A big tip of the PSACOT hat to The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. Every aspect is superb, and its portrayal of a brilliant woman in a man’s world of tournament chess is a perfect metaphor for every woman I knew at MIT, down to the condescending looks from the guys that can be read as “I see you over there on the top of Mt. Stupid.” Since I love brilliant women, I loved this series. I don’t want to list everything that is wonderful, but if you hear Anya-Taylor Joy (Beth) speaking in her natural voice, you’ll be amazed, again, at how apparently easy it is (Peter Sellers to the contrary notwithstanding) to do an American accent. I haven’t read Walter Tevis’ book of the same name, but it must be great to bring this about. Kudos to everyone involved. The mini-series uses up the book, but that hasn’t prevented second series in the past. Here’s hoping it happens again. If you thrilled to the PBS coverage of Spassky-Fischer, this will take you right back. I am a terrible player, but I love chess talk.
Let me save you the trouble of looking it up: Beth isn’t real. Tevis based the film on his own life as a chess savant.
One element I might have forgotten to praise was the music, but coincidentally, this note from Daniel Dern arrived as I was finishing this item:
“We're enjoying watching the Netflix mini-series The Queen's Gambit, there's typically been two, maybe three songs per episode. Episode 3 or 4, taking place in the early sixties, included You're The One.
I was familiar with the song (from too much AM radio listening back in the day), but couldn't immediately conjure up who was performing it. Rather than recourse to the web, I waited, and sure enough, a day or so later, my little gray cells burped up, "The Vogues," which turned out to be correct.
(The song was written, it turns out, by Petula Clarke, news to me.)”
I remember the Petula Clark version from 1965; the Vogues sang it in 1970, our freshman year in college.