Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: December Blog List


Greetings to all!  I hope you'll join us for the next installment of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books.  The next meeting is set for Friday, December 27th.  If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:


Friday, November 29, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: November 2013

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: Star Wars
Author: George Lucas (ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster)
via Wikipedia

I've made a couple of previous attempts at reading the novelization of the original Star Wars movie.  I first checked the book out of the library as a small child for my mother to read to me.  She had really enjoyed the movie but thought the book was terrible so she gave up.  I was too young to tackle it on my own.  I tried again as a young man but didn't make it much further.

I'm not sure what was different this time but I breezed right through it.  Perhaps it was a matter of expectations.  Knowing the books don't exactly measure up to the sci-fi classics, I read as a curious, lifelong Star Wars fan.  At this point, I feel I know the story backwards and forwards.  In addition to watching the movie dozens, if not hundreds, of times, I've also listened to the radio drama multiple times and read the comic book adaptation.  As such, there wasn't much in the way of new material.  There's one scene with Luke and his Tatooine pals that was cut from the movie but does appear in other renditions of the story.  The character of Biggs, almost entirely cut out of the 1977 film, plays quite an important role in the novelization.  There are other, more subtle changes here and there.  Basically, it's close enough to the movie to bring plenty of smiles to the long-devoted fan but also different enough to keep things interesting.

The novel was published several months before the film release, in December 1976.  The book reads more like storyboard plotting than a polished novel.  Setting descriptions of Tatooine and Yavin are quite thorough.  Characters, on the other hand, are not nearly as engaging as they are in the film.  Narrative tone changes are abrupt and awkward - editing clearly wasn't a high priority.  Most of the dialogue is at least recognizable to the devotee.  The "Let the Wookiee win" line, however, is nowhere to be seen.

In short, if one is expecting a satisfying science fiction novel, probably best to give this one a pass.  But if you're looking for new perspective on an old favorite, the Star Wars novelization is a pleasant romp.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post December's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is December 27th.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Star Trek: Shore Leave

Episode: "Shore Leave"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 15
Original Air Date: December 29, 1966

via Memory Alpha
After an intense drama like "Balance of Terror," a lighter story such as "Shore Leave" makes for a nice palette cleanser.  Our heroes visit a strange but beautiful planet, a seemingly ideal vacation spot for an overworked crew.  But of course, there is a great deal more than initially meets the eye.  Dr. McCoy encounters a large rabbit with a pocket watch, followed by a dead-ringer for Alice of Wonderland fame.  Other crew members have strange encounters of their own.  One-shot Yeoman Tonia Barrows is kidnapped by Don Juan.  Sulu fights a samurai.  Kirk first runs into an old Academy nemesis, then a long-lost girlfriend.  Initial assumptions that the planet was uninhabited were clearly less than accurate.

"Shore Leave" is kind of silly as Star Trek adventures go.  However, one can see the seeds planted for Holodeck-centered episodes in later Trek series.  It's nice to think that even characters in a fantasy world have daydreams of their own.  I also like the idea that stories central to our culture now will continue to be vital in centuries to come.

*****

via Memory Alpha
Perry Lopez (Lt. Esteban Rodriguez) was born July 22, 1931 in New York City.  Initially a stage actor, he signed with Warner Bros. in 1955, appearing in Mr. Roberts, that same year.  (It's a fun movie, if only for Martin Milner's highly amusing monologue as Shore Patrol Officer.)  Lopez's most famous role, however, was as Lt. Escobar in Chinatown.  He reprised the role in 1990's The Two Jakes

Lopez died of lung cancer in 2008.  Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among people I've featured in this section - a lot of smokers at those 1960s TV studios!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family Movie Night: Casablanca

Title: Casablanca
Director: Michael Curtiz
Original Release: 1942
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
One of the most celebrated romance stories in the history of American cinema, Casablanca wasn't expected to be anything special upon its initial release.  Made on an average budget, compared to the sweeping epics with which it is frequently compared, Casablanca was only a modest box office hit as well.  But the critics raved.  On the strength of its iconic protagonist and solid screenplay, the movie has endured and is now considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made.  I'm not sure I'd go that far myself but it's fair to say the story holds up quite well 71 years later.  It certainly doesn't hurt that Ingrid Bergman is one of the most beautiful women in world history.



The story takes place in 1941 Morocco.  Rick (Humphrey Bogart), an American ex-pat with a shady past, owns a thriving night club in Casablanca.  One evening, an old flame (Bergman) walks into the place: Ilsa, the love of his life who abandoned him in Paris when the Nazis invaded and they were both scrambling to leave the country.  Now in Morocco, she and her activist husband are trying to stay one step ahead of the Third Reich.  Running into Rick, however, was never part of the plan.

As Bogey puts it,"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

It's an interesting movie to watch from an historical perspective.  The United States had just entered the Second World War by the time Casablanca was released.  In fact, the opening was rushed to capitalize on the recent Allied invasion in North Africa.  Watching in 2013, we all know how the rest of the war turned out.  But the viewing public in 1942 didn't.  The prospect of the Nazis occupying London, for instance, would have been a genuine concern. 

Casablanca is the source of film's most famous misquotation.  The line "Play it again, Sam" never actually occurs.  The initial line, delivered by Ilsa, is "Play it, Sam, for old times' sake."  The song in question is "As Time Goes By."  The song was written in 1931 by Herman Hupfeld for the Broadway musical, Everybody's Welcome.  While not yet the American Songbook standard it would become thanks to Casablanca, "As Time Goes By" would already have been familiar to many of the audience in 1942.  Dooley Wilson, the actor who played Sam, was a drummer by trade, not a pianist.  It's his voice in the film but the piano is dubbed.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Write...Edit...Publish: Sharing


Denise Covey is hosting Write...Edit...Publish, a monthly bloghop (details here). November's theme is "sharing."  Alas, I have no story to offer all of you this month.  However, pondering the theme led me in some very interesting directions which I hope will bear fruit in the long run.  I started a story but it definitely needs some time and may fit December's theme of "traditions" much better.  Don't run off just yet, though.  I shall not leave you empty-handed, fellow travelers.  I will happily share some of my discoveries.  Some of you smart people probably already knew all of this but much of it is new to me.

Be sure to visit the other participants as well.  The link list is at the end of my post.

Moons

A variety of inspirations and explorations has sparked an interest in moons.  Let us begin with our own lunar satellite, Earth's steady date for the great cosmic cocktail party.  Our Moon is not the largest in the Solar System but it is the largest relative to its planet at 1/81 the mass of Earth.

via NASA
I was very interested in other planets as a child but never gave too much thought to their moons until this week.  Two in particular have caught my attention.  Europa, the fourth-largest of Jupiter's 67 confirmed moons, is considered by many to be the best candidate in our Solar System for supporting terrestrial life.  In fact, there is some speculation that microbial life could already exist in Europa's under-ice ocean.

via Wikipedia
Titan is the largest of Saturn's 62 confirmed moons and the second largest natural satellite in the Solar System after Jupiter's Ganymede.  Titan is larger in diameter than the planet Mercury, though smaller in mass.  It is the only moon in the Solar System known to have a substantial atmosphere.  Some have theorized that conditions on Titan might be similar to those of primordial Earth, suggesting the capacity for life origination there as well.

via Wikipedia

*****


I hope you will consider joining the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, my bloggers' book club.  Please sign on to the link list at the top right of my blog, where there is also a link to more details.

Please visit others participating in this month's Write...Edit...Publish bloghop:


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Star Trek: Balance of Terror

Episode: "Balance of Terror"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 14
Original Air Date: December 15, 1966
via Memory Alpha

Commenters on my last Star Trek post primed my expectations for "Balance of Terror."  I'd also been looking forward to it myself as the episode which introduced the Romulans, one of the major alien races of the franchise.  Having now watched it, I can understand the fuss.  Like "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Balance of Tower" showcases the moral/ethical underpinnings of Trek that I find so appealing. This one has a better ending than "Corbomite Maneuver," too.

"Balance of Terror" was inspired by submarine movies of the 1950s.  The Enterprise engages in a cat-and-mouse game with a Romulan vessel on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone, a clear treaty violation on the Romulans' part.  According to the history presented in the episode, the Federation and Romulus had engaged in a long, brutal war without ever actually having laid on eyes on one another!  Great set up.  Then the real fun begins.

Through some hocus pocus I don't quite understand, our heroes get a view of the Romulan bridge without being seen themselves.  Wouldn't you know it, the mysterious enemies look an awful lot like Vulcans.  Lt. Stiles, a one-shot character manning the navigation station, lost loved ones in the Earth-Romulan War and suddenly eyes Spock with great suspicion.  There is one extremely poignant shot of Stiles looking askance at Spock with Sulu sitting right next to him.  Sulu, of course, is played by George Takei who spent several years of his childhood in Japanese-American internment camps - impossible to miss the message there.

But that's not even the most interesting thing going on in this episode.  The Romulan Commander - played by Mark Lenard, a frequent Trek guest star over the decades - is presented as a surprisingly sympathetic adversary.  He respects Kirk and acts out of sense of duty and honor rather than hatred.  As he points out near the end, "In a different reality, I could have called you friend."

*****
via Star Trek: Vulcanology

Mark Lenard was born Leonard Rosensen, October 15, 1924 in Chicago.  He started acting while serving in the Army.  An accomplished stage performer, he made his big screen debut in The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965.  In total, he appeared in three different Star Trek series and five different Trek films - as three different characters of three different races!  Lenard died in 1996 of multiple myeloma.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Squid Eats: Lester's


Saturday was an Ikea day.  I have written about my feelings toward Ikea before so I will not belabor the point here.  I must confess that our bounty, including two chairs and storage units for our entryway, has greatly improved our quality of life at home.  Still, Ikea makes for a very stressful day for me.

On the bright side, a trip to Ikea means a trip to Montreal and what I've come to think of as our neighborhood in that great city.  Drawn & Quarterly is our favorite book store and frequent visits have led to modest explorations of the surrounding area.  We have a reliable bagel shop (St-Viateur) and, as of this weekend, an outstanding deli to address our refueling needs.

Lester's has just about everything we look for in a deli.  For our daughter, they have good local bagels.  For My Wife, there is mustard on the table.  Too often, she has to ask for it - even better, they make their own!  She was also pleased with the spray bottle of vinegar for fries.  For me, they passed the club sandwich test with flying colors.  It's the sort of place I can see visiting over and over again, trying everything on the menu.

On the Coffee Table: Ann M. Martin

Title: The Baby-sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey
Writer: Ann M. Martin
Artist: Raina Telgemeier
via BetterWorldBooks

Raina Telgemeier is writer/artist of two of the better graphic novels I've encountered in the past year: Smile (review here) and Drama (here). Eager for more of her work after finishing those two, I discovered this graphic novel series, adapting four books from Ann M. Martin's extremely successful series, The Baby-sitters Club (BSC).  While clearly targeting a preteen, female demographic, the same is certainly true for Telgemeier's other books and that did not interfere with my enjoyment.  Our Girl read the book first and gave it her stamp of approval.  So, why not give it a try myself?

Martin's franchise has sold 170 million books overall so it's highly likely that many reading this reflection are already familiar with the basics.  For those who are not, the club was formed by four middle school girls to run a fairly sophisticated babysitting network. The Truth About Stacey is that she has diabetes.  In addition to the babysitting and other standard female adolescent adventures, Stacey must contend with overprotective parents and friends who don't always know how to react.

The appeal of Tegelmeier's work for me thus far is her frank and realistic portrayal of the world of the preteen girl.  Her protagonists are likeable but not idealized or pigeon-holed - too often the case in stories about the age group.  Unfortunately, I don't feel BSC quite lives up to the same standard.  The story's enjoyable enough but I don't find the characters quite as believable.  Tegelmeier's characters are like kids I know.  Martin's are the more easily categorized versions of the kids I know.  So, while I eagerly await future Tegelmeier publications (a Smile sequel is set for release in 2014), I think I'll give the rest of the BSC series a pass.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Star Trek: The Conscience of the King

Episode: "The Conscience of the King"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 13
Original Air Date: December 8, 1966
via Wikipedia

"The Conscience of the King" is part of a long-standing relationship between Star Trek and the legacy of William Shakespeare.  William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Deep Space Nine's Avery Brooks and Voyager's Kate Mulgrew all have Shakespearean stage credentials on their resumes.  Interestingly, both Stewart and Brooks have played the part of Othello, while Mulgrew has played Desdemona.  The Memory Alpha entry on the Bard provides a list of references over the years.

The episode title itself comes from Hamlet and the story revolves around a traveling theater company.  Captain Kirk is invited to a performance of Macbeth by an old friend, Dr. Thomas Leighton.  Dr. Leighton suspects that the lead actor is actually Kodos "The Executioner," a ruthless dictator long-believed dead.  Soon, Leighton's lifeless form is discovered and a good, old-fashioned murder mystery ensues.  The end of the story revolves around a performance of Hamlet by the company aboard the Enterprise. 

*****

A quick word of reflection on my Star Trek posts thus far: a few of you have asked over the course of my explorations whether or not I like or dislike particular episodes.  I find it a difficult question to answer for most of them, though I certainly enjoy them all enough to keep watching.  I love Trek for its world-building and for the affection one develops for the characters over time.  The original series, in particular, is really more kitschy and charming than slick and sophisticated.  The special effects are primitive, of course, but that's to be expected.  The writing doesn't measure up to the television standards established in later decades by Aaron Sorkin, Joss Whedon, Steven Moffat and others.  For me, the magic of Trek runs deeper than the appeal of individual episodes.  And to be honest, while some ("The Menagerie") are definitely better than others ("Mudd's Women"), I have yet to find a goose bump worthy episode to claim as my own.  Meanwhile, I am thoroughly enjoying the stroll.

*****
via Wikipedia

Arnold Moss (Anton Karidian/Kodos) was an abundantly qualified casting choice for a Shakespearean episode, having played Prospero, the lead in The Tempest, for 124 performances on Broadway.  He was born January 28, 1910 in Brooklyn.  Apart from Shakespeare and Star Trek, Moss's highest profile roles were in two Bob Hope films: My Favorite Spy and Casanova's Big Night.  Moss died of lung cancer in 1989.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Family Movie Night: Rebecca

Title: Rebecca
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Original Release: 1940
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia

Alfred Hitchcock, certainly one of the most famous and influential filmmakers in the history of the industry, only directed one movie that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards: 1940's Rebecca.  The film was also Hitch's first American project.  Before this weekend, I had never seen it.



The protagonist (played by Joan Fontaine) is unnamed until she becomes the second Mrs. de Winter, marrying a glum yet charming aristocrat, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier).  The new Mrs. knows her husband is still mourning his dead first wife, Rebecca, but does not realize the extent to which she still haunts his existence until the newlyweds move back to his cavernous mansion.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Danvers, the ghoulish housekeeper (Judith Anderson), does little to make the new lady of the house feel welcome.

The plot is engaging, though the twists are fairly tame by Hitchcock standards.  The acting is solid, especially Judith Anderson.  The cinematography is the highlight, George Barnes's Oscar-winning work incorporating the shadows and silhouettes that would become Hitch staples.

Multi-generational considerations:
  • Our Girl enjoyed the story but was confused by all the talk about the first Mrs. de Winter.  We had to stop the movie a couple of times to explain.

On the Coffee Table: Once More Around the Park

Title: Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader
Author: Roger Angell
via Amazon

Roger Angell, now 92 years old, is one of America's foremost baseball writers.  I have reviewed two of his books previously: Five Seasons and Game TimeOnce More Around the Park cobbles together essays from several previous collections but also includes some new material.  Of the chapters I'd read before in other books, the best is "Distance," a profile of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.  Thoughts on the new stuff - at least, new to me - is on offer below.

My least favorite part of Angell's books is usually the season recaps.  Occasional piercing insights creep in from time to time but generally speaking, those sections suffer from a one-thing-after-another feel.  He is a much stronger writer when he takes the broad view.  Many of the essays in this particular collection address the joys of fandom, following the game through box scores, daydreaming during the off-season and pitting the stars of yesteryear against one another in our mind's eye.  For Angell, this is serious stuff, his own passion for the game anything but casual.  He lives it and in his finest moments, I want to live it with him. 

"In the Country" was probably my favorite chapter.  In that August 1981 essay, Angell profiles Ron, a pitcher in his late-20s trying to work his way back into the game in the semi-pro leagues, and his wife Linda.  That particular story takes place mostly in northwest Vermont, not too far from our home.  My own familiarity with the setting adds significant charm.

"No, But I Saw the Game," first published in Summer 1989, is a brief survey of baseball movies and their varying reflections of the real game.  Angell poured effusive praise upon Bull Durham and, to be honest, I might have stopped reading if he hadn't.  He felt it was the first and only baseball film to present the game and its players in a realistic light.  He was less impressed by Eight Men Out and Major League and thoroughly panned Field of Dreams.  He touched on a few of the older movies, too, most notably Pride of the Yankees and Bang the Drum Slowly.

I am not prepared to devote as much of my own life to following baseball as Roger Angell has but his books always leaving me wishing I could.  Never content with any one perspective, he seeks out stories from fans, executives, coaches, umpires and, of course, players both amateur and legendary.  Baseball is one sport that is almost as much fun to read about as it is to watch and Angell is one of my favorite guides.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ode-athon: Maurice Sendak


My blogger pal Tony Laplume is hosting his first bloghop this week!  The Ode-athon is an opportunity to celebrate our favorite authors.  Care to learn more?  Go visit Tony either here or here.
via Wikipedia
Anyone who has spent significant time reading books to children knows both the joys and the pitfalls of children's literature.  One major peril for a parent is that while adults appreciate variety, small children thrive on the familiar so a favorite story will be requested for multiple command performances.  We're talking triple digits.  As a result, we come to dread even the treasured books of our own childhood.  For me, Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Babar and Frances all suffered mightily from exhausting repetition when our daughter was little.

There was one book, however, of which I never tired.  Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is, in my humble opinion, the golden masterpiece of the medium.  While I liked the book as a boy, I grew to love it as a father.  The pictures are the easy sell for a kid.  But for me as the read-aloud parent, the text was miraculous.  Words like "he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year" trip off the tongue so effortlessly that each reading was a soothing pleasure. 
via Wikipedia
Sendak's magical hand touched numerous other treasured works. Among them:
  • The Nutshell Library, the stories and illustrations of which would later become part of the Sendak produced television special, Really Rosie.
  • In the Night Kitchen, a book frequently banned for perfectly innocent child nudity.  The Caldecott committee didn't blush.  A New York City skyline created from the items in a kitchen pantry?  Genius!
  • The Little Bear series, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Sendak.  Our Girl first fell in love with the television series but the books are far better.  Little Bear's Visit is my personal favorite.
I found out about Sendak's death in May 2012 during my drive home from work.   NPR's Fresh Air, which had hosted the man four times, replayed highlights from his interviews with Terry Gross.  Sendak lived to the age of 83 and had been ill for many years so his death was far from surprising.  I still couldn't help feeling I had lost an old friend.  And yet, I knew that millions of people all over the world would celebrate his life that evening just as I planned to do, by reading his books aloud to their loved ones.  What better send off could a man possibly have?

Go check out the other entries in the Ode-athon:


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Star Trek: The Menagerie, Part II

Episode: "The Menagerie, Part II"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 12
Original Air Date: November 24, 1966
via Memory Alpha
In last week's installment, I touched upon the production history of "The Menagerie," the only two-part episode of Star Trek's original series. Having now watched the second part, I am better able to offer my thoughts on the story.

The novelties on offer for the devotees are numerous in "The Menagerie."  In addition to being the only two-parter of the originals, the episode marks the last on-screen appearance of Christopher Pike, Kirk's predecessor as captain of the Enterprise - the last, that is, until he hit the big screen in J.J. Abrams's 2009 reboot film.  It was also the public's only glimpse of footage from the original pilot until it was finally aired on television in 1988.  The draw for me, however, was the use of Spock as plot device.

Because of the inclusion of the pilot footage, the story gets quite complicated so for the sake of this exercise, I shall simplify: Spock kidnaps Pike, his own former commanding officer, and hijacks the Enterprise.  Next, he sets course for Talos IV - a capital crime in the Federation, apparently - then promptly surrenders himself to the court martial process.  Quite a set up, even without the older material thrown in the mix. 

Ultimately, Spock is vindicated, of course.  We all know he will be.  Trek just isn't Trek if Spock is executed in the twelfth episode.  But the plot is crafted cleverly enough to plant a seed of doubt, even for a long-devoted fan.  We all know Spock is infallible, reason over emotion always wins - except when it doesn't.  In the end, he believes his logic was flawless from the start but he's forgiven for all of his offenses because his heart was in the right place: on the right side of his torso, obviously.

*****
via Memory Alpha

Susan Oliver (Vina) was born Charlotte Grecke, February 13, 1932 in New York City.  She made her first major television appearance on Goodyear TV Playhouse in 1955.  Her first movie was The Green-Eyed Blonde in 1957.  She had the title role in that one, surprising as her eyes in Star Trek are a stunning crystal blue.  She is credited in "The Menagerie" as a result of her role in the pilot.  She doesn't feature in the new material.  Oliver died in 1990 of lung cancer.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Family Movie Night: Gone with the Wind

Title: Gone with the Wind
Director: Victor Fleming
Original Release: 1939
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia

In my Wizard of Oz post, I first presented 1939 as Hollywood's golden year.  The crown jewel of that year was Gone with the Wind, American cinema's great tale of opulence and misery.  In this year of years, Gone with the Wind dominated the Oscars with 13 nominations and ten wins, including Best Picutre.  When adjusted for inflation, the movie is still the highest grossing box office draw of all time.



From a strictly artistic perspective, Gone with the Wind is a stunning achievement, winning Academy Awards for both cinematography and art direction.  For those unfamiliar with the narrative, Scarlett O'Hara is the belle of antebellum Atlanta.  The movie (and the Margaret Mitchell novel upon which it is based) follows Scarlett's adventures through the Civil War and reconstruction as her plantation home is destroyed, then her fortune rebuilt through wit and guile.  Of course, the real fun is in her marital adventures.

The social politics of the story, however, are highly problematic to say the least.  The movie comes across as practically a propaganda film in favor of the Old South with cringe-inducing racial stereotypes of the slaves and freedmen.  The institution of slavery is never exactly condemned, nor acknowledged as the foundation of the carefree, aristocratic lifestyle which had been lost in the war.  Also, a marital rape occurs in the film's second act (included in the trailer above) and is forgiven far too quickly.  One could easily dismiss such charges as a product of the time but Gone with the Wind came under plenty of fire for them in its own era as well.  Watching in 2013, parts of the movie are downright painful.

The film's score, composed by Max Steiner, is one of the classics of the genre.  Steiner drew heavily upon the work of Stephen Foster among others.  The most immediately recognizable piece is "Tara's Theme":



Despite the music's lasting legacy, Original Score was the only Oscar category in which Gone with the Wind lost out to The Wizard of Oz.

Multi-generational considerations:
  • The movie is definitely long, clocking in at nearly four hours.  We spread it out over two days.
  • After we finished, we asked Our Girl what she thought.  Her response: "I liked it but it was very sad... I wonder what happened to the cat."  Bonnie (Scarlett's daughter) comes back from London with a kitten, you see, never to be seen again.