Category Archives: Fun Facts

The Railway Children – 1970’s Film Review

Today I went for a walk in Haworth Yorkshire, tracing the path of the Railway Children film shot in 1970. Here is my 2 line review!

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN

EDITH NESBIT

BLURB

When Father goes away with two strangers one evening, the lives of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered. They and their mother have to move from their comfortable London home to go and live in a simple country cottage, where Mother writes books to make ends meet.
However, they soon come to love the railway that runs near their cottage, and they make a habit of waving to the Old Gentleman who rides on it. They befriend the porter, Perks, and through him learn railway lore and much else.
They have many adventures, and when they save a train from disaster, they are helped by the Old Gentleman to solve the mystery of their father’s disappearance, and the family is happily reunited.

TRAILER TO THE 1970’s FILM JESS WAS RAVING ABOUT

[youtube https://youtu.be/dIks0QVzWLk]

PROJECT GUTENBERG – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!
KINDLE – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!
ITUNES – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – Get your free copy here!

2 LINE REVIEW

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN BOOKSo as promised, as soon as we got back to mine, I found the Railway Children for us to watch. The film was every bit as heartwarming, gentle and wonderful as I had been promised.

The cast is perfectly realised and I instantly fell in love with the caring Bobbie, wise cracking Peter and impetuous Phil – portrayed delightfully by Jenny Agata, Gary Warren and Sally Thomsett.

However, the heart of the film was the children’s mother. Had she not met my approval, the whole set up would have been ruined. Thankfully, the film avoided making the mother a mope or victim and she was brought to life with humour and elegance by Dinah Sheridan.  Her dealings with the ‘mean’ maid at the beginning were just brilliant!

Albert Perks was another triumph – it took me a second to place Doctor Who’s friend Bernard Cribbons in the role. He brought light to his every scene – particularly when interacting with ‘ the Russian’ and his bloomin’ missus. His character also brought the railway to life – making every scene with the trains fun and emotive.

the railway children

The only slight quibble was that I watched the film with two such reprobates. Almost as soon as the film started, himself started to question the portrayal of Bobbie’s relationship with the Doctor! Naturally my easily led mind instantly jumped to several unsavory situations!!

Of course, we were also watching it with an eye to the breathtaking landscape that we had wandered today. It was fascinating to see places that we had just visited – how different it all looked…and how the same. Truly gorgeous countryside – I feel all the honoured.

An utterly lovely film that sticks closely to the source material.

TRAILER TO THE ‘WRONG’ THE RAILWAY CHILDREN

[youtube https://youtu.be/3FsOZyguxqU]

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The sun is shining – let’s binge watch TV!!

So, as you know, I recently attended an Invasion convention (which I blogged about HERE) and clearly it has reignited my love for binge watching TV sessions.

Last week, himself and I immersed ourselves in a Game of Thrones marathon – every episode from the beginning.

Actually, I think it’s better watched this way. Every season feels like an oldie style film* and it’s impressive how well the various story lines overlap, while remaining autonomous. The exception that proves the rule being the ham-fisted stand-alone shambles that was the Sand Snakes (heck, I’d throw in Dorne as a whole) in the most recent series.

you win or you die

Himself and I thankfully share a number of favourites – from characters (DRAGONS!!!, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, Cerci, Brienne, Varys) to pairings (platonic and otherwise – Tyrion and ANYONE, Jaime and Brienne, The Hound and Arya) and a number of loathings (Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsey, The Boltons and – recent addition – Stannis). And as an ardent resident Know-It-All; I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to fill in additional bits and pieces from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books (and thank the skies for online wiki sites!).

Of course the highlights were probably exactly what you’d expect.

dragons

Dragons. winter is coming

Most of season one was just superb. The amount of subtle scene setting and world building was phenomenal and of a far greater scale than I’ve seen in a long time. While violent and explicit; every scene felt as though it was building to a greater whole – not something that we’ve felt across all the series. Adding to the ‘real’ feel of the show are the intergenerational stories. While not all of the cast match the ages as depicted in the books (which I don’t have an issue with. The books are the books; the show is a different reflection of them.), a real effort has been made to show characters of all ages. It’s been such a novelty especially if one is a regular viewer of US network shows which seem to strickly hire hotties from the 18-35 age range. Or CW which seems to near exclusively cast hotties of roughly 20-25 years!

where are my dragons

We were less enamoured with season 2, though still glued to the screen. Sadly, Daenerys growth and development was squandered a touch as it all degenerated into her screeching ‘where are my dragons’ for episodes at a time. Though to be fair, these scenes seemed less grating and fewer in number than when we originally watched them – residual resentment might be playing a part here – I’ll let you know in 5 years if I get over it. The pace certainly picked up though and where we were given a lot of time to get to know characters in season 1; this time round, the viewer was expected to hit the ground running and keep up. The Tyrion and Arya arcs were pretty awesome. Watching a disguised Arya serve under Tywin Lannister for example was a particular highpoint. While poor old Jon Snow  learning all the things he doesn’t know from the wildling Ygritte was just such a crowd pleaser in our house at least.

you know nothing jon snow

Dragons. dragon 01

I love season 3 – take a bow Jamie and Brienne and the brilliantly realised Kingslayer redemptive arc and of course the much lauded Red Wedding – but I can’t deny that it drags for me. The Theon story took far too long to sort itself out while Tyrion took to his books rather than…you know…the cool stuff from last season. Even Daenerys doesn’t excite as much as I’d hoped though she was all fabulous and victorious. Yes, yes, I know the Red Wedding was just spectacularly gruesome and fabulous and Does Not Disappoint but overall this season just fell flat for me.

red wedding

Season 4 pulled it all back together again and introduced some brilliant characters. However, it’s becoming difficult to care too much about the new crop since few of them seem to have much staying power. One bitten…then raped, burned, dismembered and/or dragged bloody and broken across a stable yard floor; twice shy.

purple wedding

 

Season 5 has been the most uneven so far but with some epic high’s! Himself must have watched the final scenes of episode 9 at least 4 or 5 times now – he finds it that compelling! I’ll say more no doubt once the finale has aired and I’m less worried about spoiling anyone!

Dragons.dragon 02

So far, Game of Thrones is one of the few shows that seems to be going from strength to strength and is just as enjoyable during a rewatch (and possibly a little bit more). Well worth the withdrawal pangs that we’ve experienced since.
dragon 06Next up is Dollhouse.

dollhouse

*FUN FACTS – Gone with the Wind (1939) runs for just under 4 hours including intermission. The Satin Slipper (1985) is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. Meanwhile the three Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003) films run for a mere 11 hours and 20 minutes, which almost looks as though it wasn’t even trying. 

Happy National Poetry Day!


Television
Roald Dahl


The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

 

Breaking Bad – Ozymandias – Percy Shelley

OZYMANDIAS

PERCY B SHELLEY


I MET a Traveler from an antique land, 
Who said, “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read, 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
“My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings.” 
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair! 
No thing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare, 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

First published in 1818

The poem above was used to launch the second half of season 5 of Breaking Bad – one of the oddest, most compelling and addictive TV series. The internet is already rife with speculation as to what it all means. Me? I just can’t wait for the remaining episodes to air!



Also posted on Leeds Book Club. 
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