All about ‘The Librarian’

Can’t get enough of The Librarian or its TV series spin-off? I am a self-confessed fan, and I have posted quite often on different aspects of the original TV movies. I had fun perusing my archives again, and you might enjoy The Librarian-themed posts, as well:

The Librarian

Click collage for image details

Next week, I’ll be back with an analysis post of a Christmas film — just in time for Christmas! <<<|

First impressions: ‘The Librarians’

I’ve done a few “first impressions” posts on this blog, which are not as in-depth as my usual film analysis posts; instead, they’re more straightforward reviews of my initial thoughts, impressions, and yes, personal biases. (If you’re interested in other “first impressions,” click here for the one about Monsters University, or the one about The Amazing Spider-Man, or the one about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.) As you could see from last week’s post, I was pretty excited about the upcoming TV premiere of “The Librarians,” a series spin-off from the popular “The Librarian” TV movies starring Noah Wyle as librarian adventurer Flynn Carsen.

And after watching the 2-hour premiere this past Sunday, I can say that yes, I’m still excited. :)

Here’s what I posted on Facebook immediately after the first scene:

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

What made me cheer? This exchange between Flynn and Eve:

Eve:  How’d you know all that?

Flynn:  I’m the librarian.

And here was my husband’s reaction:

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

I have a soft spot for “The Librarian” TV movies, which are admittedly cheesy, corny, and nerdy. They’re also fun. And that irrepressible, playful spirit all through the TV movies — lifelong learning is THE BEST, y’all! — also inhabits the spin-off series. I also have a soft spot for genre films or television that are unapologetic about their genre; I appreciate total commitment to whatever genre they’re going for. (See also my eternal love for films like SaltWhere Eagles DareDesk Set, EntrapmentEver AfterPitch Perfect, and even cheesy classics like White Christmas.)

You know what you’re getting in “The Librarians,” and I can appreciate that. I want cheesy, corny, nerdy, adventurous fun that also packs a LOT of learning. After all, that’s what this entire blog is about! ;)

I like that this series harkens back to the old serials of the early film era; there is something sweetly old-fashioned about this series, for all their casting of new, younger librarians. I like the throwaway moments like when Flynn stops to marvel at and repeat little-used and cool-sounding words like “vexing.” (Yes, I have been known to do that same thing in real life. The most recent times were for the words “voluminous” and “verisimilitude.”) I also like how much the TV series includes elements and inside jokes that reference the original TV movie — even bringing in the Papyrus font from the original movie’s credits! The series creators are playing to their fans, and yes, I am one.

I also like that the series is filmed in and around Portland, where I live. And that Oregon got mentioned in the 2nd episode. Go Oregon! (Read this review from our local paper, The Oregonian, which also includes some info about Portland locations used in the series.)

So, what’s “The Librarians” all about? There are 10 episodes listed on the TV show’s website, and the premiere included the first 2 episodes, “And the Crown of King Arthur” and “And the Sword in the Stone.” (By the way, extended episodes are freely available now on iTunes; you can also access them through the TV show website.) Someone is killing off librarians — I know, I gasped, too! — and Flynn, with the help of new guardian Eve (Rebecca Romijn), sets off to round up three remaining librarian candidates. In a clever link to the original TV movie, they were invited to interview for the librarian position that ultimately went to Flynn.

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

The librarian newbies are Lindy Booth as Cassandra (my husband’s fave), a math whiz who suffers from synesthesia; John Kim as Ezekiel, a hacker, tech whiz, and thief; and Christian Kane as Jake, a country boy who knows all about art and welding (my personal fave). John Laroquette also joins the cast as Jenkins, a stuffy, fussy man who manages the library’s annex — and who is tasked at the end to train the librarian newbies. The baddies — because there are ALWAYS baddies in “The Librarian” franchise — are unmemorable for the most part, but that’s nothing new.

I laughed, cheered, and groaned in equal measure throughout the premiere. Here are my favorite lines that I shared on Facebook:

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

Of course, other things bugged me. Like the pretty stereotypical (yet charming) character of Jenkins, who pretty much lines up with the Anti-Social Male Librarian character type. Two typical lines from Jenkins:  “This is the library, not the rodeo” and “Good. You’re leaving. I can get back to my work.”

I also sighed at the unrelenting theme that librarians hoard knowledge, like through lines such as “welcome to the secret world,” “knowledge that is locked away” and “the lengths the librarians will go to hide the gift of magic from the world.” That even spilled over into Flynn’s over-protectiveness of his position, insisting that HE was THE librarian.

But at the end, I enjoyed that Flynn, ever the Liberated Librarian, realizes that he cannot do it alone. That there is value in training new librarians. That he is part of a community. I love the message of librarian mentorship and training — something hardly ever explored in reel librarian portrayals! — and it’s clever that the librarian training, or “saving the world every week,” will serve as the structure of the series.

Oh, and I didn’t want to forget to mention one of the major stars of the show, as far as I was concerned:  the totally awesome card catalog that wraps along one side of the staircase in the library office. HELLO to the hotness:

Reel Librarians  |  First impressions:  The Librarians

I totally gasped when this first came on screen. (As did Eve a little bit when she first stepped into the library office.) Gasp-worthy indeed.

“The Librarians” scored over 7 million viewers in its premiere, making it the highest-ranked premiere of new cable series this year. Yay for the librarians, one and all! ;)

Did you watch the premiere of “The Librarians”? Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it!

‘The Librarians’ TV premiere

Last spring, I shared about the exciting news that TNT had greenlit a spin-off TV series inspired by the much-loved “The Librarian” TV movies starring Noah Wyle — and that the series would begin filming soon in Portland, Oregon (where I just happen to live). They did indeed film in the area throughout the summer, mostly around the Salem area south of Portland.

And even MORE EXCITING is that ‘The Librarians’ TV series will premiere this Sunday, Dec. 7, kicking off with a two-hour premiere episode! There are 10 episodes total listed on “The Librarians” TNT website.

They’ve also released a trailer, which yes, did get me fist-bumping into the air. How could you NOT with lines like these:

Chosen for their knowledge, chosen for their skill, these are no ordinary people. This is no ordinary library.

I’m offering you a life of mystery and adventure. More than that, I’m offering you an opportunity to make a difference. Save the world every week.

I love this job.

It looks like Noah Wyle, as librarian Flynn Carsen, is transitioning into a mentorship role, which I quite like. It fits the structure of a TV show, of course, but it also helps promote awareness of and need for mentorship in real-life librarianship.

So y’all know where I’ll be Sunday night. I’ll be back with my first impressions! :)

Cheers for library education

Reel Librarians  |  DVD cover for 'Cheers for Miss Bishop' (1941)Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) follows the story of Miss Bishop, a college English teacher, as she reflects on her life living and teaching in one small town. The write-up on the back of the case reveals most of the plot:

Tomboy Ella Bishop has blossomed into a smart, sophisticated woman… From a rocky start as a young school teacher to the unexpected adoption of an abandoned child, and finally as the venerated old maid who has inspired scores of her students to achieve greatness, Miss Bishop deserves three cheers!

The film plays like it aspires to be a female version of the 1939 classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Martha Scott plays the title role, from a young woman through middle age to a “venerated old maid.” We first meet Miss Bishop — yes, an educated woman who never marries — when she is an old woman, as seen below. She says to her old friend, Sam (William Gargan) that “looking backward [is a] great waste of time.” Perhaps not the most encouraging way to begin a biopic… ;)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Cheers for Miss Bishop' (1941)

As a young woman eagerly starting college at the new Midwestern University — graduating as valedictorian in the early 1880s — Ella Bishop’s character is quickly established through this exchange of two admirers:

There’s not another girl in the class that can touch her.

There’s not another girl in the whole world that can touch her.

Ella herself seems quite confident that education will NOT be her entire life, with these early statements:

You don’t think I’m going to spend all my life teaching, do you?”

And don’t worry, I won’t be an old maid. I’ll know when the right man comes along. But now… there’s so much to do.

The DVD cover tries to stir up more drama than is evident in the film with the tagline, “The woman they whispered about…” and the odd central photo of Ella Bishop embracing an older man, as seen below. But it is obvious that when compared to her silly, boy-crazy cousin Amy, Miss Bishop is portrayed in the film as a good girl.

Reel Librarians  |  DVD cover for 'Cheers for Miss Bishop' (1941)

After graduating, the college president Corcoran (Edmund Gwenn) offers Miss Bishop a teaching position at Midwestern to teach Freshman English; her first year of teaching is 1884. Her first year does get off to a shaky start, as when her first student enters the classroom and mistakes her for a fellow student, asking if the teacher has come yet! Also in that first class, she asks her pupils to write a brief essay about their life’s ambitions.

One student, Minna Fields (the cinematic debut of Rosemary DeCamp), nervously recites her speech, “Except to get learning, I ain’t got no special life’s ambition, yet.” In the very next scene, 15 minutes into the film, Miss Bishop advises Minna to be a librarian! Coming right after Minna’s statement that she “ain’t got no special life’s ambition,” this suggestion doesn’t come across as very encouraging!

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Cheers for Miss Bishop' (1941)

Miss Bishop: It just occurred to me that with that amazing memory of yours, you might be interested in the librarian’s course. It would be an interesting job, wouldn’t it, Minna?

Minna:  Oh yes, Miss Bishop. But… I have got a life’s ambition now. It’s to be just like you.

So that’s one potential reel librarian down.

Later, Miss Bishop defends Minna in a meeting whether or not to expel her because of a plagiarism charge — but it was a misunderstanding due to Minna’s “amazing memory” mentioned earlier. (By the way, we later find out that the student, Minna, became a “world-famous historian” instead!)

In a scene almost 40 minutes in, Miss Bishop has endured heartbreak in her personal life — her fiance jilted her for her boy-crazy cousin Amy — so she writes a letter to President Corcoran that she’s leaving for New York to become a librarian. However, he convinces her not to go!

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Cheers for Miss Bishop' (1941)

President Corcoran:  I’ve just received your letter.

Miss Bishop:  I thought it easier to write. You see, Mother and I are going to New York, President Corcoran. It’s an assistant librarian’s position.

President Corcoran:  Oh I see. Of course, It is a hard job, teaching. It never pays much, and lots of the time it’s a headache, wondering if it’s worthwhile…. You’ve got it, Ella, that magic touch that makes young minds open up and flourish. Of course, Midwestern must accept your resignation. But are you sure your New York public library needs you as much as [we do] here in Midwestern?

So there’s another potential reel librarian down the drain!

It is interesting that the film mentions a college librarian course, especially set in the year 1884. This minor plot point — promoting a librarian course for women at a midwestern college in the early 1880s — is stretching history a little. Because it wasn’t until 1887 that Melvil Dewey, often referred to in the U.S. as the “Father of Modern Librarianship,” founded the world’s first library school at Columbia College, now Columbia University in New York (after first proposing the idea in 1883). Dewey also insisted on admitting women as students — against the college’s Regents’ wishes — resulting in 17 female students enrolled in the program that first year. He also helped found the American Library Association, the oldest international library association, in 1876. You can read more about the history of library science education in the U.S. in this article, “History of American Library Science: Its Origins and Early Development,” by John V. Richardson, Jr.

So although this film highlights librarianship and library education — a rarity in cinema! — Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) ends up in the Class V category, as there are no actual reel librarians. I’m a little bit relieved, as Miss Bishop — who DOES become an “old maid” — would definitely have been a stereotypical portrayal.

And what did we learn about desired qualifications or motivations for pursuing a “librarian’s course” or librarian position? Based on this film, you need to either (a) have a good memory, or (b) be unlucky in love.

I’m one for two. ;)

7 faces of a liberated librarian

Thank you to everyone who voted in the second reader poll to choose the next film for me to analyze! And here you have it, a post about your chosen winner, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964).

“Here is the mysterious beauty of the far East and the roaring action of the far West!” [from trailer]

This film, based very loosely on the award-winning 1935 novel The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney, is a showcase for Tony Randall’s skill at comedic timing and accents — as the title suggests, he plays 7 roles in this film, including the title character. Legendary makeup artist William Tuttle also gets to display his mastery at special effects makeup — after all, he created the “7 faces” of the title — and earned an Honorary Oscar for his makeup work on this film.

Reel Librarians  |  DVD case and title card for '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

It’s a strange, uneven film that combines elements of the fantasy and Western genres; mysterious Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) brings a circus to a Western frontier town in Arizona while local newspaperman Ed Cunningham (John Ericson) woos the local teacher/librarian (Barbara Eden), a widow with a young son. The film plot reads like a mash-up of 1962’s The Music Man (a mysterious, shady character comes to a small town and woos the local librarian) and 1983’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (a mysterious circus comes to town, and the town librarian reconnects with his young son). Interesting that ALL THREE films — 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Music Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes — feature reel librarians in prominent roles. Hmmmmmm…

In 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Barbara Eden — one year from her iconic title role in I Dream of Jeannie — plays the town librarian and widow Angela Benedict. She receives third billing in the film’s trailer (but second billing in the film’s credits), but her profession is not mentioned in the trailer. Rather, the trailer highlights the different roles Tony Randall plays; everyone and everything else comes second — or rather, eighth. ;)

The first library scene begins 10 minutes into the film, as Ed putt-putts up to the library in his motorized bicycle — obviously a clue to his inner rebel! This also helps date the film as early 1900s, as motorized bicycles came to the U.S. at the turn of the century.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

The prop master wasted no time in featuring the main feature of the library set:  a big SILENCE sign front and center on the reel librarian’s desk. (Sigh.)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

Ever the rebel, Ed asks loudly if there’s anything to read, earning an immediate “Shhhhhh!!!” from the reel librarian and dirty looks from the patrons reading at a nearby table. Angela Benedict then directs him to the section on “courtesy and good manners” since he is displaying such bad manners by talking loudly in a library. Then he displays further bad manners by sneaking in a kiss on her neck!!! The librarian shouts in alarm, drawing even more attention. Ed laughs at her reaction, because sexual harassment is soooo funny. :(

Bias alert:  As a librarian who has had to personally deal with sexual harassment while at work — it’s an all-too-common issue for many, many librarians — I found this entire “romance” between Ed and Angela more than a little creepy and disturbing. So fair warning that I’m bound to get all-capsy in this post!

They then settle down to a legitimate reference question, as he wants a book on China (to look up the village Dr. Lao says he’s from), and Angela directs him not only to a particular shelf — “Section on Asia, third shelf from the top” — but also recites a specific book title, The History of China by D. Boulger.

NOTE:  Y’all know I had to look that book up, right? And it turns out, it’s a real book! D. Boulger is Demetrius Charles Boulger, who wrote several volumes about China in the late 1800s, including Volume I of The History of China available to read online here, published in 1881.

Ed then follows up this legitimate reference query by asking Angela on a date, something he has apparently tried several times before:

Angela:  I should think it would be clear by now that I do not wish to go out with you, Mr. Cunningham. Ever.

Ed:  It’s because you’re afraid.

Angela:  Of you?

Ed:  Of falling in love. Of being a woman. That’s what you are, Angela, underneath all those widow’s weeds.

Gross. Especially as Ed pauses to leer and eyeball her up and down before saying the last half of that sentence above, “underneath all those widow’s weeds.”

Angela is properly shocked at this.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

Unfortunately, Angela is saddled with a screenplay determined to make her an example of a “Liberated Librarian” character type — with her “liberation” coming at the hands of a man who cannot take NO for an answer. Because Ed obviously knows that secretly, deep down underneath all those widow’s weeds, she desires him. After all, he is apparently the only eligible man in town.

And in the VERY NEXT SCENE, we all get to see what is actually underneath all those widow’s weeds. Right after she kisses her son goodnight, Angela changes clothes in front of an open door as she continues a conversation with her mother-in-law. As you do. The framing device of looking through the door as Angela changes in her bedroom also increases the Peeping Tom creep factor.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

The next scene is a town meeting that takes place in the library, which seems to function also as the City Hall. (Note the two extra SILENCE placards in the library set below.) The scene involves a subplot about a businessman, Mr. Stark, who wants to “save the town” and buy everyone’s land before the water runs out.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

So there are THREE parallel plots going on here about male saviors:

  • Ed, who is trying to save the local librarian;
  • Mr. Stark, who says he’s trying to save the town from going under (but is really a charlatan under his waistcoat of respectability and 10-gallon hat);
  • and the mysterious Dr. Lao, who ends up saving the town from itself (even though everyone suspects he’s a charlatan and a so-called “dirty foreigner”).

During the town meeting, Angela stands up and asks a direct question:  If Abalone is as worthless as Mr. Stark says, why is he so anxious to buy it?

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

In Mr. Stark’s response, he also reveals more about Angela’s role in the town: Fair question. I’m glad you asked. Mrs. Benedict, you’re a teacher. A librarian. And as such, you can take a dull boy and make him into a smart boy.

Angela starts to reply and then gets SHUSHED by another lady, who says she ought to be ashamed of herself for doubting Mr. Stark’s integrity! That earns some librarian side eye.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

A majority of the film then focuses on the various sideshow acts — and characters — in Dr. Lao’s circus. One of these characters is Pan, who catches Angela under his musical spell. And OF COURSE, Angela immediately reveals her innermost desires — Ed was right all along! — as she imagines Pan’s face as Ed’s. This results in an unbuttoned blouse, messy hair, and heavy breathing. As you do.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

Just as Angela is about to kiss Ed/Pan, a noise distracts her, and she runs away, ashamed of her actions. But her lust lurking “underneath all those widow’s weeds” soon rises again to the top, as we later see Angela in her nightclothes, sweating and unable to sleep.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

The next night, Angela’s liberation is complete, as she has now cast off her dark, severe widow’s weeds and is bedecked in a feminine, frilly light blue dress and hat with blue flowers. She seems more at ease and flirts openly with Ed.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

There are conflicting opinions expressed throughout the film about Angela, the reel librarian. On the one hand, she’s praised — however condescendingly — as a teacher and librarian by Mr. Stark at the town meeting, and Dr. Lao later calls her an “estimable educator.”

On the other hand, we witness her own mother-in-law’s disapproval at Angela’s prim parenting style as well as her loyalty to her dead husband. And we also get this conversation between Angela and Ed, in which Angela criticizes herself — or rather, who she used to be:

Ed:  You remind me of someone. A woman I know. Name’s Angela Benedict… Ever meet her?

Angela:  No. But I’ve heard of her. She’s supposed to be a most unpleasant person.

Ed:  Oh no. Whoever told you, it’s is a lie. Angela’s, well, you see, Angela’s got a problem.

Angela:  What kind of a problem?

Ed:  The worst kind. Same as mine. Loneliness. It’s just about the worst thing that can happen to a person. See, people think Angela’s hard. People think she’s cold. Let me tell you she isn’t hard and she isn’t cold. She’s soft and warm. Only she’s afraid to let anyone know.

[Librarian side eye.]

There is one more scene set in the library, after Dr. Lao exposes Mr. Stark’s scheme. The public votes against selling their land to Mr. Stark, and Angela leads the clapping for Dr. Lao.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'

Angela Benedict as the small-town librarian is a classic Liberated Librarian role:  a young, trapped woman who “discovers herself” with the help of a man or in face of an adventure (or both, in this case). Angela herself explains the transformation:

I woke up, and I found out something. Just that there’s music in the air and that I’m a liar and worse. I’m in love.

So there you have it. Life lessons for us all. Single lady librarians who seem content in their independence and sensible clothing are all liars and need to acknowledge how liberating the love of a good man is. And then change right away into feminine, frilly dresses in pastel shades to demonstrate externally how love has transformed them into real women.

(Sigh.)

After all, we had learned this lesson not 2 years before in 1962’s The Music Man. One of the first things I noted after watching the film was how many similarities there are between the characters of “Marian the Librarian” in The Music Man and Angela Benedict in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Both Class II portrayals. Both Liberated Librarians who started off as uptight prudes with spectacles (or pince nez). Both small-town librarians transformed by love (and a frilly dress and hat).

Reel Librarians  |  The Music Man vs. 7 Faces of Dr. Lao

The Music Man is admittedly a superior film, and Marian Paroo has quite a bit more spunk than the character of Angela Benedict, who comes across as a watered-down, pale imitation of Marian the Librarian. It’s also telling that the character of Angela Benedict — indeed, the entire subplots of Angela and Ed, as well as Mr. Stark’s business proposition — was NOT in the book.

7 Faces of Dr. Lao was not a hit when it was first released, but it has become a kind of cult fantasy classic over the decades, most likely because of its special effects and nostalgic stop-animation sequences. The story, however, does not age well, nor do the numerous jokes at the expense of racism and sexism. The film is equal-opportunity offensive, however, making fun of the Chinese, rednecks, nagging housewives, Native Americans, “dirty foreigners,” and of course, librarians. In a film that features — no, celebrates! — a white man playing a gapped-toothed Chinaman, is it any wonder that is also includes a stereotypical librarian?

And last but not least, the 7 faces (or rather, facial expressions) of a Liberated Librarian:

Reel Librarians  |  7 faces of a Liberated Librarian

Until next time… :)

Reader poll winner

For the second poll winner — click here for the winner of the first reader poll — y’all chose 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) as your next adventure! I was a bit surprised — again — at the ultimate winner. (For some reason, I thought Idiocracy would win, but it garnered only 1 vote.)

Reel Librarians  |  Reader poll winner

So next week I will be back with a film analysis post about 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and Barbara Eden’s portrayal of Angela Benedict, a small-town librarian.

Fun fact:  Legendary makeup artist William Tuttle received an honorary Oscar for his makeup work on this film. (And by the way, the Academy Award for Best Makeup was not an official award category until almost 20 years later, in 1981!)

Stay tuned!

 

Reader poll: Choose your next adventure

Almost 6 months ago, I asked readers to vote for the next film for me to analyze. I liked the idea so much, I thought I’d do it again!

If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that the overall goal or mission of this website is to explore portrayals of librarians in film and what these reel librarians represent. I do that on a weekly basis through various kinds of posts, including film analyses. It’s a lifelong research quest to review and analyze librarians film on my Master List, and I have selected 5 more films for you to vote on.

Choose your next adventure!

Reel Librarians  |  Stack of reel librarian DVDs -- choose your own adventure

The following titles are from my personal collection, and I’ve tried to select a wide range of genres and decades for you to choose from. All of the choices have major reel librarian characters and/or minor characters who have a significant role or scene(s) in the film.

  • 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) — fantasy Western
    • Mysterious Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) brings a circus to a Western frontier town. A local newspaperman is in love with the local teacher/librarian, played by Barbara Eden, who resists his advances.
  • Adventure (1945) — romantic drama
    • A sea-going adventurer (Clark Gable) falls for a librarian (Greer Garson), but their relationship is no smooth sailing.
  • After Twilight (2005) — a short film
    • A librarian becomes an unlikely choice to be a freedom fighter. I’m sensing a Liberated Librarian arc! ;)
  • Idiocracy (2006) — comedy
    • An Army librarian (Luke Wilson) wakes up in the future to realize that he’s now the most intelligent person alive.
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — prison drama
    • Andy (Tim Robbins) works as an assistant in the prison library and becomes friends with the prison librarian, Brooks (James Whitmore). Although I’ve referred to this film a number of times on this site, it’s shocking to realize that I haven’t yet written a proper analysis post of this film. (Oh, Brooks, sob!)

What should I watch next? You decide!

The poll will stay open through this week, and I will reveal the winner next week. Click here if you’d like an insider’s look at what goes into a film analysis post. And if you’re interested, click here to see what films were part of the first reader poll, and here to read my analysis of the winning film.