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What’s the Best Movie Version of a Book?
Best Movie Version

There are two: The Old Man and the Sea and The Outsiders.

The Old Man and the Sea (1958) starring Spencer Tracy is true to the book throughout. Turner Classic Movies calls it the “most literal word-for-word rendition of a written story ever filmed.” It was one of the first movies to use bluescreen. The shots of the Cuban coast are authentic, as is the film of a giant marlin breaking the surface of the sea. Tracy was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Dimitri Tiomkin won for Best Original Score.

The Outsiders (1983) movie is true to the book except for one flaw. The movie omits Chapter 11. Shot on location in the book’s authentic setting, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the film features dialogue that is almost word-for-word from the book. The actual ages of the teenage cast adds to the authenticity: C. Thomas Howell (16), Patrick Swayze (29), Matt Dillon (18), Rob Lowe (18), Emilio Estevez (20), Ralph Macchio (21), Diane Lane (17), and Tom Cruise (20).

Two Hollywood legends brought the books to life on the screen. John Sturges directed The Old Man and the Sea and Francis Ford Coppola directed The Outsiders.

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time MV Poster

A Wrinkle in Time – the trailer for the new movie version of the book by Madeline L’Engle is on YouTube.  The film opens March 9, 2018 and boasts an all-star cast including Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey.

FRANKENSTEIN DAY
8-30 Mary Shelley

FRANKENSTEIN DAY is August 30. Why? Because it’s the birthday of Mary Shelley who was born on August 30, 1797. Shelley began writing the novel Frankenstein when she was 18 years old. The first edition of the classic was published anonymously in 1818 when she was 20.

Mary Shelley’s name appeared on the second edition published in France in 1823.

WHY DO WE SAY “MERRY” CHRISTMAS?
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We say “Happy” birthday, New Year, Thanksgiving, Easter and lots of other holidays. But Christmas is the only “Merry” greeting. The answer lies in the tradition of drinking alcohol at Christmas. “Merry” used to mean “tipsy” or “drunk” and the custom of getting drunk at Christmas goes back to the 4th century.

- 324 A.D. Early Christians celebrated Easter only. Pope Liberius added Christmas to the church calendar and set the date December 25. The idea was to attract more converts who liked to celebrate the Roman winter festival Saturnalia when houses were decorated with evergreens and everybody played games, gave gifts and partied.
- Middle Ages. Christmas was celebrated as a rowdy party with dancing, drinking and sexual revelry.
- The Reformation. In the 1500s Protestants banned the wild festival of Christmas, but Catholics partied on.
- The Restoration. In England the Puritans banned Christmas when they seized power in 1640. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Christmas made a comeback. So did the drinking and revelry.
- 1844. Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol, a novel where Ebenezer Scrooge says, “Merry Christmas!”
- Temperance Movement. In the late 1800s in England, women campaigned against drinking alcohol at Christmas. They proposed doing away with the tipsy “Merry” and replacing it with “Happy.” To this day the English and Irish say “Happy Christmas.”

ANIMAL FARM: There will be blood!
Blog 14 Animal Farm Art

*Featured Artist: @trishalyonsart

The 1954 animated film version of Animal Farm by George Orwell features the first blood shown in a cartoon. Disney movies did not show blood until five years later when a dragon was killed by a sword in the 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty.

Blood appears three times in the cartoon – when a dog bites a farmer, when Boxer is shot in the hoof and when Napoleon begins executing disobedient animals. The killings are not shown on screen, but after animals are murdered, one of the commandments on the side of the barn is amended. The commandment now reads: No animal shall kill another animal WITHOUT CAUSE. The words “without cause” are written in blood.