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Syd
Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:53 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12713 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I have an embarrassing confession and I'm seeking out sackcloth and a bell and training my voice to say "unclean:" although I have read a number of novels about Sherlock Holmes and seen many of the movies and TV shows based on him, I have never read anything by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Thus it was over a hundred pages into Katherine Addison's "The Angel of the Crows" to realize two of the major cases are retellings of 'A Study in Scarlet" and "The Sign of Four." I finally decided to check when "The Sign of the Four" appeared on a document in a woman's possession. (Mary, Watson's future wife, except here, Watson is named J. H. Doyle, and I still have no clue what "J.H." stands for. I know where the Doyle comes from.)

In any case, this is Sherlock Holmes in a parallel London, with lots of supernatural aspects. Holmes is Crow, an Angel who is a consulting detective, and a lot more likeable than Holmes. Angels come into three categories, the Nameless, who are sort of lost souls and no real identity, Angels, who are blessed and have a particular "habitation," so you might have the Angel of Islington, Angel of Charing Cross, etc., and the Fallen. Doyle was a doctor in Afghanistan until he was maimed by a Fallen and sent home, and was cursed to be a...you have to read.

So this is Sherlock Holmes with good and Fallen angels, werewolves (I hope we get the Hound of the Baskervilles), vampires, hellhounds, ghouls and more. A lot of these are first mentioned when Doyle starts trying to figure out what can be doing those murders in Whitechapel.

I find this totally addictive and recommend it highly. I suspect it may get annoying if you're too familiar with the original stories, but maybe not. Addison is a very good writer. The name is a pseudonym, and the other books under it are "The Goblin Emperor" and "The Witness for the Dead," which are well worth checking out, particularly the first. I hope she continues in this vein with original plots.

If you like this, I recommend Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald," a Holmesian story within the Cthulhu Mythos. It's in his collection "Fragile Things." but I don't recommend buying the book, which is mostly lesser Gaiman. You can certainly find it elsewhere, and it's a tour de farce.

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carrobin
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:43 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7783 Location: NYC
Sounds like a book I'd like to read. It was more than 50 years ago that I actually read the Sherlock Holmes stories, though I've seen many movie and TV versions. I wonder if they'll make a movie of that book with Cumberbatch...
And I realized I have a copy of "Fragile Things" that was on the free counter at the office some years ago, but haven't read any of it. I'll check that story.
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Syd
Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:20 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12713 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I copied my post into the Reading room where I thought it was. But I'll leave the copy here since Sherlock Holmes is so ubiquitous and there are so many good versions.

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bartist
Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:18 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
The "Crow" stories seem to be somewhat paralleled by Netflix offering a supernatural version of the Doyle oeuvre called "The Irregulars." As something of an originalist, I have never looked at it, but I quite liked the Cumber-version. And the earlier BBC one with Jeremy....last name not coming to me, but Sherlophiles surely know which one I mean.

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gromit
Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:57 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8896 Location: Shanghai
Ride the High Country is a 1962 Peckinpah film featuring Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott as two aging frontiersman. They're hired to transport gold from a mining town in the mountains back to the city. They run across a bunch of uncompromising characters along the way. McCrea is an ex-lawman who wants to do right no matter what. Scott is an old friend of his who is more comfortable operating in the grey areas. The secondary characters are a bit sketched in, but well cast. I enjoyed the interplay between the two veteran actors. The third member of their party, a young protege of Scott's is the weakest part of the film. Mediocre actor. But there are enough complications and moral choices to be made to keep the film lively throughout. Overall, I liked it more than I expected too. Pretty classic ending too.


Last edited by gromit on Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:50 pm; edited 2 times in total

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bartist
Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:48 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
1962, sounds like that would be at the very start of his career, which I think of as launching with The Wild Bunch. Will have to see this. Randolph Scott's last film, too. I see it has Warren Oates, too, who was so remarkable in Alfredo Garcia. I will sometimes think Peckinpah made a Robert Altman movie and vice versa. But Altman made most of them, due to his much longer lifespan.

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bartist
Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:55 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
Wow, that's weird -- Peckinpah born Feb. 21, 1925 and Altman born Feb. 20, 1925. Within a few hours, the revisionist western entered our dimension....

That's almost like Jefferson and Adams dying the same day.

Or Darwin and Lincoln being born the same day.

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gromit
Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:57 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8896 Location: Shanghai
Or me and my cat sharing the same brain ...


Per Imdb, Randolph Scott decided he wouldn't be able to top his performance in High Country, so he opted to stop acting. Might be true.
Sometimes it's hard to separate, but Scott has the best part and does the best acting in the film. McCrea is good but not always convincing.

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gromit
Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 7:29 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8896 Location: Shanghai
Man Without a Star (1955). I like that it opens with a title song (sung by Frankie Laine). A nice period genre touch. I guess the best or best known example is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. Otherwise I have no idea what the title refers to. Kirk Douglas plays a drifter, ranch hand fella, and outside of some early trouble with railroad bulls and a brief encounter with the sheriff, the law is decidedly in the background. But Douglas doesn't even want the responsibility of foreman, or being tied down to one place, and is pretty anti-authoritarian here, so would never consider being a lawman. In fact he's more of a renegade. Maybe I'm missing something in the title.

I like that Kirk Douglas casually takes on a young apprentice/sidekick. Though it gets a little slap-sticky at times. The movie has an uneven tone. That mix of serious, jokey, and physical action that Douglas trademarked. There's one town lady who is an old friend of Kirk Douglas, helps him get settled in the new town, and then disappears from the film for 45+ minutes. But overall, it's well cast and the bad guys seem actually dangerous and dirty.

As usual, I have a mixed reaction to Kirk Douglas. He hams it up plenty, often blatantly appears to be acting, but he's also magnetic and hugely energetic. I can't think of a more kinetic film star. And he always seems to be having a good time.

The film has slightly weird thematic concerns. Barbed wire is presented as an evil, a causer of feuds and killings, but then Douglas falls in the with the ranchers putting up the wire. But it never really deals with his change of sides or the underlying themes. It's just that a bunch of vicious hoodlums join the free range crowd. So Douglas opposes them as opposed to taking any kind of stance on the issue.

And then there's the ending which resolves nothing. Sure it's cathartic to beat the crap out of the bloodthirsty gang leader and leave him impaled on a barbed wire fence. But that hardly resolves anything. So leaving town, is just walking away from the conflict. And abandoning his new allies.

There are plenty of films depicting the conflict between farmers and ranchers. But this one involves conflict between large ranchers and smaller ones who get caught out if the big ranchers over-exploit the free range. The smaller ranchers take to fencing off pasture they need, and become surrogates for the farmers, people staking claim to use certain land, curtailing others ultra-freedom to exploit govt land.

The film has a good pace, keeps enough complications going, and isn't too interested in land use policy or keeping things overly coherent. If you like Kirk Douglas in Westerns, this touches all the bases. Overall, fine enough to watch some or all of on cable. [/b]

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knox
Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:46 am Reply with quote
Joined: 18 Mar 2010 Posts: 1233 Location: St. Louis
Star = sheriff's badge

To be without a star is to be not officially deputized
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bartist
Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:30 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
It's a witty double entendre - he doesnt have a sheriff's star or, being a drifter, a metaphoric guiding star.

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