Monday, December 29, 2008

We wish you a merry Chri...BIRTHDAY!!!

First and foremost...

Good wishes, happy returns and plenteous felicitations to Jennifer Ehle, who according to various netly sources celebrates her birthday today!

In keeping with the traditional forward/backward thinking that goes on at this time of year, a small stocking's worth of pieces new and old follows.

For useful information
  • Potential Oscar and the Pink Lady attendees might find it helpful to visit the French Institute Alliance Francaise site for the latest details of the play's New York run. It appears that all performances will take place Fridays to Sundays, with two shows on Saturdays. The original text by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, 'Oscar and the Lady in Pink', is available from Amazon (UK) among other places.

For quality

  • See the Telegraph's interview with Tom Stoppard from 2002, in the days when The Coast of Utopia was on in London and Sir Tom was only 65.
For film reviews and thoughts
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune bestows 3.5 stars on Pride and Glory, calling it 'savage yet moving'.
  • For something more substantial see Filmmaker Magazine's extended piece with Glory director Gavin O'Connor.
  • Alternatively, new public Pride and Glory views are being aired over at Amazon:
[...] I thought this was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time that wasn't an action or special effects driven movie. Ed Norton does a great job and Jon Voight is back with a great performance. The cast is top notch ... It is about 2 hours long but it is full of enough good dialogue and drama that it didn't really bother me. No holes here. Just a good drama done right. [...]
[...] I did really like this movie. ... It's really just another good cop/bad cop New York movie, but the acting makes it a must watch. ... I recommend Pride and Glory. [...]
For fun
  • The Mail's Tom Kelly revisits the subject of the Darcy/lake filming stunt with brief quotage from the man himself (who apparently nearly turned the role down - unbearable thought indeed!)
For a bit of miscellany
  • A quick reminder that Radio Free Albemuth, in which Ms Harris plays Light Angel, will be released sometime in 2009. The whereabouts or indeed existence of The Yankee King (originally set for a March 09 release) remains a mystery until further notice. Last but not least, eBayers might be interested in a signed 1964 copy of John Ehle's The Land Breakers.

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reminders and Reviews

Hi everyone! Since there are limited things to post about this week, I thought it would be a good time to compile a list of important upcoming events before mentioning a few more reviews of Pride and Glory.
  • Dec 29: Firstly and most importantly, Jennifer Ehle will turn 30 + 9 next Monday! We all wish her a very happy birthday and a healthy and happy New Year in advance.

  • Jan 16 - Feb 1: For those of you who live in the New York area (or who have the means of getting there), be sure to start the New Year off right by going to see Rosemary Harris reprise her role(s) in Oscar and the Pink Lady at Florence Gould Hall. Playbill has all the deets.

  • Jan 27: On the one-year anniversary of The Russell Girl's airing, Pride and Glory will be released on DVD (Region 1), and we will have three options to choose from when making our purchases. Option number one is the single disc edition which includes both the widescreen and full screen versions of the film. The second option is the two-disc Special Edition featuring the documentary The Source of Pride, and the third option is the Blu-ray version, which includes the same features as the Special Edition. All three can be pre-ordered at

  • March 2: Quickly following the Region 1 release of Pride and Glory is the Region 2 release, which can also be pre-ordered at

  • March 9: While the Region 2 DVD of Before the Rains was formerly scheduled to be released on Dec 26, it looks like it will not become available until the spring. Patience is a virtue.

Pride and Glory continues to make its way around the globe (see IMDB for release dates), prompting more critics and fans to add their two cents to the review bucket. Their two cents greatly resemble those that have come before them.

  • South Africa's Mail & Guardian Online claims that the movie is a seat-sticker:
    [...] Pride and Glory is cinematically aware of the rough, snowed-under streets and cityscapes. Simultaneously raw and tender, alternately slow and fast-paced, it comes out as a grimy, somewhat truthful portrayal of the streets and the cops who prowl them. Although it runs at just more than two hours the action is gritty and arresting enough to keep you stuck to your seat.
  • Channel NewsAsia thought the film was "just your average cop flick," giving it three out of five stars, but happily, the quality of the performances did not go unrecognized:
    [...] The script and story fails the acting prowess available and undermines the great performances put in by Norton, Jon Voight as the patriarch and Jennifer Ehle as the sick sister-in-law. [...]
  • Steve Vineberg of The Christian Century, like many others, regrets that the characters and plotlines involving Abby Tierney & co. were not developed further:
    [...] It's a shame the film doesn't develop the women: Megan, who suspects what Jimmy's into but keeps it to herself; Abby (Jennifer Ehle), Frank's wife; and Maureen (Leslie Denniston), the mother of the family. Ehle is a talented actress, but her character is defined by the cancer that's eating away at her, a subplot that adds more weight to the film than it needs. Denniston has a lovely moment with Voight when she slides a glass of whiskey out of his hands without making a big deal out of it. Her deft, practiced handling of his drinking makes us want to see more about how this couple interacts—but that's all we get. [...]
  • The bloggers have weighed in, too. Ivantypes thought it was "a great cop film with a comfortable balance between action and drama." A Nutshell Review, on the other hand, felt the movie lacked the "it" factor: "That doesn't mean that it's a bad film, but lacked that particular x-factor in making it memorable."

Lastly, here is a book you might like to add to your collection: Theatre World: Volume 63 2006-2007. It's a pictorial and statistical record of the theater season, featuring The Coast of Utopia, and it's available at

Happy holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A JE Snr special (+ newsly items)

First things first, we wish cartloads of happy returns to John Ehle, who celebrates his birthday today! We thought this would be an apt time to draw attention to some of his achievements (of the literary variety at least) followed by a reminder of how you can lay your fine eyes on them.


  • What's the story?

It is 1815, and a North Carolina farmer heading home for the winter discovers a young slave girl and must decide whether to illegally help her gain freedom.

  • Adaptations?

Yes! It was turned (by John Ehle) into a 1995 film starring Thandie Newton and Sam Waterston no less. Britishers may have seen it broadcast in the last fortnight.

  • Is it good?

Apparently so. One viewer has written the following:

[...] I loved this movie. ... The Conflict and journey August faces reminds me a bit of the conversion of Francis of Assisi. It poses a question, "how much would you give, and how far would you go?" If you want a movie that will boost your hope, this is a movie for that. ... It has excellent immersion ... I think it is one of the best stories told in film. [...]
Meanwhile, all four Amazonian reviews of the book are extremely laudatory and furnish the full 5 stars - a story repeated in 10 of the 12 reviews of the film. The convinced and the yet-to-be-convinced should all take a peek.
  • Wow! They are good reviews. Ok, I want to read it / see it. Where do I get hold of it?

Amazon have the book, the film, and if you're feeling particularly enthusiastic, the poster.

  • What's the story?
Set in 1779, 'The Land Breakers' follows young Mooney and Imy Wright deep into the Appalachian wilderness where they become the first white pioneers to settle deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina. What ensues during these six years is an often violent struggle: first merely to survive and then to create a viable settlement, some human community that might last. For in this stark mountain fastness, each of the important characters-male and female alike-is seeking two things: family and community.
  • Adaptations?
Not that we're aware of.
  • Is it good?
Seems to be. The first line of the first Amazon review is:
[...] This is the first Ehle book I've read and I can say categorically that he richly deserves every award won, and more. [...]
See that link for seven variations on that theme. The book also led Harper Lee to call John Ehle 'our foremost writer of historical fiction'. (See the product description for evidence). The New York Times said in 1964 that the book had 'a rare degree of greatness'.
  • How can I get hold of it?
Very easily, via Amazon.

  • What's the story?
[...] While sitting in her 150-year-old cabin in the mountains of North Carolina at the beginning of the Depression, Collie Wright sees furtive figures emerging from the woods on a chilly, near-winter evening. The figures turn out to be clockmaker Wayland Jackson, a widower on his way to Tennessee to seek work, and his 12-year-old daughter, Paula. ... Collie allows them to stay the night, and Jackson is immediately taken with her. But she is an unmarried woman with a newborn baby and dark secrets. ... Jackson stays to build a clock tower for the community and to court Collie. But the father of Collie's child, a wild young man from a mountain clan long in conflict with her family, soon returns to claim his rights, and a violent showdown forces Collie into the most painful decision of her life. [...]
  • Adapted?

Yes, in 1989. Stars Kurt Russell.

  • Is it good?
No one has written an Amazon review, but based on the quality of the others, it looks like quite a safe bet.
  • Where can I get it?
Three guesses. (The book/the film)

  • That sounds like a large book. What's the story?
As it sounds really. 'The moving, searing story of the betrayal and brutal dispossession of the Cherokee Nation', quotes Amazon.
  • Adaptations?
We don't think so. But please correct us if you know otherwise.
  • Is it good?
New York Newsday called it a 'beautifully written and emotionally mature book . . . a must'. There are a few Amazonian nays, but these are outweighed by a majority of comprehensive and almost top-notch yays.

The first paragraph of one is particularly nice:
[...] John Ehle, a native son of North Carolina, has dedicated most of his life toward using his pen to bring to life the rich history of his birthstate. With Trail of Tears, he has succeeded again where so many others, in this day and age of political correctness and historical revisionism, have failed. Ehle's work is factually rich, it is obvious Mr. Ehle spent many hours in archives thoroughly researching the book's subject matter. The book's narrative structure is compelling, focusing on the role of several prominent families within the Cherokee Nation to animate the hierarchical structure of Cherokee society and the stratification of power therein. [...]
  • I want to part with roubles in exchange for this book. To whom do I give them?
How about Amazon?
  • I want to find out more about John Ehle. Where do I go?
You may want to check out our past posts which have the label 'John Ehle'. See the list on the right. Alternatively, the rest of the internet has a (few!) links. First, see Mr Ehle's page on publisher Press 53 for short but trustworthy info (and that lovely photo of Mr Ehle with the adorable-looking Joe Pye).

Alternatively see NC Writers or Wiki. John Ehle has written seventeen books altogether - eleven fiction and six non-fiction.

Other Posterly Business
  • Good news here today too. Theatermania announce that Oscar and the Pink Lady (see past posts) will begin a New York run next month. If you did not get a chance to see Rosemary Harris' one-woman performance in San Diego or New Jersey, head down to the Florence Gould Hall between January 16 and February 1st 2009.
  • Colin Farrell speaks to XPress about Pride and Glory, and describes the story as follows:

[...] A multiple murder has taken place on both sides of the law. Four officers have fallen in a raid that’s gone horribly wrong. There is basically a massacre at the start of the film. There’s an investigation and we find out that a few of the cops are dirty. It tears a family apart. By the end there is too much going on for each character. In fact, there are absolute consequences for everything that you see in the film. For every action that is taken there is a definite reaction. The consequences are very painful. [...]

  • BroadwayWorld and Playbill announce new projects for Martha Plimpton and David Harbour respectively.
  • Lastly, below is a rather nice photograph we have come across from Holocaust (1978), starring Rosemary Harris.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pride and Glory. DVD. January 27.

If last week's amount of news was like a cargo-laden ship, today's is more like a small and largely empty dinghy. Still, the few worthy mentionables follow.

Firstly - reviews. Further to previous Pride and Glory evaluations, one blogger considered the film 'solid', 'long' and 'great' (bar the ending), while an unenthusiastic other nevertheless lists some 'selling points':

[...] Voight, Norton, Emmerich and Farrell are ably supported. Jennifer Ehle is convincing and appropriately upsetting as Francis Jr's cancer-stricken wife Abby, while John Ortiz gives a tragic soul to the disgraced Sandy. Amid the many cliches...are scenes you definitely haven't seen. [...]

Top news-wise is the announcement that Pride and Glory will be available on DVD from January 27th. (See MovieWeb, the DVD Times, High Def Disk News and the HD Room). According to the above, one can choose from a single disc/film only option, and a snazzy two-disc special edition including a 'making of' featurette entitled Source of Glory. Amazon will release the film in Region 2 on March 2nd and pre-ordering for that is available now.

Lastly, earning a place in Theatermania's top ten theatre-related reads for the festive season is the 2007 edition of The Coast of Utopia. The (rather convincing) attempt at enticement is as follows:
[...] In the preface to the 2007 American Edition of The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy about 19th-Century Russian intelligentsia, the author writes, "I wish I'd written it this way first time round, but I didn't know enough then." Whether or not you've read the original text, Stoppard's engaging and thoughtful play is not one to be missed. Stoppard has a true gift for revealing the human side of the great thinkers that are the subject of his plays without losing sight of their intellectual achievements. [...]