Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Dangerous Method

Year 5, Day 12 - 1/12/13 - Movie #1,312

BEFORE: I picked up my pain meds yesterday, and after reading the long list of possible side effects (including dizziness, nausea, confusion, shortness of breath, unusual sweating, unexplained weight gain, chest/arm pain, and swelling of the hands and ankles) I've decided to try and take just one per day, instead of two.  The warning of possible bad reactions (also including stomach pain, intestinal bleeding, mood swings, and I swear this is true - vomit that looks like coffee grounds) makes me wonder if it's not preferable to just deal with the pain.  (Do not operate heavy machinery, do not lie down within 10 minutes of taking this medication, avoid exposure to direct sunlight, and if symptoms persist, please contact your doctor.)  I'm walking a little better, but at what cost?

Michael Fassbender carries over from "Jane Eyre", and so does - well, something related to that plot point that I didn't want to mention last night.  But that 2nd thing wasn't planned.

THE PLOT: A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gave birth to psychoanalysis.

FOLLOW-UP TO: "Kinsey" (Movie #885), "Hysteria" (Movie #1,117)

AFTER: You might think this would be a very dry subject, lots of therapy sessions, dream analysis, and drawn-out conversations between two of the brilliant minds behind modern psychiatry.  There is some of that, but really, sex is what sells movie tickets.  And wasn't that Freud's point?

I'm more familiar with the theories of Freud than that of his counterpart, Jung.  From what I remember from college Psych class, he liked dividing things into threes - the id, the ego and the superego, for example.  He also thought that people pass through three stages of development - the oral, the anal and the genital.  This was based on a complex study of human behavior, namely he noticed that after we're born we learn to eat, then get potty-trained, and eventually learn how to have sex.  (Well, some of us do - others just write papers about it.)

But if anything interferes with these three stages, a person can get stuck at one of them, and this leads to problems later in life.  Like someone who is not properly toilet-trained will have an inner desire to retain their bodily waste, and this leads to someone who is overly organized, frugal and set in their ways.  If you ask me, Freud made a big leap in logic here, and no one ever came up with anything better, so we're still stuck with it.  (Freud was an "ass man" - after all, you can't spell "analysis" without "anal".)  Someone with a desire to hang on to their own waste doesn't just have a mental problem, they've got a storage problem.

But the development of dream analysis and therapy sessions - here called the "talking cure" - meant that there might be an alternative to the usual treatments for mental problems, most of which still involved bloodletting or lobotomies (or both).  And the recent post-Victorian invention of masturbation meant that there were whole new worlds of sexual fantasies to start exploring.  They even came up with all kinds of new terminology, like "libido" and "transferrence" (that last one is shorthand for, "Hey, my psychiatrist is kind of hot!").

In this film, Jung treats a Russian woman who is prone to mental fits, and his treatment involves putting her to work analyzing other patients, which is where we get the expression about "the inmates running the asylum".  But eventually her problems are traced back to her relationship with her father, who used to spank her quite vigorously.  (It's OK, she kinda liked it.)  Let's see, a married doctor with a patient who's a hot, young, intelligent Russian woman who likes to be spanked.  Can you see where this is heading?

Naturally, it's a therapist's responsibility to bring about acceptance, so to make her comfortable with her own desires, what does he prescribe?  More spanking!  Lots of spanking!  Then he takes advantage of her transferrence and makes sure that her libido is in fine working order.  Yep, that's one of the fathers of modern psychiatry.  Well, what would YOU do?   Ethics, schmethics.

This is more or less (probably less, who knows...) a true story - the woman eventually became an analyst herself, Jung failed in his attempts to reconcile psychiatry and mysticism, and Freud went on to invent the Freudian slip, which is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

Also starring Keira Knightley (last seen in "Bend it Like Beckham"), Viggo Mortensen (last seen in "Daylight"), Vincent Cassel (last seen in "Black Swan").

RATING: 5 out of 10 cigars (Freud smoked a lot of them - you know what THAT means...)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Jane Eyre (2011)

Year 5, Day 11 - 1/11/13 - Movie #1,311

BEFORE: This film will wrap up my year-opening literary-based salvo - I've got other films based on more recent novels, such as "The Help" and "Precious" to get to, but I'll draw a distinction between modern books and "classic" literature.

Linking from "Little Women", Christian Bale was also in the 1989 version of "Henry V" with Judi Dench (last seen in "A Room With a View"), who appears in tonight's film.  It was mighty tempting to follow the Christian Bale connection and watch "The Dark Knight Rises" next, but I resisted.  I'll get there another way.

THE PLOT:  A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.

AFTER:  At first I thought this was just another story about a woman finding her place and trying to marry above her station, as in "Vanity Fair".  It's weird that one of the girls in "Little Women" was also employed as a governess, so this is three films in a row about governesses.  (I guess that was just a common occupation for novel characters at the time.)

But something's not right at Thornfield Hall - once Jane finds employment there, she notices there are a lot of odd comings and goings, especially at night.  She's asked to aid one visitor who had been gravely injured somehow, and then one night there's a mysterious fire.   I won't give out any spoilers here, but I will say that I'm amazed that I never learned of the key plot point in this story before.

(NOTE: Like "Les Miserables", this is based on a jumbo-sized novel, and any movie or TV adaptation's probably got to do a fair amount of trimming, unless it wants to be a mini-series.)

The novel is separated into 5 distinct stages: Jane's childhood (when she is abused by her aunt and cousin), her education at Lowood School (when she is oppressed by her teachers), her time working for Edward Rochester as a governess, her time with the Rivers family, and the finale.  The film monkeys with the timeline by showing us the fourth stage first - it's clearly more dramatic since Jane is found wandering the Moors in a terrible state, but it removes the linearness of the story (and don't the filmmakers know I penalize for that?).

This moves the "big reveal" from Act 3 to Act 4, and makes us anticipate it for the whole film - I understand the reasoning, but I still don't condone it.  What they're really saying is, we admit that Act 4 is boring, at least compared to Act 3, so let's move it to the front of the film out of context, where at least it has a bit of mystery to it, since no one will quite understand what's going on yet.  It's the equivalent of a "splash page" in a comic book - the image of Jane in hysterics, sobbing while running through the English countryside, is perceive to have the highest visual impact, so let's lead off with it.

As for Rochester himself, it's hard to get a handle on him, though I think this film made a valiant effort.  What are we to make of a man who goes through a very public courtship with a noblewoman, yet professes his love for Jane in private?  Is he just playing all the angles, or if not, when is he being genuine? 

Once again, there are far too many coincidences for my taste in a work of 1800's literature.  In the novel, Jane Eyre stumbles through the moors and falls on the doorstep of a man who just HAPPENS to be related to her?  How does that happen?  This film works around that very improbable contrivance by having Jane propose that she come to live with the Rivers family and they can PRETEND to be related.

And once again, the main character is neither too rich or too poor.  I suspect that an author surmises that rich central characters will be despised, and poor ones will be pitied, and neither situation is preferable.  Here Jane Eyre comes from a noble family, but she also happens to be a penniless orphan.  She's well-educated, well-mannered, but works as a governess, a servant with perceived low social standing.  This dichotomy was also seen in "Vanity Fair" and "Little Women" - authors, please, pick a horse, would you?

Starring Mia Wasikowska (last seen in "Alice in Wonderland"), Michael Fassbender (last seen in "Centurion"), Jaime Bell (last seen in "The Eagle"), Sally Hawkins, Simon McBurney (last seen in "Friends With Money").

RATING: 6 out of 10 undelivered letters

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Little Women (1994)

Year 5, Day 10 - 1/10/13 - Movie #1,310

BEFORE: The scene shifts to America tonight, but the theme remains sort of the same - young women growing up and finding their place in society.  Also, Gabriel Byrne carries over, which was unplanned but certainly welcomed.

THE PLOT:  The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

AFTER: There's actually a lot in common with "Vanity Fair", so good planning on my part, or at least good luck.  The main characters here are not rich, but they're not really poor either, just getting by in a (post-)war economy.  And as they mature we see their first social engagements and dalliances with the opposite sex, so there are bound to be a few missteps.  And of course there are life's little joys and tragedies that occur along the way.

But where "Vanity Fair" seemed to take something of a mad delight in tearing couples apart, or letting confusion cast doubt onto the validity of relationships, this story seems more interested in getting the right couples together - eventually.  A family friend could feel particularly close to one of the March girls, but perhaps she doesn't feel the same way about him, or perhaps the timing's not right.  Not to worry, there will be other chances, or at least other sisters.

Set at a very particular time in U.S. history, at the cusp of feminism, when women were perhaps first thought of as equals, although still not allowed to vote or own land.  (Some "new World" indeed.)  One sister finds success as a writer, but only by publishing under a man's name.  And women were still presented to society as debutantes, but here also portrayed as having choices about whom to marry (although apparently not "whether" to marry).

I never read this book - come to think of it, I haven't read most of the books featured so far in this year's literary chain, except for "The Three Musketeers" and "Mutiny on the Bounty".  So I'm really playing catch-up in more ways than one, and probably saving time as well, because each book would probably require more of my time than a two-hour film does.

Starring Winona Ryder (last seen in "The Crucible"), Susan Sarandon (last seen in "The Front Page"), Christian Bale (last seen in "Reign of Fire"), Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes (last seen in the 1998 "Les Miserables"), Kirsten Dunst (last seen in "Marie Antoinette"), Samantha Mathis (last seen in "Broken Arrow"), Eric Stoltz (last seen in "Memphis Belle"), Mary Wickes, with a cameo from John Neville (last seen in "The Fifth Element").

RATING: 5 out of 10 cups of punch

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vanity Fair (2004)

Year 5, Day 9 - 1/9/13 - Movie #1,309

BEFORE:  Vanity's not a word that my friends generally associate with me, but I'm probably more self-conscious about how I look than people realize.  I'm always willing to do voice-over work or sing for a project, but if I have to appear on camera, it's a different story.  I maintain a consistent panda-bear shape, but since we're planning to go on a cruise in April, I'm trying to eat a little less these days.  It wouldn't hurt me to lose a few pounds - that's what people often resolve to do this time of year, right?  One school of thought says I should lose weight now, since I'll probably gain a few pounds on the cruise.  (The other, of course, says I should hit more buffets now in preparation, so that my stomach is better prepared for all the eating I'll be doing on board.)

But my foot's been bothering me for the last month or so - at first, I just figured my sneakers were worn out, so I bought a new pair.  Then I thought my feet were hurting since I was breaking in the new pair.  Perhaps I was spending too much time sitting at my desk without elevating my foot, I thought - or perhaps I was walking around NYC too much in the course of a day.  Finally, I just had to admit that my heel just freakin' HURTS, and I should see a podiatrist about it.  It wasn't so bad over Christmas, since we were driving around in Massachusetts, but since then the pain has been getting worse.  Turns out I might have a heel spur, so I got a steroid injection yesterday and had an x-ray taken.

In the meantime I'm walking with a limp, or maybe it's more of a lumber - so at my size, I'm probably scaring small children as I walk down the street.  It's just as well - keeps annoying rugrats away.  If it's not a heel spur, it may just be a strained ligament, which means I've got to start soaking it and stretching it back into shape.  

Once I get my foot fixed, it's time to get my eyes examined - I've noticed I can only play games on my cell phone if it's a very specific distance from my face, which is a bad sign.  It's probably been 3 or 4 years since I got new glasses, and it's been even longer since I've been to the dentist, which will be the third stop on my self-improvement agenda.  But jeez, if I have to start walking with a cane or wearing bifocals, I'm going to feel a lot older than I actually am. 

Sticking with films based on novels, and set in old-timey London.  A few more days of corsets and cumberbunds, and then I can start a new topic.  Connecting from "Tom Jones", Albert Finney was also in "Miller's Crossing" with Gabriel Byrne.

THE PLOT: Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.

AFTER: This one wasn't really my cup of tea, either, but I think I grasp where it's coming from.

I now feel like I've come full circle from "Les Miserables" - this one's set around the same time, only on the other side of the English Channel, and where that film was a collection of life's major tragedies, with some tiny joys among the sorrows, this is about mostly successful people, with some sorrows among the joys.  Becky Sharp is able to advance herself in British society in a way that Fantine never could.

There are other similar themes - people raising other people's children, either by choice or default, people fighting and dying in wars, people putting their dreams on hold so that others can have a chance at theirs.  While no one here pursues a criminal for decades, there are those that believe their happiness lies in romance with a specific person, and are willing to wait decades until they can make that happen.

 What is a film, but a series of comic and/or tragic scenes, that may or may not add up to present a greater truth?  For that matter, what is life but a series of comic and/or tragic events, that may or may not add up to a grander purpose?  Some of the characters here are too involved in their own hangups to view their own lives properly, so naturally they make mistakes.  Decades later, they've got the perspective they need to think, "Oh, maybe I let the wrong person get away from me."

It's a delicate balance, showing someone climbing the social ladder, making the connections she needs to make to advance, and discarding the ones she doesn't need.  I don't know about the novel, but the film did a fair job of not letting her appear heartless - she seems to genuinely care about her friends, even though a passing remark or a revelation of some small truth can wound them greatly.

And isn't that true, too - how it's easier to hurt (or be hurt by) the people that we let get closest to us?  By letting someone into your heart, you also make yourself vulnerable, by depending on them.  A number of characters here have the power, either accidentally or on purpose to hurt each other by their actions (or inactions), lending the story the sting of harsh reality.

Starring Reese Witherspoon (last seen in "Four Christmases"), James Purefoy (last seen in "A Knight's Tale"), Bob Hoskins (last seen in "Nixon"), Jim Broadbent (last seen in "Nicholas Nickleby"), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (last seen in "Bend It Like Beckham"), Rhys Ifans (last seen in "Anonymous"), Romola Garai.

RATING:  4 out of 10 auction lots

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tom Jones

Year 5, Day 8 - 1/8/13 - Movie #1,308

BEFORE: Another Best Picture Oscar winner tonight - raising my total to 62 out of 84. I think that's quite respectable, and I'll try to pick up a few more during TCM's February programming.  This should be the year that I finally watch "Gone With the Wind" and "Gandhi", or at least put them on the list.

Like "Mutiny on the Bounty", this is based on a novel set in 18th century London (I think), and Hugh Griffith carries over from "Mutiny on the Bounty".  He was Britain's 2nd most famous bug-eyed comic actor, after Marty Feldman.

THE PLOT:  Tom Jones, the adopted son of a British country squire, is a love-'em-and-leave-'em lady charmer who goes blithely from bed to bed, while managing to get into other mischief.

AFTER: Well, if Fletcher Christian was played as an upper-class twit in last night's film, this film is full of upper-class twits.  Both kinds, the prim and proper types, and those that indulge all of their wanton desires for food, drink and sex.

This is simultaneously both high literature and bedroom farce - and perhaps that's why it feels so disjointed, because a story really can't be both.  An author has to choose one, comedy or tragedy.  Tom Jones is a tragic figure, essentially abandoned at birth and adopted by a squire, he's well-off but is forced to leave home and travel with no funds.  But our tragic hero is placed in a series of comic misadventures.  He loves his intended, Sophie, but fools around with nearly every woman he meets.

Right there, we've got a double-standard.  A woman of easy virtue is branded a "hussy" or "slut" and if she should make the mistake of becoming an unwed mother, she's branded for good.  But it's OK for a man of the time (even a married one) to sleep around with very few repercussions, other than the occasional bastard child.  Sophie is expected to remain true to Tom and not take on any suitors, yet Tom is, shall we say, a lot freer with his emotions.

It's hard for me to fathom this film deserving the Best Picture Oscar (must've been a slow year - yep, it beat out "Cleopatra" and "How the West Was Won"), when it's bawdier than even "Lady Chatterley's Lover".  Perhaps it's a sign of the sexual revolution of the 1960's - a decade whose Oscar winners began with "The Apartment" and ended with "Midnight Cowboy".  But I see this film as something of the link between stuffy British literature and low ribald comedy - somewhere between "Fanny Hill" and "Benny Hill", if you will.

Don't get me wrong, I love corsets and cleavage as much as the next fellow - and enjoyed the attractive women on "Benny Hill" when I was a young teen.  In fact, all of that show's famous sped-up chase scenes, where a crowd of people (usually including a few women in lingerie) would chase Mr. Hill around, to the tune of "Yakety Sax" probably owe a debt to this film, which features one such sped-up chase through the bedrooms of the Upton Inn, though accompanied by harpsichord instead of saxophone.

There are also plenty of farcical coincidences, people bumping into each other and recognizing them, despite meeting them only once, briefly, 20 years ago.  And that sort of hearkens back to "Les Miserables", which employed some of the same storytelling techniques.  But it also strains the boundaries of credulity - London was a town of hundreds of thousands of people, yet the same 5 or 6 keep bumping into each other.   I'm not really buying it.

And geez Louise, what did people do for thousands of years, before DNA testing was invented?  They knew that people couldn't remain faithful, and just assumed parentage because people kind of looked like their fathers?  That kind of uncertainty would only be a problem if there was some kind of feudal inheritance system based on patriarchy.  Oh, wait...  Did poor people who hated their station just daydream that they were really the rightful Earl of Blankenship or something?  And what about the Earl himself, always wondering about how much his father played around, wondering if his title was going to be challenged someday, or that he'd find out he married his half-sister.  It sounds like utter madness.

Starring Albert Finney (last seen in "Miller's Crossing"), Susannah York (last seen in "The Lion in Winter" - damn, I wish I'd realized that sooner), George Devine, David Warner (last seen in "The French Lieutenant's Woman"), Joyce Redman.

RATING: 4 out of 10 hunting dogs

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)

Year 5, Day 7 - 1/7/13 - Movie #1,307

BEFORE: I'm finishing off the major films made about the Bounty adventure.  I included this in my historical novel section even though it's based on a real event, because I first heard the story by reading the novel - and this film credits the authors of the book, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.  I'm not sure why you don't hear their names very often, not as often as you hear about, say, Herman Melville or Daniel Defoe. 

Since this is my third time viewing the same story in film, I'll be looking for the major and minor differences between the versions.

I picked this one up during TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" programming last year, which was all organized by the settings of the films - mostly different countries, but they also included the South Pacific (and other non-specific locations like "outer space" and "heaven").  I liked their system so much, I borrowed it for my World Tour last year.  While I'll probably pick up a couple more Oscar winners and nominees from TCM this year, I'm less interested by their organization this time around.  The films this February will be organized by movie studio.  Bo-ring.  Who cares if a film was made by Warner Bros. or Universal?  A great film is a great film, no matter who made it.

THE PLOT:  same as last night.

AFTER:  Well, the first major difference is that this version is nearly three hours long (including the overture, intermission and entr'acte music) so almost everything takes longer to establish or occur.  The upswing is that the time at sea is extended, so when the ship finally reaches Tahiti, it feels like more of a big deal.  But the downside is that more time is devoted to pointless activities like dancing at the island celebration.

Fletcher Christian, here played by Marlon Brando (last seen in "A Streetcar Named Desire"), is a much different character than the ones played by Clark Gable and Mel Gibson, who played him more as an everyman who happened to be second in command.  (Though he is a central character, the story is not necessary told from his point of view)  Brando played him as more of an upper-class twit, who earned his rank perhaps through privilege, and this makes it take longer for him to rise to the defense of his crew.  And he's got an upper-class British accent here - which fits the character, but seems weird coming from Marlon Brando.

His status puts him almost in a class with Bligh - though he doesn't share Bligh's views on discipline, he does seem to understand them at first.  And when he becomes the leader of the crew, perhaps he understands just how difficult it is to motivate the men.

He seems to be great at playing "the game", in that he complains to Bligh without putting himself directly at risk.  He also acts with the best intentions toward the crew, and this is one way that he earns their respect.  He also has the most to lose by taking over the ship - he gives up his rank, his station, and any chance of returning to England, and he seems to be the most aware of this fact.  And if you need an actor to display inner conflict, Brando should be your top choice.

But there's that same conflict again - speak up and be condemned, or remain silent and be damned (or lose one's honor, same thing).  It's not hard to draw a direct connection between Fletcher Christian, Jean Valjean, and Thomas More.  I wonder just how prevalent this type of dilemma is in literature and film - perhaps it's quite common, and I'm only noticing it because it popped up three times in the last week.

Another major difference concerns the ending of the film - less time is spent on Bligh's men sailing in the small boat to Timor (the 2nd book of the trilogy), and more time devoted to the men on the Bounty seeking refuge on Pitcairn Island (the 3rd book).  Whereas the 1935 film focused on Bligh's men at sea, and his commissioning of a new ship to track down and prosecute the mutineers - and no mention of what happened to the men who landed at Pitcairn.  Stylistic choice, I suppose.  But this film should be penalized for changing the fate of Fletcher Christian for dramatic purposes.

Last night I mentioned where you can see the ship that played the Bounty in the 1935 film.  The ship from this 1962 version appeared at the 1964 World's Fair, and was also used in the 1990 version of "Treasure Island" and in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest".  It has been a tourist attraction in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was still in sailable condition until last year, when it sunk 90 miles off the coast of North Carolina after being caught in Hurricane Sandy.   And the ship used in the Gibson/Hopkins film is still in service, as a tourist attraction in Hong Kong.

Also starring Trevor Howard (last seen in "Around the World in 80 Days"), Richard Harris (last seen in "The Guns of Navarone"), Hugh Griffith (last seen in "Kind Hearts and Coronets").

RATING: 5 out of 10 navigation charts

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Year 5, Day 6 - 1/6/13 - Movie #1,306

BEFORE: As often happens here at the Movie Year, I arrange films based on a particular theme, and an unplanned secondary theme develops.  I meant only to start the year with a number of films based on notable books, and so far what they've all had in common amounts to rebellion, revolution, treason, and heresy.  So it somehow makes sense to add mutiny to that list.

(Speaking of the List, the Encore channel ran all of the Dirty Harry movies yesterday, and I've seen the first two, but not the last three, so they've now been added to my list.  Since Year 5 is about follow-ups, I'm trying to complete as many film sets as possible.  While adding those films I saw another connection, which led to another way that the list could be organized, so I moved a few themed sections around - yes, that's the third restructuring of the list this year.  But all you really need to know is that the James Bond films have been moved up, and the Hitchcock films pushed back.)

The other connection tonight is Best Picture winners - "A Man for All Seasons" was the Oscar winner for 1966, and tonight's film took home the prize for 1935.  

Since I ran out of Mountain Dew, tonight I'll be making the viewing interactive and honoring the South Seas locale by drinking a mixture of coconut rum and Sprite. 

THE PLOT:  Fletcher Christian successfully leads a revolt against the ruthless Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty. However, Bligh returns one year later, hell bent on avenging his captors.

FOLLOW-UP TO: "The Bounty" (Movie #1289)

AFTER: According to Wikipedia, this film was the third version of the famous novel to be filmed - the first was an Australian silent film made in 1916, and the 2nd was a 1933 Errol Flynn film called "In the Wake of the Bounty".  But it is the most famous version, later followed by the Marlon Brando/Trevor Howard film and then the Mel Gibson/Anthony Hopkins version.

It's pretty straightforward, casting most of the blame for the mutiny directly on Captain Bligh and his punishments (flogging, cutting rations, keelhauling).  Of course, since many of the ship's men were "recruited" against their will, these punishments were like adding injury to insult.  The Gibson/Hopkins version was a bit more sympathetic to Bligh.

He may be the Captain you love to hate, but when he and his men are set adrift in a small boat, thousands of miles from any speck of dry land, you almost want to root for the guy.  There's a time and a place for toughness and tenacity, and that guy had it when he needed it.

The fate of most of the mutineers is not shown in great detail here, though readers of the novel know that they began a colony on Pitcairn Island.  This film concerns itself more with the few men still loyal to Bligh who missed the boat (literally) and were put on trial after they surrendered or were captured on Tahiti.  But since the novel is really a trilogy, with the 3rd book, "Pitcairn Island" concerning itself with the later island life of the mutineers, that's something of a stylistic choice, to ignore the events of the third book.

I saw one of the stars of this film - the boat, that is - when I was in San Francisco last July.  Part of the film was shot there, and around Monterey and Catalina, and the boat is still moored in S.F. harbor.  It was built in 1886 and called the Balclutha, and it rounded Cape Horn 17 times as a trading ship, before getting a second life bringing Pacific Northwest timber to Australia and coal back to San Francisco.  Then, under the name Star of Alaska, it was in the salmon trade for a while.  Finally it was renamed the Pacific Queen and became an exhibition ship and movie star.

Oddly, I also happen to know where the ship used in filming "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" is moored - the Surprise, a replica of the HMS Rose, is in the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and I pass by it every year in a taxi when I'm in San Diego for Comic-Con.  For a guy who doesn't know a lot about boats, I seem to know a lot about where they're kept. 

Starring Clark Gable (last seen in "The Misfits"), Charles Laughton (last seen in "Spartacus"), Franchot Tone.

RATING: 5 out of 10 yardarms