Take 3: The King and I (1956) Review

For the Fourth Broadway Bound Blogathon, I chose to review the 1956 version of The King and I! Years ago, I had seen the 1999 animated adaptation of the musical. Since I vaguely remember it, I can’t provide an honest opinion of that movie. Because I had only seen pieces of the 1956 film and because it was recommended to me by Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films, I now found a good excuse to finally check the film out! While I knew the play itself was successful, I was surprised to discover it had won a Tony award. As this year’s blogathon focuses on Tony winners, it gave me an opportunity to learn something new. This is one of the reasons why I love participating in blogathons! Now, let’s start this review of 1956’s The King and I!

The King and I (1956) poster created by 20th Century-Fox.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Deborah Kerr is a dramatic actress, as her strengths can be seen in drama films. Because there were plenty of dramatic moments in The King and I, this allowed the best of Deborah’s acting abilities to be placed on display! In scenes that allowed Anna to stand up to King Mongkut, Deborah adopts a serious persona without any sarcasm. Her tone of voice is stern, while also standing up straight and looking directly at King Mongkut. Because there were light-hearted moments as well, it gave Deborah an opportunity to incorporate humor into her performance. This balance made the role suit Deborah well! This is the first time I had ever seen any of Yul Brynner’s performances. However, I was quite impressed by his portrayal of King Mongkut of Siam! Similar to Deborah Kerr’s role, there was a good balance of drama and comedy. In a scene where King Mongkut is talking to his son about what he learned in school, Yul speaks with a serious tone of voice. He also moved around the set with a posture that reflects his character’s royal power. However, when he introduced Anna to his children, King Mongkut would make silly faces in order to get them to smile. Before watching The King and I, the only film of Rita Moreno’s I had seen is West Side Story. Because of this, it was interesting to see Rita work with different material. While Anita, Rita’s character in West Side Story, is sassy and confident, Tuptim is more reserved and sensitive. When Rita didn’t have speaking lines, facial expressions and body language helped convey what Tuptim was thinking. As I liked her portrayal of Tuptim, it makes me wish Rita had appeared in more scenes.

The musical numbers: A musical is only as good as its musical numbers. With The King and I, I found the musical numbers to be entertaining! The most interesting one is the Siamese interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Because Tuptim is reading a copy Anna gave her, she decides to write a play based on her own version of the novel. This particular number features traditional dancing, stylized face masks, and practical effects, such as a white sheet representing ice. It served as a good example of how everyone can view a text differently. The rest of the musical numbers in The King and I ranged from dramatic to comedic. One of them is ‘Getting to Know You’. In this scene, Anna dances with one of King Mongkut’s wives. Some of the children circled around their mother in order to mimic Anna’s skirt. This was a simple way humor was incorporated into some of the musical numbers.

The costume design: The King and I is known for being an elaborate musical, with elegance being found within the costume design. Bright colors were worn by almost all the characters. In a scene where Anna is introduced to King Mongkut’s children, the children’s outfits featured hues of pink, red, and green. The members of the royal family sometimes wore plaid, which complimented the rich color palette of the movie. Metals like gold could also be seen in the royal family’s attire. Some of King Mongkut’s jackets featured gold embroidery, a reminder of his wealth and affluence. Bronze coated the children’s headpieces as well. With the costume design being so exquisite, I wonder how much of this movie’s budget was devoted to it?

The Fourth Broadway Bound Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The under-utilization of Rita Moreno: As I mentioned earlier, the only film of Rita’s I had seen is West Side Story. Therefore, I was looking forward to seeing her performance in The King and I. I was disappointed to see Rita’s talents under-utilized. In this two hour and thirteen-minute movie, Rita appeared in a handful of scenes. While she did participate in the story’s musical components, she was only given one duet and the narration during the Uncle Tom’s Cabin play. I understand The King and I was released five years before West Side Story. But if the 1961 film has taught me anything, it’s how Rita is, talent wise, capable of so much more.

Drawn out storylines: The storylines in The King and I were drawn out because of the film’s two hour and thirteen-minute run-time. King Mongkut’s story, where he attempts to save his reputation, is one example. For about half the movie, King Mongkut wants to prevent other world leaders from thinking he is “barbaric”. Since this particular storyline lasted for so long, the resolution/payoff was fine, but somewhat anti-climactic. Lun Tha and Tuptim’s storyline took place throughout the whole movie. However, by the end of the film, it was left unresolved. It makes me wonder if it would have been resolved if The King and I’s run-time had been shorter?

Songs interrupting the story: In a typical musical, the musical numbers help progress the story forward. But in The King and I, the musical numbers interrupt the over-arching story, causing the transition between story and song to feel less seamless. After an elegant party at the palace, King Mongkut discovers Tuptim is missing. King Mongkut’s search is disrupted by Anna singing ‘Shall We Dance?’. This then turns into a private dance between Anna and King Mongkut, which is interrupted by a guard. The guard informs King Mongkut that Tuptim has been found. Moments like this one cause the story to pause for the sake of a musical number.

String of musical notes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/pentagram-vector_710290.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

So far, I have seen four of Deborah Kerr’s movies. Out of those titles, I’d say The King and I is her best one! As I said in my review, the material complimented her acting abilities. There was enough drama to show off her strengths, while also having enough comedy to let Deborah have fun with the role. The film gave me a chance to see interesting performances and musical numbers, from Rita’s portrayal of Tuptim to a Siamese interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The exquisite costume design and sets are definitely photogenic, highlighting the wealth and power within the royal family. Even though the movie as a whole is good, there are musicals I would choose over it. The songs interrupting the story instead of progressing it forward is one reason why I feel this way. I’ve heard Anna and the King is a non-musical version of this particular story, so I’d be interested in seeing how lack of musical numbers affects the overall story-telling. I’d also be interested in watching Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner’s other film, The Journey.

Overall score: 7.7 out of 10

What are your thoughts on The King and I? Which version is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun on Broadway!

Sally Silverscreen

The Gold Sally Awards is Back with the Best Supporting Actor Division

Despite being busy with some blog and non-blog related projects, I am still continuing to host the Gold Sally Awards! For this round of voting, you get to choose who will receive the title of Best Supporting Actor. Like the previous polls, you can vote for more than one nominee. But you can only vote once per person. This poll will be active until June 7th and the link to the poll is under the list of nominees.

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

 

Who was the Best Supporting Actor of 2020?
Gene Kelly — Anchors Aweigh
Fred Savage — The Boy Who Could Fly
Omri Katz — Matinee
Noah Valencia — Sweet Nothing in My Ear
Andrew Tarbet — If You Believe
Jamie Bell — Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Brock Peters — To Kill a Mockingbird
Vincent Perez — Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)
Joe Penny — Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star
Steve Bacic — Mystery 101: An Education in Murder
 
Created with PollMaker

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Rigoletto Review + 350 and 355 Follower Thank You

For my American Girl Instagram account, Dolly Parkington’s Dollhouse, I recently talked about the 1993 movie, Rigoletto. Because of this, I decided to review the film for my next blog follower dedication review! While I heard good things about this particular title, I have never seen it until this year. The one constant statement was how Rigoletto was “Phantom of the Opera for kids”. As someone who has seen the 2004 adaptation of the musical, I was curious to see how it could be adapted into a family friendly version. If you have taken notice, I have recently relied on older movies for my blog’s content. Come to think of it, I only reviewed one new release in 2021 so far. That’s because I enjoy discovering films that are new to me, as well as finding hidden gems in the world of cinema. This also correlates with my blog’s mission of giving underrated titles a “standing ovation”. Now, let’s raise the curtain on this review of Rigoletto!

Rigoletto poster created by Feature Films for Families

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Even though I liked the acting performances from the film’s younger cast members, it’s the movie’s older cast members that stole the show for me! One noteworthy performance was John Huntington’s! Portraying Ribaldi’s butler, Hans, John was able to serve as the story’s comic relief while, at times, being intimidating. When Bonnie’s mother visits Ribaldi’s house in an effort to address an impending eviction notice, Hans gives her a set of instructions. The tone in his voice and the look in his eyes is so intense and direct, even the audience may feel intimidated by his demeanor. But, as I mentioned before, Hans can also be a source of comic relief. In one scene, Hans makes a comment about music. This comment causes Ribaldi to throw a book at Hans. Even though the moment itself was hilarious, I was caught off guard because it was so sudden. While we’re on the subject of Ribaldi, let’s talk about Joseph Paur’s performance! His portrayal of Ribaldi reminded me a lot of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. In scenes that were more suspenseful in tone, Ribaldi’s persona was aggressive and powerful, with his presence appearing intimidating at times. For more gentler moments in the film, such as when Ribaldi was giving advice to a boy named Porter, his personality was kinder. This allowed Ribaldi to become an approachable character as the story went on. Despite appearing in the film for a short amount of time, I liked Tracey Williams’ portrayal of Gabriella. Not only did she have a pleasant on-screen personality, but she also had good on-screen chemistry with Joseph Paur! Honestly, I wish she had appeared in more scenes.

The music: Because this movie is loosely based on the opera of the same name, there are musical elements within the story. Even though the musical elements were limited, I really liked the music! A memorable song is ‘The Curse’. Performed by Joseph Paur, this was an operatic piece that was powerful and emotional in tone and musical scope. It reminded me of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs ‘The Moment’ and ‘This Is Who You Are’. Toward the end of the movie, Ivey Lloyd, the actress who portrayed Bonnie, performed a song titled ‘The Melody Within’. While Ivey’s voice in the movie sounded fine and delicate, the song itself complimented her talents! Not only was it pleasant to listen to, but it also contained a good message. Musical numbers like ‘The Curse’ and ‘The Melody Within’ gave weight to the film.

Wisdom within the script: As I watched Rigoletto, there were several moments where wisdom could be heard within the script. This was such a pleasant surprise, as I was not expecting to hear that. When Bonnie’s mother tries to talk to Ribaldi about her eviction notice, Ribaldi explains how she has a home while he has a house. During this explanation, it is clear that Ribaldi had enough self-awareness to know what really mattered the most. After interacting with a rude peer, Bonnie reminds her friends how pointless it is to match unkindness with unkindness. While this piece of wisdom was simple, it served as a reminder for how to treat others. What also helped was how these pieces are woven into the script through dialogue. It prevented the wisdom from coming across as mini lectures or heavy-handed.

String of musical notes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/pentagram-vector_710290.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The “disappearing disabilities” subplot: In the town of Castle Gate, there are several citizens who have a disability. These disabilities could be seen or heard; from a young boy who stuttered to a woman who relied on a wheelchair in order to move from place to place. But as the film progressed, their disabilities were magically reversed. Without spoiling the movie, I understand why this subplot was in the story, as it did serve an important message. On the other hand, it kind of contradicts another important message, one about inner beauty. According to IMDB, Rigoletto “is a branch off of the story line of “Beauty and the Beast”, a story where you would find this kind of message. However, it feels like the movie’s creative team wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

Little to no context: Rigoletto is the second movie I’ve recently reviewed where there was little to no context in certain areas of the story. Toward the beginning of the film, it was stated that Ribaldi’s face became disfigured due to an “accident”. But the audience never learns about the accident itself, as well as Ribaldi’s life before he came to Castle Gate. Ribaldi reveals a magical mirror that he claims was given to him by “Snow White”. However, it is never explained if the mirror actually contains magic or is magical in a figurative sense. Similar to what I said in my review of The Girl Who Spelled Freedom, context would have been beneficial in understanding Ribaldi as a character.

Under-utilizing musical potential: While I liked the songs in Rigoletto, I wish it had been a musical, similar to productions like Beauty and the Beast or The Sound of Music. Throughout the film, I can think of only four scenes that featured characters singing. Even though the story should be the first priority of any movie, Rigoletto relied on the script’s drama more than the film’s musical components. I’m also disappointed by the missed opportunity for at least one duet. Maybe Ribaldi and Bonnie could have sang a song about friendship. Perhaps Gabriella and Ribaldi could have shared a romantic, but wholesome melody. This idea might have become a reality had the movie been a musical instead of a drama with musical elements.

Masks of comedy and tragedy images 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:

As I said in my introduction, Rigoletto has been compared to Phantom of the Opera. However, it felt more like a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Because I like the 1991 version of the aforementioned story, I didn’t mind this subversion of expectations. In fact, I found Rigoletto to be an interesting re-telling! The emphasis on music within the world of Castle Gate helped the film obtain its own identity. Having the story take place during the Great Depression and relying less on fantastical elements also helps the film’s case. The movie did have its strengths, but it also had its flaws too. I honestly wish Rigoletto had been a musical like Beauty and the Beast, so its full potential could have been reached. If you do like films with musical elements or are a fan of “modern” fairy tale re-tellings , I would definitely recommend this movie! As this review reaches the final curtain, I want to thank all my followers for helping 18 Cinema Lane make it this far! Like I’ve said before, this blog would not be the same without you!

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

Have you seen Rigoletto? Are there any musical movies you enjoy watching? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Girl Who Spelled Freedom Review

Originally, I was going to publish a double feature review of Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken and The Girl Who Spelled Freedom for the American Experience on Film Blogathon. However, I have also been working on another big project that required more time than I expected. Therefore, I was only able to watch one movie, which was The Girl Who Spelled Freedom. Don’t worry, though, because I will coordinate a double feature to celebrate the publication of 500 posts! The 1986 made-for-tv movie had been unknown to me until this year. I stumbled across The Girl Who Spelled Freedom when I was looking through an IMDB list about family-friendly films. After reading the synopsis, I was interested in watching the movie! There aren’t many cinematic stories that feature a spelling bee. In fact, the only one I can think of is Akeelah and the Bee from 2006. I also realize that Disney creates fewer “based on a true story” movies now than they did decades ago. Because a Disney project hasn’t been reviewed on my blog since last December, let’s begin talking about The Girl Who Spelled Freedom!

The Girl Who Spelled Freedom poster created by Buena Vista Home Video, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), ITC Entertainment Group, Knopf/Simons Productions, and Walt Disney Television. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As I have stated in the past, it takes a very talented young actor or actress to carry a film. For Jade Chinn, she did such a great job with the material she was given! What made her performance so memorable is how she utilized body language, emotions, and facial expressions to illustrate Linn’s limited use of English. However, these techniques helped address what the character was experiencing. When Linn was traveling on a plane for the first time, she curled up on the floor in fear. The way Linn was behaving showed the audience that cultural differences and language barriers can turn something as simple as a plane trip into a terrifying experience. Another stand-out performer was Mary Kay Place, who portrayed Prissy Thrash! One of her best scenes took place toward the beginning of the film. Prissy and her husband, George, were dealing with the news of how many members are in Linn’s family. Prissy is so overwhelmed, she suddenly bursts into tears. This moment alone displays the emotionality Mary was able to bring to her performance! A heartwarming scene was when George was teaching Linn and her sisters how to count. The performances from the actors in this scene, especially from Wayne Rogers, appeared so genuine. It was also nice to see the dynamic between these characters!

The cinematography: I was pleasantly surprised by some of the cinematography in The Girl Who Spelled Freedom! Even though this is a made-for-tv movie from the mid ‘80s, the cinematography looked like it came from a theatrical production. At the beginning of the film, Linn and her family are crossing a river. One shot is presented as if the viewer is in the water, watching the family moving through the river toward safety. When Linn and her family are staying with the Thrash family, they discover one of the sons is missing. As George and Prissy are searching their home, the camera follows them. This gives the idea the audience are looking for this child alongside the characters.

A balance of heartbreaking and heartwarming moments: With films that deal with emotional material, there are bound to be heartbreaking moments. In The Girl Who Spelled Freedom, there were certainly scenes that were sadder in nature. An example is when Prissy takes Linn and some of her siblings to the park. When the children see a giant statue of the Crucifix, they become scared, as they are instantly reminded of the trauma they experienced. Even though Prissy reminds them that the statue isn’t real, the children are still shaken up by the imagery. At the same time, the film contained light-hearted moments that were heartwarming. At the Thrash family home, Linn accidently walks in on Laura, Prissy and George’s daughter, curling her hair. In an effort to prevent Linn from feeling embarrassed, Laura decides to not only curl Linn’s hair, but also curl Linn’s sisters’ hair. The scene itself was very sweet and showed how a little bit of kindness can make a big difference.

The American Experience on Film Blogathon banner created by Debbie from Moon in Gemini

What I didn’t like about the film:

Missing context: The Girl Who Spelled Freedom has the same flaw The Crow did: there are areas of the story that needed context. One strong example is Linn giving sentimental value to a ring. At the beginning of the film, Linn can be seen looking for a ring in the mud. When she is escaping from a group of soldiers in Thailand, she gives the ring to one of the soldiers. In the United States, Prissy gives one of her rings to Linn. Later in the film, Linn is upset when she accidently drops the ring down the sink. The significance of this ring is never addressed in the film. Linn herself never explains why the ring is so valuable to her. If context had been provided to this part of the story, the audience could try to understand why the ring is important to Linn.

A limited presence of the spelling bee: Before watching this movie, I knew there would be a spelling bee featured in the overall story. However, I was expecting a build-up to the spelling bee, similar to Akeelah and the Bee. While we get to see a spelling bee in The Girl Who Spelled Freedom, it was only referenced a few times before the actual event began. Most of the story focused on Linn’s adjustment to life in the United States. Even though watching the spelling bee unfold was satisfying, I wish it had received a little more emphasis in the film.

A few characters receiving character development: In films that feature bigger casts, it is not easy providing character development to every character involved. But when only a few characters receive character development, it can be disappointing. This is what happened with The Girl Who Spelled Freedom. The only characters who are given character development are the members of the Thrash family and Linn. With Linn’s family, the audience becomes familiar with them, but doesn’t get the opportunity to get to know them. This can also be said about other characters, such as Henry Turner, who helped the Thrash family bring Linn and her family to the United States.

Winner’s medal image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/golden-awards-set-with-colors-details_844356.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.

My overall impression:

The American Experience is a tricky thing to sum up, as everyone’s experiences are going to be different. This is especially the case if someone is a refugee or immigrant. The Girl Who Spelled Freedom is a perfect example of how unique the American Experience can be. For most of the film, Linn and her family deal with “culture shock”, coming across things and situations that they feel are “unusual”. But over time, they start to create their own American Experience. Linn enters a local spelling bee in 1983. An activity that is typically seen as fun and harmless was seen by Linn as a fight for survival, a view that was shaped by her past experiences. Therefore, she was partially responsible for creating her own American Experience. For a television film from the mid ‘80s, I’d say this is one of the better presentations! While the film does have its flaws, it did feel like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie before the collection moved to Hallmark Channel. After the film, there was an interview with the real-life Thrash and Yann families. Because the audience was able to hear their sides of the story, it added to my enjoyment of the overall project! It’s a shame fewer networks have decided to create made-for-TV films. There are so many stories worth telling, so I hope they are able to get told someday.

Overall score: 7.6 out of 10

Have you seen The Girl Who Spelled Freedom? Are there any television films you’d like to see me review? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Top 10 Characters Ruined by Hallmark

I apologize for not posting any new content lately. I’ve been working on a personal project for my American Girl Instagram account, which has taken me longer than I expected. But I’m ready to get back in the saddle and continue with your regularly scheduled programming! I also plan to review the newest Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries film. However, I forgot to record it on the day of its premiere, so that review will be posted later than I had hoped. Recently, I watched a video on Youtube titled ‘disney ruined these characters and i’m mad about it’. Created by a Youtuber named Caitlin McKillop, this video discussed Disney Channel characters that were “ruined” over the course of their respective series. It made me think about all the characters from Hallmark that, I feel, were ruined at one point or another. For my list, “ruined” will mean characters who regressed in character development or were not given an opportunity to reach their full potential. None of my choices were picked out of disrespect, mean-spirit, or negativity. As I have mentioned in past lists, this article is based on my own opinion. The characters on my list and in the Dishonorable Mentions section are from movies, movie series, or television shows created by Hallmark.

Archaeological excavation of ancient ruins image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. Banner vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Dishonorable Mentions

Juan Medina from After the Glory/An American Story, Barry Klemper from The Boys Next Door, Jace from The Music Teacher, Chideh from The Wild Girl, Matthew from The Valley of Light, every character from Back When We Were Grownups, Brett from Love in Winterland, Willow from Our Wild Hearts, Alex from Date with Love, Emma Graham from Love by the Book, Charlotte from Yes, I Do, Cowboy from A Painted House, every character from Firelight, Belinda Phillips and Dustin Cooper from Christmas Scavenger Hunt, Laurel Cooper and Clay Shepard from Wedding in Graceland, Blair from The Nine Lives of Christmas, Wil Fuller from Good Witch: Spellbound, Bree O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores, and Lauren from A Cheerful Christmas

10. Florence and Rose from The Magic of Ordinary Days

At first, I was going to put Jace from The Music Teacher in the number ten spot, as I found his transformation from bullied victim to a man who overcame his traumatic past a little too unbelievable. But the more I thought about how the creative team of The Magic of Ordinary Days glossed over the subject of Japanese internment camps, as well as missing out on a good opportunity to explore the theme of racial prejudice, I knew Florence and Rose had to be placed on this list. It’s been several years since I’ve seen The Magic of Ordinary Days. From what I remember, it felt like the sisters’ role in the story was to, simply, boost the protagonist. When one of the sisters received her own subplot, it primarily revolved around a romantic relationship that the audience knew wouldn’t lead anywhere because of where the man in that relationship was from. As I said in my article, ‘My Tier Rank List of Every Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie I’ve Seen!’, this movie is based on a book, one that I haven’t read. Therefore, I don’t know which parts of Florence and Rose’s story were true to the source material. What stings, though, is how these two characters weren’t given a chance to reach their full potential, especially in a collection of films where prominent Asian American stories are far and few between.

9. Jess O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores

In the first episode of Chesapeake Shores’ third season, Jess said how she had to deal with a lot of horrible things in her life, but was able to live with those parts of her life because they were secret. Jess has also mentioned dealing with PTSD. But as the show progressed, those parts of Jess’s life were never explored. Instead, more emphasis was placed on Jess’s love for David. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does put a hindrance on her potential for growth. With Chesapeake Shores receiving a fifth season, I hope Jess’s past is incorporated more into her story.

8. Kevin O’Brien from Chesapeake Shores

Within the first season of Chesapeake Shores, Kevin was shown displaying PTSD-like symptoms. Even though he claimed he didn’t have PTSD, Kevin was clearly dealing with some personal issues. Similar to Jess, Kevin’s issues were not brought up throughout the show. What made me put Kevin in the eighth place on this list is how he and Sarah were not given the wedding of their dreams because Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season contained only six episodes. Because Kevin was the first character from the main cast to get married, it feels like the show’s fans were cheated out of witnessing Chesapeake Shores history unfold. Hopefully, the show’s creative team makes up for this in season five.

7. Shane McInerney from Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The way Shane’s story has played out in this series is similar to Angela’s story from Bones. At the start of their respective series, each character was given a piece of their identity that set them apart from the other characters. For Angela, it was her passion for art. For Shane, it was her affinity for all things technological. But as time went on, these pieces were either ignored or morphed into something else. Angela’s passion for art evolved into exclusively utilizing technology. Meanwhile, Shane’s love for technology was abandoned. Out of the four main characters from Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I feel like Shane’s backstory was explored the least. From what I remember, the only time Shane’s backstory was highlighted was in Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Impossible Dream. If Hallmark decides to continue this film series, I hope Shane receives a little more attention in the script.

6. Nathan Grant from When Calls the Heart

Having the same occupation and looking similar to Jack Thornton doesn’t help Nathan, driving home the idea of being the late Mountie’s replacement. His involvement in the love triangle just made things worse. Whenever I think of Nathan, his desperate attempts to win over Elizabeth’s heart overshadow all of his good qualities. Since the love triangle has lasted as long as Nathan has appeared on the show, this has prevented the audience from seeing Nathan as his own person. Now that this event is over, Nathan’s positive attributes will hopefully be highlighted more throughout season nine.

Group of unhappy image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

5. Elizabeth Thornton from When Calls the Heart

You could make the argument that Elizabeth has always been entitled. However, from season one to most of season five, that entitlement was masked under a veil of sincerity. One example is when Elizabeth forbade her sister, Julie, from seeing Jack’s brother, Tom. But when Jack passed away, that veil disintegrated, making Elizabeth more self-centered. There are several examples I could give to illustrate my point. But the one I will use is how, toward the end of season eight, Elizabeth unnecessarily snapped at Rosemary when Rosemary tried to give Elizabeth advice. Elizabeth apologizes to Rosemary in the season eight finale, but it feels like she apologized just so Rosemary could listen to her problems. Similar to what I said about Nathan, the love triangle did Elizabeth no favors. She claimed she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or give anyone the wrong idea, even though she ended up doing both of those things. I’d like to think Elizabeth will change at least some of her ways in season nine. Since she has acted this way for so long, though, I’m not holding my breath.

4. George O’Hanrahan from Good Witch

In the movie series, George was the glue that kept his family together. It was also nice when he fell in love with Gwen, allowing him to have his own subplot. But when Good Witch converted into a television show, Gwen was no longer in the picture. This took away the only subplot George had, as well as leaving the audience with no explanation for Gwen’s disappearance. What adds insult to injury is how he regressed into a vulnerable and gullible man. The change in George’s character makes him appear as a stereotypical version of who he used to be. Because older adults are usually given smaller roles in Hallmark shows, it’s disappointing to see Good Witch not give George the quality story he deserves.

3. Martha Tinsdale from Good Witch

Martha’s personality, in the movie series, was not for everyone. Determined and head-strong, Martha was almost always talking about how great Blairsville was or how Blairsville has more to offer than Middleton. But the reason why she did this was because she saw the potential her town had. She encouraged others to care about their neighborhood in an attempt to help them see Middleton the way she saw it. No matter what she said or did, Martha was never mean or a bully. That changed when the Good Witch television show reached its third season. In an episode where the Middleton Theater was about to open, Martha bullied Stephanie into not serving gourmet popcorn because Martha didn’t like the idea. I was taken aback by how Martha treated Stephanie, as this was completely different from the Martha I had come to know. Martha’s character development was complex, but the show’s writers oversimplified it to the point of watering it down.

2. Abigail Pershing from Good Witch

Abigail was one of my favorite characters from this series because of how complex she was. While she was different from Cassie, it’s not as simple as comparing these characters to the Wicked Witch of the West and Glenda. Abigail did things that Cassie would not normally do. But when the audience learned why Abigail did these things, they realized Abigail had the right reasons for doing them. In the movie, Good Witch Halloween, Abigail entered the Halloween Queen contest, the same contest Stephanie entered. Abigail knew how much Stephanie wanted that title, so she became Stephanie’s rival in order to make Stephanie work for what she wanted instead of expecting to receive the title like in years past. While the rivalry in this movie made sense, it felt pointless within the rest of the series. Both characters appear immature, with Abigail becoming meaner. Like Martha’s character development, Abigail’s character development was oversimplified. Just thinking about how much Abigail has regressed breaks my heart.

1. Cassie Nightingale from Good Witch

Cassie is, singlehandedly, what made this series so special. She was the embodiment of what makes a great character; carrying good morals and showing the audience how anyone can make a difference. But as the show went on, Cassie became a shell of who she used to be. In one episode from season three, one of Cassie’s friends suggested Cassie should be less like herself. This statement is the problem with the Good Witch television show: Cassie isn’t like the Cassie I had come to be a fan of for almost a decade. What makes things worse is how Cassie doesn’t make as many contributions to the story as she did in the movie series. In fact, when I think back to Good Witch: Spellbound, I can’t recall Cassie doing anything significant within the plot. If I had known this is what would happen to one of my favorite characters, I would have objected the conversion from movie series to television show.

Adhesive bandage image created by aopsan at freepik.com. Background photo created by aopsan – www.freepik.com

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Executive Leader, Michelle Vicary, Walks Away from Hallmark

Last January, I reported how Bill Abbott stepped down from his presidential and CEO position at Hallmark. Now, another business leader from the Gold Crown company has decided to walk away. On May 17th, Nellie Andreeva, from Deadline, published an article about the departure of Michelle Vicary, who was Hallmark’s executive for programming and production. The article states how Michelle will step down from her position “at the beginning of June”. While no replacements have been announced at this time, Randy Pope and Darren Melameth, the company’s SVPs for Programming, Development, and Content Strategy, will serve “as interim co-heads of the department”. The article does not mention why Michelle decided to leave the company. However, Nellie does write how Wonya Lucas, the current CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, “has led a major restructuring” and made diversity and inclusion “a top priority”.

Illustration of woman quitting her job created by stories at freepik.com. Office vector created by stories – www.freepik.com

2021 has, so far, left me wondering if Hallmark has less money than they let on to the public. While everything I’m about to say is pure speculation, I have noticed some things that lead me to believe Hallmark’s entertainment division might not be fiscally strong. Nellie states in the aforementioned article how Lucas’ restructuring of the company has “resulted in some layoffs this year”. Even though the number of layoffs is not mentioned, the news of layoffs is not a good sign for any business. As of mid-to-late May, there have been no announcements for upcoming movies in the Picture Perfect Mysteries series, the Ruby Herring Mysteries series, the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In fact, there were no new Hallmark Hall of Fame or Signed, Sealed, Delivered films released in 2020. This makes me believe Crown Media Family Networks may be quietly moving away from these series in order to cut costs. In March, it was reported that daytime talk show, Home & Family, would be ending on August 4th. No official reason has been given for the show’s cancellation. Now adding the news of Michelle’s departure, Hallmark appears to be experiencing a rough patch. Everything I said is pure speculation. But I think a tell-tale sign of financial troubles would be if Hallmark created less Christmas movies than they did last year.

What are your thought’s of Michelle’s departure from Hallmark? Do you like the direction the network is currently moving in? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Here are the links to the articles I referenced in this post:

Michelle Vicary Steps Down As Crown Media Family Networks’ EVP Programming Amid Continuing Overhaul At Hallmark Channel Parent

https://tvline.com/2021/03/23/home-and-family-cancelled-hallmark-channel-ending-final-episodes/

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Love Triangle is Finally Over

I have been very vocal about how I dislike When Calls the Heart’s love triangle. When several people from the show claimed it would end in season eight, I was hoping they were telling the truth. But as this chapter of the show is coming to an end, I can honestly say that the love triangle is officially over! Other good news comes from a commercial at the end of the episode announcing season nine! While I’m not surprised by this announcement, I am happy to see the show taking a new step forward. Overall, I’d say this season has been, for the most part, good. Yes, it did have its flaws. However, these can become areas of growth for the next season. It is amazing how far Hope Valley has come. From a town that was broken by sorrow and uncertainty to a place filled with hope and brighter days, Hope Valley has grown beyond expectations. Now, as the door of season eight comes to a close, let’s re-cap this episode of When Calls the Heart!

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

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

Season: 8

Episode: 12

Name: The Kiss

Major stories:

Elizabeth feels guilty about the way she has treated Rosemary. She immediately apologizes to Rosemary, who ends up forgiving her. Elizabeth tells her friend all about her relationship troubles with Nathan and Lucas. Rosemary reminds Elizabeth how she needs to choose a man that she can see herself spending a lifetime with. These words are taken to heart as Elizabeth visits Nathan to tell him that she loves him, but she is not in love with him. She also tries to tell Lucas how she feels, but is interrupted by Wyman at the café. In this episode, Landis is still in Hope Valley. He continues to believe that Angela’s educational needs will interfere with the educational opportunities of Elizabeth’s other students. However, Elizabeth insists that she wants Angela to attend the Jack Thornton School. Minnie becomes doubtful due to Elizabeth’s job being in danger. But she still allows her daughter to make her own decision. Elizabeth tells Rosemary how Landis threatened to shut the school down if the students and their parents refused to attend because of Angela becoming a new student. Rosemary agrees to publish the story in Hope Valley’s newest version of their newspaper; The Valley Voice. This plan worked, as every student agrees to walk the Canfield family to the school building on the first day of a new school year. The act shows Landis how kind and supportive the Jack Thornton School is. He tells Elizabeth he will find a way to help her keep her job. On Robert’s first day as Jack Jr.’s new babysitter, Elizabeth gives him a note that needs to be given to Lucas. Later that day, however, Elizabeth notices the note in Robert’s hands. He says the saloon was closed and that Lucas was gone. When Elizabeth goes to the saloon, she sees Robert was telling the truth. She asks Rosemary and Lee where Lucas went, with Lee pointing toward the road leading out of town. Even though Elizabeth runs down that road, she knows she missed Lucas. Consoling a broken heart on a bridge, Lucas happens to show up. They share a passionate kiss, making their relationship official. Lucas also notices Elizabeth isn’t wearing her wedding ring anymore. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas and Elizabeth have a private date at the library. On this date, Elizabeth plans to read some of her final manuscript, which was sent to Elizabeth from Helen earlier in this episode.

Preparations are being made for Hope Valley’s race for mayor. Mike sits outside Ned’s Mercantile, collecting names of potential nominees. The only people who express interest in running are Bill, Mike, and Fiona. Mike shares with Fiona that he not only told Henry about his plans to connect a pipeline to the train depot, but Henry also agreed to make this plan a reality. To Mike’s surprise, Henry gives him complete leadership over the petroleum plant. Henry decides to leave Hope Valley in an effort to find what makes him happy in life. As Henry looks at the café’s sign, it is to be assumed Henry is trying to locate Abigail. As Rosemary is busy writing her first newspaper and organizing information, Lee has difficulty figuring out his purpose in life. While talking to Joseph about his worries, Joseph tells Lee two of life’s most important moments are when someone is born and when that person discovers why they were born. These words lead to Lee’s decision to run for mayor. After Lee shares this news, Rosemary says she would like to acquire a better printer press and an official staff if she is to take her new occupation seriously.

Newspaper image created by Zlatko_plamenov at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/newspaper-mockup_1386098.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by Zlatko_plamenov – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Faith is sad to see Carson’s packed bags at the Infirmary. But she doesn’t stop him from leaving. Carson and Faith share one last moment together, where all they do is hold each other. When it’s time to leave, Carson is met with most of Hope Valley’s residents waiting by the stagecoach, as they wish to send him off. This causes Carson to be pleasantly surprised. As he boards the stagecoach, Clara and Lee find the engagement ring that was missing in the previous episode. However, Carson still chooses to leave Hope Valley. Faith is disappointed, as she hoped Carson would change his mind. While helping Nathan with a minor injury, Nathan tells her how she’ll make a good doctor. Faith says that, like an injury, it will take time to heal. During Carson’s send-off, Nathan brings Jesse back to Hope Valley. Clara and Jesse are excited to see one another again. Lee gives Jesse some time off of work, which Clara and Jesse use as a second honeymoon. Ned also returns to town, explaining to Florence what has been happening. He has been trying to acquire a patent for an adhesive bandage he created.

Adhesive bandage image created by aopsan at freepik.com. Background photo created by aopsan – www.freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While the majority of this season has been good, the season premiere and finale were fine. They met their requirements instead of going above and beyond. I wish the Hope Valley mayor race was saved for season nine and not shoehorned into season eight’s last episode. This way, the dynamic between the candidates could be explored throughout the season.
  • The references to Abigail this season were not only random, but the amount of references made the creative team’s wishes a little too obvious. Even though some people from the show have expressed interest in working with Lori again, the network made the ultimate decision to distance themselves from her. In my opinion, I don’t think Abigail will ever be seen on the show again. When Calls the Heart is one of Hallmark’s most successful programs, so I doubt the network’s leaders would risk tarnishing their crown jewel in any way.
  • I really hope Henry returns to Hope Valley. His story has been one of the best from season eight, as he received more character development and growth. As I have stated in a Sunset Over Hope Valley re-cap post, I hope Bai Ling considers joining the main cast of the show. If she does, maybe her character could form a relationship with Henry. That way, he might find someone new to make him happy.
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 When Calls the Heart‘s season finale? What would you like to see in season nine? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Changes Are Coming

Change is evitable. There have been so many changes on When Calls the Heart, it would make this re-cap longer than necessary. But this has made the show interesting. If the show had stayed the same, we would have never gotten to see things like Rosemary’s transformation as a character or the multiple weddings Hope Valley has hosted. Each season has offered something different, whether it has been new characters or stories. Hope Valley itself has evolved. Remember when the town was called Coal Valley? How about when the Jack Thornton School was first built? These changes have led to the creation of memories. Each memory has become a stepping stone as the show progresses. While the show is approaching its last episode of the season, let’s start re-capping this episode of When Calls the Heart!

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

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

Season: 8

Episode: 11

Name: Changing Times

Major stories:

As Elizabeth is preparing for the start of a new school year, Minnie tells her that Landis, the school inspector who came to town earlier this season, has come back to Hope Valley. This puts Elizabeth on edge, concerned about what Landis has to say. When Landis pays Elizabeth a visit at the Jack Thornton School, he shares his desire for the school to join the Valley School District. Landis also hands Elizabeth a packet of papers from the school board. In this packet, it states that if Elizabeth doesn’t receive special training in order to teach students who are disabled, then she will be forced to step down from her teaching position. She visits Bill in the hopes he will be able to help her. After reading over the packet, Bill tells her there is not much that can be done about the situation. However, he tells Elizabeth he will support whatever decision she makes. Elizabeth meets with Landis one morning, hoping to work with him on these new changes. Landis brings up his concern about Angela potentially holding the class back due to needing extra educational attention. Elizabeth promises to receive the appropriate training as soon as possible. Later in the episode, Elizabeth tells Landis that she won’t allow the Jack Thornton School to join the Valley School District. Landis warns her of her likely job loss. Meanwhile, Elizabeth seems to be spending more time with Nathan. When he pays her a visit at her house to give her Florence’s wedding bouquet, Elizabeth volunteers to place his jacket by the fire, sharing that she used to do that for Jack. She also offers Jack’s gloves to Nathan when Nathan reveals he misplaced his gloves. At school, she lets Lucas know about her conversation with Nathan at the wedding reception. Even though that interaction was not romantic, Lucas feels that Elizabeth is moving away from him. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas ends his relationship with Elizabeth, telling her he needs to “set her free”.

 One morning, Rosemary studies a map of Hope Valley at Lee’s office. She wants to know who has purchased the Canfield’s cabin and what their intention is for the town. Since Jesse borrowed Lee’s car, Rosemary decides to go to the cabin to see what’s going on. When she arrives on the Canfield’s former land, Rosemary hears a gunshot. This sound causes Rosemary to fall off her horse, as the horse got spooked. As a Pinkerton officer helps Rosemary to her feet, he informs her that the land is now private property. When Rosemary goes to the Infirmary due to a minor back injury, she tells Nathan what happened, as he also happens to be at the Infirmary. He was also informed by Fiona that Wyman Williams, the businessman who appeared in the previous episode, has returned to Hope Valley. Just like before, he came to the barber shop with an offer to purchase it. During a business-owner’s meeting, Nathan arrests Wyman. At the jail, Wyman reveals that he made an investment with Jesse’s money. Later in the episode, when Clara goes to the jail in an effort to discover Jesse’s whereabouts, she gives Wyman a piece of her mind. Eventually, Wyman refunds all of Jesse and Clara’s money he invested. Wyman reveals to Bill that he has been purchasing multiple businesses in order to invest in them. His excuse is that the town is growing and so are businesses. Before he leaves Hope Valley, Bill sees Wyman talking with the Pinkerton officers that have been guarding the Canfield’s former land. Because Jesse hasn’t returned home, some of the residents of Hope Valley look for him. They find Lee’s car by a mountain, but Jesse has still not been found. Toward the end of the episode, Lee surprises Rosemary by giving her half of his office. She also reveals she will restart Hope Valley’s newspaper.

Chalkboard image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/mathematical-operation-written-on-blackboard_1357576.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Carson has made up his mind to become a surgeon. He also plans to propose to Faith. Before he and Faith go to the café for breakfast, Carson gives Minnie the ring. Unfortunately, Minnie and Clara end up misplacing it. When Carson goes to the kitchen to help them find the ring, Clara suggests it could be in the pudding. However, Carson has no luck finding the ring. Meanwhile, Faith suspects that Carson is planning on proposing to her. But she still wants to stay in Hope Valley. At the saloon, Carson shares with Lucas how losing the ring is probably a sign that he and Faith were not meant to be.

Henry receives a letter from his son, Christopher. In this letter, Christopher shares that he not only found Rachel, but also plans on staying in the city. He tells his father he got a job at the furniture store Rachel’s father owns. The letter comes with a photo of Christopher and Rachel as well. This makes Henry reflect on the photo of him and Christopher that is located on his desk.

Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I, personally, don’t think it was fair for Elizabeth to receive Florence’s wedding bouquet, as this is the third time it has happened to Elizabeth. The bouquet should have been given to either Mollie, Faith, or Fiona. If Rachel had attended the wedding, the bouquet could have even gone to her.
  • Speaking of Rachel, I’m disappointed she and Christopher won’t become recurring characters on the show. Besides the schoolchildren, Laura, and Jack Jr., there aren’t many young people in Hope Valley. With the arrival of Christopher and Rachel, I was hoping they would bring something different to the town. While they did accomplish this, the results were short-term.
  • Even though I’m glad Hope Valley’s newspaper is going to continue again, I’m kind of disappointed Rosemary won’t be getting her theater. This is something the fans (and Rosemary) have been waiting for since season two. But because building a new piece of the set costs money, I wonder if the show’s creative team has been avoiding giving Rosemary her theater due to how expensive it could be?
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

Are you looking forward to the season finale? What do you think will happen? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Extending the Gold Sally Awards’ Best Actress Poll

Similar to the Gold Sally Awards’ Best Actor Poll, I am extending the Best Actress Poll. This is because the Best Actress Poll did not receive any votes. If you are interested in voting, you have until May 10th to submit your votes. Even though you can only vote once per person, you can vote for more than one nominee. The link to the poll is listed under the poll image.

Tools of a writer image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/camera-and-coffee-near-notebook-and-accessories_2399437.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Who is the Best Actress of 2021?

 

Kathryn Grayson — Anchors Aweigh
Lucy Deakins — The Boy Who Could Fly
Kellie Martin — Matinee
Gena Rowlands — Grace & Glorie
Marlee Matlin — Sweet Nothing in My Ear
Ally Walker — If You Believe
Margaret O’Brien — The Unfinished Dance
Anne Hathaway — Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Kat Graham — Fashionably Yours
Lucia Micarelli — The Christmas Bow
 
 
 
 
 
 
Created with PollMaker

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Have You Signed Up for the Olympic Dreams Blogathon? There’s 3 Months Left!

Back in January, I announced my 3rd annual blogathon; the Olympic Dreams Blogathon! This event will take place from July 19th to the 23rd. That means if you’re interested in signing up, you still have three months left! In this post, I will provide the link to the original post where the participant list is featured. You can leave your entry ideas in the comment section of either post.

Introducing the Olympic Dreams Blogathon!

Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.

Have fun at the blogathon!

Sally Silverscreen