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"Shave him, and he'd be the King!"

I've always been fond of The Prisoner of Zenda movies and I've often wondered about the claim (current in Wikipedia, among other places) that the 1952 colour version was a shot-for-shot remake of the 1937 black-and-white original.

To me, shot-for-shot means "as nearly exact a copy as possible", and I'm now able to say that though the 1952 is very, very close in most respects, it's not shot-for-shot, and most emphatically not line-for-line. There are a lot more than "slight variations" between them, especially in dialogue.

Click "read more" for the rest of the article and the links to the screenplays.

Firebird (Tales of Old Russia #2)

In the dark winter of 1235 the Teutonic Knights are plotting a crusade against Russia. Their secret weapon is the foul witch Baba Yaga, out for revenge against her old enemy, Ivan, Prince of Khorlov.

In his second spectacular fantasy adventure in the lands of Old Russia, Prince Ivan finds himself battling against civil war at home, foreign invaders, the dreadful powers of the Inquisition, and the soured magic of an evil old woman.

But Ivan is not without allies. And the forces arrayed against him soon discover that they may have miscalculated when they find themselves up against not only Ivan and the forces of Khorlov, but a cranky sorceress-wife who may or may not be pregnant, a fabulous and deadly bird with its own agenda... and Volk Volkhovitch, the opposite of a werewolf.

Witty, thrilling, played out agianst the backcloth of a brilliantly realized medieval world, Peter Morwood's Firebird seamlessly weaves together Russian myth with real history to conjure up an unputdownable tale.

"Peter Morwood has always been an engaging, surprising and original storyteller... One of the foremost talents in the British field." (FEAR)

The second volume of Peter Morwood's Tales of Old Russia is available from this page in all the major electronic formats for USD $5.99 (with instant download fulfillment courtesy of E-junkie) as well as via (The proceeds from purchases made here go immediately to the author via PayPal: proceeds from purchases made at Smashwords and its affiliates take longer to reach the author.)

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If ordering from other ebook providers: The ISBN of Firebird is 978-1-4523-9725-2 .

Update: A reset/revised print edition is also coming soon in mass market and trade paperback formats. Please check back here in late October for info about the new print editions.

Tactical errors in advertising

Advertising vocabularies differ depending on what's being sold. A sports car doesn't get the same write-up as a family saloon, and a laptop computer isn't described in the same high-tech language as an iPod. But there are some words which have crossed genres, and now seem to be applied with blind enthusiasm in the most unlikely places.

My current favourite is tactical.

You'll find it defined on in various ways, but they quote the current U.S. Military Dictionary, which for this LJ entry seems more appropriate than most.

tactical, adj.

Designed or implemented so as to gain a temporary limited advantage: short-range.

1. of, relating to, or constituting actions carefully planned to gain a specific military end.

2. (of bombing or weapons) done or for use in immediate support of military or naval operations. Often contrasted with strategic.

This once-military-only term has since moved, via business, into more-or-less everyday use, but it's slipped its leash and like an unruly dog, is leaving traces of its passage in places where it shouldn't be allowed to go. (Mind your feet.)

I just wanted two coats of emulsion on the ceiling...

...not a recreation of the Sistine Chapel!

But try telling that to Heston Blumenthal.

Diane and I recorded last week's Further Adventures in Search of Perfection - the one about chili con carne -- and watched it the other night with increasing amazement as he piled on layer after layer of daft, pointless elaboration.

The man hasn't a clue about how to cook with chilis, either: presented with something that used them - Oh look, they're in the name of the dish and everything! - he instantly reverted to Macho Man and went for the hottest he could find (or at least with the funniest name - Devil's Penis.) Someone should have let him try a Jolokia without telling him how hot it is; now that would have been really funny.

(click on read more for the rest...)

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