Welcome to Pogue's Pages!

I'm POGUE...known by many as Chuck Pogue, a few as Charles Pogue, and billed professionally as Charles Edward Pogue...just because it really looks BIG splashed across a theatre programme or a movie screen. From that last remark and the profile on the left, you can see I'm a theatre man...And the term "theatre" encompasses stage, film, TV. I've been shooting my mouth off on other people's blogs and message boards for forever. So having finally gotten the hang of it, I've decided to build my own soapbox from which I can pontificate, blather, and muse...mostly on theatre, film, writing, music, books...but ultimately anything that interests me, irritates me, or just catches my fancy. I invite you to join me. I'll try to be faithful and update regularly, so that when you visit there will always be something fresh percolating and maybe even provocative that we can discuss, dissect, or debate.

Charles Edward Pogue

Sunday, July 5, 2009



I watched the latest James Bond entry, Quantum of Solace, last week (a stupid title). As much as I like Daniel Craig, this may be the worst Bond film ever. First of all, the plot is almost indecipherable (and I’m very good at following convoluted plots)…very much dependent on knowing too many details from the last one.

If you’re going to be a sequel and can’t succinctly recap in less than five or ten minutes the info the viewer (and one who might not have seen the previous film) needs to know and integrate it easily into the flow of the narrative, then don’t do a sequel.

Even a sequel should work as a stand-alone film and not carry over a bunch of crap from the last one that has no dramatic impact because, if we saw it, we all saw it a year and a half ago, and can’t remember the details. I still haven’t been able to get through the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie because it is so rife with plot points, characters, and details from the first two I don’t remember. I’m going to have to watch them in a marathon screening sometime.

Which I suppose is what studios want you to do--go out and buy those DVDS. All this started with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, it seems…probably the best of the Star Wars movies...except for its cliffhanger ending which deeply disappointed me at the time. But at least George Lucas did not overwhelm us with so much info that we couldn’t hold the elemental strands of the plot until the next film. It was pretty basic…princess in jeopardy, Hans Solo in a form of suspended animation, and hints that Luke Skywalker has interesting parentage.

I know when I wrote PSYCHO III, the biggest challenge for me was to have a stand-alone movie…one that, even if a viewer had not seen the previous two, he could still understand what was going on in this one and enjoy it on its own merits. This required some deft use of flashbacks culled from the first two movies and some hopefully quirky dialogue and scenes that had dramatic impact and did not stand out like deadly exposition.

But back to Quantum of Solace. Not only do they not satisfactorily clear up the dangling threads from the last film for the viewer, characters appear and disappear so fast without any kind of establishment or development (Were they in the last film? Who are they? Where did they come from? Why should we like them, hate them, fear them?), I don’t really know who they are or what I should be feeling about them. Even Judi Dench is boring.

But worst of all, the action scenes are so choppy and kinetic that you cannot get any sense of perspective or know where you are or just who shot at whom or who threw what punch or who jumped down from where. An example: the film opens with Bond in a black car pursued by villains in a black car. The cars are not clearly delineated. The cutting is so abrupt and jarring, in this herky-jerky, mile-a-minute attention-deficit disorder style that I couldn’t tell who was who half the time. My eye was not allowed to linger on anything for more than a few seconds, if that. So much of the action is in fast cuts and quick close-ups or such obvious CGI that you get no sense of geography or spectacle at all anymore.

And that was what was fun about the fights, chases, and stunts in a Bond movie, there was a sense of spectacle and amazement because, first of all, you knew where you were and had a perspective on everything. And secondly, it didn’t happened at such a frenetic pace that you could still absorb it, take it all in, and enjoy. You could revel in the details. There looked to be some stunning scenery and locales in the movie, but it all went by in such a blur, I really couldn’t say.

In the older Bonds, you also had enough slower-paced scenes where you could actually hear the dialogue, get some exposition, and follow the narrative. I liked my Moneypenny and Q scenes.

I know the younger generation is supposed to be able to assimilate images and info faster, but it’s not a race! It’s a story! Luxuriating in its journey…its nuance, colour, and detail…should be the point. I found this, like so much of today’s film-making, to be assaulting and it just wore me out. Give me time to savour the story…visually, aurally, emotionally, intellectually. It’s a movie; not a carnival thrill ride or a video game. And, frankly, it doesn’t even provide with me any basic visceral thrills. It’s just big, fast, and loud. Maybe I’m a geezer, but I’ll take GOLDFINGER.


Sarah Palin reminds me of a certain type I used to be introduced to at Hollywood parties. While they’re talking to you, they’re looking over your shoulder to see if someone more important has come into the room that they should be schmoozing with.

Tip to Mark Sanford: You can’t really say you’re hoping to fall back in love with your wife while, with your next breath, you’re referring to your paramour as your “soul mate”.

Tip to Mark Sanford’s wife: If he’s calling his paramour his “soul mate”; no point in saying you’re trying to forgive him. Throw him out and press on, it’s over.

Sanford’s press conference spewings have been the most bizarre amalgamation of confession, therapy, and locker-room braggadocio I’ve even seen. It’s just not his pants he needs to keep zipped. I somehow can’t quite buy his contrition or his invoking of God and religion when he can’t restrain his own eagerness to enumerate the times he’s “crossed the line” with his romantic dalliances. I’d respect the guy much more if he just owned up to the fact that he’s a randy bugger and he gave up his governorship and went off with his lover.


All technology must now stop until after I’m dead. Most of my scripts have been typed in a Wordperfect macro in an old DOS system (those that weren’t typed on a typewriter). The last time I upgraded everything, my computer guy out in LA had, through some miraculous means, managed to finesse it so that I could not only retain my old DOS files, but also print them up, whenever I needed to produce one of those scripts.

In the meantime, I had already acquired Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter, programmes for script writing. I have been able to transfer most of my macro-DOS scripts and other documents over into Movie Magic…though, of course, much of the style was not recognized and so often dialogue or character indentations and other such nuances are not formatted properly and all of these transferred scripts require tweaking and editing to comply with Movie Magic’s formatting, something I’ve yet to do.

And rather than deal with that onerous task, I’ve just kept printing scripts up from the old DOS system. No can do anymore. A few months back, something went wrong somewhere…and I can no longer print out my old DOS files. My new computer guys hardly even know what DOS is.

Of course, I have hard copies of all these scripts which I can run off at Kinko’s. But this ain’t LA. I don’t know what it costs per page in LA anymore, but when I left, it was still hovering around 2 and a half cents to three cents a page. Kinko’s here in Kentucky is at least 6 or 7 cents a page. Even worse, though they can three-hole punch paper, they don’t sell brads…the fasteners used for three-hole punched paper. I have to special order the one and a half inch brads from a local business supply dealer, if I want to bind my script in the traditional way.

These are the little irritants I'm forced to endure here in Kentucky-- which, unlike LA, is not used to everyone and his brother having a script to print and bind. But even in LA, I had become reliant on printing out scripts on my own laser printer. With most of these epics now trapped in DOS, which I cannot longer access, this has become problematic.

Fortunately, most of the film scripts I don’t really have to run off that often. Where I’ve run into a problem is with my Sherlock Holmes play script, THE EBONY APE. There have been a few requests for it (Rick St. Peter, Actors Guild Artistic Director, is a fan of it and has been touting it to several theatres). The script is a hundred and thirty five pages. That can run into the money if I must rely on Kinko's. I can (and have) transferred the script over into Movie Magic and could just go through the tweaking and re-editing process, but...I don’t like their play format. I prefer Final Draft’s format, similar to the one I use and in which the play is already typed. But I can’t transfer my old DOS script over into Final Draft. So…

…I am laboriously re-typing the entire script into Final Draft’s playwriting programme.

In truth, I really need to bone up on both Movie Magic and Final Draft, because I know there are advantages to both these systems that would make my life easier that I’ve yet to discover. But here’s the other wrinkle: despite how little I’ve used these programmes, they are already fairly old and more advanced versions are already out. I’m always behind the curve on this stuff and will never catch up.

My friend, actor Larry Drake, and I were joking a while back that if we couldn’t ply our trade in the drama game, we would be virtually unemployable, because we have no viable business computer skills (Just updating my acting resume the other day was a chore). At our advanced age and with no marketable skills, the best we could hope for would be to become Walmart greeters.

By the way, any representative from a legitimate theatre who would be interested in either THE EBONY APE or my TARTUFFE adaptation, send along your info and let’s discuss.


Speaking of unwanted technology, just as I get into the blogging thing, everybody’s jumping into Facebook with a passion. I keep resisting, knowing I already waste an inordinate amount of time on the internet. But I may have to relent; even every fogey I know is on it these days. And I do see its merits and advantages, just as I fear its time-squandering possibilities on what seems to me mostly trivia.

A pal said he had five different scrabble games going on facebook. Sorry, if I’m going to play Scrabble, I want a card table, the board, and the tiles. Part of the joy of playing Scrabble or any game is the camaraderie, being able to banter and comment while someone is plotting their next move. Face-to-Face contact…it’s what I crave in most of my social activities…which, ironically, is not what “face”book provides.


No more on the LexArts cutting Actors Guild funding allocation for the coming year. But the comments to various articles have been very interesting, as well as bringing up some hitherto unkown issues. Read about it here.



A TCM DOCUMENTARY ON THE FILMS OF 1939…largely considered the greatest year for film, an assessment with which I’d agree. After watching the exhausting Quantum of Solace, seeing clips of these meticulously made movies was so relaxing and calming. It was also nice to see film scholars and pals, Rudy Behlmer and F. X. Feeney, two of the best in the business.

1776…This is a 4th of July tradition with Julieanne and me. One of my favourite musicals and amazing history. When you think of these remarkable, brilliant, talented, committed men who formed this country and then think of the George Bushes and Sarah Palins who actually are thought by a third of the populace as qualified leaders, you get sick to your stomach at the intellectual decline of this country.

More CHEYENNE…starring Clint Walker. Warner Brothers, which produced the series, was great at recycling material they owned. I’ve seen several movies in their library re-fashioned into Cheyenne stories…an old Errol Flynn western, ROCKY MOUNTAIN; THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE with Rod Taylor as the Tim Holt character, character actor Edward Andrews as Bogie, which made Clint Walker Walter Huston, I guess; and, perhaps the weirdest of all, Bogart/Bacall’s TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT, transplanted to Mexico during the French occupation. Character actors Myron Healy, Robert Wilkie, and Andrew Duggan seem to appear in every other episode.


LOTS OF MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS…as I re-type THE EBONY APE script. I need music sans lyrics.

THE NOW SHOW…on BBC Four Radio. Very funny comedy on the week’s current events with Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt.


A FRIEND’S LATEST MYSTERY NOVEL…for which I need to supply a dust jacket blurb.

NIGHTWEBS by Cornell Woolrich…short stories by Woolrich. Woolrich’s prose can gather you up and carry you along, despite his plots’ often-wild improbabilities and frequent lapses in logic. His pay-offs don’t always live up to his brilliant set-ups, but, boy, he can grip you and suck you in.


  1. Just FYI Pogue, Movie Magic has some new Stageplay format templates for Screenwriter 6. The official Dramatist Guild formats for Modern Stage Play, Traditional Stage Play and Musical scripts.


    Hope that Helps - Chris from Write Brothers

  2. It might. I'll have to check it out. I prefer the type where the action is columned on the right-hand side of the stage, as opposed to being bracketted in parantheses (ala a Sam French/Dramatist playscript).

  3. RE: Bond.

    Why the hell would even a super villain build his house on top of big, easily ignited boxes of fuel in the desert with nothing else around to hit in the middle of a shootout?

  4. It aint your mamma's Bond, that is for sure.

    You want a shitty Bond movie? View To A Kill or Liscense To Kill.

  5. Adam, yeah, okay, the Roger Moore Bonds eventually almost became Warner Bros. cartoons. And though the formula had gotten rather tired by the time Tim Dalton stepped in, he's an actor I've loved since first seeing him in LION IN WINTER (and, he's a great Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He almost makes self-pity attractive) and he did restore some of Bond's gravitas and lethalness.

    I think Daniel Craig makes a great Bond, but I just thought Quantum of Solace as a Bond vehicle didn't help him. I liked his first effort (though it was a tad overlong).

  6. Yeah, "License to Kill" is the worst Bond. QoS was okay, but I do agree with all your critisms. It would have helped if they hired a director who actually made an action movie before. The only great ones in recent memory were both directed by Martin Campbell. Both new Bonds went downhill quickly with other directors.

    If you want to get into more specifics on your dos files, I might be able to help you recover them. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss.

  7. Grant, recovery of my DOS is not the problem. I haven't lost them, they're still there, I can get in them, even work on them. I just can't print them up anymore. Let me re-phrase that. I can't print them up in my old DOS Wordperfect files anymore. I think I can actually print them up into a Windows Microsoft Word format, but it screws up the pagination and does not recognize the DOS Wordperfect macro format they're in, so I can not properly edit or work on them in the new format. I think rather than trying to cling to the old DOS, it may just be time to try and catch up to the times a little bit.

  8. Here's what you should do with your old scripts. Take your hard copies, hire some teenager with no money and lots of time, and have him sit next to a scanner and scan them in, page by page.

    Then just convert them into a PDF document. Everybody and their cousin can run of a PDF document. You don't even have to print them, if you can't find the brads. Just email them off to everyone who needs them. Saves money, and trees.

    Maybe that'll work. You're in a more enviable position than I, at any rate. I lost all my old DOS files.