Take 3: Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) Review

Two years ago, when I reviewed the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, I was given a movie recommendation by Le from Crítica Retrô. That recommendation was Cyrano de Bergerac’s 1950 adaptation! Like any film suggestion I’m given, I wanted to make the time to watch and/or review this title. The opportunity finally came this month! March’s film for Genre Grandeur is Oscar Nominated /Winning Films. From what I’ve gathered, 1950’s Cyrano de Bergerac was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Actor. Then I discovered The Bonnets and Bustles: Costume Blogathon. While thinking about what to write for the event, I realized Cyrano de Bergerac would be an eligible topic. Therefore, I’ve decided to review this movie for both blogathons!

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) poster created by Stanley Kramer Productions and United Artists

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I am not familiar with José Ferrer’s filmography. Despite this, the one word I would use to describe his performance in Cyrano de Bergerac is confident! The confidence within José’s portrayal helped him stand out against Gérard Depardieu’s portrayal in the 1990 adaptation. This confidence was also a consistent component that made Cyrano a force to be reckoned with! Toward the beginning of the film, Cyrano engages in a duel at the local theater. Throughout this scene, the protagonist speaks eloquently and with sophistication. He holds his own in the duel, with his posture and skills showing the audience that he knows what he’s doing. But this aforementioned confidence never comes across as cocky. Instead, Cyrano is presented as being sure of himself, despite his flaws and imperfections.

Christian de Neuvillette is portrayed by William Prince. What makes his portrayal stand out from Vincent Perez’s performance is how Christian came across as a hopeless romantic. This can be seen when he visits Roxane one evening. During their conversation, Christian becomes tongue-tied. He struggles to find the right words without Cyrano’s help. But the passion he feels for Roxane is displayed on his face. William’s body language also proved how much his character wanted to be with Roxane. Speaking of Roxane, let’s talk about Mala Powers’ performance. In this adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxane was mesmerized by the romantic words of Cyrano and passionate gestures of Christian. The balcony scene is a perfect example. As Christian quotes Cyrano’s poetry, Roxane is overcome by her feelings. Her voice contains emotion, expressing through words what is in her heart. Roxane’s body language longs for a romantic embrace, as she searches in the night for the one she loves. Mala’s performance is one of the reasons why that scene packed such a punch!

The sword fights: In this adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, there were some exciting sword fights! Part of that excitement comes from the quality of the choreography! As I said earlier in this review, I talked about Cyrano’s involvement in a duel at a theater. While that fight was captivating to watch, that wasn’t the only fight to feature good choreography. One evening, Cyrano guards a local baker on his way home. Along the way, they become surrounded by the baker’s enemies. Throughout this scene, the fight choreography is sharp, fast-paced, and precise. These elements allow the fights to appear professional, like the actors involved are taking this part of their performance seriously. What also made these fights exciting was the different camera angles used to capture the shots. The various angles let the audience witness the fights from different perspectives.

Cyrano and Roxane’s interactions: Because Cyrano and Roxane have known each other prior to the events of the film, they have a pre-existing friendship. The on-screen camaraderie between José Ferrer and Mala Powers made my experience watching Cyrano and Roxane’s interactions enjoyable! During these interactions, Roxane and Cyrano share a genuine tenderness that comes across as sweet and good-natured. At the bakery one day, Cyrano learns Roxane has developed feelings for Christian. Even though he is not pleased to learn this news, Cyrano seems to place Roxane’s happiness before his own. Later in the film, when Roxane is sharing Christian’s “poetry” with Cyrano, Cyrano adopts a protectiveness toward Roxane. Meanwhile, Roxane doesn’t miss a beat. She recites Cyrano’s words in a heart-felt way, her vocal inflections indicating how much she enjoys the words. Interactions like this one make me wish Roxane appeared more in the film.

Bustles and Bonnets: Costume Blogathon banner created by Pale Writer from Pale Writer and Paul from Silver Screen Classics

What I didn’t like about the film:

An orange tint: Throughout the film, the picture was coated in an orange tint. Though this tint was not consistently present, it was somewhat distracting. The colors of the costumes and set design appeared faded because of this tint. However, I’m not sure if the tint was caused by the use of lighting or the cinematic technology of the ‘50s.

Few interactions with Christian and Roxane: A major plot-point in Cyrano de Bergerac is the growing relationship between Roxane and Christian de Neuvillette. What makes this plot-point so memorable is how Roxane is smitten by Christian’s words, which were composed by Cyrano. In this adaptation of the story, Christian and Roxane don’t spend much time together. Looking back on the film, I can think of only three scenes featuring their interactions. Because of Roxane and Christian’s limited time together, Mala and William’s on-screen chemistry wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

No build-up to the war storyline: When I reviewed the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, I wrote about the war storyline that dominated the movie’s second half. In my review, I said this storyline pulled a “bait and switch” with the film’s overall tone. I also said the build-up toward the war and the reasoning behind it felt too “inside baseball”. While there is a war in the 1950 adaptation, there is no build-up or reason for this event. It feels like the war was placed in the middle of the movie for the sake of providing more action in the story. I still have not read this story’s source material, so I don’t know the historical context of this text. However, some build-up and/or a reason for the war would have been appreciated in the 1950 adaptation.

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. 

My overall impression:

A singular adaptation of any story is not the “end all, be all”. Part of that is due to film itself being so subjective. Cyrano de Bergerac from 1950 is the second adaptation of this narrative I’ve seen. But I ended up liking it about as much as the 1990 version. 1950’s Cyrano de Bergerac follows similar beats to 1990’s adaptation. But the movie itself is distinct enough to stand out on its own. The differences in the 1950 version added enjoyment to the overall project, such as the sword fights. But, like the 1990 film, the 1950 project had its flaws. I will say Cyrano de Bergerac from 1950 is the more accessible movie of the two. But no matter which version you choose, the romance, wit, and ways with words are still the same.

Overall score: 7.5 out of 10

Have you seen any adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac? If so, which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Fiddler on the Roof Review

As I write this review, Rebecca, from Taking Up Room, is hosting the John Williams Blogathon! When signing up for this event, I knew John’s high-profile projects were going to be some of the most popular selections among fellow participants. Therefore, I decided to go off the beaten path by choosing a title that wasn’t associated with a franchise. As I scrolled through John’s filmography on IMDB, I discovered he conducted the music in the 1971 musical, Fiddler on the Roof. With this newfound knowledge, I chose that film to review for Rebecca’s blogathon! Prior to this event, I had seen about half of this film. I have also reviewed very few films revolving around Jewish stories. In fact, the only movies including Jewish stories and/or characters I have written about so far is Holiday Date and The Lost Child. But will I enjoy Fiddler on the Roof like I enjoyed the 2019 Hallmark Channel film or will I think it is just fine like the 2000 Hallmark Hall of Fame production? As a composer starts his or her cue for their orchestra, it’s time for this review to begin!

Fiddler on the Roof poster created by
The Mirisch Production Company and United Artists

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Fiddler on the Roof is a film with an ensemble cast. Despite its large size, the film’s cast was, as a whole, solid! But within this ensemble, there were some performances that really stood out to me. The most notable one came from Topol! Throughout the movie, Topol presented a versatile portrayal of his character, Tevye. This versatility allowed Tevye to be seen as a realistic individual who is trying to make sense of the changes taking place in his world. At several points in the story, Tevye speaks with God and contemplates his faith. Tevye’s emotions matched whatever dilemma he faced. When one of his daughters comes to him with serious news, Tevye is angry and frustrated. As he receives the aforementioned news, Tevye questions how far he’s willing to go for his faith, talking through the situation while genuine emotion finds a place in his voice, facial expressions, and body language. Moments like the one I described show a sincerity that gave Tevye the opportunity to be Fiddler on the Roof’s “every man”!

Motel is a tailor from Tevye’s village. Portrayed by Leonard Frey, Motel wants to marry Tevye’s oldest daughter, but lacks the confidence to approach Tevye with this proposal. Through a consistent performance, the audience can watch Motel grow from a timid tailor to a man who genuinely believes in himself and his abilities. Having Tzeitel as Motel’s inspiration certainly helped his case. Tzeitel is Tevye’s oldest daughter, who is portrayed by Rosalind Harris. She worries about who she will end up marrying in the near future. Despite this, Rosalind gave a performance that was well-rounded and enjoyable to watch! When Motel tells Tevye about his marriage plans, the confidence he once lacked steadily grows within his voice. His facial expressions become stronger with each statement toward Tevye, finding the words Motel had suppressed for too long. Meanwhile, Tzeitel appropriately reacts to this discussion, expressions of worry and joy being displayed on her face. This scene shows how the acting abilities of both Leonard and Rosalind work well together!

The musical numbers: When thinking about music composed by John Williams, pieces of music that make any scene feel grand and larger-than-life come to mind. The music in Fiddler on the Roof certainly accomplished this, as John’s contributions to the film elaborate on a scene’s large scale! One of these songs is “Tradition”, which can be heard at the beginning of the movie. This song highlights how the traditions of the Jewish community of Anatevka affected every member, with each role and its significance explained through the song’s lyrics. Bold, orchestral melodies accompany these lyrics, as an excited greeting to the film’s incoming audience. Looking beyond the music, the musical numbers themselves were well-choreographed and fit within the context of the story! A musical number I really enjoyed seeing was “Tevye’s Dream”! In this scene, Tevye is recounting a dream he had regarding Tzeitel’s marriage prospects. Tevye and his wife, Golde, find themselves in a graveyard that boasts a gray hue. Headstones of decreased villagers surround the graveyard, with these decreased villagers appearing as the scene progresses. Though the musical number itself is very fantastical compared to the film’s other numbers, its uniqueness in presentation allows “Tevye’s Dream” to stand out and be memorable!

The incorporation of Jewish faith/culture: As I previously mentioned, Anatevka is a small village that hosts a Jewish community. Throughout Fiddler on the Roof, aspects of the Jewish faith/culture are incorporated not only into the film’s story, but into the songs and musical numbers as well. When talking about these musical numbers in the previous paragraph, I brought up the song, “Tradition”, and how it highlights some of the traditions among the villagers in Anatevka. At the beginning of the film, Tevye explains directly to the audience how he and other members of the community wear a special garment related to prayer. During a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are lifted on chairs by wedding guests. This action is part of a dance called the Horah, which is typically performed at Jewish special occasions, such as weddings. The Horah was seamlessly woven into a larger musical number called “Wedding Celebration”, which also featured a group of bottle dancers. The incorporation of Jewish faith/culture gave the movie its own unique identity. It also provides an introduction to Jewish customs and traditions.

The John Williams Blogathon banner created by Rebecca, from Taking Up Room

What I didn’t like about the film:

No answers about The Fiddler: I have mentioned before how a film’s title can serve as a promise to its respective audience. The title can also let the audience know what to expect. This 1971 film is called Fiddler on the Roof. Yet the audience never learns more about the titular character, as he only appears in a handful of scenes. While watching this movie, I noticed how the Fiddler wore bright clothes compared to the villagers and even those from imperial Russia. Because of this, it caused me to speculate what role the Fiddler had within the overall story. Was he a spirit meant to guide Tevye through life or simply a peculiar individual? These are just two of the questions I’ll probably never get answers to.

An inconsistent conflict: When I learned this movie took place during imperial Russia, I expected the overarching conflict to revolve around the fall of the Romanov family. However, the overarching conflict was about how the government wanted the villagers to evacuate from Anatevka, for reasons the script never shared. This conflict complimented the film’s theme of change. But the story focused on this conflict in the film’s second half, with the conflict having a limited presence in its first half. I know this creative decision was meant to emphasize the tonal change within the story. I just wish it had a more consistent presence in the movie.

A limited inclusion of a broken fourth wall: At the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye talks directly to the audience about his village, the people who live there, and the titular Fiddler. Because broken fourth walls are not common in musicals, I was looking forward to seeing the story told from Tevye’s perspective and watching the movie presented in a creative way. But for the rest of the film, Tevye didn’t break the fourth wall. I found this as such a missed opportunity, because, as I already said, broken fourth walls are not often found in musicals. While Fiddler on the Roof is a unique musical, Tevye consistently breaking the fourth wall could have added more uniqueness.

Hanukkah mehorah image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/mehorah-with-flaming-candles_3299423.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.

My overall impression:

Fiddler on the Roof is a little over three hours. Therefore, you need to set aside time if you’re interested in watching this film. Despite the longer run-time, Fiddler on the Roof is a good movie! Almost every year, I come across that one musical that pleasantly stood out and captivated me. While it’s way too early to say whether this 1971 title will end up as one of the best movies I saw this year, it definitely captivated me, as I found it enjoyable! John Williams’ musical contributions provided some of the fabric of the story’s cinematic quilt, accompanied by well-choreographed and entertaining numbers. The ensemble cast binds these pieces of fabric with a strong thread, holding each scene together with solid acting performances. Incorporations of the Jewish faith/culture help the overall production gain a unique identity, asking questions and discussing topics that wouldn’t typically be found in a musical. Combining all these elements together, Fiddler on the Roof is a special project not just in the world of cinema, but also among musicals! With that, I’d say John Williams is a special composer. To those who don’t pay attention to the musical aspect of a given film, one might wonder how John is different from any other composer. But when you look at his body of cinematic work and the scores associated with those works, maybe that is more than enough to set him apart.

Overall score: 7.9 out of 10

Have you seen Fiddler on the Roof? Which John Williams composed film do you enjoy watching? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Waiting to Board: The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon!

As I start this blogathon announcement, I’d like to thank Gill, from Realweegiemidget Reviews, and Rebecca, from Taking Up Room. If they hadn’t chosen Red Corner for me to review for their Odd Or Even Blogathon, I wouldn’t have found an inspiration for this year’s event! While looking back on the 1997 movie, I thought about all the movies or television show episodes where a trip doesn’t go according to plan. Realizing how many I could think of off the top of my head, my blogathon theme was born! Like past events, The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon invites participants to get creative by reviewing, analyzing, or discussing a movie, tv show episode, piece of music, stage play, book, artwork, or any other entertainment media relating to this year’s theme! If you’re interested in taking a (figurative) trip from April 29th to May 2nd, keep reading as I share my blogathon’s official rules!

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

The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon’s Official Rules

  1. Please be respectful toward other participants and the subject(s) you’re writing about.
  2. Please let me know in advance if you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (April 29th to May 2nd).
  3. Only new posts will be eligible for this year’s event.
  4. Because this year’s theme is so broad, I am not allowing duplicate entries.
  5. There is a three-entry limit for each participant.
  6. All entries must be original work.
  7. No travels are too big or small. Your entry can revolve around trips as extensive as week or month long excursions or as simple as a trip to the grocery store.
  8. Domestic (within the United States), international, or galactic travel is eligible for your entry/entries.
  9. Entries will be placed in one of two categories; hilariously wrong or horrifyingly wrong. Hilariously wrong means the results of a trip gone wrong are supposed to make you laugh. Some examples are the Walt Disney World episode of The Middle, A Very Merry Mix-Up, and Home Alone 1 and/or 2. Horrifyingly wrong means the results of a trip gone wrong are supposed to horrify you. Examples include Red Corner, the Touched by An Angel episode, ‘The Spirit of Liberty Moon’, and Taken.
  10. If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
  11. Pick one of the four banners and let others know about The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon, so they can join in on the fun!

Hilariously Wrong

Rebecca from Taking Up Room — Review of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)

Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy — Review of French Kiss (1995)

Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews — Review of Our Ladies (2019)

J-Dub from Dubsism — Review of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Ruth from Silver Screenings — Review of Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)

Classic Movie Muse from The Classic Movie Muse — Review of The Great Race (1965)

Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood — Review of The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Horrifyingly Wrong

Evaschon98 from Classics and Craziness — Review of Flightplan (2005)

J-Dub from Dubsism — Review of Airport (1970)

Debbie from Moon In Gemini — Review of Train to Busan (2016)

Eric from Diary of A Movie Maniac — Review of The Lost Weekend (1945)

Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Created by Sally Silverscreen at Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Have fun at the blogathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Foxfire Review

Because yesterday was 4th of July, I wanted to review a movie that took place somewhere in the United States. While I wanted to publish this article on 4th of July, my day ended up being busier than expected. So, this review is published a day later than I had hoped. Recently, Hallmark Drama was airing several Hallmark Hall of Fame movies I had never seen before. One of these films was 1987’s Foxfire. Years ago, Hallmark’s stores sold select Hallmark Hall of Fame films on DVD for $20 apiece (yes, you read that price right), with Foxfire being one of the titles offered. Before recording it on my DVR, I didn’t know much about the movie. In fact, all I knew was that it was one of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s older titles. When I discovered the film took place in Appalachia, I thought it would be an interesting choice for this time of year. So, would I buy a DVD copy of Foxfire if I saw it at the store for $20? Before we head to the store’s checkout line, let’s start this review!

Like I’ve done in the past, I have taken a screenshot of Foxfire‘s poster that was featured on my TV. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’m not familiar with Jessica Tandy’s acting abilities. While I have seen The Birds, I don’t remember her performance in that movie. Despite this, I did like her portrayal of Annie Nations in Foxfire! It was very expressive, using a variety of expressions and emotions throughout the film. When Annie receives an art project from her grandchildren, she appears genuinely overjoyed to receive the gift. A big smile is on Annie’s face and her demeanor is pleasant. At her son’s, Dillard’s, concert, Annie looks truly concerned as he sings a song about a broken relationship. Worry is in her eyes and she never lets Dillard out of her sight. Another actor whose career I’m not familiar with is John Denver. I have heard of his songs, but I didn’t know who he was. In fact, I thought John portrayed one of the brothers on The Waltons. This is because of the mannerisms he carried in Foxfire. When his character, Dillard, was happy, there was a youthful spirit about him. It highlighted how you can take the Appalachian man out of the mountains, but you can’t take the Appalachian culture and heritage out of the man. One of John’s strongest scenes was when, in Annie’s home, Dillard is reminding his mother about her age and potential risks of living alone. As he is talking to her, his eyes look like they are desperately searching for answers to his problems. Even the tone of his voice sounds concerned. A character that is close to both Annie and Dillard is Holly. Portrayed by Harriet Hall, this character kind of reminded me of Baby from Dirty Dancing. This is because when Holly cares about someone, she cares about them with her whole heart. What makes Holly differ from Baby is how her personality was gentler. Because she is a teacher, she chooses to put her students first. When Holly is talking to Dillard about her students, her mannerisms and tone of voice seem motherly. This gives the audience the impression that she truly cares about them.

The scenery: I haven’t seen many films that take place in Appalachia. In fact, I didn’t know Foxfire took place in this location until I read the synopsis. To my pleasant surprise, the scenery was very nice to look at! The Nation family house was surrounded by forestry, with the tall trees providing cozy seclusion and privacy. When Dillard wakes up one morning, he is greeted by the sight of rolling hills on a bright sunny day. These rolling hills could also be seen on a car ride Annie took. When a real estate agent named Prince gives Annie a trip to the market, he takes a scenic route. The aforementioned rolling hills steal the show, but are accompanied by a lake at the bottom and surrounding colonial style vacation homes that can be seen from the road. The locations in Foxfire appeared quaint, similar to the small towns in most of Hallmark’s films.

John Denver’s music: Before watching Foxfire, I had heard a few of John Denver’s songs. Even though I don’t listen to country music much, the songs I have heard were nice to listen to. Within Foxfire, John performed four songs. Most of them were slower, more soulful pieces. This fit the overall tone of the film. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Dillard performs a song about a broken relationship. After his concert, he performs an acoustic version of the song. What I’ve gathered about some country music is how emotional it can be. In that acoustic version of Dillard’s song, his heart and spirit sounded wounded. This can be heard in his voice.

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What I didn’t like about the film:

A televised play: Hallmark Hall of Fame has a history of adapting stage plays into movies. One of these titles I really like is the 1996 film, The Boys Next Door. However, what sets the 1996 production apart from Foxfire is how the overall project was executed. Because The Boys Next Door contains more key characters and locations within the story, the way this adaptation was delivered to the audience looked and felt like a movie. Foxfire, on the other hand, contained a smaller cast and had a condensed story, as most of the film takes places at Annie’s house. Even some of the scenes were drawn-out and isolated, like a stage production. While the project was shot like a movie, it felt more like a televised play.

Re-created moments from the past: Throughout Foxfire, Annie brings up several memories from her and her family’s past. Instead of providing flashbacks, four scenes were dedicated to showing the characters re-creating some of these moments. For example, a current day Annie and her late husband, Hector, are reenacting when he first proposed to her. Watching grown adults act like teenagers was a bit jarring, as this prevented me from getting fully investing in these scenes. If anything, the scenes made it look like the film’s creative team didn’t have enough room in their budget to hire additional actors.

Inconsistent elements: At the beginning of the movie, Hector provides a voice-over, explaining the significance of his family and their land. Thinking Foxfire would be from his perspective, I thought this was an interesting way to tell the story. But this was the only time any voice-overs were provided. The end of the film showed Hector breaking the fourth wall for one scene. Not only was the inclusion of this element random, but it made me wonder why it wasn’t consistently woven into the movie.

Oranges in tree image created by Jose Luis Navarro at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Jose Luis Navarro.”

My overall impression:

Whenever I watch and/or review a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, I always ask myself this: “if this movie were sold on DVD for $20, would it be worth my money”? When it comes to Foxfire, that answer would be no. At best, the movie was ok. I appreciate the film’s positive light that was shone on Appalachia. While I haven’t been there myself and while I personally don’t know anyone from there, I have heard of the hardships that the members of the community face. But despite the good will this film seemed to give, the biggest flaw was its overall execution. If I choose to watch a Hallmark Hall of Fame title, I expect to watch a movie. With Foxfire, it felt more like a televised play. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the re-created moments from the past. I couldn’t get past the adult characters acting younger than they were in the “current day”. Now that I’ve seen another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, I can add it to my Tier Rank List! Last year, I created a tier rank list of every Hallmark Hall of Fame film I have seen so far. While I’d like to revisit this list, I will focus on adding more titles for now.

Overall score: 6.2 out of 10

Have you seen Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Foxfire? Are there any Hallmark Hall of Fame titles you’d like to see me review? Please let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

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

Take 3: Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death Review

Even though I’ve been reviewing films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries lately, I haven’t reviewed a mystery film from Hallmark’s second network since May. Because of this, I decided to review the newest movie in the Picture Perfect Mysteries series, especially since I have seen the first two installments. Like the other series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Picture Perfect Mysteries has been an enjoyable collection of films. The series also has a distinct identity that sets it apart from the various current offerings on this particular channel. A mystery story featuring a murder mystery stage play is not new, as the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series had a similar concept in the 2019 movie, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play. In fact, there was a play poster in the background of Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death that was titled “A Very Foul Play”. However, I was curious to see how a detective and photographer duo would approach this specific type of mystery.

Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Thing I liked about the film:

The acting: In Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death, the acting ranged from fine to good. However, there were some stand-out performances I’d like to bring up. One came from series regular, Trezzo Mahoro, who portrayed Allie’s friend Noah. What I liked about his performance was how lively and expressive it was. A good example is when Noah discovers Maya has figured out the password on his laptop. The look of shock on his face truly appeared genuine. Another note-worthy performance was Willie Aames’! As one of the characters said in this movie, Neil Kahn was “mild-mannered”. While this is true, Willie made this part of his character consistent. Because Neil is a director of mystery stories, this is a different yet interesting creative choice when it comes to acting. Speaking of Neil, I also enjoyed seeing April Telek’s performance! Throughout the film, her portrayal of Neil’s wife was very natural. This is evident in the scene where she and Neil are having an argument about their personal lives.

The interior and exterior design: In some scenes, Neil Kahn’s house was featured on screen. This is certainly one of the most photogenic houses shown in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film! The exterior was pale yellow Victorian, complete with a wrap around porch. Impressive interior designs added to the grand scale that is also shown on the house’s exterior. Dark wood was a consistent component of each room shown in the movie. The living room boasted a large wood fireplace paired beautifully with green marble. Neil’s library also featured wood, as seen in bookshelves covering the walls. An eye-catching design choice was how arches outlined the shelves, an element that isn’t often found. In one scene, the living room in Allie’s house can be seen in the background. A stone fireplace was illuminated with soft lights, with a complimentary bookshelf next to it. This shows how good interior and/or exterior design came from multiple locations!

The cinematography: There was some cinematography in Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death that really surprised me in a good way! One notable example is when a suspect is being questioned at the police station. As the scene plays out, emphasis is placed on the clock and the suspect’s face. They were both zoomed in at various points in the scene, highlighting the suspense and fear a person might face in that situation. Another interesting use of cinematography is when Allie and Sam were having a conversation after the murder victim was discovered. When each character was speaking, they were given close-ups to help the audience focus on Sam’s or Allie’s part of the conversation. This specific area of film-making, cinematography, added intrigue to the overall project!

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What I didn’t like about the film:

Story points that didn’t lead anywhere: Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death contained story points that ended up not leading anywhere. One of them was the robberies that were taking place in Willow Brook, the small town featured in this series. During the movie, Sam was in charge of solving the film’s murder and a string of robberies. Unfortunately, this part of the film became an afterthought, as it had little to no connection to the main plot. Another story point involved a local loan shark. While he was shown and mentioned on a few occasions, the loan shark didn’t have a consistent enough presence to be a meaningful part of the story. If this character would have been given more importance, maybe he could have been a red herring.

Allie’s relationship with Daniel: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series usually show the male and female protagonist forming a romantic relationship over time. Even though this is only the third Picture Perfect Mysteries movie, I feel Allie and Sam will likely become a couple. Because of this, I found Allie’s relationship with Daniel, a newspaper reporter, to be pointless. When Allie’s friend, Maya, suggests that Allie go on a date with Daniel, it felt like the screenwriter was trying to force a love triangle into the story. Allie and Daniel’s departure from their date came across as awkward, like they knew their relationship wasn’t going to last. To me, it seemed like this aspect of the movie was unnecessarily shoved into the narrative.

A choppy pace: I found the overall pace in Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death to be choppy. This is because there wasn’t a good flow in-between scenes. In one scene, Allie and Sam are discussing color paint samples for Sam’s house. Shortly after, one of the murder suspects is giving Allie clues. Mysteries series from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries space out scenes that are not mystery related, as to not make the movie feel too dark. However, this installment in the Picture Perfect Mysteries series seemed to fill their script with as much content as possible with the intent to worrying about the overall flow later.

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My overall impression:

At best, Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death was a fine film. It definitely had its strengths, such as some stand-out acting performances and interesting cinematography. But, in my opinion, the movie felt like it just met a requirement. As I mentioned in this review, this is the third chapter in the Picture Perfect Mysteries series. By this point, the question of how the overarching story arc can move forward should be answered. This film, however, does not answer that question. What it does instead is almost put the series in a stand-still, forcing it to stay in one place. Having story points that don’t lead anywhere is just one example of how this happened. Yes, the mystery was intriguing. But this is only a part of a mystery film. If there are other parts of the story that don’t work, the movie is going to have shortcomings. While it is unknown at this time whether the Picture Perfect Mysteries series will receive a fourth film, I just hope it’s stronger than this movie was.

Overall score: 7 out of 10

Have you seen the Picture Perfect Mysteries series? Would you like to see this series get a fourth film? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) Review

When I published my Hallmark Hall of Fame Reading Challenge last March, one of the literary works I listed was Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. While I’ve never read the play, I was interested in seeing how Hallmark Hall of Fame would adapt this particular story. Sadly, I couldn’t find this specific version on DVD, VHS, or digital, as a lot of the collection’s movies from the ‘50s to about the early ‘80s appear to be lost. When I discovered Vincent Perez starred in the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, I thought seeing this version would be the next best thing. It was also a perfect choice for The Third Broadway Bound Blogathon, as it was listed under the “Movies Made From Broadway Shows” section in the very first announcement for the event. This blogathon also happens to take place days before Vincent’s birthday, so this became another reason to review Cyrano de Bergerac! I was able to obtain a copy of this film, but I had to purchase two DVDs and a Blu-Ray just to find one that worked with my home entertainment system. Read my review to find out if this film was worth the search!

After weeks of searching, I finally found a DVD copy of Cyrano de Bergerac I could watch! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscren.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Since I chose this film because of Vincent’s involvement, I’ll talk about his performance first. One aspect that stood out to me was how his voice was always soft-spoken. This fit his character, Christian de Neuvillette, well because he wasn’t as confident with his words, like Cyrano. I also noticed how sincere Vincent’s performance came across. No matter what situation Christian is in, he always has his heart in the right place. The goodness of this character showed through in Vincent’s portrayal, which helped Christian be as likable as possible! Since I just mentioned Cyrano, I will now talk about Gérard Depardieu’s performance. The word I’d use to describe his portrayal of the titular character is expressive. Every feeling Cyrano was experiencing felt genuine, emotions appearing in his facial expressions, body language, and poetry. Toward the beginning of the film, Cyrano performs at a local theater and participates in a dual shortly after. Gérard was able to adapt to every situation given to his character. Besides Vincent and Gérard, the cast is filled with talented actors and actresses. Anne Brochet is one of those cast members, bringing a gentle nature to her character, Roxane. Through emotionality, Anne brings her character to life in a way that feels believable. One example is when Christian and Cyrano visit her at her balcony.

The historical accuracy: As I’ve said before on this blog, the quality of a film’s historical accuracy can show how much a creative team cares about their project. The historical accuracy of Cyrano de Bergerac is proof of this statement! The world in this movie felt immersive, presenting the locations with a sense of realism. The set designs reflected the financial situation/social status of the characters, with the local bakery and Roxane’s room being perfect examples. While the bakery featured a simpler interior design, Roxane’s room appeared elegant. Costumes looked appropriate for that specific time period, with the color palette for the cast’s wardrobe ranging from lighter shades of beige and blue to darker tones of gray and black. Tools and utensils from yesteryear were used by the characters, such as Cyrano and Christian applying a wax seal on letters to Roxane. This movie shows that no detail was ignored.

The humor: One of the strongest elements of this film was the humor! Not only was it well-written, but the humor itself seemed to fit that world. The funny moments within Cyrano de Bergerac were also given good executions by the actors. My favorite scene is when Christian continuously interrupts Cyrano’s story by making references to Cyrano’s nose. During this exchange, Christian would sometimes only say “nose” to get a reaction from Cyrano. While Christian appears unfazed by Cyrano’s reactions, Cyrano becomes more irritated as the scene continues. This scene made me repeatedly laugh, as I found it hilarious!

The Third Broadway Bound Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/announcing-the-third-broadway-bound-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The under-utilization of Vincent Perez: Vincent Perez is one of the reasons why I sought out the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, as I’ve enjoyed his acting performances so far. Before watching this movie, I knew his involvement in the project was a break-out role and likely the biggest role he received at that time. However, because Vincent is billed as the main supporting actor, I was disappointed to find out he was in the film for a limited amount of time. The majority of the story revolves around Cyrano, which means that Vincent was only given a reduced amount of material to work with. There were even large intervals when Vincent was not featured on screen. Usually, main supporting actors receive about half the screen-time the film’s protagonist does. In the case of Cyrano de Bergerac, however, the antagonist, Comte Antoine de Guiche, is given more prominence in the production than Vincent’s character.

The war storyline: Prior to seeing Cyrano de Bergerac, I had a general knowledge of what the story was about. The movie is even classified as a “comedy-drama”, with the assumption that the romantic aspects of the story would fall under the “drama” part. While the comedy and romance within Cyrano de Bergerac dominated the first half of the film, a storyline involving a war took over the film’s second half. The build-up toward the event and the reasoning behind it felt too “inside baseball”. It also caused the entire story to pull a “bait and switch” with its overall tone. Based on the knowledge I had about this film and even based on the DVD cover, I expected the light-hearted tone within the first half to have a consistent presence throughout the film. Even though there were romantic and light-hearted moments within the second half, some of them didn’t feel like they fit in the context of the war.

The poetic monologues: I’m aware that Cyrano is known for being “a man of many words”. I also know the original play was written only in verse. The poems themselves weren’t the issue, as the poetic monologues within this film were performed and written well. However, some of them lasted too long. Toward the end of the movie, Cyrano recited one of his signature monologues. Because it was long in time length, the monologue made the scene drawn out. I realize that the reason for the long monologues was to satisfy the film’s run-time. Personally, I think, at least, a few of the them should have been a bit shorter in length.

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

My overall impression:

I’ve heard that the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac is “the definitive film version of the Edmond Rostand play from 1897.” This is the only film version of the story I have seen. As I also said in the introduction, I have never read the play. So, I can only judge this film simply as a film. Cyrano de Bergerac is a good, solid movie! I found myself invested as the story was unfolding and I can definitely see how this could be presented on Broadway. The poetic dialogue was an interesting choice that helped this project achieve a unique identity. However, there were aspects that prevented the production from being better than it was. Some of the poetic monologues were too long, causing scenes to feel drawn out. Despite flaws like that one, I’m glad I was given an opportunity to see this film! If you do choose to watch this version of Cyrano de Bergerac, keep in mind it is a rarer title to find on physical media. While this movie did receive a Blu-Ray release, prices can get expensive.

Overall score: 7.6 out of 10

Do you enjoy movies based on Broadway shows? Are there any literary adaptations that you like? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun on Broadway!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Coming Together to Celebrate

Season finales are usually known as a sad time. Your favorite show is about to end, for now, and you have to wait a whole year for it to return. But season finales can also be a good thing. Creating any season of a television show is very time, energy, and financially consuming. There are risks involved with adding another chapter, as the future can be uncertain. However, with those things come rewards. Some of these are a season renewal, a new movie, or critical acclaim. Season finales can also stir up reflection. It causes one to look back on the current state of the show, as well as how far it has come. This is a time for celebration, when achievements and triumphs can get recognized. It’s also a time when we can tell our favorite and new characters “See you later” instead of “good-bye”.

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

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 6

Name: Watercolors, Wishes, and Weddings

 

Abby’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Mick approaches Abby with an offer to work at his construction firm. She tells him that she will think about it. The first person she tells about the business deal is Jay, with her sharing this news with Jess and Bree later in the episode. After discussing this piece of information with Jay, he invites her on a lunch date. She agrees to go by joining him at Sally’s Café. While Jay and Abby are there, they cross paths with Trace and Emma. Because of the awkwardness of the situation, Jay and Abby leave the restaurant. Instead, they go to a nearby shore. Abby shares with Jay how difficult it is to avoid Trace. He tells her that just because she has history with Trace doesn’t mean that she has to have a future with him. The next day, Abby, once again, crosses paths with Trace. He shares with her that he will finally build that recording studio he’s always dreamed of. Even though she’s happy for him, Abby still chooses to spend her time with Jay. At Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception dinner, Abby reveals that Derrick, the CEO of the financing management who was introduced at the beginning of the season, has officially been indicted. She also shares that she isn’t going to lose her job at her current business firm. Despite this, Abby is still contemplating Mick’s offer. At the end of the episode, Abby goes to the same beach that Trace is at. Their interaction causes them to share a kiss.

 

Trace’s story: As Emma performs at The Bridge, Mark Hall arrives to watch the show. But that’s not the only reason why he’s in Chesapeake Shores. Mark approaches Trace with a proposal to help Trace record a song with Emma within the small town. Because Trace has no intention to make new music and because Chesapeake Shores doesn’t have any recording studios, Trace agrees to produce a single for Emma. He researches different venues for Emma to perform at and he contacts some of his friends in Nashville. Emma doesn’t feel ready to start a musical career, but Trace reassures her that she’ll never know if she’s ready until she takes that first step. Trace also makes the decision to build his recording studio. Later in the episode, he tells Abby about his plan. Trace also interacts with Abby when she and Jay went to lunch at the same time he and Emma are at Sally’s Café. Before the episode ends, Trace and Abby interact one last time. During their interaction, they share a kiss.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: Because of Abby helping Mick with his business situation, he asks her if she’d like to work at his construction firm. Abby tells him that she’ll think about it. Mick lets his brother, Thomas, know about his relationship with Megan. Even though Mick shares his concerns about the relationship’s longevity, Thomas ends up supporting his brother’s decision. When he spends time with Megan, Mick reveals that his former business partner has publicly announced Mick’s association. Meanwhile, Megan is buying art supplies and taking up sketching. She shares with Mick that she hasn’t painted since she was pregnant with Bree. Throughout the episode, they both attend Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception and Bree’s play.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: In this episode, Kevin and Sarah continue their discussion on the size of their family. When they figure out the math, they both come to an agreement about having two or three children. Sarah’s family also pays them a visit. Because of their arrival, this makes Sarah tell Kevin how her family used to take road trips when she was younger. She also shares how she, sometimes, misses her family. This causes Kevin to agree to spend Christmas with her family and to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The episode ends with them attending their wedding reception and Bree’s play.

Theater seats image
Theater seats image created by weatherbox at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/weatherbox.”

Bree’s story: Before a presentation of her play, Bree meets a literary agent named Brian. He’s impressed by everything she’s been able to accomplish on her own. However, Brian wants to help Bree make the most of her career. With a lunch invitation, he encourages her to discuss her literary goals. Bree agrees to meet with him the next day. At this meeting, Brian informs her that he’s not going to lead her in any direction she’s not comfortable with. At the same time, he tries to get Bree to think about her career with a long-term mindset. Despite this, she has no idea where her career will be that far down the road. When the night of the play arrives, the show is a success! Not only does the play receive a standing ovation, but both Hannah and Bree are presented with flower bouquets. After the show, Brian shares that he wants to bring her play to London. This causes Bree to become excited about her future.

 

Jess’s story: During the official grand opening of The Inn at Eagle Point, Jess finds a ring in a small box. This makes her assume that David will propose to her. Shortly after their bed and breakfast’s grand opening, they receive a fine because of their unofficial grand opening in the previous episode. This causes David to attempt to solve this issue throughout the episode. Because this dilemma prolongs David’s proposal, it also causes Jess to become impatient . When the man who gave David and Jess the fine visit them, Jess convinces him to lift the fine. This plan ends up being successful, as they are able to run their bed and breakfast with no further issues. After this situation is resolved, Jess reveals that she knew about the proposal all along. Because of this, David finally asks Jess to marry him, which she immediately says yes.

 

Connor’s story: Connor tries to find a solution to the case that he was assigned in the previous episode. As Nell meets up with Connor at Sally’s Cafe, he expresses how he misses Danielle. When Nell mentions that her driver’s license has expired, this gives Connor an idea relating to the case. When he presents his findings to Linda, the lawyer from the previous episode, she’s impressed by his work. This causes her to give Connor a job at her firm. When he shares this news with Thomas, he reveals that Connor was to receive an even bigger assignment at his firm that was to take place in New York. Before their conversation ends, Thomas tries telling Connor that Linda may not be as friendly as she seems.

Jewels sparkle in the golden wedding rings lying on the leather
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:

  • Like the third season, this season of Chesapeake Shores was just fine. But I was hoping that the show’s quality would improve by this point. I was told by Ruth, from My Devotional Thoughts, that there will be a fifth season! Hopefully, the creative team behind this program will learn from their creative mistakes and find a healthy balance between being character and story-driven.

 

  • As happy as I am that Jess and David got engaged, I was disappointed by how the dialogue spoiled the surprise. With Jess saying things like “till death do us part” and “happily ever after”, a moment that could have been surprising and memorable ended up being predictable. Hopefully, the audience can witness their wedding in the show. I also hope that the wedding ceremony can be more memorable than the engagement.

 

  • Even though I’ve mentioned that the Chesapeake Shores movie will premiere next year, I wonder if it will air before or after the next season starts? Since the film will just feature the three O’Brien sisters, I also wonder how their story will effect the rest of the show?

Starry night landscape with reeds
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 season as a whole? Do you have any predictions for season five? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: A Kite in the Storm

For those of you who follow my re-caps for Chesapeake Shores, I apologize for publishing this post later than usual. As I was writing my review of The Sky’s the Limit, I realized that I needed a short break from blogging. So that’s what I did on the Monday after this episode aired. So, now that this explanation is out of the way, it’s time to start this re-cap! In this episode, Abby tells Jay that she is like a kite in the storm after he shares that two of his students thought that Benjamin Franklin invented the kite. What Abby said could also relate to the other characters on this show. Everyone is just trying to get through the storms in their lives, whether it’s Mick trying to overcome his legal troubles or Bree wanting to face her writing struggles. But kites are controlled by the wind, an element that is beyond anyone’s control. Like kites, the characters on Chesapeake Shores are controlled by life itself. Sometimes, the characters catch a lucky break, such a Kevin and Sarah getting married. But there are times when things don’t go according to plan. A good example of this is when Bree and Simon broke up. But, at the one point or another, every character finds a resolution and survives the storm.

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

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 5

Name: All the Time in the World

 

Abby’s story: Because of an upcoming deposition and because Carrie and Caitlyn have a scheduled day off from school, Abby needs one of her siblings to babysit her daughters. Kevin and Connor, along with Sarah, volunteer to look after Carrie and Caitlyn at different times of the day. At Sally’s Café, Abby receives free legal advice from Connor. Before he leaves, Jay pays Abby a visit. He asks if he can spend time with her after her deposition, in which she accepts his invitation. He also shares with her why he became a teacher, as the people in his life are what matters the most. At her deposition, Abby makes it difficult for the opposing side to get any answers from her. Because of this, they offer her a vice president position at their business firm if she turns her back on her current firm. Before she leaves the deposition, Abby shares that what she teaches her children is more important than her career. After the deposition, Abby and Jay share a picnic. When she shares the opposing side’s job offer, he reminds her that no one’s road in life is a straight one, as it does have twists and turns. She contemplates Jay’s advice for the rest of the episode. When Mick discovers her notes about her deposition, she gives him an idea that could help him in his legal situation. He recruits her to find a solution to his problems, with Abby agreeing to help. She also briefly interacts with Trace backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play.

 

Trace’s story: Trace is still bothered by what Emma told him in the previous episode. When Emma apologized, she shared that she didn’t know that Mark’s offer could include trying to get Trace back on tour. Trace accepts her apology and reveals that, because of the music business, he’s become skeptical of people. He then invites her to lunch at Sally’s Café, which Emma accepts. During this episode, Trace tells Emma how his family doesn’t always express their emotions and feelings. He also talks about his experiences while on tour. Another situation that Trace deals with is Mick cancelling on their business meetings. Because of Mick’s legal situation, he hasn’t had time to participate in various activities. This makes Trace frustrated by Mick’s lack of attention toward The Bridge. In an attempt to find a solution, Trace offers to buy Mick’s half of the restaurant. When Mick hears Trace’s offer, he tells Trace that he’ll think about it. Trace also crosses paths with Abby backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play. During this brief interaction, he shares that he learned about Abby’s legal situation from Connor.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick is shocked to learn that Megan wants to take up painting again. Even though he’s taken off guard, he’s supportive of her choice. Throughout the episode, Megan is creating plans for her new studio. When she shares these plans with Nell, Nell tells her that she should recruit Mick’s help in this endeavor. Speaking of Mick, he is so caught up in his legal worries, that he has little to no time for anything else. This starts to affect other people, including Trace and Connor. When Connor asks if there is anything he can do to help, Mick tells him no. Trace starts getting frustrated by Mick cancelling meetings related to The Bridge. To help take some weight off Mick’s shoulders, Trace offers to purchase Mick’s half of The Bridge. Mick tells Trace that he’ll think about the offer. When he arrives at his house, Mick discovers Abby’s notes about her deposition. When he expresses to Abby how impressed he is by this discovery, she gives him an idea that could help him with his problems. Because of this, Mick encourages Abby to use her unique insight to help him.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: When Abby is looking for someone within her family to look after Carrie and Caitlyn, Kevin and Sarah volunteer. After an exciting game of badminton, Kevin and Sarah bring up the question of how many children they’d like to have. When they realize that they each have a different idea for the size of their family, they come to the conclusion that they need to take the time to discuss several important topics. When looking after Word Play, Kevin talks to Bree about how rushed his relationship feels. Bree reminds him to appreciate what he has and shares that she feels that everything is how it should be. Later in the episode, Sarah comes by to visit Kevin at Word Play. While they are sharing embarrassing childhood stories, they get alerted on a recent emergency. After the emergency has been taken care of, Kevin and Sarah talk about how their relationship has moved so fast. They also agree to have a larger family.

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Bree’s story: Bree’s book has placed in the top ten on a bestseller list and her play has been presented in front of test audiences. Hannah has been with Bree every step of the way, from helping her avoid awkward questions during Q & A segments to suggesting small but essential changes to the script. When it’s time to write a message about herself for the play’s program, she experiences a bad case of writer’s block. At Word Play, she realizes that she and Kevin have something in common; they feel that their lives are moving too fast. However, Bree feels that everything is the way it should be and that they both need to appreciate what they have. On another day, at Word Play, Bree confides to Megan that the version of herself in the play represented who she was. She wants to write about who she is now, which she’s having a difficult time trying to figure out.

 

Jess’s story: Jess and David start to settle into their new bed & breakfast. When Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise them with the sign from their original bed & breakfast, Jess and David decide to name their new place “The Inn at Eagle Point”. While preparing for the grand opening, the facility loses electricity. Despite David scheduling an electrician to show up the following week, guests have arrived early than expected. Without food, mattresses, or electricity, David and Jess try to figure out how to make their unofficial grand opening a success. When Jess asks Mick for assistance, he politely refuses. Meanwhile, David and Jess put all their refrigerated food in the sink filled with ice cubes. Toward the end of the episode, Nell volunteers to cook meals for the guests. The bed & breakfast also gets its electricity back. When Jess is not around, David hides a stuffed animal horse and a small bag in a drawer.

 

Connor’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise Jess and David with the original sign from their previous bed & breakfast. He also helps Carrie and Caitlyn practice their lines for their play. For the majority of this episode, Connor continues to do research for his uncle’s law firm. He uses his research skills to help Abby create notes for her deposition. He also asks Mick if he can help him with his legal issues, but Mick politely turns Connor’s offer down. When doing research work at The Bridge, he reveals to Trace that he broke up with Danielle. He also tells Trace about Abby’s legal situation. Later in the episode, Connor learns that Abby will be helping Mick with his legal situation. Feeling hurt after learning this news, he approaches the lawyer who lost the case from this season’s second episode. He wants to work at her firm because he wants to be a litigator. She gives him a chance to prove himself by giving him a case that they might lose.

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Some thoughts to consider:

  • The conflict associated with Jess’s story doesn’t make any sense. How can someone make a reservation when there is no realistic way to do so? If the bed & breakfast isn’t open for business yet, that means that an official website wouldn’t be available for reservations to be accepted. Also, if the electricity is out, then that means an official phone number wouldn’t be working for people to call for reservations. It seems like the screenwriters cared so much about Jess and David’s relationship that the plot ended up suffering.

 

  • Is it just me or did it seem like Nell’s health issues were completely glossed over? I was surprised to see Nell with an oxygen tank, as I’m used to seeing her as an independent woman who usually doesn’t rely on anyone or anything for help. I’m not sure if Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, or just the character is dealing with a medical situation. Whatever the case, I hope that things work out for the better.

 

  • Back in February, at the Winter TCA Event, Hallmark announced that a Chesapeake Shores movie was greenlit. Because this season of the show only received six episodes, it was speculated that the movie would make up for the limited number of episodes. But I’ve heard that this movie won’t premiere until next year. So, this makes the idea of the fourth season having less than the usual ten episodes seem meaningless.

Starry night landscape with reeds
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.

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

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Steering the Ship

At the beginning of this episode of Chesapeake Shores, the U.S.S. Kelsey, an important prop in Carrie and Caitlyn’s school play, has been destroyed due to a water leak. This prop has been used in this particular play for fifty-three years, even recording the signatures of former cast members. Abby, Bree, and Jess are obviously heart-broken about the U.S.S. Kelsey’s fate, as Abby and Bree clean up what remains of their school-time memento. On this show, it seems like everyone is trying to steer their ship. In some episodes, the characters’ journeys are smooth sailing. At other times, they end up facing stormy seas. While not as broken as the U.S.S. Kelsey, each character does have flaws in their ship’s foundation. As long as they have an anchor to keep them grounded and a compass to guide them, each character will eventually find their way.

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

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 4

Name: Breaking Hearts and Playing Parts

 

Abby’s story: Abby, once again, volunteers at her daughters’ school. This time, she agrees to help with school play preparations. Luckily, Jay is the play’s director, so she has a friend to spend time with. As mentioned in this re-cap’s introduction, the U.S.S. Kelsey ends up becoming destroyed. When Jay asks her if she knows anyone who can help re-build this prop, she asks Mick for his assistance the next day. Unfortunately, he turns down her offer. One day, during play rehearsal, she discovers that Trace has volunteered to re-build the U.S.S. Kelsey. She carries on small talk with him, but that’s the extent of their interaction. Later in the episode, Abby and Jay talk about her relationship with Trace. She tells him that she and Trace used to date, but are now just friends. Jay and Abby also agree with share lunch together. When their lunch outing arrives, they also invite members of Abby’s family. They end up having a good time, with Jay even sharing his fries with Bree. At the end of the episode, Abby and Jay marvel at Trace’s handiwork as they take one final look at the new U.S.S. Kelsey. During their observation, Abby notices that Trace preserved all of the signatures from the old ship.

 

Trace’s story: When Mark Hall makes one final offer to make Emma a singing sensation, Emma politely turns him down. This decision pleases Trace, as he has rarely seen people tell Mark no. One day, at The Bridge, Trace meets Jay for the first time. The purpose of this meeting was for Jay to convince Trace to re-build the U.S.S. Kelsey. When Trace learns that Carrie and Caitlyn told Jay about his handiwork, Trace agrees to volunteer. Trace shows up to play rehearsal one day, which happens to be on the same day that Abby is helping with the play. Abby and Trace share small talk, but that’s about it. After getting to know Jay a little bit better, Trace realizes that Abby may be starting a new relationship. For the majority of this episode, he has been torn between wanting to get back together with Abby and potentially beginning a new relationship of his own. At The Bridge, one night, Trace helps Emma with an original song. During this song-writing session, Emma kisses Trace. After Trace kisses Emma back, he shares that he probably shouldn’t have done that. The next day, Trace apologizes for the unplanned kiss. During this interaction with Emma, he learns that one of Mark’s offers to Emma involved her trying to recruit Trace back on tour. This discovery makes Trace lose trust in Emma.

 

Mick’s story: Mick’s legal situation just became more complicated. His former business partner is trying to make a deal where Mick is named co-conspirator. Mick’s lawyer also suggests that he hire a PR firm to help him establish a presence on social media. Because of everything that going on in his work-life, Mick’s personal life has been affected. One day, he ends up cancelling plans with Megan because of a meeting with his lawyer. He apologizes to her by giving her a red rose and explaining what’s been happening. Mick shares that he’s overwhelmed by the changes that are taking place around him. Megan forgives him and accepts the rose.Megan’s story: At the beginning of this episode, Megan is busy planning Kevin and Sarah’s wedding, as well as creating a vision board for herself. When discussing her progress with Nell, Megan is told that she should focus less on the past and more on the present. During lunch with the O’Brien family, Kevin and Sarah announce that they recently eloped. This shocks the family, especially Megan. Not only that, but she’s also heart-broken that her chances of planning their wedding are now gone. When they ask her if everything’s ok, she tells them that she’s fine. But, in reality, she’s trying her best to hide her true feelings. Throughout the episode, Megan processes what has just happened. She also realizes that Mick has been trying to process what’s been going on in his life. At the end of the episode, Kevin and Sarah reveal that, even though they eloped, they want to organize a wedding reception. This pleases Megan and makes Mick happy for her. Mick and Megan share a gesture that indicates that they are growing closer in their relationship.

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Bree’s story: Bree is dealing with the aftermath of her break-up with Simon. She changes the end of her play, which pleases Hannah and is a better fit for the story. But, no matter what she does, she still feels upset about Simon leaving her life. The people around her have been understanding of her situation, from Abby inviting her to help clean up the U.S.S. Kelsey’s remains to Jay sharing his fries with her. Trying to take her mind off of her dilemma, she helps David and Jess with a personal problem. But, when she helps them solve their issues, she realizes that she’s the only sibling in the O’Brien family that isn’t in a relationship or starting a new relationship. This causes Jess, David, and Connor to comfort Bree.

 

Jess’s story: Jess and David are trying to choose an overarching style for their bed & breakfast. Jess wants the bed & breakfast to have a traditional look, complete with a couch from their previous bed & breakfast. David thinks the facility should adopt a modern style, using a day bed that he cherishes. When they ask Connor for advice, he is unable to help them make this decision. For the majority of the episode, David and Jess are finding it difficult to come up with a solution. When Danielle, Connor, and Bree hang out at the new bed & breakfast one day, Bree suggests that Jess and David try to look at the problem from the other person’s perspective. This technique helps them realize the importance of their beloved piece of furniture. They both come to an agreement where they not only get to incorporate both of their styles into the bed & breakfast, but they also get to create a new, shared style for the main sitting area.

 

Connor’s story: Connor is figuring out where his relationship with Danielle stands. He feels that Danielle telling him “I Love You” complicates things. He turns to various family members for advice, including Nell. She tells him that it’s important to “like who you love”. While helping Kevin move his belongings to Sarah’s house, Connor tells Danielle that he loves her. But, Connor still feels like something isn’t right in his and Danielle’s relationship. When he is comforting Bree at David and Jess’s bed & breakfast, Danielle doesn’t approach Bree to console her. The next day, at dinner, Connor addresses Danielle’s dislike toward her family. She doesn’t provide an answer, but instead talks about how she doesn’t like to spend time with his family. This makes him realize that he and Danielle want very different things in life. He shares this thought with her.

Ship steering wheel pattern background
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Some thoughts to consider:

 

  • In this episode, I found some of the wardrobe choices to be very interesting. In the very first scene, I noticed that all of the O’Brien sisters are wearing a white shirt. In another scene, Hannah and Bree wear outfits that are color coordinated. Hannah’s shirt is black and her jacket is maroon. Meanwhile, Bree’s jacket is black and her shirt is maroon.

 

  • In the scene where Connor and Danielle realize that they want different things in life, Andrew Francis and Britt Irvin gave one of the best performances in any Hallmark project they’ve ever appeared in! It was both emotional and powerful, things that are needed for a scene like this. It makes me wish that Andrew and Britt would receive a lead role in a Hallmark film.

 

  • Ever since the third season, it feels like Chesapeake Shores has plateaued. In the first two seasons, the show had a healthy balance between being story-driven and character-driven. From season three on, the series has become so character-driven, that it comes at the plot’s expense. Every time an interesting subplot is about to be introduced or an overarching plot can be revisited, the screenwriters don’t take advantage of those creative opportunities. What also doesn’t help is how this season is only six episodes long.

Starry night landscape with reeds
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.

How do you feel about this episode? Do you think that Kevin and Sarah made the right decision? Please state your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen