Fall Soups & Easy Dinners (The Domestic Geek)

One of my favorite vloggers, The Domestic Geek, is sharing soup ideas through October 2016!  She also has a new e-book w/ soup recipes; you can download and share w/ family & friends who are looking to get/stay fit (just look at those who eat it regularly).


Below are dinner ideas (my friend is trying the shrimp one)!

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Chris Larabee Adams (Yul Brynner) drives the hearse while Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen) provides cover.

I’m not of the can-kicking, shovel-carrying, ear-scratching, torn T-shirt school of acting. There are very few real men in the movies these days. Yet being a real man is the most important quality an actor can offer on the screen.  -Yul Brynner

I saw this movie for the second time a few days ago; the first time, I didn’t pay much close attention.  The large ensemble cast is lead by Yul Brynner, undoubtedly one of the first leading men in Hollywood to transcend race.  Though his famed bald head is covered here, his unflinching gaze and deep authoritative voice (w/ its hard-to-place accent) are on full display.  In The Magnificent Seven, Chris is referred to as a “Cajun” by his old friend, Harry Luck (Brad Dexter).  It turns out that Yul’s paternal grandfather was of Swiss-German origin; his paternal grandmother was Russian, and was said to be of part Mongolian/Buryat ancestry.

Calvera (Eli Wallach, one of Hollywood’s most respected character actors) is the ruthless Mexican bandit leader.

I’ve never lost my appetite for acting; it’s innovative and challenging.  -Eli Wallach

Speaking of “exotic” men, the main villain in this story is played by Eli Wallach, the Brooklyn-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland.  He grew up in an Italian neighborhood; he would go on to play Italian and Mexican characters in his six-decade career. 

Eli Wallach is the main reason you should watch “The Holiday” (2006).

My wife says that stage acting is like being on a tightrope with no net, and being in the movies, there is a net – because you stop and go over it again. It’s very technical and mechanical. On stage you’re on your own.  -Eli Wallach on film vs. theater acting

Wallach (who died in 2014 at age 98) studied “The Method” alongside Marlon Brando at The Actor’s Studio; this style would’ve differentiated him from several of his co-stars in The Magnificent Seven.  He learned to ride a horse for this role, w/ help from the Mexican stuntmen. 

Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson) is a Mexican/Irish gunfighter becomes a hero to 3 young boys of the village.

Acting is the easiest thing I’ve done, I guess that’s why I’m stuck with it.  -Charles Bronson

Speaking of 1st gen Americans, Charles Bronson (best known for his tough guy roles in Westerns) was the son of Lithuanian parents who settled in Pennsylvania.  You probably don’t recall seeing him as a young man, since he was a latecomer to Hollywood.  Bronson worked in the coal mines at age 16 to help support his family, then served in the Army as a young adult, then used the GI bill to study art- VERY cool! 


In this film, Bronson has a rare good guy role.  Three boys in the village grow close to him, much to his surprise and bemusement. These kids admire his skills, but (in one pivotal scene) Bernardo explains that gunfighting is NOT what makes a man “brave.” 

Britt (James Coburn) is skilled w/ a knife AND gun.  Catch him in “The Great Escape” (also w/ McQueen & Bronson).

I came from dust bowl folk — ordinary people who were stultified by the American Dream. 

I’m a jazz kind of actor, not rock’n’roll.

-James Coburn

Tall and lanky character actor, James Coburn (who hailed from Nebraska), is here more for his presence.  He has only a FEW lines on dialogue, and his usual big grin doesn’t come out (NOT apropos for his quiet, no-nonsense character).

Lee (Robert Vaughn) suffers from PTSD as a runaway from the Civil War.

With a modest amount of looks and talent and more than a modicum of serendipity, I’ve managed to stretch my 15 minutes of fame into more than half a century of good fortune.  -Robert Vaughn

The relatively-unknown Vaughn was suggested for his role thanks to college buddy, Coburn.  There was an actors’ strike going on also, so director (James Sturges) was open to the idea.  He’s more known for TV than film; you’ve probably seen him in commercials for law firms (all over the US).

They youngest of the bunch- Chico (Horst Buchholz)- attempts to motivate the frightened farmers.
Chico discovers that the young unmarried women of the village are hiding in the woods.
Chico watches for Calvera’s gang while Petra (Rosenda Monteros) admires him.

The one member of the seven that provides some humor (as well as romance) is Chico, a young/inexperienced Mexican man who has something to prove.  Chris recognizes this, as well as his fast reflexes, and he joins in protecting the village.  Horst Buchholz is the German actor who was sought after to play this role.  The film was a hit, first in Europe, then was re-distributed in the US (earning high profits).  His accent does NOT match w/ that of the Mexican-origin actors, BUT that’s just something you have to ignore to enjoy this film.


Hmmm… what to say re: Vin (Steve McQueen)?  He’s got that trademark tan, gorgeous blue-gray eyes, and GREAT skills on a horse.  The way he gets on and off his horse is even cool!  I liked this role for him, as it has hints of humor.  However, I think he shines even more in The Great Escape (which I saw a few weeks ago for the first time).  You can’t deny that this actor has screen presence!    

The Mexican farmers await the arrival of Calvera’s gang.

Donald Trump (ugh) would NOT like this film!  Why is that?  The Mexican villagers in it are portrayed like REAL people- they venture out to another town to hire gunmen, show kindness and hospitality, and (eventually) take up arms to stand up for themselves.  Being border people, they speak English VERY well, too (gasp)!  The three leaders of the village decide that they won’t be victims anymore, then convince everyone else to join in the effort to get rid of the bandits.   

Devotion (1946) starring Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino & Paul Henreid

On the moors: Bramwell (Arthur Kennedy), Emily (Ida Lupino), and Charlotte (Olivia de Havilland) Bronte

I’m certainly relishing the idea of living a century. Can you imagine that? What an achievement!  -Olivia de Havilland

Devotion, filmed in 1943, but released in 1946, has some real-life drama behind it.  Olivia de Havilland is an actress w/ a goody-goody public image, BUT she waged a 2 yr. legal battle against Warner Bros. over extending her contract for time she spent on suspension (for refusing a handful roles that she felt were too small and unsuitable to her talents). She won the case in California’s Supreme Court and went on to freelance, making two films for Paramount.

MOST of you know de Havilland as Melanie Wilkes, the cousin/wife of Scarlett O’Hara’s first love, Ashley Wilkes, in Gone with the Wind.  Others may know her as the lady love of MANY different characters played by the swash-buckling Errol Flynn in 8 films (early in her career).  Olivia and her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, had a VERY combative relationship for most of their life. 

Ida Lupino (who is simply fabulous in Devotion w/ real-life close friend, Paul Henreid) was ALSO a trailblazer in Hollywood.  She was one of the first women to be inducted into the Director’s Guild of America.  Her paternal ancestors came from Bologna, Italy to England, from where she sailed to the US at age 15 to begin her own career.      

Emily wants to stay at home; Charlotte yearns for travel.

This film showed some of the biographical background that would shape Charlotte’s (Olivia de Haviland’s) and Emily’s (Ida Lupino’s) fiction.  Emily’s loved the wild moors, which would translate into her imagery for Heathcliff and Cathy Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights.  Charlotte had an infatuation with a foreign tutor she knew in Belgium (played by Belgian actor Victor Francen) which is used in creating the character of Paul in Villette.  Anne (Nancy Coleman), who wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, doesn’t have much to do in this film. 

The Bronte sisters with Rev. Arthur Nicholls (Paul Henreid) at a ball.

I’ve seen this film several times in my life. Each time I saw it, my heart broke anew for Emily Bronte. Miss Lupino’s performance was nothing short of wonderful. She truly conveyed the feelings of unrequited love.  -IMDB comment

The fiction is tied to a ruthless streak in Charlotte at her (perhaps more talented sister’s expense), especially over Reverend Nicholls (Austrian actor Paul Henreid from Casablanca).  In reality, Emily never yearned for Nicholls, or any man Charlotte liked.  Branwell (a young Arthur Kennedy, noted character actor in Westerns) is closest to Emily of all the siblings.  He tries to support her, but he becomes a drunk after failing to get a foothold in London b/c he doesn’t have any connections or much money.  (The Bronte’s father was a minister in a small/secluded town in Yorkshire.) 

Many literary critics consider Branwell as part of the inspiration behind Catherine’s older brother, Hindley Earnshaw, who becomes a drunk and gambler while away at college in Wuthering Heights.

Branwell was talented and educated, and had high hopes of success in the arts.  In fact, he planned to travel to London (and may have done so) to apply for the Royal Academy in 1834/1835.  His high hopes disappeared as he moved from job to job and scandal to scandal.  He wasted his life in drinking and drug-taking and was going through some of his worst situations when Emily was writing her novel.  It is likely that she based much of the degradation of Hindley on observations and experiences with the decline of her brother.  The Reader’s Guide to Wuthering Heights

Nancy Coleman (right), who played Anne Bronte, was model for Disney’s Snow White.


Disney’s Snow White with her forest friends.

In the last act of the film, Vanity Fair novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray (Sidney Greenstreet) escorts Charlotte around London, lending her his social prestige. However, he is more impressed by Emily’s writing (which is more imaginative and powerful) while Charlotte’s work is more polite.  Thackeray’s social snobbery comes out when he sneers at street kids in the East End (Not my public!), and when he warns Charlotte against Charles Dickens.