Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in ..../includes/class_bbcode.php on line 2958
Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear
Türk porno yayini yapan http://www.smfairview.com ve http://www.idoproxy.com adli siteler rokettube videolarini da HD kalitede yayinlayacagini acikladi. Ayrica porno indir ozelligiyle de http://www.mysticinca.com adli porno sitesi devreye girdi.
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Buffalo, New York

    Default Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear

    He groaned at Valkyrie and despaired at Saving Private Ryan. The award-winning historian takes aim at the war films that make him furious – and reveals his own favourite
    Antony Beevor

    Tue 29 May 2018 11.38 EDT
    Last modified on Wed 30 May 2018 05.05 EDT

    For a long time now, my wife has refused to watch a war movie with me. This is because I cannot stop grinding my teeth with annoyance at major historical mistakes, or harrumphing over errors of period detail. She only made an exception when Valkyrie came out, with Tom Cruise playing Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. Such a folly of miscasting was bound to be a hoot, and we were not disappointed, especially when Cruise saluted in that downward cutaway style as if he were still in Top Gun. But I was soon grinding away again when the director and screenwriter felt compelled to improve on history, by making it look as if the 20 July plot to blow up Hitler had still very nearly succeeded.

    I despair at the way American and British movie-makers feel they have every right to play fast and loose with the facts, yet have the arrogance to imply that their version is as good as the truth. Continental film-makers are on the whole far more scrupulous. The German film Downfall, about Hitler’s last days in the bunker, respected historical events and recreated them accurately.

    The corruption of combat … The 317th Platoon, regarded as ‘the greatest war movie ever’ by Beevor. Photograph: Allstar/RANK

    In my view, the greatest war movie ever made is The 317th Platoon, a French film from 1965 set during the country’s first Indochina war. This was the original “platoon movie”, whose format later directors followed but failed to match in its portrayal of characters and their interaction, to say nothing of the moral choices and the corruption of combat. It is followed closely by 1966’s The Battle of Algiers, set during the Algerian war of independence. This was one of the first war films to adopt a quasi-documentary approach, and tackle the moral quagmire of torture justified by the need to save lives.

    More recent imitators lack all intellectual honesty. They throw dates and place names on to the screen as if what you are about to see is a faithful reproduction of events, when they are simply trying to pass off their fiction as authentic. This is basically a marketing ploy that has developed over the last 20 years or so. Unfortunately, fake authenticity sells. People are more likely to want to see something they think is very close to the truth, so they can feel they are learning as well as being entertained. In a post-literate society, the moving image is king, and most people’s knowledge of history is regrettably based more on cinematic fiction than archival fact.

    There are many examples of shameless deception, such as the notorious U-571, in which a US warship is shown to capture a German submarine and seize its Enigma decoding machine, thus enabling the Allies to win the battle of the Atlantic. Right at the end, in the credits, a brief text admitted that in fact it had been the crew of a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Bulldog, that performed the feat – seven months before the US entered the war.
    Shameless deception … U-571 sees the US triumph in a war it had yet to enter.

    Shameless deception … U-571 sees the US triumph in a war it had yet to enter. Photograph: PA

    When promoting Enemy at the Gates, a fictitious sniper duel set in Stalingrad, Paramount Pictures even had the gall to claim: “One bullet can change the course of history.” I hasten to add that, even though Jean-Jacques Annaud invited me to come out to Germany to watch the filming, the movie had nothing to do with my book Stalingrad and I was not an adviser in any form.

    The director was trying to woo me and persuade me not to be too severe on the question of truth, because we had found in the Russian ministry of defence archives that the whole story of the sniper duel – portrayed by Jude Law and Ed Harris – had been a clever figment of Soviet propaganda. I liked Annaud, but in the end I was not popular, of course, because Paramount had bought the movie as “a true story”. His great line was: “But Antony, who can tell where myth begins and truth ends?”

    The real problem is that the needs of history and the needs of the movie industry are fundamentally incompatible. Hollywood has to simplify everything according to set formulae. Its films have to have heroes and, of course, baddies – moral equivocation is too complex. Feature films also have to have a whole range of staple ingredients if they are to make it through the financing, production and studio system to the box office. One element is the “arc of character”, in which the leading actors have to go through a form of moral metamorphosis as a result of the experiences they undergo. Endings have to be upbeat, even for the Holocaust. Look at Schindler’s List and the sentimentality of its finale, revealing that in movies only the survivors count.
    The true story that wasn’t … Jude Law as a sniper in Enemy at the Gates.

    The true story that wasn’t … Jude Law as a sniper in Enemy at the Gates. Photograph: Allstar/Paramount

    I was asked by a large-circulation American weekly magazine to review Saving Private Ryan. My piece was spiked since it did not share the widespread adulation, and I still shake my head in disbelief when it is regularly voted the best war movie ever. It is nevertheless a work of intriguing paradoxes – some intended, others not. Steven Spielberg’s storyline rightly dramatises the clash between patriotic and therefore collective loyalty, and the struggle of the individual for survival. Those mutually contradictory values are, in many ways, the essence of war.

    Spielberg said at the time that he sees the second world war as the “defining moment” in history. One also suspects that he wanted this film to be seen as the defining movie of the war. If so, it is a uniquely American definition of history, with no reference to the British let alone the Soviet role.

    Eight US rangers under the command of a captain, having survived the initial D-day bloodbath, are detailed to seek out and save a single man, Private Ryan. The Hollywood notion of creativity often takes the form of cinematic ancestor worship – but in this case, it is images and effects that are recycled. Spielberg may not even have included them consciously but, during the landing, the blood in the water in the first machine-gunning prompts memories of Jaws, another Spielberg film. And German Tiger tanks can indeed appear like prehistoric monsters, but when the sound effects of their approach later in the film resemble that of the Tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park, it all seems too much.

    After a truly extraordinary opening – probably the most realistic battle sequence ever filmed – everything changes and becomes formulaic. The climax combines just about every cliche in the book, with a very mixed handful of men (almost a la Dirty Dozen) improvising weapons to defend a vital bridge against an SS Panzer counterattack. The redeemed coward and the cynic reduced to tears – both ticking the “arc of character” box – are straight out of central screenwriting. The US air force arrives in the nick of time, just like the cavalry in 1950s cowboy films. And to cap it all, the final frames are of Private Ryan, standing in old age amid the rows of white crosses in a military cemetery, saluting his fallen comrades as tears run down his cheeks.

    So what, apart from milking our tear ducts with both hands, was Spielberg really trying to do? Was his revolutionary approach to realism – the special effects and stunt teams make up the largest blocks in the credits – simply an attempt to conceal a deeply conservative message, as some commentators claimed?

    It was not quite as simple as that. Amid the horror of war, Spielberg seems to be trying to rediscover American innocence, that Holy Grail that existed only in the Rousseau-esque imagination yet was virtually incorporated into the constitution. Spielberg, like other Hollywood directors of the time, came from a generation scarred by the moral quagmire of Vietnam. He understood the national need, in the post-cold war chaos, to reach back to more certain times, seeking reassurance from that moment in history – the second world war – when the fight seemed unequivocally right. “Tell me I’ve led a good life,” says the weeping veteran in the cemetery to his wife. “Tell me I’m a good man.”
    ‘A stinker’ … Mel Gibson in The Patriot.

    “You are,” she replies, and the music begins to swell, with drum beats and trumpets. This representative of American motherhood appears to be reassuring the US as a whole. She seems to be speaking to a nation unable at that time to come to terms with its role in a disordered world, to a nation that, for all its power, can be bewilderingly naive abroad because it so badly needs to feel good about itself at home.

    Even movies ostensibly showing corruption and criminality in the heart of the CIA and the Pentagon have to end on a nationalistic note, with a tiny group of clean, upstanding American liberals saving democracy. And it is, of course, hard to forget The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, that fearless symbol of Brit-bashing films, whether at Gallipoli or all woaded up in the Scottish Highlands as Braveheart.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Buffalo, New York

    Default Re: Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear

    Andrew Marr rightly called The Patriot, set in the American war of independence, “a stinker”. As he pointed out: “Black Americans, in fact destined to stay slaves thanks to the war, very many of whom enlisted with the British, are shown fighting shoulder to shoulder with their white rebel ‘brothers’. The British are portrayed as effete sadists and serial war criminals, just as in other American films. The huge support of the Bourbon French, who helped win the war, is airbrushed out. And the fact that most colonists actually sided with King George is airily forgotten.”
    We will fight them on the pristine beaches … Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk.

    Patriotism also permeated those British war movies of the 1950s and 60s – The Dam Busters, Reach for the Sky, The Cruel Sea, The Heroes of Telemark, The Battle of the River Plate, Cockleshell Heroes. It camouflaged itself in self-deprecation, but the rousing march music in the finale always braced our belief in the rightness of our cause. We have long made fun of all the period cliches, unable to believe that anyone talked like that. But when researching my new book Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, I found that German officers really did say to the British paratroopers taken prisoner: “For you the war is over.”

    One of my favourite remarks, recorded at the time by a junior doctor, is the reaction of Colonel Marrable, the head of an improvised hospital in the Netherlands, when Waffen-SS panzergrenadiers seized the building. Still puffing gently on his pipe, he says to his medical staff: “Good show, chaps. Don’t take any notice of the Jerries. Carry on as if nothing has happened.” I have always been doubtful about the notion of “a national character”, but a national self-image certainly existed during the war and for some time afterwards. Perhaps that is partly why I do not react so angrily when watching films of that era. Also, they never used that weasel claim “based on a true story”.

    Recent productions are a very different matter. Last year’s Dunkirk and Darkest Hour were strong Oscar contenders. Yet watching Dunkirk, you would have thought that CGI had not been invented. Where were all those 400,000 men and their discarded equipment on all those miles of empty, pristine beaches? The film also gave the impression that the air battles took place at low level over the sea when, in fact, Fighter Command was counterattacking at altitude and well inland. It also implied that “the little ships”, as Churchill called them, rescued more soldiers than the Royal Navy warships. Wrong again.
    ‘He never set foot on the Tube in his life’ … Gary Oldman takes the underground as Churchill in Darkest Hour.

    ‘He never set foot on the Tube in his life’ … Gary Oldman takes the underground as Churchill in Darkest Hour. Photograph: Alamy

    Darkest Hour had even more historical inaccuracies. Gary Oldman fully deserved the best actor Oscar for his brilliant performance as Churchill, but those responsible for the script get “nul points”. I fear that anyone who agrees to be a historical adviser for a movie is putting their reputation on the line. The ludicrous scene of Churchill in the underground (where he had never set foot in his life) was not the only howler.

    On becoming prime minister in 1940, Churchill remained in the Admiralty, but he generously allowed Chamberlain to carry on in Downing Street. His respectful treatment of his former leader is important because – when it came to the crunch with Lord Halifax, over the question of asking the Italians to discover Hitler’s peace terms – Chamberlain supported Churchill and did not plot against him as the film suggests.

    Also, why were so many scenes shot in the bunker war rooms when the Luftwaffe had not yet bombed London? I was so irritated, it was a good thing I saw it on my own. Another visit to the dentist, I fear.

    Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944 is published by Viking.

    See theguardian.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear

    Having watched U-571 recently on free to air TV (you'd have to be silly to pay for it), I agree with Beevor’s comments about its ludicrous plot. My wife endured a similar experience to Beevor’s wife but at a lower level and with no teeth grinding by me, partly because she knows enough to leave me alone when I watch such clumsily entertaining but historically wrong rubbish and I interrupt her rapt entertainment with my historical corrections. Which in this case I did even before the film started, by informing her that it was bullshit because the British got their first Enigma intelligence from Poland in 1939 before the war even began and were advanced in breaking its code well before the USA got into the war. Unimpressed, as usual, by my knowledge my wife went to her study and did whatever she does there, which was probably watching some chick flick. Part way through the film she came into the room I was in so I pointed out to her that it was absurd that the Yanks were in a race to grab an Enigma machine from a disabled U boat but now they had submerged it beyond its depth limit to avoid the Germans and were going to sail this supposedly dead U boat to Britain. Unimpressed, as usual, by my analysis, she returned to her study, presumably to find out what happened when Harry met Sally, or something similar.

    Anyway, Beevor’s review commits much the same sins he’s complaining about.

    His point, if any, is obscure and self-contradictory.

    He acknowledges that cinematic entertainment is not a documentary, but complains that entertainment is not historically accurate. He could equally complain that The Godfather is not a historically accurate history of the Mafia in America and that it should not have been made and or should not be watched because it is just historically inaccurate entertainment.

    I’d like to see Beevor condense into 90 to 120 minutes of entertainment cinema all relevant aspects of any major war event, from the factors leading to the start of WWI and the opening battles; to Rommel panicking a bit at Dunkirk with associated logistical matters inhibiting the German advance (which was completely ignored in Dunkirk the film, which I still regard as vastly overrated and insulting to the veterans by focusing on couple of deserters); to Hitler’s focus being more to the east than the west which influenced the end of the Battle of Britain and was completely absent from the film of the same name which presents the abandonment of Sea Lion as purely the result of the RAF air victory, which is exactly how it was reasonably perceived by the British at the time; to the determined tunnel vision incompetence by highly intelligent and skilled civilian and military leaders which led America to get hopelessly involved in Vietnam which most of them recognised or, worse, failed to consider was going to turn into a military and geopolitical disaster which undermined rather than reinforced America’s intention to appear steadfast in the face of apparent communist expansionism (read Robert McNamara’s “In retrospect”) and fit that into Platoon or, even better, Apocalypse Now, or for ultimate absurdity, The Green Berets with John Wayne (I may be unfair to The Green Berets, as when it made its way onto TV it confirmed my prejudice that it was rubbish and I turned it off after a few minutes.) I could go on with countless other examples from Midway to Tora!Tora! Tora! to Clint Eastwood’s ventures into the Pacific War to American Sniper, etc, etc, but I won’t.

    Beevor’s complaints about the US experience being the focus of Saving Private Ryan while ignoring the British and other contributions assumes that Spielberg should have made a sweeping historically accurate entertainment film entitled D-Day covering all contributions, despite the film The Longest Day previously attempting something along those impossible lines. The Longest Day was hopelessly deficient in this respect as it paid no attention to the Eastern Front; Pacific War; War in China; submarine and surface ship warfare in various oceans; Manhattan Project; etc etc etc. Makes one wonder why they bothered making The Longest Day at all.

    Call me a concrete thinker, but I figure that a film entitled Saving Private Ryan probably won’t be a documentary on D Day, any more than von Ryan’s Express (based on a novel) is about whatever von Ryan or the Express did in reality or The Bridge on the River Kwai and the implausible William Holden character and the plan to destroy the bridge has any relationship with the reality of the Burma Railway.

    Beevor might as well complain that the Battle of Britain film focusing on the RAF air war ignores, for example, the contribution being made by the US supplying Britain with, as Churchill put it, “the sinews of war” long before the US entered the war and with Roosevelt doing so in the face of strong isolationism by most American citizens and politicians. American domestic politics should make riveting viewing for the first half hour of a more accurate Battle of Britain film before the audience even sees a Spitfire (which the film implies was the saviour of Britain despite Hurricanes doing most of the damage to the Luftwaffe).

    If Beevor wants some historical accuracy on film he should encourage people to watch the excellent 1970s BBC series World at War. For those who know little or nothing about WWII it is a useful introduction. For those who know more, it suffers the same deficiencies that Beevor identifies in entertainment films, such as Albert Speer’s and Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge’s self-exculpatory comments on various issues.

    There is no prospect of a definitive and universally agreed documentary film on any issue, any more than there is of a book or paper.

    The purpose of Hollywood cinema is to provide entertainment to separate cinema goers from their money for the profit of Hollywood. The same applies to other commercial film makers.

    The only documentary war film I can think of that won an Oscar was Australian cameraman Damien Parer’s ‘Kododa Front Line’, which won the 1942 Oscar for Best Documentary Film, although the award went to the director. And if you know the history of that film, you’ll know that it involved staged scenes of supposedly real events.

    So, even an Oscar winning documentary shot in the field fails Beevor’s demand for accuracy, historical or otherwise.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-02-2018 at 08:13 AM.
    A rational army would run away.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts