BCH

CIPC #225: Crime doctor’s warning

Have you ever heard of the Crime doctor franchise? It is about doctor Ordway, a criminal psychologist who helps the police solve cases. Nowadays, it is almost entirely forgotten, but in the forties it was huge. For seven years, there was a radio series on CBS and Columbia Pictures made ten films. And they had some star power: Oscar winner Warner Baxter played the title role and this particular episode, Crime doctor’s warning, was directed by William Castle, who went on to produce among others The lady from Shanghai and Rosemary’s Baby.

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CIPC #224: The adventures of Sherlock Holmes S1 E6, The speckled band

If ever some dimwit decides to feed my blog posts into a machine learning engine and make it produce one of its own, it will probably write about a murder mystery. Sometimes I feel that’s all I ever write about. Today’s post is not going to change that feeling, because we’re talking about Sherlock Holmes again. This time, he is being played by Jeremy Brett. The episode under investigation, The speckled band, is a pretty close adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story of the same name. But there is one very significant alteration: doctor Grimesby Roylott is shown at a chessboard.

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CIPC #223: Taylor, Women playing chess

It is time to parade some high culture in front of your eyes again while I talk condescendingly about paintings like I can tell  undoubted Rafaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies.1 Today’s exposition, then, is from the more than capable hands of the renowned Leonard Campbell Taylor.2 The great British painter, member of the Royal Academy, has a reputation for his portrayals of interior scenes, painted in traditional style. This despite the fact that his birth in 1874 means that the impressionists were well established by the time he was an adult. One of his paintings looks like this:

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CIPC #222: Inspector Morse S8 E8, The remorseful day

In the ranks of British tv detectives, inspector Morse occupies a prominent but slightly strange position. He is not a brilliant eccentric like Poirot or Miss Marple. He is not a pleasant homebody like inspector Barnaby. He is a lonely, sarcastic curmudgeon, but he is more cultured than inspector Frost. Although he loves Wagner, so there’s still room for improvement. And that, unfortunately, is not going to happen, because inspector Morse is dead. On his deathbed, he solved one final case, and that caused these guys some grief:

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CIPC #221: The office, S5 E26

There are certain things the internet loves far more than it should. Not that they’re bad per se, but the internet just obsesses over them. Cats, for example, or Keanu Reeves, or The office. Yes, The office is everywhere. The office memes pervade the internet. The office catchphrases have seeped into common parlance. The office fan communities are big and numerous. Myself, I didn’t really get past the first episode; it just seemed to be about mean people being awful to each other. And Pam. But it turns out that there’s a chess scene in the last episode of the fifth season! Is this why people kept watching?1 Is this why people love The office?2 Let’s see!

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CIPC #220: Cyma ad

Ex oriente lux. Also, really weird pop music. In Europe, one mainly hears about k-pop, the Korean pop music which has been taking the world by storm the last couple of years. In fact, I have talked about k-pop before on this blog. But there is also j-pop and even c-pop, although I don’t think it is usually called that. Apparently, one of the stars of the nineties in the latter genre was a certain Andy Lau. He started his career as an actor but ten became a pop star too. It seems like he is a massively famous and popular person — I just hadn’t heard of him before.

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CIPC #219: The Da Vinci code

Here’s an interesting observation about pop culture in 2021: there hasn’t been a book craze in quite a while. Some twenty years ago, there was the Harry Potter of course, then the Twilight series, the Hunger games trilogy but nothing seems to have captured the public’s imagination since then.1 One thing that did, smack dab in the Harry Potter period no less, was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci code. It has plot holes big enough to hide an aircraft carrier in and the writing ain’t great, but it was huge. Naturally, a movie was made.


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CIPC #218: Frauenarzt Dr. Prätorius

Sad news for the lovers of early music: we’re not talking about the iconic German music theorist and composers from around 1700. Instead, we are talking about a German movie from 1950 based on a play by Curt Goetz who also plays the main role. It’s about a gynaecologist. One of his patients is pregnant but unmarried which is a big problem, as this is the fifties. He decides to go see her father, comments on his well-maintained roses, gets invited in and bam! Chess!

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CIPC #217: Agatha Christie’s Poirot S9 E2, Sad cypress

Long, long time ago, when this blog was still in its infancy, Agatha Christie’s Poirot was a recurring guest. It’s been more than two years now since I wrote about him, but that does not mean that I have covered all the times chess appeared in the series. There is also today’s subject, for example. A young couple gets an unpleasant anonymous letter and, naturally, Poirot gets involved. While he is studying the letter, his involver is sitting in a comfy-looking chair at a chess table. No, not a chessboard, an honest to god chess table. Here it is:

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CIPC #216: Suske en Wiske – korte verhalen – schaken

Everybody in Flanders know Suske en Wiske. There are well over three hundred issues in the comic book series, there have been a couple of films, some video games, a musical. All of this is well-known and deeply dull. Less well-known is that there is a YouTube channel dedicated to the series. I’m not even sure how legitimate this channel is, because I can’t find a trace of it on the official Suske en Wiske website. Then again, nothing has been uploaded there in years, so perhaps they forgot about it as well.

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