Johnny Belinda is a movie which was released in 1948. It stars Jane Wyman as the title character Belinda McDonald, a deaf-mute girl living with her father and aunt in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The film is adapted from an earlier play by Elmer Blaney Harris who based it on actual events which occurred on Prince Edward Island, where he owned a home, rather than Cape Breton Island. In the movie, Belinda exists in a lonely world of silence, presumed to be stupid by her family and the community. This changes when kindly Doctor Richardson sets up a practice in the area and takes an interest in the deaf girl, teaching her sign language and some lip reading. Then, just as things are looking up for Belinda, she is attacked and sexually assaulted by a local thug. The consequences of this traumatic event are far-reaching and tragic. The subject matter of Johnny Belinda was considered quite controversial at the time because under the Hays Code rape was not allowed to be depicted in movies. Johnny Belinda was the first film for which this restriction was waived. Jane Wyman, who won an Oscar for her performance, learned sign language for the role and insisted on performing with her ears blocked in order to give a realistic portrayal of deafness. In the scene below, Belinda is praying after the death (murder) of her father.
Mother Carey's Chickens was written by Kate Douglas Wiggin in 1911. She authored many books for children, the most well-known of which is probably her Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm which she wrote in 1903. Mother Carey's Chickens follows the adventures- and misadventures- of the Carey family as, after the sudden death of their father, they move to a house in rural Maine where it is much cheaper to live. This part of the story is at least partly autobiographical; when Wiggin was quite young her family lived in Philadelphia. After the death of her father however, Kate's mother moved her family to rural Maine to live.
The name "Mother Carey's Chickens" is a pun on the Carey family name, and is also the folk name for the seabird, the storm petrel. According to folklore, Mother Carey was a sea witch who controlled the petrels, which were said to portend bad weather and marine disaster. Mother Carey appears in numerous poems and stories in which she frequently is portrayed as a wrecker of ships. In Charles Kingsley's 1863 book The Water Babies however, which is frequently referenced in Mother Carey's Chickens, Mother Carey is a fairy.
Kate Douglas Wiggin
Some people complain that the Carey family is unbelievably nice, unselfish, and brave in the face of adversity. There is a kernel of truth in this criticism; the Careys behave with unnatural nobility and patience in the face of their financial ruin. But there's a reason for this: Wiggin is providing a picture of an ideal family's response to tragedy and crises- they pull together, support and rely on each other. The Careys are in this way contrasted with two other rather failed family units: the Lords and the Hamiltons who, for different reasons and in different ways have become estranged and disfunctional. The Hamiltons are separated by distance and differing ambitions, while Mr. Lord's self-absorption and callous disregard for the emotional needs of his children has left them even more estranged than the Hamiltons, though they still live in the same house together.
In any case, the Careys are saved from being nauseatingly sweet by the fact that they possess active sense of humours, tempers, and various character flaws which they generally manage to overcome with the guidance of wise and patient Mother Carey. One joke which carries throughout the book is the saga of the hideous sculpture which was given to the family by their wealthy, well-meaning but taste-challenged aunt. This garish image of a young boy and a washtub is entitled "You Dirty Boy" and it is hated by the entire family. They can't get rid of it without offending their aged relative, however, so the children contrive at numerous "accidents" in an attempt to dispose of it. Unfortunately, the sculpture has more lives than the proverbial cat and keeps emerging unscathed, to the mystification and frustration of the Carey children.
Mother Carey's Chickens was adapted and made into a play in 1917 and this play was in turn made into a movie in 1938. I haven't seen it, but the plot summary which I read of it indicates that the story told in the film bears little resemblance to the book's plot. In 1963, Disney produced a musical film based on Mother Carey's Chickens entitled Summer Magic. It starred Hayley Mills, Dorothy McGuire, and Burl Ives. I have seen this- saw it before I read the book, in fact. It's... not the worst thing I've ever seen. A lot of characters have been cut out- including one of the Carey children- and the plot somewhat changed, though not nearly as much as in the 1938 film. On the plus side, I love Burl Ives in everything. I guess what I'm saying is that Summer Magic is watchable, but the book is a lot better.
I picked up two very different books in my latest trip to the thrift shop: Ayn Rand's We The Living and Christmas At The Mysterious Bookshop, a collection of short stories which are mysteries with a Christmas theme.
We The Living was Ayn Rand's first novel and was written in 1934. It tells the story of Kira Argounova, a young woman living in 1920's Russia after the revolution. It clearly details how the communist system led to lowered standards of living and little or no power over one's own life. It particularly concentrates on how Communism destroyed the middle class- Argrounova's father had been a businessman, but has his factory confiscated by the state and nationalized. Ayn Rand said that We The Living was the most autobiographical of all her works (her father was a pharmacist who had his business confiscated after the revolution).
The Mysterious Bookshop is a bookstore located in New York, owned by Otto Penzler. Every Christmas for a number of years Mr. Penzler commissioned a mystery author to write a short story which took place at the bookshop at Christmastime. He had these printed in pamphlet form and handed them out to customers. This book is a collection of all those stories. I decided to pick it up because I love mysteries, like short stories, and know and enjoy several of the authors whose works are contained in this compilation. I'll probably wait until closer to Christmas to read it, but am looking forward to it.
We had a sisters' night out last night and we went to see Avengers: Infinity War because one of my sisters is a big fan of the franchise. I can generally take these films or leave them and have only seen maybe about half of them. Also, most of the ones I have seen were the earlier films. This being the case, I'm probably not the best person to judge this movie on its merits as part of a larger narrative. What I will say is that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, all things considered. Despite the dire circumstances, there's quite a bit of humour in the film and most of it hits the mark. I especially liked the interactions of Thor with the Guardians of the Galaxy cast; they were really funny. As for my problems with the movie, well... as you can see from the poster, there are a lot of characters and since I haven't seen all of the films, I didn't know who some of them were or know why they were acting the way they were. Also, with so many characters to follow, the movie keeps jumping about- not only between earth and outer space, but at a bunch of different places in outer space as well. I'm sure however, that this would be less of a problem for those who knew what all of these places were and who all the people in these scenes were. Also, Thanos was a good villain, one who could articulate his motivations which actually make sense, if you're a murderous psycho. To sum up, I had a surprisingly good time at Infinity Wars which managed to be quite funny without detracting from the more poignant, serious moments. This certainly gives the film points over The Last Jedi, where most of the humour comes across as forced, awkward, and a bit desperate. If nothing else, Infinity Wars made me want to go back and see a few of the movies I missed, like Dr. Strange and one or two others. Maybe one of these days.
I took my parents' dog Jack down to the lake on Sunday afternoon, which was beautiful. The water was still too cold for him to swim but he enjoyed wading and splashing around...
I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core. -W.B. Yeats