Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year! 2012

2012 has been great year for me.   In July I went on holiday to Gloucester and visited Lacock, Lacock Abbey, Highclere Castle, Bath, Castle Combe, Weston Super Mare and Gloucester Cathedral. In August I went to a family wedding in Dorset, it was lovely and I also visited Stonehenge.

I wonder what 2013 will bring... Happy New Year everyone!!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Railway Children (1970)

The story follows the adventures of the Waterbury children, who are forced to move with their mother (Dinah Sheridan) from a luxurious Edwardian villa in the London suburbs to "Three Chimneys", a house near the fictional 'Great Northern and Southern Railway' in the Yorkshire dales, as the father (Iain Cuthbertson), who works at the Foreign office, has been imprisoned as a result of being falsely accused of selling state secrets to the Russians.

The three children, Roberta (Bobbie) (Jenny Agutter), Phyllis (Sally Thomsett) and Peter (Gary Warren), find amusement in watching the trains on the nearby railway line and waving to the passengers. They become friendly with Albert Perks (Bernard Cribbins), the station porter, and with the Old Gentleman who regularly takes the 9:15 down train. Meanwhile, to earn money to survive during her husband's absence, Mother writes and sells stories to magazines.


After many adventures, including saving the lives of dozens of passengers by alerting a train to a landslide, rescuing a Russian dissident, Mr. Szczepansky, and uniting him with his family, and caring for Jim, the grandson of the Old Gentleman, who is injured whilst participating in a paper chase, Bobbie eventually discovers the truth of her father's absence and appeals to the Old Gentleman for his help. He is eventually able to help prove their father's innocence, and the family is reunited.

This is regarded as one of the greatest children's films of all time. :) xx

Holiday Inn (1942)

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in Holiday Inn as a popular nightclub song-and-dance team. When his heart is broken by his girlfriend, Crosby decides to retire from the hustle-bustle of big city showbiz.  He purchases a rustic New England farm and converts it to an inn, which he opens to the public (floor show and all) only on holidays.  Oddly enough, the most memorable song in the bunch, the Oscar-winning White Christmas, is not offered as a production number but as a simple ballad sung by Crosby to an audience of one: leading lady Marjorie Reynolds. Fred Astaire's best moment is his Fourth of July firecracker dance. 

Well, it seems that Astaire wants to make a film about Crosby's inn, starring their mutual discovery Reynolds.   Bing briefly loses Reynolds to Astaire, but wins her back during the filming of a musical number on a Hollywood soundstage.

This is truly one of the great musicals to ever grace the silver screen.  Between the great song, the dance numbers and the chemistry between Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, this film really is one of the the all time classics. What really makes it great is that it pretty much plays like a great Broadway review that uses the different holidays as an excuse to display the individual talents of each of the film's stars. However, the thing that this film will truly be remembered for is the fact that it introduced one of the all time classic song's to the world, "White Christmas."
Another thing that makes this film so beloved is that it came out during a time when America needed somewhat of a diversion, World War II. This film helped to give people something to put smiles on their faces as the whole world was going through hell.
At least for two hours, this film helped America to forget its troubles and put a smile on everyone's faces.  This was the film that brought us the all time best-selling Christmas song, "White Christmas."  Holiday Inn is stylish, funny and a very romantic musical.
What's there not to like?  The singing and dancing is remarkable!  A true classic! :) xx

Friday, 28 December 2012

Elf (2003)


Christmas family comedy directed by independent filmmaker Jon Favreau. Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a human being who has spent his whole life believing himself to be an elf. Brought up by Santa (Edward Asner) and his elves at the North Pole, Buddy has spent the last 30 years happily working in Santa's toy workshop. But when his ungainly size starts to become a liability in the elf-sized working environment, Santa suggests that Buddy head to New York City to find his biological father (James Caan). Needless to say, the unlikely spectacle of a 6'5' man dressed from head to foot in bright green stands out a mile on the streets of the Big Apple, and the good-natured Buddy finds himself in all sorts of scrapes as he gets used to his new family and surroundings - and they get used to him.
Have fun! :) xx

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Nucracker by The Royal Ballet


Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score combines with the magical choreography inspired by Lev Ivanov in an atmosphere of fantasy and the supernatural. Hoffman’s Christmas story unfolds with breathtaking splendour and beauty in the most festive and enduring of all ballets. 

 Act I
As conceived by Peter Wright, after the original book by Lev Ivanov. Herr Drosselmeyer (Anthony Dowell), a mysterious magician and creator of mechanical toys and clocks, was once employed at the royal palace, where he invented a trap that killed off half the mouse population. In revenge, the wicked Mouse Queen cast a spell on Drosselmeyer’s nephew, Hans-Peter (Ivan Putrov), which transformed him into an ugly nutcracker doll. The only way to break the spell is for the Nutcracker to slay the Mouse King and for a young girl to love and care for him in spite of his awful appearance.

When Drosselmeyer is invited to entertain the guests at a Christmas party given by his friends, the Stahlbaums, he decides that this could well be the opportunity he has been looking for. The Stahlbaums have a daughter, Clara (Alina Cojocaru), who is a little younger than Hans-Peter. And what better time than Christmas, when the mice are busy stealing the leftovers, for a confrontation between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker? Drosselmeyer decides to put the Nutcracker in the tender care of Clara and makes a special Christmas angel to guide her through her task.

When all the guests have departed and the house is asleep, Clara, in search of the nutcracker doll, creeps downstairs and discovers Drosselmeyer waiting for her. He draws her into his own special world of fantasy, where time is suspended, and exerts all his powers to transform the living room into a great battlefield. Then he summons the Mouse King (Christopher Saunders). In the ensuing fight between the mice and the toy soldiers, the Nutcracker slays the Mouse King, but only through the intervention of Clara, who, out of compassion, saves the Nutcracker’s life.


 Act II
Restored to his real self, Hans-Peter dances with Clara, and they find themselves in the Land of Snow. Drosselmeyer then sends them on a magic journey to the Sugar Garden in the Kingdom of Sweets, where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy (Miyako Yoshida) and her Prince (Jonathan Cope). Freed at last from his imprisonment inside the nutcracker, Hans-Peter recounts to the Sugar Plum Fairy his great adventure and how Clara saved his life. They then join in a magnificent entertainment put on by Drosselmeyer to honor them for their bravery.

Returning to reality, Clara runs out into the street in search of Drosselmeyer and encounters a strangely familiar young man, while back in his workshop Drosselmeyer prays that his efforts will be rewarded. His nephew returns; the spell has indeed been broken.

 I can't wait to watch my Nutcracker Ballet DVD with a lovely warm drink and treats on Christmas Eve! :) xx