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Lincoln, the movie – Part 5

How do you get a bill passed in Congress? Well, you get your people to count the likely votes . . . and if your side doesn’t have enough, you send out your allies to get the additional votes you need. Lincoln faced that problem in trying to get the 13th Amendment through the House [...]

Lincoln, the movie – Part 4

Tommy Lee Jones has been nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Thaddeus Stevens, a driven and crafty Republican congressman from New York who has no patience with lesser men . . . and that means about everybody. Stevens, the ultimate politician, knows how to get a vote from a Democrat [...]

Lincoln, the movie – Part 3

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln presents the viewer with the horror of the Civil War. The battle scene that opens the movie is disturbing enough, but, later, Lincoln rides through a battlefield where the dead in some shell holes are stacked like cordwood. But the harshest image comes when Bob Lincoln comes home from college, to the [...]

Lincoln, the movie – Part 2

There would be no movie without a script, nor a great movie without an exceptionally well-written script. Steven Spielberg had that for Lincoln. Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay. He came to the job with credentials. He had won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his Broadway play, Angels in America. Kushner does write long. [...]

Lincoln, the movie – Part 1

The Steven Spielberg movie, Lincoln, is a dynamic film, and it surely will sweep up a basketful of Oscars . . . deservedly so. You probably watched the movie at your local cineplex early in its run. Marge and I got there just a bit ago. That’s why I haven’t written about it until now. [...]

What you may not have known about Ian Fleming – Part 5

Here are two elements on a timeline for you: – Ian Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale,” in 1952. It was published the next year. – The first Bond movie, “Dr. No,” was filmed by Eon Productions – Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli – in 1961. It was released the next year. [...]

What you may not have known about Ian Fleming – Part 4

Four people had their creative hands in developing the script from which Ian Fleming wrote his ninth James Bond novel, “Thunderball” . . . Ernie Cunio who outlined the initial story, Fleming who wrote the first treatment, and Kevin McClory and Jack Wittingham who wrote the second treatment and the first screenplay. A cautious writer [...]

Sherlock Holmes is everywhere – Part 4

Sherlockian Jacquelynn Morris loved Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in their first “Sherlock Holmes” movie in 2009. In a blog post, she said Downey “comes as close to the thinking, reasoning machine of Holmes as I’ve ever seen. While (Basil) Rathbone could hint at an intelligence beneath the surface and (Jeremy) Brett could show [...]

Bond week – Part 3

Mention Q in connection with James Bond and most of us see that craggy-faced actor, Desmond Llewelyn, who portrayed the man in a white lab coat who tricked out Bond with the latest spy gadgets in every film from “From Russia with Love” in 1963 to “The World Is Not Enough” in 1999 . . [...]

One special horse story

Every year, it seems, a fine horse story comes out, either as a book or a movie. Last year, released after Christmas in time for this year’s Oscar race, it was Steven Spielberg’s movie “War Horse” . . . based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel of the same name. No, the film script was [...]