Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday for 10/1/12

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at Mailbox Monday 

I received a trade paperback of Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal as part of an upcoming TLC Book Tour.

The lovely Becke of The Mysterious Garden Muse and the moderator of the Mystery Board on the Barnes & Noble book club site, sent along a trade paperback of The Rich and the Dead edited by Nelson DeMille and a paperback of Death Times Three by Rex Stout.

On a trip to the Dollar Tree I bought a hardcover of Eight White Nights by Andre Aciman and a hardcover of Turn Coat by Jim Butcher.

Friday, September 28, 2012

20 Questions Every Movie Lover Should Be Able To Answer, Part 2

As promised the second half of the movie meme that I posted yesterday.  This was a lot of fun to do, even if it made me rack my brains a bit.  Stop by Yvette's blog, in so many words..., to read her answers and for links to the originating post.

11.  What gets your vote for the most worthless or pointless remake?

Don't even get me started on this.  This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves in the world.  I'm not sure I could even narrow the list down to 10, let alone 1.  I will try my best to keep this brief.

My vote for worst remake has to go to The Women (2008).  This was a movie I dreamed of being remade for years, but this wasn't what I dreamed of.  This was more of a hellish nightmare.  Of the casting, I'm not sure any of them fit the roles, though I do think Debra Messing was a good substitute for Rosalind Russell.  The plot was horrific, and the updating the movie to modern times just didn't work as well for me.  I would rather see a period remake with actresses who would have fit the roles better.  My other option, which I'm not even sure has been made yet, is the rumored remake of The Thin Man with Johnny Depp.  I'm  trying not to throw up in my mouth just from thinking about it.

As a collective group, any movie based of a TV Show should go straight into the trash.  I don't think there has been a good one made to date, at least not one that improved on the show.  Dark Shadows (2012), Bewitched (2005), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Starsky & Hutch (2004), and 21 Jump Street (2012) are all great examples of this.

12.  Is there any film you think is actually desperate for a remake?

My first reaction is to say no, just because I can't think of any remake that improved upon or added something the first one didn't cover.  After some thought though, I would like to see some different adaptations of movies, rather than straight remakes.

One of my favorite books is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and so far none of the English language adaptations feature all the Christie characters or the ending she put into the book.  My favorite adaptation so far is And Then There Were None (1945), directed by Rene Clair.  George Pollock directed Ten Little Indians in 1965, setting the move at a mountain top estate.  Peter Collinson directed And Then There Were None in 1974, setting it in a hotel in the Iranian desert.  Then Alan Birkinshaw directed Ten Little Indians in 1989, setting it on a African safari.  There is a Soviet era movie that uses the book ending and a Bollywood version, though I'm not convinced I want to see that.  There have also been a few TV adaptations as well.

I don't think THE movie has been made of this book yet.  I would love to see a movie, using Christie's characters, set on an island, and using the ending she gave us.  I'm not sure it's ever going to happen but I can keep my fingers crossed.

Really quickly, I can say the same thing about Richard Matheson's I Am Legend.  The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007) all fail to live up to the promise of the book. This is another book that is waiting for THE movie adaptation.

14.  Name you three favorite film heroes.

Errol Flynn as Robin Hood in, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

William Powell as Nick Charles in, The Thin Man (1934)  As well as 4 other movies.

Lance Guest as Alex Logan in, The Last Starfighter (1984)

15.  Name you three favorite film villains.

This could be a really long list, but I'll stick to the first three that come to mind.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula in, Dracula (1931)

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in, American Psycho (2000)

Christian Slater as Robert Boyd in, Very Bad Things (1998)

15.  Best Sequel

Since I'm not going with movies I've already talked about, I will skip over After The Thin Man (1936)  and go with another terrific sequel.

The Dark Knight (2008)

16.  Worst sequel

Oh, this list could be the longest of all, but I'll keep it to one.

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

17.  Best Trilogy

The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), and The Godfather: Part III (1990)

18.  Worst Trilogy 

My pick for this is going to include one of my favorite movies.  I really loved the first movie, but the next two I didn't get the point of.  It was just more of the first and it almost ruined the entire experience for me.

Cube (1997), Cube 2: Hypercube (2003), and Cube Zero (2004)

19.  What is your favorite word to use in a film review?   Atmospheric

20.  Anything else......

I'm just going to post 5 more random favorites, then I'm done.  I have to cut it off somewhere, otherwise I could go on and on.  I feel bad for not mentioning so many great movies over these last two days, but all good things must come to an end.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945) is my favorite Christmas movie.

Magnolia (1999) is the best movie Tom Cruise has ever been in.

Lifeboat (1944) is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie.

The Last Supper (1995) is my favorite dark comedy.

I was going to say Europa Europa (1990) was my favorite foreign language movie, but then I started to think of another 5 or 6 that I love about as much, so I'll settle for calling it my favorite German language movie.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

20 Questions Every Movie Lover Should Be Able To Answer, Part 1

After reading, curling up on the couch and watching a movie has to be one of my favorite ways to relax.  I've been a movie buff for about as long as I can remember.  I think it's been a few years since I've answered a movie related meme, so when I saw this done by Yvette of in so many words..., I figured it was about time to jump on the bandwagon once again.

I wasn't going to separate this into two posts, but I think Yvette had it right.  After I answered the first ten questions and so how long this was going to be, I decided that two posts made a lot more sense.  So the second segment of this will post tomorrow.

1.  What is your favorite movie?

Where the ____ would I even start with on this one.  That's like asking what my favorite book is.  In either case, I love so many it would be really hard to make a decision like that.  Depending on any given day my answer would range from The Women (1939) to The Towering Inferno (1974).  I could even throw out such movies as The Thin Man (1934), The Haunting (1963), The Uninvited (1944), or even Willow (1988).  Since I can't not answer this question with a definite favorite, I think I'm going to have to go with Auntie Mame (1958).  Rosalind Russell is never better than she is in this movie, and I'm a huge fan of many of her films.  I don't think I could ever say too many good things about her performance or any other aspect of the movie.  It's sheer perfection.  It's that movie that cheers me up, regardless of anything else going on in my life.

2.  What is your least favorite movie?

I was hoping these questions would get easier to answer as the quiz moved along.  This is another category that could be answered with so many movies.  I could say The Watcher (2000) with Keanu Reeves since I'm still trying to figure out what the frickin point of it was.  John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001) would be right up there as well.  If a horror movie needs to be set in space, it's probably best to wait until it's on video.  Since remakes and sequels are coming up later, I won't even get into those movies.  I would also normally include any movie that stars Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jim Carey, or Ben Stiller onto the worst movies of all time list.  I think for this go around though, I'm going to have to make a choice that many of you will denounce me for, but it needs to be said.  I will grant you that Tom Hanks is a great actor and anyone else in this role would have been worse, but Castaway (2000) has to be one of the worst movies ever made.  I can't even begin to tell you how often I wanted to get up and leave the theater, something I have only done with a few movies.  It was incredibly boring and if I had to listen to another one sided conversation with a volleyball, I was going to lose it.

3.  Name one movie you initially loved upon first viewing but then grew to hate?

I can't say that I really hate many movies that I once loved, even if I just don't love them as much the second time around.  Off the top of my head, the first movie that comes to mind is Gremlins (1984).  I loved this movie as a kid, couldn't get enough of it actually.  Now it just doesn't hold my interest as much and I find myself getting bored with it pretty quickly.  I'm still going to watch it this year, hopefully my blahness about it will have dissipated a bit.

4.  Name your biggest guilty pleasure film.

I'm going to have to cheat a bit here, as I have two of them.  I tried and tried to narrow it down to just one of them, but I can't.  They are two movies that are so cheesy, so wonderful to behold that I love them equally, though for different reasons.  Xanadu (1980) speaks for itself.  How can you not love a musical on roller skates?  Throw in Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton John, and I'm in blissful heaven.  The soundtrack, even if ELO denounces their work now, is one of the best I've ever heard.  My second pick is, The Monster Squad  (1987).  Put the major Universal movie monsters (though deny that's who they are) into one comedic horror movie written by the same man who brought us House (1986) and let the good times roll.

5.  Your favorite quote from a favorite actor/actress (line from a movie).

I was going to go with my favorite quote from Auntie Mame (1958) when she says "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"  But since I used that movie to answer the first question, I though I would go with a movie line from another of my favorite actresses.  In The Bat (1959), Agnes Moorehead plays Cornelia Van Gorder, a mystery novelist who has rented a rather spooky estate in the country.  During a conversation in the bank, Miss Van Gorder has something to say to her maid, Lizzie Allen, "When you refer to my books, please don't call me Miss Corny."

6.  Favorite quote from an actor/actress that is not a movie line.

I love what Barbara Stanwyck had to say about the movie roles she normally landed....  "My only problem is finding a way to play my fortieth fallen female in a different way from my thirty-ninth."

7.  Three favorite movie scenes.

I don't know how to even answer this one.  There are so many great scenes that I love.  I'm going to try to not use movie I've already mentioned, which may make it easier, but we'll see.  I know I'm going to leave a lot out, but here goes nothing.

In After the Thin Man (1936) Nick and Nora Charles, played by the brilliant William Powell and Myrna Loy, have just returned to San Francisco, right on time for New Year's Eve.  Wanting to spend their first few days at home, resting.  They are instead greeted by a massive welcome home party, where nobody there recognizes them.  The good natured way the two take things in stride and go with the flow is subtle humor at it's best.

Guillermo del Toro's breathtaking film, Pan's Labyrinth (2006), is filled with the type of scenes that any movie lover should go gaga for.  The entire movie is filled with some of the most magnificent scenes I've ever experienced.  The movie takes place in the Fascist Spain of the 1940s, and tells the tale of a young girl, Ofelia, who's new stepfather is a violent army officer.  She escapes the harshness of her new life by escaping into a world of fantasy, that in part mirrors the horrors of what's going on above.  Her journey into this other world is breathtaking and visually stimulating, but it's the end sequence that takes my breath away every time I see it.  My heart breaks for Ofelia at the point and that feeling doesn't leave me for quite some time.

I simply adore Irving Berlin's White Christmas (1954).  It's one of those Christmas movies that I'll watch in the middle of summer, just because I can.  While the movie is filled with some great scenes, my favorite has always been the Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen number when they dance to "The Best Things (Happen While Your Dancing)".  The scene works so well because of the terrific costume choices by Edith Head, the lines work so well because of those monochromatic clothes that makes Danny Kaye's legs look so long and straight.  The wonderful choreography by Robert Alton, unless it was one of the uncredited numbers by Bob Fosse, tied the music and the action together in such a graceful manner.  But it wouldn't have worked without the performances given by Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, they were brilliant in the number and I never tire of watching it.

8.  Name four films that should have not won the Oscar for best Picture.

I don't even know where to start with this one.  I think I could name way more than four, and that's not even counting 1995, where most of the movies nominated didn't deserve it.  I'm not going to go back to the 1930s where I disagree with most of the winners.  I'm already screaming at myself for not including more, but the rules say four, so here are my choices.

1944 - Going My Way won against two other superior movies.  Gaslight should have won, but if not, Double Indemnity should have been the second choice.  The other two movies nominated that year were Wilson and Since You Went Away.

1994 - Forrest Gump beat out The Shawshank Redemption which is one of the best movies made in the 1990s.  The other movies that year were; Pulp Fiction, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Quiz Show.

1997 - Titanic, another best picture winner that I couldn't stand.  Like Forrest Gump I thought it was overacted and just a tad bit cloying in it's sentimentality.  L.A. Confidential was a better movie, with a superior cast.  As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, and Good Will Hunting were the other nominees.

2008 - Slumdog Millionaire won that year.  I don't want anyone to think I dont' like the movie, cause I do, but it wasn't the best of the year.  I would have preferred Milk to win, but even Frost/Nixon would have deserved it more.  The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons were the other two nominees.

9.  Top five movies of the year.

I'm going to have to go the way of Yvette on this one.  I don't go to the movies very often anymore.  I tend to wait until they are on either On Demand or Epix.  Sometimes I'll buy a newer DVD before I've seen the movie but that's not very often.  So I'm going to have to go with five movies that I saw for the first time this year, even if that's not when they came out.

The Ides of March (2011)

Drive (2011)

Exam (2009)

Footsteps in the Dark (1941)

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)

10.  Bottom three of the year, so far.

Union Pacific (1939)  I think I'm just not meant for "western" movies, even if Barbara Stanwyck is in them.  I guess I'll stick to The Big Valley if I want to see Barbara in western clothes.

Casablanca (1942)  I just don't get it.  Sorry to all the fans out there, but there was nothing about this movie that I could fall in love with.

Atlas Shrugged, Part II (2012)  It hasn't been released yet, but I'm not going to bother with it.  I loved the first movie last year, but I have no faith when they have changed the entire cast.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Favorite Fictional Character --- Anya Jenkins

Only one more week before we start talking about some of my favorite characters that remind me of Halloween.  After Christmas, Halloween is the time of year that I love the most.  I love horror movies and almost everything associated with the holiday, so I'm looking forward to the characters that I'll be presenting to you during October.  For today's post, I'm revisiting my favorite TV show of all time.  I haven't posted a character from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, or Angel for that matter, in over a year.  I actually a bit amazed by my blatant disrespect for some of the greatest characters to ever grace the silver screen.  I could even do an entire year of characters, just from those two shows.  But today, I want to quickly talk about my favorite demon, Anya Jenkins.

The woman we would all come to call Anya, was born Aud in a 9th century Scandinavian village.  She wasn't well liked by her fellow villagers and quickly became an outcast.  She raised rabbits, more on the bunny thing later, but never sold them.  She would rather give them out as gifts, which makes Aud sound like a kind hearted, generous soul. Well appearances can be deceiving, and how they were with her.  When men disappointed her, she did horrible things to them.  She caused one man to have boils on his, well I'm sure you can guess.  Her biggest accomplishment, and then one that would change her life forever, was turning a cheat boyfriend into a troll.  Now boys, let this serve as a lesson to you.  Unless you want to spend eternity as a Shrek wannabe, don't cheat.

That last act of revenge attracted the attention of D'Hoffryn, a demon who showers Aud with praise for her hellish acts of vengeance.  He offers her the chance to become a vengeance demon, and poor Aud agrees to it.  D'Hoffryn renames her Anyanka, Patron Saint of the Women Scorned.  Anyanka spends the next 1000 plus years creating havoc on the behalf of desperate women everywhere.  Here time is spent, from a demon's point of view, wisely. She comes up with more and more elaborate ways of granting the wishes of the scorned upon the men who so wronged them.  She turns one into a giant worm, another into a demon who is sent to Hell to suffer for all eternity.

We don't meet this goddess of retribution until Cordelia catches Xander and Willow kissing.  A distraught Cordy, who can't imagine any man would ever cheat on her, is in such pain that Anyanka can't resist the summons.  When she gets Cordy to make a wish, all hell breaks lose.  Cordy blamed everything on Buffy, without Buffy coming to town, Cordy would never have stooped so low as to date Xander.  Cordy wishes that Buffy never came to Sunnydale, a wish that Anyanka grants happily.  Of course it leads to the vampires taking over, Xander and Willow turned into vampires, and pretty much everyone else dead.  Giles, with some helps, figures out that this isn't the world that was supposed to be, and breaks Anyanka's spell.  This didn't end well for Anyanka, as the amulet that gave her power, was destroyed.  It made her mortal.

Over the next few years we get to know Anya, who happens to be one of the most complex characters Joss Whedon ever created.  Anya, who has spent over a thousand years as a demon, has no clue on how to live as mortal.  Because of that, she tends to say exactly what she is thinking.  The showed played that aspect of her personality for all it was worth.  Often times it would get her into trouble with the others, but mainly because she was saying something the others were hesitant to.  She was the voice of reason, that they all wanted to ignore.  It also made her look at relationships in a way that was unique to her.

Almost from the get go, she develops a thing for Xander, even though at first it makes her want to vomit.  She has spent so long hating men, that finding herself interested in one, just doesn't make sense.  For years the two of them go back and forth, almost getting married.  It was an interesting relationship to watch develop over the course of a few seasons.  The dynamic between them was amazing.  Xander made Anya more human, and likable to the others.  Anya kept Xander grounded and forced him to grow up.  Though they weren't together at the end, their friendship was solid and something they both cherished.

Now Anya wasn't a perfect "human", she made huge mistakes and was oftentimes selfish.  When she was hurt, she would lash out, and even reverted back to her vengeance demon days.  But underneath the shell, was a fiercely loyal young woman who valued love and commitment more than anyone else on the show.  She had a strange way of showing it most of the times, but I almost think she was the most human of all the characters.  Where she developed the phobia to rabbits is beyond, me, but it was funny to watch her aversion to a creature she once raised so lovingly.

When the end came, she met it with courage and bravery.  She was the only one of the core group to not eventually survive the final showdown, but she went down fighting.  Her loyalty to her friends and her love, mainly for Xander, forced her to be fully human once and for all.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On a Farther Shore by Rachel Carson (Plus Giveaway)

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

She loved the ocean and wrote three books about its mysteries, including the international bestseller The Sea Around Us.  But it was her fourth book, Silent Spring, that this unassuming biologist transformed our relationship with the natural world.

Rachel Carson began work on Silent Spring in the lats 1950s, when a dizzying array of synthetic pesticides had come into use.  Leading this chemical onslaught was the insecticide DDT, whose inventor had won a Nobel Prize for its discovery.  Effective against crop pests as well as insects that transmitted human diseases such as typhus and malaria, DDT had at first appeared safe.  But as its use expanded, alarming reports surfaced of collateral damage to fish, birds, and other wildlife.  Silent Spring was a chilling indictment of DDT and its effects, which were lasting, widespread, and lethal.

Published in 1962, Silent Spring shocked the public and forced the government to take action - despite a withering attack on Carson from the chemicals industry.  The book awakened the world to the heedless contamination of the environment and eventually led to the establishment of the EPA and to the banning of DDT and a host of related pesticides.  By drawing frightening parallels between chemicals and the then-pervasive fallout form nuclear testing, Caron opened a fault line between the gentle ideal of conservation and the more urgent, new concepts of environmentalism.

I don't know how everyone else does it, but I don't seem to have any consistent method of choosing which review requests to accept, and which I decline.  I have, on a few different occasions, attempted to come up with a "scientific" apparatus to make those decisions for me, but I tend to throw those misguided attempts right out the window.  Instead I tend to pick my review books based on if the subject/premise interests me or if I have an emotional reaction to the idea of reading the book.  I'm hoping that's how most of you do it, but if not, I'm going to feel out of the loop.  For the most part, with some serious exceptions, this process has worked for me.  With On a Father Shore, the idea of choosing a review request based on an emotional impulse, has me thinking I have the perfect system in place.

To tell you the truth, this wasn't a book I picked up as soon as I got it.  I seemed to be going through a reading slump at the time and I just couldn't get all that interested in anything I had agreed to review.  A few days later I finally picked it up and read about the first chapter and a half and then put the book back down and forgot about it.  It's not that I didn't like what I was reading, it was more of that feeling we all get when we have read too many review books in a row.  Then on a Tuesday morning, September 4th to be exact, I happened to be listening to The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, go figure, and she was interviewing William Souder, the author of On a Farther Shore.  I couldn't quit listening to the interview, which I found to be informative and emotionally (there is that word again) compelling.  It was just the catalyst I needed to pick the book back up and delve into the life of Rachel Carson.

I have not had the opportunity to read the author's previous two books, but I would have to assume that they are as engaging as this one.  There is a gentleness to the narrative that if found to be the perfect way to Rachel Carson's story.  I'm not sure if that is his normal tone in writing a book, or if it was in response to his subject.  I'm not sure gentle is the right word to use here, but whatever the sentiment I'm trying to convey, it seems like an apt description to explain the the subject of this book.

On a Farther Shore is one of those books that I would find hard to shelf in a bookstore.  It's a combination of biography, history, science, and public policy.  It would feel at home in any of those sections, and I'm almost sure Rachel Carson would make sure it was shelved in all those sections.  Mr Souder does a masterful job of not only detailing the life of Rachel Carson, but the influences behind her work and the process she took in writing her books.  He explores the subjects behind her books in such a way, that I feel smarter for reading it.  I can honestly say I now know more about our country's history with nuclear testing and pesticide use than I ever even fathomed before.  

One of the side benefits or reading a book like this, is how it tends to add to your reading list.  I have so fallen in love with and admire the Rachel Carson that the author presents to us, that I have now added her four books to my wishlist.  I have also added a few other books that inspired her to be, from what I've read, a lyrical writer who was able to draw her readers into dense subjects and complicated issues.  She is the type of writer that is a joy to read, and I'm sure she was the type of reader it would be beneficial to emulate.

Now for the giveaway.  I have one copy, generously offered by the publisher, up for grabs.  If you are interested in entering, please leave a comment with your email address.  The giveaway is, I believe, only open to residents of the US.  You will have until 11:59 pm CST, on October 9th to enter.  I will use to pick the winner.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday for 9/24/12

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme created by Marcia at Mailbox Monday and is being hosted all this month by Kristen at BookNAround

I received a trade paperback of Werewolves and Other Shapeshifters in Popular Culture by Kimberely McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Off the Grid by P.J. Tracy

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

On a sailboat ten miles off the Florida Keys, Grace MacBride, partner in Monkeewrench Software, thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent John Smith.  A few hours later, in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old girl is found in a vacant lot, her throat slashed.  Later that morning, two young men are found in their home a few blocks away, killed execution style.  The next morning, three more men are found savagely murdered in the same neighborhood.

As Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to link the crime scenes, they discover that there have been similar murders in other cities across the United States.  Piece by piece, evidence accumulates, pointing them to a suspect whose identity shocks them to the core, uncovering a motive that puts the entire Midwest on high alert and Monkeewrench in the direct line of fire.  Before it's all over, Grace and her partners, Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, find themselves in the middle of a shocking collision of violence on a remote northern Minnesota Indian reservation, fighting for their lives.

This won't be the first time that I whine I cry about my decision to start a series well after the first book had already seized the imagination of a legion of readers, nor do I think it will be my last.  For the most part, I've been pretty lucky in the fact that no matter where I start a series, I tend to be able to find my bearings pretty quickly.  I don't know if it's because this is book six, if it was the nature of the series, or the simple fact that there is a huge cast of characters to get to know; whatever the reason, I felt a little lost the entire time I was reading this book.

My inability to find my bearings has nothing to do with the storyline itself or the authors' natural ability to create a level of anxiety that ebbs and flows organically.  From the opening scene of a terrified young girl running down a city street, hoping against hope, to reach a safe haven to the violent showdown in a north Minnesota wood, the story built in the only way it could.

Oftentimes, especially while I'm reading a story of suspense, I have a hard time buying into the series of events as they unfold.  Now I can't say that this book doesn't ask for that all important suspension of disbelief, but it does it in a why that doesn't make a reader flinch away from the idea.  While the exact nature of the plot is a bit far fetched, the authors are able to meld a patchwork of over the top action, extreme violence, and desperate characters into a cohesive story that not only held my interest, but kept me in enraptured the entire time.  No small feat since I still couldn't tell you all the chracters' names or how they are all related to each other.

I haven't decided if I'm going to go back and read the series from the beginning, but even if I don't, I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read and discover this series for myself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Favorite Fictional Character --- Cornelia Van Gorder

I'm still having a huge issue with coming up with a continuous theme for the month of September.  After doing Bumblelion last week, I though I may stick with cartoon characters.  Then I remembered I have already done that this year, plus I'm thinking of doing a Saturday Morning Cartoon post every Saturday, though I'm not sure when I would start doing it.  So for this week, I'm going with someone completely different.  Because the weather has finally cooled off a bit, we actually had a few days that were just high of chilly, my mind has already started heading in a Halloween frame of mind.  I've already pulled out a few of my favorite movies, one of which is The Bat starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.  The movie is based off the book, The Bat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart.  A movie I discovered years before I did the books.  I adore Agnes Moorehead, despite her politics, and she is never more regal than she is here.  So with no further ado, I present to you, Cornelia Van Gorder.

Wishing to escape a summer spent in the city, famed mystery writer, Cornelia Van Gorder, decides to rent a house in the country.  She moves into The Oaks with her maid, Lizzie Allen, and quickly discovers that something just isn't right with the house or the town.  It seems that the notorious burglar, occasional killer, knows as The Bat has resurfaced after a year off.  And for some strange reason, all his attention seems to be focused on The Oaks.  The servants are reporting strange sightings on the back staircases and ominous shadows appear in the darkened halls.

At first, our plucky heroine, doesn't put much stock into the worries of her servants.  If they want to leave, they can leave, she has better things to do with her time.  It's only after a clawed hand reaches through a broken window that Miss Cornelia begins to think something may be horribly wrong.  Are the rumors behind the death of the former bank president, who happens to own The Oaks, behind the strange happenings?  Is the fact that the bank is missing thousands of dollars in bonds, causing The Bat to look into The Oaks?  It doesn't take long for Miss Cornelia to put her sleuthing skills to task and get to the bottom of it all.

Through sheer will, courage, and a bit of luck, Miss Cornelia starts to piece together the truth of The Bat and that missing money.  As she delves into the mystery a bit more, the bodies start to pile up, and Miss Cornelia escapes a few close calls of her own.  She never backs down, though I think most of that is stubbornness and curiosity more than any sense of justice.  She puts herself at risk in order to find out the truth and unmask The Bat for all to know.  Of course the idea of writing her newest book based off the happenings never crossed her mind at all.

I believe this is the full movie, so for anyone who hasn't seen it, stick around and find out for yourself what a wonderful character Cornelia Van Gorder is.