My Conclusion to the National Read a Book Day Double Feature

For the remaining days of October, I will try my best to “clean house”. This means I will be publishing articles that I’ve been meaning to post for some time. One of these posts is my conclusion to last month’s National Read a Book Day Double Feature! In September, I sought to answer the question, Would these adaptations [of Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford] encourage the viewers to read their source material or any other book? Now that I’ve seen and reviewed both films, I’ve come to the realization how difficult it is to answer this question.

Library image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stack-of-books-on-library-desk_2509490.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/school”>School image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

While reading some of Saint Maybe’s reviews on IMDB, one of them stood out to me. Its title read “Made me want to read the book”. Written by someone named bkgmoonstar, they claim the movie was missing too much detail. After they read the novel, they said “the movie was actually quite faithful to the book”. This review represents the opinion of just one reader. There are many readers who choose to read a given book for various reasons. They also have their own preferences and literary interests.

Interior view of library image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Like readers, there are many movie-goers with their own tastes in cinema. Some of the films of their choosing may be an adaptation. But even if they enjoy an adaptation, it doesn’t mean they’ll reach for the source material. This decision could be made for a variety of reasons. When I asked my aforementioned question in my reviews of Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford, I wasn’t really able to give a definitive answer. That’s because the only reader I can speak for is myself. Therefore, if I had to answer the question, I think it all depends who you ask.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

If you want to read the other articles associated with this double feature, I’ll provide the links here:

The National Read a Book Day’s Double Feature Introduction

Take 3: Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 1)

Take 3: At Home in Mitford Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 2)

Take 3: Vampire Circus Review

Blogathons are a great opportunity to be introduced to new genres, films, and talents. For me, that has certainly been the case for The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon. Because this was my first time watching any Hammer-Amicus production, I had to research which title I would write about for the event. On Wikipedia, I stumbled across the 1972 film, Vampire Circus. The film’s title immediately caught my attention, as I’ve never seen a vampire led circus before. Movies revolving around vampires are no stranger to 18 Cinema Lane. As of October 2021, I have reviewed five vampire films, with Vampire Circus now being the sixth title. These projects have received favorable reviews, with each one being enjoyable to varying degrees. How will Vampire Circus fare among the other vampire films I’ve seen? Keep reading, as the show is about to begin!

Vampire Circus poster created by Rank Film Distributors and 20th Century Fox.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As I said in the introduction, this was my first time watching any Hammer-Amicus production. But during my experience viewing Vampire Circus, I could tell the actors and actresses involved were invested in their roles! Whenever a circus is incorporated into a story, the ringleader is usually a man. So, it was interesting to see a woman leading a circus in Vampire Circus. Confidence and a no-nonsense attitude are the traits I associate with a circus ringleader. While portraying the Gypsy Woman, Adrienne Corri effectively brought those traits to her character! Adrienne also had the ability to command attention from the audience. This is due to the strong on-screen personality she presented.

While watching Vampire Circus, I was impressed by the performances of the younger actors and actresses. Two of these stand-out performances came from John Moulder-Brown and Lynne Frederick! Portraying Anton Kersh and Dora Müller, these actors had surprisingly good on-screen chemistry. They also performed well together and individually. John and Lynne’s interactions felt believable, like their characters truly cared about each other. It made me wish they had starred in a production of Romeo and Juliet!

The historical accuracy: Vampire Circus takes place in the 19th century, which contains the years 1801 to 1900. As soon as the movie started, I noticed the creative team’s focus on making their production look historically accurate! Two of the characters, Anna Müller and Jenny Schilt, wear dresses that appear like they came directly from that time period, reminding me of stories like Pride and Prejudice and American Girl’s Caroline series. The costumes for the male characters are also reminiscent of these stories. The props and set designs were historically accurate as well! A good example were the circus wagons. Their structural build reflected the classic circus images seen on antique posters and art work. The signs for “Circus of Night” and the “Hall of Mirrors” presented an art style that was present during that time. With all these elements coming together, I felt transported to the 19th century!

Introducing the “photogenic vampire”: I have heard people give Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series credit to creating the concept of “photogenic vampires”. But personally, I think Vampire Circus deserves that credit, as the movie was released before Interview with the Vampire was published. The vampires in Vampire Circus appeared beautiful, looking like potential supermodels. A perfect example is Emil, who was also a circus performer. One of the young women in the town of Stetl, Rosa, develops a crush on Emil after the circus’ first performance. When you take one look at Emil, it is easy to see why Rosa would be interested in him. This simple creative decision allowed Vampire Circus to make a significant contribution to the world of vampire stories!

The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon banner created by Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry from Cinematic Catharsis

What I didn’t like about the film:

Confusing parts of the story: The Bürgermeister’s daughter, Rosa, is attracted to Emil, one of the circus performers. In one scene, she is telling her mother how Emil is not like other guys, as he has traveled the world and is more cultured because of it. But in earlier scenes, we don’t get to see these characters converse with one another. All that is provided to the audience is Emil and Rosa meeting at the circus for the first time and seeing them have intercourse shortly after they met. How would Rosa know all that information about Emil if she barely spoke with him? Did she and Emil talk with each other off-screen? This is just one part of the story that I feel needed context.

The underutilization of animals: When the circus comes to the town of Stetl, they bring three animals: a panther, a tiger, and a chimpanzee. Throughout the film, the chimpanzee and tiger stayed in their cages. Meanwhile, the panther was seen out of its cage about two or three times. In the world of film, animals are a part of a production to either be showcased as naturally as possible or to be shown doing something cool. In Vampire Circus, when there was an opportunity to prominently feature the tiger, a dancing woman painted as a tiger took its place. With all that said, it makes me wonder why there were animals in the movie at all?

Inconsistent traits among the vampires: In fiction, there are many different vampires who carry a variety of skills and traits. Within Vampire Circus, however, the traits of the vampires felt inconsistent. Two of the vampires in the story, Heinrich and Helga, are sensitive toward crucifixes. But when a crucifix is presented to the Strongman, he ends up crushing it with no sensitivities. Does this mean the Strongman wasn’t a vampire or was he simply not bothered by crucifixes? Over the course of the story, Emil is revealed to be a shapeshifter. At various moments in the film, he transforms into a panther, the same panther the circus brings to town. Meanwhile, as I mentioned before, the tiger and chimpanzee stayed in their cages. Was Emil the only shapeshifter in the circus? Were the animals simply animals?

Happy vampire image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/several-vampires-ready-for-halloween_1317599.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/party”>Party vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Vampire Circus introduced the concept of “photogenic vampires”. For this, I will give the film credit where it is due. But when I think about this 1972 production, I’m confused of what its intention was. On the one hand, all the actors and actresses seemed invested in the roles they were given. But, on the other hand, a stuffed animal could be plainly seen during a scene where a group of characters were attacked in a forest. Was this movie supposed to be “so bad it’s good” or a horror movie with a pinch of humor? There were also parts of the story that I found confusing. However, the film was interesting enough to keep me invested in what was happening on screen. Therefore, I found Vampire Circus to be just ok.

Overall score: 6 out of 10

Have you seen any Hammer-Amicus films? Are there any vampire films you enjoy watching? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Oh Lil Christmas Tree: 2021’s Official Ornament

Last year, I announced a new project called Oh Lil Cristmas Tree, where I add a new ornament that somehow relates to my blog. When I first introduced this project, I showed my readers a small colonial style hat that was reminiscent of Jiggy Nye’s hat from Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. This year, after searching for the perfect addition, a Christmas cat ornament will be joining the tree! Two years ago, I reviewed the Hallmark Channel movie, The Nine Lives of Christmas. It was a film I really liked and was one of the best I saw that year! So, it made sense for a festive kitty to be the next choice.

Isn’t this cat just the cutest? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
The Nine Lives of Christmas poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel Poster image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=The%20Nine%20Lives%20of%20Christmas&IsSeries=False

Do you like my new ornament? Which Christmas tree decoration would you suggest I add next year? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: You Fit In Just Fine

Now we are coming to the end of another season of Chesapeake Shores. With this story complete, I can now give my honest opinion on the season as a whole. This has been one of the strongest seasons in the show’s history! That balance between character and plot driven stories has returned! One of the strengths was the addition of new cast members. Because Robert Buckley was promoted the most, I’ll talk about his character, Evan Kincaid. With new characters, it can be hit or miss. But with Evan, he fit in just fine. In fact, it felt like he was meant to be on Chesapeake Shores all along. Evan was a well written character, with each layer being pulled back as the story went on. Robert also presented a personality that hadn’t been seen on the show before. Despite joining Chesapeake Shores this season, I can’t imagine this story without him. As this chapter of the show comes to a close, let’s re-cap the season finale!

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 10

Name: As Time Goes By

Abby’s story: Abby comes back home from her business trip in Cleveland. She is surprised to discover Evan waiting for her at the airport. Afterwards, they agree to have lunch at Sally’s Café. During their meal, Evan confesses how he might have romantic feelings for Abby. She turns down this possibility at first, as she and Evan are business partners. But Evan convinces her to, at least, think about the idea of them together. The next day, Evan visits the O’Brien family home to deliver some homemade brownies. Abby is not only amazed by how good the sweet treats are, but how Evan created the brownies so that Caitlyn, who is lactose intolerant, could eat them too. In the middle of this exchange, Evan shares with Abby how he learned to bake from a man who used to date Evan’s mother. When Abby asks Evan if she can meet this man, Evan says he’ll try to locate him, as he is a truck driver. Later in the episode, Jay reveals how every year, he takes a picture for his “Best Moment of the Year” collection. For the previous year, he shows Abby a picture of her, indicating how she was his “Best Moment of the Year”. Jay also confesses how he has romantic feelings for Abby. But he says he has romantic feelings for a female guidance counselor named Cam as well. The information Abby received from Evan and Jay puts her at a fork in the road. After consulting with Bree, Abby calls someone and tells them how she has feelings for them too. But the identity of the receiver is not known.

Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick and Megan share the news that not only are they taking a trip around the world, but Mick is also taking a year off work in order to make this trip happen. While the family is shocked by this news, there are happy to see Megan and Mick move forward with their relationship. While she’s at the location where the art show took place, Carter tells Megan how she has received multiple job offers due to the art show’s success. Megan says she has given up that life, indicating her disinterest in these offers. Then, Carter reveals how a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles wants Megan to join their team. Because she has always dreamed of working with that particular gallery, she thinks twice about her future. Mick ends up finding out about this job offer from Carter, as Carter is on his way home to New York. When Mick addresses this piece of news with Megan, she says she hasn’t made a decision yet. But, by the end of the episode, she questions if she can have both the job and the trip. This makes Mick wonder if she’ll leave the family again.

Connor’s story: While Luke’s court hearing has received a different judge, the date is scheduled for the very next day. Even though this concerns Connor, he continues to look for a way to help Luke. Meanwhile, Margaret has her concerns about Connor’s well-being. Remembering what Connor said in the previous episode, Margaret brings s’more ingredients to the firm, in an attempt to help Connor relax. Connor likes Margaret’s gesture, which ends up with both of them kissing. But, the following day, Luke and Bree discover Connor slept at the firm. Because of this discovery, Luke reveals how he takes sleep medication. This information gives Connor an idea. He recruits his doctor as an expert witness, in an attempt to show how Luke’s sleep medication could be mistaken for amphetamines. The plan works and Luke doesn’t have to go back to prison. Toward the end of the episode, Margaret visits Connor at the O’Brien family home. While they are kissing, Connor collapses. The cause of his ailments is unknown.

Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Kevin and Sarah’s story: At the beginning of the episode, it is revealed Sarah had a miscarriage. Devastated by this latest heartbreak, Sarah tells Kevin to keep it between themselves. But, later in the episode, Kevin shares this information with Mick and Megan. They tell their son how they suffered a miscarriage years ago. Through the interaction, they show their support for Kevin and Sarah. When Kevin tells his wife what he told his parents, Sarah is upset. However, she comes to appreciate Mick and Megan’s support when Megan pays her a visit. Megan tells Sarah how her miscarriage happened after Jess was born. She also tells Sarah how, in time, she will get through this tragedy.

Jess and David’s story: Jess has a lot of thoughts about Mick and Megan getting back together. So, at three in the morning, she decides to write Megan an email, which contains her real thoughts. Later that day, Jess freaks out because she actually sent the email. When David reads it, he thinks it is brutally honest. So, Jess goes to the O’Brien family home to talk to Megan. She apologizes for the email, telling Megan how she’s actually happy for her and Mick. But Megan responds by saying she hadn’t checked her email yet, but appreciated Jess’s honesty. Meanwhile, David discovers his trust fund has been cleaned out. Only his father has access to this fund, but he is nowhere to be found. David goes to Boston to find out more information on his father’s whereabouts. When he returns, David tells Jess his father flew out of the country, with the FBI looking for him.

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.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Looking back on the show as a whole, it seems like Kevin and Sarah can’t win. First, they don’t have the wedding of their dreams because season four only contained six episodes. Now, they are dealing with a miscarriage. I understand things do not always go according to plan, in real life and in fictional stories. However, I was hoping the writers would try to make it up to the fans after the omission of a wedding in the previous season. If Chesapeake Shores receives a sixth season, I hope Kevin and Sarah meet happier circumstances.
  • While talking to a family member about this season, I realized injuries and falls seemed to be a common theme. Sarah fell twice, Thomas fell while hiking, and Evan fell in Tae Kwon Do class. There was also Mick’s plane accident, Thomas’ sprained ankle, Evan’s hurt back, and Connor’s medical issues. I’m guessing this was all a coincidence. But, as a fan, I found it concerning how five of the show’s characters were in harm’s way, sometimes on more than one occasion.
  • While I know cliffhangers and season finales can sometimes go hand-in-hand, I thought it was risky for the season to end with four cliffhangers. As of October 2021, there has been no announcements about a sixth season. This means if the show were to be cancelled, several stories would receive no resolution. Personally, I think one or two cliffhangers would have been just fine. Some of these cliffhangers could have been introduced earlier in the season, such as the whereabouts of David’s dad. Had this been the case, David and Jess’s story could have contained more depth.
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on the season finale? Would you like to see Chesapeake Shores receive a sixth season? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: The First To Know

After watching this episode of Chesapeake Shores, one of my family members brought up how Mick has suddenly been playing a father figure to Evan. I then mentioned that Mick was the first character to receive the details of Evan’s accident, the same one that Mandrake brought up two episodes ago. He was also the first character to learn about Luke’s past. With all this said, it seems like Mick is, sometimes, the first to know if a character has something important to say. He not only provides a listening ear, but also a strong shoulder to lean on. Even though Nell seems like the glue that keeps the O’Brien family together, Mick is the heart of that family. So, let’s get to the heart of this episode by starting this re-cap of Chesapeake Shores!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers in this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 9

Name: What a Difference a Day Makes

Mick’s story: Hours after he crashed his plane due to a storm, Mick is found on a nearby island by the Coast Guard. He is taken to the hospital because he obtained injuries, including a broken arm. When he arrives home, his family is happy he is alive. But Megan is upset that Mick would leave without letting anyone know where he was going, as she feels he would have left behind a loving family if something had happened to him. The next day, Evan comes to visit Mick at the O’Brien family’s home to discuss details about the hotel project. Mick uses this time to tell Evan how he didn’t like Evan’s business offer to Abby, the one where Evan offered Abby a job at his business firm. This is because Abby is Mick’s business partner. But, as the episode goes on, Mick forgives Evan for Abby’s offer. While going through the hotel project details, Mick tells Evan he can visit the O’Brien family home for non-business-related reasons. He also invites Evan to check out the plane’s damages at the hangar. This is the start of Mick’s discoveries about Evan. While making omelets for Mick, Evan reveals how he never knew his father. So, his mother was the only parent in Evan’s life. At the hangar, Mick and Evan see the plane’s damages, which are worse than Mick realized. Evan offers to purchase a new plane for Mick, but Mick refuses the offer. Realizing how rude this could come across, Evan goes to Mick at his business firm and apologizes to him. When Mick shares his feelings about his injuries, this causes Evan to reveal how he injured his back. When he was 18, he was riding in the car with his mother. Evan wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and he isn’t sure whether his mother was drunk or tired. Evan survived the accident, but his mother passed away.

Megan’s story: Megan is making last minute preparations for the art show. She receives a lot of support, including from her family. When Kevin visits her at the art show venue, he says he wants to tell her something. But instead of telling her his and Sarah’s news, Kevin gives her encouraging words. The art show ends up being a success. During the event, Mick approaches Megan as he contemplates his future. He plans on traveling the world someday and would like Megan to join him. Megan agrees with Mick’s plan.

Connor’s story: Connor is looking for an assistant for his law firm. When Nell volunteers to be his assistant, Connor accepts her offer. But this arrangement is not as successful as Connor hoped. Because of Nell’s advice for clients to solve their problems on their own, Connor isn’t receiving any work. So, Connor searches for a new assistant. After multiple interviews, Margaret comes to the law firm. She tells Connor she quit her job shortly after Connor quit his, stating how he is a lawyer of integrity. Connor then gives her the assistant job. Shortly after this happens, Bree and Luke come to Connor. Luke explains how he failed a drug test, with him swearing he didn’t consume any drugs. The test in question claims Luke took amphetamines. Remembering Luke took allergy medication at The Bridge, Connor suggests how the allergy medication could have caused the drug test results. Unfortunately, the allergy medication contains a different set of ingredients. Connor also suggests Luke take another drug test, which he later passes. Three days later, Luke’s hearing is about to begin. But, all of a sudden, Connor passes out. This incident, as told by Connor, was triggered by stress. It also causes the hearing to be pushed back a week. Margaret encourages Connor to take the doctor’s advice, starting with a trip to a local yoga class. After the class, Margaret asks Connor what helps him relax. He tells her he feels relaxed when he spends time with his family around their outdoor firepit.

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.

Jess and David’s story: After leaving with his groceries, David receives a phone call from his father. Mr. Peck tells his son how he didn’t make smart choices when it comes to investments. He not only tells David he loves him, but to not listen to everything he hears. This phone call concerns David and makes him worried by his father. At the art show, David tells Jess about the phone call. Jess asks if he told his mother about what his father said to him. David says he doesn’t know if his mother knows about his father’s financial troubles. Jess then thanks David for keeping her in the loop.

Kevin and Sarah’s story: Sarah develops pregnancy related food cravings. First, she craves peanut butter and avocados. Then, she wants barbeque potato chips and cream soda. Despite these cravings, Kevin is more than willing to make Sarah happy. Before they leave the station for the art show, Sarah tells Kevin she doesn’t feel well. She then collapses onto the floor with no known reason why.

Nell and Arthur’s story: Arthur is amazed by how many people showed up to the art show. But he also doesn’t like being in large crowds. So, he and Nell go to a nearby outdoor patio where there are less people present. On the outdoor patio, Arthur tells Nell how he only cared about creating art. When it comes to fame, he claims his wife took care of that part of his career. Nell asks him what he would really like to do. He responds by saying dancing. Their story ends with the two of them dancing together on the patio.

Couple performing the waltz image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I found the scene where Nell was Connor’s secretary hilarious! But I also liked how she tried to give the clients legitimate and meaningful advice. After watching that scene, I now want to see Nell become a radio host whose job is giving listeners advice. This would not only allow more appearances for Nell, but it would also create an interesting story for her.
  • While I’m glad the art show was a success, I’m surprised how well Arthur took it. As I’ve said in previous re-cap posts from this season, Megan did not tell him about her plans for the art show. Because of this, I was expecting Arthur to get upset at Megan. But, once again, I was proven wrong about this outcome.
  • I understand Megan was upset about Mick’s recent situation. But when she, basically, accused him of being selfish, I thought that was very hypocritical of her. In this re-cap, I said Megan was upset that Mick would leave without letting anyone know where he was going, as she felt he would have left behind a loving family if something had happened to him. But that’s exactly what she did when she left her family prior to the show’s events. I kind of wish one of the characters would have pointed this out to Megan.
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

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

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Sally Watches…Touched by an Angel (Again)!

As I mentioned in my recent Word On The Street story, the newest Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie is on its way. Premiering on October 17th, this movie will bring their audience a new chapter to a story that started all the way back in 2013. The series is executive produced by Martha Williamson, who also executive produced Touched by an Angel. Similar to Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Touched by an Angel has seen many guest stars appear over the course of the show’s nine season life-span. One of them was Bai Ling, who guest starred on Touched by an Angel in 1998.

Even though I have seen many episodes of Touched by an Angel before, I don’t recall ever seeing the two-part episode, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, the episode I’ll be reviewing for this post. Prior to writing this article, I had heard it was “one of the most moving episodes from the television drama”. With curiosity getting the better of me and because Bai’s birthday is on October 10th, I decided to revisit this show and review this particular episode. Two years ago, I wrote about another Touched by an Angel episode, “The Sky Is Falling”. Like that post, what will be discussed is what I liked about this episode, what I didn’t like about this episode, the story itself, the other factors from this episode, and my overall thoughts.

This is a screenshot of one of the Touched by an Angel DVDs I own. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I liked about this episode:

Last November, I reviewed an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street titled “And The Rockets Dead Glare”. In that post, I talked about how, while portraying Teri Chow, Bai was forced to rely on emotion instead of actions. This was compared to her characters in The Crow and Lost; Myca and Achara. Because of how effectively she used emotion, Bai was the stand-out actor in “And The Rockets Dead Glare”! I’ve seen only a handful of projects from Bai’s filmography. Despite this, I have noticed that she has a strong sense of emotionality. She not only knows how to control that emotionality, but also how to use that control to her advantage. Portraying a character named Jean Chang, the emotions Bai brought to her role in “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” felt realistic and genuine. Earlier in the episode, Jean crosses paths with Monica and Edward, a toy company CEO, at a local Chinese restaurant. In an attempt to recruit her for an upcoming business trip, they ask Jean why she doesn’t want to go to China. This is where Jean explains her very heart-breaking life story. Throughout this explanation, Bai’s emotions flawlessly adapted with each part of Jean’s story, ranging from blissful reminiscing to tear-inducing sadness. This strength in Bai’s acting abilities allows her performance to contain depth. It also gave the audience a reason to feel empathy/sympathy for Jean.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

One of Edward’s co-workers is his friend, Alex Stella. Throughout “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, Alex was rude and self-centered, especially toward Jean. It got to the point where his attitude became so annoying, it was tiresome to watch him in a static state. I understand Alex was meant to show the viewer that, sometimes, people won’t change, no matter how hard you try. I’ll also admit this is not a bad lesson to teach. But because of this episode’s story and because of the nature of Touched by an Angel, I wish the angels had paid Alex a visit and opened his eyes to selflessness.

The story itself:

Touched by an Angel is a show that was not afraid to take creative risks. “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is a perfect example of that statement. I haven’t seen the movie, Red Corner, but I am familiar with its basic premise. The story of “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is very reminiscent of the film due to topics discussed within the script. Criticism of China’s government and the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests are the two major subjects revolving around this episode. Because of the serious nature of these subjects, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” was heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. Similar to the Touched by an Angel episode, “The Sky Is Falling”, the story of “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is a fictional narrative wrapped up in a real-life historical event. During Jean’s recollection of her past, black-and-white flashbacks and video footage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were shown on screen. The use of these visual techniques presented an interesting and creative way to discuss a piece of world history.

The other factors from this episode:

  • As I mentioned earlier, Alex is rude and self-centered, especially toward Jean. To further explain my point, I will bring up two examples from this episode. When Monica suggests a translator should join their business trip to China, Alex suggests speaking to Jean about the idea. While Edward assumes Jean’s ethnicity based on her appearance, Alex carries that assumption into his and Monica’s meeting with Jean. Even though Jean calls Alex out on his assumptions during this meeting about the aforementioned idea, Alex’s promotion of the idea itself should have been more professional. When Alex, Edward, and Monica have lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, Jean soon arrives. The three then discover Jean had lied about her ethnicity. Upset by this discovery, Alex approaches Jean and yells at her in public, accusing her of lying about other things. I understand Alex was disappointed by Jean’s decision. Even Jean admitted that her decision was wrong. But, like I said about the previous example, Alex could have handled this situation more professionally and in private.
  • Throughout the episode, Edward and Jean develop “romantic” feelings for one another. I’m using the word “romantic” loosely, as the only romantic gestures they perform are holding hands and Edward kissing Jean’s head. When a romantic relationship is introduced in a movie or television show, it is usually done with an endgame in mind. Without giving anything away, there wasn’t an endgame for Jean and Edward’s relationship. Their relationship also felt “insta-love”, as it progressed at a quick pace. With all that said, I don’t think a romantic relationship was necessary for this particular story.
  • Touched by an Angel shows the angels going undercover in different professions based on an episode’s mission. In “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, Monica goes undercover as the Chinese consultant of Edward’s toy company. As Monica interacts with Edward and Alex, I was confused why Monica was the Chinese consultant instead of Jean. When Alex was explaining what Monica would do on their business trip, it made me wonder why Jean wasn’t originally recruited for the consultant position, especially since she knows more about China than Monica. But, without giving anything away, it makes sense why this choice was not made.

My overall thoughts:

“The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is a tough episode to write about. On the one hand, I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from watching it. It contains one of the strongest stories in the show’s history and features strong acting performances, especially from Bai Ling. On the other hand, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is not for the faint of heart. This episode is so emotionally intense, I was left mentally drained after watching it. Because of that, the episode doesn’t have a high re-watchability rate. What I will say is this story is an important one. In fact, I would say this episode’s story is one of the most important Touched by an Angel has ever told. So, if you’re interested in watching “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, my advice would be to watch it in the right headspace. Speaking of Bai Ling, I realized something while watching this episode. As I said earlier, I’ve seen only a handful of projects from Bai’s filmography. Based on her roles I have seen, I noticed how her characters are, more often than not, surrounded by unfortunate circumstances. Myca is one of the villains of The Crow, so her unfortunate circumstances don’t cause the audience to feel any empathy/sympathy for her. But for Teri, Achara, and now Jean, their unfortunate circumstances can, to varying degrees, cause feelings of empathy/sympathy from the audience. During my movie blogging journey, I hope to see Bai portraying a character whose circumstances are more fortunate and happier.

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5

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Have you watched Touched by an Angel? If so, which episode is your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun on television!

Sally Silverscreen

Word On The Street: Has Daniel Lissing’s Role on ‘When Hope Calls’ Been Revealed?

Earlier this week, it was announced that Daniel Lissing, When Calls the Heart alumni, will appear in the GAC Family Christmas special, When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas. The Christmas special will mark the start of a second season for When Calls the Heart’s spin-off, When Hope Calls. At the time of the initial announcement, Daniel’s role wasn’t revealed. But according on an article from CinemaBlend, it looks like the beans may have been spilled. CinemaBlend’s Jessica Rawden recently wrote about Daniel’s return to the When Calls the Heart universe. In the article, Jessica wrote how “his character Jack will be appearing along with Abigail on the small screen”. As of October 2021, we don’t know how accurate this statement is. Even if Daniel is portraying Jack again, we don’t know what the character’s significance will be in the story. Jessica also writes how “fans of the two Hallmark shows will learn more about Daniel Lissing’s When Hope Calls gig sometime on October 11”. If there is any truth to this statement, we could be hearing news about this particular development very soon.

Here’s the link to the aforementioned article:

https://www.cinemablend.com/television/erin-krakow-shares-new-post-as-when-calls-the-heart-spinoff-brings-in-lori-loughlin-and-one-more-returning-character

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A trailer for the new Signed, Sealed, Delivered film, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have, has been posted on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ home page. The trailer emphasized Shane and Oliver’s wedding, with the second half of the trailer briefly explaining the mystery surrounding a missing letter. This piece of marketing highlights an issue I’ve had with this particular series. In my review of the previous entry, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar, I said there was an imbalance between the story of the POstables and the film’s main mystery. Based on this trailer, it looks like the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series is approaching the new story in the same way as before. I hope this new movie is better than Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar. For now, I’m going to keep my expectations low.

Here’s the link to the aforementioned trailer:

https://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/signed-sealed-delivered-the-vows-we-have-made/videos/preview-signed-sealed-delivered-the-vows-we-have-made

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In an article from Heavy, Stephanie Dube Dwilson wrote about the possibility of a Chesapeake Shores movie. The Executive Producer of the show, Daniel Paulson, expressed interest in creating a movie surrounding the series. Daniel said, “I’d be happy to do holiday or specials for them” and “maybe if the fans speak up and let that be known, we could do one”. According to the article, the show’s Facebook page stated back in August “as soon as we have more information, we will be sure to share it”, referring to the fruition of a movie. Personally, I think the show’s creative team is waiting until news of a sixth season is announced. As of October 2021, a sixth season for Chesapeake Shores has not been greenlit or denied. We also don’t know how the eighth season will end.

Here’s the link to the aforementioned article:

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What are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Which story interests you the most? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Light a Candle

In this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Nell says she always lights a candle for Mick. Her reasons for letting a candle were never revealed. But it did make me think about something. Lighting a candle for someone is usually seen as a sign of remembrance or keeping them in your thoughts. The characters on this show are always in someone’s thoughts, whether its between each other, the fans, or the show’s creative team. A candle can also represent the characters’ vulnerability. Some of them are trying to prevent their candle from being blown out, in an attempt to simply survive. Other characters want to spread the light around by sharing that shine. Together, they are bright, illuminating among Chesapeake Shores. This helps bring out the best in each character.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers in this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 8

Name: Where or When

Abby’s story: Abby is scheduled to attend two business trips, one in Ohio and one with Evan in Pennsylvania. When she tells Bree and Jess about these trips, they think Evan is whisking Abby away in order to profess his feelings for her. At first, she laughs off the idea. But as the Pennsylvania trip approaches, Abby begins to wonder if her sisters are right. On the day of the trip, Evan takes Abby to his home in Pennsylvania. While there, he explains how they have made a connection, even though it has happened suddenly. As Evan is taking an emergency business call, Abby calls Bree and Jess. She tells them what Evan told her, with Jess and Bree thinking they were right. But when Evan comes back, he asks Abby if she’d like to join his business firm. Abby not only refuses Evan’s offer, but she also shares what her sisters thought he was going to ask. Evan considers buying the O’Brien business firm, but Abby tells him there are more important things in life than money.

Mick’s story: While looking through a stack of mail, Abby comes across a package for Mick. In this package is an urn and a letter explaining the ashes were to be spread all over Chesapeake Shores. The letter also stated how Mick was a good friend to the deceased. Because the letter or package were not addressed, Mick and Abby are desperate for answers. Abby finds out the ashes came from a nursing home in another state. She also discovers the ashes belonged to a man named Eugene. These clues still don’t give Mick any answers. Later in the episode, Abby presents Mick with Eugene’s obituary, revealing how Eugene’s nickname was Buzz. This causes Mick to remember his connection to Eugene. At a juice bar called “Juicy Juice”, Mick reveals to Abby how, many years ago, he would go to the bar and talk with Eugene. At that time, the bar was a completely different establishment. Shortly after Megan left the family, Mick relied on Eugene, recalling how he always listened to what Mick had to say. Now, many years later, Mick realizes just how much he meant to Eugene. Toward the end of the episode, Mick takes a plane ride with Eugene’s ashes in the passenger seat, likely fulfilling Eugene’s last wish.

Megan’s story: Megan hasn’t given up her plans to host an art show. She calls her friend, Carter, to help her pull some strings. He not only arrives in Chesapeake Shores to see Arthur’s art, but he shows up at the O’Brien family home as well. When Carter is introduced to Mick, he immediately labels Mick as the “ex-husband”. While Carter attempts to label Nell the “ex mother-in-law”, Nell replies how there’s no such thing as “ex mothers-in-law”.  For most of her story, Megan is seen making various phone calls, with Carter doing the same. Throughout the episode, Mick wonders if Megan and Carter had ever dated. Nell suggests that Mick just ask her. After many phone calls and negotiations, Megan and Carter uncover a loophole in Arthur’s contract with the art dealer from in the previous episode. While celebrating their victory over wine, Megan notices Mick’s sudden departure from the living room. Following him into the kitchen, Megan asks what is happening. This is when Mick asks his awaited question to Megan. She confesses how she used to date Carter, but that it happened many years ago. This conversation makes them realize they haven’t talked much about the past.

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Bree and Luke’s story: Luke is still planning on telling Bree about his past. He tells Connor at The Bridge how he is going to tell her that day. Connor also reveals news about Luke’s situation. He contacted a friend on the parole board who said how difficult it was to switch parole officers. However, Connor’s friend agreed to continue looking into the situation for Luke. When Luke tells Connor how he doesn’t have the money to pay him, Connor says that his case is pro bono. Meanwhile, at the University of Maryland, Jerome shares with Bree how Luke was arrested for assault and battery. He tells Bree how he found this information from a friend at the university’s law department, days after he saw Bree and Luke dancing at Jess and David’s wedding. Upset by this news, Bree goes straight to The Bridge. She demands to know if Jerome was telling the truth. When Luke admits he did get arrested, Bree asks him why he was hesitant to tell her. He says he didn’t want Bree to look at him the way she looking at him at that moment. Back at the University of Maryland, Bree calls Jerome out for his decision to search Luke’s information. While Jerome claims he did it to look out for her, Bree knows he did it to encourage her to date him. On Bree’s first day of class, Luke unexpectedly shows up. He conveniently arrives as the students are writing a two-hundred-word essay on who they currently are. After class, Bree talks to Luke about what he wrote. Even though she likes Luke’s essay, Luke says he put more emphasis on the content. Before he leaves for a meeting with his parole officer, Bree kisses Luke on the lips. This indicates she has chosen to fall in love with him.

Jess and David’s story: After dealing with a disgruntled guest, Jess discovers a negative review on the bed and breakfast’s Yelp page. It bothers her how she doesn’t know who posted the review, so she leaves a professional reply. While this review also bothers David, he tells Jess not to worry about it. Days later, Jess still hasn’t received any word from the anonymous reviewer. She wonders if it’s from the owner of a nearby hotel. But David encourages her to be the bigger person, stopping her from making any rash decisions. Toward the end of the episode, Jess jokes about suing the anonymous reviewer for libel, with David playfully disagreeing.

Kevin and Sarah’s story: Sarah and Kevin are excited about becoming new parents. However, they want to wait to share their news. Sarah uses this time to reveal how she accepted the Lieutenant position. This makes the couple even more happy. At the station, Kevin gives Sarah a pair of baby shoes. They also agree to share their news over the weekend. Toward the end of the episode, Kevin and Sarah attend a small family gathering at the O’Brien family home. During this gathering, Megan worries over Mick’s absence, as he still hasn’t returned from his plane trip. After making a phone call to the airport, she tells the family how Mick didn’t arrive from his trip.

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Some thoughts to consider:

  • In my re-cap of this season’s fifth episode, I said how I was disappointed by the revealed summer date, as I thought this meant we weren’t going to see Bree interact with her students. So, I was happy to see Bree teaching her class in this episode, even if it was only in a short scene. Because we’re over half-way through the season, I doubt we’ll get to know any of these students. But, as I said in the aforementioned re-cap, it’s gives me something to look forward to if Chesapeake Shores gets a sixth season.
  • I didn’t like how Jess and David’s story was unresolved. In real life, I know a situation like theirs typically wouldn’t receive any answers. But because the majority of David and Jess’s stories are episodic, I was expecting this story to be similar. Maybe in a later episode, they’ll discover who wrote the review? Maybe the reviewer will be revealed in the season finale?
  • In my list of the top 10 things I wanted to see in Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season, I said I wanted to see more appearances for Nell. Even though this season isn’t over yet, Nell has had more appearances in this season than in the previous one! I also like how she is more involved in the overall story. Including Arthur in season five certainly helps, as they can possibly form a relationship.
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What are your thoughts on this episode? Who do you think wrote the bed and breakfast’s negative review? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: I Dream of Jeanie (1952) Review

I’m participating in two blogathons; the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart Blogathon and The Biopic Blogathon. Because of this choice, I wanted to review a movie that was “the best of both worlds”. One day, while on Youtube, I came across the 1952 film, I Dream of Jeanie. After learning it was a musical biopic about the composer, Stephen Foster, I knew I had found the perfect entry! Prior to these events, I had never heard of I Dream of Jeanie. In fact, I was not familiar with Stephen Foster either. But I wanted to use my participation as an opportunity to learn more about him. I also wanted to be introduced to films that were newer to me. Did my plan work? Continue reading if you want to find out!

I Dream of Jeanie (1952) poster created by Republic Pictures

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Bill Shirley is an actor I’m not familiar with. While I have seen Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, I have never seen any of his live-action films. Despite this, I did enjoy watching his acting performance! His mannerisms and line delivery reminded me of Jimmy Stewart. This is because of the tender-hearted nature Bill presented. His singing talents were amazing in this movie! One of his best performances was his solo, “Beautiful Dreamer”. With his deeper vocals and the heart-felt lyrics, there was emotion found in the song. He also sang beautifully with Eileen Christy, who portrayed Jeanie. Toward the beginning of the film, they sang a duet of “Oh! Susanna”. Bill and Eileen displayed good harmony during their performance. Having nice on-screen chemistry also worked in their favor.

While we’re on the subject of Jeanie, let’s talk about Eileen Christy’s performance. Throughout the film, she presented her character with a likable persona. Jeanie was sometimes the film’s “comic relief” as well. When a script adopts a “comic relief” character, that individual can either be goofy or be seen as dumber than the protagonist. With Jeanie, that was never the case. Even though she was silly, her intelligence never faltered. Another actress who gave a good performance is Muriel Lawrence. Portraying Jeanie’s sister, Inez, she provided an embodiment of a “diva”. Her strong will and determination to get her way made Inez one of the film’s more unlikable characters. But as an actress, Muriel had star qualities!  Whenever she appeared on screen, Muriel was able to garner the camera’s attention, even when her character wasn’t the focus of a scene. It also helps that she sang beautifully in this movie.

The musical numbers’ inclusion in the story: In some musicals, a musical number can make the story feel paused. With I Dream of Jeanie, the musical numbers pushed the story forward and made sense within the context of the story. A perfect example is Muriel’s solo, “Lo, Hear the Gentle Lark”. Toward the beginning of the movie, Inez and Stephen talk about an upcoming recital, where Stephen hopes Inez will agree to an engagement. When the event arrives, the performance is used to make Inez shine, showing how she craves attention. During the recital, unpublished songs by Stephen are introduced. The secret of Stephen’s involvement with “Oh! Susanna” is revealed at this event as well. Similar to “Lo, Hear the Gentle Lark”, the inclusion of these aforementioned songs also fit within the story.

A glimpse into the legal side of the music industry: One of the conflicts Stephen experiences is his lack of royalties from “Oh! Susanna’s” success. Whenever the song is performed, Stephen’s name is never mentioned. This surprises everyone in his life, including his brother. Stephen also faces legal threats due to the song’s copyright. This is because he presented the song to multiple publishers. Since I’m not well versed in the legalities of the music world, I found this brief exploration fascinating! That part of the story allowed me to learn something new. It also showed how different copyright laws and royalty agreements were in the 1840s.

The Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart Blogathon banner created by Neil from Thoughts From The Music(al) Man

What I didn’t like about the film:

Not really biographical: The purpose of a “biopic” is to provide some education to an audience about a particular individual. In the case of I Dream of Jeanie, this movie is meant to tell the story of Stephen Foster. But I ended up not learning much about the composer. While I discovered he wrote ‘Oh! Susanna’, I was expecting to learn more about Stephen. How did he become interested in music? Did he receive any professional training? This film doesn’t answer these questions. Instead, the script focuses more on other characters and events.

The characterization of Stephen Foster: No main individual in any “biopic” is meant to be seen as “perfect”. However, one of the staples of a “biopic” is to present the admirable aspects of a given individual. With I Dream of Jeanie, Stephen Foster, more often than not, came across as a desperate push-over. I don’t blame Bill Shirley for this, as he did a good job with the acting material he received. But I will put blame on the film’s screenwriter, Alan Le May. For the majority of the movie, Stephen loves a woman named Inez. She not only doesn’t like the type of music he makes, she also hates “Oh! Susanna”. In an attempt to win her love, Stephen announces how he’s trying to achieve a “redemption” by only playing classical music. He does this instead of standing up for himself or trying to compromise with Inez. This is, sadly, just one example of Stephen’s characterization.

The character of Edwin P. Christy: Not every character is meant to be likable. Sometimes, a character’s likability is based on personal preference. In my opinion, Edwin P. Christy was annoying. Once again, blame is given to Alan Le May. Edwin was a flamboyant and over-the-top showman. But what made him unlikable for me was how he used every opportunity to put the spotlight on himself. During Inez’s recital, Edwin disrupts the event by loudly playing one of Stephen’s songs at Stephen’s nearby stable. Edwin then crashes the recital and performs some of Stephen’s unpublished music, with no granted permission from Stephen. After some time, Edwin’s antics became unpleasant. It almost felt like Edwin tried to make the story about himself as well.

The Biopic Blogathon banner created by Annette from Hometowns to Hollywood

My overall impression:

In my introduction, I said I wanted to use my participation in these blogathons to learn more about Stephen Foster. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn a few things about him and about some of the legalities of the music world’s early years. But it wasn’t enough to justify an hour and twenty-nine-minute movie. If anything, it almost seems like this film was about anything but Stephen. When characters like Edwin P. Christy try to take the spotlight for themselves, it makes the project look less biographical. As I mentioned in this review, some of the blame falls on the screenwriting. The quality of a project’s script is what makes or breaks it. If the script is weak, there’s only so much the other members of the creative team can do to salvage it. Now, as I wrap up this review, I must take a detour to Wikipedia.

Overall score: 5.6 out of 10

Have you seen any biopics? If so, which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Pollyanna (1920) Review

When I discovered The Silent Movie Day Blogathon, hosted by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Silent-ology, I knew I had to take part in the event! As I mentioned in my review of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, silent movies are not often covered on 18 Cinema Lane due to their availability. Speaking of the aforementioned film, that review was published back in January. So, my blog was due for another article about a silent picture. I was fortunate to find 1920’s Pollyanna on Youtube. While choosing this movie for the blogathon, I realized this would be the first adaptation of Pollyanna I would see in its entirety. While I have seen the adaptation starring Hayley Mills, I only watched pieces of it. Therefore, I can’t give an honest opinion on that film. I am familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna, despite never reading the source material or seeing an entire film version. I also haven’t sought out any of Mary Pickford’s movies before. Because of everything I’ve said in this introduction, I knew watching 1920’s Pollyanna would be an exciting experience!

Pollyanna (1920) poster created by United Artists

Things I liked about the film:

Mary Pickford’s performance: I thought the cast of Pollyanna was solid. But the one actor that shined the brightest was Mary Pickford! As I’ve mentioned before, actors and actresses in silent films must rely on body language, facial expressions, and emotions to convey what a character is thinking and feeling. While portraying Pollyanna, Mary was so expressive, using the aforementioned acting components to her advantage. She was even able to quickly adapt to each situation very effortlessly! What I also liked about Mary’s performance was how she displayed feelings of sadness and frustration. Realistically, carrying a happy persona is tiring. You can only be happy for so long and so often until the feeling itself starts to wear off. Because of Mary expressing these emotions, she helps prevent her character from being one-dimensional.

Mary’s wardrobe: An element of this project that, surprisingly, stood out to me was Mary’s wardrobe. Even though these outfits appear age appropriate for her character, a more creative reason is what caught my eye. The majority of Mary’s wardrobe consisted of light-colored outfits. These outfits allowed Mary to stand out and become the focus of a given scene. This creative decision was a simple one that worked in the project’s favor. It shows how much thought was put into the film’s presentation.

The messages and lessons: Before watching this adaptation of Pollyanna, I knew the titular character’s purpose was to, simply, make people happy. While there is truth to this statement, making people happy only scratches at the surface. Pollyanna, more often than not, tries to find the “silver lining” that will help her move forward in life. This mentality allows her to see the good in everyone she meets, even her stubborn Aunt Polly. In the 21st century, it can sometimes be difficult to put ourselves in a good mood. Even in the world of movie blogging, it can be easier to talk about bad movies or unfavorable movie news. But Pollyanna shows the audience that it is possible to find the “silver lining” in our lives, even finding the good in ourselves. These are lessons and messages that are not only relatable, but timeless as well.

The Silent Movie Day Blogathon banner created by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Silent-ology

What I didn’t like about the film:

An unexplained scene: When Aunt Polly is first introduced, two small children dressed up as bunnies appeared on the table. They approach Aunt Polly with pitchforks in their hands, one of these “bunnies” even poking Aunt Polly with their pitchfork. After that scene, the “bunnies” never appeared again. They were never referenced by any of the characters either. It also doesn’t help that no title card provided context to the “bunnies”. This is a scene I wish was given more explanation.

Musical selections: To make up for the lack of dialogue, music is used to emphasis the tone of a given scene. While there were musical selections in Pollyanna that matched what was happening on screen, some of these musical selections felt out of place. In the second half of the film, Pollyanna deals with a difficult situation. This situation brought up feelings of sadness and low self-esteem. But the background music during this situation was a cheery, upbeat tune. Because of this musical choice, it kind of took me out of the film.

Pollyanna’s lack of uniqueness: Like I said in the introduction, I was familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna prior to watching this adaptation. Based on what I knew, I was expecting the titular character to magically make everyone feel happy, with the script making it seem like that was Pollyanna’s “magical power”. But as I watched the movie, Pollyanna reminded me of other characters; such as Anne Shirley, Heidi, and Annie. While I liked her promotion of the “glad game”, Pollyanna’s attempts at spreading joy to those around her didn’t feel much different from the attempts of the aforementioned characters. This discovery disappointed me because I expected Pollyanna and her story to be different from Annie, Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables.

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My overall impression:

Mary Pickford is someone I’d like to call one of the “grandmothers of cinema”. A face of Hollywood’s early years, she helped play a role in showing what was possible for, at the time, a new medium. This particular film also shows what is possible when it comes to adaptations. 1920’s Pollyanna is a fine film. With strong acting, effective creative choices, and good messages, it contains likable qualities. However, the movie kind of felt like a copy of similar stories. Pollyanna herself reminded me of other young characters with shining personalities, like Anne Shirley or Ceddie. Even the older characters’ transformations in attitude were reminiscent of those such as Daddy Warbucks, Marilla Cuthbert, and Heidi’s grandfather. With all this said, the movie didn’t add much to the adaptation table. I am aware of two other adaptations of Pollyanna, including Hayley Mills’ version I mentioned in the introduction. One day, I’d like to check these films out and see which one I like best!

Overall score: 7.2 out of 10

Have you seen any silent films? If so, which one would you like to recommend? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen