Theme Song From Becket

Something for the weekend.  The theme song from Becket (1964).

Becket (1964), although inheriting the historical howlers that existed in the play, and were known by the playwright Jean Anouilh who wisely preferred a poetic story to prosaic fact,  (Becket was Norman not Saxon, Henry II was not a crowned juvenile delinquent, the armor, as is usual in medieval epics, is all wrong for the period, etc.), this classic film helped awaken in me a desire to learn about the history of the Church.  With masterful performances by Richard Burton as “the holy blessed martyr” and Peter O’Toole as Henry II, the film brought alive to me as a child the high Middle Ages.  The installation sequence brought home to me the important role of ceremony, tradition and symbolism in my Faith, a lesson I have never forgotten.


Bonus:  Consecration scene from Becket:


Published in: on April 4, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Theme Song From Becket  
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Most Positive Portrayal of Viruses on Film

My candidate:



For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things–taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many–those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance–our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

H.G. Wells, ending of The War of the Worlds

Published in: on March 29, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Most Positive Portrayal of Viruses on Film  
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Folsom Prison Blues

Something for the weekend.  Folsom Prison Blues (1953) by the incomparable Johnny Cash, since Illinois is a lockdown state now due to the virus hysteria.  Cash was inspired to write the song after seeing the movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951) which he was serving in the Air Force in West Germany.

Published in: on March 21, 2020 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Folsom Prison Blues  
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Just Because We Could All Use a Laugh

Werner Klemperer, a refugee from the Third Reich who became a naturalized American citizen and served in the US army during World War II, always delighted in making Nazis look ridiculous in his role as Colonel Klink in the 1960s sit com Hogan’s Heroes.  The lightness of that role obscured that he was a very good actor indeed.  Bonus:  from the series One Step Beyond in 1960, Klemperer starring in the episode The Haunted U-Boat.


Published in: on March 20, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Just Because We Could All Use a Laugh  
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Mr. Howell Approves

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the Jim Backus mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)


From the President of Yale:

We are asking Yale College students to remain at home after spring recess. For undergraduates who are on campus now, please make every effort to return home as soon as possible, and no later than Sunday, March 15. Yale College Dean Marvin Chun will be providing additional details in the coming days. Undergraduates will have the support of the university in meeting their academic requirements remotely while at home. I understand that some undergraduates consider New Haven to be their home or cannot leave the university at this time. The Yale College Dean’s Office will provide separate instructions for these students, who also will take their classes online.

Graduate and professional students are encouraged to remain off-campus and participate in online instruction, unless being on campus is necessitated by the nature of their research or academic programs. More information is forthcoming from the deans of each school.

Go here to read the rest.

Published in: on March 18, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Mr. Howell Approves  
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New Movie on Saint Patrick


Vasco Rodrigues, John Rhys Davies, to Pilot Major Blackthorne, Richard Chamberlain, after he attempted to kill him in the miniseries Shogun:

Yes, it’s true…
and I don’t ask for forgiveness… not anymore.
With thee, heresy has come to Eden.

I have long admired John Rhys Davies who plays the old Saint Patrick in the above movie.  A conservative, he has an appreciation for Christianity:

Rhys-Davies is not a Christian, but he is not bashful about expressing his admiration of and appreciation for the role of Christianity in the development of individual civil liberties we take for granted:

“Everything that we value — everything that I valued when I was a student 50, 60 years ago, which I cannot any longer count on an audience accepting — really comes from Christianity,” Rhys-Davies recently told podcaster Lucas Miles.

“The idea of the right of free speech, the idea of the right to hold your own opinion really derives from the second century A.D., when Roman Christians were told they must practice the emperor’s religion and faith, and that quiet voice in them said, ‘No, actually, I serve a different God. And I have a divine right to do so,’” he told Miles.

“And from that,” Rhys-Davies continued, “has come our own great sense of free speech. Even things like the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus that are the founding marks of [the U.S.] Constitution, which derive in English law, which derive from the testimony of Christians operating on that early principle.”

Go here to read the rest.  A few of his great roles:

Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on New Movie on Saint Patrick  
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Lies, Injustice and the Communist Way


(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the Superman mavens of Almost Chosen People might find it of interest.)

Bernie, no doubt gives it two thumbs up.  Part of the DC Elseworlds series where superheroes are reimagined.  In the above reimagining, the infant Kal-el lands in the Soviet Union rather than the US.  The comics were OK.  Full review after I pick up the Blu-ray this weekend.

Published in: on March 1, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lies, Injustice and the Communist Way  
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Requiescat In Pace: Robert Conrad


A sad week for the death of actors. Robert Conrad has died at age 84.  From 1965-1969 a young Don McClarey was always planted in front of the television whenever this show was on to view another thrilling, and amusing, episode of the adventures of Secret Service Agent James West (Robert Conrad).  Set during the Grant administration, The Wild Wild West depicted the exploits of Agent James West and Agent Artemus Gordon (the late Ross Martin) as they battled evil throughout the West.  The evil often took the form of science fiction, what would today be called steam punk, or the supernatural.  The archenemy of the agents was evil genius Doctor Miguelito Loveless, played with scene stealing panache by the late Michael Dunn.  The show was basically a skillful mixture of a traditional Western with the spy genre then popular, the show being described as James Bond on horseback.  Conrad had a very successful career as an actor, but he will ever be remembered for this role.



It was an early victim of political correctness being cancelled by CBS after the fourth season in 69 due to pressure from the idiots in Congress over violence on television.  I trust that there has been a great cast reunion in the world beyond.


Published in: on February 13, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Requiescat In Pace: Robert Conrad  
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Requiescat In Pace: Orson Bean

Veteran actor Orson Bean has died at age 91.  It is a testament to the active life that he led that it took two cars accidentally striking him to take him out of this world.  Usually cast in comedic roles, Bean always lent every role he led a depth that filled out the most two-dimensional of parts.  Politically he followed a wild ride from Left to Right.  Blacklisted during the McCarthy era because, in his words, he had a cute Communist girl friend and tagged along to party meetings with her, he eventually became the Father-in-law of the late, great Andrew Breitbart.  Here is a portion of an interview he gave in 2007:


“Aside from the inconvenience of having a career ruined, being blacklisted in the ‘50s was kind of cool,” Orson recalled over watered-down dark rum pina coladas poolside at Club Med.


“You were doing ‘the right thing.’ Hot, left-wing girls admired you. You hadn’t ‘named names.’ The New York Times was on your side. And you knew it would pass. Things always do in America. The glory of this country is that it’s a centrist nation. The pendulum swings just so far to the left, then it swings back to the right. You have to have lived a long life to experience this. It has a calming effect.”


“When the blacklist hit, I saw actors walk across the street to avoid me. The doorman at 485 Madison Avenue (former CBS headquarters) turned his back as I walked by. But I never felt hated by the ring-wing blacklisters. They just felt we were terribly wrong,” he said.

“These days, the left doesn’t just disagree with right-wingers – they hate them. People actually shudder when I tell them I’m a Republican. I should have to carry a bell and yell, ‘unclean.’ It doesn’t bother me, though. I’ve been on both ends. Being hated is like voodoo. It only works if you feel hated. And I just won’t. I know it will pass.”

Go here to read the rest.

Like many comics, there were dark periods in life.  Searching for a way to to be permanently happy he found Christ:

As he succeeded in show business from New York to Hollywood, Bean recalled having made a vow that, “I will be happy some day.” He said he had plenty of highs due to great sex, drugs, rock and roll, fame, and even some politics. “It all worked for awhile” to make him happy, Bean said, but then “it just stopped working and became nothing.”

That’s when he tried prayer, with a nudge from a stranger.

It was at a 12-step program where he asked someone, “what should I do?”

Bean said the man told him to thank God every morning and evening on his knees, and that could help him find happiness. Though he felt silly the first time, Bean said he got down on his knees in the evening and said, “if there’s anybody up there, thank you for the day.” He did that again the next morning. 

“Little by little it stopped feeling foolish. I began to feel if my prayer was being heard… that whatever or whoever loved me,” Bean said.  

Bean would go on to read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity before telling himself, “I’ll buy that Jesus is the son of God.”

“And my life has gotten better and better,” Bean said. “That little prayer was what did it for me.”

Go here to read the rest.


A life long fan of Laurel and Hardy, Bean was one of the founders of The Sons of the Desert, the international Laurel and Hardy fan club.  May he soon be playing with them on a triple bill in the Kingdom of Love Eternal.

Published in: on February 10, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Requiescat In Pace: Orson Bean  
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Requiescat In Pace: Kirk Douglas




Actor Issur Danielovitch, better known as Kirk Douglas, has died at age 103.  One of a handful of major stars still remaining from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Douglas had an epic career.  After service in the US Navy during World War II as a communications officer aboard a sub chaser, Douglas embarked on an odyssey, yeah, I remember when he played Ulysses, as an actor in which he displayed notable range, starring in Westerns, historical epics, biographies, comedies, war flicks, etc.   You name it, and Douglas was willing to take up the challenge as an actor.  A political liberal, he never let politics interfere with friendships, being good friends for example with John Wayne.  A near death experience in 1991 caused him to embrace the Judaism in which he had been raised.  He was noted for his open handed generosity in regard to donations to charities.  A perfectionist in his craft, he was known for being difficult with directors and a compulsive scene stealer, but the results will ever speak for themselves in his films.

He rose from poverty to make himself world famous;   his was a classic American success story and he was an American original.  Fare thee Well Mr. Douglas in the world to come.

Published in: on February 9, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Requiescat In Pace: Kirk Douglas  
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