Wednesday, February 25, 2015

From The Home Front

So I have been fighting a nasty virus for about two weeks now, one of which I nearly constantly spent in bed unable to do much. I spent much of this time reading and also watched some movies and I thought I´d write a February movie and book review. WARNING: it will contain some spoilers.

One of the books I read is called The Heights Of Zervos by Colin Forbes, a British author (his real name was Raymond Harold Sawkins). It was one of his first books, written in 1970. He kept writing novels until his death in 2006 and I can´t say anything about his later works, since I haven´t read them, but The Heights Of Zervos is quite an interesting story.

It takes place in April of 1941, right before German invasion of Greece. Several men are travelling by boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Zervos, two British officers in disguise and several Germans. One of these people is in reality a British secret agent. When the boat is overtaken by German troops planning to use it for the invasion of the island, he starts to act...

Now a lot of men nowadays are complaining that modern entertainment is full of strong independent womyn and thusly not really entertaining. Well, I can heartily recommend the book to them, as not only it doesn´t contain strong independent womyn, it has no women at all. Only men doing normal masculine things, like blowing each other to pieces. If you like WWII thrillers and anything by Alistair MacLean, you´ll enjoy this one.

The second book I´d like to write about will be interesting for ladies. It´s a story I read on Project Gutenberg called Lady Cassandra. Written somewhere before WWI by a British writer Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, it tell us the story of a married woman, Lady Cassandra who falls in love with her friend´s fiancee, a retired Army officer. He asks her to elope with him, but duty is stronger than love. Not quite Anna Karenina, but the novel has nice descriptions of quiet life in the country and discusses the importance of keeping your husband interested in you for a good marriage.

My friend recommended me a 2015 Hallmark movie Surprised by Love. Much as I dislike modern movies, I watched this one and it was O.K. Surprised by Love is really a romantic comedy about a woman in her early thirties working for her father´s corporate empire. She wants to get married, but her stuck up parents don´t approve any of her boyfriends. Her last fiance, a sleazy business type, suggests that she brings home an old schoolfriend who makes his living by selling driftwood in the park so that her parents will compare the two and finally approve of her wedding. His plan backfires, as the girl realises that it´s not him who she really loves.

The movie has no explicit content of any kind and is what you call family~friendly, however, there were two things I disliked about it. First, when the heroine´s uptight mother finally understands that keeping up appearances isn´t the most important thing in the world, instead of deciding since now on to keep a home, not a showplace, she promptly declares she´s going back to work (she is a homemaker throughout the movie). Of course, it gives the heroine an opportunity to resign and `follow her dreams` which brings me to my second point. It´s nowhere hinted how her high school flame is planning to support the family. Surely not by selling driftwood? 

Another movie recommended by a friend was Frontier Gal from 1945. She described it as a bodice ripper, and it is. It´is also a western and a comedy. Lorena is a spirited (but decent) saloon owner who falls in love with a handsome arrogant stranger called Johnny. Johnny is after a man who killed his partner and he also has a fiancee, a schoolteacher `and a real lady`. He is obviously planning to amuse himself with pretty Lorena who takes it all seriously and expects him to marry her. When she finds out the truth, she forces him into marriage. After one night spent together, he is hauled away to prison for manslaughter. As he comes back after 6 years, he hopes to get a divorce but finds out he is now a father...

One thing I can say about the movie, feminists will not like this one! It´s also interesting to compare how the attitudes to fatherhood and family have changed (not for the better, imo). I really enjoyed it, and so did my husband (though he wouldn´t admit it:)

Well, it´s about all for today, have a nice time watching/reading!


  1. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 25, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    So you like Alistair McLean, too? I'm a big fan of his and thought I am like the only woman in the world who likes his books.

    I tried to watch that "Frontier Gal" but the kissing scene was bit too much. I hate it when women bitch slap men in old movies. If you don't want man kissing you, bite him or kick him but do not slap. And if you want to be kissed, why in earth slap him? I hate that in movies bitch slapping is often acted out like it is funny, but I really do not think hitting people ineffectively is funny.

    And I also hate it that in those scenes, first the woman doesn't want to be kissed but then suddenly she starts to like it. It really gives wrong impression to men, that it is ok to walk around kissing unwilling girls because eventually they will like it.

    I know, I know, I sometimes lack a sense of humour. :) But I was forcibly kissed by a very much older man when I was teenager so I have strong feelings about this. Old-fashioned woman as I am, kissing is big deal for me.

  2. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 25, 2015 at 4:20 AM

    Oh, and hopefully you will be getting better soon!

  3. Yes, I like MacLean, more his early stories, they are entertaining though not very realistic.

    As for the movie, well, tastes differ. I enjoyed it. He also got even with her in the end:) BTW; in the times past women were taught to slap men who `took liberties`, that´s exactly what she does. I guess you just don´t like what they call `steamy romance`:)

  4. As for my getting better, well I just vaccuumed upstairs, steadying myself with one hand, it´s true, but my husband doesn´t fancy doing housework. He can´t wait till I´m back to my duties, especially cooking dinner.

  5. BTW, if you watched the whole movie, you´d see that the guy simply didn´t view Lorena as a lady. She was a saloon owner, a tart in his mind. She didn´t belong to the category of women one takes home to Mother, and he treated her accordingly. In the end, he recognises his mistake. It´s as old/fashioned as it gets.

    1. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 25, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      I actually ended up watching the whole movie. And it WAS entertaining some way. But I think that real gentleman would never treat lady and tart differently. Didn't John Felton say in "three Musketiers" something like he will show to Milady the same courtesy he would show to any lady -if not because of the woman, but because of himself.

      I still think that slapping men and throwing items at him are nothing but signs of bad temper. :) I almost think Lorena deserved that little "domestic discipline" in the end.

    2. Treating a lady and a tart the same cheapens the importance of a lady. Bad behaviour should have consequences. As for Felton, his inability to distinguish between the two cost him his life in the end, didn´t it?

    3. And, as you noticed yourself, she did have a bad temper. The film begins with her breaking whiskey bottle upon his head. Well, he treated her accordingly:)

    4. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 26, 2015 at 3:36 AM

      Ok, you won. :)

      I got Western Fever and watched this one too:

    5. There are lots of old westerns on YouTube. BTW, I'm not a great western lover, but can watch them now and then. I prefer old style adventure movies myself, especially if it's about Europeans, like something about the British in India etc. Westerns are typically American, of course. Not that there is something wrong with it:)

  6. Hope the flu is behind you! I recently watched Temple Grandin and thoroughly loved it! Not a thriller but very enlightening.

  7. Unfortunately, not completely. What was the movie about?

  8. It's about a girl who is autistic. It is a true story. She designs something for cattle ranchers - everyone who has watched it, loved it.

  9. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 26, 2015 at 3:38 AM

    I loved Temple Grandin, too. And I love the real Temple Grandin also. She is one very remarkable woman. And the movie is so well done.

  10. I'll watch Frontier Gal later on today, thanks for the recommendation. A couple of movies that you might like: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. These both have strong, sensible and kind women.

  11. C.H., you are welcome! I watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, it's a nice movie. We used to have TCM on our cable years ago.