“Daughters” by Alexis Crispin

Mothers pass on to their daughters

Short legs,

A big nose,

Wavy hair,

A long toe.

We look like ghosts of the past.

They pass on their ideals.

Of family.

Of faith.

Of courage.

Of strength.

In this, we are not so different.

The women who came before us are shown in

Our iron wills,

The steel in our spines,

And our quiet remembrance,

Of those that had to fight.

The stood for the same things that we do.

A hundred years later we still

Laugh

Cry

Rage

Lust.

All that has changed are the circumstances.

Literary Sentence of the Week

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”–Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Untitled Oil Painting–Martina Salerno

  • MartinaSalerno_Untitled Painting One_Acrylic on Panel web ready

Literary Sentence of the Week

“By Gad, sir,” he told Spade, “you’re a chap worth knowing, an amazing character.” —from The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Pen and Ink on Paper–Ashleigh Kelepolo

  • Ashleigh Kelepolo_Untitled_Pen&Ink on Paper

The Big Read–The Maltese Falcon

The Edmund Stanley Library invites you to participate in the nationwide program, Big Read.  This year’s book is The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.  The discussion group will meet in the library at lunch from 12-12:50 on Monday, Oct. 20th and the 27th.  Books are available in the library.  Come check out “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Stagecoach: All the Ingredients by Katrina Gildemeister

The year 1939 in film is considered by many to be a golden year in film-making.  In celebration of the 75th anniversary of this year, The Mews will present reviews of several of the outstanding films of that year.

Take a stagecoach.  A wooden box, pulled by horses, benches, lots of dust: all the ingredients for a hot, bumpy, disagreeable ride.

Dump inside a drunk doctor and a soft-spoken whiskey salesman. Add a dignified and demanding banker, a Southern gentleman turned gambler, a refined Army captain’s wife, a prostitute, and a wanted criminal. Oh, and don’t forget the nervous driver and staunch, law-abiding Marshall. Send them on a journey through essentially uninhabited territory—essentially, because it happens to be crawling with people who want to kill them.

Stagecoach takes its audience for a wild ride in the movie that resurrected Westerns from kid matinées to an established film genre of quality. This 1939 classic, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne in his first major Western role, has been nominated for numerous awards and is considered one of the best movies of its kind. Stagecoach is iconic both for its own history as a movie and for its portrayal of this uniquely American genre. It embodies the characters and ideas that form the trademarks of frontier legend.

The eclectic members that make up the party in the stagecoach typify the figures common to Western tradition and legend, a pattern of individuals who reflect different aspects of the culture. Mr. Peacock, the timid salesman, and Mrs. Mallory, the refined Eastern lady, form the representatives of the greenhorn who struggles to accept and adjust to an entirely new culture. Doc Boone the drunkard and Gatewood as the crooked banker are reflective of the breakdown of social institutions. The Ringo Kid and Dallas take the most enduring roles, social outcasts who are condemned but have hidden depths.

The West, like New York and the Atlantic Coast, was a melting pot of all different kinds of individuals. The crucial difference came in the lack of established social codes, creating the much-heralded freedom of the frontier.  Stagecoach preserves this element of history in the interactions of its diverse characters. At the start, they are carefully divided into the “good” and the “bad” element. The contrast between Mrs. Mallory’s warm send-off and the forcible removal of Dallas and Doc Boone by a crowd of indignant ladies dynamically introduces the gulf of social distinction, as does Doc’s comment on being victimized by social prejudice. The Ringo Kid’s less-than-warm reception by the other passengers continues the trend, and the scene at the dinner table provides a firm clincher. However, these overt messages of social hierarchy, while introduced as part of the cultural mindset, are also constantly challenged and upended. As the group struggles to survive, the rigid social stratification disintegrates, and characters are ultimately judged by their natural abilities and courage when faced with danger.

The plot of the movie offers many opportunities to explore the issue of courage and cowardice. The debating scenes offer a systematic method of viewing each person’s courage and how it changes as the danger becomes greater. In keeping with the emphasis on ability to the detriment of social class, the outcasts of the group—Ringo, Dallas, and Doc Boone—are given extra chances to prove themselves, and consistently rise to the challenge in a display of moral fiber despite their outward appearances.

Stagecoach is a wonderful example of a quality Western movie. Blending history and legend, it displays memorable characters and themes that form the cornerstone of the genre. It has the appeal of homegrown American freedom, freedom to move beyond appearances and re-imagine destiny.

 

75th Anniversary Movie Review: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington by Amy Shelden

The year 1939 in film is considered by many to be a golden year in film-making.  In celebration of the 75th anniversary of this year, The Mews will present reviews of several of the outstanding films of that year.

From Rome to the U.S. capitol dome, political corruption has always and will always exist. In one of Frank Capra’s most beloved movies, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jefferson Smith, a naïve, young newspaperman and boys’ club leader, takes on this corruption and “a lost cause” in the U.S. Senate. For a modern audience, this 1939 film’s premise does not, at first glance, seem to be an uplifting sort of story. Current mistrust of government and big business would appear to be fortified and confirmed by Mr. Smith’s journey. With the cynicism, Armageddon, and near anti-patriotism represented in many modern films, a flick such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington might seem like an unencouraging edition to an ever-growing collection. However, there is a silver lining to Mr. Smith’s trip. His innocent patriotism and belief in the ideals America was founded on inevitably overcomes the darkness around him. Like a beacon, Mr. Smith’s patriotism shines for future generations, raising hopes and the torch of freedom high.

The last thing our country needs is more depressing depictions of crooked politicians (Senator Paine and Governor Hopper) running around Washington on leashes held by businessmen (Jim Taylor and Co.), writing legislature for personal gains rather than the common good. After being appointed to the Senate by the governor of his state, young Jefferson Smith, dashes madly about the Capitol, thrilled to be visiting a place so full of wisdom and history and great men. After his initial excitement, Mr. Smith, portrayed beautifully by Jimmy Stewart, realizes his uselessness as a leader in the capitol and, with the help of his secretary Clarissa Saunders, the equally enchanting Jean Arthur, decides to take initiative by writing a bill. They face off with experienced politicians and crafty business men whose long arms reach into the back pockets of honest American citizens. Jeff’s bill directly confronts a bill put forward by others from his own party and false accusations soon begin to pile up against him. Yet Jeff will not stop fighting for his “lost cause.” While political corruption is not hidden and no façade is thrown over moral compromises of some leaders, Jefferson Smith’s unabashed love of America’s founding principles shines hope into hopeless circumstances. Rather than being a depressing view of U.S. political life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington rejuvenates one’s faith in the history of our nation, even if one’s trust in current government leaders remains weak.

Literary Sentence of the Week

“But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing.” –Kate Chopin, The Awakening

“Dramatic Sky” by Christian Webb

  • Christian Webb Dramatic Sky