I say, old chaps! Pip pip, tally-ho and all that, wot?
That's right, it's time to announce the British Empire Blogathon, hosted by the mad genius who dreamed up the idea in the first place, Clayton at Phantom Empires, and yours truly. We thought it was high time we sally forth into the world of blogathons with one of our own, and we'd like to invite like-minded fellow bloggers to join in the fun.
We love these movies, from beloved classics like Gunga Din, Zulu, The Charge of the Light Brigade and Kim, to less well-known titles like North West Frontier, Bhowani Junction, and King of the Khyber Rifles. We know we're not alone in our regard for these stories of high adventure and stiff-upper-lip heroism.
There are only a few ground rules we ask contributors to follow:
The event is scheduled for November 14 - 17. If you would like to submit an entry (or more! Don't be shy), please let us know by leaving a comment on this post below, or the similar announcement here at Phantom Empires. You can also feel free to use our contact forms here (for Clayton) or here (for me).
Please include the title and link to your blog, contact information and of course the title of the film(s) you'd like to cover. We also ask that you include a link to this post and Clayton's in your review, and to use one of the event banners included in this post on your website to help promote the blogathon.
We think this event will prove a jolly good time. Thank you and we look forward to your posts!
Speakeasy - The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Movies Silently - The Four Feathers (the 1929 and 1939 versions)
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear - Carry On...Up the Khyber (1968)
Silver Screenings - The Life and Death of Col. Blimp (1943)
Tipping My Fedora - The Letter (1940)
Mike's Take on the Movies - Royal Flash (1975)
Tales of the Easily Distracted - Gunga Din (1939)
Girls Do Film - The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)
A Person in the Dark - The Letter (1929)
Once Upon a Screen - The Little Princess (1917)
Critica Retro - The Rains Came (1939)
Silver Scenes - Kim (1950) and Flame Over India (1959)
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier - Black Narcissus (1947)
Caftan Woman - The Last of the Mohicans (1936)
Mildred's Fatburgers - Zulu (1964)
Kevin's Movie Corner - The Sun Never Sets (1939)
Sometimes they go to Eleven - The Chess Players (1977) and Breaker Morant (1980)
Moon in Gemini - Young Winston (1972)
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings - King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)
Classic Movie Hub - Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
History on Film - The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
Shameless Pile of Stuff - Khartoum (1966)
Random Pictures - The Heart of the Matter (1953)
Phantom Empires - Three Sergeants of Bengal (1964)
The Stalking Moon (guest post by Jerry Entract) - The Drum (1938)
The Stalking Moon - The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)
(click photos to enlarge)
The Big Country (1958)
When I was growing up, back in the 1970s and 80s, one of the constant companions of my teenage movie viewing life was Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. In those pre-Wikipedia and IMDB days, Maltin's book of capsule movie reviews was one of the few ways to easily access and cross-check information about movies seen on TV and early VHS. I always remember the lingering sense of disappointment when the (otherwise estimable) Mr. Maltin would dismiss or castigate a particular favorite film of mine. One of his reviews that has always stuck with me was his brief comment about one of my all time favorite films (not just westerns), The Big Country. It came down to one word - "overblown" - and what, to my mind, still is a grossly conservative three-star rating.
That word, "overblown," annoyed me then and still does today. Though I suspect there are many out there who may tend to agree with Maltin, I take strong exception to that word. The Big Country is indeed big. It's long, no doubt (2 hours and 46 minutes, to be precise.) Epic, yes. Dramatic...certainly. Sprawling, even. But overblown? I beg to differ.
Thunder Bay (1953)
From 1950 to 1955, James Stewart made 8 films with director Anthony Mann, five of them westerns. Everyone always talks about those westerns, and they are all undeniably wonderful, each in their own way, but the colorful adventure drama Thunder Bay usually gets overlooked whenever the Stewart/Mann collaboration is brought up, and it's a shame. Perhaps it doesn't quite hit the heights of their best films together, such as The Man From Laramie or Bend of the River, but it's an exciting, absorbing film in its own right, and deserves to be better known.
1946, Louisiana. Ex-G.I. buddies Steve Martin (Stewart) and Johnny Gambi (Dan Duryea) have spent all their mustering out pay to gamble on a wild scheme: Steve is convinced that there's oil out in the bay, and he knows how to get it. With a mix of hucksterism and the passion of a true visionary, Steve convinces the lease holder, oil tycoon Kermit "Mac" McDonald (J.C. Flippen), to bankroll the building of an offshore oil rig. Mac, a former wildcatter with a hardscrabble background himself, senses a kindred spirit in Steve and agrees to fund the extra $1 million to complete the project, against his company's financial adviser's (Henry Morgan) and board members wish' with one condition: they have to build the derrick and strike oil before Mac's lease runs out...in three measly months away.
Getting the funds proves the least of Steve and Gambi's problems, however, as the town's shrimp fishermen, experiencing several years of bad luck and poor catches, soon come to resent the oil men's presence, starting with their dynamiting shrimp beds to test for the best location for the rig. One of the more vociferous opponents is Stella Rigaud (Joanne Dru), daughter of veteran fisherman Dominique (Antonio Moreno). Stella once left her little backwater town for life in the big city and was burned badly in a relationship with an oil man not so unlike Steve. More amenable to the pair - especially the affable, boisterous Gambi - is Stella's pretty younger sister, Francesca (Marcia Henderson). Gambi is soon in hot pursuit, enchanting Francesca and luring her away from her stolid boyfriend, Philippe (Robert Monet). Also in the mix is local tough guy and charming blowhard Teche Bossier (Gilbert Roland), who's happy enough in lean times to take the oil men's money, but changes his tune when he feels the shrimp business that is his, and the town's, heart-and-soul is threatened.
To make his dream of being the first person to strike oil offshore come true, Steve drives Gambi and his crew of workmen hard - but he's even harder on himself, pursuing his plan with a single-minded determination that at times borders on obsession. Despite her bitterness over her past experience, Stella gradually begins to thaw towards Steve, but when a disgruntled Phillippe, reluctantly assisted by Teche, tries to blow up the rig during a big storm, Steve is incensed, convinced that Stella had something to do with it. Meanwhile, Gambi's growing more and more tired of Steve's hardcharging management style, and is on the verge of quitting. With time running out, the board's funding pulled, and nearly everyone (town and workers alike) turning against him, it seems Steve's chance of a big offshore oil strike is disappearing before his eyes...
Opinionated ramblings about new and old movies (mostly old, as that's the way I like 'em!)
Blogs of Note
Stuart Galbraith IV's World Cinema Paradise
Movie Morlocks (TCM's Classic Movie Blog)
50 Westerns from the 50s
Riding the High Country
Tipping My Fedora
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Classic TV and Film Cafe
Just a Cineast
She Blogged By Night
Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema
Out of the Past -
A Classic Film Blog
Pretty Sinister Books
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
In So Many Words...
Greenbriar Picture Shows
My Love of Old Hollywood
Tales of the Easily Distracted
Another Old Movie Blog
Lasso the Movies
Kevin's Movie Corner
Films From Beyond the Time Barrier
Carole & Co.
Rupert Pupkin Speaks
Vienna's Classic Hollywood
The Lady Eve's Reel Life
ClassicBecky's Brain Food
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