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Antony Beevor's view on War Films

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Posted (edited)
On 6/21/2018 at 6:48 PM, Aragorn2002 said:

I totally agree. Vikings rules!

Being a dane - and quite knowledgeable in matters of the period - I must sadly disagree:

Vikings is indeed a very entertaining series, but in my opinion it is far too historically incorrect for something that is produced by the History Channel.

Generally, they have taken the old myth/saga of Regnar Lodbrog pretty much at face value. In my opinion it would have been wiser to try ot find the historical core of that myth.

Beides the myth itself there are numerous inaccuracies. Here are a few from the top of my head:
Regnar was a danish king/warlord. In the show he is living in a place that is definitely not Denmark, but Norway. Generally, the geography of Scandinavia is all messed up in the show. Uppsala looks nothing like the place depicted in the show - and Kattegat is not a town, but the sea between Jutland and Sweden.

The clothing of the norsemen is completely wrong - and in the series none of the viking warriors wear helmets as they surely would have.

In one of the first episodes Regnar and his men are part of the famous raid on Lindisfarne in 793 AD that is normally seen as the start of the viking era. Regnar lived much later. He was one of the leaders of the siege of Paris in 845 AD.

I could go on...

Edited by umlaut

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6 hours ago, umlaut said:

Being a dane - and quite knowledgeable in matters of the period - I must sadly disagree:

Vikings is indeed a very entertaining series, but in my opinion it is far too historically incorrect for something that is produced by the History Channel.

Generally, they have taken the old myth/saga of Regnar Lodbrog pretty much at face value. In my opinion it would have been wiser to try ot find the historical core of that myth.

Beides the myth itself there are numerous inaccuracies. Here are a few from the top of my head:
Regnar was a danish king/warlord. In the show he is living in a place that is definitely not Denmark, but Norway. Generally, the geography of Scandinavia is all messed up in the show. Uppsala looks nothing like the place depicted in the show - and Kattegat is not a town, but the sea between Jutland and Sweden.

The clothing of the norsemen is completely wrong - and in the series none of the viking warriors wear helmets as they surely would have.

In one of the first episodes Regnar and his men are part of the famous raid on Lindisfarne in 793 AD that is normally seen as the start of the viking era. Regnar lived much later. He was one of the leaders of the siege of Paris in 845 AD.

I could go on...

Agreed.  "Vikings" compresses the historical timeline so that several decades of separate incidents occur in a much shorter time-frame.  But while named historical figures were not quite the persons portrayed in the series and setting literary license aside, I still think "Vikings" does a better job of it than most other shows.  I found Blood Eagles portrayed realistically enough!  😱

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5 hours ago, Badger73 said:

 I still think "Vikings" does a better job of it than most other shows.

No doubt about that. It is in many ways very realistic and well researched. A good example is the burial scene (of the chieftain Harald, I think). That is more or less a verbatim reenactment of Ibn Fadlans eyewitness account of a burial.
So it seems to me that the inaccuracies are not errors but deliberate, as if the crew said: "never mind that they acutally wore helmets and different clothes. This looks cooler, and most of the viewers wont know better anyway."

5 hours ago, Badger73 said:

I found Blood Eagles portrayed realistically enough!  😱

Yeah, bloody bloody, that. Actually I recently read that the blood eagle is probably also just a myth, based on either a bad translation or a misunderstanding.

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1 hour ago, umlaut said:

No doubt about that. It is in many ways very realistic and well researched. A good example is the burial scene (of the chieftain Harald, I think). That is more or less a verbatim reenactment of Ibn Fadlans eyewitness account of a burial.
So it seems to me that the inaccuracies are not errors but deliberate, as if the crew said: "never mind that they acutally wore helmets and different clothes. This looks cooler, and most of the viewers wont know better anyway."

Yep, so-called "Literary License" (Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story . . .  :huh:)

1 hour ago, umlaut said:

Yeah, bloody bloody, that. Actually I recently read that the blood eagle is probably also just a myth, based on either a bad translation or a misunderstanding.

I first learned of it in an account about the Varangian Guard in Byzantine service during the time of Harald Hadrada.  It was a work of fiction though and could have used the unreliable basis you mentioned.

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17 hours ago, umlaut said:

So it seems to me that the inaccuracies are not errors but deliberate, as if the crew said: "never mind that they acutally wore helmets and different clothes. This looks cooler, and most of the viewers wont know better anyway."

Yeah, man. That's why I didn't see it. They used to have posters everywhere and their outfits, make-up and hair looked downright silly. Now that I'm thinking about it, you're right. It was a deliberate choice to market this History channel show. Sane people wouldn't want to watch a bunch of ragged sea-dogs.

How else would it earn enough for 5 seasons? Rome tried the realistic look and got cancelled after 2.

@Doc844 It took a lot of creative license. Especially to create seemingly disconnected intrigue and lesbian love-triangles? The Egypt plot felt like quasi-Shakespearean fan-fiction. Also, regarding the Caesar actor -- I loved him. I think he's a fantastic actor. Now that you mention it... he did look much shlubbier than most classical depictions. Same could be said for Pompei. 

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21 hours ago, Badger73 said:

Yep, so-called "Literary License" (Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story . . .  :huh:)

I first learned of it in an account about the Varangian Guard in Byzantine service during the time of Harald Hadrada.  It was a work of fiction though and could have used the unreliable basis you mentioned.

Can you recall which book that was?

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One thing that war movies taught me is if you're faced with a German machinegunner behind a sandbag wall eventually he will stand up, clutch his chest and fall forward, the sandbags collapsing beneath him. My source: SPR, The Dirty Dozen, and innumerable episodes of ''Combat' and 'Rat Patrol'. Wouldn't it be funny if the most 'factually accurate' war film turned out the be 'Catch-22'? ^_^

'Reenactor' type movies tend to be deadly dull. The war (whichever war) is meant to be the backdrop to a proper human story, not the story itself. Technical accuracy, whether in U-boats, tanks, aircraft, or swordplay is the added spice that flavors the dish.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

Can you recall which book that was?

It was a long long time ago and the memory has faded but I want to say that it was "Byzantium" by Stephen Lawhead. 

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3 hours ago, Badger73 said:

It was a long long time ago and the memory has faded but I want to say that it was "Byzantium" by Stephen Lawhead. 

Thank you. So many good fiction writers nowadays, from Rory Clements to Ben Kane and quite a few others. It's hard to keep up.

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Posted (edited)

People are gullible, although most on the BF forums seem to have enough analytical intelligence to realise that Hollywood is more than happy to fabricate history, 80-90% of the movie going public take what they see as gospel, or at least close to it. It also happens in literature, for example it's comical the number of reviews on Amazon for books written by a 'Wolfgang Faust' - which purport to be autobiographical accounts of his service as a panzer crewman - who take him at face value and praise what he wrote. I read Tiger Tracks and found I only had to go a couple of pages into the story to realise it was complete BS, but most who took the time to review it thought it to be genuine - this being despite the fact they probably had a prior interest in WWII military history if they went to the trouble of purchasing and reading one of his books.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiger-Tracks-Classic-Panzer-Memoir/dp/1539588114/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Edited by Odin

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Posted (edited)

I think that there have been few wars about which has been written so much nonsense as WW2. For that reason I feel more attracted to divisional and regimental accounts and books from those that were really there and can prove it. The good news is that lately more and better information is becoming available, like shown in the books by Jason Mark and other authors.

War movies. Well, personally I prefer Die Hard or John Wick. 🙂

Edited by Aragorn2002

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1 hour ago, Aragorn2002 said:

I feel more attracted to divisional and regimental accounts and books from those that were really there and can prove it. 

There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are regimental war diaries 😉

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26 minutes ago, Odin said:

There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are regimental war diaries 😉

Ah, yes, the truth. So overrrated. 😉

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I've read quite a few of them and I tend to find a common theme running through them. When something goes wrong its another unit's fault, when something goes right they're claiming the plaudits. 

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4 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

I think that there have been few wars about which has been written so much nonsense as WW2. For that reason I feel more attracted to divisional and regimental accounts and books from those that were really there and can prove it. The good news is that lately more and better information is becoming available, like shown in the books by Jason Mark and other authors.

War movies. Well, personally I prefer Die Hard or John Wick. 🙂

Even Die Hard got ruined for me.

My god what a difference between the 1st and most recent iteration.

Anytime anyone starts up about the next release not being new enough or worth it we ll do the Die Hard comparison and come out smelling rosy :)

 

 

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On 6/25/2018 at 10:24 AM, umlaut said:

Being a dane - and quite knowledgeable in matters of the period

Hmmm.. are you part of the Viking subculture here?

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, Sublime said:

Even Die Hard got ruined for me.

My god what a difference between the 1st and most recent iteration.

Anytime anyone starts up about the next release not being new enough or worth it we ll do the Die Hard comparison and come out smelling rosy :)

 

I must agree, but that's usually what happens. Last weekend I've watched Death Wish with good old Bruce and it was more of the same. And yet, I love that guy and can't get enough of it. I feel the same about Tom Selleck. His roles are usually unworthy of him, but it's such a joy to see him act. Especially in a Western....🤠

Edited by Aragorn2002

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Posted (edited)

True. I havent seen Deathwish ( the new one ) I dont think Ill ruin the original since you.ve warned me.

Tom Selleck huh? Everyone has their own favorite actors/actresses..

 

@Aragorn2002 I forget the actors name in the original DW- he was in a lot of 60s 70s films I remember growing up, whatever happened to him?

Edited by Sublime

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Posted (edited)

In the serie movie to see I recommend you :

 

End of the 2nd war a simple soldier has enough from the war and is demoralized, untill he found an abandoned car with an uniform, the temptation is great to dress this uniform and be in the skin of a German Officer, where he discover a strength in him   (die Macht) and have everybody under his command and begin to be a murder...

(true story)

Sorry was trying to find it  in english but don't find it.

Edited by 3j2m7

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Sublime said:

True. I havent seen Deathwish ( the new one ) I dont think Ill ruin the original since you.ve warned me.

Tom Selleck huh? Everyone has their own favorite actors/actresses..

 

@Aragorn2002 I forget the actors name in the original DW- he was in a lot of 60s 70s films I remember growing up, whatever happened to him?

Yeah, Magnum is still one of my favorites.

Charles Bronson. Another giant. Not sure whether he still lives.

Edited by Aragorn2002

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Posted (edited)

Ah ty I couldnt remember his name.

His wiki is interesting. apparently he was a gunner on b29s in the PTO, flew 25 combat missions and received a purple heart.

Unfortunately it also says he passed away in 2003 from a multitude of things that are basically the result of old age and the poor health issues that seem to multiply once a serious illness is introduced.

Edited by Sublime

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16 hours ago, Sublime said:

Tom Selleck huh? Everyone has their own favorite actors/actresses..

I generally don't care for him as an actor; I think his success is based mostly on having a certain kind of face. However, in the Jesse Stone series of movies for tv, he has found a character for himself that even I quite like.

Michael

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20 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

I generally don't care for him as an actor; I think his success is based mostly on having a certain kind of face.

Hmm, the same goes for most American actors, who generally can't stand in the shadow of British actors, who are far less dependent on their looks. Tom Selleck suffered under the success of Magnum,. I think he had/has the potential for really big roles, but hasn't got the chance to prove it.

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