This wonderful new interview series with Judy Mastrangelo is all about the movies. This is a seven part series… Let’s delve in!
Films have always inspired my life and my art, ever since I was young. They fulfill needs for fantasy, excitement, etc., which can be experienced vicariously by everyone who loves to partake in the adventure of this delightful art form.
I don’t watch movies all day long, only when I have some time to spare for them. But many great movies stay with me forever in my memory. Several of the films I mention here, I’ve seen several years ago. But they were so enjoyable that sometimes they will come to mind, and I’ll enjoy thinking about them and the actors who were in them. I find the realm of film a magical place of enrichment for my soul, since when I visit it, I can become other characters, visit fascinating lands, and partake in exciting adventures.
Personally, I enjoy both the old and the new films. They each have something to offer.
Of course, I enjoy a great love story. Some of my favorites include:
CLEOPATRA – 1963
This great “cast of thousands” is a sumptuous version showing the torrid, stormy and steamy great romance between Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) and Anthony (Richard Burton). In the making of this movie, these two great actors fell in love in real life, which led to a real life torrid, stormy and steamy marriage between them.
This is the magnificent ill-fated romance between Padmé (Natalie Portman) and the young Anakin Skywalker, who later becomes Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen). I feel this is a beautifully done film, with wonderful acting, sets, and story. I love the music by John Williams also.
This stars Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Swan and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner. Will is killed in a battle and then returns once every few years to see his love Elizabeth with whom he had a child. The scene that shows this is often not viewed. That is because it occurs in a post-credits scene, which shows Elizabeth and her son watching from a cliff as Will returns aboard the Dutchman ship. This is reminiscent of the story “THE FLYING DUTCHMAN.”
THE RETURN OF THE KING ~ from “The Lord of the Rings” – 2003
The lovely Elven Princess Arwen (Liv Tyler) gives up her immortality to marry the mortal hero Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).
This beautiful movie invites you to “Follow your Dreams” and “Believe in Yourself.” A memorable scene of Love for One Night is when, for the first time in her life, Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) shows love for Lizzy Curry (Katharine Hepburn) and tells her that she is beautiful.
This addicting BBC TV drama portrays the novels of John Galsworthy in which he chronicles the saga of the upper middle class Forsyte family. It is a series of bittersweet romances from the year 1879 to 1926. There was a more recent adaptation of this series, but I love the earlier one the most, even though it was in black and white. Some great actors are in it.
LILI – 1953
This delightful film shows the development of love between a young innocent girl and a very sad man. Lili, played by Leslie Caron, befriends little puppets in a carnival, who seem very real and alive to her. The love for she has for them evolves into affection for their puppeteer (Mel Ferrer). It is a very tender and touching film, highlighted by the sweet song “Hi~Lili, Hi~Lo.”
This well known movie portrays an intense love affair between the handsome couple of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, set in the beautiful countryside of Ireland. I feel that Barry Fitzgerald was a memorable and lovable “matchmaker.” He would have been a perfect choice as the Leprechaun in the 1948 movie “THE LUCK OF THE IRISH.”
DRAMA FROM LITERATURE:
The two Tolkien trilogies directed by Peter Jackson (THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS) are extremely imaginative and enthralling. They bring to life these wonderful stories that will always fascinate audiences. They have wonderful acting, drama, scenery, costumes, great creatures, and special effects. What more can we ask for? They are a sheer delight to all lovers of this fantasy movie genre.
I loved all of the magical Harry Potter movies. I wish there were more of them! What a fantastic escape into fantasy world for all ages! And they have beautiful music, scenery, stories, and very fine actors. What more can I say? No wonder they are so popular.
MARY POPPINS – 1964
This became a great Disney movie, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It includes beautiful music, dance, and fantasy, based on the books by P.L. Travers. It is one of my favorite fantasy movies of all time.
THE WIZARD OF OZ – 1939
This is deservedly one of the most popular fantasy musicals ever made. Based on stories by L. Frank Baum, it depicts lovable characters, played by famous and great actors that we know and love. It also has fantastic costumes, sets, and great music. It was the movie that really put Judy Garland on the map, and it truly flew us “Over the Rainbow” to a fantastic world!
SHAKESPEARE’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – 1935
Although this is an old black and white movie, it is a wonderful adaptation of the Shakespeare play. It stars a delightful cast which might surprise you, such as: James Cagney as Bottom. Mickey Rooney excels as the most wonderful Puck I ever saw! He’s such a bouncy, energetic, bubbling and mischievous sprite! In it is also an amazing modern Fairy Ballet set to the music of the same name by Felix Mendelssohn. The sets are stunning and fanciful. It’s pure magic!
POLDARK is based on the novels by Winston Graham. They depict the adventures of Ross Poldark when he returns home from the American War of Independence. To his dismay, he finds his life in rack and ruin. There are two versions of this TV series. I enjoy them both, since each bring to life different details of these wonderful novels:
1975 TV series: Starring Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark, Angharad Rees, and Paul Curren.
CINDERELLA ~ 2015:
This is a very imaginatively done adaptation of the Cinderella story, done in the classic Walt Disney tradition. It was as if the original Disney animation came to life. Very enjoyable, with luscious sets and costumes.
ONCE UPON A TIME TV series
The sets, costumes and scenery of this series are fantastic and imaginative. It was created by the writers who also created the TV series “Lost,” and it brings together many Fairy Tale characters into a real world, as well as their world of fantasy. This series is where I first discovered Robert Carlyle who I feel steals the show in his portrayal of Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold. (Trivia ~ The actors who portrayed Snow White and Prince Charming fell in love on the set and got married in real life.)
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN ~ 2012 and its sequel: THE HUNTSMAN WINTER’S WAR ~ 2016 are quite imaginative and well done adaptations with amazing digital special effects. The storylines take a big departure from the original Snow White tale.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER ~ 2013
This imaginative film has fantastic depictions of strange giants and amazing fairy tale scenery. It creates quite an exciting fairy tale adventure, as the young farm boy, Jack, goes off to slay the giants and save the kingdom and the beautiful princess.
This movie is developed from the delightful TV series produced by Cosgrove Hall productions, based on the beloved story by Kenneth Grahame. The animals in this are stop motion animated figures done in beautiful detail. The entire film is like an old fashioned storybook come alive, with lovely watercolor backgrounds. The voices are provided by excellent actors. One of my favorites is Badger, played by Sir Michael Hordern, who is a Shakespearean actor. It is sheer delight for both the young and young at heart.
These next two versions of the “Alice” stories by Lewis Carroll are very well done by the Disney Studio. The sets are extremely colorful and imaginative, and many of the actors have been digitally altered to enhance the strange fairytale quality of the atmosphere. They have a strange, dark, surreal side under the influence of director Tim Burton. The storylines have been altered to create very different plots, using the familiar Lewis Carroll characters:
ALICE IN WONDERLAND ~ 2010 Directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen; and ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ~ 2016, stars many of the same cast.
MALEFICENT ~ 2014 also achieves a similar effect with beautiful imagery, and digital enhancement telling the “origins” or Maleficent. It is a Disney production too.
LEGEND ~ 1985 A very young Tom Cruise stars in this movie which has some magnificently beautiful scenery. It is a “dark fantasy,” showing the battle between Light and Dark, and Good and Evil. I’ve found it very well done with memorable imagery.
You can learn more about Judy Mastrangelo by visiting her website here. We will be featuring “TAKE THREE” next week! Keep an eye out, and don’t miss it!