Saturday, October 31, 2020

Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane star in the spooky spectacle "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944)

I wrote this for the Spooky Classic Movie Blogathon hosted by KN Winiarski Writes! 

For me, Halloween is synonymous with Arsenic and Old Lace

Every year I pull my copy off the shelf, blow an imaginary layer of dust from the cover, and pop it into the DVD player. I discovered this year that somehow we actually own 3 copies of this movie through a variety of giftings and inheritings from others. While I do love Arsenic and Old Lace, owning 3 copies is a bit much, even for me!

The art of dark comedy has always drawn me and you don't get much darker than this movie. There's a bit of a terrifying element underlying the whole thing for a variety of reasons.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Go to my Classic Hollywood page to find all my Classic Hollywood reviews!

Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), acclaimed dramatic critic and author, is in love. And for a man who has spent his entire adult life sarcastically decrying the idea of love and marriage, this is a stretch. But on Halloween, he finds himself and his darling bride-to-be, Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), standing in line at the marriage license bureau in Brooklyn, New York, getting officially hitched. He even has a honeymoon to Niagara Falls all planned, tickets for the train, and orders for flowers to be delivered to his new bride at her family's residence. Elaine's father is the local minister and the parsonage and the Brewster family home bookends a very historic, and slightly spooky cemetery. 

Everything is going so well! Mortimer and Elaine are married! His maiden aunts, Aunt Abby (Josephine Hull) and Aunt Martha (Jean Adair) are practically over the moon knowing their nephew has finally, finally proposed to the girl they've adored for so many years, and pretty much watched grow up next door. But alas, not everything is as it seems. Mortimer remembers that he left notes for his latest book Mind Over Matrimony somewhere in the house and he's desperate to find them before Elaine sees them. He hunts and hunts throughout the main room of the house, lifts up the window seat, and finds a dead body! Horror!

Not knowing quite how to approach his aunts with the devastating news that their other nephew Teddy (a dear man who unfortunately believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt) has killed someone and put his body in the window seat. He approaches Abby and Martha as they're handing out goodies to the local trick-or-treaters (wow, I wish I got whole jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies when I trick-or-treated as a kid!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

My Halloween article for Femnista

I wrote an article for the obsession themed Halloween issue of Femnista, a blog/web magazine contributed to by a variety of female authors.

It's entitled A Japanese Lesson in Romantic Obsession and can be found by clicking on the photo below. It was a fun article to write since it covers two of my favorite Japanese movies, One Week Friends (the photo below with Kento Yamazaki) and My Little Monster.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Regency Garden Party Celebration

In July 2018, my sister and I hosted a Regency Garden Party.

Both of us love hosting parties, I love Jane Austen, and our intimate circle of friends has always indulged us on this point. Now that we have our own place (my sister and I are roommates) it makes party hosting easier, but for the Regency Garden Party, my sweet parents loaned us their backyard. It made all the difference being able to play croquet and have afternoon tea on the lawn while making Regency bonnets in the house.

It was a sublime experience and I can't believe I never shared it on my blog. 

Tea Table Spread

Our spread of goodies set up under the canopy.

Fruit Cocktails with heavy whipping cream and twills

Delicious fruit cocktails with heavy whipping cream and twills.

pastel macarons purchased from Costco

Divine macarons purchased from Costco just for the occasion. I'm not brave enough to try my hand at making macarons, although maybe someday. I've seen enough baking shows with Australian baker Adriano Zumbo to be unnerved at the prospect of making my own macarons.

Lemon Tarts and homemade lemon scones

Lemon tarts and homemade scones, although now I can't remember what type of scones. I'm thinking they were probably your basic plain scone or maybe lemon, one of those two.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Lark Rise

I just purchased a volume of the complete Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy by Flora Thompson. These books are on my Classics Club goals, and I've learned that actually owning the book helps inspire me to read it. This way I'll have my copy so that sometime this winter I can snuggle down with a blanket, hot tea, and my cuddly cat and just charge through the trilogy.

Finishing the miniseries is also something I should plan. I end up starting miniseries and getting distracted partially through, but I really did like Lark Rise to Candleford so I can't remember why I stopped watching it. So strange!

Anyway, I'm supremely excited to have found the book for such a great deal. Now I just need a larger bookcase in which to put it! Oh, the hardships of a bibliophile!

Have you ever read the books or watched the miniseries? I'm hoping the books themselves are as good as I remember the miniseries being. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Time to re-read The Scarlet Pimpernel!

The delightful blog, The Maidens of Green Gables, is hosting The Scarlet Pimpernel read-along! I'm super excited about this one since I've been meaning to re-read The Scarlet Pimpernel for years.

Grace and Katherine are even recording themselves reading the book aloud, which promises to be even more fun.

Why do I love this book, you ask?

Why does anyone after the year 1982 love The Scarlet Pimpernel

I'll give you two words.



Anthony Andrews and Sir Ian McKellen in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
Yes, my friends, that is the fickle yet honest reason why most people reading this book in the modern age love the story. Because of that divine film from 1982 starring the sublime and delicious Anthony Andrews as our favorite fop, Sir Percival Blakeney, baronet. In case you didn't realize he was nobility, the baronet must be thrown in for every introduction of the character. *snerk*

Ah, the memories. I even hosted an Anthony Andrews Blogathon waaaaaaay back in 2014 that was just so much fun. Sink Me! Should I host it again? Hmmmmmm, we'll see.

I have no idea when the read-along will begin, but I shall keep a lookout for it faithfully and join in each week. I can hardly wait!

Book Review: The Haunting of H. G. Wells by Robert Masello

The Haunting of H. G. Wells

Author: Robert Masello

Genre: Historical Retellings

Year: 2020

My Rating★★ 

Goodreads - Amazon

Official Summary: It’s 1914. The Great War grips the world—and from the Western Front a strange story emerges…a story of St. George and a brigade of angels descending from heaven to fight beside the beleaguered British troops. But can there be any truth to it?

H. G. Wells, the most celebrated writer of his day—author of The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man—is dispatched to find out. There, he finds an eerie wasteland inhabited by the living, the dead, and those forever stranded somewhere in between…a no-man’s-land whose unhappy souls trail him home to London, where a deadly plot, one that could turn the tide of war, is rapidly unfolding.

In league with his young love, the reporter and suffragette Rebecca West, Wells must do battle with diabolical forces—secret agents and depraved occultists—to save his sanity, his country, and ultimately the world.

I'll be honest, I didn't want to spend time writing a summary for this book. 

Let's start with the good things about The Haunting of H. G. Wells, shall we? It's an easy read. I like easy reads. Don't get me wrong, I adore classic literature, but sometimes you just need something you can breeze through without having to stop and wonder what that word means. I found no fault in the writing style, whatsoever. 

I enjoyed H. G.'s wife, Jane, and her adventures. She seems a lovely, quiet sort of person, although I doubt she was that way in her youth. I can relate to her a little bit in how she likes to keep such a tidy, warm, comfortable home. She's charming.

Now for the not-so-good.

The premise itself in terms of pure storytelling comes and goes. It hits strong strides and then falters for about 50 pages at a time where I felt myself slogging through the book. It had nothing to do with the writing, just that the story developed a hiccup.