Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Great Rupert, now sold under the name of A Christmas Wish, was produced by George Pal Productions in 1950, and appears to be often listed as a class B film, sometimes not even showing in some of the actors’ bios. However, it is quite a delightful little movie, especially if you are a Jimmy Durante fan.
We came across it quite by accident when our oldest daughter was here for Thanksgiving and she grabbed some one dollar DVD’s on a rack as she checked out at a local grocery store. Looking for something different to watch Sunday while home with an ill child I stuck the DVD in the player, never thinking it would be worth reviewing, after all it was only a one dollar rack special.
Durante quite steals the show while Rupert, the creation of George Pal and one of Hollywood’s earliest attempts at animation comes in at a close second. It is Rupert’s tricks that turns the Amendola family's fortune around. When we are introduced to this out of work, vaudeville family act we learn that they are both homeless and penniless. When Mrs. Amendola (Queenie Smith) asks Mr Amendola (Durante) if he has checked their other account in Chicago, Durante pulls a letter out of a coat pocket and reads to his wife, and daughter Rosalinda;
“Dear Mr. Amendole:
This is the last monthly statement we will mail you as we believe it is hardly worth the three cents to tell you that you have two cents.”
They then run into another luckless vaudeville act, Joe Mahoney the once famous lion tamer, who now is trying to convince others that his dancing squirrel (Rupert) is box office material. Amendola, after blowing a lot of smoke and mirrors about how they have been booked in Europe where a good human pyramid act is still appreciated, he learns that Mahoney has just been evicted this last half hour and better yet, managed to live at this location for six months without paying the rent. All pretext is dropped as Mr. Amendola grills Joe for the details, and they leave poor Mahoney in the park while Amendola quickly drags his girls to the address provided by the former lion tamer before some other misfortunate should stumble upon the vacancy.
The land lord’s son, Peter Dingle (Tom Drake) is in the apartment practicing on his tuba and when he sees the beautiful Rosalinda, ( Terry More) he is smitten and easily bamboozled out of the first months rent, putting him squarely in his father’s (Frank Orth) miserly bad books. Before long we are drawn in a tale that has both an innocent romance between Peter Dingle and Rosalinda which is marred only by the foil provided by theatrical agent Phil Davis (Chick Chandler) and a touch of the story of Scrooge while we get to watch Mr. Dingle’s miserly ways slowly become his ruin and Mr. Amendala’s generous soul become his salvation . All of this is aided by the antics of Rupert who moved right back into the apartment the same day his trainer had set him free in the nearby park.
All in all, the whole family enjoyed this film, even while in black and white. The music when Durante sometimes played piano and sang in his typical style that he was so famous for caught the baby’s attention and the other children were quite amused by the simple actions of the animated squirrel. While we are tempted to laugh at this 1950’s attempt at animation, it is interesting to know that “This technique is where it all started and the same basic process is the building block of all computer CGI today from JURASSIC PARK to TOY STORY.” (To read more click here. ) As well, I was fascinated to learn through my research about this film, that Rupert's producer, George Pal, had his office directly across from Gene Roddenberry who received a lot of advice from Pal on the making of his Star Trek series.
This DVD can be rented from Netflix and is also available for sale online from various websites. If you decide that you wish to own your own copy it can be found for as little as 9.95 but be sure to search about if you come across some the ones I found at 24.99. Although I liked the movie very much, I would be hesitant to spend more than ten dollars on it myself, but then I am not an avid Jimmy Durante fan!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
When 101 Inspirational "Stories of the Sacrament of Reconciliation" came in the mail, I was interested in it. My mum had written an article in it about teaching children the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However as I skimmed, through the pages in search of my mum's article, the titles of these true stories of Reconciliation caught my attention, 'Why Are You Here?', 'A Heavy Burden', and 'I was Forgiven'. I wondered what they were about. Finally, I found my mum's piece. After reading it, I decided to read one of the stories. Once I had read one, I had to read another.
The different stories and experiences, all ending with the same joyful feeling of miraculously complete forgiveness, have me always looking forward to the next one I read.
I find that the best time to read these stories is when I am cuddled up in bed. I look carefully at my conscience, thinking of all I have done well that day, and what I have not done well that day. Then I read a true story of God's merciful forgiveness. I know that no matter what I did wrong, He is waiting to forgive me!
This book has helped me in a real way because each story I have read seems even happier and more wonderful than the last. Reading about other peoples' fears and troubles with this sacrament, and how they were corrected, has helped me to see that my fears are nothing to worry about -- they even seem silly. At last I found myself wishing, with all my heart, that I could go soon to Reconciliation, instead of dreading the next time I had to. I have always loved this sacrament very much, but normally I hate actually confessing my sins, even though I know I will feel sooo wonderful and clean afterwards!
This is not a book I would have normally thought of reading. I usually like nice long ongoing stories whether true, or fictional. I am so glad that I did start reading it though and I think it would make a great addition to any family’s library and any parish library as well.
This book can be bought online HERE and you can learn more about the editor of this book HERE. If you do read it, be sure to come back and let the rest of know what you thought of it.
owner of the blog:
Beans are Gross and Other Interesting Thoughts.
“Who do you think you are? Coming here five minutes late.”
To which she responded with an airy, childish voice: ” I am Eloise. I am six.” From this statement a classic was born and continued to grow and develop until finally in 1955 Kay Thompson and the artist Hilary Knight locked themselves in a suite at the Plaza and stayed there until they emerged book in hand; Kay Thompson's Eloise: A book for precocious grownups.
Miss Eloise, (Sofia Vassilieva ) a most precocious six year old, is a permanent fixture of the Plaza Hotel of Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York, much to the bane of Mr Salamore, (Jeff Tambore) the manager of the Plaza. Nanny (Julie Andrews) is the sole caregiver of Miss Eloise, but the whole staff are often pulled into her antics and thus are also engaged in the care of this incredible child who has ‘everything’ listed at the top of her to do list.
In Eloise at the Plaza , directed by Kevin Lima, we are introduced to this highly articulate child who at first glimpse appears to be parentless. While her father is never referred to in the movie, Eloise does have a mother who is never really home but calls daily or Eloise would miss her too terribly to bear. One would normally be tempted to feel sorry for a child living such a lonely lifestyle, wandering alone about the hotel, charging her lunch to her account and seemingly answering to no one, and only her Nanny to say ‘I love you’ to at bedtime; but her enthusiasm for life and ability to turn the whole world around upside down and seemingly into complete chaos, quickly chases away any sorrow you might otherwise feel for her. She is too busy having an incredibly, deliciously, busy life to feel sorry for.
Almost immediately in the movie we discover that the Plaza is awaiting the arrival of a Prince, and Mr. Salamore is in mortal dread of Eloise learning of said arrival. Adding to his discomposure is the reality that on this same date the Plaza is hosting the annual Debutante Ball, the very same that Eloise’s mother attended so many years ago. We learn from Nanny and Eloise that Eloise’s mother “has grace” and wore a Dior dress with rose buds in her hair. It is Eloise’s plan to attend the ball this year so as to begin to prepare for her year as a Debutante, but is the staff’s job to make sure that Eloise neither learns of the secret arrival nor attend the Ball. Too much is riding on it for her to be allowed to carry out her usual antics. Yet Eloise is way ahead of them all and we, the audience, are captivated as we watch it all unravel. Somehow Eloise pulls us along with her complete confidence that all will turn out well and for the better, no matter how badly it all seems to turning out.
Tambore is perfect in his role as the harried and zealous general manager of the Plaza and hints of Mary Poppins peek out at us while we watch Julie Andrews play the part of Eloise’s Nanny. Other main characters in the movie are Philip, Eloise’s dreaded French tutor and Linda the debutante whom Eloise focus’s her Cupid’s arrow on. Linda’s mother's self imposed importance is painful to watch as she directs, bullies and harangues her daughter throughout the movie. And we can not forget Sir Wilkes (Canadian Kenneth Welsh) whose heart strings are being pulled unknowingly by Nanny, much to Eloise's delight.
Not having read the original books I can not account as to how accurately the movie portrays the written Eloise, but in this movie the actress looks remarkably like Knight’s renderings of her and her character as portrayed by Vasalievia is a real charmer.
It is great fun to see how she and Nanny take so much delight in each other company and the ending leaves you hungry for more of Eloise.
The movie ends with a hint as to the fun to come in the next movie Eloise at Christmas Time when Christine Baranski is introduced as Prunella Stickler, the newly hired event co-ordinator, in the last scenes of Eloise at the Plaza. Look for a review to be posted soon for Eloise at Christmas Time.
Although there is not a lot of depth to the movie, it will make an adorable addition to any home’s collection of DVDs and would make wonderful holiday viewing. So reserve or pick up a DVD of Eloise at the Plaza from your favourite movie rental proprietor, pick up your favorite snacks and sit down with your family and sit back to laugh, maybe tear up a little and generally have a good time.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Based on a true story, A Whisper In My Heart, is the touching account of an 'orphan’s’ transition from feeling abandoned to knowing she is loved by the family that forgot her behind the Communist curtain in Europe in 1956 . We meet with Klari, for the first time, as well as her mother and extended family when at nearly 10 years of age Klari is reunited with her parents in
This exciting and emotion filled narrative keeps you engaged through to the very end. It holds appeal for children as young as eight and kept my attention as well. My daughters, aged 12 and 14 also enjoyed it thoroughly and could not put it down until finished. Something that occasionally caused a problem at chore time.
Catholic writer, Kathy Clark, author of A Whisper in My Heart is the only daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Both her mother and aunt were two of hundreds of Jewish children who escaped certain death by being hidden in monasteries all across
Later in life Kathy’s mother and step-father, along with other family members, escaped communist
Born Jewish, Kathy Clark later converted to the Catholic faith and, with her husband Bruce Clark, has raised six children. It was her daughter’s questions about Kathy’s childhood and the memories that these evoked that led to her writing A Whisper In My Heart.
This book not only entertains, but also educates and can be used as the spring board for many ideas and questions well worth discussing. After sharing in Klari’s struggles in a new country we can discuss with our children (or students) how we can make new emigrants feel welcome in our country. This book also provides an opener to discussing the blessings and benefits of living here, in the free world, when we are faced with the question as to why a family would take the risks that Klari’s family took so as to come to
Or you can click HERE to order this book.
I have ordered from this company and received good service as well as quick delivery of my purchases.