It has been a long while since I have reviewed a Canadian Heritage Minute, but since this is the sesquicentennial year of Canada, seems like maybe I ought to do a few this year. Let’s get on it.
I have little faith that this one comes from an actual historical event. They wanted to make a piece about Frontenac’s refusal to surrender, sure, I can get that. I may not be big into tying a country’s military victories so close to its worth, but I can see the appeal. That makes sense for this thing. But to fill out the minute, we are given this nameless guy who steps out of the crowd to show off. I mean, look at his twirl accompanying the “Ah Oui, Lieftenant!” This guy is the class clown of 1690 Quebec. He just wants eyes on him instead of this silly war thing. He comes up with such winning jokes as getting names and ranks wrong, then calling someone an idiot. Grade-A material there, guy. And then he does the fakey, Errol Flynn-style sword fight. Again, all for show. This guy and his little comedy stylings probably did not actually exist in the real history of these events. And that’s a damn shame. Also of note, I love the anger in the American’s “General Phipps!!!!” line.
And then Frontenac gets to be in the last couple seconds of his Heritage Minute.
I like this one! Five out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake.
It’s 1935 and all is not well in the penitentiary system. But here comes Ol’ Agnes MacPhail to bust some heads. She’s the first woman to check out the conditions in the prison and she doesn’t like what she sees. Her train of thought seems to be: “Hey, beating these guys up isn’t making them better citizens and actually might cause some problems in the long run so, maybe let’s not do that?”. The guys in Parliament assure her that she’d just too delicate, because she’s a boobhaver, to know what prison is all about. She shows them what actually goes on in the prison (I guess they’d never actually bothered to check) and seems to pretty quickly get people on her side.
It’s a good thing to remember both our first “woman MP” and that improving prisons is a good thing, so that’s nice. The “Is This Normal!?” is definitely memorable, but it is not especially useful as a quoteable line. The parliament scene reminds me of the bit in the Moment about the women in the medical system. An established patriarchy trying to shout down the women who are trying to making progress. At least that other group had some glorious sideburns. I think I settle somewhere about Four out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake here.
This Heritage Moment is all about an immigrant couple on the olden times prairies building a Soddie, which is like a house for people who don’t have access to wood. All there is to it is these people suffering to make a home for themselves set to stirring music. Brave pioneers who built (that part of) our nation.
I’ve pointed out a couple of these moments that get by on only one or two cast members, and this is like those. It does it well. This couple, their horses, and some cool facial hair are all that carries us through. They seem like a likeable pair and that makes it all work. We’re happy when they build their house at the end and we try not to think about how they probably end up dead a few winters later anyway.
To be honest, there ain’t a whole lot to say here. Perhaps the biggest failing of this one is that the woman sees something “over there” and we never find out what. It couldn’t possibly just be a weak set-up for her husbands line about “the same flat country everywhere”. She must have seen something. And Canadians need to know what. Four out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake.
Well this one is depressing. To sum it up, Tommy Prince was a really good soldier and helped out in several different wars. When he came back home, his life sucked because life pretty much sucks for all aboriginal people in Canada. And his life continued to suck until he was dead forever. But this one guy at his funeral pointed out how that was sad, so that’s a plus.
I don’t remember this one from my youth. Probably its a newer one, but even if it had aired back then I don’t think there’s any good quotes to be seared into brains in this one. I kinda like how it looks like he might be dressing himself at first, but then it turns out he’s a corpse. For some fraction of a split-second I was able to believe that he had just dressed up in his uniform to lay down in the coffin. I’d do that if I had access to a military uniform and a coffin. But sadly, no. He’s just dead is all.
Not much else to say here. I definitely think that it is worth drawing attention to the fact that First Nations people have so many disadvantages. Still, all this Moment does is draw attention to it. The fact that Tommy Prince died in 1977 and it’s still true… Well. Depressing. Three out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake.
It is 1930 and it is Montreal. Mary Travers just bursts into a recording studio and records her song. It’s a hit! Hooray Canada!
There’s some stuff to like in this one. I like to think that the recording studio owner guy is trying to get home to see his family and this woman just ruins all his plans. He first uses his unique magical ability to know if someone has ever recorded before to try to dissuade her, but that isn’t any good. He tries to lie about having no records, but his Idiot Henchman Georges doesn’t realize he’s lying and tells her they’ve got plenty. Finally Mr. Owner tries to bring money into the matter, but Idiot Henchman Georges helpfully points out that Travers’s offer is “a working man’s salary for a month” in case anyone from an era with inflation is watching. The record is made and the owner’s family grows ever more distant because he never comes home on time.
I like this one well enough. It’s not super quotable, though Idiot Henchman Georges could be quoted if I ever saw the chance, I guess. But it moves along quickly, has humor and a nice soundtrack. I’ll hand Four out of Five Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake to this Moment. Skimming Wikipedia makes it clear that this didn’t go down like this in real life, though. I think I’m going to have to start deducting some Pieces of Cake from real life one of these days.
I gotta respect La Bolduc for singing in some kind of crazy messed-up fictional language. That sure is a bold move. Good night everyone!