Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Five movies with eclipses

So have you heard about this big-deal solar eclipse that's supposed to happen this month? Bibi first told me about it; she and Eric wanna travel to the west coast to see it because the view is better there, or so she says. I don't recall the last time I actually witnessed one - and yes, I know you're not supposed to look at it directly; you know what I mean - but I figure this is noteworthy enough to pay tribute to it here with a list of movie eclipses. There are more of them than you'd think.

- King Solomon's Mines. H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain novel about the search for the legendary African treasure has been brought to the big (and small) screen five times. The first, with Cedric Hardwicke and Paul Robeson, was in 1937. The eclipse happens during the outbreak of a rebellion led by Robeson, the rightful chieftain of his tribe, against the usurper who killed his dad. I'm sure it's a great scene if he's in it.

- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Mark Twain's sci-fi classic has seen numerous interpretations across multiple media. In 1949, Bing Crosby starred in a musical film version (also with Cedric Hardwicke). Here, the eclipse helps der Bingle get out of being burned at the stake. He knows it's going to happen, you see. He tells everyone he caused it, because they missed the Cosmos episode on how eclipses really happen, and he'll stop it if they let him go. Clever, huh? (Thanks to Paddy for assistance on this one.)

Little Shop of Horrors. Who'da thunk this list would have two musicals? Audrey II, the carnivorous, murderous sentient plant of this bizarre but highly entertaining adaptation of the stage musical (itself an adaptation of the Roger Corman flick), is born of an eclipse. How? Eh, that's not really important. It's an eclipse. They're funny like that.

- Dolores Claiborne. One of the best films based on the work of Stephen King is this Kathy Bates/Jennifer Jason Leigh thriller about a bitter New England woman accused of murder. Why does everyone think she did it? Because she killed her husband years ago during, you guessed it, an eclipse - or did she? You thought Kathy was great in Misery? Her performance here blows that one out of the water. How she wasn't Oscar nominated is a total mystery.

- Pitch Black. You ever have one of those days where you're stuck on a planet with three suns and the darkness from an eclipse releases deadly underground creatures ready to tear you limb from limb? I hate it when that happens... Anyway, this is the scenario of the Vin Diesel action flick, the first in the Riddick series, which also spawned an animated film and some video games.

The real eclipse happens this Monday. If you see it live, let me know how it went.

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