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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Dreadful War Films   Sun 23 Sep 2012, 23:57

The Battle of the Bulge was shown on Ch5 this week. The film ends with a statement which in essence was about it conveying factual events in such a way as to to portray the spirit of the conflict. It didn't mention which planet though. I have not seen the huge tank battle plains of Belgium - or where they put the trees during the war - and the snow - if this the Battle of the Bulge that I thought I knew something about.

There are other war films as dreadful, I know. Which ones are your bugbears?
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 01:38

I saw it as well… certainly not the same battle as I’d seen documented in the ‘World at War’ series currently being screened again. But it went from bad to worse… and then got worse. A disgrace really to the poor souls that got wasted on both sides of the conflict.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 09:13

There are so many to choose from. Some are bad due to the acting, some due to the script, some due to the storyline, and some due to the fact that they are pure fantasy and bear absolutely no similarity even to the theatre of war they are pretending to portray.

To qualify as noteworthily dire they nearly have to ring all these bells so I nominate "The Green Berets" and in more recent times "Pearl Harbour" (the "heart-wrenching" scene where Roosevelt gets up out of his wheelchair and miraculously walks apparently had them crying in the cinemas in the States - had me crying too, with laughter).
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alantomes
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 21:09

Anything with John Wayne in it. That guy won wars single-handedly if you believe the American spin on things.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 21:19

Well, Zulu bids fair to be one of the best, and also one of the worst, because of the errors.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 08:02

Braveheart, if it counts as a war film
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 11:07

No, AlanT. You are wrong. Robert Mitchem won the war.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Thu 27 Sep 2012, 14:48

I've only seen part of Pearl Harbor but it was enough to convince me of its dreadfulness. Give me Tora! Tora! Tora! any day - I know it has its flaws, but it's far superior.

The endless films with American tanks very obviously standing in for German ones, without any apparent attempt at modification, always annoy me even if the film is decent enough. Same with the American stand-in for the Graf Spee in Battle of the River Plate, which doesn't look anything like the real thing - the third main turret is a big giveaway! Still, on the whole the films themselves probably aren't bad enough to qualify for this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 12 Nov 2012, 18:07

Braveheart, perhaps, though I have never met anyone who took it seriously.

I loved the route taken by "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves from southern England to Nottingham, via a tree I have sat under near Hadrian's Wall.

I'm not sure whether I can award the prize to U-571 as I haven't seen it.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 12 Nov 2012, 22:37

@brenogler wrote:


I'm not sure whether I can award the prize to U-571 as I haven't seen it.



They've probably already awarded it to themselves anyway ....
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Sun 06 Jan 2013, 14:04

Battle of the Bulge- American gun-testosterone and propaganda again (Even though Patton, who charged in to 'liberate' Bastogne near the end) really was all that).

What I always find distasteful is the fact that the US authorities airbrushed out the vital halting action of British XXX Corps, who halted the German armoured thrust towards Antwerp.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Sun 06 Jan 2013, 15:03

Listening to the US version of WWII it seems they won it all by themselves, Johnny.

And too much air brushing goes on in historical films in general. I rarely watch them these days, they are not worth the aggravation.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 07 Jan 2013, 18:50

Too true, ID, sadly.

I wonder which films are the most accurate?
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Sat 12 Jan 2013, 23:50

Not today's Ch 5 about an attack on a naval base in occupied France. To be honest I only watched 4 mins but after a bad opening the credits arrived to say that It was total fiction......... based on 'How to do the Sante Nazarre Raid Properly' or so I deduced from the iron jawed officer who was going to get it right this time. As it was made in 1968 it must have sunk without trace before veteran commandoes got him on one side for a demonstration of such arts as they had..... I once worked along side a commando from behind lines raids. he was the gentlest man I have ever known. He said he was packed of to Scotland because he was so tall but there learned skills that he had had to use and which would haunt the rest of his life.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Sun 13 Jan 2013, 20:05

I saw the opening lines uttered by Lloyd Bridges in a very manly Hollywooden way, reminiscent of his later comic role in Airplane (1980)...and also switched off.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Mon 14 Jan 2013, 22:32

@brenogler wrote:
I loved the route taken by "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves from southern England to Nottingham, via a tree I have sat under near Hadrian's Wall.
Ridley Scott's 2010 film Robin Hood is even worse.

In it there is a scene in which we are meant to believe that King John and his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine spoke RP English and are annoyed that John's wife Isabella of Angouleme only speaks French (which they don't understand). Later we see Robin and the English army ride from Nottinghamshire to the south coast in a matter of hours and then defeat the invading Dauphin's army on the beach immediately after they landed in 1216. Louis' year-long rule of southern England never happened apparently.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 15 Jan 2013, 10:49

I tend to think a bad war film is bad for the same reason that Philippa Gregory novellas are bad - not intrinsically because they contain historical inaccuracies, or even clumsy and inept workmanship in their construction (which can, albeit rarely, lend some narratives a naive charm), but because in some instances they claim to be a factual record and their creators will not brook opposition to this stance. This introduces dishonesty into the equation and sabotages any discerning viewer's appreciation of what they're looking at.

But even honest film-makers face a big problem. The real challenge with a war film is that it is almost impossible to recreate for dramatic purposes the true nature of war. Interminable and often unbearable periods of absolute boredom interspersed with unspeakably terrifying interludes of cruelty and gore are the two impressions by far the most frequently reported by veterans of sustained periods of combat. Neither of these lend themselves readily to simple graphic portrayal without the medium corrupting the essence of the experience in the translation. Some productions ("Band of Brothers" for example) have made a concerted effort to get this aspect of war across to the passive viewer with some success, but the vast majority rely solely on the inherent excitement of combat when it erupts to carry the story. These are therefore actually simple dramas with a selective aspect to war as their backdrop and have a tendency therefore for the author to abandon more cerebral methods of inducing excitement in the plot by simply defaulting to that which the combat readily provides. This, to me, makes for the worst war films of all, and it is a failing that invariably covers the bulk of them.

Those which have had most success as close to honest narratives seem to be those which concentrate almost exclusively on quite specific incidents within a war, having first engaged their audience in the characters of the main protagonists. They may still not be the most accurate in terms of historical fact but as long as they do not pretend to be such a thing then they have the greatest chance of leaving the viewer with a feeling that they have still gained some insight into the events depicted and their effect on actual people.
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Johnny Hus
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 15 Jan 2013, 20:14

Nordmann, I agree- even the 'best' war films, which in my view include Lawrence of Arabia and The Battle of Britain, both very enjoyable, contain either mistakes, film-maker's license, composite characters or telescoped events.

So would you say that the full film version (originally a series) of Das Boot fits many of the positive criteria you think makes a great war film?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 16 Jan 2013, 08:49

I wasn't as enthusiastic about Das Boot as the hype around it suggested I should be. I actually saw it first on ARD in West Germany when it was new and its main "wow factor" at the time was principally that it was the first time a lot of Germans saw a series or film (it went out in several episodes on ARD) set in the Second World War in which they were portrayed as normal human beings and not caricatures. Also the casting of Jürgen Prochnow as the captain automatically gave it huge kudos in Germany at the time. He was still mostly associated with the film "Die Konsekvenz" which had recently played such a huge role in changing society's attitude towards homosexuality.

But yes, it was also one of the few films which really tried to get across the absolute tedium experienced by the crew and the claustrophobic life they endured while serving in the navy during the war. Many people still believe that it dramatised an actual crew and U-Boat from the period due to this level of realism.

Another film I remember from around the same time was Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron" which also had a fair swipe at portraying enlisted men's experiences of the Eastern Front in the Wehrmacht. It was panned in the US as being too anti-war, too violent and too "Peckinpah" but in Germany it struck a real chord and became the biggest grossing film since "The Sound of Music" - even outgrossing Star Wars which had just come out in the same year.

What both of these films have in common of course is that neither claimed to be depicting actual events but set out to portray war's effect on ordinary individuals. This can make for a much more "realistic" cinematic experience than films which set out to be dramatised documentaries of significant events during wartime, such as "The Battle of Britain" or "A Bridge Too Far". In both of these (and a few others we could mention) the cameos and action scenes overtook the narrative in places and simply left one wondering why one had sat through the whole thing only to come away with a Ladybird Book synopsis of events, no significant new insight into the topic portrayed and a crush on Susan Hampshire.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 16 Jan 2013, 09:47

I don't watch many war films, though I do remember enjoying Ice Cold in Alex a lot, but perhaps it's not quite a war film.

We saw A Bridge Too Far not long ago and found it very muddling - it did seem to attempt to fit in far too much of the actual history and people and it just became confusing to people who didn't know all the events in advance. Might be a very different experience if you know everything in advance and understand all the people involved. Quite a good movie for picking the stars though.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 16 Jan 2013, 21:57

Caro- it definately does help to know the campaign and characters involved beforehand, as I agree- it's very star-filled and comes at the viewer from different locations (ie. Elliot Gould at the bridge; Redford crossing the river, Connery getting trapped in the attic, Hopkins trapped on the bridge, etc etc).

I went to see it aged 12 (we couldn't get in to see Rollerball!) with two mates and it totally baffled us at the time!
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 16 Jan 2013, 23:41

I wrote a long post about this that went into the ether. I began by agreeing with nordmann about something so it may well have been censured or withdrawn. I finished that post by saying that star struck war films make it inevitable that one knows who will save the situation/day/ mankind. Mitchum, Wayne and Holden come to mind the joker will be British. Band of Brothers first time round had lesser known actors - but now it is Damien spotting time. he does introspection so very well, doesn't he?
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 05 Feb 2013, 16:54

@nordmann wrote:
Many people still believe that it dramatised an actual crew and U-Boat from the period due to this level of realism.

To be fair, U-96 (the submarine in the film/series) was a real boat, and several incidents are based on real events (albeit heavily fictionalised); the film is based on Lothar-Gunther Buchheim's novel of the same name, which in turn was based on his experiences serving aboard U-96 as a war correspondent.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 21:26

Oooh, first post...... (hopefully not my,ahem "Last Post")

Any film that uses clips of other films in it. Two I can think of are: "Mosquito Squadron" that used bits of "633 Squadron" (and lets be honest that wasn't a great film)

And some film that used the "special effects" from "Tobruk"

Regards VF (long lost BBC History Board message board user)
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 22:15

Nice to see you here, VF. Why has it taken you so long?
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 22:55

@Caro wrote:
Nice to see you here, VF. Why has it taken you so long?

I got lost! The BBC history boards sank and by the time I got to the surface I was disorientated !
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 23:43

Well, well, VF the old gang is getting together - are you a refugee from The Bull now the Archers site is closing? I hope you like this one - use shortcuts for speed and do look at the visual aid threads that embellish this site. The others are very clever at finding all manner of entertainments lifted from other sources to embellish ours. I am more of a spectator or a thread crasher on occasion.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 13 Feb 2013, 19:16

@VF wrote:
@Caro wrote:
Nice to see you here, VF. Why has it taken you so long?

I got lost! The BBC history boards sank and by the time I got to the surface I was disorientated !
VF,
I have a vague rememberance that you started with "virtual fletch" or something like that. Had a look in the dictionary, but "fletch" seems not to exist. If my memory is right please enlighten me. Now this year 7O, my memory isn't perhaps that good anymore as before...
Happy too to see you again and on these boards....
Kind regards and with esteem,
Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Wed 13 Feb 2013, 20:26

Virtual Fred, wasn't it? I remember misreading it as "Virtuous Fred" and thinking "You are iin the wrong place, mate."
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Thu 14 Feb 2013, 06:04

Hi Paul,

Fletch means to put the feathers on the end on an arrow or 'to fletch an arrow'. Fletching are the feathers and a Fletcher is the person who practiced the craft. Also where the surname originates. A very skilled occupation once, but a dying art these days.

I remember VF as Virtual Fletch too, but everyone abbreviated the name to VF.

Edit. Just had a quick look at the etymology, [Middle English fleccher, from Old French flechier, from fleche, arrow, of Germanic origin;
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PostSubject: Re: Dreadful War Films   Thu 14 Feb 2013, 15:09

Hi Paul,

Nice to hear from you again! Yes,originally I was "Virtual Fletch".

Then I got shorter! "VirtualF" and then finally VF! I have stuck with VF now for many years!

Hi Island dawn! Yep apparently at some point many many years ago my ancestors made arrow flights! Who for?I don't know! Fighting
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