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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ten for the 4th


- from The Messenger (Joan of Arc)

Jeff's post - Erich Maria Remarque, and the Introduction of the Anti-War Novel - has inspired me to post something similar ... a brief note of some psst movies that highlight historical battles/wars. It wasn't until I began thinking of what films to mention that I realized I'd seen quite a few, and that bothered me - I am, after all, a peace-nik. Most of these movies, however, portary the dehumanizing futility of war, so perhaps that explains it. Here are10 films, in no particular order (all info from Wikipedia) ... they may not be the most profound or the most popular, but they have the advantage of being ones I've actually seen :-)

- The Killing Fields ...
he Killing Fields (1984) is an award-winning British film drama about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. It is based on the experiences of three journalists: Dith Pran, a Cambodian, Sydney Schanberg, an American, and Jon Swain, a Briton. The film, which won three Academy Awards, was directed by Roland Joffé and stars Sam Waterston as Schanberg, Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, Julian Sands as Jon Swain, and John Malkovich as Al Rockoff ..... The film opens in May of 1973 in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. The Cambodian national army is fighting a civil war with the communist Khmer Rouge, a result of the Vietnam war overspilling that country’s borders ...

- Breaker Morant ...
Breaker Morant is a 1980 Australian feature film, directed by Bruce Beresford and starring British actor Edward Woodward as Harry "Breaker" Morant. The all-Australian supporting cast features Bryan Brown as Lieutenant Handcock, Lewis FitzGerald as Witton, and Jack Thompson as Major Thomas ...... Breaker Morant concerns the murder trial of three Australian soldiers, officers of the elite Bushveldt Carbineers in South Africa. Harry "Breaker" Morant, Peter Handcock and George Witton are accused of the murder of one Boer prisoner, the subsequent murders of six more, and Morant and Handcock are accused of the sniper-style death of a German missionary, the Rev. Hesse. Their defense counsel, Major Thomas, has had only one day to prepare their defense .....

- Alexander Nevsky ...
Alexander Nevsky (Александр Невский) is a 1938 historical drama film directed by Sergei Eisenstein ...... The film depicts the 13th century conflict between the Teutonic Knights and the Russian people of Novgorod. It follows the knights as they invade Pskov and massacre its population. Alexander Nevsky then rallies the people of Novgorod and at a battle on the surface of the frozen Lake Chudskoe, the outnumbered Novgorodians defeat the Germanic invaders. Alexander Nevsky was made during the Stalinist era, when the Soviet Union was at odds with Nazi Germany. Stalin directly requested that Eisenstein make a film that would warn the Soviet people of German aggression .....

- The Last Valley ...
The Last Valley is a 1971 historical drama film directed by James Clavell. Set during the Thirty Years War, it stars Michael Caine as the leader of a band of mercenaries, and Omar Sharif as a teacher fleeing from the violence endemic to Germany during this period. They manage to find one valley, untouched by war, in which to live in peace for a time ....

- Waterloo ...
Waterloo was a Soviet-Italian film of 1970, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It was the story of the preliminary events and the Battle of Waterloo, and was famous for its lavish battle scenes. It starred Rod Steiger (portraying Napoleon Bonaparte), Christopher Plummer (portraying the Duke of Wellington) with cameos by Orson Welles (Louis XVIII of France) ..... The film includes some fifteen thousand Soviet foot soldiers as extras and two thousand cavalrymen, some of which were cossack horsemen. Fifty circus stunt riders were used to perform the dangerous horse falls. These numbers brought an epic quality to the battle scenes. This is particularly true of the panning aerial shots of Marshal Ney's cavalry charging up and over the escarpment to break like a wave around the British squares. The slow motion section of the charge of the Scots Greys is a tribute to the painting "Scotland Forever!" by Lady Butler in Leeds City Art Gallery ...

- The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc ...
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is a 1999 historical drama film directed by Luc Besson ..... the story of St. Joan of Arc, the famous French war heroine of the 15th century and religious martyr, played by Ukrainian-born Milla Jovovich. The story begins with young Joan witnessing the atrocities of the English against her family, following her through her visions, to her leadership in battle, through doubt (with Dustin Hoffman playing a character who we are never sure is God, Satan or Joan's own conscience and who is visible to only Joan), and finally to her trial and execution ...

- A Bridge Too Far ...
A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 film based on the 1974 book of the same name. The film tells the story of Operation Market Garden, a failed Allied attempt to break through German lines at Arnhem in the occupied Netherlands during World War II. It was directed by Richard Attenborough and featured an ensemble cast of many film stars. The name for the film comes from a comment made by British Lt Gen Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery before the operation, "I think we may be going a bridge too far." ..... [starring] Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Elliott Gould, Edward Fox, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Kemp, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Liv Ullmann, Maximilian Schell, Hardy Krüger and Ryan O'Neal ...

- Das Boot ...
as Boot (IPA pronunciation: /das boːt/, German for The Boat) is a 1981 feature film directed by Wolfgang Petersen ..... The movie is the story of a single mission of one World War II U-boat, U-96, and its crew. It depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, and shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country. The story is based on an amalgamation of the exploits of the real U-96, a Type VIIC-class U-boat commanded by Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, one of Germany's top U-boat "tonnage aces" during the war ...

- Casualties of War ...
Casualties of War is a 1989 war drama about the Vietnam War, starring Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn. It was directed by Brian De Palma, with a screenplay by David Rabe based on actual events that took place in 1966. The theme of Casualties of War is how normal moral behavior is discarded during war times and shows it in the extreme when soldiers become savages who can dehumanize innocent by-standers, and also about personal responsibility for maintaining that morality in extreme conditions ...

- Lawrence of Arabia ...
Lawrence of Arabia is an award-winning 1962 film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It was directed by David Lean ..... The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence's emotional struggles with violence in war (especially the conflicts between Arabic tribes and the slaughter of the Turkish army), his personal identity ("Who are you?" is a recurring line throughout the film), and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army, and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes .....


7 Comments:

Blogger Steve Bogner said...

I remember seeing The Messenger, or at least most of it. Joan was quite a woman!

Speaking of war, or anti-war I suppose, did you know John Dear has a blog-of-sorts? http://ncrcafe.org/blog/1122/

9:58 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Steve :-)

No, I didn't know he had a blog - I've only seen his website. Thanks for the link.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi Crystal,

Good list. I've seen all of those except for Casualties of War.

As I said on my blog, how did you forget Gallipoli? :-)

Das Boot... Jurgen Pilchow!

Breaker Morant! How did I forget to put that on my movie favorites meme? "Scapegoats of the Empire..."

The Last Valley is a really cool film. The Thirty Years War... The first time I saw it was in the common room at the frat house in college at about 2 AM. Watched it with a good friend of mine who happens to be a Lutheran, so you can imagine we got quite a hoot out of it. Great perfomance by Michael Caine (as usual), and that creepy priest!

CAINE: "There is no G__! It's a legend!"

PRIEST: "You blaspheme...."

12:17 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Jeff,

I saw the the Last Valley at a theater that showed old movies with my college boyfriend. We really need more movies on the 30 years war ... and the 100 years war too, now that I think of it :-)

2:22 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

Crystal - good list. I'm embarrassed to say that I've only seen 4! Killing Fields, Bridge Too Far, Das Boot and Larry of Arabia. Which of the others would you most recommend?

11:37 AM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

Hey, your Che post is gone. Another one bites the dust! :-)

I can't say anything, I completely changed my Independents post the next day! As you noticed. Sometimes I just don't feel comfortable.

But I'm thinking of writing something on political labels such as Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative, Progressive, etc. You said twice the other day - once on my blog and on your Che post - that you were on the Left and even way over on the Left. (I think you said the last - can't confirm since you removed the post.) I was curious to know how you would define the Left. One of the things I want to discuss is how different people and different cultures view some of these terms. And also how their meanings change over time. Would you be comfortable emailing m something short about your perception of the term? And maybe how it relates to other political terms? i.e. What does it mean to you to be "on the Left." And what does it mean for someone to be on the Right"? Only if you want. It's a topic I've been interested in for a long time, and I need to finally put something down in words.

11:44 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Will,

You might like the two about the saints ... the one about Joan of Arc was good, lots of interesting visula images, though disturbing. Alexander Nevsky is a classic - Eisenstein! - but it might only be interesting for it's historical value.

12:29 PM  

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