Fall in love with Washington, D.C. all over again!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Classic Hollywood Reviews: The Sound of Music

Sing with me....
   "The hills are alive....with the sound of music...aaaaa...with songs they have sung for a thousand years..."

In some ways the Sound of Music, doesn't feel old enough to be a classic. I remember watching it most years during the holiday season as a child. It was one of those annual rites of passage. But the movie did release in 1965, so it fits.

In case you haven't seen it, the Sound of Music is based on the true story of a novice nun who is sent to the home of an Austrian widower during the early days of the war to serve as a nanny to his seven children. It is filled with wonderful songs and music from Rogers and Hammerstein.

It's a romance cloaked in the way the world changes when Austria unites with Nazi Germany. It's a stirring tale, and the children are priceless. The movie was well recognized for its excellence winning five oscars including Best Picture.

If you haven't seen it and want a taste, be sure to view the trailer here.

Now if you've seen the movie, I'd love to know your favorite song or character. Leave a comment!

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day at Mount Vernon

Ever wonder what it would be like to be at Mount Vernon for President's Day. Here's a glimpse of the 2010 celebration!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Classic Hollywood Review: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This was one of the first Classic Hollywood Reviews that I wrote. And as we ponder the election from a week and a half ago, I thought it was appropriate to run it again. There will be many new people in Washington starting in January. Here's praying they come with the convictions and willingness to stand up for what's right that is portrayed in this movie. Whichever side of the aisle you vote, I think we can all agree that's what we need.

Do you have a wee bit of the crusader in you? Wonder if corrupt politics only arrived in the 1990s? Then you need to watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. A 1939 offering from one of my favorite classic directors, Frank Capra, with one of my favorite classic stars, Jimmy Stewart, it's the ultimate feel good tale. And what's not to like when Jean Arthur joins the fun.

Jimmy Stewart's character Jefferson Smith is basically a grown-up Eagle Scout who is sent to Wasghington because his handlers think he'll be easy to control. Boy, did they mess up on that assumption! One of my favorite scenes is when he gets to Washington, D.C. and hops on the trolley to take a tour giving his handlers ulcers with his disappearing act. (For a summary of the film, pop over here.)

This was the fifth film that Stewart made in 1939 and garnered a total of eleven Academy Award nominations but only won in one category. This was also the second film in which Stewart and Arthur are paired as romantic leads. Don't worry, I'll talk about the 1938 film in coming weeks, because it's another family favorite.

There's a lot to love about this film. It highlights the corruption of the media. The corruption in politics. The hero worship that can lead to disillusionment. Hmm, what's there to love, you ask?

How about a man who won't be railroaded? Who stands up for what he knows is right even when his is the only voice speaking? A man who will offer himself on the altar in sacrifice for what is right for the country? If you wonder about the power of one man, pop in this video and then pray for God to give us people in office like this!

This movie one best Oscar for story and was nominated for a string more. I highly recommend this movie.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Favorite Fall Tea for One.

Hi everyone. Sorry I didn't post last week. I"d planned to post Susan's Bearclaw recipe today, but I've decided, instead, to share my special autumn tea pot and cup. I'm one of the many tea and teapot collectors in the world. Love my teapots and I actually use some of them. I was flipping through a tea catalog a few years ago and fell in love with this teapot for one. I ordered it, of course. The day the item should have arrived and didn't I called tracking and they insisted the package had been delivered. There happened to be a care center for the elderly down the street and their address was just before mine. Yes, you guessed it. My teapot had been left there by mistake.
I take it off its shelf each September and put it away in November when I switch to Christmas ones. It just seems to give my tea a special flavor and flair. If you'd like, share a photo of your favorite tea cup or pot.
Happy tea drinking.

Frances Devine

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Mount Vernon Estates to The Smithsonian: How the Setting of Buried Deception Came to Life

"No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this."
- George Washington, 1790

Ever wonder where an author gets an idea for a story? The idea for Buried Deception came in 2005 when my family took a three week homeschool tour up the East coast. Mount Vernon was one of our stops.

I loved everything about Mount Vernon in the summertime from the beautiful foliage and blooming trees to the richness of the history on the grounds. I marveled at George Washington’s innovations as I walked through the mansion and wondered which antiques were original and which were replicas. That thought lead to another... “What if a real antique at Mount Vernon was discovered to be a fake?” One thing lead to another and Buried Deception was born.

It was months before I began writing the novella and years before it actually sold. Though I had visited Mount Vernon, it had been too long to trust my memory. That’s when I contacted an archaeologist at Mount Vernon to help me fill in the gaps. It was then that I learned that new buildings were built on the grounds since I had visited and the picture in my head needed a visual reminder not only of the layout of the buildings, but the floor plan of the mansion.

Thankfully, the virtual map of the Mount Vernon Mansion was invaluable when writing the scenes in the mansion. I referred to it dozens of times when writing Buried Deception. Updated maps and the Mount Vernon website also gave me a bird’s eye view that I needed to bring the setting of my novella to life.

I utilized the same research technique with the other locations in Buried Deception, and it’s my hope that while you read it you will actually feel like you’re walking the halls of the Smithsonian and the grounds of Christ Church and Mount Vernon.

If you’re a visual reader and want to bring Buried Deception to life in a more visual way? Check out the link and explore the mansion and rooms Samantha and her children visited for yourself!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Classic Hollywood Reviews: Arsenic and Old Lace

Last week I unintentionally offended a friend (just kidding, Steph) by not inviting her over to watch this classic Cary Grant comedy. When I saw that theTCM Comedy Collectionincluded Arsenic and Old Lace, I was a wee bit puzzled. Guess it had been too long since I watched the movie. It didn't take too many minutes and I was thoroughly delighted by Cary Grant's comedic acting.

This 1944 film tells the story of a confirmed bachelor who's slipped off to get married. On his way to his honeymoon he stops at his aunts' home and stumbles on a body. The thing is, everybody believes his aunts are the salt of the earth and nobody would ever expect them to be serial killers. The balance of the movie highlights his character's attempts to keep one brother safe and keep his aunts from killing anyone else. Of course there are all kinds of twists -- some hilarious and a couple sinister -- making this a thoroughly delightful Frank Capra directed flick. And add in Josephine Hull playing another slightly zany older woman (ala Harvey) and it is a perfect film to spend an evening with.

I didn't know Director Frank Capra enlisted in the U. S. Army Signal Corps in 1941 during filming. He received an extension of his order to report for active duty until late January 1942 so he could finish editing the picture.

If you haven't watched this movie, you really should. It's wonderful!