Lena Dunham discussed a wide array of topics with writer and author Ariel Levy during the 15th annual New Yorker Festival on Friday night, including her aspirations to turn Karen Cushman’s “Catherine, Called Birdy” into a feature film….”It’s a really interesting examination of sort of like coming of age and what’s expected of teenage girls,” Dunham said. “I’m going to adapt it and hopefully direct it, I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.”
Just came across this photo from the Ender’s Game movie with Hailee Steinfeld as Petra (loved her in True Grit) and Asa Butterfield (loved him in Hugo) as Ender. So far so good, but you never know with movie adaptations, do you?
There was a flurry of excitement (here, here, and many other places) about a casting call for hobbit extras on that movie, I mean, those movies (they are doing two out of the one book, evidently) a guy over in New Zealand is making. The latest from theOneRing.net is to hold your horses (or ponies or whatever hobbits prefer) as casting calls won’t be until February.
I started a book bloggers club this year partly so that kids who had blogs with me in 4th grade could continue with them in later grades and those from other classes who wanted to start blogs could. Currently it is a lovely, if small cohort of 6th grade girls. Curious about what they’d think, I took them to see “Where the Wild Things Are” last week. Check out their very insightful reviews:
Last week one of my students brought in a cartoon version of The Trumpet of the Swanand I tried, really tried, to watch it yesterday, but was so put off by the opening number (yes, you read that right, opening musical number) that I didn’t make it to the end. And so as much as admirers of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things are fretting (I’m among them) as to what the new movie will be like, I have to say it has gotta to be better than this. All of which makes me really appreciate Ty Burr’s look at movie adaptations of children’s books in today’s Boston Globe. (Thanks to Julius Lester for posting this on child_lit.)
Given my Old Movies for Kids series, how timely to read of a new memoir by someone who signified in my own kid-movie-days.
In 1964 when it seemed as if every other girl my age was gaga over the Beatles I turned my back on all of that for…musicals. And somewhere around then I developed an enormous crush on Julie Andrews because of the cast album of My Fair Lady (which I think my grandparents gave me after seeing the stage version). We went off to Germany for that year and I wailed over and over that I would NEVER get to see her in her first film, Mary Poppins. Fortunately, it was showing when we were in Amsterdam and I got to see it and her. As for Audrey Hepburn (and her ghost singer Marnie Nixon) I had nothing but all the contempt a twelve-year-old-fan-of-someone-else could possibly have for her when the movie came out. I did like the film though, I should say. I saw it in a fancy London theater. (Back then they still were fancy; intermissions with ice creams and all. Not for much longer, though.)
I grew up with Danny Kaye singing, “Mommy, I Want a Drink of Water” and movies like the delightful Court Jester from which this hysterical clip is from (and thanks to Camille for reminding me of this too):
Some classes happily go on to the Marx Brothers after finishing up with Chaplin. This year’s class would have none of them, but last year’s class couldn’t get enough. You just never know.
I begin by telling the kids a bit about the four brothers: the talkative Groucho, the silent-harp-playing Harpo, the fake-Italian-novelty-piano-playing Chico, and the occasional-straightman Zeppo. Then I tend to start with A Night At the Opera since many consider it their best. Here’s a neat NPR feature on the creation of the film. And here’s that famous stateroom scene:
Others that have gone down well with my students are Horsefeathers (lots of football hijinks) and Duck Soup (my personal favorite). Oddly enough, I can’t find any kids’ books about them!
At the time I first fell in love with Chaplin the rest of the world seemed more taken with Buster Keaton. Evidently he was more cerebral (as much as a slapstick comedian can be called that) and at my college there were often screenings of Keaton, never of Chaplin. Now I do like Keaton yet I have had little luck getting my students to connect to him. Once they have fallen for Chaplin, no one else, it seems, will do. (Is my own teen-crush to blame? Possibly.)
At any rate, this year I’m more hopeful because of a remarkable new picture book biography of Buster Keaton. When I read Betsy Bird’s enthusiastic review of Catherine Brighton’s Keep Your Eye On The Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton I was eager to see it for myself. Happily, the publisher sent me a copy and it is everything Betsy said and more. The illustrations are amazing with angles and perspectives that echo those of Keaton’s films. Within the illustrations are wonderful references to other illustrated stories such as Little Nemo in Slumberland and Struwwelpeter. It is a spectacular book and I can’t wait to read it to my students, show them One Week, Our Hospitality,The General, and more to get them hooked!
Here is the memorable scene with which Brighton ends her book: