007 Chatter: (Ian) Fleming’s Bond – The James Bond of the original novels compared to the 007 movies Part 2

Welcome to another edition of 007Chatter!
Just because Skyfall has been released in the US now, doesn’t mean we can’t continue talking about Bond. So this is the second part of Marcus’ post where he compared the Ian Fleming’s Novels to the Bond Films. In this post, Marcus takes a closer look at what is going on inside Bond — his relationships to the two important women in his life provide a great contrast to his movie image.

Check out PART I if you haven’t already.

Thanks again to Marcus Clearspring for these two-part posts!
Check out his movie blog Cinesprit and his writing blog.

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My introduction to Bond movies were double features at our small town cinema. Two Bonds on the big screen for half the price of one blockbuster ticket in London. Once I discovered that deal, I was eagerly opening the weekly listings to see when the next double feature was showing. Like most people who were happy with the movies, I wasn’t really aware of the books. Then I discovered several Bond books on the family bookshelves which changed my view of the Bond character completely.

Only five of the movies really follow Fleming’s novels closely. Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. All the first movies made, with the exception of You Only Live Twice, which mixes in so much new stuff that it greatly differs from the novel.

The novel would be difficult to adapt to the screen. The first one hundred pages consist largely of Bond and Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese Secret Service, talking about cultural differences between British/Western ways and Japanese/Asian perspectives. The final showdown does not take place in a hollowed-out volcano as in the movie. You Only Live Twice is an exception, a very strange novel in many ways. The final showdown is quite literally fantastic. Definitely to be recommended if you are open to a different kind of 007 narrative.

In general, the movies liberally mix and match individual scenes and characters from the novels. The best example is Live and Let Die. The movie has very little to do with the novel except for Bond chasing Mr. Big’s drug ring and visiting Harlem. However, some of the most memorable action scenes from Live and Let Die are mixed into other movies. For example, the scene in For Your Eyes Only with Bond and Melina, the woman  with the crossbow, being dragged as shark bait behind a boat.

Then two scenes in Licence to Kill. The one where Felix Leiter has been fed to sharks and has a classic Fleming line attached to him saying “He disagreed with something that ate him“. The other is when Bond breaks into the warehouse belonging to Crest. The scene is much longer in the novel and has far more suspense. As I said in my first post, its surprising that many action scenes are more engaging in the novels.

I’d like to focus on two topics which generally put Bond’s character in a negative light. His relationship to women and the perception from the movies that he’s merely a blunt instrument, an assassin with no introspection. Both topics are different in the novels.

There is a common perception that Bond is a misogynist and only sees women as “disposable pleasures.” Particularly for the movies of the 1970s that is often true. The phrase, I believe, is from Fleming’s Casino Royale and quoted in the movie. However, in the novels, I would argue that’s only a setup by the author to get Bond more emotionally involved.

It’s like in romantic comedies and dramas. In the beginning, the male or female lead declare to their best friend how they are totally finished with serious relationships because men/women are so awful. We all know that’s a setup, that they will hook up at the end with the person they disliked the most in the beginning. The greater the distance created, the greater they can fall in love later on. I think Fleming does this too. Only, it’s not served as a fluffy romance, so many people don’t seem to recognize it behind the rough and tumble macho disguise. Why else would Fleming have Bond literally call  himself a misogynist, then have him fall in love? Bond gives a simple explanation. It’s because he has never met a woman he could have an interesting conversation with. Surprising insight, if you only know the movies.

Bond only falls in love twice in the novels. That is with Vesper in Casino Royale and Tracy in On her Majesty’s Secret Service. Vesper, the sphinx, is the first woman he can talk to with ease. Tracy, a woman with “issues”, becomes Mrs Bond.

These are some of the most fascinating parts in any of the Bond novels. It’s this very tough character, an assassin, being caring and tender, able to relate to another person. Mixed with action and imminent danger this delivers a great result. It goes far deeper than the stock “hero getting the girl” because Fleming adds so much interior to Bond’s character.

Bond’s introspection is what sets him apart from many other action heroes. He will question what he needs to do and what he has done. He will ponder the moral and ethical sides of his actions, question the service he works for. There is an entire short chapter in Casino Royale, where, while recuperating in the clinic, Bond speaks to Mathis about his job, pondering whether he should quit. He questions whether his actions are any better than those of the villains he hunts. Some interesting thoughts and answers from Mathis which are worth reading and thinking about.

One thing to keep in mind is that the novels were written in the 1950s and obviously do not reflect what’s considered politically correct today (see note below on Live and Let Die). It’s a post World War II era. The onset of the Cold War.

Here’s a brief personal ranking of the novels.

Best:

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • From Russia with Love
  • You Only Live Twice
  • Dr No
  • Thunderball
  • Goldfinger

Mediocre:

  • The Man with the Golden Gun
  • Live and Let Die*

* Caution: “Live and Let Die” contains many racial references considered highly offensive today.

Weak:

  • Diamonds are Forever

Special mention:

The Spy Who Loved Me is an exception in the series, written entirely from the perspective of a woman. James Bond only has a short appearance. You can’t really count it as part of the normal Bond novels. It is interesting though and I plan on re-reading it.

There would be lots more to say. I can only encourage anyone interested in Bond, to check out the novels and discover a depth of character not present in any of the movies to date.


So that concludes the two-part post on how the Ian Fleming’s Bond books compare to the Bond movies. 

What are your thoughts on this topic?

007 Chatter: (Ian) Fleming’s Bond – The James Bond of the original novels compared to the 007 movies Part 1

October is Bond month as the producers are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No, which opened in the UK on on October 5, 1962. In addition to the Skyfall countdown, here at FlixChatter we are taking an in-depth look into the world’s most popular movie franchise and its origins.

Special thanks to Marcus Clearspring for this two-part posts in comparing how the original novels of Ian Fleming compared to the Bond movies.

Check out Marcus’ movie blog Cinesprit and his writing blog.

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Fleming’s Bond

When you think James Bond, you probably think Martinis-and-bikinis, “shaken not stirred” and of course “Bond, James Bond”. The James Bond of the movies is a kind of superhero. However, Ian Fleming’s original novels show far more depth of character and certainly no superman. He may actually have a few things in common with some of the darker superheroes, only he has no superpowers. Although he has gadgets, they rarely spring him from danger in the novels.
The complete collection of Ian Fleming books – photo courtesy of ebookee.org
Fleming’s Bond is a character with doubts, who is vulnerable and expresses his fears. The most extreme example is when Bond falls into a long depression for several months after the death of his wife Tracy. The story begins with Bond visiting her grave, and his boss M back at the office, telling Bond to shape up or ship out. This is the beginning to Thunderball in the novel. Bond is not sent to the health clinic to work undercover. It’s an ultimatum. He goes there because he is too depressed and out of shape to work. He discovers the bad guys by chance. It is surprising how dark the beginning is, but it’s also very memorable.
The movies have so far never portrayed Bond like this. We saw him place flowers on his wife’s grave in For Your Eyes Only, but that was followed by an action-comedy sequence with Blofeld at times so camp it was close to Austin Powers. The Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again had Bond sent to the clinic because he was supposedly out of shape, but that was all. It too was upbeat, almost comedic, with no mention of any other trouble.

The possibly closest portrayal of Fleming’s Bond in the movies for me is Timothy Dalton in Licence To Kill, and to some extent Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. As of the Daniel Craig era you can imagine the producers using a downbeat opening like in Fleming’s Thunderball because attitudes have changed. It’s okay now for Bond to be vulnerable and the story to have some gravitas. When they tried that with Timothy Dalton in Licence To Kill, audiences were not yet ready. It was 10-15 years too early.
Fleming’s Bond is always focused and very rarely distracted. There’s a scene in Goldfinger where Bond sees a pretty girl in an open sports car and is tempted to follow her. Then he smiles and mutters to himself that he needs to keep shadowing Goldfinger. You may recall that scene from the movie. It’s an exception in the novels rather than something you would expect, as you do in the movies. Likewise, you won’t find scores of bikini-clad girls sunbathing around swimming pools. No five-star hotel concierge greets Bond after several years by name and announces that a Martini is waiting. Not in the books.

What makes Fleming’s Bond so interesting?

[ruth’s note: I found this illustration by Gabriel Hardman above from this site, inspired by this description from Fleming’s Casino Royale novel: As he tied his thin, double-ended black satin tie, he paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in the mirror. His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form a thick comma above his right eyebrow. With the thin vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was faintly piratical.]
There have been many new authors who have written Bond novels since Ian Fleming. Make sure to start at the source, with the real deal. There may be some good 007 novels by other authors but I have not heard of any to surpass Fleming’s originals. When I refer to “the novels” from here on, I mean solely Ian Fleming’s books.
What I find particularly interesting in Fleming’s novels is the way we get to see and feel everything that Bond does from inside Bond’s head. That’s a totally different perspective to the movies. We get a multitude of thoughts and emotions racing through Bond’s head. Doubts, strategies, fears, next moves. All this is mostly told as a running commentary.
Many action scenes in the novels are better than in the movies. I know that sounds odd because movies are normally better at action than books, but this is one of Fleming’s strong points. A good example is the car chase in Casino Royale. It has far more detail and suspense than the movie, which only shows Bond catching up, then the final rollover of his car. The novel manages to put you inside Bond’s head, with him in the driver’s seat, following his every move and thought. He sits there thinking about how Vesper got herself caught. Complaining about her and worrying at the same time as he shifts gears and his thoughts race. These are some of the best moments in the books because you get both the internal and external action.
I would never have thought it could be exciting the way someone shifts gears and moves along serpentine roads, but it is the way Fleming writes. I know someone who used to drive rallies and they thought Fleming’s descriptions were great. Especially if you are bored by the fast cuts of current movie chases which abbreviate so much, you will appreciate the detailed and engaging way Fleming writes his action scenes.

Focus and Purpose

The fight scenes are full of precision and purpose. Often brutal, but never for show. Bond often considers each move in advance. However, not as in many movies where the hero recites a bunch of moves to show off how easy it’s going to be and how cool he or she is. If there’s any comparison in movies, Fleming’s Bond takes the approach of a Clint Eastwood type character. Someone who gets straight down to business when he has to and takes the shortest, most effective route without any showing off.
The skiing scenes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are another great example. The movie’s ski scenes are great due to Willy Bogner’s amazing photography, but the novel has the advantage of putting you inside Bond’s skin as he tries to escape from Blofeld’s mountain lair.

The movies are glamorous, mainstream action entertainment. The books get inside Bond’s head and under his skin. It’s a very different perspective. It’s the main reason to read the books. In the next post I’ll take a closer look at what is going on inside Bond. His relationships to the two important women in his life provide a great contrast to his movie image. His introspective side shows how critical, and at times cynical, Bond can be of his own job.


Well, that’s it for Part I. Is there anything you miss in the movies, or which you think might be better in a novel?

MGM filed bankruptcy: What are your five favorite MGM movies?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to everyone that MGM finally filed Chapter 11 yesterday after all the money troubles the studio has been in. Back in July, I lamented about the next 007 film being canceled as a result of MGM’s financial woes. According to The Wrap, last week MGM’s creditors approved a plan to waive its $4 billion debt in exchange for large ownership stakes in the once-mighty studio. After the plan is approved by the court, MGM will be run by Spyglass Entertainment.

Coincidentally, just a couple of days ago I saw a roadblock skin advertising on IMDb about TCM’s Moguls and Movie Stars series that is currently running. As you probably know, Turner Classics Movies cable channel is owned by Turner Broadcasting System, which also owns the MGM library. The History of Hollywood program is an original, seven-part documentary that marks the channel’s most ambitious project to date and the most comprehensive chronicle of the birth and dramatic growth of American movies ever produced for television. I wish I had cable as it’d be so fascinating to watch the stories behind Hollywood’s power elite and all the drama behind the scenes that surely rival whatever they’re putting up on screen.

MGM was no doubt one of the most powerful Hollywood studios in its day, and it’s also got one of the most iconic logos of Leo the Lion. When I was a kid I used to love seeing Leo roars before a movie started, surrounded by a ring of film reels with the studio’s motto Ars Gratia Artis, a Latin terms which means arts for art’s sake (per Wiki). It evokes the grandeur and glamour of Hollywood’s golden age, though perhaps not as fresh and edgy as some newer studio logos such as Focus Features, Pixar or Lionsgate.

The studio has released hundreds of movies since its inception in 1924, though it never quite reclaim its glory and box office prowess it had in the 30s. Many of their movies remain beloved classics to this day, such as 12 Angry Men, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, Gone with the Wind, North By Northwest, Singing in the Rain, West Side Story, and of course, those James Bond movies.

If I have to list my top five favorite MGM movies, I’d probably go with this:

  • Ben-Hur
  • Casino Royale
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Return to Me
  • The Living Daylights

You can see all of MGM movies either on their official site or on Wikipedia. Now tell me what are your top five favorite MGM movies?

Next 007 film canceled – lamenting the fate of my two favorite Bonds

Even if you’re not a fan of the Bond franchise, you probably heard about MGM studio’s money troubles, which inevitably led to the next Bond movie being in limbo. Well, as of this week, the movie is permanently canceled. UK Newspaper Daily Mirror reported that the 23rd Bond film that was scheduled for release by 2012, is axed due to a serious cash crisis. “MGM is drowning under a reported £2.4 billion of debt as it desperately searches for a buyer,” the paper says. It’s a pity really, as for a brief period, Bond 23 sounded so promising with reports of talented director Sam Mendez (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) possibly at the helm, and acclaimed screenwriter Peter Morgan’s (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) penning the script.

Well, this isn’t the first time MGM studio halted productions of one of the world’s most famous movie franchises. After Timothy Dalton’s Licence to Kill was released in 1989, there was a six year gap between that and the next one, Golden Eye in 1995, with Pierce Brosnan as his replacement. Dalton was quoted in IMDb saying “I was supposed to make one more but it was canceled because MGM and the film’s producers got into a lawsuit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn’t want to do it anymore.” Now, of course there were also reports that given the dismal box office take of Licence to Kill, the producers were ready to replace him. But I tend to believe Dalton’s take on this one and that it was indeed MGM’s financial woes that prevented him to do his third outing as Bond.

Dalton in The Living Daylights

If you read this blog long enough, you know Dalton is my favorite Bond before Daniel Craig came along. In fact, as I said here, both Craig and Dalton epitomized that merciless grit and ruthlessness like no other Bond before them (as well as after because Brosnan was sandwiched between them). Dalton was clearly way ahead of his time as Craig took all the credit for doing what he had started. So, it’s ironic that now they seem to share the same fate after all. Licence to Kill wasn’t nearly as well-received as Dalton’s first Bond flick The Living Daylight, just as Quantum of Solace didn’t quite live up to its predecessor Casino Royale (though Quantum was still quite successful at the box office).

Craig in Casino Royale

All this makes me wonder: why is it that the gritty Bonds don’t last? Of course I’m not saying that these setbacks are the fault of the actors, but still, it’s a curious predicament, isn’t it? Curious and sad as well, as I’d love to have seen each of them do at least 3-4 Bond movies! Ideally Brosnan would do just two, and erase the last two movies he did from our memories!

So, what’ll happen to the franchise? Many theories are swirling that perhaps this is the end of the road for the world’s most famous spy. Guardian UK posted an article weighing the pros and cons of ditching vs. keeping the franchise, though its title suggests that the writer is probably in favor of ending it. Rubbish I say, this franchise has been around for so long and so profitable that I doubt it’s going anywhere. I’d say they should just take their time, what’s the rush anyway, it’s not like we HAVE to see a Bond movie every other year. I don’t mind waiting a few years until they can come up with a real solid script, a skillful director, and of course a worthy actor to play Bond, as this delay inevitably means we’ve seen the last of Daniel Craig as the suave superspy.

Fellow Bond fan Andy @ Fandango Groovers Blog suggested Colin Farrell as Bond, which is a nifty idea, but I’d like to throw a couple other names out there: Henry Cavill and Tom Hardy. I think they’re both talented British actors who can tackle the role. If looking great in a suit is the pivotal test, methinks Henry passed with flying colors, as you can see in the Dunhill commercial pics. He is on the young side at only 27 however, so Hardy at 33 might be the better pick of the two. Having transformed himself into Charles Bronson (the British criminal, NOT the Deathwish actor) in the biopic Bronson, we know the dude can be a gritty tough guy who can kick even Jason Bourne’s arse. And his role as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights proves he’s got that ‘vulnerability’ factor, too. Speaking of Fandango Groovers blog, perhaps the producers should listen to Andy’s two excellent suggestions for a ‘re-imagining’ of the 007 flick: check ’em out here and here. I’m definitely keen on the idea of an older Bond figure (Dalton) acting as a mentor to a younger spy. While they’re at it, why not get Alan Rickman as the dastardly villain, since Hans Gruber is pretty much everyone’s favorite bad guy. Alas, the idea of Dalton ever coming back is obviously zilch to none. But we fans can dream, right?

So what do you think folks? Any thoughts about this whole Bond franchise fiasco?

Desert Island DVDs: 8 flix I’d take with me if I were stranded on a desert island

Oh the dilemma! Thanks to Andy from Fandango Groovers, in the past month, a whole bunch of us movie bloggers have been inflicted with an amusing predicament. Apparently, Andy was inspired by a UK radio program called Desert Island Discs where guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island with only eight pieces of music. The twist for us cinephiles is we’re instead asked to simply pick eight DVDs instead. My initial reaction is thinking about those that might actually help me survive and find ways to get off the island, of which movies like Cast Away would be I’d wish I had in my stash. But really, if you were really stranded and fighting for survival, movie-going experience probably isn’t going to be your top priority. So in this case, the word ‘deserted’ is really up for interpretation. I figure the island could be one that’s been ‘deserted’ by the owner – in Indonesia, if you’re wealthy enough, you can actually buy a piece of an island and make it your own resort. So the island I’m stranded in happens to be previously owned by some Richard Branson-type tycoon who’s forced to abandon it due to some tax evasion scandal – hence the top of the line outdoor theater system 🙂

So without further ado, here are my eight picks (in alphabetical order) that I wouldn’t mind seeing over and over again. Well, that is until the yearn for civilization ultimately beckons.

1. Batman Begins
Why not The Dark Knight, you asked? Well, I do like both movies — and one might argue that TDK is the better one of the two — but I’ve always loved origins story and truthfully, I find this one to be more enjoyable for repeat viewings. Besides, this is truly a movie where Bale’s caped crusader is front and center, instead of being sidelined by a terrific villain in the form of Heath Ledger’s Joker. I wish Maggie Gyllenhaal had been cast as Rachel here though, but at least the rest of the stellar cast well more than made up for Katie Holmes. There are plenty of memorable scenes in Chis Nolan’s first foray to superhero flick, but this spectacular batcave scene where Bruce Wayne conquers his biggest fear is iconic and poignant, plus the music is downright perfect. Gives me goosebumps every time!


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2. Bride & Prejudice (narrowly edges out Moulin Rouge*)
I never thought I’d put this one on my list but when I came across a picture of it, I remember how much I enjoyed seeing this entertaining Bollywood [loose] interpretation of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice. Director Gurinder Chadha infused this movie with humor and amusing culture-clash scenarios, you can’t help but laugh and have fun from start to finish. Bewitching Aishwarya Rai as the ‘Elizabeth Bennet’ character Lalita anchors the movie with her beauty and charm, of course just like Keira Knightley in the latest adaptation, she’s far too gorgeous to play the supposedly plain heroine. Martin Henderson as Darcy isn’t quite as ‘irresistibly tormented’ as Colin Firth, but he shares a pretty believable chemistry with Rai that the relationship still works. The Indian supporting cast is fantastic, most notably Naveen Andrews as Balraj (Mr. Bingley) and the hilarious Nitin Ganatra as Kohli (Mr. Collins).

*Moulin Rouge comes thisclose to being on this list, but I feel that though some of the scenes of Ewan & Nicole together are totally repeat-worthy, I find that I keep ffwd-ing a lot of the beginning parts of the dvd. So overall, B&P is much more enjoyable for me as a whole.
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3. Casino Royale
I don’t mean to be disloyal to my hero Timothy Dalton here, but I didn’t really agonized too much on choosing this over his first Bond flick The Living Daylight. Mostly because I’m just not impressed at all by Maryam D’Abo as the Bond girl. Now, Daniel Craig is a formidable Bond that surprised everyone – including me – and he benefits from such a well-written script and amazing direction from Martin Campbell. Not to mention the smartest and classiest Bond girl ever, played by the ravishing Eva Green. Vesper Lynd is hands down my favorite, and the scintillating banter scene of the two of them on a train is proof that a Bond girl can be ever so fetching without having to take her clothes off. This is just one of many scenes in the movie I’ll never grow tired of, hence its inclusion in this particular top 20 list.
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4. Dear Frankie (narrowly beats Phantom of the Opera*)
It’s hardly surprising to a lot of you that I’m going to have a Gerry Butler movie, the question is which one? Though I fell for the Scot in Phantom, and yes I do still watch that from time to time, I feel more inclined to include the little-known tiny gem about a little deaf kid whose mother had to lie in order for him to have a father-figure for a day. Butler is only in the movie for 25 minutes or so, but oh quality definitely makes up for quantity. From the second he sits down in front of Emily Mortimer’s Lizzie and orders his coffee ‘Americano, strong’ in his husky, Scottish brogue, we’re done for. The postcard-worthy charm of Scotland scenery, the soulful soundtrack and fabulous acting all around makes this one a flick that rewards you with each repeat viewing.

*Butler owns the screen and cast a spell on women the world over as the half-masked tormented hero, but Joel Schumacher’s direction of Phantom is far from perfect that keeps me this from being a classic movie. Though I’ve seen this flick more than a couple dozen times by now, I don’t know if I necessarily want to see it over and over in a short time span.
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5. Gladiator (narrowly edges out Ben Hur)
I told Andy earlier I’d include Ben Hur on my list, but despite being one of my all-time fave, I feel that if I only had that one and Gladiator, I’m more likely to reach for this Ridley Scott movie. In a way, the two compelling heroes share a similar fate of being condemned to die despite their innocence and face such insurmountable plight. They’re both redeemed at the end as well. Though it seems as if the main theme is vengeance (especially in this ‘My name is Maximus’ scene), by the end of the story, he’s fighting for Lucilla’s future… and ultimately for the people of Rome. Crowe’s performance alone is enough reason to keep re-watching this, but there are plenty of great acting all around, most notably Joaquin Phoenix as the ‘terribly vexed’ arch enemy Commodus. Add the gorgeous cinematography, lush costumes and the much-copied, stirring soundtrack, I’d say yeah, I’m definitely entertained! Oh, as I own the extended-edition dvd version, the special features section will definitely keep me busy for at least a whole week!

6. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
Indy is the one franchise my whole family love. I remember watching Raiders of the Lost Ark with my brothers and we’d always find something to cheer about. The John Williams’ score alone is such a rousing piece that’s practically synonymous with great entertainment. I’m not crazy about the second and the latest installment, but this third one is a real gem. Harrison Ford as the sole hero is enticing enough, now add yet another highly charismatic actor in the mix and you’ve got one heck of a jovial ride you can’t wait to get on again as soon as it’s over. Ford and Sean Connery make for the most perfect father-son duo, and the witty and whimsical script and full-on action scenes keeps you on your toes and far from ever being bored. There are themes of friendship, family, faith, and loyalty that makes this such a satisfying movie-watching experience.
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7. BBC North & South
Ok, I must admit this choice is an indulgent one. But hey, you’re stranded on a remote island with nothing but eight movies to keep you entertained, do you blame me? Besides, I’m normally not a ‘beach-person’ anyway, so by the second day I’d be sick of the warm sunny skies and I’ll be dreaming of the cold, moody climate of Northern England (yes, call me crazy but I’m originally from a tropical country who moved to Minnesota, remember?). Oh, and of course having dreamy Richard Armitage as the Darcy-esque Mr. Thornton can’t hurt either. There are 4 parts of this 235-minute miniseries that center on the captivating slow-burn love story between Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale, but there’s more to it than just romance. In fact, I’m also drawn in by the history of the cotton mill business and their quandary, as well as the complex relationship between the mill owners and the workers. All that provides a compelling backdrop to what the hero and heroine must go through until the moment they finally ‘find’ each other. Oh, and what a moment it is! Just take a look at this train station scene (#16 on the list) and you’ll know why I had to include this movie!


8. Sense & Sensibility
Ahh, last but definitely NOT least. Anyone who knows me realize this one is a shoo-in. On any given Sunday afternoon when I’m not blogging, I almost always reach for this Ang Lee-directed Jane Austen period drama. Thanks to my cousin Rani who first introduced me to this more than a decade ago. I wasn’t instantly blown away by it, but it just kept growing on me each time I watch it — and the fact that I watch this A LOT makes me like it even more! I’m glad Emma Thompson won Best Screenplay for this, though I think her performance is equally noteworthy alongside Kate Winslet. This is one movie where I pretty much have to have the remote on hand in order to rewind some of my favorite scenes, and there are so many of them, especially those involving Col. Brandon, played with amazing subtlety and grace by the always-terrific Alan Rickman! The part when he first beheld Marianne and fell for her is heart-wrenching, and I shan’t ever forget the scene when Marianne murmurs the word ‘thank you’ after he escorts her mother for her. The expression on his face is priceless! I can go on and on about this movie, so maybe a full review is in order. But suffice to say, this is one dvd I simply can’t live without.


Ok, that’s it. I’m kinda glad it’s only eight as this post might’ve gone to a second page by now! To see what my fellow movie bloggers pick, check out Fandango’s blog. You might wonder that I picked my selections out of my Fave Scenes list. Believe me, it’s not intentional, but obviously the two are related. So if anything, I guess I’m pretty consistent in my choices 🙂

So what do you say, readers? Would you care to share what 8 dvds you would pick if you were stranded? Let’s hear it!