• MT VOID, 05/06/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 45, Whole Number 2222

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Sun May 8 05:56:36 2022
    Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
    05/06/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 45, Whole Number 2222

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    Mini Reviews, Part 16 (CRUELLA, JUNGLE CRUISE)
    (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper
    and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    ROME and Historical Figures (letter of comment
    by Joseph T. Major)
    This Week's Reading (A STUDY IN SCARLET) (book comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)


    TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 16 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper and
    Evelyn C. Leeper)

    Here is the sixteenth "batch" of (well, two) mini-reviews, films
    for the whole family (more or less):

    CRUELLA: CRUELLA is a prequel to 101 DALMATIANS (1996), or ONE
    HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS (1996), or both. It gives the back
    story of Cruella DeVil, but not the back story you expect. It
    seems to be following in the genre of story in which everything you
    thought you knew turns out to be wrong, and the first one of these
    I can recall is Gregory Maguire's novel WICKED. All the acting
    seems to be over the top, but it's probably amusing enough for an
    undemanding audience.

    Released theatrically 05/18/21; available on DVD and on various
    streaming services. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    JUNGLE CRUISE: JUNGLE CRUISE (the movie) was based on "Jungle
    Cruise", a Disneyland ride, so we weren't expecting much, and were
    definitely pleasantly surprised. (Then again, so was PIRATES OF
    THE CARIBBEAN, and that turned out well.) It does add to the story
    some supernatural elements apparently not found in Disneyland.

    Screenwriters Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa deliver
    a script that is actually well written and one that is more fun
    than usual. That quality of writing talent is hard to find these
    days. The script owes some of its intelligence and humor to THE
    and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. But there is nothing wrong with using
    classics as inspiration, especially when one expects many in the
    audience to get the references. Dwayne Johnson is charming as
    Frank Wollf in a Charlie Allnut sort of way; Emily Blunt is a bit
    more openly assertive as Lily Houghton than Rose Sayer was. All in
    all, this is a fun movie.

    Released theatrically 07/20/21; available on Disney+. Rating: +2
    (-4 to +4), or 7/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:



    TOPIC: ROME and Historical Figures (letter of comment by Joseph
    T. Major)

    In response to Evelyn's comments on the HBO series ROME in the
    04/29/22 issue of the MT VOID, Joseph T. Major writes:

    [Evelyn writes,] "Only HBO's ROME comes close on the historical
    figures, but the two main characters are totally fictional." [-ecl]

    Not totally.

    "In that legion there were two very brave men, centurions, who were
    now approaching the first ranks, T. Pullio, and L. Vorenus. These
    used to have continual disputes between them which of them should
    be preferred, and every year used to contend for promotion with the
    utmost animosity. When the fight was going on most vigorously
    before the fortifications, Pullio, one of them, says, "Why do you
    hesitate, Vorenus? or what [better] opportunity of signalizing your
    valor do you seek? This very day shall decide our disputes." When
    he had uttered these words, he proceeds beyond the fortifications,
    and rushes on that part of the enemy which appeared the thickest.
    Nor does Vorenus remain within the rampart, but respecting the high
    opinion of all, follows close after. Then, when an inconsiderable
    space intervened, Pullio throws his javelin at the enemy, and
    pierces one of the multitude who was running up, and while the
    latter was wounded and slain, the enemy cover him with their
    shields, and all throw their weapons at the other and afford him no
    opportunity of retreating. The shield of Pullio is pierced and a
    javelin is fastened in his belt. This circumstance turns aside his
    scabbard and obstructs his right hand when attempting to draw his
    sword: the enemy crowd around him when [thus] embarrassed. His
    rival runs up to him and succors him in this emergency.
    Immediately the whole host turn from Pullio to him, supposing the
    other to be pierced through by the javelin. Vorenus rushes on
    briskly with his sword and carries on the combat hand to hand, and
    having slain one man, for a short time drove back the rest: while
    he urges on too eagerly, slipping into a hollow, he fell. To him,
    in his turn, when surrounded, Pullio brings relief; and both having
    slain a great number, retreat into the fortifications amid the
    highest applause. Fortune so dealt with both in this rivalry and
    conflict, that the one competitor was a succor and a safeguard to
    the other, nor could it be determined which of the two appeared
    worthy of being preferred to the other." [n Bellum Gallicum,
    Liber V, XLIV]

    Not quite like the two characters, but there were people of the
    same name. [-jtm]

    Evelyn responds:

    HBO may have used two names out of history, but the characters as
    shown in the series are just two legionaries with the same names,
    but nothing else in common so far as we know. So I think of them
    as totally fictional. YMMV. [-ecl]


    TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    I've written comments on several Sherlock Holmes stories, but today
    I will tackle the first, A STUDY IN SCARLET by Arthur Conan Doyle.
    It is also one of the four novels (as opposed to being a short
    story). As I think will be clear, Doyle had not firmed up the back
    story for either of his characters. Watson's famously "wandering
    wound" doesn't wander in this story, but is not consistent across
    all the stories. I will note other changes as well.

    Watson begins by saying his health was "irretrievably ruined." He
    later adds "I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or
    excitement," and says, "My health forbade me from venturing out
    unless the weather was exceptionally genial." Doyle seems to hold
    to this in this book, but even just one book later (THE SIGN OF
    FOUR) Watson is involved in quite a bit of excitement, and in
    future stories he is climbing walls, running across moors, and
    constantly being told to bring his service revolver on trips, which
    sounds pretty exciting to me.

    Stamford says that Holmes had found some nice rooms "which were too
    much for his purse." That may have been true then, but from the
    start Holmes is spending money right and left, and not always being
    reimbursed. For example, he pays the six Baker Street Irregulars a
    shilling each the first time they show up and presumably at least
    one more each when they find the Aurora.

    Anyway, Watson's pension is eleven shillings and sixpence a day, or
    a little over four pounds a week. Stangerson and Drebber were
    paying a pound a day each for rooms at the Charpentiers', or
    fourteen pounds a week. Even if one thinks of the Charpentiers as
    running a hotel, while 221B is a long-term rental, it doesn't seem
    as if Watson could afford half the rental. (We are never told what
    the rental is, but we do know that what Holmes paid in rent would
    have paid for the building several times over.)

    Jefferson Hope sends someone to 221B Baker Street to get the
    wedding ring. Yet he is not the least bit suspicious when Wiggins
    asks him to bring his cab to that same address at the end of the

    It is beyond coincidence that just when Holmes needs to check if a
    pill contains poison, there happens to be a sick dog that needs to
    be put out of its misery. (And given the expression on
    Stangerson's face, it does not seem like this was a particularly
    painless death.) On the other hand, it may explain what happened
    to the bull pup Watson mentioned keeping; was it given away because
    it couldn't get along with the terrier? (Though how Watson managed
    to have a bull pup when he was fresh out of the Army and living in
    a hotel on limited funds is never explained either.)

    Watson writes, "I might have suspected him of being addicted to the
    use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his
    whole life forbidden such a notion." By the start of THE SIGN OF
    FOUR, Holmes is explicitly a cocaine user, but it is not clear
    whether Doyle intended this when he wrote A STUDY IN SCARLET.

    Holmes describes himself as the only consulting detective in the
    world. "Here in London we have lots of government detectives and
    lots of private ones. When these fellows are at fault, they come
    to me, and I manage to put them on the right scent." But this
    also does not last long. Although he claims the non-Scotland-Yard
    cases are "mostly sent on by private inquiry agencies," it is clear
    that he quickly developed a reputation and people would come on
    their own. This is especially true when it is not obvious at the
    start that there has been a crime. I don't feel like checking
    every story, but it appears that almost all the stories in the
    first collection, THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES--are brought to
    him by private individuals acting in their own behalf.)

    Holmes complains that Scotland Yard "will pocket all the credit,"
    but he certainly manages to become well enough known to get a lot
    of future cases on his reputation alone, and in later stories tells
    various police detectives that he does not want any credit or
    publicity (although it may not take much for him to gain a good

    Though the relationship between the Mormons and the Masons has been
    rocky at times, it is certainly possible that Stangerson would have
    a "gold ring with a Masonic device."

    The idea that you can judge a person's height by the length of
    their stride assumes that the ratio of leg length to overall height
    is a constant. It isn't. For example, at one point I wore a pants
    leg an inch longer than Mark, yet he was three inches taller than I

    Does lightness and transparency of pills really indicate solubility
    in water?

    Jefferson Hope is also suffering from ill health, yet manages to
    engage in a struggle described as a "furious resistance" with at
    least three men. His aneurism conveniently waits until he has told
    his story and then, apparently, bursts when he is sleeping

    Hope said, "I had grown my beard and there was no chance of their
    recognising me." Then he says then Enoch Drebber, even drunk, was
    able to recognize him.

    And keeping the wedding ring as a memento of Lucy seems strange,
    since it would be something she hated, not something she treasured.

    These obviously are just a few of the items worth noting in the
    book. For a more complete annotation, see either William
    Baring-Gould's or Leslie Klinger's annotated versions. (There is
    also an Oxford annotated version but it is nowhere near as complete
    as Baring-Gould or Klinger.) [-ecl]


    Mark Leeper

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction
    is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't.
    --Mark Twain

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  • From Gary McGath@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Sun May 8 11:04:37 2022
    On 5/8/22 8:56 AM, eleeper@optonline.net wrote:
    CRUELLA: CRUELLA is a prequel to 101 DALMATIANS (1996), or ONE
    HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS (1996), or both. It gives the back
    story of Cruella DeVil, but not the back story you expect. It
    seems to be following in the genre of story in which everything you
    thought you knew turns out to be wrong, and the first one of these
    I can recall is Gregory Maguire's novel WICKED. All the acting
    seems to be over the top, but it's probably amusing enough for an
    undemanding audience.

    Roger's writing and publishing a song to mock Cruella struck me as a
    nasty thing to do, especially since at the point where he writes it, she
    hadn't done much to deserve it. Maybe she deserves a little sympathy at
    that. What kind of parents stick a kid with a name like "Cruella"?

    Did you mean both dates to be 1996? The animated movie was much earlier.

    Gary McGath http://www.mcgath.com

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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