29 March 2010

Data on Gold Coast Bluenote: An Apparently Popular Post on the Film "To Kill a Mockingkingbird"

The post that, far and away gets the most hits here at Gold Coast Bluenote (GCB), is a discussion of the film made from Horton Foote's screenplay -- based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel -- for the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird. My hypothesis is that a substantial number of students assigned to read the book or see the film may find my 2007 GCB post, 'It's a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird', because the post's title is a line directly from the film. Image and article searches, therefore, using primarily but not exclusively Google search engines, hit home here.

I find it a good time, to repost this modest effort up front for those who might otherwise miss it.
Now, 'to play it again, Sam' so to speak, let's revisit my discussion of director Robert Mullingan's inspirational film:

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
(- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 23, spoken by the character Atticus)
Gregory Peck's performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel To Kill A Mockingbird inspired many a young social activist and prospective lawyer to follow Atticus' example and seek social justice, whatever the personal cost. These young idealists would drop like flies as the realities of the real world closed around them. But a few survived to carry the torch for the equality of all men and women under the law.

And the film's impact stretches even further.

The Story of Movies Foundation uses the film To Kill A Mockingbird in the The Story of Movies as a way to provide middle school children a ".... guide to [the] students in learning how to read moving images. Although teachers frequently use films in the classroom, film as language and as historical and cultural documents is not widely taught. ...."

Lovers of great books -- me, I plead guilty -- are becoming fewer and farther between as the electronic media age progresses and instant visual and audio gratification becomes the status quo. But Harper Lee's novel survives as assigned classroom reading and Robert Mulligan's 1962 film adaptation still inspires idealists young and old to this day.

A large part of the credit goes to Gregory Peck for his performance in the role of Atticus Finch. Peck brings a sense of moral certainty, legal ethics and talent, as well as compassionate single-parent wisdom to the role that is truly astonishing.

Thanks Ms. Lee, Mr. Peck, and everyone who contributed to the creation of this film; I am re-inspired and given hope for humanity every time I see this film masterwork.

23 March 2010

"No Doubt": Jean Harlow was 'Just A Girl'


One of my web buddies at The Golden Age of Hollywood, Jennifer, turned me on to a video on her YouTube channel the other day. As of this writing, at the top of her channel is a video that just knocked me out. Jennifer combines clips from Jean Harlow films with the song Just a Girl from No Doubt's 1995 Tragic Kingdom album. The combination of Jean Harlow and Gwen Stefani and Co. works amazingly well.

First class rock 'n' roll, with visuals from a classic film fan's perspective that will blow you back in your chair. Great job Jennifer -- keep 'em comin'.

(Editor's note: there is a pop-up ad embedded across the lower part of the screen that one may close by clicking on the x in the ad's upper right corner.)

17 March 2010

Eric Clapton Recaptures The Fire: "From the Cradle"


Back in the early seventies, Eric Clapton set a standard for himself, indeed for the rock world, with his work on Derek and the Dominoes' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). This blues rock classic is unsurpassed in its heartfelt power. But on subsequent releases such as 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974) and Slowhand (1977), it appeared that churning, burning Eric was gone forever. I'm not criticizing those later albums -- the artistry was still there, but the fire of the Layla album -- a fire partially attributable to the presence of Duane Allman -- was gone.

Then, for those of us who cherished that fire, came Eric's 1994 album of blues covers, From the Cradle. For the first time, the growl was back in his voice and the blazing intensity back in his guitar work . For a sample, check out this video of Eric & Co. performing Groaning the Blues, an Otis Rush classic covered on the album. The tracks on From the Cradle have all the power of this sample from a never completed documentary, "Nothin' but the Blues", by Martin Scorsese.

From the Cradle removes any doubt about Clapton's status as a true blues master.

07 March 2010

"There's One More Kid That'll Never Go To School, Never Get To Grow Old, Never Get To Be Cool"


A music mentor of mine recently sent me a modern hard rock video of Thrash Unreal's song Against Me!

Whether or not there is a direct influence, on my second listen to the Thrash Unreal track, Neil Young's 1989 social and musical thrasher above came to mind.

Maybe I'm gettin' old, but for my money I'll take Rockin' in the Free World.