Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Correspondence of Squirrel Nutkin

I found this absolutely adorable little book of Beatrix Potter's miniature letters (which I never knew existed) at the library the other day. Beatrix Potter has been a favourite of mine for quite some time, and one of my greatest inspirations for her brilliant imagination! These miniature letters were written to entertain and amuse some of the children she was particularly fond of, probably written between the years 1907 and 1912. Miss Potter invented  correspondences between Peter Rabbit and others of her famous characters, including Squirrel Nutkin, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and the Flopsy Bunnies, telling of their continued adventures outside their tales.
 I found these letters simply charming! Seriously, they're so adorable I can hardly take it. My favourites were the letters from Squirrel Nutkin to Old Mr. Brown, asking for his tail back. Here is the complete correspondence of Squirrel Nutkin:

Mr. Brown,
Owl Island.

     I should esteem it a favour if you would let me have back my tail, as I miss it very much. I would pay postage.

                           Yrs. truly,

                                  Squirrel Nutkin

Mr. Old Brown Esq.,
Owl Island.

  Dear Sir,
   I should be extremely obliged if you could kindly send back a tail which you have had for some time. It is fluffy brown with a white tip. I wrote to you before about it, but perhaps I did not address the letter properly. I will pay postage.

                         Yrs. respectfully,
                                Squirrel Nutkin

Old Mr. Brown Esq.,
Owl Island.

   Dear Sir,
        I should be exceedingly obliged if you will let me have back my tail, I will gladly pay 3 bags of nuts for it if you will please post it back to me, I have written to you twice Mr. Brown, I think I did not give you my address, it is Derwent Bay Wood.

                      Yrs. respectfully,

                           Sq. Nutkin

The Right Honourable
Old Brown Esq.,
Owl Island.

      I write respectfully to beg that you will sell me back my tail, I am so uncomfortable without it, and I have heard of a tailor who would sew it on again. I would pay three bags of nuts for it. Please Sir, Mr. Brown, send it back by post and oblige.

                    Yrs. respectfully,

                          Sq. Nutkin

O. Brown Esq., M.P.
Owl Island.

  Dear Sir,
      I write on behalf of my brother Nutkin to beg that as a great favour you would send him back his tail. He never makes- or asks- riddles now, and he is truly sorry that he was so rude. Trusting that you continue to enjoy good health, I remain,

                        Yr. obedient servant,

                               Twinkleberry Squirrel

Master Squirrel Nutkin,
Derwent Bay Wood.

   Mr. Brown writes to say that he cannot reply to letters as he is asleep. Mr. Brown cannot return the tail. He ate it some time ago; it nearly choked him. Mr. Brown requests Nutkin not write again, as his repeated letters are a nuisance.

Dr. Maggotty,
The Dispensary.

   Dear Dr. Maggotty,
          Having seen an advertisement (nailed on the smithy door) of your blue beans to cure chilblains, I write to ask whether you think a boxful would make my tail grow? I tried to buy it back from the gentleman who pulled it off, but he has not answered my letters. It spoils my appearance. Are the beans very strong?

                        Yrs. truly,
                            Sq. Nutkin

Sq. Nutkin Esq.,
Derwent Bay Wood.

     I have much pleasure in forwarding a box of blue beans as requested. Kindly acknowledge receipt and send 30 peppercorns as payment.

              Matthew Maggotty, M.D.

Dr. Maggotty Esq., M.D.
The Dispensary

     I am obliged for the box of blue beans. I have not tried them yet. I have been wondering is there any fear they might make me grow a blue tail? It would spoil my appearance.

                        Yrs. truly,
                              Sq. Nutkin

Sq. Nutkin Esq.,
Derwent Bay Wood.

      I do not think that there is the slightest risk of my beans causing you to grow a blue tail. The price per box is 30 peppercorns.

                        Yrs. truly,
                            M. Maggotty, M.D.

Dr. Maggotty/

    I am sending back the box of blue beans, I think they have a very funny smell and so does my brother Twinkleberry.

                         Yrs. truly,
                            Sq. Nutkin

Poor little Squirrel Nutkin! But then again, he was a very naughty boy in the book.

Do you like Miss Potter's stories?
Have you ever read Squirrel Nutkin?

Yrs. Truly,

      Emma Jane

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Movie Quote: The Englishman Who Went up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

Rather short one today, m'dears, from The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, a very quirky and strange but quite adorable and delightful movie.

Grandfather: "All this fuss over what? Is it a hill, is it a mountain? Perhaps it wouldn't matter anywhere else, but this is Wales. The Egyptians built pyramids, the Greeks built temples, but we did none of that, because we had mountains. Yes, the Welsh were created by mountains: where the mountain starts, there starts Wales. If this isn't a mountain- well, if this isn't a mountain, then Anson might just as well redraw the border and put us all in England, God forbid."

Very Truly Yours,

  Emma Jane

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pride and Prejudice (2005): A Review

Mr. Darcy: "Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstances?"

Elizabeth: "And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."

Where do I begin? How do I go about this properly without offending all of the loyal admirers of P&P 95? If it is not common knowledge already, yes, I admit that I do prefer this version, but not entirely without reason. If it is any consolation, (and I realize that it is probably none whatsoever,) I do realize that this movie is not accurate the the novel and may even be called a disgrace to Jane Austen- in fact, I'm sure it has been countless times- and I do respect all of you avid Austen fans for being so loyal to her original work. Perhaps if I had read the entire book (yes, I am admitting that I did not finish it- well, Mark Twain couldn't do it either!), I would feel differently about it as a Jane Austen adaptation; but looking at it simply as a period drama.....I can't help but love it!
 Maybe it is because I have so many fond memories attached to it, maybe it's the music, who knows. But really, I do think it is an extraordinary movie.

Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet

First off, Keira Knightley is not my ideal Elizabeth Bennet; nor anyone else's, I daresay. Yes, she is beautiful, she has uncommonly fine eyes, and she does seem the appropriate age; Jennifer Ehle seemed a little too old, but maybe that was just me. But all in all, I think they could have gotten someone better suited to the character. However, unlike some, I really have no problem with her posture or demeanor, nor to I think she looked at all out of place in her regency garb (unlike some actresses, who look like they're simply dressing up when they act in a period film- yes, Reese Witherspoon, I'm looking at you.) Besides, Keira Knightley is generally known as a period drama actress- she just typically stars in those R-rated, Hollywood (as opposed to BBC), scandalous movies that we law-abiding Jane Austen and Charles Dickens admirers generally stay away from. I'm not trying to stereotype anyone, bu that's typically how it goes. Pride and Prejudice is probably one of her mildest movies. But all else aside, she was tolerable as Lizzy, if nothing more. It's certainly one of the best roles I've seen her in.

I love this dress!

This picture isn't in the movie, but I think it's just so cute. Even though Cary Mulligan looks like she has pinkeye.

The Bennets were adorable. Ridiculous, yes, but still delightful. Kitty and Lydia were perfectly ridiculous, and Mary was somber and reserved without being....um, homely, I guess, is the word I'm looking for. Lydia in particular I thought was well-cast. I didn't even know Jena Malone was an American until I watched the special features, her accent was so convincing. Also, she was just the right age- as much as I like Julia Sawalha (yes, you read that right, I do like her,) she was much too old for Lydia. I mean, she was 27 when the movie was made. Lydia is supposed to be 15. REALLY. And Kitty was very fine as well, although she didn't have much actual speaking in the movie, mostly just giggling and snorting and carrying on and such, making herself look like an idiot. But Kitty is supposed to be an idiot, so as far as I'm concerned, Cary Mulligan's performance was fairly accurate.
 Mr. Bennet in particular I found very amusing. In the '95 adaptation, pardon me for saying this, but I thought he was a little too sarcastic and not sincere enough. Donald Sutherland's Mr. Bennet was still sarcastic, of course, but he had a gentleness about him that was very endearing, especially in his sympathy for Lizzy and Jane. I didn't even know Donald Sutherland was American either until I watched the special features and heard his accent, so I'd say that his ability to convincingly "fake" a British accent was a point in his favour as well- unlike some (*ahem*, Anne Hathaway, Sally Field, *ahem*) who just plain-down can't. Also, I loved his hair, but that's completely unrelated to anything, except that I seem to like men with long hair in period dramas; for example, Horatio Hornblower, Thomas Clarkson, Sir Percy. And Jem Hearne's ponytail in Return to Cranford is absolutely too adorable for words.

Is it just me, or is his head really huge in comparison to hers?
Anyway. Moving on.

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet

Mrs. Bennet was just splendid. (I hardly have anything bad to say about anyone, do I? That will come later.) She was sufficiently ridiculous, of course, but she wasn't constantly squealing and shrieking like in the '95 adaptation. I hate to butcher that version, really I do, but I don't think all that swooning and screaming and whooping could possibly be what Jane Austen had in mind. Really. Also, she was actually sort of charming in a way, and I didn't really dislike her all that much. I've seen much more horrid mothers, and Mrs. Bennet did have her daughter's best wishes at heart, they just didn't understand each other. So in my opinion, this Mrs. Bennet was a success.

Jane was just beautiful. Rosamund Pike is one of the loveliest actresses I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and I think her Jane Bennet was well done indeed. Also, her hair had grown back since Wives and Daughters- a relief to us all, I'm sure. She and Dr. Harrison Mr. Bingley made such an adorable couple, (unlike....um, nevermind!) and I loved the proposal scene in the drawing room! "Yes. A thousand times, yes!"  Just too sweet. And moving on to Mr. Bingley, he was adorable as well. (There are a lot of adorable people in this movie, aren't there?) I liked him immensely, much better than you-know-who. And his hair was just so.....well, elevated, I guess. I loved it when they were dancing and his hair kept bouncing up and down. In my mind he perfectly fit Mr. Bingley- not overly good-looking, but pleasant to look at, sweet and naive, well-meaning, amiable.

Let's have a round of applause for Mr. Bingley's hair.

Hey, look, it's Albert!
Wickham was, to be quite frank, a complete and utter flop. Sorry, but I'm pretty sure most everyone agrees with me on this anyway. I did not feel one bit sorry for him by the end, unlike Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility- but then, I've always had a soft spot for poor Willoughby. Wickham, I have no pity whatsoever for. He deserved what he got, and that's the end of it. When I first watched this, I had seen Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria before, and having absolutely loved him as Prince Albert, I was expecting a better performance than what I saw. I think The Young Victoria may be Rupert Friend's only success in the acting world, because neither before nor since has he had such a good role. And probably never shall, I might add, as The Young Victoria is about as good as you can get. Anyway, let's just say that it was easy to tell this was one of his first major roles. Because he totally missed  the mark. Sorry.

As  Mattie Ross would say, "There is trash for you." Sorry, I couldn't help it.

And another round of applause for Judi's hair!
Judi Dench was.....well, how is Judi Dench usually? ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! This role definitely did not disappoint. Judi Dench is one of the most extraordinary actresses I have ever seen, probably one of the best actresses ever, period, and I have yet to be disappointed with any of her performances. One thing I've noticed about her is that she seems to always play either very sweet and caring characters (like Miss Matty Jenkyns- who is the epitome of sweet- and Mrs. Fairfax) or haughty and nasty aristocrats (such as Lady Bracknell and Lady Catherine.) Needless to say, I liked her Lady Catherine better that Barbara Leigh-Hunt's. (This is turning into a P&P comparison! Which is exactly what I didn't want to happen.......)

Osbourne Hamely Tom Hollander was, in my opinion, excellent as Mr. Collins. True, he wasn't tall, as Miss Austen clearly states in the novel (even I read that bit,) but he suited the part perfectly. He was dour and unutterably dull, but not slimy or garish, and his lack of height made him actually kind of......cute, in a weird sort of way. I'm actually glad he and Charlotte ended up together, because they seemed to suit each other well and live happily together, even if there was no romance involved.

And Charlotte......wow. Charlotte was one of my favourite characters, no doubt about it. Claudie Blakely may very well be on of my favourite actresses, she plays all her characters so well! I've always thought of Charlotte as being sensible and unromantic, which is quite a fair assessment, but she also definitely has some backbone to her, and quite plainly, I think she really knew what she was doing when she accepted Mr. Collin's proposal. I think, in spite of it being not a very romantic choice, it was very prudent on her part because she probably never would have received a better offer. In short, I was very pleased with Charlotte Lucas.

Claudie Blakely as Charlotte Lucas
You're probably wondering, Why hasn't she mentioned Mr. Darcy yet? Well, I'm getting to that. I wanted to save him for last.

Alright. So, on to Mr. Darcy.

I actually don't really like Mr. Darcy all that much, believe it or not. He's just too proud, even though underneath all that I know he is a very honourable character. But I'll admit, he's probably my least favourite of Jane Austen's heroes. (But that, of course, is compared to Edward Ferrars and Mr. Knightley.) Do not misunderstand me- I do not pretend to deny that I think very highly of him, that I greatly esteem him, that I like him. But nothing more than that. (As opposed to Edward Ferrars, whom I simply adore.  :)

Matthew McFadyen, however, made me actually like Mr. Darcy. And I may be murdered for this, but in truth, I thought Colin Firth's portrayal of him was a bit......stiff. Which, as far as I know, (and as far as I've read,) is how Mr. Darcy is in the novel- proud, cold, haughty. Which Colin Firth captured perfectly. So I guess maybe it's my problem after all. But Matthew McFadyen (whom, by the way, I am particularly partial to and thus that may have something to do with how I viewed this performance) made me like the character a deal more than I did in the '95 miniseries, because he seemed less miserable and somber and more believable. I also really enjoyed Darcy and Bingley's friendship in this movie, because you could plainly see how much Mr. Darcy influenced him, and yet they were the best of friends. I especially like the scene when Mr. Bingley is practicing what he's going to say to Jane.

"So I'm going to walk in, and she's going to say "sit down"....."

Even though, yes, I know the above scene is completely unrealistic and I'm sure is not in the novel (I can say that because I've seen the '95 version, and as my sister would say, they stuck to the book like glue,) I, um, liked it. Heehee. Well, I can hardly help it! It's raining, he looks so pitiful and earnest, and then she turns him down in spite of his desperate pleas.....sigh. It's romantic, that's what it is. Even though Keira Knightley's eye makeup is nearly streaming down her face making her look like a Bertha Mason-type character, but maybe I'm the only one who noticed that. But really, if I remenber correctly, and I am inclined to think that I do, in the '95 version, the first proposal was in someone's house (unfortunately I don't remeber who's, due to the fact that I have only seen it once and that was more than a year ago- to which you might reply, WATCH IT AGAIN!!!!) , the sun was shining, and the mood just wasn't right. But again, that was most likely exactly like in the book, and for that I give Andrew Davies a hearty round of applause, because there is honour in sticking to the original work. Indeed there is, and maybe if I had read the book, watched the '95 miniseries, and then watched this movie I would be absolutely horrified, but as it happens, that is not the order in which things came about, and so I have little choice but to love this movie as much as I do. It's not as though I can jolly well help it.
 (To which I must add a resounding, "at least it's not Mirimax!" They do the most unsanctioned things to their movies, let me tell you. Y'all read Ella Enchanted? That's all very fine, but have y'all seen Ella Enchanted? That's a completely different story. Literally. It's just not right, I tell you.)

I really cannot even begin to describe the music on this movie, but all the same, I shall try. I might even go as far as to say it could be the best soundtrack ever, but I don't think I could ever pick a favourite soundtrack! This one is way up there, however. Dario Marianelli is one of the most brilliant composers I have ever encountered. His music is so complicated, yet so simple; at times it doesn't even make sense, and yet it sounds so gorgeous. Definitely one of my utmost favourite composers, and this is perhaps his best soundtrack to date.

As to the costumes, I really am no expert whatsoever on the accuracy of period costumes, so I really have nothing to say about these except that I like them. (That sounds so pathetic!) I think I liked Jane's dresses the most, especially the gown she wears to the Netherfield ball. Her blue coat was very classy as well- unlike Lizzy's, which looks like it came straight out of the rag bag. Her wardrobe, although generally pleasing, usually appears a little.....shabby. I know the Bennet's aren't very well-to-do, but Lizzy could at least try to look a bit more well-groomed- wear her hair up in town, for instance. Jane managed, after all. Lydia and Kitty's dresses reflected their youth and frivolity by being very colourful and frilly, and Mary's were very subdued and almost gothic, but overall, I didn't find anything horrifyingly inaccurate or unpleasing about the costumes.
 As for the gentleman's fashions...I know less about them than I do the ladies', so, yeah. They seemed fine to me, and I loved Mr. Bennet's tricorn hat and cloak. They went very handsomely with his revolutionary pigtail. I also liked how Mr. Bingley's clothes were brighter and more cheerful than Mr. Darcy's, emphasizing how he was younger and more carefree, while Mr. Darcy is miserable and somber. Well, he is. But at least Matthew McFadyen isn't made of wood like Colin Firth.

Ouch. Sorry!

I love this picture! Because, you know, this is one of the only times we get to see him smile....

I can't say how this adaptation follows the novel, seeing as how I've never read it (I know, shame on me,) but for a two-hour movie, I think I'd say that the story was well-trimmed. I enjoyed it very much, even though I know few people do, and despite the many objections many people raise against it, I would recommend it. The movie is also very respectable and has no objectionable content, except for one single nasty word (said by Mr. Bingley, of all people!) and that was it. A very delightful film that I have watched again and again, Pride and Prejudice is one of my top favourites!

Do you like this adaptation?
Do you think it was well-cast?

Very Truly Yours,

      Emma Jane


Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Movie Quote: The Man of my Dreams

Hello everyone!
 I hope you all had a splendid St. Patrick's day! I completely forgot to wear green and wore blue (oops!) but the sun came out and the snow is now almost entirely melted, which is a delight to me. It looks as though spring is here to stay!
 Today I have chosen a quote (scene, really,) from Somewhere in Time. This is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, with excellent actors, gorgeous Victorian costumes, stunning scenery and some of the most beautiful music ever composed. (There's never been anyone quite like John Barry, then or since.) This scene is one of my very favourites in the film.

Elise McKenna: "The man of my dreams has almost faded now."

Maid in play: "And what man is that, Miss?"

Elise: "The one I have created in my mind. The sort of man each woman dreams of, in the deepest and most secret reaches of her heart. I can almost see him now before me. What would I say to him, if he were really here? 'Forgive me. I've never known this feeling. I've lived without it all my life. Is it any wonder, then, I failed to recognize you? you, who brought ti to me for the first time. Is there any way that I can tell you how my life has changed? Any way at all to let you know what sweetness you have given me? There is so much to say, I cannot find the words. Except for these: I love you.' And that is what I'd say to him, if he were really here."

Since the scene is so utterly beautiful, I have embedded a video of it for y'all to watch at your leisure. Sink me, if it is not one of the most romantic moments in cinematic history!


Very Truly Yours,

    Emma Jane

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irish Ballads: Down by the Sally Gardens

Good gracious. Another Irish landscape. What else is new?
   Now, I realize that y'all are probably getting tired of my Irish ballads and Irish poems and Irish paraphernalia, but I just discovered this beautiful song today and knew that I could not let it go untouched, it being almost St. Patrick's day and all. Turns out, it is actually a poem by William Butler Yeats, published in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems in 1889. Apparently Yeats claimed that the poem was "an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself." The old song may have been the ballad "The Rambling Boys of Pleasure." Yeats' original title was "An Old Song Resung". It first appeared under its present title when it was reprinted in Poems in 1895, and the verse was subsequently set to music by Herbert Hughes to the air "The Maids of Mourne Shore" in 1909.
  "Salley" or "sally" is a form of the standard English word sallow, and it is also close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning "willow".
 A recording of this song was used during the credits in the 1998 movie Dancing at Lughnasa, which I have seen, but I don't remember the song, so I'm guessing that I didn't stay for the credits. You know when you watch a movie and you don't especially like it or you think it's dull, and then about a year or so later you realize how good it actually is? That was dancing at Lughnasa. At the time I thought it was rather dull and slow, and by the end I felt like nothing really had happened, but now, in hindsight, I think it was perhaps I who was dull! The movie is very sad, very sad, but also very beautiful. (Well, it is set and filmed in Ireland.....go figure.) At any rate, I think I would highly recommend Dancing at Lughnasa, but keep in mind that it is an extremely sad film--even I cried, and I'm really not one to cry during movies; only a few select films (like Meet me in St. Louis, Bright Star, and The Young Victoria. Sometimes Somewhere in Time.  : )

Three of the Mundy sisters: Christina, Agnes, and Rosie.

Dancing at Lughnasa also has a great many splendid actors, including Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Sophie Thompson, and Catherine McCormack. This is completely unrelated, but there was also an appearance made by Wolfe from Hornlower, which was quite a surprise, if an unpleasant one. He was a ding-dong is this too. When you watch a period drama like this, particularly an older one, you can almost always expect to see at least someone from Hornblower!

So, without any further ado, here are the lyrics to Down by the Sally Gardens.

Down by the sally gardens, my love and I did meet.
She crossed the sally gardens wit little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree,
But I was young and foolish, and with her did not agree.

In a field down by the river, my love and I did stand.
And on my leaning shoulder, she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs,
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

Down by the sally gardens, my love and I did meet.
She crossed the sally gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree,
But I was young and foolish, and with her did not agree.

Here is a music video of the recording used in the movie, along with one of the very best scenes. I think that the Mundy sisters may have sung the song during the movie, but I can't recall for certain. I'll have to watch it again. And maybe even review it! Wouldn't that be something!

   Very Truly Yours,

                 Emma Jane

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Irish Poems

In view of the fact that St. Patrick's Day is nigh upon us, I thought that perhaps it would be in order to post these two lovely Irish poems I found in my great big poem book (which has proved very useful in finding poems for every occasion.) Also, this is a good excuse to post these gorgeous pictures of the Irish countryside! I declare, the British Isles may have the most  beautiful scenery on earth!
 The first poem is called.......

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
   By W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake waters lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

I'm not entirely certain what all of it means, but I think it is very beautiful. To me it sounds like perhaps it is about someone who is tired of the hustle and bustle of his life and is longing to return to a place where he may have some peace-- the lake isle of Innisfree. Maybe?  I don't know. What do you think?

It's such a romantic setting, do not you think?  
The second Irish poem I found, which is now one of my favourite poems, is called......

A Piper
  By Seumas O'Sullivan

A piper in the streets today
Set up, and tuned, and started to play,
and away, away, away on the tide
Of his music we started; on every side
Doors and windows were opened wide,
And men left down their work and came,
And women with petticoats coloured like flame,
And little bare feet that were blue with cold,
Went dancing back to the age of gold,
And all the world went gay, went gay,
For half an hour in the street today.

This one I can comprehend much better; I think it sounds a bit like a Mark Knopfler song, actually! Anyways, those are my two favourite Irish poems of late! I hope you enjoyed them!

  Very Truly Yours,

                   Emma Jane

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Most Frequently Quoted Movie Lines in my Family

Hello everyone!
 As you probably have gathered by now, I love to quote people, particularly fictional characters. Also, I have a keen fondness for lists, which will be made more and more apparent on this lovely blog (hehe!) So with that being said, I have compiled a list of the most frequently quoted lines in my household. (I must also say that the idea for this utterly random post was not my own; I got the inspiration from a long-ago post by Alexandra on her lovely blog Of Trims and Frills and Furbelows. I believe it was a tag, and one of the questions was which movie lines do you quote the most? I thought it was very amusing to see the ones that were listed, so I resolved to make my own list, and I hope that this will not be seen as copying (gasp!), because that is not my intention.) Alright. Shall we begin?

Most Frequently Quoted Movie Lines in my Household
   (In no particular order:)

"Thank you, my dear, for pointing that out."  -Mr. Palmer in Sense and Sensibility

"I'm not saying she was very silly, but one of us was very silly, and it wasn't me."  -Squire Hamley in Wives and Daughters (I'm pretty sure just about everyone would have this one on their list!)

"Shake me up, Judy!"  -Mr. Smallweed in Bleak House (usually said by me when I come home from ballet class.)

"A stinkin' ant stung me!"  -Donald Brown in National Velvet (usually paraphrased and used in reference to Oliver-- for instance, "There's a stinkin' cat in my bed!" or "A stinkin' cat bit me!")

"Look at the thing-- sticking up like a pincushion!" --Sir Percival Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel (most often used in reference to my hair.)

"Whatever put such an idea into my head? Uh, your head." --Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!

"Toilets are dumb."  --(don't ask) Maggie in Northern Exposure

 "I shot Jesse James."  --Charlie Ford in The Long Riders

" Shocking!" --Edmund Sparkler in Little Dorrit

"I'm hungry, boy!"  --Abel Magwitch (or, as he is often called in my house, Provis,) in Great Expectations. This one is also often used by me upon my return from ballet. :)

"Do I look like a bar maid?" -- Betty in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

"Sink me, if you didn't go and do it!" --Sir Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel

"Mighty nice speech, Dr. Mike." --Kid Cole in Dr. Quinn

"That's not the spirit in which this country was made great!"  --Mr. Smallweed in Bleak House (he's a favourite :)

"I often wondered about that."  --Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly!

"Unheard of! Absurd!"  --Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof

"I ask you!" -- Sir Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel

"We're not odd, really, just over expressive."  --Helen Shlegel (I honestly haven't a clue how to spell that name-- I just sounded it out,) in Howard's End

Well, that about does it! There are, of course, lots more that I'm sure I am forgetting right now, but perhaps it is just as well, since I'm sure the list could go on and on without an end in sight. Anyways, I hope you've enjoyed this ridiculously senseless post!

What are some of your favourite lines?

   Very Truly Yours,

                  Emma Jane

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Movie Quote: The Duchess and the Devil

For today's quote I chose one from one my favourite movie series ever, Horatio Hornblower. This quote is from The Duchess and the Devil, the third movie in the series and, in my opinion, the best. This is one of my favourite scenes because of the tension and intensity (and music), and I also thought this was one of Style's most amusing lines. (Which is saying a lot, because most all of his lines are at least a teeny bit funny.)

Hornblower: "How many guns does the 'Oriental' have, Mr. Hunter?"

Midshipman Hunter: "Forty-eight, sir."

Hornblower: "Well, we'll certainly give them a run for their money, won't we, Mr. Styles?"

Styles: "Certainly will, sir. Take them at least a minute to sink us."

 Dear, hilarious Styles! How my sister and I love to laugh at you! Styles is beyond a doubt the funniest character in all of the Hornblower movies. He has quite a few funny lines throughout, and gets into several amusing situations. He also has an unexplained fondness for rats, I've found, which is most curious. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this little snippet!

Note: I couldn't exactly remember the exact wording of this quote, so I looked it up on IMDB (which is remarkably helpful in these instances, I've found), and this is what I found. However, if you've seen Hornblower  more than once and are like me in that you notice little flaws in wording when you've memorized the line (which I obviously haven't, as made apparent by my previous confession that I had to look it up), you will have noticed that this is not the exact line in the movie. I don't know why IMDB didn't get it exactly right, but come to think of it, perhaps it's just as well, because if I remember correctly, and I am inclined to think that I do, the original quote has a not-so-nice word in it. So maybe it was Providence that they didn't get it right, as Rachel Lynde would say! Anyways, I'm rambling now, and that was not my intention, so I will wrap this up. I remain,

         Very Truly Yours,

                   Emma Jane

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Top Ten Favourite Period Drama Wardrobes

One of my favourite things about period dramas, and one of the many many reasons why I like them so much, are... you guessed it, the costumes! Costumes are one of the many things that really make a good movie, and they add so much to the films' accuracy and beauty. There are so many beautiful wardrobes in period dramas that it is often very difficult to pick favourites, but I have managed to compile a list of the top ten wardrobes I would most love to own, although there are certainly a great many more out there that I am also very partial to! Without further ado, here are my top ten favourites:

#10 Allie Hamilton of The Notebook

I have to laugh that I'm actually saying this, because this movie is one of those that I absolutely abhor (that is such a delicious word!) for numerous reasons, but Allie's dresses are so classic and pretty that I just had to put them on this list. These are the sort of dresses I would love to wear every day, because they're not overly fancy or ridiculous-- they're actually quite practical and sensible. The dark purple one above is one of my favourites, even though I'm not crazy about the matching headpiece, and Allie also wears a green dress(pictured below) that I absolutely love as well. I think these outfits would really suit me!

#9 Queen Victoria of The Young Victoria

 The costumes for this movie are some of the loveliest and most stunning I have ever seen! (It really is no wonder it received an Academy award for costume design!) Victoria's dresses especially are completely gorgeous, and suit her character so perfectly. Even though most of her dresses are rather impractical and are definitely not something even I would wear every day, they are nevertheless stunningly exquisite and I am sure no list of mine would be complete without them.

(Even though I'm not usually much for yellow, I can't help but love this dress! The hairstyle, however, I can live without.....)

# 8 Barbara Spooner of Amazing Grace

Barbara Spooner is one of my favourite historical heroines. I love how Romola Garai portrayed her in this film and her dresses also did not disappoint! She doesn't actually wear many dresses , mostly just two- the green one pictured at left and a blue one just like it-- but they're so simply lovely and classic. If I had to pick one word to describe Barbara's style, I would say classy. I also think her feathered hat is very impressive as well! I wasn't too keen on her wedding gown, because it seemed a bit too.....simple, but I really am no expert whatsoever on fashion, so maybe it was common to have simpler wedding dresses in those days. I also love her accessories, such as the shawl she's wearing in the picture and her reticule.

(See what I mean about the hat? It's rather reminiscent of Hello Dolly!)

#7 Lady Dedlock of Bleak House

One word that would easily describe Lady Dedlock is cold. Her life is dreary, her house is dreary, and she is bored to death with it all. So as one would expect, her wardrobe is not exactly bright and colourful, but all the same, her dresses are simply gorgeous. I love the dark colours and the simple style of most of her gowns, and her wardrobe suits her miserable disposition perfectly. Usually I don't like the fashions of this era quite as much as others, but Lady Dedlock's dresses are some of my favourites for their dark, mysterious, mournful appearance.

#6 Dr. Michaela Quinn of Dr. Quinn

This is very possibly my favourite television show ever, and Dr. Mike's dresses are among some of the most classic and practically pretty I have ever seen! Usually she wears skirts and shirtwaists like the outfit in the picture at right, but she wears dresses very often as well. In some episodes, while in Boston, she wears very different styles, which are simply stunning and fabulously impractical, like the one below.

(Sully bought it for her:)

#5 Angel Deverell of Angel

First I must say that I do not endorse this movie. At all. In fact, I rather detest it and would not recommend it at all. Even if it does have Romola Garai and Michael Fassbender in it. But Angel's dresses.......ohhhhh. They're just so beautiful! Highly impractical and ridiculous and often immodest, but still beautiful. This red one, I think, is my favourite of all of them, but the green one comes in close second. Of course, I'd raise the neckline a few feet if I were to actually wear it, but still!

Thankfully this picture doesn't have such an explicit view of how low the neckline actually is! I like to say that I love these dresses against all reason and practicality, but truly, I think they're stunning.

Here's a better view of the red one. Gorgeous, isn't it?

#4 Gwendolen Harleth of Daniel Deronda

Another spoiled heroine played by Romola Garai! Gwendolen's dresses actually remind me very much of Angel's, although they're a bit more bright and cheerful and tasteful, I might add. My favourites were the blue one at the top of the picture and the green one she wore to the ball. (Unfortunately I can't exactly remember which ball, but it was a ball. ) Her dresses reflected, in a way, her spoiled and self- absorbed personality. Oh, here I go again! I don't exactly dislike Gwendolen-- I truly think she improved by the end of the story, but she had to learn all her lessons the hard way because of her pride. So, with that being said, I will again say that her wardrobe is one of the most exquisite I have ever seen! I also love how she always wears little hats that match her every outfit.

Poor Gwendolen!

#3 Jane Austen of Becoming Jane

Ah, the very controversial and inaccurate and prettied-up and disgraceful and lovely Becoming Jane! I won't go into all of my various and strong opinions on this movie right now, because right now I am simply going to talk about the costumes, and with that being said, I know that not all of the costumes in this drama are completely accurate to the time, but if you just forget that tiny little fact for a moment, Jane's dresses are just beautiful. I like how she mostly wears darker and subtle colours, but occasionally she does wear something lighter and cheerful. I don't know if I could pick a favourite of her dresses! This blue one is definitely one of my many favourites. I also have come to love her bonnet. I'm not really sure why. I suppose it's because it looks rather old and that makes it quite charming and pretty. I also love her red coat and her many shawls. Her ball gown at Lady Greshan's ball isn't my favourite, but is still very elegant and very classy. One word I think I would use to describe Jane's wardrobe would be practical, because that pretty much sums up her general style, but her dresses are also very pretty and (I think) fashionable.

Isn't her dark blue gown just so simply lovely? Cassandra's, however, I don't care for as much, but she has some other very pretty dresses.

#2 Molly Gibson of Wives and Daughters

Molly Gibson's dresses are some of the most sensible and still pretty on this list. They're the sort of dresses I would like to wear every day, because they are practical and not very fancy but lovely just the same. I didn't like Molly's ball gowns quite as much as her every-day dresses, but they were still lovely as well. She seemed to like wearing blue and orange and green (not at the same time, of course.) My favourite was probably the dark orange one she wore the day Cynthia arrived, but I couldn't find a very good picture of it. This blue one was one of my favourites as well, along with the green and white one she wore at Hamley Court.

She looks a lot better in this dress than Fanny Dorrit did! Just saying......

And last of all, my favourite period drama wardrobe of all......

#1 Emma Woodhouse of Emma (2009)

Emma's dresses are the some of the sweetest, most charming I have ever see. There really isn't a single one of hers that I don't like! It also would be rather impossible to pick a favourite, as they're all so adorable, but her blue "jumper" (for lack of a better word) , her pink dress with the green sash and the green gown she wears to the Weston's Christmas party are among some of my favourites. Her wardrobe perfectly suits her playful, charming, adorable nature!

I love this expression!
I think she likes pink. Can you tell?

 They're completely charming! Thus ends my list. I hope you've enjoyed it!

                     Very Truly Yours,

                      Emma Jane
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