Friday, December 17, 2010

Retro video and photos

I spent a good amount of time this morning poring over the photos and videos posted at How to be a Retronaut, which is sort of like a web-based time machine powered by a database of video, photos, documents, recordings, and more. My favorites are the color film of London shot by cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene in 1927. There's a brief shot of the women bending down to leave flowers at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, which brought me to tears as I was reminded that WWI was only a few short years behind them and their grief was probably cold and fresh. We also know that in just a few years, London would be under raid by the Germans.

Then there are the high definition photos taken around London in the late 40s (love the signage!) And, of course, this opening sequence (above) from "The Prisoner," filmed in the mid-60s. You'd never see a long opening sequence like this in a television show today! Another series worth checking out are the color photos taken in Paris during the occupation by the Germans. In many ways, Paris looks the same to me today than it did then, except for the fashion and cars (and Nazi soldiers, of course.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The King's Speech

I've been checking our local movie times incessantly, hoping that at some point The King's Speech will play around here. It was released last week in some of the major U.S. film markets -- I guess suburban Boston isn't one of them! --  and I'm chomping at the bit to see it. It has everything I love in a film: history (specifically English history), '30s and '40s fashion, drama/angst, the abdication crisis, a backdrop against WWII (yes, I'm fascinated with WWII history), and Colin Firth to top it all off. For those of you who haven't watched the trailer yet or haven't heard about the film, it's about King George VI's -- the current Queen's father --  private battle to eliminate his stammer and the crisis he faced when forced to take over the crown from his American divorcee-loving older brother.

Jennifer Ehle is also in the film. She played Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, which co-starred Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This Mr. Darcy:

(Ok, cool down, Di.) And Guy Pearce, another hottie, plays King Edward VIII. A much improved version of the runaway king, I say.

So many other things to look forward to  ... there's Helena Bonham-Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Derek Jacobi, scenes of London ... arrgh, I can't wait! Have you seen The King's Speech? What did you think?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snoop Dogg pens song for Prince William -- free download!

Word is that Prince Harry is trying to get rapper Snoop Dogg to perform at his brother's stag party. Snoop Dogg has recorded a song in honor of Prince William, who reportedly likes rap and hip hop music. Snoop put the song, "Wet,"  up on his website this afternoon, where it's a free download. Check it out! The lyrics are definitely Doggy Style, but it's a catchy tune. What do you think? Can you see Charles getting his grove on with this music throbbing in the background? Hee!

And if you feel like getting your groove on to "Wet," Snoop is giving away a trip to London for two. All you have to do is post a video on YouTube of you dancing to "Wet," and the video with the most views wins the trip. More details on Snoop Dogg's site.

Good luck! This is one contest I'll be sitting out.