death on the Nile did not ask me what I wanted, as the mystery in this movie started at the halfway point. That means the audience was given half a movie to attempt to solve the mystery alongside Hercule. To me, this felt reminiscent of episodes of Murder, She Wrote, where the first half of the story is devoted to the mystery’s build-up. This creative decision caused a much slower start to the movie, as well as a delay in suspense.

A mystery overshadowed by relationship drama: Drama among the characters can work in a mystery’s favor, as it provides possible motives and suspects. Various types of relationships can also create tension within the overall story. But in Death on the Nile, the relationship drama ended up overshadowing the mystery. In fact, it dominated the film’s first half. While characters fell in and out of love, or simply reflected on love, one of my family members asked, “Isn’t someone supposed to get murdered in this story”? I could easily sense this family member’s impatience, as I too felt my good will toward the movie slipping away with each of the characters’ romantic embrace. I have never read any of Agatha Christie’s books, so I’m not sure if these relationships are straight from the source material. However, this part of the story was over-emphasized.

A past detail that doesn’t lead anywhere: Death on the Nile starts with showing Hercule during World War I. In that time, it is revealed he developed romantic feelings for a woman named Katherine. For the rest of the movie, though, this part of the story was never revisited. If Katherine was brought up, Hercule only talked about her in passing. Hercule’s past relationship and his time during World War I getting ignored was confusing to me. Why include these details if there was no plan to follow through on them? It felt like they were added to the story simply for the sake of being there.

Egyptian hieroglyphic image created by wirestock at freepik.com. Luxor photo created by wirestock – www.freepik.com

My overall impression:

Before I share my overall impression of Death on the Nile, I would like to thank my followers for helping make this review a reality! In four years, my blog has achieved far more success than I ever imagined. All of that is thanks to you. Now, back to sharing my overall impression. While the ending/resolution in Death on the Nile was stronger than Murder on the Orient Express’ was, the overall execution was weaker than the 2017 adaptation. The 2022 film contained a similar flaw to Knives Out: the drama among the characters overshadowed the mystery. Having the mystery start at the movie’s halfway point didn’t help Death on the Nile’s case either. Like Murder on the Orient Express, though, the cast was strong in Death on the Nile. In fact, it was difficult for me to choose a favorite performance. The locations in the 2022 production were atmospheric as well. At the publication of this review, I’m not sure if Kenneth Branagh has plans to adapt more of Agatha Christie’s books. It depends, at this point, if the potential is there.

Overall score: 6.1 out of 10

Have you seen any adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work? Have you read any of Agatha’s books? Don’t hesitate to comment in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen