East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The Way Back (2010)

I have just spent the best part of my afternoon watching the 2010 Peter Weir movie The Way Back, and a might fine way to spend my time it was.
The movie is two hours and a quarter, but does not drag, and has a wonderful cast.

The Way Back chronicles the journey of a group of escaped gulag prisoners, from Siberia to India, in 1941.
The story is inspired by actual events, and is highly on topic here on Karavansara. Continue reading



Henry Rider Haggard’s Cleopatra

and_image_1366916320And talking about historical novels, Egypt and all this sort of stuff…
Henry Rider Haggard, author of King Solomon’s Mines and She, two books that are highly regarded here on Karavansara, also wrote a book called Cleopatra, published in 1889.

Now, it is sometimes an overlooked fact that Rider Haggard wrote a huge number of books (56 novels, 3 collections of stories and 10 non-fiction books), and while he is still best remembered for his Quatermain-Ayesha novels, but his catalog includes al sort of historical and exotic adventure.
And most if not all of it is available for free online.

But about Cleopatra, now… Continue reading

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Karavansara Free Library: Georg Ebers

4f33d756b86612f6bf4e199cca2a532b--literatureYou have to admit the idea had potential: popularize the subjects of Egyptology and Ancient History by writing historical romances.
And so Egyptologist Georg Moritz Ebers, a German that had pursued a legal career before he moved on to Egyptology, becoming teacher of Egyptian language in 1868 in Jena, decided to pursue a parallel career as a novelist.

The guy was a legit Egyptologist, and today is mostly known for the Ebers Papyrus, a medical text from 1550 BC, in the form of a scroll containing 700 magical spells and practical remedies.
Ebers had not actually “discovered” the papyrus – he had just purchased it from Edwin Smith, an American from Orlando, Florida, that lived in Egypt and acquired various documents from sources unknown.
This is not actually strange – a lot of Egyptian antiques were not discovered, but bought by Europeans and Americans from various purveyors of ancient goods. Continue reading

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Too old for Young Indiana Jones, too young to die

Yesterday I mentioned that there are things in the past that should be let to rest – case in point, the pseudo-science/UFOs/ancient mysteries books of the seventies, that I loved as a kid and now find insufferable.

Another case in point – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the spin-off series telling us the early exploits of Henry Jones Jr., before he went looking for the Lost Ark… and even before a number of the tie-innovels.

I re-watched the a few episodea yesterday night.
Goodness was it boring! Continue reading


The Hepburn & Tracy Blogathon: The Iron Petticoat, 1956

THE SPENCER TRACY AND KATHARINE HEPBURN BLOGATHON IS HERE, and despite my fevered state, here I am to do a post about the wonderful Katharine Hepburn, and one of her films.
Not one of her best films.
Not by a long shot.
But what the heck, it’s got Katharine Hepburn in it, so it can’t be bad, right?


But first, please direct your browser to the In the good old days of classic Hollywood blog and get a full list of the participating blogs.
Enjoy the sights, read the posts, discover or re-discover movies that are well worth a view.
Yes, even The Iron Petticoat, the 1956 movie we’ll be talking about here, on Karavansara.
The movie Greta Garbo called

the worst film I have ever seen

Nice, uh? Continue reading

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Once again into Hell House

My friend Lucy called it “the best ghost movie you don’t know” and she’s right of course, so I spent part of the night of Friday the 13th watching once again The Legend of Hell House.
And now I’ll tell you about it.

I first saw this back when I was in high school.
I remember this distinctively because I caught it one early morning, while I was home alone, in bed with the flu. I watched it on our old Zenith black and white TV set.
It made me an instant fan of Gayle Hunnicutt, but that’s another story.
And really, who in their right minds would schedule this great little horror at 8 am?

This is a British movie, filmed in 1973 and based on a novel called Hell House by the great Richard Matheson, who also wrote the screenplay, moving the location from New England to Old England. Continue reading