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Speaking of Costume Dramas...

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)



There is no denying the huge popular and critical appeal of the granddaddy of all costume dramas, Downton Abbey. And with good reason: a tremendous cast, a glorious real life manor for a location, attention to period detail like you can't believe, costumes that leave you drooling, love, death, revenge, war, plague — I ask you, what's not to like!

For all those of you eagerly awaiting the start of Season Four on January 5, 2014 why not take the opportunity to catch up on the first 3 seasons. Haven't seen it yet? What on earth are you waiting for? Find out why people have been talking about this series for the past three years.

And because we here at CPL know how tremendously popular this series is, even though it has not yet aired, we have it on order and you can place your holds on Season 4 already! How's that for proactive?

Did he or didn't he?

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How does a country kid from Stratford, England, with little verifiable education, go on to become one of the greatest literary geniuses of all times? How does a man who lived in the 16th century become one of the most recognizable faces in the world today -- right up there with Jesus, Ghandi and Bob Marley? How does a person from 500 years ago become one of the most oft-quoted people in history?

We are of course talking about Shakespeare, and depending on your school of thought, he either was all of these things, or none. If you are an Oxfordian, you believe all these kudos belong to the Earl of Oxford; if you are a Stratfordian, then you are firmly in the Shakespeare camp.

The new movie "Anonymous" (currently playing in theatres) has once again stirred up this debate, positing some fun and racey alternatives to who can claim the title "The Bard".

But irrespective of who wrote the 38 plays, hundreds of sonnets and other various literature, there is no denying the genius. And CPL is loaded with everything Shakespeare. A quick search of just the name brings up some 1600 offerings! There are 114 titles just for dvd's -- far too many to name, so use Shakespeare DVD as your search term to see some of the greatest names in acting take on some of the greatest words ever put down on paper.

Finally, we have one of the coolest E-Library resources at CPL... "Theatre in Video".

Just go to "E Library" ---> "Art & Music" and scroll down to the bottom of the list to watch FREE streaming vids of some of the best live performances of Shakespeare. Great for theatre buffs (it's got WAY more than just Shakespeare) and students who just can't quite grasp that Elizabethan rhetoric until they hear it out loud.

by Anonymous

Redux- The Three Musketeers

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The Three Musketeers novel by Alexandre Dumas was first serialized in March of 1844. It recounts the adventures of a young man named D’Artagnan after he travels to Paris to join the Musketeers of the Guard. The friends he makes are the musketeers for whom the novel is named- Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The book was incredibly popular at the time and has proved even more successful as a movie. The first film I could find was 1903 and since then there have been dozens of retellings, re-imaginings, sequels, prequels, serializations, mini series and cross-overs. Some of the ones I found include Tri Mushketyora from Russia, Los Tres Mosqueteros from Spain, El forsane el talata from Egypt, Se tofangdar from Iran and Long men san jian ke from Malaysia. Obviously a good story knows no borders

CPL has no less than 9 versions:

1)We have the 1921 silent with arguably one of the world’s greatest swashbucklers, Douglas Fairbanks. If you have never seen Fairbanks in action, don't let the non-talkie put you off. In fact embrace the lack of words and just enjoy his amazing athletic ability 2) the 1939 with Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers;

3) 1948 with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly ,Vincent Price and June Allyson-not so much swashing here as dancing; 4) from BBC in 1966 with Jeremy Brett of Sherlock Holmes fame;

5) The 1974 release is likely one you are familiar with. This had a huge and impressive cast with the big names de jour including Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee and Charlton Heston. This one comes as a double and has the Four Musketeers sequel. These are great fun.

6) Another one likely on your radar is 1993’s release with young guns Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt and Tim Curry.

7) 2004 from Disney- with Mickey, Donald and Goofy--- what inspired casting!!

8) Barbie and the Three Musketeers- animated of course. 9) and I can barely bring myself to mention this one- it’s with the Three Stooges.

A good cross over is The Man in the Iron Mask which blends two stories by Dumas. In this 1997 release the 4 amigos are trying to save the wrongly imprisoned “man” from the evil clutches of Louis the 14th. The dual role is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in one of the few things he’s done that I didn’t care for. But I enjoyed the older, wiser, and more careworn Musketeers as played by Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich and Gerard Deparedieu.

Now of course all things aren’t created equal so I leave you to pick and choose for yourself- my money is on Michael York (it made him a star), and Douglas Fairbanks. This brings me to the newest version in theatres now. I just saw this at a sneak preview and I have to say it is absurd, over the top, improbable and the most fun I have had at a movie in ages! Take the kids, take the grandparents----spend the extra bucks for the excellent 3D, suspend disbelief and just enjoy......

Royals Behaving Badly

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The British monarchy has always been a great go-to for directors, screen writers and actors. And with good reason---the history is rife with scandal, sex, murder, revolt, religion, politics and royalty generally behaving badly. With all the buzz around this years front runner -The King's Speech (with 11 nominations and currently on order ot CPL) I thought I'd recommend some other movies and series based on Royals. A great many of these are previous Oscar nominees and big winners.

Anne of the thousand days/Mary Queen of Scots---you all know the story---and these are excellent retellings.

Becket-Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole---the story of the friendship between Henry 2 and his close friend and confident.

A Man for All Seasons- an Oscar win for Paul Scofield playing Thomas Moore, the man who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church for not allowing a divorce and remarriage.

The Queen---Helen Mirren's big win from 2006 as Q E 2. The resemblance is uncanny, the performance excellent, the story highly respectful.

Elizabeth and Elizabeth the Golden Age with Cate Blanchett ---there are actually many more Liz the First to choose from in our collection (so many in fact it almost needs it's own post). Another fave of mine is The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Errol Flynn and Bette Davis.

The Lost Prince- a big Golden Globe winner for TV drama from 2003. The story of the British royal prince locked away because of his epilepsy.

Lady Jane---from 1986 with Helena Bonham Carter (nominated this year for Best supporting Actress in The King's Speech), and Cary Elwes. A not so well known story about the 9 day reign of Lady Jane Grey.

Lion in Winter- two versions, the Peter O'toole, Katherine Hepburn and the Glenn Close Patrick Stewart television remake. Hepburn won an Oscar for best Actress for hers. At the time she became only the third perfomer to win consecutive best acting awards and the first prerformer ever to win three Oscars for a lead.

Young Victoria---Emily Blunt as Victoria during her early turbulent years

Mrs. Brown---Judi Dench as Victoria during her later widowed years.

The Tudors--- the steamy, highly popular television series wherein Henry VIII comes off as incredibly sexy and not terribly despicable. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it certainly is entertaining. We have four complete seasons.

The Madness of King George---in his case, it was not good to be King. The royal who 'lost the colonies'.

And just becuse it is so much fun, the wonderful musical Camelot.

You'll be surprised (or maybe not) how the same faces keep recurring- O'Toole, Burton, Jacobi, Stewart, Dench, Mirren.