Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I miss you guys! But I'll be there tomorrow and we'll catch up, hear the last Presentations, and review for the final on Wednesday.
I'm sure you guys are glad to be mostly done reading here now and you can just review the novel and the stories we've read since the Mid-term. I appreciate all the work and for being gracious to the visiting teachers as well.
On Tuesday, I'll bring my Wuhan University students and we'll have a US/China trivia set up and some conversation and an Open House with free lunch about 11:30.
This class has flown by, it seems. Kathy, we can read that flash fiction of Hemingway's in our textbook during class tomorrow and that will go nicely as a short text to accompany your Presentation.
Good luck and see you in the morning.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
One of the more humorous lines is when he encounters bad guys and either disarms them, is caught, or gets the last laugh.
[Marlowe]Somebody's always giving me guns.
[Marlowe] My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.
[Canino] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?
[Marlowe] I can do what? Where? Oh no, I wouldn't like that. Neither would my daughter.
[Marlowe] I hope the sergeant never traces that call.
These are my favorite lines, I also tend to think the filmic conventions used to try to get us into Marlowes head are interesting, such as when we see him trying to keep track of Geiger in the bookstore across the street. his actions are very literal and interpretated i could see the book narrating this scene as I was watching.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Vivan, Sternwood's daughter, goes to see Marlowe with some nude pictures of a woman and these pictures offer an important clue to Marlow becuae the woman on those pictures is Carmen. Tracing the blackmailer who has Carmen's pictures, Marlow is led to Joseph Brody's apartment. Talking to Brody, Marlow finds out Brody wants to take over Geiger's porn business, but he denies killing Geiger. Ironically Brody is shot by Geiger's lover. Now Mr Sternwood's case is closed and Vivan meets Marlow in order to give him his check. Their meeting leads to the second story.
Marlow's professonal sense tells him that Vivan is hiding something from him. Regan, Vivan's former husband, have disappeared for a few months and it's said that he ran away with Eddie Mars's wife. Marlow starts from Mars' casino. However, Marlow is unable to get any information about Ms Mars from Mr Mars. Harry Jones, who knows where Ms Mars is located, finds Marlow and tries to sell the information to him. Canino, Eddie's boy, poisoned Harry before Marlow's able to make the deal with him. Now it seems the clue is cut off, but the girlfriend of Harry, Agnes, is able to finish the deal with Marlow. Marlow then drives to the auto shop where Ms Mars is held. In the shop Marlow is knocked out by Canino. When he wakes up he sees Ms Mars and Vivan.
After a long talk with Vivan, Marlow figures out what's bothering Vivan. Marlow and Vivan then return to Geiger's house. Fallen in the trap created by Marlow, Eddie is shot by his own boys. Marlow then reports to the police like this: Eddie killed Regan although he knows it's Carmen who really killed Regan after being spurned. The ending is romantic when Vivan challenges Marlow by saying, "Nothing you can fix."
The plot of the movie is not easy to follow because it's a complex story and have several herring (something that draws attention away from the central issues) characters. For example, Geigle appears dead on the floor and his death is still a mystery. It is hinted that Taylor killed Geigle but the motives are never shown. Carol kills Brody for his "lover" Geigle without any background introduction and hints. These characters are portrayed in a very minor way, but they offer clues to Marlow and keep the movie going. In the book all these questions are probably answered. However, due to time constraint, the movie just can't cover all of it. Frankly a complex story like The Big Sleep doesn't fit the big screen too well.
So I kept having a running theory that the two sets of murders were separate but related through Harriet, that Martin was involved somehow in Harriet's disappearance and had an accomplice. The reason being was that he was immediately thrown out as a suspect because he was in Upsalla.
plus Cecelia was either a witness or an accessory. I can't figure out whether Harriet is alive or dead.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Then I moved my focus to the heroine Salander the girl with the dragon tatoo (Is she really the heroin?)and tried to figure out if there's any relationship between Salander and the Vangers. The only connection I found is the sadistic guardian really belongs to the old Vangers' camp! Right now it seems Harriet is more like the heroine. Should a woman who suvived all those tortures be more interesting to the audience? Comparing Harriet's suffering with the Salander's, maybe Harriet would gian more sympathy. However, I thought the novel was about the girl with a dragon tatoo...
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I had fully expected that Rick would give himself up, be shot, or sent back to the concentration camp as the plane took off. I was shocked when Rick shot the Nazi officer and became business partners with Louie Renault ("Louie, i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."). this seems to go back to Ricks' shady line of business and the fact that he's good at dealing.
Louie seems to have regained his pride as a Frenchman and seems to want to keep fighting for the french rather than peace with germany (as indicated when he threw the bottle, of Vichy champagne in the garbage.)
I don't think that this movie should be remade, but if there was a movie that was with similar themes, made into today's world. it would have to focus on national pride, loss, and the idea that even a criminal can have national pride and fight for his country.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The character that meant the most to me was Captain Louis Renault because front he very beginning he was always honest about his intentions and even shared that he was a romantic with the audience and the characters in the story. He also tried his best to stay neutral as far as picking sides which to me showed just how much war had affected him that he would go so far as to say that he took only "the winning side". When it came to close encounters with some of the more hostile members of the Nazi party like Major Heinrich Strasser, his impression was not completely loyalty, nor was it completely disloyal.
Both Leroy and Norma met severe troubles in adjusting to their lives after Leroy's accident. Suggested by his mother-in-law, Leroy decided to take Norma to Shiloh, Tennesse. At Shiloh Norma eventually told Leroy, "I want to leave you." Walking around the battlefields, Leroy gained inspiration and courage form both the Confederate army and Virgil Mathis, a policeman Leroy used to shoot pool with. Therefore he decided to quit building the log house and start over. Norma's attitude toward Leroy was ambiguous at the end of the story. She "waves her arms" toward Leroy, but "she seems to be doing an exercise for her chest muscles." Howerver, at least she was waving, not just turning away.
One of my favorite lines is in a conversation between Rick and Ilsa. They were reminiscing about the day they met. Ilsa asks Rick if he remembers the day. Rick responds "Not an easy day to forget; I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."
There are so many examples of clever dialogue, but I won't go over every one. However, another favorite of mine would be the following. When asked "What is your nationality?", Rick responds "Drunkard."
The screenplay for Casablanca was not adapted from a book, and several writers are credited (and uncredited) with creating the screenplay. I think this makes the achievement even more surprising.
Ironically, the most well-known "quote" from the movie is in fact a misquote. "Play it again, Sam" is not in the movie.
The second reason this movie is a classic is the characters and the choice of actors to portray those characters. Nobody else could have played Rick. No other actress in the world could have played Ilsa. This is one of those magical moments where the right actors combined with the perfect screenplay created an unforgettable movie.
And we must give kudos to the supporting cast as well. Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Claude Rains as Captain Renault... the list goes on and on.
If I have to choose one character it would be Rick Blaine. Bogart's portrayal of Rick gave the character an emotional depth found in few fictional characters. Bogart's eyes broadcast a thousand emotions, yet his face remains inscrutable.
Casablanca will always remain on my list of classic movies.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Rick Blaine's character meant the most to me. Rick is a smart and bold man who appears to only look out for himself. Then you see he has a softer side of Rick when Ilsa comes back into his life. He sacrifices his desires and need by giving up going to America because he loves Ilsa. That is true love to give up your freedom and let the women you love leave to live the rest to her life with another man. How can you not like a man for making such an ultimate sacrifice.
Norma Jean is the wife of Leroy in this story. She fills her time with hobbies like working out, and schoolwork from the local community college. She comes across as dissatisfied, depressed and dull. She faces the conflict of a mediocre life that is heading nowhere because of her lack of ambition. Her husband is out of work and has little to do beside smoke joints and make wishful plans. When I reflect on my thoughts of this character I feel angry, it is growingly irritating to not only see characters, but the people in my life as well be dissatisfied with their life, but have no determination to change it. You will only receive what you work for in life, and it is the people that become depressed and commit suicide that want what they aren’t willing to work for.
There are several reasons that attribute to why this film is such a classic, it has the perfect balance of romance, comedy, tragedy and even includes historically accurate information. Also, this film takes place during a war that was going on all around the world, so it was a very popular subject, even when it came to an end. The thing that immediately caught my attention once the movie was over was how many twists there were at the end, the least expected occurred and I had not seen it coming. Perhaps this is why this is such a great film, because it sends the message that there are bigger and more important things than our own self-interests and ourselves.
The character I was most interested in was Captain Louis Renault; he added comic relief to this tragic story. He also did not abuse his power as the others did in the film. He allows nature to take its course and places his chips with the highest bitter, when he finds himself in difficult situations. The way this character won me over for good was when he let Rick go, after shooting Strasser directly in front of him and holding him at gunpoint for the previous hour. This is a clear American classic, and once viewed it is easy to see why!