Multimedia New Releases – June 2022



Music


Single Mission Team Players

One of the most exciting “plot devices” in movies is the agglomeration of a select team that embarks on a hazardous mission whose members generally expect to return in one piece.  Until the 1960s this phenomenon was rare.  The films in question cross genres.  Not included here are heist films (that began in earnest in 1950 with The Asphalt Jungle and Armored Car Robbery), which can be construed as a subgenre of film noir which itself is a subgenre of Crime, Mystery and Suspense.  Nor are superhero outings examined.  The Avengers, for instance, are always on hazardous missions, their skills well-known in advance. 

Perhaps the first example of the “single mission” team adventure is Northwest Passage (1940).  During the French and Indian War, Major Robert Rogers (Spencer Tracy) leads his wilderness savvy Rangers through the Maine wilderness and into Canada to destroy the St. Francis Indian encampment from which marauders have been despoiling Colonial homesteads.  The specialty of Langdon Towne (Robert Young) is map-making.  The mission accomplished, the Rangers split up to avoid capture by surviving tribesmen and French regulars.  (A “hidden” remake is 1945’s Objective, Burma!  One of the best combat movies made during World War II features Errol Flynn as leader of parachutists who land behind Japanese lines, blow up a radar station, and try to escape with minimal casualties.  As in Northwest Passage, the soldiers disperse during their return to Allied lines and half of them perish.)

A lengthy gap for this trope ensues but returns with a vengeance in 1960 with The Magnificent Seven, which was inspired by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai (1954).  Poor Mexican villagers hire American gunslingers to protect them from the imminent arrival of Calvera (Eli Wallach) and his numerous bandidos.  Chris (Yul Brynner) convinces six other gunmen down on their luck to join him and stop Calvera’s depredations.  Most do not survive.  (There are two sequels of lesser worth, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, 1969, and The Magnificent Seven Ride, 1972.  A major remake appeared in 2016, and as has become typical, adds high explosives plus a Gatling gun to cause carnage.)

Following on the heels of Magnificent Seven came The Guns of Navarone (1961), a monster hit and Academy Award nominee for Best Picture.  (West Side Story was the winner that year.)  After Major Franklin (Anthony Quayle) is injured, the small group of British commandos and Greeks are led by Captain Keith Mallory (Gregory Peck), expert mountaineer who helps them scale forbidding cliffs on their way to destroy two gigantic German guns preventing approach by ships tasked with rescuing British forces on the island of Kheros.  Taking a cue from Magnificent Sevens knife-wielding expert played by James Coburn, Stanley Baker is the blade virtuoso.  David Niven’s forte is explosives.  (Force 10 from Navarone was a 1978 sequel.  Peck and Niven teamed for a somewhat similar mission in 1980’s The Sea Wolves, with a German ship targeted for destruction.)

The Secret Invasion (1964) was a low-budget but entertaining harbinger as the plot is eerily similar to both The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Where Eagles Dare (1968).  Stewart Granger leads convicts with special skills (forgery, murder, explosives) into Yugoslavia during World War II to rescue from German captivity an Italian general sympathetic to the Allied cause. 

Another large and hugely enjoyable western used the team approach in 1966’s aptly titled The Professionals.  Lee Marvin leads a quartet into Mexico to rescue Maria (Claudia Cardinale), wife of rancher J. W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy).  Maria has been ostensibly kidnapped by Jesus Raza (Jack Palance).  Burt Lancaster plays the demolition expert.  Robert Ryan is master of equines.  Woody Strode is a scout and archer who facilitates explosives ignition.  On the strength of his Academy Award-winning dual role in 1965’s Cat Ballou and National Board of Review win for the same year’s Ship of Fools, Marvin was now far from his apprenticeship as the fifties’ and early sixties’ greatest screen villain (Bad Day at Black Rock, The Big Heat, The Wild One, Violent Saturday, Seven Men from Now, The Comancheros, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).          

Like The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen (1967) are trained and led by Major Reisman (Lee Marvin), training a diverse but highly dangerous group of army convicts whose mission is to parachute into France before D-Day and blow up a chateau full of German officers.  This they do but like The Magnificent Seven, only a few survive.  (The Devil’s Brigade, 1968, seems unashamedly beholden to The Dirty Dozen but was released not long after the 1967 movie and was based on a 1966 book.)

Where Eagles Dare (1968, U.K.).  Ubiquitous today on TV, this high-powered WW II saga (like The Guns of Navarone, from writer Alastair MacLean) stars Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.  The latter, after his “spaghetti western” trilogy, plus Hang ‘Em High and Coogan’s Bluff (both 1968)was on the cusp of superstardom.  As Lt. Schaffer, a sometimes demolition expert, he and Major Smith (Burton) infiltrate a German castle holding an Allied general with secrets to the forthcoming D-Day invasion.  One could argue this is not much of a team, but they are assisted by Mary Ure and Ingrid Pitt, who facilitate ingress and egress from the eyrie and make their escape with the men.  (Although she caused the screaming, in 1970 Pitt would claim title as Hammer Films’ signature scream queen in The Vampire Lovers.)  

Predator (1987).  Major “Dutch” Schaffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an elite extraction team enter the Central American jungle to rescue a cabinet minister held by insurgents.  Unknown to them, a space alien hunter lurks in the forest canopy and is soon picking off the humans and taking trophies.  At first glance the team members might seem like ordinary mercenaries but as the story progresses we see Blain (Jesse Ventura) operating a monstrous hand-held minigun that can sever small tree trunks and the scout Billy (Sonny Landham) choosing to confront the predator with a machete.  Richard Chaves plays a demolition man. 

The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).  The wizard Gandalf the Grey visits Hobbiton to inform young Frodo that he has a highly dangerous mission to perform with the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance:  return the “One Ring” to the volcanic pit of Mount Doom, thus foiling the evil Sauron’s quest for ultimate power.    Accompanying Frodo are three friends, a “Ranger,” an axe-wielding dwarf, an expert Elf archer, and the Gondor warrior Boromir.  Frodo’s perilous adventure continues in The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).  Retired adventurer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) leads a coterie of disparate entities against the “Fantom,” aka “M” and “Moriarty” (Richard Roxburgh), one-time nemesis of Sherlock Holmes now bent on starting a world war.  Quatermain’s crew includes the ageless Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo, Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, Mina Harker and Tom Sawyer.  The film made a bit of money despite being roundly criticized as an incoherent mishmash.   

Inception (2010)  Leonardo DiCaprio is a thief enlisted to form a team, invade an industrialist’s subconscious, and convince him to dissolve a company.  That’s the short synopsis of this heady science fiction action adventure, a sort of futuristic “magnificent seven.”

Films that some might include in this survey but I did not are The Wild Geese (1978; aging, no longer elite mercenaries), Aliens (1986; overconfident squad of Marines), Saving Private Ryan (1998; regular soldiers undertaking rescue mission). An outlier that could be construed as a Single Mission Player is the French classic of 1953, The Wages of Fear.  Four down-and-out men of disparate backgrounds marooned in South America drive—carefully—two trucks loaded with nitroglycerine to a distant oil well that is aflame and must be capped.  (Director William Friedkin’s 1977 movie Sorcerer is an unacknowledged remake.)

By Kim

Multimedia New Releases – May 2022



Music


Multimedia New Releases – April 2022



Music


Dream Town – David Baldacci

Multimedia New Releases – March 2022



Music


The League of Alternate Superstars: Dana Andrews

Carver Dana Andrews was one of 13 children born on a Mississippi farm in 1909.  (Actor Steve Forrest was his brother.)  In 1931 he tried his hand at singing in Los Angeles.  His film career began when given a contract with Samuel Goldwyn Productions but he became more of a fixture at 20th Century-Fox.  He was versatile, playing detectives, westerners, soldiers and sailors.  He came in for some small praise in David Shipman’s The Great Movie Stars:  The International Years:  “…he never got in anybody’s way, his sober-citizen appearance made its own mild contribution to the texture of the films in which he appeared.  He projected a certain authority, grave-faced and grave-voiced, a certain masculine concern and an air of restrained heroism—all qualities used well in his two best films, The Ox-Bow Incident and A Walk in the Sun.”  (At least Andrews made the book.  Shipman was often unusually harsh in his examination of many actors’ careers.  In his short analysis of Andrews in The Best Years of Our Lives, he said he was “good” under director William Wyler but that his co-star, Virginia Mayo, soon to be a frequent Danny Kaye partner, as Andrews’ trampish spouse, gave “her one good screen portrayal….”—despite dozens of star outings!)  In The Hollywood Story, Joel Finler ranked Andrews an “important star” in his 20th Century-Fox star pantheon chart.   

The Ox-Bow Incident

Andrews rose through the ranks and early on, as Shipman observed, received his best early notices as a lynching victim in 20th Century-Fox’s The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) with Henry Fonda in the lead.  Back at Goldwyn that same year, he was directed by Lewis Milestone, heralded helmsman of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and frequent future combat films, including The North Star, a propaganda film extolling Ukrainian resistance to the German invasion of the Soviet Union.  Andrews was in that, too, as well as Milestone’s The Purple Heart (1944).   

Then came Laura (1944), one of the most universally praised noir films.

Laura

Eddie Muller, host of TCM’s series Noir Alley, considers Andrews the finest exemplar of the ubiquitous fedora worn by cops and hoods alike.    

Andrews never stopped acting, in film and on stage.  He was a fixture as military officers in the 1960s.  See The Satan Bug (1965), In Harm’s Way (1965), Battle of the Bulge (1965), and The Devil’s Brigade (1967).  Andrews was dogged by alcoholism for many years but finally licked it and spoke on behalf of the National Council of Alcoholism in 1976.  Andrews died in 1992 at age 83. 

Dana Andrews’ Most Significant Movies

The Ox-Bow Incident (20th Century-Fox, 1943)  A vigilante posse rounds up three men (Andrews, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan) they think are cattle rustlers.  The well-taken arguments against a lynching by Gil (Henry Fonda, who himself witnessed mob violence and the ensuing lynching of an African-American in Omaha in 1919) are disregarded.

The Purple Heart (20th Century-Fox, 1944)  Downed U.S. airmen are put on trial by the Japanese.  It’s a “kangaroo court” and they are tortured and scheduled for execution.  Andrews is the officer in charge of the prisoners.

Laura (20th Century Fox, 1944)  In probably one of the top six of the crime subgenre known as “film noir,” Andrews begins his era as a fedora-wearing detective, here investigating the presumed murder of the beautiful Laura (Gene Tierney), whose portrait haunts him.  The Los Angeles Times reviewer was much impressed by individual scenes:  “There is one that is outstandingly enacted by Andrews, while he is alone in the apartment of the murdered woman.  A portrait hanging on the wall reveals the magic that she exerts and is a symbol of this spell.  It is action carried out without a single word being spoken, yet it is remarkably compelling.  The audience at the Fox Wilshire last night quite evidently fell under the hypnotic influence of the scene, for under ordinary circumstances it would have appeared too protracted.  But its force was fully conveyed.”  The Film Noir Encyclopedia extolled Andrews’ performance:  “Overshadowed by Clifton Webb’s marvelously idiosyncratic performance as Lydecker, Andrews’ quieter portrayal deserves more attention. With his haunted eyes, taut yet sensitive mouth, and softly insinuating voice, Andrews is a highly evocative screen presence, conveying more with a look than many actors do with a soliloquy.  As the pragmatic, unromantic cop who, when asked by Lydecker if he’s ever been in love, replies, ‘A doll in Washington Heights got a fox fur out of me once,’ he is only able to love the perfumed ghost of a woman he believes is dead, and who becomes a dream expressed in a work of art.”  

State Fair (Fox, 1945)  Andrews could sing a little, but the studio forgot and he was dubbed.  Wearing a straw fedora, he squires Jeanne Crain around the Iowa State Fair in this famous piece of Americana featuring two Rodgers and Hammerstein songs that became standards:  “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” and “It Might As Well Be Spring.” 

A Walk in the Sun

A Walk in the Sun (Fox, 1945)  One of the best and most realistic U.S. combat movies made during the war is not openly propagandistic.  (Others in this small fraternity include Sahara; The Story of G. I. Joe; Destination Tokyo; They Were Expendable; Objective, Burma!)  Once more it’s Lewis Milestone in the director’s chair.  Leaving the Salerno beachhead in Italy, a U.S. platoon is entailed with rousting Germans from an isolated farmhouse.  Casualties inflicted by air and ground cause command to devolve onto Andrews’ Sergeant Tyne.  War Movies called it “memorable” and gave special praise to Andrews and Richard Conte. 

The Best Years of Our Lives (Samuel Goldwyn, 1946)  The multi-Academy Award winning masterpiece from director William Wyler about returning veterans features Andrews as a Fred Derry, former bombardier, seeking something more than a soda jerk job and finding that his wife has been no paragon of virtue during his absence.  Andrews is center stage in one of the great scenes in cinema history:  walking dumbfounded through a bomber graveyard, a multitude of planes rolled straight from the factory to these broad fields outside Boone City.  Destination:  scrap heap.    

Canyon Passage (Universal/Walter Wanger Productions, 1947)  Relatively unsung and rather unique Technicolor western was filmed on location in the Pacific Northwest where settlers try to co-exist peacefully with the indigenous tribe.  The fly in the ointment is the brutish Honey Bragg (Ward Bond), who kills a female tribe member, inciting a war.  (The late radio DJ and movie maven Ken Garland said that if you are asked to name a character actor in a particular old movie and must guess, guess Ward Bond.)  Andrews plays a freight transporter and Bragg’s nemesis.  Susan Hayward’s flaming red hair vies with the scenery for accolades.  “Dana Andrews’ work may be the best of his career, as the steady-nerved, pipe-smoking Logan Stuart,” wrote Brian Garfield in Western Films:  A Complete Guide.

Boomerang (Fox, 1947)  Director Elia Kazan’s third film—before classics like Gentleman’s Agreement, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and Viva Zapata—was termed a “docu-noir” by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini, whose commentary on the DVD is exceptional.  Based on the real-life murder of a clergyman in a Connecticut town, vagrant John Waldron (Arthur Kennedy) is given short shrift by the legal establishment and townsfolk until State’s Attorney Henry Harvey (Andrews) realizes that the so-called evidence is shaky at best and dismisses charges.    

My Foolish Heart

My Foolish Heart (Samuel Goldwyn/RKO, 1949)  The accidental demise of her new beau, Walt Dreiser (Andrews) leaves Eloise Winters (Susan Hayward) with an unexpected child, no husband and the potential for ostracism.  Based on J. D. Salinger’s “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut,” this film version was hated by the author, but it’s an affecting tearjerker with one of composer Victor Young’s greatest tunes.  Andrews makes the most of his screen time.   

Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox, 1950)  A well-regarded (“dialogue is consistently pungent,” said The New York Times Guide to Movies on TV), Otto Preminger-directed noir features Andrews as detective Mark Dixon, so angry his father was a hood that he metes out his own justice on the criminals with whom he comes into contact.  Ironically, he accidentally kills a miscreant and decides to lay the blame on mob boss Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill).  It’s a recipe for personal disaster. 

Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon; Columbia, 1957)  Scoring 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, this terror tale is based on M.R. James’ classic 1911 short story, “Casting the Runes.”  Arriving in England to participate in a parapsychology conference, the skeptical Dr. John Holden (Andrews) finds himself confronting the seemingly benign Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis), unaware that the man is a satanist capable of summoning a noxious demon whose horrific mission of murder cannot be thwarted once the spell is cast.  Incredibly unsettling horror from Jacques Tourneur, a master of all genres (I Walked with a Zombie, Cat People, Out of the Past, The Flame and the Arrow) who’d directed Andrews in Canyon Passage.  You will see the demon, which irked some critics, but the most perspicacious realized that not showing it would provide no fun at all. 

By Kim

References

Christy, Marian.  “Andrews Conquers Drinking Problem.”  South Florida Sun-Sentinel (June 21,1985).

Finler, Joel.  The Hollywood Story.  1988.

Garfield, Brian.  Western Films:  A Complete Guide.  1982.

Garland, Brock.  War Movies.  1987.

Morella, Joe.  The Films of World War II.  1973.

Schallert, Edwin.  Los Angeles Times (November 17, 1944).

Shipman, David.  The Great Movie Stars:  The Golden Years.  1970. 

Silver, Alain, and Ward, Elizabeth.  The Film Noir Encyclopedia.  3rd ed.  1993.  Julie Kirgo on Laura.

Thompson, Howard, ed.  The New York Times Guide to Movies on TV.  1970. Vieira, Mark A.  Into the Dark:  The Hidden World of Film Noir, 1941-1950.  2016.

Multimedia New Releases – February 2022

Movies



Music


Audiobooks

Postwar NYC on Film:  Comedy and (Mostly) Crime

Until I revisited The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) a few years ago, I did not realize that my memory regarding the locale for this movie was faulty.  I recalled Danny Kaye bopping along the streets of New York City in sunny, broad daylight amongst a bustling throng of equally jaunty New Yorkers.  It was uplifting, suggestive of prosperity and optimism.  The U.S., after all, was one of the few belligerents to come out of World War II with its terrain and cities intact.  It had been the “arsenal of democracy” and reaped the benefits of victory.  However, my recollection that Mitty was filmed on the actual streets of New York was in error.  Except for some long shots of Times Square and various avenues, it was obviously not.  For instance, when Kaye exits a taxi and leaves his multi-film costar Virginia Mayo behind, the action takes place against a studio backdrop.  (I wonder if my recollection of a decades’ old Peter O’Toole TV interview is also in error?  I’d like to think he did tell the host that when he came to New York after the war he was astounded that he could buy a hotdog on every street corner.  No such delicacies could be had by Londoners.)   

There was indeed postwar on-location filming in New York City by major Hollywood studios:  crime movies.  Unlike Mitty, whose main through story is actually of a criminal mien involving Dutch crown jewels hidden from the Nazis and now in the U.S., these films were most definitely not cheery.  Nor were they in color.  However, much of the filming was done on location. 

Made during the war but released shortly thereafter, The House on 92nd Street detailed the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to break a German spy ring.  According to The Hollywood Professionals, actual footage of espionage agents was supplied by the FBI:  “material which had been secretly filmed by their own agents, and that had been top secret information during the War.”  FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover was enlisted to provide verisimilitude.

House was not only noir, but perhaps the first “police procedural,” a crime movie filmed in semi-documentary fashion and based on real cases “torn from the headlines!”  Often there was a narrator, like an actor with an authoritative voice such as Reed Hadley.  Audiences became privy to FBI labs and all the methods our crime fighters employed to bring to justice veterans unable to adjust to peacetime and used to killing in the biggest criminal activity of all, war.  (As late as 1968 reviewers commented not only on Bullitt‘s now iconic car chase sequence, but the fascinating look behind the scenes of crime-solving, as in Steve McQueen’s detective hanging out in the San Francisco city morgue to confer with a doctor, and the use of telecopiers to solicit passport applications from Chicago almost in the blink of an eye.)   

Looking back, one sees that daytime filming was necessary to show monumental government buildings wherein law enforcement worked tirelessly to stymie gangsters and racketeers, Nazis, and as time went by, Commie spies. (Terry Moore’s hash-slinger in 1955’s Shack Out on 101 exemplified this mindset in a barely disguised piece of propaganda or, if you will, hokum:  “Just you wait until I pass that examination.  Instead of coming to see me in this broken-down beanery, you’ll, you’ll walk into a great big beautiful government building, and I’ll be sitting behind a big desk doing….”) 

According to The Film Noir Encyclopedia, many of the actors in The House on 92nd Street were nonprofessionals.  Some were true blue FBI personnel.  The director was Hollywood veteran Henry Hathaway.  Audiences would see his handiwork again.

The same year as Walter Mitty but very much on the opposite side of the coin was Kiss of Death, the famous noir starring Victor Mature and in his film debut, Richard Widmark as the psychopathic Tommy Udo, who pushes the wheelchair-bound Mildred Dunnock down the stairs.  As he had done with The House on 92nd Street, director Henry Hathaway did much on-location shooting.  Oddly, according to The Film Noir Encyclopedia, cinematographer Norbert Brodine made “a row house in Queens look like a soundstage set.”  Other locations included the Sing Sing Correctional Facility (formerly Ossining Correctional Facility) and the Tombs (Manhattan Detention Complex). 

In The Hollywood Professionals:  Producer Louis De Rochemont used the director’s on-location work experience to convince 20th Century-Fox’s studio head Darryl Zanuck that “semi-documentary crime films would be perfect for postwar audiences because of the factual or apparently factual basis of the material created with the assistance of official bodies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Hathaway acknowledged crowd control as a drawback.  Spectators had the habit of mingling with actors.  Incidental secondary noises like dogs barking or shouting children had to be ignored.  A big problem was transportation via six large equipment trucks shuttling between 76 sets.    

The Naked City

Most famous for on-location shooting in NYC in this period was The Naked City (1948).  This truly exemplified the police procedural.  Said The Film Noir Encyclopedia:  “The real star of the film becomes the city, which can take on a variety of personalities.  It is truly a mysterious entity imbued with all sorts of stories and affectations.  The Naked City is unlike most of [director Jules] Dassin’s other films, as it is a vision of the world that forsakes subtlety and deals almost exclusively with black and white absolute truths.”

To sum up, to my chagrin the close-ups and medium shots in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty were not, as I’d misremembered, filmed in the skyscrapers and deli’s and on the streets of New York City.  The comic potential inherent in on-location urban shooting was there but a longer gestation period was needed before it flowered.  The good news was that the exploration of postwar on-location filming in NYC identified some very influential crime films:  The House on 92nd Street, Kiss of Death, and The Naked City.

By Kim

References

Canham, Kingsley.  The Hollywood Professionals:  Volume 1:  Michael Curtiz, Raoul Walsh, Henry Hathaway.  1973.  Includes quotes on Kiss of Death from publicity handout.

Ursini, James, and Ward, Elizabeth.  The Film Noir Encyclopedia.  rev. ed.  1992.

January 2022 New Releases – Multimedia




Audiobooks


Self-Help Audiobooks to Help You With Your New Year’s Resolutions

You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

Offers a blunt and irreverent guide to achieving the money, relationships, career, and happiness that one desires through recognizing and doing away with self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors.

The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter One Month at a Time – Jennifer Ashton

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is an ob-gyn and news correspondent. But even at the top there’s still room to improve, and with The Self-Care Solution, she upends her life one month at a time, using her own experiences to help you improve your health and enhance your life. Dr. Ashton becomes both researcher and subject as she focuses on twelve separate challenges. Beginning with a new area of focus each month, she guides you through the struggles she faces, the benefits she experiences, and the science behind why each month’s challenge can lead to better health.

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, read Samuel Johnson, and my Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life – Gretchen Rubin

Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions—and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well. 
With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives. 

Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges – Amy Cuddy

Harvard psychologist and TED star Amy Cuddy reveals how to unleash your boldest self to heighten your confidence, influence others, and perform at your peak. Filled with stories of people facing challenges from job interviews to asking someone out; scientific research on how our bodies change our minds; and strategies like power posing, “Presence” is a must-read for anyone yearning to project their true power.

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away my Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More than Anything You Can Buy in a Store – Cait Flanders

“The Year of Less” documents Cait’s life for twelve months, during which time she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping, decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings. Blending Cait’s story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The year of less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life — and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less.