Spine & Sprocket
Episode 32: True Grit

Episode 32: True Grit

June 9, 2019

Charles Portis wrote a fascinating novel True Grit, that was subsequently made into two very good films.  We've shown our hand in this write up but know that you will still listen to get the details. The first film was a 1969 production starring John Wayne, Kim Darby, and Glenn Campbell. It was directed by Henry Hathawy is remains a classic example of the great American Western.  We think the 2010 version by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, and Matt Damon also deserves a place in that pantheon.  We are joined by our compatriot Mike Lembke, and hope that you will enjoy our spoilers and digressions. 

 

Readings by Megan Kleinschmidt

Episode 31: Soylent Green, Make Room!  Make Room!

Episode 31: Soylent Green, Make Room! Make Room!

March 1, 2019

Some science fiction books make an accurate prediction of the future, but not a whole lot of them. Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison misses the mark as far as 2019 goes. However, the predictions of climate change may make some of the food shortages depicted in the book come true.  It is a classic story of the dangers of overpopulation and the limited resources of the planet earth, you know, earth, the one we're on. The film version of the book is, of course, the classic dystopian vision of the future, with food shortages and over crowded cities, Soylent Green.  The book and the film are quite different (wait for the big reveal at the end of this show).

 

We hope you enjoy the discussion and digressions!

 

Music kindly provided by Erdenstern

Readings by Us and Aaron Kleinschmidt

Episode 30: Bridge on the River Kwai

Episode 30: Bridge on the River Kwai

January 19, 2019

We must apologize for the muffled sound quality in the first 22:00 minutes of the episode.  It does clear right up after that.  In this episode we take a look at the Pierre Boulle novel Bridge Over the River Kwai and the similarly named film Bridge On the River Kwai. Roger Ebert gave the film 4 stars and said "...Although the film's two most important characters are both mad, the hero more than the villain, we're not quite certain what is intended by that final dialogue. Part of the puzzle is caused by the film's shifting points of view."  Jeff loves that final line.

 

This is absolutely a classic WWII film that is more about personal relationships than the war.  The book is also a classic of course and is a quick read that offers a slightly different perspective on the story than the film.  Mike Lembke joins us for a review of both.  

 

Music provided by Erdenstern 

Readings by Aaron Kleinschmidt

Episode 29: The Tower of the Elephant

Episode 29: The Tower of the Elephant

August 28, 2018

Just to mix things up a bit we have decided to take a look at the original The Tower of the Elephant story by Robert E. Howard and two, count 'em two, comic adaptations of the same story.  The first Conan comic Dave ever came to love is  The Savage Sword of Conan, and it contained the beautifully illustrated Alfredo Alcala, John Buscema and Roy Thomas version that we review here.  And we compare it to the Dark Horse Comics version of said Conan story by Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord.  Now there is something a bit different for our show; a comic book and book comparison.  We hope you enjoy the discussion and digressions! 

 

Music kindly provided by Erdenstern

Readings by Rick Hollander and Daryl McDaniel.

 

 

 

 

Episode 28: Conan the Destroyer

Episode 28: Conan the Destroyer

June 1, 2018

The second Conan movie, Conan the Destroyer is our topic this evening.  We compare and contrast it to the original Robert E Howard stories, as well as the first DeLaurentiis / Schwarzenneger film.  Roger Ebert said "The first Conan movie, "Conan the Barbarian", was a dark and gloomy fantasy about the shadows of prehistory. This second film is sillier, funnier, and more entertaining. It doesn't take place before the dawn of time, but instead in that shadowy period of movie history occupied by queens and monsters, swords and castles, warriors and fools"  He shows a good understanding of the differences,  although we think he was a bit kinder to the film than we are. Join Dave, Jeff and Mike as we slice into Conan the Destroyer. Lot's of laughs and barbaric appreciation. 

Episode 27: Conan: The Scarlet Citadel and Queen of the Black Coast

Episode 27: Conan: The Scarlet Citadel and Queen of the Black Coast

May 24, 2018

As promised many shows ago we return to the Robert E. Howard's Conan Tales. We slice into The Scarlet Citadel, a tale of high adventure, oh, that's a cliche.  It's the story of Conan's capture on the battlefield, imprisonment in a Citadel (Scarlet of course)subsequent escape and return to his kingdom.  Yes, there is a whole lot packed into this short story. The second story follows Conan on his pirating and jungle adventures with the fascinating pirate Queen Belit. Sit back and join Dave, Jeff and Mike as we discuss said stories.

Episode 26: Ready Player One (Book and Film)

Episode 26: Ready Player One (Book and Film)

April 19, 2018

In an attempt to be more current and contemporary we review another recent film and book.  READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.  The book was published in 2011 it takes place in a dystopian society where people spend a lot of time in virtual reality, in order to avoid the real run-down world.  The book is Cline's first published novel.  Steven Spielberg takes the material in a slightly different direction as he brings it to the big screen.  We compare the two on the show today.

Episode 25: Murder on the Orient Express

Episode 25: Murder on the Orient Express

March 8, 2018

Agatha Christie is the top selling author of all time. Her work was inspired  by Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and she invented the Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot, who went on to become her most popular character. She had served in WWI as a nurse and had a famous disappearance that is still a mystery to this day.  The film was released in late 2017 and caused us to try our first mystery story for this podcast, in an effort to be timely.  Obviously that did not work out so well as you can see with this late posting.  Life gets in the way sometime.  Isn't strange how wherever Poirot goes, someone suffers a tragic death......hmmmm.  Join Dave, Mike and Jeff for the discussion.

Episode 24: The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo

Episode 24: The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo

November 13, 2017

Some folk say when you've read one werewolf story, you've read them all. So, we decided to check around and we found a list of five werewolf books that contain an unusual twist, and after reading the The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo we found that we were not disappointed.  Publishers Weekly said  "Spare, evocative prose lifts this impressive debut from Pekearo, who was killed in the line of duty as an auxiliary police officer in New York City in 2007. Marlowe Higgins, who’s both a werewolf and a detective, lives in the small town of Evelyn..."   We agree that the writing is solid with few flaws, and you will find some twists in this horror tale full of angst and aggression.  With Pekearo's background and interest in police work he does a nice job of combining elements of a detective novel with those of a horror story.  

Episode 23: An American Werewolf in London

Episode 23: An American Werewolf in London

November 11, 2017

Welcome back! This is the first of our Werewolf shows. We take a look at the cult classic film that took the werewolf transformations to the next level, with mechanical make-up effects that pre-date the wonderful computer graphics that we enjoy today. So does the film The Howling. While Roger Ebert gave An American Werewolf in London a poor review, saying it " ...seems curiously unfinished, as if director John Landis spent all his energy on spectacular set pieces and then didn't want to bother with things like transitions, character development, or an ending."

 

We however found it highly entertaining in spite of it's flaws.  Although we do have some questions about the ending.