Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.



Hounddog Review: The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie?

While the sexualization on screen of a twelve year old actress is dismissed by the filmmakers and some anti-rape organizations because it's intended to focus on a grave crime, one hand washing the other is not the point.



  1. To paraphrase Miller's review, "the one low point" in this review is when it is said that the character Charles enlightens character Lewellen "that Elvis is shamelessly ripping off black music and the original "Hound Dog" by Willie Mae 'Big Mama' Thornton".

    Not only Elvis did not shamelessly ripped off black music (he lived it, starting at age 7, adored it, then appropriated it, for the better of every teenager, and music listener, black or white, as early as on July 5, 1954, when he fused the two most important music idioms then existent in America namely r&b and c&w, and created a third, rocakbilly, which is totally different...) but, on top of all that, the original "Hound Dog" was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two jewish kids from New Jersey, who offered that song to her, an African American performer, in 1953.

    And, in spite of Mama Thornton's version having topped the Billboard and Cashbook's r&b charts, back in 1953, it was the much different Presley version (harder, and now with diffrent lyrics, cleverly applied for a man to sing, also), that was seen by 30 (2nd Berle Show), then 40 (Allen Show), then 60 (1st Sullivan Show) and finally 62 (2nd Sullivan), million TV viewers in the four and a half month period from June 5, to October 28 of 1956. That's a total of almost 200 million cumulative viewers, and let's not even mention its 11 week stay at the top of the US singles charts, throughout the summer of 1956, as 'the other side' of "Don't be cruel", which was written by Otis Blackwell, another outstanding African American musician who was not ripped off by Elvis Presley.

    So, as the plot in the movie wished to reveal (wrongly), it was one of those appearances (at the 2ns Berle show, in June), that impresses the character, not any leftover radio airplay that Thornton's version may have had in 1961, which is when the action takes place. That the scriptwriters failed to notice that Presley did not tour the nation in 1961, nor realized that the 1956 Berle appearance was not ever re-broadcast, in 1961 when the action takes place, is neither here nor there, but it is nevertheless erroneous.

    At least, in both "Forrest Gump" and "Indiana Jones IV" the action takes place in 1956 and 1957, and Presley's rendition of "Hound Dog", which can be seen, in the former, by the lead character over a window display, was authentic, showing the real Presley, to boot. In the lattre, it is the radio that the characters are listening to, so Spielberg takes us there, on ride that could very well have taken place, as the single was heard, not just in 1956, or in 1957, but even today, on radios across the world.

    In short, "Hounddog" has a series of holes, and its description of Presley's appropriation of the song is not entirely satisfactory, either..

    Guillermo P

  2. Bravo on Prairie Miller's review of "Hounddog." As solid a voice as she has been on radio over the years, her insights in print are just as impressive. Enlightening and humane, her critiques certainly deserve the widest readership possible.


    Prof. B. Judell

  3. Dear Mr. Miller: If anything, you're being generous to the filmmakers! But you bring up a point that, because of the landmark depravity of the film with children, many have overlooked. That is the continual denigration of that land that Hollywood hates the most (the South) via the vehicle of "Southern Gothic". That they likewise used children in a pornographic nature in order to make this film takes it beyond the despicable. You'll notice that Empire's publicists have fallen back on the two year old lie of "it's not about sex, it's about music"... right along with the old pornographers' excuse of "it'll raise awareness of the issue"- another vicious falsehood. The current release date is September 19th- after two previous reschedules. The deeper into the election season they get, the more cover it'll be liable to provide them from culture watchers and outraged parents.