Friday, December 23, 2016

Episode 14: September Hope

September Hope is an excellent book by author John C. McManus that chronicles the American side of the WWII campaign against Nazi Germany known as Operation Market Garden, the Allies attempt to cut through the Netherlands and to Berlin to "end the war before Christmas". It is a compelling and well researched account that covers the operation from it's inception to it's agonizing conclusion.  Join Dave Kleinschmidt, Jeff Hallett, Mike Lembke and our special guest Jim McDermott as they discuss and pontificate about this interesting book. 

Download this episode (right click and save) Plane Sound Effects by Herbert Boland

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Episode 13: Planet of the Apes (novel)

In tonight's episode, we discuss the book that inspired a major entertainment dynasty. Did you even know that the movie classic, Planet of the Apes was based on a 1963 French novel, La Plan├Ęte des Singes by Pierre Boulle? That's the same Pierre Boulle that wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai. We're tempted to say it's a truth stranger than fiction, but we're talking about some pretty strange fiction here. Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Episode 12: Planet of the Apes (the 1968 Film)

If, in 1968, someone had told you that a movie about a planet ruled by intelligent apes was about to be released and it was destined to be one of the most enduring and fruitful franchises in movie history, you would have thought them nuts. But that's exactly what happened. After making its stunning debut, Planet of the Apes spun off four sequels, a TV show, comic books, games, toys and more. Then in the 21st century, it was rebooted (twice) and more films are planned for the future.

In today's episode of Spine and Sprocket, we discuss the original release starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans. It is a film that is well worth watching for the first time or again for the umpteenth time. Of Planet of the Apes, Roger Ebert said "there are some good action sequences, some amusing twists, some easily digestible sociological and philosophical points, and a thoroughly satisfactory surprise ending." That's true, Roger, but we think it's way better than that. Join Dave (an honest to goodness ape-o-phile), Jeff (bananas about apes) and Dennis (who never met an ape he didn't like) as we swing down memory lane and discuss our love of this science fiction classic.
  Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Episode 11: In the Heart of the Sea (film)

You'll want to grab a life jacket and an extra large popcorn for tonight's show. Here we discuss the film adaptation of In the Heart of the Sea, based on the National Book Award winning history by Patrick Philbrick. Based on actual events, the story follows the whaling ship, Essex, as she takes on a crew and sets out from Nantucket in the early 1800's. Bound for the plentiful whaling grounds of the Pacific on a journey considered commonplace in its day, the crew encounters terrors that will test them to their limits. Directed by Ron Howard and featuring a cast led by Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea is the kind of adventure you wish wasn't true.
  Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Episode 10: In the Heart of the Sea (book)

If you're like us, your high school years included suffering the torturous punishment that is reading Moby Dick. Ah, the agony of days and days floating and drifting amidst the endless sea of words, helplessly carried at the whim Melville's over-active currents of indecipherable babble. Oh, you survived, to be sure, but the trauma was such that you likely pledged a sacred vow to never again read anything about whales and whaling. We get it. But were going to ask you to reconsider. In today's episode we discuss Nathaniel Philbrick's factual, historical accounting of a whaling voyage gone very wrong. Hair-raising, heart-wrenching and ghastly, In the Heart of the Sea is a great read. A true story about men tested to the limits of their humanity -- and beyond.

You'll want to check out Philbrick's other excellent books at his web site.

Music for tonight's episode is courtesy of Erdenstern. For more information and other great tracks, go to their web site.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Episode 9: Defiance

We are back with a review of Edward Zwick's 2008 film Defiance. The film recounts the story of a partisan band in Belarussia that fought against the invading German Army during World War II. The film is [somewhat loosely] based on historical events and the unique aspect that this group of fighters were Jews, led by the Polish Bielski brothers. This is an engrossing account of a small group's courageous struggle against an unrelenting foreign enemy and barely sympathetic, anti-Semitic countrymen, while at the same time striving to honor and preserve the morals and traditions of their heritage. Defiance features memorable performances, skillful direction, and an excellent score by James Newton Howard.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Episode 8: Conan the Barbarian (the 1982 film)

Well folks if you like your movies big, you came to the right place as we take a gander at the 1982 film version of Conan the Barbarian starring Arnold Swarzenegger.  You will find that the music is big, the sets are big, the actors are big, and the weapons are really big! The film is visually stunning, you will have to give it that. The dialogue may be a bit stilted at times but you will have to have a look at the film for yourself sometime soon.

In the meantime, join us and our guests Mike and Dennis (and Brigitte) as we revel in the glories that are Conan the Barbarian. Do you want to live forever?

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Episode 7: Conan (short stories) Part 1

Whether you pronounce it Conan (like in co-author) or Conan (like in con-man) the fact that Robert E. Howard's most famous literary creation has become an enduring icon in culture -- both through the original writings and the many spinoff comic books and movies -- is indisputable. Tonight we start where it all began; we read and discuss the first three Conan stories in the order in which Howard wrote them.
  • The Phoenix on the Sword
  • The Frost Giant's Daughter
  • The God in the Bowl
Join us and our two guests, Mike and Dennis, as we dissect the barbarian's early adventures and start to unravel the mystery of his appeal.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Episode 6: Excalibur

Welcome back!
For this episode we have decided to take a noble gander at John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. It is a visually stunning film shot entirely in Ireland and is credited with gallantly launching the careers of Liam Neeson and others.  This is one of Dave and Jeff's favorite films from their young adulthoods.  Mike was not quite as impressed.

The film tells the story of the rise  of King Arthur and his court, and ends with (spoiler alert) Arthur's death and the return of Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake.

Roger Ebert said "As a panorama of sword and sorcery, however, it is very beautiful to watch. And as a showcase for Nicol Williamson's Merlin, it is sometimes a lot of fun; Williamson plays the magician as a medieval Noel Coward, always armed with the wry witticism. His relationship with Morgana (the lovely Helen Mirren) is actually the most interesting thing in the film."

So come, join us and our special guest Megan as we discuss, digress and wonder what's up with that?

Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Episode 5: The Sword of Shannara

We take a break from military history to tackle our second love, fantasy.  What better place to start than one of the first books written using the new theme of "mundane heroism" started by JRR Tolkien. Sure, The Sword of Shannara has its flaws but it does hold a special place in history as one of the earliest books in the fantasy genre to reach 125,000 sales in the first month of its publication.  Therefore it proved that the fantasy genre could sell and be profitable for a publisher, and it also showed that there were a lot of us fantasy fans out there in the real world. Author Terry Brooks had the right books at the right time in history.

 The book is part of a trilogy that includes The Elfstones of Shannara and Wishsong of Shannara.

Perhaps the new series The Shannara Chronicles on MTV may rekindle some interest in these books.
Hey, you gotta like that Hildebrandt Brothers cover painting anyway.  Look at that sword glow.

Audio clips for this episode are provided by FreeSFX at  
The music for this show has been provided by Purple Planet.  
We would like to thank our dramatic readers Rick Hollander, Darryl McDaniel, and Adam, Aaron and Megan Kleinschmidt

Download this episode (right click and save) 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Episode 4: The Fall of Berlin 1945

We believe the book we are discussing tonight The Fall of Berlin 1945 has been re-issued as Berlin: The Downfall 1945 Or maybe that is the European title of this well researched work of non-fiction.  Either way it will equip you to be able to give an historical rebuttal to your friends who insist that Adolf escaped to South America and lived out the remainder of his days in peace and margaritas. You will need a strong stomach to read this horribly fascinating book by Antony Beevor, that recounts the astonishing terror that accompanied the end of the Third Reich. The following quote from Beevor's webpage sums it up nicely....or should we say tragically? 

"The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Reich in January 1945. Political instructors rammed home the message of Wehrmacht and SS brutality. The result was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known, with mass rape, tanks crushing refugee columns under their tracks, pillage and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred because Nazi Party chiefs, refusing to face the reality of defeat, had forbidden the evacuation of civilians until it was too late. Over seven million fled westwards from the terror of the Red Army."

 After this sad historical study we will present something much lighter for you, our listeners, a book review of The Sword of Shannara and the John Boorman film Excalibur

The music for this show has been provided by Purple Planet.  

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Episode 3: Stalingrad

The topic of today's discussion is Stalingrad the 1993 film told from the German perspective. This movie provides many dramatic battle scenes in a gritty and realistic depiction of the Battle of Stalingrad. Although this is a German film it also provides a sympathetic view to the Soviet side of the battle. We are happy to be joined by our usual guest Mike Lembke and our special guest Renee Schiemann for this review.

This film follows a unit of soldiers from their R&R in Italy to the streets, sewers, and outskirts of the Soviet city of Stalingrad.

We may digress a bit from the central topic and hope that you do not mind hearing some spoilers along the way.  In order to discover what this film is like you will need to give this episode a listen. If you do not prefer WWII material, never fear, we will soon delve into our second love, Fantasy films and novels.
In the meantime, on to Stalingrad!

We hope you are looking forward to the next episode of Spine and Sprocket.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Episode 2: Cross of Iron

Today we discuss Cross of Iron, the 1977 film directed by Sam Peckinpah that tells the stories of a platoon of German Wehrmacht soldiers battling on the Taman Peninsula of Russia in World War II. Told in a bold, gritty style with lots of combat sequences, Cross of Iron has been called "a forgotten masterpiece", a critique we don't necessarily agree with. But we don't hate it either. Well, most of us anyway.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Episode 1: The Last Citadel

Here in our first episode, we discuss The Last Citadel by David L. Robbins. This novel of World War II is exacting enough in detail to sate the history buff, but it's equally thrilling and engrossing in execution to satisfy lovers of exciting action stories.

"Spring 1943. In the west, Germany strengthens its choke hold on France. To the south, an Allied invasion looms imminent. But the greatest threat to Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich lies east, where his forces are pitted in a death match with a Russian enemy willing to pay any price to defend the motherland. Hitler rolls the dice, hurling his best SS forces and his fearsome new weapon, the Mark VI Tiger tank, in a last-ditch summer offensive, code-named Citadel."

Spoiler alert: We don't hold back on our discussion of events in the book, so be warned. If you like to be surprised, we recommend you read the book before you listen. But even if we do reveal more than you may want to know, read the book anyway. It's that good. Otherwise Mr. Robbins has plenty of other novels you'll want to try.

Download this episode (right click and save)