Sunday, 21 May 2017


TRIVIA: While John Glenn did specifically request that Katherine Johnson review all of the numbers for the Friendship 7 mission before he would agree to go through with it, he did so weeks before the mission actually took place, not when the countdown to launch was nearing at Cape Canaveral.

When Taraji P. Henson signed on for the lead role, she met with the real-life Katherine Johnson, who was 98 years old, to discuss the character she was about to portray. Henson learned that Johnson had graduated from high school at age 14 and from college at age 18, and was still as lucid as anyone years younger. After the film was screened for Johnson, she expressed her genuine approval of Henson's portrayal, but wondered why anybody would want to make a film about her life.

The issue with the bathrooms was not something Katherine Johnson personally experienced. It was actually encountered by Mary Jackson instead. In fact, it was this incident, as a result of Jackson ranting to a colleague, which got her moved to the wind tunnel team. Johnson was initially unaware that the East Side bathrooms were even segregated, and used the unlabeled "whites-only" bathrooms for years before anyone complained. When she simply ignored the complaint, the issue was dropped completely.

One of the ways that Katherine experiences workplace discrimination is when her coworkers require her to use a separate coffee pot. Whenever the office's coffee area is shown, the brand of coffee that they use, Chock Full o'Nuts, is also visible. The use of this brand in the context of segregation is historically relevant. In 1957, Chock Full o'Nuts was one of the first major New York corporations to hire a black executive as a corporate vice-president. The man they hired, retired baseball legend Jackie Robinson, had made history by being the first person to break the color barrier in professional baseball.

On the day that the scene was filmed in which Paul Stafford is speaking to the NASA engineers in the Space Task Group office about needing to develop the math for re-entry, there was an extra face in the crowd. Mark Armstrong, son of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, had been invited by actor Ken Strunk to make a cameo appearance in the scene, and joined the other actors who were playing the NASA engineers.

Several of the control console props in the Mercury Mission Control set were originally built for the Mission Control Room set for Apollo 13 (1995). They were modified for use in the later films, including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015).

This marks the second time Taraji P. Henson and Mahershala Ali have played love interests. The first was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

Producer Pharrell Williams also oversaw all musical elements, and the soundtrack.


TRIVIA: The original McDonalds, as depicted in the film, is actually located at 1398 North E St., San Bernardino, CA 92405. The owner of Juan Pollo Chicken purchased the site and has restored it to a McDonalds museum. The oldest remaining Golden Arches-styled McDonalds (1953) is still in operation at 10207 Lakewood Blvd., Downey, California 90241.

The company Kroc worked for prior to founding McDonalds, Prince Castle, still exists and supplies McDonalds with much of its equipment

While most productions shoot a minimum of 12+ hours per day, The Founder frequently shot for between 8-10 hours. This was due to the fact that John Lee Hancock came very well prepared and didn't overshoot anything he liked from the first take. Adding to the fact that the whole film was shot in only 22 days, this makes for an incredibly rare shoot.

Tom Hanks turned down the role of Ray Kroc and Michael Keaton took the part. The opposite happened in Philadelphia (1993) when Keaton turned down the role of Andrew Beckett and Hanks took the part, eventually winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

The McDonald's back office set was built on the same stage as Ray Kroc's office. in order to create genuine reactions to the phone conversations, the props and sound departments rigged the phones with speakers so that both sets of phone conversations could be filmed simultaneously.

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen liked the script very much and wanted to direct the film, but they had to turn it down because of schedule conflicts with Hail, Caesar! (2016).

The on-screen flies that were attracted to the smell at McDonald's were actually Cocoa Krispies. They were poured in front of a powerful fan in order to make it look like swarms of flies.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2014 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.

Ray Kroc's "discovery" of McDonalds in 1952 was not his first attempt at franchising (taking over) a Southern California restaurant. According to the book, In N Out Burger, by Stacy Perman, Kroc approach L.A.'s Apple Pan restaurant in 1949, and Carl Karcher of Carl's Jr., prior to convincing the McDonald brothers.

The film's release date was intentionally pushed back to December so it would have a better chance with the Academy Awards. Ironically, it was not nominated for a single Academy Award.

When Keaton's character follows Route 66 across the map to San Bernadino, it's obviously not a map that is historically accurate for the 1950's as it shows Irvine, CA which did not yet exist as a city back then.

Friday, 19 May 2017


This is the debut novel of French writer Gustave Flaubert, published in 1856. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

When the novel was first serialized in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, public prosecutors attacked the novel for obscenity. The resulting trial in January 1857 made the story notorious. After Flaubert's acquittal on 7 February 1857, Madame Bovary became a bestseller in April 1857 when it was published as a single volume. A seminal work of literary realism, the novel is now considered Flaubert's masterpiece, and one of the most influential literary works in history.

SETTING: The setting of the novel is important, first as it applies to Flaubert's realist style and social commentary, and, second, as it relates to the protagonist, Emma.
Francis Steegmuller estimated that the novel begins in October 1827 and ends in August 1846. This corresponds with the July Monarchy — the reign of Louis Philippe I, who strolled Paris carrying his own umbrella as if to honor an ascendant bourgeois middle class. Much of the time and effort that Flaubert spends detailing the customs of the rural French people shows them aping an urban, emergent middle class.
Flaubert strove for an accurate depiction of common life. The account of a county fair in Yonville displays this and dramatizes it by showing the fair in real time counterpoised with a simultaneous intimate interaction behind a window overlooking the fair. Flaubert knew the regional setting, the place of his birth and youth, in and around the city of Rouen in Normandy. His faithfulness to the mundane elements of country life has garnered the book its reputation as the beginning of the movement known as literary realism.
Flaubert's capture of the commonplace in his setting contrasts with the yearnings of his protagonist. The practicalities of common life foil Emma's romantic fantasies. Flaubert uses this juxtaposition to reflect both setting and character. Emma becomes more capricious and ludicrous in the light of everyday reality. Yet her yearnings magnify the self-important banality of the local people. Emma, though impractical, and with her provincial education lacking and unformed, still reflects a hopefulness regarding beauty and greatness that seems absent in the bourgeois class.

STYLE: The book was in some ways inspired by the life of a schoolfriend of the author who became a doctor. Flaubert's friend and mentor, Louis Bouilhet, had suggested to him that this might be a suitably "down-to earth" subject for a novel and that Flaubert should attempt to write in a "natural way," without digressions. Indeed, the writing style was of supreme importance to Flaubert. While writing the novel, he wrote that it would be "a book about nothing, a book dependent on nothing external, which would be held together by the internal strength of its style," an aim which, for the critic Jean Rousset, made Flaubert "the first in date of the non-figurative novelists," such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Though Flaubert avowed no liking for the style of Balzac, the novel he produced became arguably a prime example and an enhancement of literary realism in the vein of Balzac. The "realism" in the novel was to prove an important element in the trial for obscenity: the lead prosecutor argued that not only was the novel immoral, but that realism in literature was also an offence against art and decency.
The realist movement was, in part, a reaction against romanticism. Emma may be said to be the embodiment of a romantic: in her mental and emotional process, she has no relation to the realities of her world. Although in some ways he may seem to identify with Emma, Flaubert frequently mocks her romantic daydreaming and taste in literature. The accuracy of Flaubert's supposed assertion that "Madame Bovary, c'est moi" ("Madame Bovary is me") has been questioned. In his letters, he distanced himself from the sentiments in the novel. To Edma Roger des Genettes, he wrote, "Tout ce que j'aime n'y est pas" ("all that I love is not there") and to Marie-Sophie Leroyer de Chantepie, "je n'y ai rien mis ni de mes sentiments ni de mon existence" ("I have used nothing of my feelings or of my life").For Mario Vargas Llosa, "If Emma Bovary had not read all those novels, it is possible that her fate might have been different."
Madame Bovary has been seen as a commentary on bourgeois, the folly of aspirations that can never be realized or a belief in the validity of a self-satisfied, deluded personal culture, associated with Flaubert's period. For Vargas Llosa, "Emma's drama is the gap between illusion and reality, the distance between desire and its fulfillment" and shows "the first signs of alienation that a century later will take hold of men and women in industrial societies."
However, the novel is not simply about a woman's dreamy romanticism. Charles is also unable to grasp reality or understand Emma's needs and desires.

LITERARY SIGNIFICANCE AND RECEPTION: Henry James wrote: "Madame Bovary has a perfection that not only stamps it, but that makes it stand almost alone: it holds itself with such a supreme unapproachable assurance as both excites and defies judgment." Marcel Proust praised the "grammatical purity" of Flaubert's style, while Vladimir Nabokov said that "stylistically it is prose doing what poetry is supposed to do". Similarly, in his preface to his novel The Joke, Milan Kundera wrote, "[N]ot until the work of Flaubert did prose lose the stigma of aesthetic inferiority. Ever since Madame Bovary, the art of the novel has been considered equal to the art of poetry." Giorgio de Chirico said that in his opinion "from the narrative point of view, the most perfect book is Madame Bovary by Flaubert".

An opera Madame Bovary was produced in 1951.
Madame Bovary has been made into several films, beginning with Albert Ray's 1932 version. The most notable of these adaptations was the 1949 film produced by MGM. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, it starred Jennifer Jones in the title role, co-starring James Mason, Van Heflin, Louis Jourdan, and Gene Lockhart.
It has also been the subject of multiple television miniseries and made-for-TV movies. It was adapted by Giles Cooper for the BBC in 1964, with the same script being used for a new production in 1975. A 2000 miniseries adaptation by Heidi Thomas was made for the BBC, starring Frances O'Connor, Hugh Bonneville and Hugh Dancy.
Edwige Fenech starred in a version in 1969, directed by Hans Schott-Schobinger.
David Lean's film Ryan's Daughter (1970) was a loose adaptation of the story, relocating it to Ireland during the time of the Easter Rebellion. The script had begun life as a straight adaptation of Madame Bovary, but Lean convinced writer Robert Bolt to re-work it into another setting.
Claude Chabrol made his version starring Isabelle Huppert in 1991. Jon Fortgang, writing for Film4, praised the film as "sumptuous period piece and pertinent tragic drama".
Indian director Ketan Mehta adapted the novel into a 1992 Hindi film Maya Memsaab, in which Deepa Sahi played the lead role of disillusioned wife.
Posy Simmonds' graphic novel Gemma Bovery (and Anne Fontaine's film adaptation) reworked the story into a satirical tale of English expatriates in France.
Vale AbraĆ£o (1993) (Abraham's Vale) by Manoel de Oliveira is a close interpretation set in Portugal, even referencing and discussing Flaubert's novel several times.
Madame Bovary has been an inspiration for various other projects, such as which is a Greek website dedicated to women, their well-being and beauty.
The novel was loosely adapted in the Christian video series VeggieTales under the name "Madame Blueberry".

Sorry about the long post but I found this all fascinating…