Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Hound of ’59

vMy friend Lucy published today a nice lengthy piece about the 1939 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
You can find the post here, and read it through the usual Google Translate thingy. It’s excellent, and it raises an interesting question, by noting that The Hound of the Baskervilles is treated as a proper Gothic story, an old dark house film.
This got me thinking about the connection between the Canon and the Horror genre, and so while clouds gathered and the storm approached, heralded by thunder and lightning, I brew myself a cup of hot tea, and I took a look at the other Hound, the one that was unleashed on the moors, in the full shocking splendor of Technicolor, by Terence Fisher, with the assistance of the fine gentlemen of Hammer Films.
The first Holmes movie in color.
Another Gothic adaptation, featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
It was, if you recall, the year 1959. Continue reading


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French Naughtiness, General Pershing, and inspiration

There is an image, here on my desktop, I’ve been hoping to use as an inspiration for a short story for quite a while.
It’s called Les Surprises de la Vie de Chateau: La Revue Nocturne, that is Surprises of the Life in the Castle: The Night Review.
It’s a host of ghostly dames, in gorgeous Medieval dresses, examining with curiosity and bafflement the lingerie of a flapper girl as she spends the night in a castle’s bedroom.

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It was drawn by Chery Herouard for a magazine called La Vie Parisienne, somewhere in the 1920s. Continue reading


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Agatha Christie Day – Tommy & Tuppence

agatha-christieMy brother informs me that today is the Agatha Christie Day, this being her birthday. Christie would be 128 today.
“You should do something about her on Karavansara,” he told me. “Christie is very popular.”
The understatement of the century.
Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of mystery, with a catalog of 66 novels and enough short stories to fill fourteen volumes. She is also in the Guinness Book of Records, with reportedly two billion copies of her books being at large in the world.

So OK, let’s do an Agatha Christie Day post. Continue reading


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Sherlock will never die

The other day, on my post about the Japanese series, Miss Sherlock, Joe commented

Sherlock will NEVER die!

And I had to agree, of course.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the great characters of popular culture, together with Dracula and Tarzan1, and through infinite version and editions and adaptations, it has reached every corner of the world and every social stratum.
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, and he is not going away.

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And I was reminded, reading Joe’s comment, of a thing I caught somewhere and I’ve been unable to trace, that is, Harlan Ellison suggesting the Canon as the basis of a reasonable education. Continue reading


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Meet Miss Sherlock

I am on a Sherlock Holmes roll – and it really looks like these next few months will be Sherlockian apocrypha and folk horror, considering the books that are piling up (virtually) on my ereader.

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Now, there was a time, before Facebook, when I was one of the Hounds of the Internet, and I was a lot more into Sherlock Holmes and related matters than I am now. I started out as a Sherlock Holmes fan in middle school, and read the stories and watched the movies etcetera.
But like Steely Dan used to sing

Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago.

Or so I thought. Continue reading


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Hope & Glory – meet the Thuggee

This is sort of a triple package of a post – we’ll get a bit of history, some literature, and then a movie.
Nice way to spend a Sunday, right?

This week we have been talking a lot about Hope & Glory, but I hope I kept it varied enough you were not bored out of your socks.

Now, when we put together Hope & Glory I knew we’d have to put the Thuggee in. The Deceivers are such a big trope in Indian adventure that leaving them out would be unthinkable – and in general, whatever is fine in an Indiana Jones movie is also fine at my gaming table.

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This leads us to a gentleman by the name of Sir William Henry Sleeman, KCB. Continue reading


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The Joseph Cotten Blogathon: Journey Into Fear (1943)

It’s the Joseph Cotten Blogathon, and I am terribly late – we have been talking so much about Hope & Glory that I totally forgot about Joseph Cotten.
And isn’t that what happened to a lot of us?
Cotten was a fine actor, one of Orson Welles’ troupe in the Mercury Theater, and he had a blazing career with many great movies, and fundamental roles – but we don’t remember him anymore.

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So thanks to In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood for bringing him back with this blogathon – please point your browser in that direction and check out the many fine articles about Cotten’s extraordinary career.
Then get back here.
We are terribly late, and this is likely to be the late show in the blogathon – and we are going to check out Journey into Fear. Continue reading