Sunday, May 1, 2016

Silent Sundays: Tess of the Storm Country (1914)

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          In this 1914 version of the story Tess of the Storm Country, Mary Pickford plays Tessibel “Tess” Skinner. Tess and her father live on a piece of land near a body water as squatters. They are poor but peaceful making a meager living net fishing. The wealthy land owner who’s land they squat on wants all the squatters to leave. Tess, through a local lawyer, finds out about squatters’ rights and they can all stay. The wealthy land owner, Elias Graves, is not happy about this. To get back at the squatters he has some environmental people come around and ban net fishing.
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            Elias has a son named Frederick who studies at a theological school. They take a walk down by where the squatters are settled and there they meet Tess. Frederick likes Tess and she likes him. He comes back occasionally to see her when he his home from school.
            Another squatter is murdered and the blame is falsely placed on Tess’s father. She tries to prove he is a good man and a good father but that does not swing the jury who accuse him of the murder and send him to hang. After the sentencing Frederick comes around more to be with Tess. He feels awful about what happened to her father.
            Sometime later Frederick learns that Dan has been killed. In grief Frederick goes away for a while to get his mind off of his loss. Frederick has a sister named Teola. Teola had been in love with Dan and finds out that she is pregnant with his child out of wedlock. Teola likes and trusts Tess and stays with her until her baby is born. The baby stays with Tess since Teola’s family cannot know about what has happened.
            Of course there is then a mix up with Frederick and this no good squatter thinking the baby is Tess’s. Tess is a good friend and never reveals who the baby really belongs to. Towards the end of the story the baby becomes sick and is not going to survive very long. The baby has not been baptized so Tess tries to bring the baby to the church to be so. The priest is willing but Elias Graves is there and gets into an uproar about Tess being there thinking she is an unwed mother. Tess performs her own prayers on the baby. Teola is at church and breaks down and confesses that the baby is hers.
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Image result for tess of the storm country 1914
            Fredrick goes to see Tess later on. He tells Tess that his mother and father send their thanks and gratitude for watching over the baby and helping Teola and also that Teola has died. But the story does not end on a sad note. Fredrick and Tess share their first kiss.
            Tess of the Storm Country was a typical melodrama. It was not too bad. Seeing a twenty-one-year-old Mary Pickford play a feisty, strong character was great. She made Tess, and the whole film enjoyable to watch. Pickford would reprise her role of Tess Skinner eight years later in a remake of Tess of the Storm Country. This 1914 version is definitely worth seeing especially if you like Mary Pickford. The film is available to view in full on YouTube. 
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)


“If you want to kill me, you'd better hurry, because I'm 100 years old.”

            I long to travel the world and have experiences I could only dream about. I am a curious person who loves history and learning about different cultures. I would love to reminisce in my old age about the places I have been and the people I have met and the fun things I did on my travels. I want a full life, well lived life kind of like the main character in The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
            Allan Karlsson is one hundred years old. He lives in a nursing home. His life has been filled living one adventure to the next rather by accident most of the time. Allan does not want to be in the nursing home for his birthday so he climbs out the window of his room and heads to a bus station. Since Allan is not totally in right mind he gets confused along the way. At the station is a young man who looks like he is up to absolutely no good. The guy wants to go to the bathroom but his suitcase is too big to take into the small bathroom with him. He has Allan hold it for him. Unfortunately for the guy Allan walks out of the station onto a bus without even realizing he has the suitcase.
Image result for the 100 hundred year old man film
Image result for the 100 hundred year old man film
            Allan walks up to the house of an older man named Julius. Julius feeds Allan and they drink for a little while. As they are eating and drinking Allan regales Julius with some stories from his life such as the fact that he liked to blow things up from the time he was very young and that his father was arrested in Russia for endorsing contraception. The guy from the train station shows up looking for the suitcase. Julius winds up knocking the guy out and he and Allan look in the suitcase. The suitcase is full of thousands of dollars. Julius had placed the guy in his freezer but forgot to turn the cold air off and the guy winds up freezing to death.
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            After this incident Allan, Julius, and others they pick up along the way are brought into a big adventure of running away from drug dealers and almost being killed by them. Throughout the present story, stories and adventures from Allan’s past are woven and you can see why he did not want to celebrate his one hundredth birthday in a stuffy old nursing home.
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            The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was a good movie. The length was a little too long for me and there were parts that definitely dragged but for the most part it was enjoyable. The story reminded me of Big Fish and Amelie in certain ways. All three movies tell the stories of people who led interesting, adventure filled lives in so many ways, real or imagined. I would love to be like Allan who had this insanely long adventurous life and was ready for more at one hundred. Besides the length and the fact that it flip flops between Swedish and English which to me interrupts the flow and storytelling a bit, The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a movie a recommend seeing if you can find it. 
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If you're interested I made a video for this movie over on my YouTube channel which was a viewer request. If you guys have any suggestions of what I should watch for my channel (it can be any kind of movie new or old) please let me know either through my email or twitter which are listed on the sidebar.