Monday, 20 December 2010

"The Year Turns Around Again," a song from the popular play, "War Horse"

This poignant song seems appropriate for the year turning around again. "War Horse" is an emotional and popular play adapted from a novel by Michael Morpurgo.  It's a play about a a horse who gets conscripted into the British Army in World War I. The horse enriches the lives of those who meets him - until the original owner is re-united with the horse in "no man's land". Steven Speilberg has turned this into a film and it is being edited at present. Its release is sometime, late next summer.

With thanks to Paper Monocle who posted this on You Tube.

Here’s the official synopsis from Dreamworks:
From director Steven Spielberg comes “War Horse,” an epic adventure for audiences of all ages. Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. “War Horse” is one of the great stories of friendship and war—a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit that is arriving on Broadway next year. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history.

"Othello" summarised by Spark Notes

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" summarised in a video by Spark Notes

Videos on the the novel and contexts of "The Great Gatsby"

The novel summarised by Spark Notes!

Gatsby's life story by Spark Notes.

This video is about the novel.

This novel's form and biographical information on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

A short video which is directly about F. Scott FitzGerald and is useful for understanding the literary context.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Roaring Twenties

While prohibition and stock market speculation appears to be missing, this presentation, possibly by another student, is helpful for understanding the 1920s cultural context of "The Great Gatsby".

The Great Gatsby - Quotations with Comments

This is the work of another US student. While not perfect, it is again, very useful for studying the text.

A Time-Line for "The Great Gatsby"

This looks to have been put together by a student in an American class. It is useful for gaining an overview of the characters and their passage over time in this text.

The Great Gatsby simplified into two themes and two sets of symbols

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Brighton Rock: The Song

In another video she gives her proper ending to the song. This is good - and creative.

Here's some Brighton Rock trivia from another blog, that refers to influences from other texts on Graham Greene and how Brighton Rock influenced songs in our age.

A recent theory is that Greene got the idea for the book from watching the Jean Gabin movie Pepe le Moko which he had reviewed in early 1937. Greene wrote - 'I cannot remember a picture which has succeeded so admirably in raising the thriller to a poetic level.' Similarities include smiling villains and the trivialisation of murder and betrayal. The crimes of the racecourse gangs who created havoc in Brighton during the 1930s had been reported widely and it is likely he was drawn to this; also he had stayed in Brighton and responded to its seedy and violent undercurrents. Brighton still has a louche and sordid side to it, although possibly less palpable than in GG's day.

The first of Greene's overtly Catholic novels. Orwell said that they put forward 'the idea…floating around since Baudelaire, that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class night club, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only, since the others, the non-Catholics, are too ignorant to be held guilty.…'

Still much read and studied, also the 1948 movie has cult status. Richard Attenborough, the original lovey, is unforgettable as the baby faced psychopath. TRIVIA:- The four members of Pinkie's gang receive a nod in the Morrissey song "Now My Heart Is Full" from his Vauxhall LP. - "Tell all of my friends (I don't have too many) Just some rain-coated lovers' puny brothers -Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt / Rush to danger, wind up nowhere." Pete Doherty wrote a song entitled "Love You But You're Green" which makes many references to Brighton Rock. Rock band My Vitriol (who?) take their name from Pinkie's habit of always carrying a bottle of sulphuric acid for protection. The climax of the film takes place at the West Pier, which differs from the novel, the end of which takes place in the nearby town of Peacehaven. In the United States, the film was released under the title Young Scarface.' Lastly, I once read that Greene stayed at the Metropole Hotel on the sea front whilst recovering from an opium binge in South East Asia.

A Pete Doherty song, said have been inspired by part of "Brighton Rock" by Graham Greene

Lyrics to I Love You (But You're Green) :
I was a troubled teen
Who put an advert in a magazine
To the annoyance of my imaginary lover
She questioned my integrity and this is what she said to me...

She said, 'Oh, you, you're green
You don't know what love means
Oh let me tell you'
Said, 'It tickles you pink oh yeah
But it likes to hear you scream'
Fire and damnation, lamentations
For the likes of you.

When she goes
Just let her go
If she says she's going
Just make sure she goes
Make sure she goes.

I was a troubled teen
Untroubled only in my daydreams
To the annoyance of somebody or other
Well they doubted my philosophy and this is what they said to me...

'Now you, you tee me up where you belong
But it's only blood from broken hearts
That writes the words to every song'
Oh a beatific smile for, for worthy servants
Oh but only I, only I, only I...

I can see the serpent
Oh you, you're green
You don't know what love means
Well let me tell you
It tickles you pink oh yeah
But it likes to hear you scream
Fire and damnation, lamentations
For the likes of you.

When she goes
Just let her go
If she says she's going
Just make sure she goes
Make sure she goes.

When she goes
You just let her go
If she says she's going
Just make sure she goes
Make sure she goes. 

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.