Dunkirk Done Right

Today, 79 years ago, the siege at Dunkirk was at its savage height

The small screen managed to do a better job of it than the big screen

I wanted to recommend a VERY good dramatization about Dunkirk that I saw recently – and I do not mean the cinematic Twilight Zone episode that got all the hype two years ago.
It is a three-part mini-series (three hours in total) from 2004, which is currently on Britbox. But it may be findable elsewhere.
Part docudrama narrated by Timothy Dalton, part scripted drama, it gives a much better idea of what a shitstorm it really was, compared to the artistic license version we saw in the cinemas.
And Benedict Cumberbatch is featured in the last part, when he was just starting to be recognized as someone special. “Bennie” loses his celebrity status quickly and is truly terrific as one of the real-life lions in those dark hours.
Not that the 2017 film wasn’t a good movie. But as my review puts it back in the day, it was a creative way to try to tell the re-examined metaphysical tale, rather than spend the zillions required to tell the actual one.
And in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, my review doesn’t spoil very much at all.

TCM October Horror Fest – Free on TV

Tuner Classic Movies’ Line Up of Classic and Not So Classic Horror Films

All through October TCM has commercial-free horror films

Below are what is coming up (sorry I missed the first week!)

Sunday 10/8

2:00 AM Night Of The Strangler (1975)
2:15: PM My Blood Runs Cold (1965)
8:00 PM The Return Of Dracula (1958)
9:30 PM House Of Dracula (1945)
10:45 PM Billy The Kid vs. Dracula (1966)

Monday 10/9

12:15 Am The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)
2:00 AM Jigoku (Hell) (1960)
4:00 AM Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (1959)

Tuesday 10/10

8:00 PM Cat People (1942)
9:30 PM The Body Snatcher (1945)
11:00 The Man In The Shadows (2007) (Martin Scorsese presents: Val Lewton)

Wednesday 10/11

12:30 AM I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
2:00 AM The Seventh Victim (1943)
3:30 AM Bedlam (1946)
5:00 AM The Leopard Man (1943)
6:15 AM The Ghost Ship (1943)
7:30 AM Isle Of The Dead (1945)

Thursday 10/12

5:00 AM The Power (1968)

Friday 10/13

6:30 AM Kiss Of The Tarantula (1976)
8:00 AM Snake Woman (1961)
9:30 AM Village Of The Damned (1961)
11:00 AM The Nanny (1965)
1:00 PM The Innocents (1961)
2:45 PM A Place Of One’s Own (1945)
4:30 PM The Bad Seed (1956)
6:45 PM The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)

Sunday 10/15

2:15 AM Blacula (1972)
4:00 AM Scream Blacula Scream (1973)
8:00 PM Horror Of Dracula (1958)
9:45 PM The Brides Of Dracula (1960)
11:30 PM Black Cats And Broomsticks (1955)

Monday 10/16

12:00 AM The Phantom Carriage (1922)
2:00 AM Diabolique (1955)
4:15 AM Gaslight (1944)

Tuesday 10/17

8:00 PM The Devil’s Bride (1968)
9:45 PM The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957)
11:15 PM The Mummy (1959)

Wednesday 10/18

1:00 AM The Curse Of The Werewolf (1961)
2:45 AM The Plague Of The Zombies (1966)
4:30 AM The Reptile (1966)

Sunday 10/22

2:00 AM Willard (1971)
3:45 AM Ben (1972)
8:00 PM Dracula, Prince Of Darkness (1965)
10:00 PM Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1969)
Monday 10/23

Eyes Without A Face

12:00 AM The Monster (1925)
2:00 AM Eyes Without A Face (1960)
3:45 AM Kwaidan (1965)

Tuesday 10/24

8:00 PM The Innocents (1961)
10:00 PM Diary Of A Madman (1963)

Wednesday 10/25

12:00 Curse Of The Demon (1958)
2:00 AM Carnival Of Souls (1962)
3:30 AM From Beyond The Grave (1973)
10:00 AM The Devil’s Own (1966)

Thursday 10/26

5:30 AM Rasputin, The Mad Monk (1966)

Friday 10/27

8:00 PM Psycho (1960)
10:15 Pretty Poison (1968)

Saturday 10/28

6:15 AM Mark Of The Vampire (1935)
7:30 AM The Devil-Doll (1936)
9:00 AM What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
11:30 AM Little Shop Of Horrors (1960)
1:00 PM Village Of The Damned (1961)
2:30 PM Children Of The Damned (1964)
4:15 PM House Of Dark Shadows (1970)
6:00 PM Night Of Dark Shadows (1971)

Sunday 10/29

12:00 AM “M” (1951)
2:00 AM The Brood (1979)
3:45 AM Repulsion (1965)
8:00 PM Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970)
10:00 PM Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Monday 10/30

12:00 AM Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)
2:15 AM Onibaba (1964)
4:15 AM Ugetsu (1953)

Tuesday 10/31

8:30 AM White Zombie (1932)
10:00 AM Mad Love (1935)
11:30 AM Dementia 13 (1963)
1:00 PM 13 Ghosts (1960)
2:30 PM The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966)
4:30 PM House Of Wax (1953)
6:00 PM Poltergeist (1982)
8:00 PM The Old Dark House (1932)
9:30 PM The Haunting (1963)
11:30 PM House On Haunted Hill (1958)

Wednesday 11/1

1:15 AM The Cat And The Canary (1939)
2:45 AM The Old Dark House (1963)
4:30 AM The Bat (1959) TC mark

How Sherlock Changed the World – real CSI influenced by fiction

The PBS British import How Sherlock Changed the World proved to be as fascinating as it was entertaining.

I thought it would be a rather thin tie-in for the modern Sherlock Holmes series. But that is only mentioned here and there.

Instead, it featured real life forensic scientists, from the modern day all the way back to the Holmes era, whose work was directly inspired and at times specifically influenced by Conan Doyle’s fiction and Holmes’ methods of detection. And it includes many specific and sometimes infamous crime investigations, some quite recent. How Sherlock Changed the World, turned out to have much more substance than the first ten minutes suggests.

As much as I love the stories and novellas, I had no idea that Doyle’s Holmes stories were so influential on real life criminal investigation. I never took into account how much the content of the stories was really science fiction, predicting real world realities and at times directly influencing it. For example, the first Holmes story begins as he discovers a test to identify hemoglobin even when the blood stains are very old. That did not occur in real life for another six years, and it was reputedly directly inspired by Doyle’s story.

More than that, the men considered the founders of forensics and criminalistics (criminology) where both inspired to begin their work after reading the exploits of Sherlock Holmes. Even the systematic investigation of human gate and locomotion championed by Holmes wasn’t brought to bare on a real criminal case until 2001(!)

While I had heard something like that before, I had no idea that the first manual on modern criminal investigation, written by jurist Hans Gross in Austria sometime after 1906, used Holmes as a role model. The first forensic lab was established in France around the same time, by Dr Edmund Locard, another Holmes fan, although Holmes’ England didn’t actually get a forensic lab until 1935. Locard is considered the father of modern forensics and the patriarch of all CSI practitioners today, who still adhere to his founding principals.

The coolest stuff in How Sherlock Changed the World is seeing the real life scientists today, among the most celebrated in their fields, from blood spatter specialists and shoe specialists, to those running investigations, like Connecticut’s Henry Lee, who started on the force when they were still beating confessions out of people as the first method of closing cases, but who is now using Holmes’ methods to win convictions, or in some cases exonerate wrongly convicted people.

When it comes to production value, the usual reenactment of Holmes, Watson, and LaStrade is at times a bit too presentational, but the young actor portraying the sleuth was more than sufficient, and the occasional reflection by modern CSI practitioners on the the BBC’s contemporary series should increase the downloads on Netflix and Hulu – and you will not be disappointed if yours is among them.

But even during the years when Holmes stories were being written, they were leading directly to real life investigators changing their methods, and they give a couple of examples, including the experiment inspired by a particular story that led directly to the science of studying human pores inside fingerprints to more securely make IDs and discount possible fake prints.

It makes me want to read the stories again.

It will likely be replayed soon, so check your local listings if you are interested in seeing it. Or find it on line.

Running time: 2 hours

And for those of you interested in the Great Detective himself, I cannot recommend highly enough the unabridged audiobook versions, expertly read by a terrific actor, which are available for download at no charge through Project Gutenberg.

And that is one man’s word on….

How Sherlock Changed the World

And tsk tsk Channel 13 and PBS. The end of the program says I can learn more on line about How Sherlock Changed the World, but I just spent 30 minutes on the national and local site and have learned nothing, as I could find nothing, other than what can be gleaned from your press release from January.