Shari Belafonte, Mr Ben Murphy (the Ben Murphyist), a homicidal mummy/alien, and the worst Halloween costume party ever.
A dismal, odd film with screendom’s least convincing seance. Stay for the twist ending.
Roger Corman’s take on demonology and time travel, with Halloween decorations used as authentic medieval props
Unlikable family doing unlikable things for John Carradine’s money in the 70’s.
Hilarious Eurotrash version of Frankenstein with added caveman and a dubbed Michael Dunn from the Wild Wild West.
An embarrassed Bela Lugosi and an unembarrassable John Carradine prance around a spooky mansion and play with black magic.
The finale is this quintessential Halloween movie with Vincent Price. Not that it’s good, just quintessential. And never mind those huge plot holes (yeah, open pool of acid in the basement, great housing idea!).
Seán Easton runs a great blog about the echoes and themes of Classics in modern media, Centuries Coexist. He teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is widely (and accurately) seen as the combination and recreation of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960) and Anthony Mann’s Fall of the Roman Empire (1966). Important parts of the the beginning and ending of Scott’s film, however, are modeled on Kubrick’s World War I film Paths of Glory. Scott borrows from Paths of Glory in part because that film offers him models for the sort of character and issue that he is concerned with in Gladiator. Also, I believe Scott is engaging in a polemic with Kubrick’s anti-war message. Gladiator‘s allusions to Paths of Glory footnote Scott’s debt to the earlier film, but they also serve to distinguish what he is doing from what Kubrick did.
In Paths of Glory, Kirk Douglas’ Col. Dax is a just and courageous man. He leads his troops in battle, sharing the danger, and does not care about career or laurels. In this regard, he is very much like Maximus in
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“Who’d be an archaeologist? Spending months methodically scraping dirt from a thighbone with a brush thin enough to paint eyebrows on a Barbie- Indiana Jones never bothered with all that shit. I’d snap after 10 minutes and hurl it in the bin where it belongs.” –Charlie Brooker
Favorite word: Πρoβατoγνώμων (Probatognumon)- someone who is a good judge of sheep (Æschylus)
“It came to me then that we’re each something of a constant gardener of a million forgotten galaxies, a librarian of lost places and times, a curator of a museum of random details that really only matter to each of us.” –Jonathan Riggs
“As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day.” –Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“I wish I had more friends, but people are such jerks.” –Calvin (to Hobbes)
“Cleanse my heart… Give me the ability to rage correctly.” –Joe Orton
“Leaving behind books is more beautiful. There are already enough children.” –Margurete Yourcenar
“Let me explain a couple of things. Time is short… For the weasel, time is a weasel. For the hero, time is heroic. For the whore, time is just another trick. If you’re gentle, your time is gentle. If you’re in a hurry, time flies. Time is a servant if you are its master. Time is your god if you are its dog. We are the creators of time… the victims of time, and the killers of time. Time is timeless.” —Faraway, So Close
“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.” — Thomas Jefferson
Favorite old timey Latin Textbook example sentence: “ut quisque Verris animum offenderat, in lautumias statim coniciebatur” “Whenever anyone had offended Verres’ feelings, he was forthwith put in the stone-quarry”
Back in college I wrote a play about a theater company in 1933 Berlin trying to put on “the Scottish Play”. A great group of friends and I put it on, and I’ve recently released its updated (and improved) script. You can find it here.
Here also is a bit of Shakespearean fun from the Black Adder
While the US Republican party (who lost the last two elections) seems bent on doing as much damage as they can to the country in a petulant tantrum, and things look bleak, we can at least say things today are better than Rome during the summer of 41 BCE.
That was when Octavian returned to Rome after he and Antony defeated Brutus, Cassius and the other assassins of Caesar. Octavian, only 22 years-old, was nominally in charge of the western empire by his rights of conquest (and the power he commanded by his own personal army). Unfortunately for him, few in the senate took him seriously, and they were eager to block any of his plans, including the legislation he needed to provide land for his veterans.
Octavian decided to force the issue and just had his veterans seize farmland in Italy, displacing farmers who the state refused to reimburse. The veterans also decided to take more than what they were allotted (because they could) and caused further disruption.
The formidable Fulvia, Mark Antony’s wife, was also in town. She hated Octavian, insisting on making his life difficult by demanding he share all of his duties with Antony’s sons (who were six and four respectively) to avoid causing offense. Antony’s brother Lucius was one of the consuls, and he also blocked Octavian’s agenda, mostly because he missed the Republic and thought the Triumvirate was horrible. Eventually Fulvia and Lucius joined forces and began to champion the dispossessed farmers against Octavian, threatening another civil war. Negotiations broke down so Fulvia and Lucius, the legally elected consul, fled to the town of Praeneste 22 miles away and declared themselves the government in exile, in open revolt against Octavian.
Another civil war began. Lucius and Octavian each began raising troops, sending out recruiters into Italian cities who often came to blows when they showed up at the same place. Again the Italian cities were forced to pick a side, with destruction and ruin assured if they chose the wrong one. There were riots.
Meanwhile the rest of the western empire devolved into chaos. Sextus Pompey, the last remaining son of Pompey had seized Sicily and was operating as a pirate raiding the Italian coast. Another fleet, commanded by a partisan of the assassins of Caesar who was still around, roamed the waves and attacked the Triumvirate’s navy whenever it could. Troops in Africa, equally divided in loyalty between Octavian and Antony’s family, came to blows under rival commanders. Scores died. The king of Mauretania, a supporter of the Antony family, took advantage of this bedlam in Africa and launched an expedition across the straights of Gibraltar to attack Octavian’s Spain.
Oh, and all during this, the city of Rome suffered widespread famine due to Sextus Pompey’s blockade of Sicily.
Meanwhile, Antony and Cleopatra sailed up and down the Nile, relaxing.