The Return of William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes!

Other fans of Sherlock Holmes will find this very interesting. We can soon watch the actor whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle watched play Sherlock Holmes.

Aliens in This World

Once upon a time, there was a silent 1916 Sherlock Holmes movie, starring William Gillette, the founder of all modern schools of acting and the originator of the role of Sherlock Holmes. He played Holmes in the theater over 1300 times, and Doyle loved it. (Loved the royalties, too.) The movie of the play was wildly popular, but every single copy was lost.

Until now.

Early in 2014, the Cinematheque Francaise found a duplicate copy with French title cards and color annotation, to be used in making French distribution copies. The find was announced back in October, although I didn’t hear about it. (Sob!)

In a partnership with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the movie has now been restored and certain scenes have been colored as directed. The movie has its restoration premiere in Paris, and will receive its US restoration premiere on Memorial Day Weekend, 2015, in…

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Ernesto, mi amor…

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Originally posted on my virtual playground:
Hemingway Home, 907 Whitehead street, Key West, Florida… Before I stepped in, an intense emotion overwhelmed me – completely different from the one I experienced when I visited Steinbeck’s house in California. I’ve always had profound weakness and genuine affection for Papa Hemingway – a passionate and fascinating man,…

Another angle on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Well, I couldn’t let M. Otaku have all the say on this great book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my favorite novel by Neil Gaiman. (I also loved Coraline, so there are not any real disagreements here.) I want to push back a little bit, though, on the idea that Coraline is better because Coraline takes care of herself. In a way, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is more like a true fairy tale. Consider the following: 1) an ordinary boy sets off on an ordinary road and finds something very extraordinary; 2) the ordinary boy survives/ succeeds only by the direct assistance of other beings who are vastly more than they seem; 3) the boy comes home again, not really through his own effort, but by obeying the second weird rule having put himself in all the danger by breaking the first.

Point 1 applies to both Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but in 2 and 3 they diverge. In a way, Coraline may be considered a type of Superman who, through her own wit, strength, and will conquers the ‘other mother’. In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the boy is a type of the Christian view a mankind, essentially powerless and under assault from evil forces far outside his ability to even comprehend; in need of a champion in the fight. The boy, through the instinct of his nature, disobeys the first of what we can call the ‘Dont eat the fruit of this one tree’ type commands. And, after being plagued by the repercussions of his disobedience, flees to those who can save him. Then, though sorely tempted, he obeys the second (to stay in the fairy ring) and is saved….

(As a side note, strange rule set for the protagonist by those assisting him is very very common in fairy tales. The two I am thinking of in The Ocean at the End of the Lane are even understandable in comparison.)

(( As a side note after the side note… I thought that The Ocean at the End of the Lane was more poetic and better wrought…))

Anyway, I guess I didn’t like that Coraline fixes everything on her own, it seemed so… impossible.

 

Among Theives and the Morals of a Politician

Lately, I read a riveting work of fantasy: Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick.  The author created a world of intrigue more deftly than I have seen in a long time.  The main character, Drothe, constantly reassesses his actions as he uncovers misunderstandings, red herrings, and new players involved in the plots swirling about him.  These all lead him into interesting scrapes, and the reader turns pages eagerly awaiting the next twist.  The characters, especially Degan, are very well done: they are very likable or utterly despicable depending on their role in the plot.

DG Among Thieves

However, one matter bugged me at the end.  Drothe’s mentor tries to console him over the many promises Drothe had to break and the people whom he used over the course of the novel.  The mentor claims that the end Drothe pursued justified his actions.  “The end does not justify the means” is a common moral axiom which the mentor tries to prove wrong or incomplete.  To his credit, Drothe only gives grudging agreement with the moral which the reader is supposed to draw from this story.

But, the main problem with the moral lies in it being amoral.  The story starts with Drothe resorting to torture in order to gain information and finishes by saying that such actions are alright as long as a better end lies ahead.  Yet, keep in mind that most of the characters are criminals.  Criminal morals are bad morals!  As Aristotle says, the only friendships available to a man of bad character are those of utility.  By the end of the tale, all of Drothe’s relationships, with the touching exception of that with his sister, devolve to this level.  A gangster can give no life lessons except through via negativa!

Tübinger_Mensur Painting

The author claims that a fencing addiction was part of the reason for the book coming into being. His enthusiasm for fencing shows, even if I felt the fights were not well described sometimes.

 

Politicians act this way all the time.  They refuse to be candid with their constituents and lead them by the nose for votes or donations.  The constituents become means for the politician to accomplish a project for the general welfare–or his own welfare, as the case may be.  People who do such things harm their own souls.  One could say that matters would have turned out worse for Drothe’s friends, family, and colleagues had he not forsworn some of his promises.  But, considering how little Drothe actually knew most of the plot, would it not have been better to retain his honor and suffer certain misfortunes than to reduce all the persons around him to means?

By the end of the tale, Drothe gains much respect from his fellow gangsters, but is it worth his losses in honor and the good will of those around him?  Read the novel and devise your own opinion!

A Few Thoughts on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I have added another Neil Gaiman to my collection: The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  With a few exceptions, this work feels very similar to Coraline–a better and more fantastic work.  In the work before us, the protagonist is male, and he does not rely upon himself in defeating the antagonist.  In many ways, he is more the observer than the mover of the plot.  The antagonist is so powerful and our hero so young at only seven years of age that he must enlist the aid of the Hempstock women, who are much more than they appear.

Ocean at End of Lane

One deduces that not judging by appearances is the major theme of the story.  In the beginning, a visitor to the protagonist’s house accidentally runs over his pet kitten, which the visitor replaces with a ginger colored tomcat.  The visitor thinks that he has replaced a cat with a cat, but the tomcat can never replace Fluffy in our hero’s heart.  Even when he later gains another black kitten which he loves a great deal, the personality of Ocean differs from that of Fluffy.

But, interior differences matter even more in the case of Ursula Monkton, who possesses the appearance of a young and beautiful blonde.  Her skill in cooking and superficially appealing demeanor hoodwink everyone at the house except our hero, who knows her secret.  The atmosphere reminds one of a story from the Brothers Grimm.  The fantastic abounds in a modern setting, and our villain is of the witch/evil step-mother type, which is popular with Gaiman.  One is reminded of the Other Mother in Coraline.

Odd Diner

At any rate, this 178 page novel reads quite quickly with a few exceptions.  Gaiman expertly draws the reader into his world through suspense and the way the Hempstock women describe a universe far larger than our imaginations.  While not perhaps his best work, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is sure to immerse you in its tale.