Gosford Park


The plot for the 2001 British mystery film Gosford Park was conceived and written in the style of the traditional British detective fiction - absolutely brilliant and a long time coming! I mean there are so very few of them being made these days aren't there, apart from the various current British detective or crime television series, which themselves have more modern scripts, and do not entirely follow the traditional mystery pattern. For those of you who are die-hard British detective fiction fans, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Thank goodness I can still watch, whenever I choose to, my older, or newer, as the case may be, more traditional series, albeit not necessarily on television, like Caroline Graham's Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Agatha Christie's Marple, Ngaio Marsh's The Inspector Allen Mysteries, Margery Allingham's Campion, the various series productions of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and its spin-off Lewis, Alan Hunter's Inspector George Gently, ... I could go on ... maybe I will make a list for you ... in another post perhaps.

But back to Gosford Park, the story is witty and charming, and so alive and colourful, in the dialogue especially, and it does not tend to prolong any scene unnecessarily. In that sense the film is quite 'fast-paced', the story unfolding in a natural, comfortable flow. I do admit some British programmes can be a little staid, platonic and dry sometimes. The witty part of the film is mostly due to Dame Maggie Smith's character, sharp-tongued, snobbish Constance, Countess of Trentham, and Stephen Fry's obtuse, slow-moving Inspector Thompson. I absolutely love Dame Maggie Smith! She brings to the characters she plays exactly what is needed and in exactly the right amount.

So to all aficionados of the traditional British detective fiction, you must watch Gosford Park ... but I suspect you already have ... well, no harm in watching it again ... yes, it is that sort of film that one can watch over and over again ... as such makes for an excellent gift.





Jeremy Brett And Sherlock Holmes


Jeremy Brett is best remembered for his portrayal of the world-famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.

In a series of adaptations by John Hawkesworth and other writers from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, produced by Granada Television (now ITV Granada), and originally broadcast by ITV in the United Kingdom, Jeremy appeared alongside David Burke and, latterly, Edward Hardwicke as Doctor John H. Watson.

Jeremy and Edward also appeared on stage together during 1988 and 1989 in a theatrical adaptation The Secret Of Sherlock Holmes, written by Jeremy's friend, playwright Jeremy Paul, and directed by Patrick Garland. The play ran at Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End and the production subsequently toured.

Granada's production, collectively known as Sherlock Holmes, adapted 42 of Sir Arthur's stories in 41 episodes and 5 feature-length specials over 4 separate series made between 1984 and 1994: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1984-985); The Return Of Sherlock Holmes (1986-1988); The Case-book Of Sherlock Holmes (1991-1993); The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes (1994).

A short episode was also produced as part of The Four Oaks Mystery, which aired during the ITV Telethon in 1992. Sherlock Holmes appeared in the first part, with the casts of Van der Valk, Taggart and Inspector Wexford appearing in the second, third and fourth parts respectively.



After taking on the demanding role ("Holmes is the hardest part I have ever played - harder than Hamlet or Macbeth"), Jeremy made few other acting appearances, and is now widely considered to be the definitive Holmes of his era; just as Basil Rathbone was at the beginning of the 1940s, and William Gillette during the first third of the 20th century.

Jeremy had previously played Doctor Watson on stage, opposite Charlton Heston as Holmes, in the 1980 Los Angeles production of The Crucifer Of Blood, making him one of only four actors to play both Holmes and Watson professionally.

Jeremy was originally approached by Granada Television in February 1982 to play the iconic detective. The idea was to make a totally authentic and faithful adaptation of the character's best cases. Even though he reportedly feared being typecast, Jeremy eventually accepted the role. He wanted to be the best Sherlock Holmes the world had ever seen. He conducted extensive research on the great detective, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, and was very attentive to discrepancies between the scripts he had been given and Sir Arthur's original stories. One of Jeremy's dearest possessions on the set was his 77-page "Baker Street File", on everything from Holmes' mannerisms, to his eating and drinking habits. While the other actors disappeared to the canteen for lunch, Jeremy would sit alone on the set reading the script, looking at every nuance, even reading Holmes on the weekends and on his holidays. Jeremy once explained that "some actors are becomers - they try to become their characters. When it works, the actor is like a sponge, squeezing himself dry to remove his own personality, then absorbing the character's like a liquid".


Jeremy was obsessed with bringing more passion to the role of Holmes. He introduced Holmes' rather eccentric hand gestures and short violent laughter. He would hurl himself on the ground just to look for a footprint, "he would leap over the furniture or jump onto the parapet of a bridge with no regard for his personal safety."

Holmes' obsessive and depressive personality both fascinated and frightened Jeremy. In many ways, Holmes' personality resembled the actor's own (Jeremy suffered from bipolar disorder), with outbursts of passionate energy, followed by periods of lethargy. It became difficult for him to let go of Holmes after work. He had always been told that the only way for an actor to stay sane was for him to leave his part behind at the end of the day, but Jeremy started dreaming about Holmes, and the dreams turned into nightmares.

Jeremy began to refer to Holmes as "You Know Who", or simply "HIM": "Watson describes You Know Who as a mind without a heart, which is hard to play. Hard to become. So what I have done is invent an inner life". Jeremy invented an imaginary life of Holmes, to fill the hollowness of Holmes' "missing heart", his empty emotional life. He imagined: "...what You Know Who's nanny looked like. She was covered in starch. I don't think he saw his mother until he was about eight years old..." etc.


"Some actors fear if they play Sherlock Holmes for a very long run, the character will steal their soul, leave no corner for the original inhabitant", he once said, but: "Holmes has become the dark side of the moon for me. He is moody and solitary and underneath I am really sociable and gregarious. It has all got too dangerous".

Jeremy's performance is regarded by many critics to have been their favorite rendition of Sherlock Holmes. Upon his death on 12 September 1995, Mel Gussow (the American theater critic, movie critic and author who wrote for The New York Times for 35 years) wrote in an obituary for The New York Times, "Mr. Brett was regarded as the quintessential Holmes: breathtakingly analytical, given to outrageous disguises and the blackest moods and relentless in his enthusiasm for solving the most intricate crimes."

- Jeremy Brett on Wikipedia

- Sherlock Holmes Granada Television 1984 Series on Wikipedia







Classic Horror Stories & Ghostly Tales I

http://www.mysteriesnghostsefiction.com/ghosts.html

Classic Horror Stories & Ghostly Tales I

MnGeFiction's Top Picks of classic tales of horror, mystery and the supernatural, from the masters and mistresses of this genre; dark, fiendish, ghoulish, gothic and creepy tales, long and short ones, and some amusing ones even.


(Note: A few of these authors may not necessarily be categorized exclusively under this genre; they are nevertheless renowned literary authors in their own right.)

(Note: FYI, Kindle versions and preview links are given where available.)



The Dead And The Countesss (1905) by Gertrude Atherton
(A short story collected in The Bell In The Fog, And Other Stories (1905).)



Ghosts That Have Haunted Me (1898) by John Kendrick Bangs
(A short story collected in Ghosts I Have Met, And Some Others (1898).)



A Bottomless Grave (1970) by Ambrose Bierce
(A short story collected in The Complete Short Stories Of Ambrose Bierce (1970), first published in the San Francisco Examiner on 26 February 1888.)



Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë
(A novel.)



In Kropfsberg Keep (1895) by Ralph Adams Cram
(A short story collected in Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories (1895).)



A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens
(A novella, A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol.)



The Signal-Man (1866) by Charles Dickens
(A short story, The Signal-Man was first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round.)


Signs


I absolutely love this film, from my favourite 'horror' man, M. Night Shyamalan.

The story focuses on a former Episcopal priest named Graham Hess, who discovers a series of crop circles in his cornfield. Graham slowly discovers that the phenomena are a result of extraterrestrial life.

For a full synopsis, read here.


The Omen

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This is one of my favourite horror film series which I never tire to watch repeatedly - all three instalments of it!

The Omen is a British-American horror film franchise consisting three instalments orginally.
  • The Omen (1976)
  • Damien: Omen II (1978)
  • (Omen III) The Final Conflict (1981)

The series centres on Damien Thorn, a child born of Satan and given to Robert and Katherine Thorn, before being passed along the Thorn families as a child. It is revealed among the families that Damien is in fact meant to be the Antichrist, and as an adult is attempting to gain control of the Thorn business and reach for the presidency.

http://amzn.to/2nCwXH9

After the third film was produced, a fourth, Omen IV: The Awakening (1991), was made for television, which supposedly serves as the fourth and final addition to the original The Omen franchise series. This fourth film was intended to be the first of many televisual sequels to Twentieth Century Fox's film history of popular titles. Producer Harvey Bernhard, who produced the original three films, felt there could be more done to the series. This was the last film he produced.

http://amzn.to/2mH1E9c

There was a 2006 remake of the original 1976 film, carrying the same title, The Omen (also known as The Omen: 666), and released worldwide on the 6th of June 2006 - the date intentionally reflecting the purported Number Of The Beast, 666.

Three documentaries regarding the series have been made.

Author's note: The Curse Of The Omen (2005) was shown on the UK's Channel 4. You can read about it and also watch it on this excellent link here, or just watch it here.


The Omen on Wikipedia
The Omen (franchise) on Wikipedia
The Omen on Amazon.com
The Omen on Amazon.co.uk