What the Code Means to Me: Breen, Hallmark, and Me

Dumbo (2019). Men in Black International. Poms. Dark Phoenix. These are a few examples of movies that have, recently, lost their battles in the Cinematic Colosseum. When a film underperforms or doesn’t reach expectations, people always look for reasons why this happened. It is a way of providing a sense of closure to the situation. Some say that the reason why 2019 has seen more cinematic failures than successes is because of an absence of original and innovative ideas. Others say that the creative teams behind these projects put more emphasis on politics than the story itself. Another reason that has been discussed is having too many remakes, sequels, and franchise continuations competing against each other within a short amount of time. Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that these films probably failed because, simply, movie-goers just weren’t interested in the overall product. This seems very different from the time-period of 1934 to 1954, when the Breen era not only existed, but also thrived. During this particular stretch of time, it feels like more films were both successful and memorable for the right reasons. Take 1939, for example. Within this year alone, movie-goers were given three films that cemented their place in cinematic history; Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Wizard of Oz. The fact that these very distinct films placed in the Top 10 at that year’s box office proves that during the Breen era, there was something for everyone at the cinema. With the Breen Code absent in today’s cinematic world, an interesting media company that, I feel, has embraced Joseph I. Breen’s way of thinking is Hallmark. The more I’ve thought about the Breen Code and its impact on film, the more I see the similarities within the kinds of movies that Hallmark creates. Even though these films are featured on either television or digital services, it proves that there is hope for the Breen Code to make a comeback.

What the Code Means to Me poster
What the Code Means to Me poster created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/what-the-code-means-to-me/.

Before discovering the blog, Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, I had never known about Joseph I. Breen and the Breen Code. In fact, I had always believed that the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) was the “end all, be all” when it came to judging a film’s content. It wasn’t until I watched the video, “Why You Shouldn’t Listen to the MPAA (Podcast Excerpt)” from the Youtube channel, Rachel’s Reviews, that I started to change my views about this particular rating system. In this video, Rachel and her friend, Conrado, talk about why movie-goers should form their own self-censorship than solely rely on the MPAA. When I came across Pure Entertainment Preservation Society last October, while looking for upcoming blogathons to participate in, I was introduced to who Joseph I. Breen was as well as the Breen Code itself. In preparation for this article, I read as much as I could about Joseph and his Code. Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan, the creators of Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, have done a wonderful job at educating their readers and followers about the Breen Code and advocating its return to entertainment. Their articles are very informative and interesting to read. After learning all of this information, I feel that a newer and stronger code for judging a film’s content needs to be put in place. While having the MPAA is better than having nothing at all, its rules and guidelines seem to be more on the relaxed side. In the previously mentioned video, Rachel and Conrado discuss some of the ways that a film receives a particular rating. One example is the use of blood within the film’s context. Rachel brings up the example of The Hunger Games receiving a PG-13 rating due to the absence of blood while “contestants” are dying during the event within the story. She feels that because blood isn’t shown during these moments, the film is “dehumanizing the situation”. Had The Hunger Games been created during a time when something similar to the Breen Code existed, either this film would have never seen the light of day or the “contestants” would have died off-screen.

Easter Under Wraps poster
Easter Under Wraps poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Easter%20Under%20Wraps&IsSeries=False.

The movies and shows from Hallmark make up a large percentage of the content on my blog. Sometimes, I review films from Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In some of my Word on the Street posts, I’ve talked about movie news related to upcoming Hallmark projects. I also conduct two re-cap series for When Calls the Heart and Chesapeake Shores. Hallmark has created a reputation as being a family-friendly company in both appearance and content. As I mentioned in the introduction, things within the Breen Code sound like the type of material that Hallmark creates and distributes on their networks. Within the Hallmark entertainment spectrum, there are three television networks that air movies; Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama. Each network has their own unique and consistent tone, while still maintaining the company’s created image. Hallmark Channel features films that primarily contain light-hearted, romance stories. However, the relationships featured in these movies are wholesome. In the Breen Code, it states that “pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing”. Typical Hallmark Channel films do not feature or talk about sex. The only two films that I can think of that either mention sex or imply that a couple was having sex are A Family Thanksgiving and Audrey’s Rain. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has a darker tone than Hallmark Channel, as the majority of the network’s content is mystery related. The type of mystery that is common in these movies is the murder mystery. However, this aspect of the story is always handled in a very tasteful way. Not only is a small amount of violence shown, but a limited amount of blood is featured on-screen. The Breen Code contains a whole section about featuring murder in film. One of the points in this section says that “methods of crime should not be explicitly presented”. Sometimes, these films show how a victim is murdered. This is included to introduce the mystery and present the seriousness of the situation. Toward the end of the movie, the guilty party reveals how and why they committed the crime. But the guilty party is never “presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime”. Even though Hallmark Drama has only been around for two years, it has been a network where Hallmark’s more dramatic films can be seen. These types of films are either from Hallmark Hall of Fame or from Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that haven’t be aired in recent years. Some of these projects were created before Hallmark embraced the image they have today, even before the Hallmark Channel was introduced back in 2001. One of these films is Ellen Foster, which is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that was released in 1997. In this film, there is one scene where Ellen is being physically abused by her father. If this exact same movie were released by Hallmark today, that scene would never have been featured in the film. The subject of child abuse would have only been implied through the use of dialogue and subtle visual references. This suggestion would fit with the Breen Code and Hallmark’s current image, as the Code itself states that “excessive and inhuman acts of cruelty and brutality shall not be presented. This includes all detailed and protracted presentation of physical violence, torture, and abuse”. Despite this aforementioned detail, Hallmark Drama still features content that is family oriented.

Crossword Mysteries -- A Puzzle to Die For poster
Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Crossword+Mysteries+A+Puzzle+to+Die+For.

The previous paragraph contains some examples of how the Breen Code can be found within Hallmark’s movies. I could provide more examples, but that would mean this article would be longer than it already is. Hallmark’s commitment to providing family friendly content to their audience shows that the Breen Code, or some form of it, can return to the entertainment world. It will most likely happen in a process of events rather than a quick succession. However, this is proof that Joseph I. Breen’s intentions still have a place in our world. In the article, “The Production Code of 1930’s Impact on America” from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, it was said that “films are merely rated but not censored”. Since this is the case, we, the movie-goers, need to take the initiative to discover a film’s content, understand why a rating was given to a particular film, and form our own choice to view or not view a film. Until the day when Joseph I. Breen’s dream can come true again, this is the only option that movie-goers currently have.

Hallmark Hall of Fame's Love Takes Flight review
Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Love+Takes+Flight.

For my two Breening Thursday suggestions, I would like to recommend Wild Oranges and The Trouble with Angels. Wild Oranges is a silent film from 1924 that I reviewed when I received 95 followers on my blog. The Trouble with Angels is one of the films that I reviewed during the Rosalind Russell blogathon earlier this month. It was released in 1966.

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the references I mentioned in this editorial, you can type “Why You Shouldn’t Listen to the MPAA (Podcast Excerpt)”  into Youtube’s search bar or visit Rachel’s Youtube channel, Rachel’s Reviews. You can also visit these links:

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/the-motion-picture-production-code-with-its-revisions/

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/the-production-code-of-1930s-impact-on-america/

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The results of the 1st Annual Gold Sally Awards have finally arrived!

Earlier this February, I started the Gold Sally Awards as my way of celebrating 18 Cinema Lane’s first anniversary. These awards were created to be interactive for all my readers and followers. After several months and voting polls, it’s finally time to reveal the winners of the very first Gold Sally Awards! Instead of just listing the names of the winning actors and movies, I’ve created scrapbook pages that showcase photos of these winners. The pages are Christmas themed to represent the 10th anniversary of Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” movie line-up. Before this celebration begins, I want to say thank you to everyone who supported the Gold Sally Awards by voting in the polls or liking the posts. Because this became a successful experience, I will definitely continue to host these awards next year! Now it’s time to announce this year’s winners!

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Scrapbook page and screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Best Movie and Best Story: Northern Lights of Christmas

Best On-Screen Couple: Aimee Teegarden and Brett Dalton – Once Upon a Christmas Miracle

Best Actress: Alicia Witt – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Best Actor: Colin Ferguson – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Best Supporting Actress: Rebecca Staab – Christmas Bells are Ringing

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Humphrey — Christmas Bells are Ringing

Best Ensemble: Marrying Father Christmas

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Scrapbook page and screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Hallmark Channel

Best Movie: Pearl in Paradise and Love, of Course (first tie in Gold Sally Awards history)

Best Story: Love, of Course

Best On-Screen Couple: Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams – One Winter Weekend

Best Actress: Nikki DeLoach – Truly, Madly, Sweetly

Best Actor: Mark Deklin – Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Best Supporting Actress: Rukiya Bernard – One Winter Weekend

Best Supporting Actor: Preston Vanderslice – Cooking with Love

Best Ensemble: It’s Christmas, Eve

Hand holding trophy
Hand holding gold trophy image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Hallmark Star of the Year: Paul Greene

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Star on red carpet image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Take 3: Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows Review (Rosalind Russell Double Feature Part 2)

When I looked through Rosalind Russell’s IMDB filmography in preparation for The Rosalind Russell Blogathon, I discovered that The Trouble with Angels was given a sequel called Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. This is a movie that I had never seen or heard of. But, since I haven’t created a double feature for a blogathon since last August, I decided to review The Trouble with Angels and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows! If you read my review for the first film, you would know that I enjoyed it. The synopsis for the sequel sounded interesting and different from the previous movie. This is what caused me to want to give this project a chance. Was this a complimentary story to The Trouble with Angels? Find out in my review of Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows!

Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows poster
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows poster created by Columbia Pictures. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/95524/Where-Angels-Go-Trouble-Follows/#.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: Like in the first movie, the cast of Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows was good! One of things that helped was having some of the actresses who portrayed the nuns in the previous film return for the second one. This kept a sense of continuity between the characters. Also, like in the first movie, Rosalind shined in her role of Mother Superior! Her performance was very consistent with how she portrayed the character in The Trouble with Angels. It continued to make this character just as likable as she was in the previous picture.

 

  • The inclusion of Sister George: Because Mary Clancy graduated from St. Francis Academy at the end of The Trouble with Angels, Sister George, portrayed by Stella Stevens, replaced her as a counteracting presence for Mother Superior to interact with. Both Rosalind and Stella gave a strong acting performance, which allowed their talents to compliment one another. These characters were also well-written, both of them providing interesting points to their stance. I found this aspect of the film to be the most interesting. Seeing these characters progress as the movie went on was one of the strengths of this story.

 

  • The scenery: I’m glad that the building from The Trouble with Angels made an appearance in the sequel! While there weren’t many scenes that took place inside of the school, a few more exterior shots of the grounds were shown. These outdoor spaces were captured really well on film! It kind of allowed the viewer to explore this location a little bit more. Most of the movie took place on a class field trip, which consisted of traveling through several states in order to reach a peace rally in California. This gave the creative team an excuse of include scenery-heavy scenes in the movie. These scenes were interesting to look at, as they showcased the natural landscapes from each state that the characters traveled through. This was, honestly, one of the more memorable parts of the film.
The Rosalind Russell Blogathon banner
The Rosalind Russell Blogathon created by Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/announcing-the-rosalind-russell-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A weak plot: As I’ve already mentioned, this movie is about the nuns and some of the students of St. Francis Academy going on a field trip to a peace rally in California. Besides the conflict between Sister George and Mother Superior, this story was very weak. A large portion of the scenes in this film consist of the school’s bus traveling through various states. Instead of one overarching story, this narrative was written as a series of short vignettes. Not only were none of these vignettes that interesting, but they seemed to string the movie along just for the sake of keeping this weak plot going.

 

  • Scenes lasting for way too long: Throughout this movie, I found several scenes that lasted way too long. One example is when some of the students from St. Francis Academy attend a party that is hosted by an all-boys school. The scene itself felt like a two-minute music video. It didn’t really add anything to the plot or the development of the characters. The length of these scenes feel like they are trying to make up for the weakness of the plot.

 

  • Charismatic-less characters: Since Rachel and Mary graduated in the first movie, Marvel Ann, portrayed by Barbara Hunter, and Rosabelle, portrayed by Susan Saint James, acted as their replacements. Barbara and Susan tried the best they could with the acting material they were given. But these characters weren’t as charismatic as Rachel and Mary were. Because of this, it made Marvel Ann and Rosabelle seem unlikable. It also made me not care about their story.

 

My overall impression:

I was very disappointed by Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. This movie had interesting ideas that could have lent themselves to a good sequel. However, all of these ideas were wasted on poor execution. When it comes to fictional stories, I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief. But this movie tried to make me suspend more of my disbelief than I had wanted to. The only interesting aspect of this story was the conflict between Mother Superior and Sister George. This part of the film was not only well-acted, but also well-written. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the rest of the movie. While I would recommend The Trouble with Angels, I would suggest skipping the sequel.

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Colorful travel suitcase image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/beautiful-illustration-of-travel_2686674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Overall score: 5.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Rosalind Russell’s films? Which sequel did you find to be disappointing? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Trouble with Angels Review (Rosalind Russell Double Feature Part 1)

Before signing up for The Rosalind Russell Blogathon, I had never heard of Rosalind Russell. Like I did to prepare for the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon, I visited Rosalind’s IMDB filmography. After searching this page, I discovered that Rosalind starred in the film, The Trouble with Angels. This is a film that I’ve heard of, but never seen. So, I used my participation in the blogathon as an excuse to watch this movie! I was also aware that Hayley Mills starred in The Trouble with Angels. Before watching this film, I had seen a few of her movies. In fact, I reviewed The Moon-Spinners earlier this year! So, I was looking forward to seeing what her acting abilities had to offer in this production. Was my movie-viewing experience a blessing or a curse? You can fly through my review of The Trouble with Angels if you want to find out!

The Trouble with Angels poster
The Trouble with Angels poster created by Columbia Pictures. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/16482/The-Trouble-With-Angels/#.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: I really liked the cast of The Trouble with Angels! Every actor and actress pulled off a performance that not only appeared realistic, but also was effective. Rosalind Russell’s portrayal of Mother Superior was interesting to watch. This character was strict, yet she always had her heart in the right place. I couldn’t help but find Mother Superior to be a likable character. I also enjoyed seeing Haley Mills in this film! Prior to watching The Trouble with Angels, I have seen The Parent Trap (1961), That Darn Cat and The Moon-Spinners. Hayley’s portrayal of Mary Clancy is somewhat different from her roles in those aforementioned films. However, Hayley’s performance had a sense of maturity to it. This particular role complimented both her age and acting abilities. Because of this, it made Hayley’s portrayal of Mary that much more entertaining to watch!

 

  • The set/scenery: The Trouble with Angels takes place at St. Francis Academy. According to IMDB, the building that was used in the exterior shots is a real-life facility in Ambler, Pennsylvania. But the interior shots were filmed in a California studio. Despite this difference in filming locations, I thought the scenery/set was absolutely magnificent! The building itself looks like a castle, the footage of it probably doesn’t do this place justice. There were grounds surrounding the building that I liked seeing as well! All four seasons was showcased in the film, which helped highlight the beauty that these grounds had to offer. The set looks like it would compliment the real-life structure. A combination of stone, wood, and stained glass were appealing to the eye. The location scout(s) and set decorator(s) did a great job with bringing this school to life!

 

  • A sense of humanity: In this story, there were moments where a sense of humanity shown through. This happened through dialogue and situations amongst the characters. One example is when Mary and Rachel (portrayed by June Harding) try to lie to Mother Superior about their whereabouts. When Mother Superior suspects that Mary and Rachel are making fun of one of their teachers, she shares the truth about this particular teacher with them. Another example is when some of the students visit a Retirement Home during Christmas-time. When Mary overhears some of the residents sharing their loneliness with others, it shows the audience that this specific season might not be the most wonderful time of the year for some people. The incorporation of this sense of humanity felt genuine, like the creative team behind this film had good intentions for including it.
The Rosalind Russell Blogathon banner
The Rosalind Russell Blogathon created by Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/announcing-the-rosalind-russell-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A limited amount of humor: While there were moments of humor found throughout the film, I felt like the story favored the dramatic moments more than the comedic ones. These moments of humor seemed far and few between. Most of the film’s humor came from the pranks and mishaps that are caused by Mary and Rachel. Even though The Trouble with Angels would be classified as a comedy, this movie feels more like a dramedy (a mix of comedy and drama).

 

  • Mostly static characters: The Trouble with Angels is primarily about the characters of Mary and Rachel. This story follows them from the beginning of their freshmen year of high school to their graduation. In that time-frame, however, Mary and Rachel didn’t really seem to have that significant of a transition of rambunctious youngsters and responsible young adults. For more than half of the film, Mary and Rachel were static, continuously pulling pranks and despising their peers and teachers. It wasn’t until they joined their school’s band when these characters started to grow as individuals. This part of the story feels a little bit rushed, like the creative team behind this movie was trying to make up for lost time.

 

  • Little emphasis on academics: In movies that take place in a school setting, there is usually an emphasis on either an important teacher or an influential school assignment. But that wasn’t the case for The Trouble with Angels. Instead, the story focused on the character development of Mary and Rachel. There were moments that showed these characters in the middle of a school lesson, such as when Mary and Rachel were trying to avoid their swim tests. But these moments didn’t last long enough to have a large impact on the narrative.
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We interrupt this movie review to give you a moment to appreciate Rachel’s hat. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
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This is, honestly, the coolest pill-box I’ve ever seen in my life! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
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As soon as I saw this hat, I knew I had to have it in my life. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

My overall impression:

The Trouble with Angels is a fine film. This story had more heart and soul than I expected, especially due to the sense of humanity found within the narrative. While this movie could have been stronger, there were elements about it that made the project enjoyable. Rosalind and Hayley definitely helped carry the film! Though these actresses were at different places in their careers, their acting abilities complimented each other. When it comes to films about teenagers, The Trouble with Angels is one of the better ones. The story primarily focused on Mary and Rachel. But, with the incorporation of the teachers and Mother Superior, the best intentions for the students could be seen throughout the story. That’s how I would define this movie; the creative team making this film with the best of intentions.

 

Overall score: 7.4-7.5 out of 10

 

Have you seen The Trouble with Angels? Which movie of Rosalind Russell’s would like me to watch next? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Everybody, Celebrate

Well, this is it. The final episode of Season 6. I have to admit that this has been one of the most memorable seasons in the show’s history. There was enough content for Hearties to talk about, whether these things happened on or off screen. But, nine episodes later, I’d say that this season was a success! When the seventh season was announced, it proved this season’s, as well as this show’s, success. It showed that When Calls the Heart has the endurance to live on as long as it wants to. If the creative team focuses on making this show the best that it can be and if they fans continue to support it, then this dream can come true. Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. My re-cap of Season Six’s finale of When Calls the Heart!

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 6 poster 2
When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%206&episodeIndex=6004.

Season: 6

Episode: 9

Name: Two of Hearts

 

Major Stories:

  • At the beginning of the episode, Elizabeth’s sister, Julie, arrives in Hope Valley. She and Elizabeth are so excited for Jack’s Baptism ceremony. Before the event, Julie presents her sister with the Christening Gown that all of the Thatcher daughters had worn on their Baptism. The day of this event goes according to plan. Not only does the library officially open, but the Baptism and Baptism party end up being wonderful. At the Founders Day Festival, Elizabeth spends some time with Allie and Nathan. A fishing pole prize at the Strength Test game catches Allie’s eye. Nathan tries to win the prize for her, but fails. Lucas, who approaches the group shortly after, tries to win the fishing pole for Allie. Unfortunately, his attempt fails as well. Finally, Carson, who also approaches the group, tries his luck at the game. He finds success and wins the fishing pole for Allie. Later in the episode, Elizabeth overhears Bill and Henry’s confrontation about Hope Valley’s mining tragedy. When she discusses this with Henry, he reveals that everything in the letter was true and that he felt guilty about the situation ever since. Elizabeth suggests that Henry try moving forward from the past, even though he feels he doesn’t know how. At the Founders Day Dance, when it’s time for the Ladies’ Choice dance, Elizabeth chooses to dance with Lucas instead of Nathan.

 

  • Before the Founders’ Day Festival, Bill is recruited as the judge of the Pie Baking Contest. He also fulfills his responsibilities as Jack’s Godfather. The first order of business is attending the Baptism ceremony. At the Festival, he and Lee bond over their duties as Jack’s Godfather and Guardian. Later in the episode, Bill is searching for something in the Mayor’s office. Rosemary soon enters the office to inform him that some of the pies have already been eaten due to a misunderstanding. After agreeing to help Rosemary with the situation, Bill finds a piece of paper at the back of a desk drawer. He discovers that the piece of paper is a letter from the Northwestern Mining Company to Henry Gowen. In this letter, it reveals that Henry had concerns about the overall safety of Hope Valley’s mine. The Mining Company, however, told him that he had nothing to worry about. Shortly after making this discovery, Bill confronts Henry about the letter. Henry admits that everything in the letter was true and that he feels guilty about the situation. The next day, Elizabeth talks to Henry about his confrontation with Bill. Henry shares with her that he has been haunted by the tragedy at the mine. Elizabeth suggests that he move forward from the past. Henry says that he does not know how to do that.

 

  • After Spencer and Grace receive the iron pills from Carson, the three of them spend some time at the Founders Day Festival. Spencer is still upset, so Grace takes him to various attractions to help lift his spirits. A few things make him smile for a little while, such as winning a Sheriff pin and petting a rabbit at the Petting Zoo. But, no matter what, Spencer returns to his state of unhappiness. When he sees other children with their parents, he decides to run away when Grace isn’t looking. When she discovers that Spencer is missing, she immediately tells Carson what happened. Grace, Carson, and other citizens from Hope Valley join in the search for Spencer. Carson ends up finding Spencer hiding in his office. Spencer tells Carson that he misses his parents. After the Festival, Grace tries to convince Spencer to come to the orphanage that she and her sister are going to own. As she’s sharing her story of what it was like to be an orphan, Grace also shares all the fun things that the orphans and care-givers will be doing at this orphanage. Spencer ultimately decides to go to this orphanage with Grace.

 

  • After the contract gets approved, Lee promotes Jesse to the Manager of the lumberyard. Jesse goes straight to Dottie’s Dress Shop to tell Clara the exciting news. During the Founders Day Festival, Clara volunteers to host a hair-dressing booth. Even though she learned how to create the hairstyle the night before, her execution of the hairstyle at the festival doesn’t go according to plan. She ends up asking Fiona for some assistance. Meanwhile, Jesse asks for Lee’s help in planning a surprise for Clara. At the Founders Day Dance, Jesse surprises Clara with a marriage proposal. With much excitement and happiness, Clara says yes.
Jewels sparkle in the golden wedding rings lying on the leather
Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Because all of the stories surrounded the Founders Day Festival, there were no minor stories in this episode.

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Carnival game image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I was honestly surprised when Elizabeth decided to dance with Lucas at the Founders Day Dance. After her talk with Henry, I thought that Elizabeth would pick him as her dance partner. I understand that the screen-writers of this show want to draw this guessing game of who Elizabeth will fall in love with for as long as possible. But, I think having Elizabeth choose between Lucas and Nathan in this episode was a little too soon.

 

  • I was also surprised that Lee and Rosemary didn’t adopt Spencer. I realize that this creative decision was probably made to a.) provide When Hope Calls with some familiar faces and b.) not overshadow Jesse and Clara’s engagement. However, it just felt like the emotionality of Lee and Rosemary’s talk about the possibly of not having children didn’t have a satisfying pay-off.

 

  • Since we now know that When Calls the Heart will receive a seventh season, I wonder when a Christmas movie will be announced? These movies have acted as a “bridge” between the previous season and the next season. Maybe it’ll be announced at Hallmark’s Summer TCA Event? What would be shocking is if this show didn’t receive a Christmas movie.

 

  • Overall, I thought this season finale was, at best, fine. I understand that after last season’s finale, the creative team behind this show would choose not to include a lot of shocking/surprising moments. The only thing that came the closest to being surprising was Jesse and Clara’s engagement. But even that wasn’t really surprising because it was hinted at in the preview commercial for this episode. To me, there weren’t as many surprises as I had hoped.
Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Now that this season is over, what are your overall thoughts on it? Do you think this show will receive a Christmas movie? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Little Nellie Kelly Review

I know that it’s been two weeks since I last wrote a movie review. Because I was out of town around that time, I chose to reschedule several of my planned blog posts to later dates. But, when it comes to posts relating to blogathons, I always try my best to be a blogger of my word and publish my lists, reviews, or editorials within the blogathon time-frame. When I signed up for the 2nd Annual Broadway Bound Blogathon, I knew, right away, that I would be reviewing the film, Little Nellie Kelly. Before this review, I had never seen or heard of this movie. Plus, the synopsis on Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM’s) website said that this film is about “the daughter of Irish immigrants patches up differences between her father and grandfather and rises to the top on Broadway”. Because I knew that Judy Garland was the star of this production, I figured that I would, at least, find some enjoyment in this movie. Was my prediction correct? Was there enjoyment to be found in Little Nellie Kelly? Please keep reading if you want to find the answer!

Little Nellie Kelly poster
Little Nellie Kelly poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poster_-_Little_Nellie_Kelly_03.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: Something I’ve noticed about Judy’s films (specifically the ones that I’ve seen) is that she surrounds herself with a talented cast. This is no different for Little Nellie Kelly. Charles Winninger’s portrayal of Michael Noonan was such a pleasant surprise! He brought so much emotion to his performance that it ended up being effective. Judy’s performance was also great to watch! Her emotions and musicality helped her portrayal of Nellie Kelly be as strong as it was. I also liked George Murphy’s performance as Jerry Kelly! His acting talents helped carry this film alongside his co-stars.

 

  • The comedy: In Little Nellie Kelly, there were comedic moments that I truly found to be hilarious. One scene has Nellie telling her father that she’s going to get married to Jerry. As soon as her father hears this, he unexpectedly spits out his coffee and makes a big mess. This moment made me laugh out loud! As I watched the film, I noticed that the majority of these comedic moments were caused by Charles’ character, Michael. Because of this particular actor’s quality of talent, it made the film’s comedy stick the landing.

 

  • Some of the montages: There were two montages in Little Nellie Kelly that I really liked. The first one was when Jerry, Nellie, and Michael go through the process of becoming citizens of the United States. When it comes to cinematic stories about people immigrating to the United States, this aspect of the narrative is rarely explored. The second montage I liked showed the process of Jerry becoming a police officer. In film, when a character chooses to be a police officer, they are usually shown either before or after they accept the job. Like the first montage, this process is not always featured in cinematic narratives. Even though these montages didn’t last very long, I’m glad they were included in this story.
2nd Annual Broadway Bound Blogathon banner
The 2nd Annual Broadway Bound Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/announcing-the-second-annual-broadway-bound-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • An inability to hold an accent: Because some of the characters are from Ireland, hearing accents from them is to be expected. While Charles Winninger did a good job when it came to carrying the accent, I felt that Judy and George’s ability to carry an Irish accent wasn’t as strong. When I watched Little Nellie Kelly, I never heard Jerry talk with an Irish accent. Meanwhile, the only time Nellie spoke with an Irish accent was when she sang “A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”. Because of Judy and George’s inability to carry an accent, this prevented a sense of continuity to exist amongst the characters.

 

  • A limited amount of musical numbers and comedy: Even though I liked the comedy in this film, there were very few comedic moments to be found. Throughout this one hour and thirty-eight minute picture, there were more dramatic moments than comedic ones. In this movie, there were a total of about four to five musical numbers. That’s a lot less than I was expecting. The film’s opening credits said that Little Nellie Kelly was based on a “musical comedy”. But, if anything, this project felt more like a “dramedy” (a combination of comedy and drama), with an emphasis on drama.

 

  • Judy Garland portraying Nellie Kelly Sr. and Jr.: In the movie, Judy portrays two characters; Nellie Kelly and her daughter. While different hairstyles helped, a little bit, to differentiate between the two characters, this creative decision still baffled me. I understand that MGM wanted to utilize Judy’s talent as much as possible. However, I still think that Judy should have portrayed only one character. Because this movie is called Little Nellie Kelly, Judy could have portrayed the daughter, while another, slightly older actress could have portrayed Nellie Kelly Sr. That way, Judy could have still been the leading star of the movie, while the other actress could also receive a significant amount of recognition.
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St. Patrick’s Day image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/st-patrick-s-day-background_1640464.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

My overall impression:

I like Little Nellie Kelly for what it is. There are elements to the film that make it enjoyable, such as the musical numbers and the acting. However, I found this movie to be somewhat misleading. As I said in the introduction, this synopsis said that the protagonist “rises to the top on Broadway”. Not only was this location never mentioned in the film, but Nellie never aspired to be an entertainer. What makes this even more frustrating is how few musical numbers there were and how little comedy there was in the film despite it being called a “musical comedy” in the opening credits. From what I’ve heard, this movie is based on a pre-existing Broadway musical. Because I have never seen the stage version of this story, it’s difficult for me to say if the movie was anything like the play. This kind of reminds me of how I felt about Edward, My Son. Both of these films were based on plays and made me felt like I was misled. I can’t fault the creative teams behind these movies too much, since their job was to adapt their respective plays to the screen. However, a good amount of honesty should have been included into each film’s synopsis.

 

Overall score: 7.2 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Judy Garland’s movies? If so, which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen