Women’s History

Five Favorite Things for March

It’s been hard to pick out five favorites…but here are some of the favorite things that have been happening at 6 Degrees in March! Number One: Dogs! Dogs are always part of the favorite things on my list! The lists are endless with the constant stream of pictures from the Irish Setter lovers on Facebook- with some classic St Patty’s Day pix with everyone’s favorite Irish breed.  There were some great stories and videos featuring French Bulldog’s at play. And all of us who have rescued pets were glad to see that the White House rescue dog was out of the ‘doghouse’ and able to return with a newfound resolve to work with Major and help him through a difficult time…. Our Doggie in the Window magazine features all this and more! Number Two: Women’s History Month This year has been especially productive in highlighting women’s issues. The launch of my “A Century of Women’  magazine continues to celebrate the Centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote! Combining some stellar leaders in Women’s Black History also helped to promote women of color who may have been overlooked in past years.  There has certainly been an explosion of articles about the standout women who are now coming into their own. Number 3:  Life Coaching Life Coaching has been on the radar for me. With the publication of Life Coach, Christ Coach, the book has helped me to expand the horizon for what it means to be a coach and to have excellent teachers and role models that help us through the various stages of our lives. I highlighted some of the women in Life Coach, some of the teachers I personally knew and some of the influencers that are part of our world and have been role models for many of us. Number 4: Science and Technology Breakthroughs! Science that has done so much to help us through the Pandemic! The new book, The Codebreakers, is one I am dying to read. It’s by renowned writer Walter Isaacson, and tells the story of Jennifer Doudna-who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on gene editing that helped develop the vaccines for COVID 19. In addition, NASA is still giving us new data and information on the Perseverance rover that has landed on Mars and will soon be delivering pictures from their mini helicopter! Number 5:  The Personals On a personal note, my mother turned 95 in March and my aunt is over 100. I took my aunt to a doctor’s appointment, where he told me they had several patients over 100! When I worked in a church, the nanogenarians (90 year-olds) were celebrated, but now there are so many breakthroughs in science and medicine and we are seeing people who will live to 100 on a regular basis. It’s a great thing to celebrate… Those are all the many good things that have been working together this past month. I’m excited to move into April and celebrate the films that I love. The Oscars Ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 25th, as well as Earth Day, on Thursday, April 22nd, so there’s plenty to look forward to. Heading into the Easter weekend, there is much to be thankful about after a year of Covid and Lockdown. But to be honest, we still need to be careful and use masks and social distancing as the pandemic is not over yet! I will choose to be grateful for the opportunities that science and technology have given us. We are a nation of cockeyed optimists, as I often say. So on that note, Happy Easter weekend to all and here’s hoping that we will see great things unfold in the coming days and weeks-ML-6DW

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6 Degrees of Film: March Round Up: Celebrating Women’s History!

Greetings Film Fans! The month of March has brought us lots of good news from the world of film. We are celebrating Women’s History month here at 6 Degrees, and the spotlight is on the rising number of women who are directors of both independent and major Hollywood films. To be fair, there have been many powerful women in Hollywood working behind the scenes at the studios for decades. But the role of auteur and the vision and focus that a director can bring to a picture is one that has not been explored by enough women throughout the history of film. Rotten Tomatoes has a post on the 165 Best Movies directed by women in the 21st Century. Other notable news is the mixed reviews received for Eddie Murphy’s anticipated comedy sequel Coming 2 America-which was described several times as a ‘retread.’ There’s also an interview with the director of the film Craig Brewer. Another anticipated film released is Raya & the Last Dragon, which is reviewed on Rogerebert.com And there’s a question now being floated around about the true meaning of the cinematic experience and if that is achievable if movies are going to be streamed from now on?  Martin Scorsese asks the question, and we also hear from Forbes’ film critic Scott Mendelson. Mendelson looks at the consequences of Hollywood prioritizing the streaming services over the existence of a successful film opening at the box office as they did in the ‘old days.’ (Pre-Covid!) Meanwhile, back at the Turner Classic Movie place, there is a new era where the old films that were written and produced in the ‘bad old days’ of big studios and the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood are getting a new look and some much-needed analysis. The scrutiny is part of the screenings going forward at TCM, so this should prove interesting!  Turner Classic: Strong Women at the Movies The women in movies come from different backgrounds and work in various genres: Musicals, westerns, comedies, all sharing This month the strong women who were pioneers of Hollywood film share the same common denominator-a strength of character that permeates the scope of the film, whatever genre be it a Western, a musical or a comedy. They include this month’s ‘Star of the Month”- Doris Day, as well as Olivia de Havilland and Katherine Hepburn. Westerns In three of the featured westerns: The Westerner, Calamity Jane and Red River, the women are not always center stage (with the exception of Calamity Jane), but the roles are written for smart women who are tough and can survive in the old west. The Classics Lawrence of Arabia is one of the films often seen on the top ten lists of famous critics (In 6 Degrees, it comes in at Number Four!) We have it described as such: “A not so simple tale based on the real-life exploits of T.E. Lawrence, the famous English adventurer. The deceptively simple quality of this complex man is introduced at the beginning of the film when various people try to describe him with each coming up with a different description” A Man for All Seasons swept the Oscars with multiple wins for Best Actor and Best Picture. The 6 Degrees Connection in our top 100 list has A Man for All Seasons at Number sixty-six. The film has a basis in true historical events- It’s from a play based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, a man who stood on his principles and refused to use his influence to obtain an annulment for King Henry VIII and paid for his refusal with his life. The de Havilland Decision Olivia De Havilland is featured in Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn. This was an early role for De Havilland before she put her foot down about accepting parts in films that were not to her liking. Here’s an excerpt from 6 Degrees of Film talking about the landmark case brought by Olivia de Havilland and known as the ‘de Havilland Decision.’ Olivia de Havilland also fought studio bosses, winning a landmark decision against onerous hiring practices in what became known as the de Havilland Decision. She began her film career at the age of nineteen starring in Captain Blood with Errol Flynn. She was under a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers film studio, a standard contract for all performers, who signed their lives away when they agreed to the terms. She was “loaned out” to David O. Selznick for her memorable part in Gone with the Wind, which earned her an Oscar nomination in 1939. After that, she demanded better parts beyond the same old sweet-young-thing roles she had been playing. The studio not only refused but slapped her with a six-month suspension, another standard practice of those who wielded absolute control. The last straw came at the end of her seven-year contract, when Warner Brothers informed her that she had to make up the lost six months from her suspension. Adding time to contracts was another standard operating procedure to keep actors in line. This time, de Havilland sued. The court ruled in de Havilland’s favor, stating that not only did she not have to make up the suspension, but all future seven-year contracts had to hold to the intent and not force extra time from suspensions on the contracted actor. The de Havilland Decision paved the way for better treatment for actors from the omnipotent studio bosses. Olivia de Havilland was right in her decision to hold out for more quality roles. She won an Oscar for her performance in The Snake Pit, one of Hollywood’s early attempts to portray serious subject matters such as mental health problems. As one of Hollywood’s pioneering women, she has paved the way for all female actors and for all women working in Hollywood Comedy Murder by Death is the Neil Simon film adaptation notable for its stellar all-star cast.  Overboard was remade recently, but the original is the best.

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