Friday, August 30, 2019

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR SEPTEMBER ON TCM


"Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you'll duck soup the rest of your life."
- Groucho Marx

Groucho, Gummo, Minnie, Zeppo, Sam, Chico, Harpo

Minnie's boys were born for the stage. Minnie Schoenberg (1865-1929) and her parents were German entertainers who immigrated to NYC where Minnie married a tailor from France, Sam (Simon) Marx and raised her family of troupers.

The musically talented brothers hit the Vaudeville circuit at various ages and in various groupings following the lead of their uncle Albert, renowned as Al Shean of Gallagher and Shean. Evolution and experience found music taking a step behind comedy in the act and it was their wit and physicality which took The Marx Brothers to success on Broadway. As is the way of the world, Broadway success led to the high sign from Hollywood where Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo signed a five-picture deal with Paramount.

Duck Soup, 1933 was the fifth movie starring The Four Marx Brothers and the last movie starring The Four Marx Brothers. Zeppo became fed up with being a straight man to his zany older brothers and joined their brother Milton aka Gummo as an agent, as well as becoming an inventor.

Margaret Dumont, Groucho

Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) has, despite all apparent efforts to the contrary, charmed the wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) to the point where she will only assist the country of Freedonia financially if said Firefly is placed in the exalted position of leader of the country. Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of neighbouring Sylvania is also interested in Mrs. Teasdale's bank account and sets about sabotaging Firefly with a couple of inept spies, Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo).

Chico, Zeppo, Groucho, Harpo

Comic complications abound thanks to Firefly's secretary Roland (Zeppo), the exotic Vera (Raquel Torres), and a lemonade vendor (Edgar Kennedy). To be entirely truthful, comic complications abound because nobody knows what they're doing! Not the spies, not the various cabinet members, not Mrs. Teasdale, and not Rufus T. Firefly. With money and patriotic pride at stake, of course, you know this means war.

Harry Ruby, Bert Kalmar

Songwriters Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar (Three Little Words) wrote the story and the songs for Duck Soup. Such songs as His Excellency is Due, These Are the Laws of My Administration, and The Country's Going to War. Toe-tappers if ever there were!

Duck Soup is 1 hour and 8 minutes of wit and mayhem involving mirrors, bathtubs, production numbers, and bombs. Benito Mussolini hated it, you'll love it!

Leo McCarey, Chico, Harpo

"The most surprising thing about this film is that I succeeded in not going crazy, for I really did not want to work with them: they were completely mad."
- Leo McCarey, director


TCM is treating Duck Soup as an insomniac's delight by screening it on Saturday, September 14th at 2:00 a.m. EST. If you have seen the movie a gazillion times, take the opportunity to share it with a newbie and photograph the reaction. Here is my daughter Janet watching the end credits when I shared Duck Soup with her last year. 


"What did I just watch?!?"










Sunday, August 25, 2019

VIVE LA FRANCE! Blogathon: Paris Blues (1961)


We are being swept up in a Bastille Day celebration with Patricia of Lady Eve's Reel Life and Christian of Silver Screen Modes. Click HERE and cheer Vive la France!



Paris is filled with Parisiens

Fans greet their idol, "Wild Man" Moore
Louis Armstrong

Parisiens who play and work at night, and sleep in the day. Parisiens who sleep at night, and play and work in the day. Flower sellers. Restauranteurs. Gypsies. Children. Musicians and lovers. Denizens of crowded basement jazz clubs and partiers on the fabled rooftops of the city.


Paris is filled with expats

Eddie Cook, Ram Bowen
Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman

Reed man Eddie Cook played by Sidney Poitier is at home in Paris. Here he is a musician. Back home he is a "black musician." Trombonist Ram Bowen played by Paul Newman has garnered a devoted fan following while pursuing a dream of becoming a serious composer, or is it a composer of serious music?


Paris is filled with tourists

Connie Lampson, Lillian Corning
Diahann Carroll, Joanne Woodward

Pretty teacher Connie Lampson played by Diahann Carroll is on a two week Paris vacation with her friend Lillian Corning played by Joanne Woodward, a divorced mother. They enjoy music.


Paris is filled with lovers

Connie Lampson, Eddie Collins
Diahann Carroll, Sidney Poitier

Ram was attracted to Connie upon meeting her. His piercing blue eyes and brooding manner were no weapon against the attraction between Connie and Eddie. The love developing between the teacher and the musician is complicated by deeply ingrained attitudes. Eddie has found his comfort zone in Paris. Connie believes Eddie is running away. She maintains her roots "home", back in the States. She believes you must make a stand and fight for rights. She wants Eddie to return and fight the good fight with her.

Lillian Corning, Ram Bowen
Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman

Ram's piercing blue eyes and brooding manner are like a magnet to Lillian. She is not willing to waste one moment of her vacation. Perhaps she sees what she wants to see in Ram. Love works that way sometimes.


Paris is a place where dreams come true, where dreams die and where dreams are reborn



Jazz bona fides

Louis Armstrong, Paul Newman, Duke Ellington

The score to Paris Blues features Duke Ellington arrangements of Duke Ellington music, with two tracks by Louis Armstrong. Paul Newman was coached on the trombone by Billy Byers and Murray McEachern played on the soundtrack. Paul Gonsalves played for Sidney Poitier.

The soundtrack album was nominated for the 1962 Grammy in the category Best Soundtrack Album or Recording or Score from Motion Picture or Television. The winner was Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry Mancini.

Duke Ellington was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture which was won by the team behind West Side Story. I feel he should have been more properly nominated for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture which was won by Henry Mancini for Breakfast at Tiffany's.

 


Background


Martin Ritt directed Paris Blues on location in Paris. This was Ritt's second film with Poitier following Edge of the City, the second of five with Newman, and final of four with Joanne Woodward.

The screenplay is based on a 1957 novel by Harold Flender. The main characters in the novel were Eddie and Connie with their romance and struggle with race a focus. The characters played by Newman and Woodward were secondary in the novel and much changed for the film. An early adaptation had changed the focus to two inter-racial romances. One can assume that a certain apprehension and an eye to box office spurred the film in its final form.

Paris Blues can be enjoyed on many levels; as a fine showcase for four star-powered actors, the atmosphere of its location filming, and for the music and the character played by the great Louis Armstrong.












Friday, August 23, 2019

THE WIZARD OF OZ BLOGATHON: Ken Darby, Orchestral and Vocal Arrangements


Rebecca Deniston at Taking Up Room is hosting a blogathon dedicated to all things related to L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, and the classic 1939 MGM film on August 23 - 25. Click 3 times to access the contributions: DAY ONE, DAY TWO, DAY THREE.

Ken Darby
May 13, 1909 - January 24, 1992

Composer, arranger, performer, choral director Ken Darby was an honoured member of his profession. He was awarded three Oscars, sharing with Alfred Newman for the scoring of The King and I, 1956, sharing with Andre Previn for the scoring of Porgy and Bess, 1959, and sharing with Alfred Newman for the scoring of Camelot, 1967. Other nominations were for South Pacific, 1958, Flower Drum Song, 1961, and How the West Was Won, 1962. He was awarded the Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album for Porgy and Bess and nominated for Best Soundtrack Album for Flower Drum Song.

The King's Men
Jon Dodson, Ken Darby, Rad Robinson, Bud Linn

The King's Men vocal group was formed in Hollywood in 1929 and enjoyed great success on radio and recordings, performing with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and appearing in movies such as Alexander's Ragtime Band, 1938 as an Army quartet. The group appeared as cowboys in several Hopalong Cassidy movies, and in Stagecoach War, 1940 they even played a gang of singing outlaws.


THE WIZARD OF OZ

Charles Becker as the Munchkin Mayor
Singing voice by Ken Darby

Herbert Stothart hired Ken Darby for MGM and his first screen credit for Orchestral and Vocal Arrangements was for The Wizard of Oz. Along with the song arrangements, and working with Douglas Shearer to create the sound of the Munchkin characters, Ken and the King's Men also performed. Rad Robinson was the voice of coroner, Bud Linn and Jon Dodson voiced The Lollipop Guild, and Ken was "Hizzoner", the esteemed mayor of Munchkin Land.


The Wizard of Oz, 1939 was placed on the National Film Registry in 1989. The film won Oscars for Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's Over the Rainbow and Herbert Stothart's original score. The movie also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Color Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Special Effects.



Hopping, skipping and jumping through Ken Darby's career we land on another childhood favourite, Disney's Make Mine Music, 1946. Ken's work is on display here as a songwriter (Casey at the Bat), choral director (Blue Bayou) and performer with The King's Men (The Martins and the Coys).

Much of Ken Darby's movie career would be spent at 20th Century Fox. Ken's songwriting credits were often uncredited by his choice or attributed to his wife of 60 years Vera Matson. Among these we find the songs in Rancho Notorious, 1952, the theme song to Vicki, 1953, the lyrics to A Little Girl from Little Rock in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the songs in River of No Return, 1954, and your personal favourite that I neglected to mention.

Ken Darby, Elvis Presley

Ken and Elvis Presley wrote/adapted the tunes for the film Love Me Tender, 1956 including changing the ballad Aura Lee into the popular title tune.

Alfred Newman, Ken Darby

One of my favourite musical treats is the score to How the West Was Won for which Alfred Newman and Ken Darby were nominated for the Oscar for Best Music, Score - Substantially Original. Ken wrote the lyrics to How the West Was Won, Nine Hundred Miles from Home, On the Banks of the Sacramento, and music and lyrics for I'm Bound for the Promised Land. The Ken Darby Chorus is heard throughout the score, with Ken singing Shenandoah and When Johnny Comes Marching Home.


Ken Darby
Oscar night, 1968.


Bonus:


Like many of us, Ken Darby was a fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. Unlike many of us, he wrote a book dedicated to the abode of the famous fictional detective. One day it will be on my bookshelf!


Fantasy:


The above photo is from my years in the first soprano section of the Etobicoke Centennial Choir. In my time machine fantasy, I am a much better sight-reader than ever I was, and I can roll my r's like nobody's business. I am also a member of the Ken Darby Chorus.
















Monday, August 19, 2019

FAVOURITE MOVIES: Union Pacific (1939)


Film fans and historians often point to the 1939 movie season for its release of genuine, timeless classics. A roll call of movie titles is all that is needed to back up the claim. The western, a popular genre since movie's beginnings due to its easily available outdoor locations and popular stories proved itself profitable in the B market and respected among the A level releases in the 1920s with such classic titles as 3 Bad Men, The Covered Wagon, The Iron Horse, Hell's Heroes, and Tumbleweed.

During the 1930s, fewer of the more serious westerns were on the studio's must-do list. Singing cowboy programmers and those borrowing Zane Grey stories or merely titles were made for easy profit and to keep contractees busy. We can find occasional breakthroughs such as Annie Oakley and The Arizonian, both from 1935, and The Texas Rangers and DeMille's The Plainsman in 1936.

The 1939 releases, however, saw the adult western once more assert itself with the cinematic perfection of John Ford's Stagecoach and his frontier story Drums Along the Mohawk. Henry King directed Nunnally Johnson's psychological study of the outlaw Jesse James. George Marshall directed the classic adventure/spoof Destry Rides Again for Universal. Warner Brothers got into the act with Michael Curtiz and the rousing Dodge City and Lloyd Bacon with The Oklahoma Kid. Alan Dwan brought the Tombstone story back to life in Frontier Marshal, later to be reworked by Ford as My Darling Clementine.

Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur
The Plainsman, 1936

Cecil B. DeMille's 1939 contribution to the western genre and to the legendary year is Union  Pacific. DeMille's first film had been a western, The Squawman, a movie he would remake twice. The Virginian and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine figure prominently in his filmography. What could he possibly do to top throwing Wild Bill Hickcock, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill Cody, Painted Horse, and Yellow Hand together in The Plainsman? The only place to go was the building of the transcontinental railroad!

A 1936 Ernest Haycox (Stage to Lordsburg) novel called Trouble Shooters involving a character who took care of troubles for the Union Pacific Railroad was the basis for the story of the film adapted by Jack Cunningham (Wagon Wheels) and written by Walter De Leon (Ruggles of Red Gap).

Brian Donlevy, Sheila Darcy

The great undertaking of linking the Union Pacific from the east with the Central Pacific from California is beset by more than political apathy and Mother Nature. Nefarious forces led by a crooked businessman are bedeviling every mile in the Union Pacific's progress. Sid Campeau played by Brian Donlevy has been hired by these forces to cheat and distract the workers with gambling and women at the end of track. The rampant crime causes delay and confusion.

Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Preston

Union Pacific trouble-shooter Jeff Butler played by Joel McCrea has been placed in charge of the railroad's interests. The Civil War veteran is friendly with Campeau's partner Dick Allen played by 21-year-old Robert Preston. The friendship struggles to persist amid their different sides in the matter, and their mutual affection for Mollie Monahan. Barbara Stanwyck plays Mollie, the daughter of an admired engineer, and the postmistress for the railway. Barbara's brogue is both distracting and sweetly sincere. You get used to it.

Akim Tamiroff, Lynne Overman, Joel McCrea

The cast is filled with familiar faces and voices as the story comes to life. Chief among those providing entertainment is Akim Tamiroff and Lynne Overman as the railway overseers assigned to assist Jeff Butler. They are characters! Regis Toomey is a doomed workman and Anthony Quinn a smooth gambler with a quick draw. Robert Barrat is a bully and Richard Denning a young reporter. Evelyn Keyes took a trip over from Tara to play a telegrapher's wife who flirts with her own husband.


Union Pacific has action, adventure, suspense, sacrifice, romance, and humour. The movie has a unique look courtesy of cinematographer Victor Milner. Milner began his career as a newsreel photographer and he brings to these events a sense of their reality and their history. Victor Milner collaborated with Cecil DeMille on eight films including The Plainsman and won an Oscar for his work on Cleopatra.


Union Pacific was Victor Milner's first time shooting Barbara Stanwyck. Their later work includes The Lady Eve, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers and The Furies. Milner would also shoot Joel McCrea for Preston Sturges in The Great Moment and The Palm Beach Story.

Upon its first viewing Union Pacific has the feel of a movie you have seen before. It features every character stereotype you might expect in an epic western; the stalwart hero, the feisty leading lady, and the roguish scoundrel. Every plot cliche established from caveman days makes an appearance from a daring robbery to an Indian attack to a train wreck.

I felt comfortably at home with Union Pacific on my first viewing. It was presented by Elwy Yost on TVOntario's beloved Saturday Night at the Movies (1974-1999), which featured an uncut double bill with an educational component. The movie is pleasant in its familiarity and admirable in its craft. I also felt that way on my most recent viewing where the visit with this old movie friends was accompanied by a companionable glass of wine.


The antique railway equipment and engines used in this film and future endeavours are now housed in a museum in Carson City, Nevada. 

Union Pacific was awarded a Palm d'Or in 2002 by the Cannes Film Festival in recognition of the submissions of the 1939 inaugural event which did not take place until after WW2 in 1946.












Tuesday, August 13, 2019

THE FIFTH ANNUAL BARRYMORE TRILOGY BLOGATHON: On Borrowed Time (1939)


Lawrence Edward Watkin's moving and thoughtful novel On Borrowed Time was adapted by playwright Paul Osborn for the Broadway stage with its themes of death and life presented to the audience in all its intimacy in 1938.

Frank Conroy, Dudley Digges, Peter Miner

That first production starred Dudley Digges as Julian, Frank Conroy as Mr. Brink, Dorothy Stickney as Nellie, Jean Adair as Aunt Demetria, and Peter Miner as Pud. MGM bought the rights to film the play and found an equally wonderful cast in Hollywood.



Today's look at the MGM production of On Borrowed Time is for The Fifth Annual Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon hosted by Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Gabriela at Pale Writer, running from August 13th to 15th. Access the articles HERE or HERE.


Lionel Barrymore, Bobs Watson, Eily Malyon, Beulah Bondi

Lionel Barrymore and Beulah Bondi portray Julian and Nellie. On Borrowed Time would be the fourth film to feature the two actors following Christopher Bean and The Stranger's Return in 1933, The Gorgeous Hussy in 1936, and ending with It's a Wonderful Life in 1946 and Lone Star in 1952. 

Cedric Hardwicke, Lionel Barrymore, Bobs Watson

Sir Cedric Hardwicke was cast as Mr. Brink, with Bobs Watson as Pud and Eily Malyon as Aunt Demetria Riffle. Hardwicke's Mr. Brink is an entity entrusted with the responsibility of escorting souls into the hereafter. Gramps Northrup tells Pud the afterlife is the place "where the woodbine twineth."

Mr. Brink is calm and patient, with a low and soothing voice. Mr. Brink is accustomed to anxiety or reluctance from those he encounters. Mr. Brink will inveigle his subject or resignedly await their acceptance. Mr. Brink is rarely caught by surprise or perturbed. Gramps Northrup greatly perturbs Mr. Brink.

The Northrop household was once a bustling family home consisting of Dr. and Mrs. James Northrop, his parents Julian and Nellie, and the young son of the family, Pud. The young doctor and his wife gave Mr. Brink a lift in their car. The loss is a difficult one but made easier for Pud with the presence of his Gramps whom he loves more than anything in the world.

Demetria Riffle is Pud's maternal aunt and the loss of her sister is most difficult because she was expecting the gift of a much-desired trip to California. Learning that savings and an insurance policy to the tune of $55,000 are Pud's legacy, Demetria schemes to get control of the boy and his money. Demetria tries to slander Northrup's housekeeper Marcia played by Una Merkel, or at least discredit her in Nellie's eyes. Gramps tries to get ahead of Demetria's plans but the avaricious woman is too smart and quick for him.

Mr. Brink visits Nellie, who is very tired and almost finished her knitting. She is ready to accept Mr. Brink's hand. Mr. Brink had visited Gramps once before but was rebuffed in no uncertain terms. Pud was there and, as was his way, echoed his grandfather's sentiments.

Gramps had performed what he said was a good deed to which Pud advised him to make a wish and it would come true. When yet another boy tried stealing apples from their backyard tree Gramps declared that he wished he could keep such thieves up in the tree, and this wish came to be. When Mr. Brinks visited Gramps a second time, the old man asked Mr. Brink to reach him one of the Golden Russets from the tree, and Death was caught in the branches.

No one can die with Mr. Brink out of commission. What does Gramps Northrup care? His one concern is Pud. Pud must be kept out of the clutches of Demetria Riffle. Pud must be allowed to grow up a healthy, fun-loving boy, and not be turned into a sanctimonious snob. Pud needs his Gramps and Mr. Brinks has no argument to sway the old man.

Lionel Barrymore, Bobs Watson

Eventually, Dr. Evans played by Henry Travers becomes a believer in Gramp's crazy story of Mr. Brink. His calm and reasonable arguments also fall on deaf ears but he warns Julian Northrop that he will stop at nothing to obtain Mr. Brink's release from the tree as there is much suffering that only Brinks can relieve. Dr. Evans commits Gramps to a mental institution, so either way, Pud will end up out of his reach. Caught in a seemingly impossible situation, Gramps is still wily enough to turn things around to his advantage. Mr. Brinks, however, will have the final say.

Mr. Brinks: "Now you understand how much it means to your whole world to deny me."

Lionel Barrymore is cagey, bombastic, forlorn, charming, playful, admirable and stubborn in the role of Julian "Gramps" Northrup. Harold S. Bucquet, who directed Barrymore in nine of the Dr. Kildare/Gillespie pictures was the director of On Borrowed Time. A history of arthritis and broken hips led to Lionel's working from a wheelchair, and these pictures with Bucquet represent his moving to that phase of his life and career fulltime.

On Borrowed Time is an emotional and memorable fantasy produced by Sidney Franklin (Waterloo Bridge) at MGM with cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg (Gaslight), and a score by Franz Waxman (Peyton Place). I was surprised to note that with its pedigree and virtues, On Borrowed Time did not receive any award nominations before recalling that its year of release was 1939 when Hollywood enjoyed a surfeit of quality.


Connections:

Beulah Bondi who played Nellie in our movie also played the role in a 1953 Broadway revival of On Borrowed Time opposite Victor Moore, her co-star in the Leo McCarey classic Make Way for Tomorrow. David Stollery (The Adventures of Spin and Marty) played young Pud and Leo G. Carroll (The Man from U.N.C.L.E) was Mr. Brink.

Beulah Bondi again played Nellie in a 1957 television production on the Hallmark Hall of Fame with Ed Wynn as Gramps, Claude Rains as Mr. Brink, and Margaret Hamilton as Demetria.

Dorothy Stickney who played Nellie in the 1938 Broadway production repeated the role on television in 1949 on The Ford Theatre Hour with Walter Hampden as Gramps and Basil Rathbone as Mr. Brink.












Friday, August 2, 2019

THE 6TH ANNUAL RULE BRITANNIA BLOGATHON: The Detective (1954)


Terence at A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting his annual salute to Britain and the movies. Click HERE for the contributions to The 6th Annual Rule Britannia Blogathon.

During the 1950s Columbia Studios released several films in a co-production agreement with independent producers and international studios, including those in Great Britain. The Detective is one of the successes of that business model.

A bit of philosophy, a bit of whimsey, a bit of mystery, and delightful companionship is found in G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories.

In The Blue Cross, published in 1910, the French detective Valentin is searching for the famous and very tall thief Flambeau. During his travels, Valentin comes across "...a very short Roman Catholic priest going up from a small Essex village."


"The little priest was so much the essence of those Eastern flats: he had a face as round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling; he had eyes as empty as the North Sea; he had several brown paper parcels which he was quite incapable of collection. The Eucharistic Congress had doubtless sucked out of their local stagnation many such creatures, blind and helpless, like moles disinterred."
- G.K. Chesterton

Thelma Schnee, Maurice Rapf, and director Robert Hamer are credited with the screenplay for our 1954 film The Detective. The movie skillfully reworks the story told in The Blue Cross along with Father Brown's continuing quest to save M. Flambeau from himself.

We are introduced to Father Brown as a man fascinated by crime and criminals. He knows the wicked ways of his parishioners. He has studied their habits and he works out ways to make them see the error of their ways and adapt to walking the straight and narrow. This habit of the practical application of his theology gets Father Brown in trouble with The Bishop played by Cecil Parker, but Father Brown is one of those "to thine own self be true" fellows, and everyone knows he will continue on as he intends.

"Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?"
- G.K. Chesterton

A decorative cross from Father Brown's Church is to be sent to a Eucharistic Congress in France and while its value is not entirely monetary, Scotland Yard has arranged for protection in its transport. Father Brown is convinced that the Yard would bring undue attention to the Cross of St. Augustine and circumvents The Bishop's wishes and the official's plans.

The journey over the Channel brings Father Brown into contact with many suspects, but only one Flambeau. Peter Finch plays the debonair and daring thief. Disguised as a priest he befriends the innocent-looking Father Brown with the goal of relieving the cleric of his treasure. Flambeau is unaware that Father Brown has not only tasked himself with safely delivering the Cross to the Congress, but with rehabilitating the famous Flambeau.

The characters in The Detective are expertly played by Joan Greenwood as a wealthy widow with an awakening sense of adventure, a crook turned chauffeur played by Sid James who longs to backslide, the exasperated Inspector played by Bernard Lee, and the ancient librarian played by Ernest Thesiger. Each character and each incident in the journey that is The Detective are filled with genuine emotion and wit.


It is, however, the exploits of and the interactions between Father Brown and Flambeau as played by Alec Guinness and Peter Finch that fascinate and delight the audience. The showiness inherent in the character of Flambeau could have led to hamminess with a less skilled actor in control. The focus and seeming vagueness in Father Brown could become wearisome if Alec Guinness didn't imbue his character with innate intelligence and humour.

The odd pair share a journey and a chase across countries, through mansions and auction houses, from vineyards to underground graveyards.

Flambeau: "What are you really after, your cross or my soul?"
Father Brown: "Both, of course."
Flambeau:  "Well, come and find us. I'll make you a bargain: whatever you can find you shall have."
Father Brown: "I accept your bargain."
Flambeau: "It would have been an interesting encounter. Pity it will never take place." 

Certainly, we are in no doubt that the determined Father Brown will have his victory. It is just a question of how and when. It is a question we long to see answered. There is a satisfaction to the conclusion of The Detective that falls outside of the expected gratification of a just solution to a puzzle. In the matter of Father Brown and Flambeau, we are pleased in the validation of Father Brown's faith and practical application of his philosophy, and also pleased for Flambeau.


Trivia:


Father Brown was first adapted for the screen 20 years earlier for Paramount starring Walter Connolly as Father Ignatius Brown and Paul Lukas as Flambeau. Mervyn Johns played Father Brown in a BBC television feature in 1964. An Austrian television series, Pater Brown ran from 1966-1972. Kenneth More starred as Father Brown in a 1974 series for ATV and Mark Williams has been playing Father Brown for the BBC since 2013 in a series which airs in North America on PBS.

















Book Review: A Treasure from Dan Van Neste

Claire Dodd, Nancy Carroll, Gloria Stuart Zachary Scott, Gloria Dickson, John Hodiak Paula Raymond, Edward Norris, Karen Morley ...