Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Period Drama Heroines #3: Elinor Dashwood

 "You do not suppose that I have ever felt much.—For four months, Marianne, I have had all this hanging on my mind, without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature; knowing that it would make you and my mother most unhappy whenever it were explained to you, yet unable to prepare you for it in the least." ~Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, chapter 37

We've said it over and over and over again. Whether we're arguing about characters in Les Miserables, vehemently discussing Edward Ferrars' hero qualifications or simply laughing over a funny scene in Pride and Prejudice, this phrase keeps cropping up when I talk at length with my sister Anne-girl: "We are so Elinor and Marianne!"

In case you're wondering, we mean that I'm Elinor and she's Marianne.  She's the uber-excitable one, the one whose sorrows and joys can have no moderation.  I'm the one who generally yanks her down out of the clouds and offers practicality when she flies up on the wings of inspiration.  (We are best friends, however. Let's set the record straight from the beginning.)  She's the emotional one, and I'm the other emotional one. (Heh.) Although, in all seriousness, she's much more emotional than I am.  In general.

Why am I blabbing on and on about my sister and myself when this post is really supposed to be about Elinor Dashwood?

Well, you see, I call myself Elinor Dashwood.  I compare myself to Elinor Dashwood--of all Jane Austen's heroines, she's the one I identify with most.  But really, I'm not as much like Elinor Dashwood as I'd like to be.  In reality, I admire her and want to be like her more than I really am like her.  (Hope that made sense. Sentence construction isn't my strong point.)

So, let's look at Elinor's good points (and bad points) in an organized and thoughtful manner.  (Hah.)

First of all, Elinor is Unfailingly Patient.  One of my favorite scenes in Sense and Sensibility (1995) is the one where all three other Dashwood women have fled to their rooms in tears, and poor Elinor is left alone on the stairs at Barton cottage with a cup of tea in her hand.  She stands there for a moment, listening to the stormy sobs emanating from behind the various closed doors, then philosophically sits down on the stairs and drinks the tea so as not to waste it.

Elinor's patience comes in handy when the Miss Steeles enter the story.  Anne "Nancy" Steele is annoying but funny--Lucy, her younger sister, is malevolent, manipulative, malicious and mean.  (Miss Dashwood likes alliteration.)  I still haven't figured out how Elinor managed to go for more than ten minutes without landing a Fanny-Dorrit-esque high kick right in Lucy's silly simpering face.  Grrrrrr.

Not only does Lucy tell Elinor about her secret engagement to Edward for the SOLE PURPOSE of making Elinor feel bad, she swears Elinor to secrecy on the subject (even though Diana Barry will tell you that it's dreadfully wicked to swear).  This gives Lucy negative eighteen thousand Miss Dashwood points, because everybody knows that the best part of being told a secret is being able to tell it to somebody else.  (What are sisters for, anyway? Other than borrowing and lending clothes, I mean?)  I hate Lucy Steele.

But I'm not here to talk about Goosey Lucy.  Nor am I here to hurl rotten fruit at the lady I just mentioned.  I'm here to talk about the honorable Elinor Dashwood, and when I say honorable I'm not just being fake-ly formal.  Elinor is the soul of honor.  (Did I really just type "honorability" and then sit there for a minute wondering why it looked wrong? No, of course I didn't.)  Like another person in Sense and Sensibility whom I could mention (hint: he doesn't appreciate poetry, his name begins with an E and ends in DWARD and his last name begins with an F) Elinor does not let people down.  Ever.  Even when those people are not worthy of, say, John Thorpe's attention.

Elinor could have easily rationalized that the ends justified the means and then raced off to spill the dirt on Edward and Lucy to Marianne.  She could have told herself that Lucy wasn't worth making promises to.  But she didn't--she kept her word even when it was little more than mental torture to have to do so.

Of course, all this honor and discretion and ability to keep her lips zipped doesn't mean that Elinor doesn't have feelings.  It just means that she is mature enough to conceal her feelings.   Unlike Marianne, Elinor didn't fling herself down on her bed, cry uncontrollably and refuse even olives when she realized that Edward was betrothed to another woman.  (And all you Marianne fans out there--please, please don't get mad.  I am one of you.  I really am.  But you will admit, I hope, that Marianne's behavior was over-the-top at times.)

If you still don't think that Elinor feels deeply, go to the top of this post and read the beginning quote again.

Now, back to the whole honor thing.  Honor and honesty go hand-in-hand, and Elinor is unfailingly honest.  Except, of course, when Good Manners require her to be otherwise. "It was impossible for [Marianne] to say what she did not feel, however trivial the occasion; and upon Elinor therefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell." ~chapter 21
Whoever said Sense and Sensibility wasn't funny? Eat your words!

We'll talk a little bit more about humor in a minute, but first I want to say just one more thing about honesty.  Elinor possesses a skill that I desperately want to cultivate: namely, she tells the truth, but not when it isn't necessary.  I don't mean that she lies.  I mean that she doesn't just bluntly say things that are true-but-not-nice.  She holds her tongue.  She speaks with discretion.  Like the Proverbs 31 woman, Elinor opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  Elinor thinks before she speaks and doesn't say things without pondering them first.  It's a habit we'd all (yours truly in particular) do well to emulate.

Now, about Elinor's sense of humor--frankly, I think anyone who says Elinor has no sense of humor needs to go read the book again.  Or at least watch the 1995 film.  (Can't vouch for the 2008 miniseries, but Melody is slowly and surely persuading me to see it, so maybe someday I'll have an opinion to offer.)
"Now there is no one to regard [the leaves at Norland]. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight," [said Marianne.]
"It is not every one," said Elinor [to Marianne], "who has your passion for dead leaves."
~chapter 16

Consider, too, one of my favorite lines in the movie:

Marianne: When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity do not protect him?
Mrs. Dashwood: "Infirmity"?
Elinor: Do you call Colonel Brandon infirm?
Mrs. Dashwood: If Colonel Brandon is infirm, than I am at death’s door.
Elinor: It is a miracle your life has extended thus far.

Oh, and then of course there's this:
Elinor: Marianne, you must change your clothes or you will catch a cold.
Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man?
Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Practicality is an important character quality, after all.  Sure, it sounds boring, but somebody has to add up the household accounts and tell the hired man not to buy expensive groceries.  ("Do you want us to starve to death?" "No.  Just not to eat beef.")

Okay, enough rambling.  My sister Molly (who enjoys the videos on my blog immensely) is probably clamoring by now for Elinor's Best Scene, so here you go.  The scene of which I speak takes place from 3:18 to 6:05. 

"Edward will marry Lucy. And you and I... will go home."  Simple, not exactly profound, but that one line (okay, two lines) perfectly expresses Elinor's personality.  "Always resignation and acceptance! Always prudence and honor and duty.  Elinor! Where is your heart?" I like this scene not because Elinor finally lets the dam burst and gives Marianne what's coming to her (because honestly, am I the only one who's just a little annoyed with Marianne at this point?) but because of the way the scene ends.  After the soul-outpouring and getting everything off her chest, Elinor turns right back to Marianne to hug her.  Frustrated and heartbroken though she might be, Elinor is not going to let her sister cry without offering some support.

Ultimately, Elinor cares about other people more than she does about herself--and that's the most admirable thing about her.  That's what I most want to emulate in Elinor's character.

That, and Emma Thompson's hair.  Those braided buns are absolutely gorgeous.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Calling All Kindred Spirits

I absolutely love Anne of Green Gables.  The character, the books, the movies, you name it and I'll be your friend forever.  Anne Shirley is the quintessential literary heroine and, hands down, my favorite. Ever.

So it is with great excitement, a lot of thrills and a dash of romanticism that I announce the blog event I'm planning to host...

Anne of Green Gables Week, which will take place March 11-17, 2012.  A six-day birthday party for the imaginative redhead in all of us, a literary blogging event for any and all kindred spirits who love Anne and love to laugh.  (I hate coming up with taglines.)

When Anne tells Marilla about herself (the plain facts, not what she imagines about herself--sadly) she says that she was born in March in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia.  When you do the math and add up everyone's ages in Rilla of Ingleside (the only Anne book with specific dates) you can deduce that Anne was born in March of 1866.  However, we don't know exactly when in March her birthday falls.  I have always held to the belief that it takes place smack in the middle of the month, which is why this party celebrating dear Anne Shirley's 146th (yipes) will take place from the 11th to the 17.

*in a loud whisper* "And... that also happens to be my birthday [week].  Just so ya know." (It's not a birthday party for me.  But I didn't mind planning Anne's birthday to coincide with mine. :) And I'm not turning 146.  You may guess how old I'm going to be, if you like.)

I do hope you'll all participate in this celebration of Anne's birthday! I've been planning this event ever since November, and tried hosting the Jane Austen Birthday Party back in December as a sort of dry run.  I was quite inexperienced then (and of course am oh-so-experienced now... HA) but I hope that now I've learned at least a little bit more about hosting a blog event.  There will be guest posts, there will be movie reviews, there will be character quizzes and a dream casting for a new movie and some totally off-the-wall tag questions, and it will all be very, very romantic.  (And by the end of the week, I probably won't ever want to hear that word again, Jane Andrews.)

So if you're of the race that knows Joseph, I would love it if you'd put one of these buttons up on your blog to advertise the event... and I'd love it even more if you'd also come back to Yet Another Period Drama Blog on March 11th to join the fun!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quotes of the Week 20

A little note-- I'm wondering how many people are actually reading this blog.  I can see the number of followers, and I can see my stats every day, but I would like to know how many people are really reading the posts.  So if you could take a moment to leave a brief comment (even just a "hey there!") down below, I'd appreciate it.  (And if you wouldn't mind mentioning how you found my blog in the first place, I'd love to hear that too.) De-lurk if you've been lurking! Be brave!

And now for the quotes...

Elizabeth Bennet: I wonder who first discovered the power of poetry in driving away love?
Mr. Darcy: I thought that poetry was the food of love.
Elizabeth Bennet: Of a fine stout love, it may be. But if it is only a vague inclination I'm convinced one poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.
~Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Hyacinth Gibson: I'm sure you will acknowledge that an engagement is an engagement.
Squire Hamley: Did I say an engagement was an elephant, ma'am?
~Wives and Daughters (1999)

There's something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they will take you. Mine took me here, where I belong.
~Beatrix Potter, Miss Potter (2007)

I didn't write a mystery quote this week, and I don't think I will in the future.  As Rachel D. pointed out last week, as soon as one person comments, everyone else has the answer right there in front of her and doesn't have an opportunity to guess for herself.  I could remedy this by not publishing the comments, but I hate having unpublished comments in my Dashboard.  Silly, I know, but then I am rather silly.

Also, I shall be announcing something that excites me greatly on Monday, so stay tuned for that...

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

So... I took the Scarlet Pimpernel Personality Quiz over at Blakeney Manor, after finding the link on Beautiful Blank Pages, and my result was...

You are Citizen Chauvelin!
You are quiet, diplomatic, and methodical.
You have a thorough understanding of human nature
which you always use to your own advantage. You are
mean-spirited, nasty, vengeful, and generally evil.
You always hold a grudge.
You are a great follower of Machiavelli,
and you HATE the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Cool beans!
This test brought to you by Blakeney Manor.

Find out:Which Scarlet Pimpernel character are you?

Inaccurate test.  Silly thing. :P Silly thing? What am I saying? That's too mild.

What do you mean, I hate the Scarlet Pimpernel? You'll eat those words, Blakeney Manor.  YOU WILL EAT THOSE WORDS.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Literary Heroine Blog Party

I've been working on my answers to Kellie's Literary Heroine Blog Party questions for the past week, but it's only today that I've finished them.   If you aren't already participating, just hop on over to Accordion to Kellie (click on the link below) and check it out!  She's hosting a fun tag (my answers are below the below) and a pretty amazing giveaway.  

(This is Cecily Cardew from The Importance of Being Earnest, if you're wondering--
she isn't my absolute favorite literary heroine, but I love her dress in this photo)
~The Questions ~

Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

Good grief, where to begin?  Well, at the beginning of course, then go on until I get to the end.  Then stop.  (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?) First of all, I am a daughter of the King of Kings, bought with a price, ransomed for all eternity by Jesus Christ, my Savior.  My identity is in Him, never to be lost.
I am also a history buff, a period drama nut, a bookworm, a lover of all things chocolate and a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Without music and Jane Austen, life would be a blank to me.  I suffer from a serious case of cacoethes scribendi, read anything I can lay my hands on (especially classics and historical fiction), take long and vigorous walks, love riding my bicycle and am completely happy when I'm in the kitchen, stirring up something delicious (preferably with tomatoes and garlic or chocolate, but NOT all three) and singing along at the top of my lungs to the amazing music from Les Miserables.
I've been homeschooled all my life, I have four younger siblings who I love to pieces, two amazing parents, and a lot of wonderful, kindred-spirit blogging friends who make my day every day.  I am a stickler for correct spelling and word usage.  But I am nice about it.  I hope.
Also, I like historical fashion.  Let's be friends!

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

A girl who isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in, who loves unconditionally, who is brave and truthful and sweet and generous.  But not perfect, because if she's perfect nobody can relate to her, least of all me.   And of course, a good sense of humor Does Not Come Amiss.

Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables- because there's just something in me that clicks with Anne.  I'm not as dreamy and imaginative as she is, but I share her thoughts about kindred spirits (that is the general idea) and I admire her zest for living, her optimism, her bookworm-ish-ness and her ability to make friends with anyone.  Anne is amazing.
Jo March of Little Women- She's a writer, do I need to say more?  Well, yes. Jo's fiery and impassioned and gets mad easily (well, of course in this I don't relate to her, because naturally I NEVER get mad) and she likes things to stay just as they are.  Like me. :)  But I admire her because she's selfless and fiercely protective of her family and willing to do the right thing even when it's hard.
Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice- She's witty, sparkling, funny and always on her toes.  She's everything I want to be and... well, am not.  But we both have three younger sisters, so see, I can relate.  (Only I trust my sisters are quite unlike hers...) Lizzy isn't perfect, but she goes through a lot of maturing throughout her story, and I admire her willingness to admit she's wrong in the end.
Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility- Well, duh.  I mean, I have her NAME and all that.  Seriously, though, Elinor is a lot like me in some respects and rather unlike me in others.  We're both blessed with sisters whose sorrows and joys can have no moderation, we both have a tendency to hide our feelings, and we both like Edward Ferrars. :P Elinor is an amazing character, and I want to be like her... but I'm not going to say much more, I'll just save it for my post on her later this week.

Five of your favorite historical novels?

I only get to choose five??? Oh, very well.  I'm assuming "historical novel" encompasses both contemporary historical fiction and classic literature--or at least, that's how I'm interpreting it.  These aren't necesarily my Top Five Favorites, they're just five OF my favorites.  In no particular order, Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Wives and Daughters, Johnny Tremain, Les Miserables.

Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why?

This is seriously a toss-up between Johnny Tremain, Jean Valjean, Molly Gibson and Sir Percy Blakeney.  *ducks tomatoes and hides behind Sir Percy* No, I mean it! I like them all for different reasons, and I can't decide which I like best.  My sister's probably getting ready to boot me out of the League, but I really think I like Molly and Valjean and Johnny just as much as that Baronet guy.  *ducks cabbages*

Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Out of those five books, it'd be Rab Silsbee from Johnny Tremain, hands down. (Please, please tell me you've read this book.)  Ooh! Also maybe Marilla Cuthbert from the Anne books.  And out of all the books I've read, it might have to be... um... either Jeeves from any of P.G. Wodehouse's books, or maybe Philippa Gordon or Diana Barry from the Anne books, or maybe Daniel Peggotty or Aunt Betsey Trotwood from David Copperfield.  Ooh! Edmund Sparkler from Little Dorrit!
...This is too hard.

If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?

"Oh, to be in England, now that April's there!" I would most definitely go to the British Isles, where I'd visit every place mentioned in Jane Austen's novels (like Sir Walter Scott, I'd hie me to Lyme and say, "Don't talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth--show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!"), and tour London like a tourist.  I'd also stop over in Ireland and Italy.  Because they're gorgeous places.  Wouldn't it be fun to zoom through Rome on a Vespa just like Audrey Hepburn?  :)

What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

The entire nineteenth century.  Also the Edwardian era. And anything British (from those periods) is going to immediately grab my attention.

You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

Probably singing.  From a musical.  From Les Miserables.  Yeah, probably "On My Own".  Or "Stars". Or even "Bring Him Home."  If I had a prayer of hitting those high notes.  Why am I writing such short choppy sentences?

If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

Marguerite Blakeney, for two reasons.  A) She has the best clothes--- that is, the ones that come up high enough if-you-know-what-I-mean.  B) Whenever Marguerite goes anywhere, she's escorted by the one and only Sir Percy Blakeney. Need. I. Say. More?

What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?

"And on the eighth day, God created chocolate." Dark is the best, milk is amazing, white is too sweet.

Favorite author(s)?
  • Jane Austen
  • Charles Dickens
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • P. G. Wodehouse
  • O. Henry
  • Mark Twain
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Baroness Orczy
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Elizabeth Enright
  • E. Nesbit
  • Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Yes, I took advantage of the "s" that made "author" plural.)

Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?

My camera.  A notebook and a stash of pens to write down impressions of things.  Money. :P Okay, I guess that's an essential.

In which century were most of the books you read written?

The nineteenth, definitely.  Totally an old-fashioned girl here.

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…

Mr. George Knightley from Jane Austen's Emma.  He's quiet and unassuming and unpretentious, but he has a heart of gold, an amazingly generous spirit, wisdom beyond belief and a delightful sense of humor. Also, he's incredibly sweet and not perfect.  Because nobody wants a perfect man.  At least I don't.  He'd show me up shamefully.
Mr. Knightley isn't the kind of guy who shoots bad guys every morning before breakfast.  (That sentence makes me laugh.  I'm reading it over and over again and laughing, and now I'm laughing again, but this time I'm laughing at how pathetic I am.  Um.  Anyway.)  He isn't a superhero.  He isn't dashing and swashbuckling and he probably never fenced in his life.  (Sad to say.)  But he's the kind of man that I want to marry someday.  He loves Emma unconditionally, with all her faults and failings, and he is never afraid to admit when he's wrong.  (It doesn't happen often, but that's be cause he just isn't wrong very often.) Now don't get ME wrong, I have nothing against Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton and Henry Tilney and Sir Percy and Colonel Brandon.  They're all great guys and totally deserving of the title "hero."
But I'm still Team Knightley.

Describe your ideal dwelling place.

The castled crag of Drachenfels.  :P
No, kidding.  My ideal dwelling place would be a tiny cottage on the coast in Price Edward Island, preferably at the foot of a lovely lighthouse.  It's on a cliff, overlooking the sea, with the smell of salt air and the wail of seagulls and stormy clouds (or sunny skies) overhead.... ahhhhh.
Inside, the cottage is charming and old-fashioned, but completely fitted out with modern conveniences ("I said to Mr. E, don't give me two carriages, don't give me enormous houses, but I could not live without my indoor plumbing. No. Life would be a blank to me.").  The kitchen has a low ceiling and gingham curtains at the windows and a cat or two and geraniums in pots... and of course there's a fireplace in the tiny, cozy living room.  And there's wallpaper on all the walls, which I adore.  The staircases are crooked and twisty but simply jam-packed with character, and there's an Attic.  Because I love attics.
In short, my dream house is one Lucy Maud Montgomery would approve of.

Sum up your fashion style in five words.

"I have no particular style." There, five words. :)
Oh, you want me to be more specific? Very well.  Skirts, feminine, old-fashioned, vintage, sweaters.

Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?

Definitely, many times, but the only example that comes to mind is Mr. Knightley.  Why must he be George and his brother John? Why can't they be reversed? During the entire first half of Emma, I was under the impression that their names WERE reversed, and when I discovered that "my" Mr. Knightley was actually called George, I was Most Severely Put Out.
I've gotten used to it since then, but I still don't like the name George.

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...

Chauvelin's pretty awful in the Scarlet Pimpernel books (although I actually sympathize with him in the movie) but I can't really think of any truly dastardly villains.  Except perhaps Oskar the Odacious in The Romantical Perils of Lester and Lynette.  (Eighteen thousand Miss Dashwood points if you get that reference and your name isn't Melody or Anne-girl.)

Three favorite Non-fiction books?

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, Joyfully at Home by Jasmine Baucham.

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

Either on a long, leisurely walk, or perhaps on our back porch with a tall glass of lemonade and a good book. Or maybe I'd write a blog post. :) Or call a friend on the phone.

Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.

My true character has to be summed up in a piece of headgear??? Oh dear.  Here goes:
A big, wide-brimmed hat made of straw ("Why mind the fashion? Wear a big hat and be comfortable!") in a sort of Edwardian style, something you might see on Road to Avonlea... lovely and cool and shady, with yellow roses and some trailing ribbon, but not too flowery "with weeds here and weeds there". :P Something sensible yet utterly fetching and cute.  Without an elastic thingy, though, because they pinch my chin.

Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

*hastily reviews year* Well, I had the amazing opportunity of helping out at with a young ladies' Christian conference last August (is anyone else familiar with Bright Lights?), and the Lord used that to teach me a great deal.  Soon after that I began leading a Bible study group for preteen girls, and that's been a fantastic experience.  It really is true that the teacher learns more than the students, and God has been using this ministry to instruct me and humble me in ways I wouldn't have imagined.

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

First Corinthians 13, the Love chapter.  It's always been a familiar passage, but lately the Lord has been impressing on me the fact that I need to actually, you know, put those character qualities (patience, kindness, not being easily provoked) into action instead of just being able to recite them. :) "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or the tinkling of a cymbal..." 

Thank you, Kellie, for hosting this lovely literary event!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Period Drama Dresses Quiz... Answers Edition

First of all, a great big Thank You to everyone who played this game! I was overwhelmed by the number of responses and I'm still seeing tally marks swimming before my eyes at night when I go to sleep.  I hope I calculated all your scores correctly, because I'm not doing it again. :P

Our winner is... Miss Laurie with 171 points! Congratulations, Miss Laurie! This is for you (and this is why I wanted to know who you preferred, Emma or Molly Gibson).

And thank you to everyone else who played... this was so much fun!

Alexandra (144 points)
Melody (138 points)
Miss Elizabeth Bennet (127 points)
Rachel (120 points)
Birdienl (99 points)
Katy-Anne (86 points)
Ella (61 points)
Jemimah C. (58 points)
Rachel Olivia (52 points)
Eva-Joy (51 points)
Miss Molly (24 points)
Hayden (22 points)
Naomi (22 points)

And now, without further ado, the Answers Video.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fanfare, Please

Ladeeeeez and... ladies....

Miss Dashwood, your host this afternoon, is pleased, proud, pink-tickled and prunes-and-prismed (er, we won't go there) to announce the Grand Opening of a Brand-New Blog--namely, a collection of literary character profiles for your perusal, instruction, enjoyment and Improvement Of Your Mind!

People of the blogging and Internet world, may I present...

The Assembly Rooms: A Collection of Character Profiles from your favorite period dramas!

Assembly Rooms, the Bloggers.  Charmed.  Pleased. Enraptured.

The founder of this dee-light-full literary haven is the lovely Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Elegance of Fashion.  She is joined by three authors who h'assist 'er in writing the profiles: Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm, Melody of Regency Delight, and yours truly of this 'ere blog that's taking up your computer screen at the moment.  (I haven't published any profiles yet, but that will hopefully have changed by this time next week.)

Do hop on over and take a look at The Assembly Rooms!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quotes of the Week 19

I can't do it.  I simply can't do it.  This nonsensically long-winded girl can't restrain herself enough to post just one favorite quote per week.  It simply can't be done.  So Quote of the Week is changing a little.  Instead of posting just one favorite quote, I'll post three or four, with accompanying pictures and a comment or two. Then at the end I'll post one mystery quote, and it will be up to you to guess where that mystery quote comes from.  Make sense?

(At this point you are supposed to say, "As if it were crystal clear... my dear!")

When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.
~Lord Charles Fox, Amazing Grace (2006)

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who burst into unashamed sobs at this point in the movie... doesn't just reading this quote give you chills?)

Gilbert Blythe: Anne Shirley. What in heck are you doing here?
Anne Shirley: [with great dignity] Fishing. For lake trout.
Gilbert Blythe: [skeptically] For lake trout?
Anne Shirley: Mm-hmm.
~Anne of Green Gables (1985)

(This scene never ceases to make me laugh my head off.  I think I've seen it at least a dozen times, and it does NOT get old.)

Apologies for picture quality... I took this screencap myself and am not good at it yet...

Sir Percy Blakeney: Odd's fish, m'dear, the man can't even tie his own cravat.
Marguerite St. Just Blakeney: Really, Percy.  Is that all you can think about? Why aren't you the kind of man a woman can look up to, and turn to in trouble?
Sir Percy Blakeney: Trouble, m'dear? Are you... in trouble?
~The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

(That sound you heard? That was me slamming my head against the wall.  YES, SHE'S IN TROUBLE, PERCY. Stop being an idiot and do something about it! She's your wife, not Mrs. Robespierre, for crying out loud! Percy, I dislike you temporarily! ... But this scene still makes me melt anyway.)

"From little _____, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle ____." There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can't quite make out.
~The Mystery Quote 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Love

"And wove, twue wove, will fowwow you fowevah... So tweazhuh youh wove."
~The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride 

I had a lovely, long, thoughtful post planned out for Valentine's Day.  It was heartwarming and happy and warm and fuzzy... and it was all in my head, with nothing actually typed into, you know, an actual blog post.

Then I got sick.  (So romantical.)  And the idea for a long, wordy, well-thought-out Valentine's Day post went plopping out the window.

So, dear friends, I won't be writing anything truly thoughtful today, because it's all I can do to keep my eyes open long enough to type THIS.  But I can't let this holiday go unnoticed, so I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs about true love.  And maybe next year I'll be back with some slightly more organized thoughts.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Period Drama Dresses Quiz

*Edit*: My apologies for the misinformation earlier concerning the number of points you could accrue! I don't know where the number 240 came from... math is not my strong point... but anyway, I've fixed it.

Inspired by Miss Laurie's Jane Austen Eye Quiz a few weeks ago, I decided to make a Period Drama Dresses Quiz in a similar style.  I've chosen 60 lovely gowns from various period dramas and made a video featuring a picture of each one (with the character's head cropped off.  Dear, dear, I feel like the Queen of Hearts.)  The quiz works very simply: you get one point each for naming the correct character and movie for each dress. One extra bonus point per dress will be awarded if you can name the actress playing the character and wearing the dress. (Total possible points: 180)

Please leave your answers in a comment--I won't publish any of the answers comments until next Monday, at which point the answers will all be revealed.  I will, however, comment back to let you know how many answers you got right.  Feel free to guess as many times as you wish! Have fun!

P.S. You can get "bonus" points (read: no points, it's just for fun) for guessing the soundtrack to this video.  Hint: it's a classical piece NOT written for a period drama.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bleak House (2005) Review

"Shake me up, Judy!"
~Mr. Smallweed, Bleak House (2005)

My family absolutely loves to quote movies.  It's a rare day in our household that goes by without someone quipping, "Why do I not have a surprised feeling?" or "I'm packing your angry eyes, just in case!" or "Sparkler, be quiet!" or even "My name is Inigo Montoya.   You killed my father.  Prepare to DIE." 

There are lots of movies that have really definitive quotes, quotes that when spoken immediately make everyone who's seen the movie light up in recognition.  I wouldn't be surprised if most of you laughed and nodded when you read the first line of this post.  Charles Dickens' Bleak House might not be the most quotable film ever (actually, as far as Dickens films go, it doesn't have very many memorable quotes) but nobody forgets "Shake me up, Judy!".

I read Bleak House in the fall of 2010--a good friend had recommended it after she heard how much I had liked Little Dorrit.  Thinking I was in for a dreary, depressing story, I picked up the 700-page novel with some trepidation, but I ended up loving it.  Esther Summerson, John Jarndyce, Mr. Guppy, Harold Skimpole, Lady Dedlock, Richard Carstone all leaped off the page at me and left me anxious to see them on the screen. (Because when I read a good book, my usual reaction when it's over is, "Is there a good movie? I MUST SEE IT.") 

My parents watched Bleak House in January or February of 2011, and then in the summer I watched it with Anne-girl.  We thoroughly enjoyed it--not as much as Little Dorrit, because nothin' compares with LD--but it was wonderful in its own way.

Anna Maxwell Martin as Esther Summerson
Dickens is famous for his legions of memorable, colorful characters, and Bleak House is no exception.  Featuring a heroine who is second only to Amy Dorrit in my list of favorite Dickens ladies, Bleak House refutes the idea that Charles Dickens never wrote about women who were anything other than simpering angels.  Esther Summerson is a heroine in every sense of the word (but not in the sense that she's just the girl who marries the hero--because *SPOILER ALERT* she doesn't. *END OF SPOILER*)  Played to perfection by lovely Anna Maxwell Martin, Esther combines gentleness and grace with great strength of character and selflessness.
Esther and Denis Lawson as Mr. Jarndyce
Denis Lawson plays kind Mr. Jarndyce, the real hero of the story.  He doesn't look at all the way I imagined Mr. Jarndyce while reading the book, but I quickly got used to his appearance (as I almost always do).  If you'd like to read more about Mr. Jarndyce's character, go to this post.  I really enjoyed seeing how all the characters interacted with each other in this miniseries--in the case of Mr. Jarndyce and Esther especially, I frequently forgot that I was watching a movie.  It was as if they were standing right there in the room with me, which is, I think, the test of good acting.  Everything felt so real.  

Esther with Carey Mulligan as Ada Clare
Carey Mulligan gives a brilliant performance as sweet, slightly spoiled young Ada Clare--and I have to say, I liked her much better in this role than as the shallow, silly Kitty Bennet of Pride and Prejudice 2005.  She looks exactly the way I pictured Ada, and she plays the character of a naive young girl without being annoying or overly silly.  Ada isn't technically an admirable character (unless you count that she stuck by Richard no matter what--but I would call that foolishness, personally) but she's very sweet and one can't help liking her.  Plus, she has the best clothes of anyone in the movie and that gives her instant Miss Dashwood Points.

Esther and Ada's friendship was another of those elements that just felt so real.  The way they giggled together and confided in each other and teased each other a bit was sweet and fun, and I think this was one of the ways that the movie was a little better than the book.  In the book, you know that Esther and Ada are friends, but their friendship is seen less as a relationship of equal standing and more as an employer/employee thing.  Esther is Ada's companion, after all.  But I liked it better in the movie. ;)

Burn Gorman as Mr. Guppy of Kenge and Carboysh
Since I am rather randomly skipping about from character to character, I now find myself ready to address my angel--er, Mr. Guppy.  (Not my angel.  Just for the record.  He's Esther's angel.  Er, she's HIS angel.  Whatever. I'm getting muddled.)  Burn Gorman is an absolutely hilarious version of the love-struck young lawyer ("of Kenge and Carboysh") who moons about after Esther like a [insert overused cliche here].  From a purely analytic point of view (and mine is anything but, haha) his character seems quite similar to that of John Chivery in Little Dorrit, but there's one big difference.  Whereas John's story is sad and tear-jerking--and you feel so sorry for him at the end--Mr. Guppy's is just funny.  Especially in the scene where he first proposes to Esther.  Sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, adjust coattails, sit down--ooh, here's Miss Summerson! Stand up! My sister and I always get a big kick out of that scene, especially when he nervously offers her "some refreshment" in her OWN house. :P
Patrick Kennedy as Richard Carstone with Ada

In the book, Richard and Ada's relationship annoyed me to no end.  Well, okay, let me rephrase that--RICHARD annoyed me to no end.  The guy has almost everything he could ever want--a kind and devoted guardian, a good education, great opportunities and a gorgeous girlfriend (alliteration much?) yet he chooses to throw most of this away and waste his time on that everlasting Chancery case. Badly done, Richard.  Badly done.

Ada, on the other hand, isn't so bad--actually, I feel quite sorry for her.  If only she'd had a little more backbone, and had been able to tell Richard, "Look, we aren't getting married until you get your act together." But of course he never did get his act together, and all right, all right, I'll admit I was quite sad when Richard *SPOILER ALERT* died. *END OF SPOILER*

Oh, and while we're on the subject, am I seriously the only one who thinks that there's a resemblance between Richard (Patrick Kennedy) and Marius Pontmercy (Michael Ball)? It's not just the hair and the collar--they really do look alike.

See? Told ya.
Speaking of Characters Who Really Annoy Me....

Harold Skimpole.  Nathaniel Parker plays him to a T.  I would like to land a high kick right in his silly astonished face.  'Nuff said.

Skimpole: "But after all I'm nothing but a child..."
Cough, cough.  Moving on...

Alun Armstrong as Inspector Bucket
Charles Dance plays an amazingly evil Mr. Tulkinghorn.  I shuddered every time he came on screen... (but in a good way, not the way I shuddered during the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert every time Nick Jonas came onscreen).  Ahem.  Losing the topic here... I think Mr. Dance would actually make an excellent Scrooge if someone were to adapt A Christmas Carol for the umpteenth time.   Alun Armstrong (you may also know him as Jeremiah Flintwinch and Daniel Pegotty, and I sincerely hope you know him as M. Thenardier) is a fabulous Inspector Bucket.  On the outside, he seems greasy and gross, but as the story progresses and you get to know the Inspector better, he's really quite a likeable fellow. (Despite the scary sideburns.)

Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock
When I read the book, I wasn't particularly impressed by Lady Honoria Dedlock... but then I saw Gillian Anderson in the role and I was blown away.  I could devote a whole post to this tragically beautiful, mentally tortured woman who made such mistakes in her youth.... *melodramatic music* Without giving anything away, let me just say that a certain scene in which Lady Dedlock tells a certain character a certain secret and reveals that she and this certain character are Rather Closely Related in a certain way.... wow.  Tearjerker moment if I ever saw one, and I've seen plenty.  Also, I adore her ladyship's hair.  If anyone knows how to do it that way, e-mail me the step-by-step instructions ASAP.  Please.

Lady Dedlock's hair might have been gorgous, but
Esther's (at least near the end of the movie) left something
to be desired, IMHO

Richard Harrington does a great job of portraying Allan Woodcourt's humility, loyalty and general all-around-nice-guy-ness, but the fact remains that Allan just doesn't hold a candle to Mr. Jarndyce.  I am really trying desperately hard to keep from spoiling the story for all of you who haven't seen it... but if you read my guest post at Miss Laurie's blog, you already know that Esther marries Allan and not Mr. Jarndyce, right? (And if you didn't, you do now.  Sorry...)  But despite the fact that I feel so very bad for poor, selfless Mr. Jarndyce, I can't help being happy at seeing Esther and Allan together.  I still maintain that Mr. Jarndyce is The Better Man (and since Allan's great, that's saying a lot!) but Esther and "the handsome young surgeon" (as Dickens constantly calls him in the book) simply belong together.

And then of course there are all the minor characters, because what would a Dickens story be without at least eight hundred minor characters?  Miss Flite (awww), Mr. Krook (ewww), Mr. Nemo (must find him!), Mr. Kenge (but where's Mr. Carboy?), Sergeant George (yay!), Mrs. Rouncewell (yay again!), Jo (aww), Caddy Jellyby (poor thing), Mr. Turveydrop (I feel a high kick coming on), Mr. Smallweed (just... ew...) and of course the infamous Judy (shake me up!).  They're all amazing.  Oh, and I forgot Hortense.  She's glaring at me.  "You stupid woman!"

As far as intrigue, dastardly deeds, suspense and cliffhangers go, this movie has it all.  At first, I was afraid it might be too creepy (the first episode certainly seems dark enough) but by the end, I was loving it.  Actually, by the second episode, I was loving it.  The theme music, though not as memorable as Little Dorrit's (composed by the same composer, incidentally) was good, but I was rather annoyed by the spooky whooshing in between scenes.  It got old very fast.

Other things I didn't like... well, there really wasn't much.  Mr. Krook's death is beyond gross (and pretty crazy---I mean, I know medical science has come a long way since the Victorian era, but it's hard to believe that people really thought such things could happen) but thankfully the Big Murder Scene (duhn-duhn-duhn!) is not shown.  Overall, I'd say there's actually less blood and gore than there was in Little Dorrit.  (This is a good thing, in case you were wondering.)

On the whole, I would give Bleak House eight stars out of ten.  It was captivating, it was interesting, it was sad, it was funny, it was Charles-J.-H.-Dickens-need-we-say-more?.  

Also, it had one of the best wedding scenes ever, in the history of the whole entire world. And since I'm a sucker for good weddings, I would have forgiven the rest of the movie for being blah (if it were blah.  Which it is not).

In the end, all I can say is that you will be anything but bored to death with it.  Judy? Shake me up!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quotes of the Week 18 (Celebrating Charles Dickens)

To celebrate Charles Dickens' 200th birthday, Quote of the Week this week is comprised of ten of my favorite Dickens quotes.  There are so many more that I would have loved to include, but I wanted this post to actually be readable, so I restrained myself to ten.  (Naturally, I saved the best one for the last.)

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts."
-Great Expectations

"I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for."
-A Christmas Carol

"I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it."
-Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities

"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists."
-Charles Dickens

"Be guided only by the Healer of the sick, the Raiser of the dead, the Friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities. We cannot but be right if we put all the rest away, and do everything in remembrance of Him. There is no vengeance and no infliction of suffering in His life, I am sure. There can be no confusion in following Him, and seeking for no other footsteps, I am certain!"
-Amy Dorrit, Little Dorrit

"Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away."
A Tale of Two Cities (talking about Sydney Carton, but it could be referring to Steerforth!)

"Give me a moment, because I like to cry for joy. It's so delicious, John dear, to cry for joy."
-Bella Wilfer, Our Mutual Friend

"The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again."
-Nicholas Nickleby

"No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot."
-Our Mutual Friend

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
-Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Muppets' Christmas Carol (1992) Review

"Hello! Welcome to the Muppet Christmas Carol.  I am here to tell the story."
"And I am here for the food."

I've only seen one version of A Christmas Carol (I know, I know...) but IMHO this adaptation is outstanding.  Sure, it's silly, but it's the Muppets for crying out loud! The overall feel of the story is lighthearted and funny, but the script is faithful to the novel and even pretty faithful to Dickens' original language.  The parts that might be scary (including the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, who my brother insists is made of trash bags) are toned down to be suitable for young children (and anyway, they'll be fine--it's culture) and the rest of the story is well-told.

Plus, there are lots and lots and lots of really good quotes, and that alone would make this a good movie.

Everybody knows the story of A Christmas Carol (at least I hope all of you do... *peers sternly at cyber-audience*) Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine, who is... adequate) lives his life being mean to everyone and does not change his ways until he is visited by five ghosts (various Muppets, who are awesome) who show him different Christmases from the past, present and future as well as people he knows/knew from the past, present and future (more various Muppets, who are also awesome) and encourage him to mend his ways.  This one thing you must remember, or nothing else will seem wondrous.  Why am I whispering, you ask? Don't ask such silly questions--it's for dramatic emphasis.

See? I can do stories in a nutshell sometimes.  Maybe you're wondering why you should take my word for it that this is the story.  Well, let me tell you that I know the story of ACC like the back of my hand. Want me to prove it? Okay, well, there's a little mole on my thumb, and a scar on the wrist from when I fell off my bike... Ahem.  I promised myself I wouldn't do rabbit trails.

Michael Caine plays Scrooge, as I said, adequately.  He's not awful, but he's not great either.  The best parts of Scrooge's personality come from the script, not the acting.
"Let us deal with the eviction notices for tomorrow, Mr. Cratchit."
"Uh, tomorrow's Christmas, sir."
"Very well. You may gift wrap them."

A lot of the good lines come, of course, from Charles Dickens' immortal words themselves. "He was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge: a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, clutching, covetous old sinner." The Great Gonzo plays a highly amusing Charles Dickens, with some of Gonzo's own wit and humor mixed in with authentic Dickensian quotes. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and Scrooge was conscious of a thousand odors, each one connected with a thousand thoughts and hopes and joys and cares long, long forgotten." (That remains one of my favorites.)  Joined by Rizzo the Rat, who is grateful to be a part of this, Charles Dickens tells the story of ACC while tagging along with the characters as they journey through the story.
Rizzo the Rat as Rizzo the Rat and the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens

Rizzo the Rat: How do you know what Scrooge is doin'? We're down here and he's up there!
Gonzo: I told you, storytellers are omniscient; I know everything!
Rizzo the Rat: Hoity-toity, Mr. Godlike Smarty-Pants.
Gonzo: To conduct a proper search, Scrooge was forced to light the lamps.
[the lamps come on]
Rizzo the Rat: How DOES he do that?

Kermit the Frog plays an excellent Bob Cratchit, with just the right mix of humility (but not Uriah Heep's kind), optimism and general good humor.  His family consists of Mrs. Cratchit (who oddly enough seemed more martial-artsy than in the book) and his children Peter, Belinda and whatever-the-other-girl's-name-is and a slightly frightening Tiny Tim.  (Was anyone else just a wee bit creeped out by his froggy eyes? No, just me? Okay then.)
A random frog as Tiny Tim, Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchit

Kermit the Frog: If you please Mr. Scrooge, it's gotten colder, and the bookkeeping staff would like an extra shovel full of coal for the fire?
Rat #1: We can't do the bookkeeping, all our pens have turned to inkcicles!
Rat #2: Our assets are frozen!
Ebenezer Scrooge: How would the bookkeeping staff like to be suddenly... UNEMPLOYED?
Rats: HEAT WAVE. This is my island in the sun...

Waldorf and Statler make comical cameos as Jacob and Robert Marley--it's good to see them heckling again.  I was unaware that Jake Marley had a twin brother, but you learn something new every day, don't you?  Of course I could simply be imagining that there was only one Marley brother... I do sometimes doubt my senses because a little thing can effect them. A slight disorder of the stomach can make them cheat. You may be a bit of undigested beef, a blob of mustard, a crumb of cheese. Yes. There's more gravy than of grave about you.

Scrooge with Waldorf and Statler as the Marley brothers
Robert Marley: More gravy than of grave?
Jacob Marley: What a terrible pun. Where'd you get those jokes?
Robert Marley: Leave comedy to the bears, Miss Dashwood.

Speaking of bears, I thoroughly enjoyed Fozzy Bear's performance as Old Fozziwig.  "I love these annual Christmas parties. I love 'em so much, I think we'll do it twice a year!"

The flashbacks to Scrooge's childhood were well done, I thought, but of all the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past was actually the spookiest.  Her creepy voice and archaically-animated face were... well, a little scary.  But I did enjoy the portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas Present (and was I the only one who, as a child, thought that he was supposed to be the Ghost of Christmas Gifts?).

"You're a little absent-minded, Spirit."
"No, I'm a LARGE absent-minded Spirit!"
I love it when actors I know make cameo appearances in movies with a lot of characters (one of the reasons I like P&P05) and Sam the Eagle's appearance as the Headmaster did not disappoint. "Mm, you will love business. It is the AMERICAN WAY! ... Oh... It is the BRITISH WAY! Work hard, lad, and one day, your life will be as solid as this very building! [the shelf collapses behind him] Huh. I've been meaning to fix that shelf."

The human characters, unfortunately, were less than perfect.  The animal-vegetable-mineral game played at Fred's house during Christmas Present (heh) is one of my favorite scenes in the book, yet it fell a little flat in this movie.
*insert squeal*
Okay, I just went to IMDB to look up the actor who played Fred because I thought he seemed a bit familiar... and lo and behold, it's John Harmon/Rokesmith/Handford from Our Mutual Friend! Well, I wasn't overly impressed with his performance in the guessing game scene (and his wife was nothing short of annoying) but he did do a pretty good job of portraying Fred's cheeriness (and staying out of the river).  The other human actors... as I said, Mrs. Nephew Fred was pretty cheesy and Belle (Scrooge's fiancee) wasn't much better.  I did have to giggle at Raymond Coulthard's portrayal of Young Scrooge (they did a rather good job of matching Young Scrooge and Old Scrooge, looks-wise) because I had seen bits and clips of him as Frank Churchill in the brown-haired Emma.

I can't finish this review without a little mention of the music in this movie--"It Feels Like Christmas" is definitely my favorite.  "It is the season of the heart, a special time of caring, the ways of love made clear..."

(Oh, and take a look at Fagin at 0:37! More Dickens cameos!)

The ending was sweet and funny (especially Miss Piggy---er, Mrs. Cratchit's threatening to flatten Scrooge on the sidewalk) and all in all, I highly recommend this movie as a good family film for Christmas or any other time of year.  Sure, a Dickens purist might object to the use of Muppets in a classic tale such as this, but I think Charles Dickens would have enjoyed it.  Don't you?

Jacob Marley: That was the review?
Robert Marley: It was dumb!
Jacob Marley: It was obvious!
Robert Marley: It was pointless!
Jacob Marley: It was... short!
Jacob Marley, Robert Marley: I LOVED it!

Guest Post!

My dear blogging friend Miss Laurie has kindly invited me to guest post over at her blog, Old-Fashioned Charm, for Charles Dickens Week.  You can go here to read my post on Dickens' heroes.