Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Thorin Family Photos

Thanks to The Hobbit France

From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Annual 2013

Thorin (Richard Armitage), Kili (Aidan Turner - two photos), Fili (Dean O'Gorman)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The British Invasion of Havana Through Art 250 Years Later

 British Fleet Entering Havana, Cuba 1762

Cuban Art News has an interesting article about the British view through art of their invasion of Havana, Cuba in 1762.  It is a great way to remember the event 250 years later. Many of these works are in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana and seen by few outside of Cuba in recent decades.

Artist: Elias Dumford

Here's a quote from the Cuban Art News article:

"But the views of Cuba that were made at the time of the surrender of Havana to British troops in August 1762 used a different set of aesthetic codes. At the time, these works were circulated in England and throughout Europe as a visual testimony to that great event. They included not only the most significant battles but views of the city and its surroundings, providing a detailed depiction of the new overseas possession. They were intended to illustrate a political and military fact of great significance for the British crown.

These engravings, created under British sponsorship, are a valuable antecedent to the realistic representations of the island made during the 19th century. The presence in Havana of artists accompanying the British troops resulted not only in purely military artistic works but in some cases a sympathetic view of everyday urban and rural environments."

To read more click HERE.

was aide-de-camp to Lord Albemarle, commander of British forces during the invasion and occupation of Havana, but he also loved drawing and he made several drawings that serve as an eyewitness record of the event.

Flintlock and Tomahawk also has some contemporary illustrations by Donato Spedaliere and  Giuseppe Rava of what the battle may have looked like:

So why did Britain invade and occupy Havana 250 years ago?

"The Battle of Havana (1762) was a military action from March to August 1762, as part of the Seven Years' War. British forces besieged and captured the city of Havana, which at the time was an important Spanish naval base in the Caribbean, and dealt a serious blow to the Spanish navy. Havana was subsequently returned to Spain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris that formally ended the war."

(Note: The Seven Year's War was a global war that involved the major world powers and their colonies from 1756 to 1763)

Bombardment of Morro Castle Havana, July 1, 1762

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharpe's Regiment on Sharpe Sundays Aug 26: Sharpe and Harper Go Back Home

Sharpe's Regiment

Sharpe and Harper return to England to save the South Essex Regiment from being disbanded. While there Sharpe is surprised to discover he’s the Prince Regent’s best friend, though they've never met before.  Through the Prince he meets the dastardly Lord Fenner and the lovely Lady Anne who seem to be working together to thwart Sharpe’s plan.  Seems the replacement troops are nowhere to be found, even if Sharpe has proof they’re being recruited.  How can Sharpe find out what’s really going on? Only one way to do it, he and Harper enlist again in the Army.  So what does Sharpe find there? An old enemy and a new love. 

Harper Inspects the Troops

Please join new and longtime Sharpe fans for the Global Sharpe Watch this August 26, 2012, 3:00pm EST/US, 8:00pm UK, 9:00pm Continent on Tweet Chat.  For all the details and "How To's" go to  Sharpe Lives Movie Club Facebook Page:

Or to Distracted Musings of One Reality at the link below:

Sharpe Ladies in Regiment:

Lady Anne Camoynes

  Jane Gibbons

Sharpe Trivia Question:

Julian Fellowes as the Prince Regent

Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey's creator) played two different characters in the Sharpe series. In Sharpe's Regiment he plays the Prince Regent. What is the other character that he played in Sharpe? (Please answer in comments). 

The Real Prince Regent

My Favorite Regiment Hat

King Richard Armitage Week: Four Directors Armitage Should Consider for His Richard III Production

I love historical drama but not all historical drama has lived up to my expectations. Though I've watched both The Tudors and The Borgias I must confess I'm not a huge fan of either show. I do like The Tudors much  better, but I still find that both programs often have the look and feel of a glorified soap opera. The Eastenders with lavish costumes and locations.  

Richard Armitage has expressed his interest and commitment to a historically accurate portrayal of  Richard III's life and time.  I have no doubt that whatever project he's involved in will be the best. But television programs and films are a team effort involving many talented and dedicated people including writers, producers, actors, and directors.    

A key element of any successful television program is the right director.  Richard Armitage as producer of a future Richard III television series will need to find someone that shares his vision and will successfully bring his dream project to the screen. In a multi episode series he could select one director to put his stamp on the entire program, or he could use multiple directors for a set of episodes to make it more interesting for the actors and the audience.  I propose the four directors below for his consideration. 

Asif Kapadia

Kapadia is a film and documentary director who often looks to his Asian roots for inspiration, but he was born in London. He has a great eye for location and use of stunning scenery.  The environment and location of the story becomes a character in his hands.  His film The Warrior (trailer below) shows his ability to direct a historical epic.

Ashley Pearce

British director Ashley Pearce has a track record with period dramas having directed episodes of Downton Abbey, Poirot, and Garrow's Law.  He's also directed two episodes of Jimmie McGovern's Accused, including the recent episode Tracie with Sean Bean.

I've been watching Garrow's Law recently (thanks to great film watch friends) and it is the perfect blend of great acting and great directing.  Season 2 has a very period feel to the look,  but a contemporary pace in the story. I love the water imagery and the lighting of the first episode of Season 2 directed by Mr. Pearce (see video below).  His style would translate perfectly to a story of triumph and tragedy like Richard III. 

Brian Percival

Percival is another British director with much experience directing period drama.  Among his best known work is Shakespeare Re-Told (Much Ado About Nothing), The Ruby in the Smoke and The Old Curiosity Shop. He won the BAFTA Award for Best Short Film for his nine-minute short About a Girl.  He has an excellent connection with Richard Armitage having directed him in North & South.  

What can I say about the excellent North & South that hasn't already been said.  Percival brought the best out of actor Richard Armitage for his unforgettable performance as John Thornton and there is no reason to doubt it would be a great partnership of actor and director for Richard III.

Here is a clip of a scene all Armitage fans know well: Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage directed by Brian Percival

Alan Taylor

Taylor is an American director who has directed many great television shows, many that may not be considered "period drama" but tell about a time gone by. I know Taylor's work from Game of Thrones, Mad Men and The West Wing. He also directed several episodes of Rome.

But the film of his that made me think he would be an excellent match for Armitage's Richard III is The Emperor's New Clothes. The film stars Ian Holm (Bilbo!) playing a dual role as Napoleon Bonaparte and his double. The premise of the film is that Napoleon escapes St. Helena and lives incognito in Paris plotting to regain the throne while his double pretends to be the real Napoleon in St. Helena.

Link to Trailer video

This post is my contribution to King Richard Armitage Week.

Don't forget to keep checking the KRA and Me + Richard Armitage website for more quiz questions.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

King Richard Armitage Week 2012 - Come Play with Us

KRA Week Needs You! 

For King Richard Armitage Weeek KRA has a quiz with nineteen questions about Richard Armitage, Richard III, and the prospective Richard III project.  You can participate in the quiz until September 3. 

To find out about the quiz "question a day" and more details on how to participate go to one of the following:

King Richard Armitage website:

Me + Richard Armitage:

What are the prizes:

  • KRA Champion – selection via the most points achieved in the scavenger hunt. (If more than one participant have top points, the decision will be made by lot.)

  • Participation price – the winner, a random participant – independent of his achieved points – selected by lot, will be able to direct the accumulated GBP 91.- to the one (or more) charity he choses from the Mr. Armitage’s Just Giving page.

  • Free entry to the Conference of the Richard III Foundation, Inc. – taking place on 13th of October 2012 at the Dixie Grammar School in Market Bosworth with lots of interesting speakers and topics. More details here: Richard III Foundation-page
    (To ascertain, the ticket really goes to someone who can attend the Conference in Market Bosworth, we check this with a question in the quiz-forms. The ticket will only be given to someone who indicates he can attend and the candidate will be chosen by lot.)

Several Blogs and Sites will be participating in KRA Week. Check out the list below. 

To find out what the participating blogs and sites are posting during King Richard Armitage week go to the KRA site HERE

(This is me!)
Plus special guest:

Hope you have fun participating in the quiz, and checking out the KRA site and participating blogs. The fun continues celebrating the birthday of our favorite actor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Richard Armitage - Thank You for the Gift of your Voice

Happy Birthday

Today on this special day I want to celebrate and give thanks to Richard Armitage for his wonderful audio books.

Thanks to RA I share my commute to and from work with Damerel, Rule, Sylvester, Guy of Gisborne,  Uhtred of Bebbanburg and a host of intriguing characters.

Richard Armitage's reading or more accurately performance, of Bernard Cornwell's The Lords of the North is a tour de force.  This photo vidlet is only a small taste of Armitage as Uhtred of Bebbanburg.  He creates not just an unforgettable Uhtred but an entire world of characters. No matter how many times I listen to Lords of the North I soon forget that it's only Armitage doing all the voices and I'm soon not in my own humdrum 21st century life but in the midst of a shield wall in 9th Century Britain.

On his 41st Birthday today here is my heartfelt but inadequate tribute to Richard Armitage and his voice work in those marvelous audio books:

For details on how to order the entire audiobook go to

Hope you're enjoying your stay here  in the U.S. and feeling all the affection your fans on this side of the pond have for you. 

Feliz CumpleaƱos - Happy Birthday

Richard Armitage

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee
William Shakespeare, Sonnet XLIII

Raw materials for all this from, Richard Armitage Online, Richard Armitage Central, KnightTemplar, Artists on DeviantArt, the creator Bernard Cornwell

Start of KRA Week 2012 (poem) by Gratiana Lovelace

Monday, August 20, 2012

On a Sharpe Theme - Link to New Interview with Series Director

Sean Bean and Tom Clegg

Continuing the Sharpe theme today, Sharpe Pointe has a brand new interview with series director Tom Clegg.

To read interview click on link below:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sharpe's Sword: My Favorite Episode on Sharpe Sundays August 19

Sharpe's Sword 

Sharpe and the Chosen Men come upon a French patrol and take their captain prisoner. It seems the patrol was led by a colonel in the Imperial Guard that was killed in the fight.  Sharpe finds suspicious papers on the French captain, and suspects he may really be the colonel. He gives the papers to “resident scholar" Rifleman Harris to decipher.  

As they are ready to go back to camp a frightened young woman comes out from the trees and throws herself on Sharpe.  Seems she’s a novice that escaped when the French patrol attacked a carriage with a priest and several nuns. The priest and nuns were killed. The French wanted information from the priest because he knew the identity of El Mirador, Wellington’s top spy.  

Back in camp Sharpe meets a charming new friend, Captain Jack Spears, and an old enemy, Henry Simmerson.  This is an episode about trust, friendship, and love.  Who is the French captain really?  Who is El Mirador? Who is Candide? Who can Sharpe trust?

James Purefoy as Jack Spears

Jason Salkey, Sean Bean, Richard Rutherford Moore John Tams

Sharpe's Sword is my favorite episode and also my favorite book of Cornwell's Sharpe series. They are substantially different, the book and the series episode, but they have the same underlying theme: 

The meaning and the power of friendship 

The series episode also has Sean Bean saying "Lass" all the time. Makes me swoon every time.

Emily Mortimer and Sean Bean

Please join new and longtime Sharpe fans for the Global Sharpe Watch this Sunday, August 19, 3:00pm EST/US, 8:00pm UK, 9:00pm Continent on Tweet Chat.  For all the details and "How To's" go to  Sharpe Lives Movie Club Facebook Page:

Or to Distracted Musings of One Reality at the link below:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Attention Hollywood, BBC, or HBO! Time for a Dolly Sisters Remake

Recently I saw an article on about the sale of a bronze sculpture (see photos above and below) by Art Deco sculptor Demetre Chiparus. The subject of the piece are the Dolly Sisters, identical twins who were big stars in the 1920's. The sculpture will go on sale November 14 at Bonhams. 

The sisters had a fascinating but tragic life together. Their story was made into a film in 1945 with Betty Grable and June Haver. You may know both names if you're a fan of Classic Films.

But I truly believe given the real story of the Dolly Sisters that this film is overdue for a remake, I think the story needs time to tell, and maybe a multi-episode TV series by the BBC or HBO would be just the thing. I also think our less idealistic times are perfect to tell the story.

So what is the story of the Dolly Sisters, you're all asking right now. Well, read part of the ArtDaily article below and see if you agree with me about what a perfect series for the BBC or HBO this would be:

"The sisters story reads like a morality tale, fantastic fame and fortune, celebrity, gilded lovers and wild exoticism all ending in sadness, tragedy and early death. Born in Budapest and brought to America, aged 12, in 1905 by their immigrant parents the sisters, ‘Rosie’ Roszika and ‘Jenny’ Janszieka Schwartz were already dance-mad. Within two years, they were on the vaudeville stage, where their looks as well as their dancing captivated audiences. They were very attractive with dark skin, shoulder-length hair and dark gipsy eyes. 

 The Real Dolly Sisters

Their performances at the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway confirmed their star attraction. Men were entranced and packed their shows out. It was not long before they were receiving gifts, including on one occasion a beribboned Rolls Royce, after their show. Soon they had stormed the heights of society and were being entertained by the Vanderbilts and Hearsts who invited them to their homes. In Europe they were to conquer even greater social heights. 


They came to London in 1920 to star in a Charles Cochrane stage extravaganza and met the younger sons of King George V, later meeting the Prince of Wales. His path and that of the Dollies seemed to cross for some years and it was said that he was particularly fond of Jenny. In Paris they met King Alfonso of Spain, who was a regular visitor. One of their attractions was that the Dollies were discreet. Their romantic attachments never became public. But they broke hearts, and bank balances, too, even those of the super-rich. Gordon Selfridge, the American-born founder of Oxford Street’s grand department store, at the age of 69, fell so hopelessly for the 33-year-old Jenny that he squandered a large part of his fortune on her. Drawn to gambling they were casino regulars, winning massively, draped in the latest fashions and dripping jewellery. Their gambling earned them $850,000 in one season at Deauville and in one evening in Cannes, Jenny won four million francs which she converted into jewellery, going on to win another 11 million. As their dancing career ended Rosie fell in love with a man named Irving Netcher, and was deliriously happy. Jenny was lonely and on the course that led her eventually to reach for the sash of her dressing gown committing suicide in 1941 having lost a fortune. Rosie in 1962 attempted to follow her sister in suicide. The bid failed. She died on February 1, 1970, succumbing to heart failure." (From

Rosie Dolly and Irving Netcher

I think Irving Netcher or even better, Max Constant, would be a good role for Richard Armitage. Constant was a French sportsman, aviator, and actor who was Jennie's boyfriend. 

From Richard Armitage Central 

So who would you cast as the Dolly Sisters? 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sharpe Sundays Returns with Sharpe's Battle August 12

There are good wolves 

and bad wolves

Sharpe's Battle

While on the road on patrol Sharpe and the Chosen Men meet a new villain, French General Loup. Loup and Sharpe have a confrontation about French soldiers running wild, and the General vows revenge on our hero. Meanwhile back in camp, Wellington receives fresh troops from the King of Spain, his personal troops, the Royal Irish Company. The Company is commanded by a noble but weak man, Lord Kiely, who brings with him both a loyal wife and a mysterious mistress.  Will Loup and Kiely lead Sharpe and his men down a road of no return?

Please join new and longtime Sharpe fans for the Global Sharpe Watch this Sunday, August 12, 3:00pm EST/US, 8:00pm UK, 9:00pm Continent on Tweet Chat.  For all the details and "How To's" go to  Sharpe Lives Movie Club Facebook Page:

Or to Distracted Musings of One Reality at the link below:

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