Starring Greta Garbo, Queen Christina shows a woman who became the leader of Sweden as a child when her father died, lead like a man. Garbo captivates. I don’t think I’d seen her in a movie, just in photos. My, was she compelling. Her magnetism keeps all eyes on her. This strong, passionate queen had no qualms about leadership. Her problem is the nagging requests for her to marry the King of Spain.
In the beginning of the film she had no desire to marry. When she gets fed up with the wheedling to coax her into the King of Spain’s arms, she bolts from the court. Dressed as a man, followed by her mentor, she encounters the Spanish envoy whose carriage falls into a rut. She teases and mocks him and his retinue. When she overhears the envoy’s plan to take a room at a nearby inn, she beats him to it and takes the last room for miles. Incognito, the queen teases the envoy when he arrives at the inn. Yet he gets the last laugh when the innkeeper, who’s swayed by the envoy’s higher offer, convinces the disguised queen to share the room with the envoy.
It isn’t long before the queen’s gender is revealed to the envoy and before you know it, they’re madly in love. Of course that presents problems because 1) the envoy’s mission is to convey his King’s proposal to Queen Christina and 2) he’s bound to discover his love’s true identity.
Garbo gives a strong performance and the story offers a surprise ending. The costuming was elegant and arresting. I’ve got to see more of Garbo’s films. You should too.
Note: There was a Queen Christina, who ruled Sweden in the 17th century, but I can’t find any evidence that this film isn’t more than conjecture.
PBS/BBC’s Masterpiece drama Sanditon just hasn’t grabbed me. Based on an unfinished Jane Austen novel, it actually seems like a phlegmatic version of one of Austen’s masterpieces. The cast features Charlotte, a bright heroine who to me seems like a cross between Lizzy Bennett and her drab sister Mary with a mix of her friend Lydia. There’s an arrogant hero, who I expect will change after learning from the heroine. There’s a strict, rich widow and a fop or two. The only new character is a woman from Antigua who’s Black. There’s a possible injection of orignality, but like the others this character doesn’t do much for me.
The story starts with a couple getting stranded by Charlotte’s house and when this real estate developer invites Charlotte to his seaside development for an unknown period of time, her parents agree even though Charlotte’s father is wary of the wild ways of seaside villages. I couldn’t believe that even if it was the norm to let your young daughter go off with strangers, that this father wouldn’t have. Of course, money’s a big issue and the developer’s out of cash and his business is in peril.
The woman from Antigua, though an heiress, is treated with prejudice by all the social set she encounters. Her family has died and she’s under the supervision on her guardian, but she has a fierce desire to return home.
All in all, I think the story is predictable and I miss Austen’s perfect wit. To me the show doesn’t measure up to Poldark, Victoria, Mr. Selfridge, or The Paradise. I wish they’d add a season to either of those shows than mess around with an unfinished Austen novel.
Today I attended my first League of Women’s Voters meeting and the two speakers presented information on how Germany handles juvenile offenders. Dignity is the hallmark of the German system. The speakers said that in Germany:
People under 14 can’t be put in jail.
People up to age 21 are assigned to the Juvenile Justice system.
While on the outside the structures looked like prisons, inside they looked like community college campuses.
When in prison, from the start, the goal is to prepare the inmates for successful life outside.
Inmates either work on vocational training or a high school diploma.
Everyone gets their own room and a key to it. They can open their cell doors to enter, but a guard must let them out.
People in prison can decorate their cells with pictures.
There’s a system for inmates to shop online using the allowance they receive each month from the government.
Guards wear street clothes, not uniforms. They are not armed.
Guards study for tw0 years to qualify for their jobs.
The interior spaces looked bright and clean.
Inmates can use a communal kitchen.
They can watch whatever TV shows they like.
There’s a farm they can learn to work.
Because the prison personnel believe drugs will get in to the jail one way or another, there’s a box for used needles and a way to get clean ones. (That was too progressive for me.)
Recidivism is much lower than in the US.
When first sent to jail, inmates are examined and assessed to determine how they may be affected by mental illness. If they have psychological problems they’re sent to another facility.
As for women’s prisons, offenders with small children can keep them with them until the child reaches age 3.
Even in solitary confinement, you have a window to look out and see trees, the sky, nature.
It was a fascinating talk, and some of these practices can be tested in our prisons. If these changes could impart dignity and reduce recidivism, they’re worth a try.
The Which Way Challenge, that Cee began, has been picked up by the Sonofthebeach69 and picked up again by the Alive and Trekking blogger. The beauty of it is that it’s free form. You can include images of doors, gates, roads, streets, exits, signs, paths, waterways, you name it.