June 10 on UK TV: ‘Soldier Soldier’

Soldier_Soldier-19911991: Soldier Soldier is a British television drama series. The title comes from a traditional song of the same name – “Soldier, soldier will you marry me, with your musket, fife and drum?” – an instrumental version of which was used as its theme music.

Created by Lucy Gannon, produced by Central Television and broadcast on the ITV network, it ran for a total of seven series and 82 episodes from 10 June 1991 to 9 December 1997. It featured the daily lives of a group of soldiers in ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion The King’s Fusiliers, a fictional British Army infantry regiment loosely based on the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Set in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, it is a dramatisation of army life in the early to mid-1990s, when the British Army was undergoing significant change. This is perhaps best demonstrated during the third series, around 1994, when a significant number of real regiments were forced into amalgamations with one another due to downsizing of the army. Within the world of Soldier Soldier, the King’s Fusiliers are forced to amalgamate with the Cumbrian Regiment, another fictional regiment, becoming the King’s Own Fusiliers. At the time Soldier Soldier was broadcast, the fatality rate was low, with most casualties due to training accidents and suicides. The military as a whole was assigned to performing more peacekeeping missions than actually doing any fighting. As a consequence, the show served well to portray the army, despite the domestic problems that could occur, in a fairly good light.

Although many well known and not so well known actors appeared in Soldier Soldier TV-UK-06-10-1991over the period it was broadcast, perhaps the best known are Robson Green and Jerome Flynn, who portrayed Fusilier Dave Tucker and Sergeant Paddy Garvey respectively. It was their performance of “Unchained Melody” in an episode of the 4th series that propelled them to stardom, giving them several number one songs and a best selling album. At the end of the fifth series in 1995, both actors left the show. After a decline in viewing figures (following their departure) 1997 saw the decision to end the drama after seven series.

TV presenter Chris Kelly wrote and produced some episodes of the series. [Wikipedia]

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June 10 in literature: ‘Gone With The Wind’

06-10-1936-Gone_With_The_Wind-1st_ed1936: Gone with the Wind is a novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell. The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea”. This historical novel features a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.

Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the outset and was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published and in 1937. Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. It was adapted into a 1939 American film. Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.

Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction. Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period. However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white. Scholars at American universities refer to it in their writings, interpret and study it. The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.

Mitchell used colour symbolism, especially the colours red and green, which frequently are associated with Scarlett O’Hara. Mitchell identified the primary theme as survival. She left the ending speculative for the reader, however. She was often asked what became of her lovers, Rhett and Scarlett. She replied, “For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult.” Two sequels authorized by Mitchell’s estate were published more than a half century later. [Wikipedia]

June 10 in US cinemas: ‘The Believers’

“They exist.  Fear them.”

The-Believers-19871987: The Believers is an American neo-noir thriller film directed by John Schlesinger, and starring Martin Sheen, Robert Loggia and Helen Shaver, with an early appearance from Jimmy Smits. It is based on the 1982 novel The Religion by Nicholas Conde.

The film opens to the death scene of Lisa Jamison. She is electrocuted when she touches a malfunctioning coffeemaker while standing barefoot in a pool of spilled milk. Following the accidental death of his wife by electrocution in Minneapolis, psychologist Cal Jamison (Sheen) moves to New York City with his son Chris. He finds employment as a police psychologist for the New York City Police Department. One of his patients is officer Tom Lopez, who worked undercover in infiltrating a cult and now lives in fear of the cultists.

The City soon experiences a series of brutal, ritualistic child murders, supposedly Cinema-US-06-10-1987committed by members of a Hispanic cult practicing a malevolent version of brujería. The paranoid ramblings of Lopez start seeming relevant to the case. The film soon starts hinting at a conspiracy involving affluent New Yorkers, such as businessman Robert Calder. Things take a turn for the worse when the cult targets Chris Jamison. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.