I watched The Queen’s Gambit, seven episodes, over a week or so after I would go to bed. I started getting to bed a little earlier and watching a little longer as the week progressed. It is a great series, filling in the mysteries with the flashbacks into her past. I really liked the custodian, William Shaibel, as he was not only the chess tutor but the missing dad in her life.
When they played and he said “You resign now” and turned her King over, it was perfect. The scene where little Beth breaks into the dispensary and, in her drug induced greed, ends up smashing the giant glass container, as everyone looks on, is hilarious.
I was very suspicious of her non-speaking adoptive father from the first time I saw him. I thought he was going to end up doing something horrible to Beth but luckily the bad he does is quickly handled by her buying the house.
As a chess player myself, I enjoyed all the chess talk during the movie while I imagine some watchers just sat in a glazed over stare during these scenes. Her drunken mom really lit up at the thought that Beth could actually win them money, and let them live a great lifestyle, in beautiful hotels.
The chess pieces she would see on the ceiling, in her drug induced states, was very interesting as she would figure out just what moves to make in her games. Another of my favorite moments was how she handled the church ladies that came to her house. I was laughing out loud!
Another one was betting Benny $10 a game that she could beat him in the fast chess games. Her learning Russian made the scenes where they were talking behind her back, but we knew she understood, great.
I loved the groovy sixties music during the movie (“You’re the One” by The Vogues, “Comin’ Home Baby” by Quincy Jones, “Bert’s Blues” by Donovan, “Along Came Mary” by The Association, “The Gift” by Storefront Church,
“Fever” by Peggy Lee, “Bye-ya” by Thelonious Monk, “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” by The Monkees, “Teach Me Tonight” by Nancy Wilson, “Stop Your Sobbing” by The Kinks, “Pink Champagne” by Georgie Fame & The Blue Fames,
“Yeh, Yeh” by Georgie Fame & The Blue Fames, “Tut tut tut tut” by Gillian Hills and “Jimmy Mack” by Laura Nyro). My favorite was “Venus” by Shocking Blue which Beth was watching on television and danced around the house during her downward spiral into drugs and alcohol.
Watching this series makes me want to read the 1983 book by Walter Tevis. The show was acclaimed by critics and got one of the highest ratings I’ve seen on Rotten Tomatoes – 97%. The series was created by, written by, produced by and directed by Scott Frank ( he wrote Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Flight of the Phoenix, The Interpreter, The Lookout, Marley & Me, A Walk Among the Tombstones and Logan).
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