Saturday, October 24, 2015

Women Who Lived

Maureen O'Hara, who has died to-day at the age of 95, could've been a great action star. Watching her trading blows with John Wayne in The Quiet Man you kind of get the feeling a serious fight between the two wouldn't be one sided. She certainly had the tenacity. I wrote about two of her movies this year, both pirate movies, one, The Spanish Main, in which she was somewhat awkwardly put in the damsel in distress role, and another, Against All Flags (pictured above) in which we got a glimpse of O'Hara's rightful place on a pirate ship, on deck in command rather than tied up below. She seemed to maintain a lot of that trademark fire into her old age and if you come across one of the old DVD releases of The Quiet Man it's well worth buying for her wonderfully relaxed, conversational audio commentary.

It's Saturday, Doctor Who Day, and I will write about the new episode. Ironically, to-day's episode is called "The Woman Who Lived" and we catch up with Ashildr, the Viking girl played by Maisie Williams the Doctor turned immortal in the previous episode. Now she's a robber in 1651 England. I was overjoyed to see the seventeenth century--it's rare enough for the Doctor to go into the past nowadays, it's great seeing him visit what's become my favourite period lately. He references one of his previous visits, too, the Fifth Doctor story The Visitation and reminds us the Great Fire of London was caused by an alien menace.

But where did Ashildr get a tricorn hat? No-one wore a tricorn hat in The Visitation, set in 1666, which makes sense because it would still be at least a decade before England had tricorn hats. It's particularly a shame because Englishmen generally wore much better hats than tricorns in 1651.

The plot of "The Woman Who Lived" is the usual pain of eternal life story but the burglary stuff is fun. Clara is absent for most of the episode and it's interesting how much more grave Capaldi's Doctor seems without her. He very much gives the impression of being thousands of years old which really helps the episode's concept of immortals struggling to engage with the lives of mortals.

Twitter Sonnet #803

Redressed the cardboard tube became a hole.
A hand beside the eye revealed a route.
The ground unsown has yet produced a mole.
The graceful heart burrower's sure and stout.
Red questions dot the blue warm pullover.
A trav'ler marks Bohemia across the bay.
A storm of black silk sheets relieves Grover.
Restrained a monster now recalls the day.
Pin striped inhalers crowd the steamer trunk.
Without formaldehyde the sample shrank.
A duckling ghost invites the infant funk.
Whoever calls the coin is not a tank.
While mad the red has never lied to us.
A pirate queen in green has earned our trust.

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