Bits and Pieces of My Mind, or Random Thoughts

A photo of Yours Truly taken in 2017 during my first visit to Disney Hollywood Studios. Photo Credit: LCH (Author’s Collection)

Well, it’s Thursday, May 7, 2020, the 75th anniversary of Germany’s signing of the unconditional surrender documents at Allied headquarters in Reims, France, which ended the European phase of World War II. Actually, the May 7 signing at Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters was the first surrender ceremony; Soviet dictator Josef Stalin protested that the Red Army officer who affixed his signature to the Reims document had not been authorized to do so, so a second surrender ceremony was quickly arranged in Berlin to appease the Communist warlord. That’s why May 8, not May 7, is commemorated as Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day), especially in Russia.

Video from London Screen Archive.

I was going to write a review of the 1981 suspense film Eye of the Needle today, but I just don’t feel motivated enough. I bought it a few days ago – thus adding the 296th movie to my Blu-ray collection, which now consists of 296 feature films and 47 TV seasons according to the stats on my “Collection” page – and watched it last night.

Based on a 1978 novel by Ken Follett and directed by Richard Marquand from a screenplay by Stanley Mann, Eye of the Needle stars Donald Sutherland as Nazi spy Henry Faber, a coldly-calculating intelligence operative who stumbles on one of the Allies’ biggest secrets of the war. Under orders from Adolf Hitler himself, Faber must leave wartime England via U-boat and deliver his information to the Fuhrer in person. Only one thing stands in his way – a British family that is among the few inhabitants of the aptly named Storm Island. Can Faber – nicknamed “the Needle” for his penchant of killing anyone in his way with a deadly stiletto – make his rendezvous with the German submarine and change the course of World War II? Or will the beautiful Lucy (Kate Nelligan) and her crippled husband, former RAF pilot David (Christopher Cazenove) thwart his escape?

On the positive end of the spectrum, not only did I write a comprehensive review of William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh: Star Wars Part the Second, but I also finished one of the books on my “Currently Reading” list: The World Unmade: The History of the Great War, 1914-1918, by G.J. Meyer. World War I is probably the modern conflict I know the least about, even though it’s the catalyst of every major war or geopolitical dilemma that we have experienced since then. So to fill that gap in my knowledge bank, I’ve bought a few books on the subject, including Meyer’s companion book, The World Remade: America in World War I.

© 2007 Bantam Books

I don’t know if I’ll write that review of Eye of the Needle later this afternoon; it’s not quite 1 PM where I live, so it’s possible. Right now, though, I don’t really want to. I just feel like kicking back and watching a movie or read another book on my ever-growing TBR stack.

And on that note, I think I’ll wrap this post up. So, Dear Reader, until next time, I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

3 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces of My Mind, or Random Thoughts

  1. I remember seeing “Eye of the Needle” in a theater back in the day. Sutherland was creepy. When I saw him in Hunger Games, I couldn’t help think of the Needle.

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  2. I saw it sometime in 1982 through a pay television service called, if I recall correctly, ON-TV. I’d read a condensed version of Ken Follett’s novel a few years earlier; Mom used to get the quarterly Reader’s Digest Condensed Books hardcovers and Eye of the Needle was included in one of the 1978 (or maybe 1979) volumes. I thought it was pretty faithful to the spirit of the novel.

    Interestingly, this was the film that got George Lucas interested in hiring the director, Richard Marquand, to direct Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. At the time, Lucas was not interested in directing, and a spat over the credits to The Empire Strikes Back had forced him to leave three guilds in protest, including the Director’s Guild of America. Because of this, his first choice to direct Jedi (Steven Spielberg) could not take the gig, so Lucas had to look to non-DGA members. Most of those were in Europe, Marquand included. Eye of the Needle impressed Lucas with its pacing and focus on story and characters, and he also liked that Marquand turned in the film on time and on budget.

    Oddly, I only decided to get this one about a week ago. It has a few flaws (anachronisms that probably could not be avoided), but none to make me give it a bad review.

    I might do that tomorrow.

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