Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Magic Fire 1955

https://youtu.be/uFCfRJ9_xL8 This is a biopic on the life of Richard Wagner, played admirably well by Alan Badel. It was made in 1955 by Republic Pictures. Herbert Yates was the studio chief then. It was directed by William Deieterle. For all Wagner enthusiasts, this is a fine film that makes good use of Wagner's music. The actual film music was arranged by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The film was processed in Trucolor as the other collaboration of Dieterle and Korngold, a Midsummer Night's Dream. Many details and accounts of the life of Richard Wagner were portrayed accurately and some of the accounts were stretched out for dramatic purposes. One of the highest points of this film is the accurate presentation of the riot among the elite at the Opera House in Paris during the Second Act of Tannhauser in its revised version with the Bacchanale and inclusion of ballet. Wagner did not heed to the advice of introducing the ballet in the second act as per the demands of the rich patrons; he kept it instead in the very beginning of the First Act, right after the fabulous overture. The film also correctly brings out the patronage of King Ludwig II in Wagner's life, without going too much into the intricate details of the controversial personality of that king. You will come across lavish sets, brilliant costumes and a large cast that includes the beautiful Yvonne De Carlo as Minna Planer, Wagner's First wife.Rita Gam plays Cosima, Liszt's daughter and Wagner's second wife while Carlos Thompson supports well as Franz Liszt. There are few scenes inducted in the film showing Weimar. This is a prestigious film and serves as a great biographical document for Richard Wagner.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Exodus by Leon Uris

This epic work of Leon Uris went on to become a phenomenon in the world of publishing. It describes a dramatic political event in the history of twentieth century - the formation of the state of Israel. It is the tale of a Jewish freedom fighter and his family and an American nurse who are caught up in a period of anguish and struggle. The story is told in a poignant style. This particular struggle will otherwise go unnoticed in history classes of today. The screenplay for the film is very well done. The film revolves around the events leading to the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Paul Newman plays Ari bin Canaan. He is a member of 'Haganah', a Jewish paramilitary group. Along with his uncle, he attempts to execute the exodus of six hundred Jewish refugees on a dangerous voyage from Cyprus to Palestine against resistance from the British and the Arabs. This happens on a ship named `Exodus'. The British did their best not to give permission of passage to the ship to reach its destination. The film may look like it is describing fictional events but many of them were fact-based details of the struggle for Israel as an independent country as a home for the Jews. Eva Marie Saint supports well in the role of the American nurse. Lee.J. Cobb plays Ari's father. Ralph Richardson plays General Sutherland. Jill Hayworth plays Karen. Sal Mineo plays Dov Landau. David Opatoshu plays the revolutionary uncle of Ari. Great direction by Otto Preminger. The best thing that happened to this film was the excellent music score provided by Ernest Gold. The main theme as well as Karen's theme are unforgettable. The message is very well brought out from Leon Uris' book, it is an utopia that is still being sought after - a land where the Arabs and Jews could dwell in peace and harmony - something that may never happen.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is a book that should be read by every one interested in Ancient Mysteries. After reading the Deception point, Digital Fortress, Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and now this book, I feel that Brown is perhaps the most exciting writer I have come across in the last five decades who spins great narratives around subjects that I am interested in. I still have to read his Inferno. This is one of the best books that I have read in the last decade. Another cracker of Brown's in the last decade was the `Da Vinci Code' which I enjoyed thoroughly. The thrilling book begins with a great quote from the `Secret Teachings of All Ages and ancient Mysteries', "To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books." Character sketches have been woven with care by Dan Brown and the build up of all of these characters is simply a master stroke. He has developed the knack of telling a tale that is different and unique from the run of the mill thrillers. This book was completed in 2009.The story is set in Washington, D.C.and relies heavily on the world of Freemasonry. It is right up my alley as I am a Freemason. The central character is, once again, the symbologist Robert Langdon. This is his third appearance after Angels & Demons in 2000 and The Da Vinci Code in 2003. The Plot - Harvard symbologist, Langdon, is summoned unexpectedly to appear at the capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to give a lecture on Freemasonry when his life goes topsy-turvy when he finds out that there is not going to be a lecture but a chain of bizarre events that he has to experience. He comes across the severed hand of his long-time friend, Peter Solomon, with all the fingers artfully inscribed with symbols. This is actually an ancient way of inviting knowledgeable and selective people into the world of ancient mysteries. He has to accept such an invitation to save his friend. The narration will take you through a journey which plunges into deep Masonic secrets. The build up of characters is a touch of brilliance. It is an intelligent tale that has surprises for you at every turn. By the time you are done with the book, you would have realized that The Lost Symbol is within you.[Corinthians 3:16] -"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?"