Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday's Film Adaptation: Sharpe's Rifles by Bernard Cornwell

It's 1809, and Napoleon's army is sweeping across Spain. Lieutenant Richard Sharpe is newly in command of the demoralized, distrustful men of the 95th Rifles. He must lead them to safety--and the only way of escape is a treacherous trek through the enemy-infested mountains of Spain.

Lieutenant Richard Sharpe and a detachment of Riflemen are cut off from the rest of the army and surrounded. Their only hope of escape is to accept the help of the Spanish, but this assistance comes at a price: to join the assault on the holy city of Santiago de Compostela, held by a strong French force. There is little Sharpe would enjoy more.

Soldier, hero, rogue Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

In the Peninsular War, a British sergeant is field promoted to a lieutenant in charge of a disrespectful rifle company.

Release Date: May 5, 1993 on ITV(UK Television)
Release Time: 100 minutes

Sean Bean as Sergeant/Lieutenant Richard Sharpe
Daragh O'Malley as Rifleman/Sergeant Patrick Harper
Assumpta Serna as Comandante Teresa Moreno
Brian Cox as Major Michael Hogan
David Troughton as Sir Arthur Wellesley
Simón Andreu as Major Blas Vivar
Anthony Hyde as Count of Matamoros
Malcolm Jamieson as Colonel de L'Eclin
Michael Mears as Rifleman Francis Cooper
John Tams as Rifleman Daniel Hagman
Jason Salkey as Rifleman Harris
Lyndon Davies as Rifleman Ben Perkins
Paul Trussell as Rifleman Isaiah Tongue
Julian Fellowes as Major Dunnett
Richard Ireson as Sgt. Williams
Jack McKenzie as Mr. Parker
Tim Bentinck as Captain Murray
Kerry Shale as James Rothschild

Cornwell's series charts Richard Sharpe's progress in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He begins in Sharpe's Tiger as a Private in the 33rd Regiment of foot, who becomes a Sergeant by the end of the book, and an Ensign in the 74th Regiment who is transferred to the newly formed 95th Rifles as a Second-Lieutenant during Sharpe's Trafalgar. He is gradually promoted through the ranks, finally becoming a Lieutenant Colonel in Sharpe's Waterloo.

Author Bio:
Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.


Sharpe's Rifles


🎥📀Amazon US & B&N are Volume 1 containing Rifles, Eagles & Company📀🎥
🎥📀Amazon UK is a set containing Rifles & Eagles📀🎥

Blogger Review: An Actor's Guide to Romance by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

When long-time theatrical enemies are cast as lovers, their late-night rehearsal brings a whole new meaning to method acting.

For twenty years, Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been the best of enemies. From their first meeting at drama school to shared stages, shared bills and a competition to amass the most illustrious awards, they have been the names on every theatregoers’ lips. Separately they can sell out an entire run in an hour, so when they’re cast as lovers in London’s hottest new play, the tickets are gone in minutes.

But for rakish Adam and gentlemanly Thomas, the small matter of their first on-stage kiss is causing a headache for everyone. Over a bottle of wine on one rainy night in the city, these two acting legends will do whatever it takes to banish their first-night nerves. After all, as everyone knows, the show must go on!

For twenty years, actors Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been enemies when it comes to their art, competing for parts, upstaging the other for awards and recoginition.  Now, not only have they been cast in the same play but they have now been cast as lovers.  When their first kiss doesn't meet the directors idea of love they spend the night over a few drinks making their passion believable.

An Actor's Guide to Romance is a lovely short story that is fun, lustful, humorous, and just plain entertaining.  Both Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead are new authors to me and Actor's Guide makes for a wonderful introduction.  Could this story have been better if we got to know more about Adam and Thomas?  Perhaps, but sometimes as in life a simple night of reflection and exploration can reveal more than an in depth look at their journeys.

Its been my reading experience that although it may not be unusual to explore such sexual tension or humor in the pages of a short story, it is not easy to make both this believable at the same time.  The authors blend the two tropes beautifully and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future efforts from these two ladies.  Who knows maybe if we ask kindly enough we'll get to see more of Adam and Thomas down the road.


Every hero needs his villain. The thorn in his side, the shadow on his sun, the fly on his teacake. Holmes had his Moriarty, Superman had Lex Luther, ET had the lack of intergalactic telephone lines and Thomas Fox had Adam Fisher. From that long-ago audition at drama school when each had chosen a monologue that had stopped the panel in its tracks to the first of innumerable shared curtain calls when a new Jeeves met his Wooster, he was always there, always up for the same roles, his name on the same lists that were proposed for your consideration, matching every single achievement until, still chasing one another’s shadow more than two decades after that very first meeting at RADA, together they had waited for Godot. They were like a mirror image, two careers on parallel lines, from youthful love interest to middle-aged gravitas, each as decorated, as popular, as perfect as the other.

Maybe they always would be until one died or they killed each other.

Who knows?

In any titanic struggle, the parties must know their places and right now, theirs was a dingy basement off Covent Garden, where Thomas and Adam were embracing.

“Thank god we found each other. What would I do without you, darling?”

Adam rolled his eyes. Not enough for it to be noticeable from the front row, but Thomas noticed, because he intended Thomas to notice. Because that was the sort of thing that Adam did, the sort of thing he had always done. He rolled his eyes, gave a little sigh and finally whispered, “Did you have onions at lunch?”

Then he raised his voice to an audible volume and replied, “I feel as though I’ve been searching all my life for something, and I didn’t realize until we found each other.”

Thomas gazed down at Adam’s full lips and, despite sudden stiffness in his neck, began to lower his face to kiss him. Adam blinked, his blue eyes shining when they met Thomas’ gaze, his embrace around Thomas’ waist tightening. He pursed his lips, blinked again and declared, “God, that is oniony!”

Thomas flung up his hands and backed out of their embrace. “I can’t bloody do this, Adam, if you keep titting about!”

From the side of the room there came a flurry of movement as their solo audience threw up her hands, dashing script pages across the floor. Gill Henley rose from her seat in a whirlwind of scarves and floral print and exclaimed, “For Christ’s sake, gents, this scene again! Can you not just plough through and pretend you might actually be in love? You’re supposed to be actors, so act!”

“It was a joke, darling!” Adam was all innocence now, of course, because he would be, wouldn’t he? He put his hands on his hips and addressed Thomas. “You dragged me out of character, Tom Fox. It’s a cheap way to steal a scene.”

“I dragged you out of character?” Thomas felt his face flush as he tried to rein in his frustration. “You keep breaking out of character to comment on my breath! Which, I might add, does not smell of onions. And don’t bloody call me Tom Fox. I’m not a character in Wind in the bloody Willows.”

“Look,” Gill addressed them as though they were naughty schoolboys. “This isn’t a play about being gay. Stop making it the fulcrum of the drama. Your characters being gay is just part of the fabric of their lives, just like your lives. It’s not as though your whole lives are spent camping about and being as gay as gay can be, are they?”

She looked at Adam and narrowed her eyes.

“Yours is, I know that, but as a whole, gay is part of life, not life itself.” Gill held up her hand before Adam could protest. “You have one kiss in the text. It’s not the end of the world. Let’s call it a day and come back tomorrow, lips puckered, ready to kiss and move bloody on, yes?”

“Tell him.” Adam shrugged, already turning to retrieve his coat. “I’m a professional, he’s an onion-eater.”

Thomas clenched his fists. “It was a shallot, Fisher! It was not an onion!”

“Well, enjoy your evening of onions, Tom Fox.” Adam kissed Gill’s cheek and raised his hand to Thomas. “Because I am off home to study my lines. Bonsoir, my fine supporting player!”

He spun on his heel to give a deep bow then, with another wave, opened the door and disappeared into the hallway.

Even though Thomas knew that Adam could no longer hear him, he raised his chin imperiously and declared, “Equal billing, darling! I am no one’s support.”

“You both want bloody shooting.” Gill knelt to retrieve her abandoned pages. “I’ll see you in the morning, Tom—Thomas. We’ll crack it, I’m sure, and your adoring fans will never know how much you bloody hate each other.”

Thomas dragged his fingers through his hair and sighed.

“Look—why don’t I just do the honorable thing and back out? I should never have agreed to this. I thought—challenging play by an emerging writer, and if I have to put up with Fisher to do it, then fine.” He shook his head—he suddenly felt very tired. “We can’t even be in the same room as each other without warring—how can we ever kiss, for heaven’s sake? I’ll stand down from the cast, Gill.”

“Are you trying to wreck my career? It’s Fisher and Fox playing lovers. Have you seen the advance box office on this? You stand down, the press’ll think you’ve gone nuts, the producers will sue and when, not if, Adam gets nommed for this play, you’ll be chewing your own hand off. Better to be there on the list next to him, don’t you think?” She rose to her feet and patted Thomas’ arm. “You’re the best there are—it’s one kiss out of two hours of bloody good drama, we can get past it.”

“I bloody hope so.” He leafed through his script and found the stage direction that was causing so much trouble. Just two words—They kiss. It wasn’t difficult.

But it was.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Gill. And don’t worry, I’ll bring breath mints.”

“Just bring your best game, love. That’s what’ll really piss Adam off.”

Won’t it just.

Catherine Curzon
Catherine Curzon  is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

Eleanor Harkstead
Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper's.

Originally from the south-east, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

Catherine Curzon

Eleanor Harkstead