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Subject: War Movies: December 2016 rss

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Scott Gillispie
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Before I get to my usual four monthly choices off the TCM December schedule. a few notes:

- I’m surprised that TCM isn’t doing anything to highlight Kirk Douglas’ 100th birthday on December 9th – actually, the schedule this month is oddly clear of any Kirk Douglas (who's a hard actor to avoid). I don’t see any of these streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime either…If you would like to watch a war (or war-related) movie you might take a look at with Kirk Douglas, here's some selections off his filmography : Paths of Glory, Spartacus, The Devil’s Disciple, The Vikings, The Hook, In Harm’s Way, The Heroes of Telemark, Is Paris Burning?

- There’s quite the roundup on Pearl Harbor movies on December 7, although I’ve mentioned many of them in previous months. I’d note that 1941 is on at the end of the program - 4:45 am on Dec 8.

- For those with little kids (yes, I’m wandering way off war movies – sorry), the periodic Treasures from the Disney Vault night returns on December 21 – all animal movies this time, featuring Old Yeller…in my house, we might just watch Perri instead.

Now my actual list for the month (all times from the TCM schedule, in US Eastern):
December 3, 8 pm – Hitler’s Madman (1943) Early Douglas Sirk, starring John Carradine as Rudolf Heydrich – a wartime take on the same story that Anthropoid told earlier this year (I heard Anthropoid was quite good – any first hand reports out there?)

December 15, 3:45 pm - The Fighting 69th (1940) – James Cagney in World War I. It's not a great movie, but it was my introduction to Cagney as a kid, so I have a soft spot. Part of WB's pre-Pearl Harbor "war's coming, we need to get ready" campaign, I suspect.

December 19, 3 am - Paisan (1946) – one of the movies Rosselini shot in the aftermath of the Allied invasion (along with Rome: Open City). I watched this in a college film class, so I’m authorized to say ‘neorealism’. Six different short stories about the aftermath of the war in Italy. If you’re not a subtitle-phobe, check it out.

Dec 27, 1 pm - Passage to Marseille (1944) – an attempt by WB to recreate the magic of Casablanca, with Bogart, Rains, Lorre, and Greenstreet – not as good, but what is?
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Etien
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I have noticed a few Kirk Douglas films on TCM this past week. Forget the titles but one was him playing a young westward bound adventurer in the early 1800s on a keelboat having to deal with Indians and the monopoly trading company. He joins up with a crew of Frenchmen and falls for the Native American woman who they are transporting back to her home tribe after she was taken by a competing tribe, or something. Another film was where he played an unscrupulous film director or producer interested only in himself and stepping on others on his path to stardom, or something. They must have devoted a day or so to his films.
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Neal Durando
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Heroes of Telemark has some of the best footage of period skiing I've seen.
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Steven Goodknecht
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smic wrote:
I have noticed a few Kirk Douglas films on TCM this past week. Forget the titles but one was him playing a young westward bound adventurer in the early 1800s on a keelboat having to deal with Indians and the monopoly trading company. He joins up with a crew of Frenchmen and falls for the Native American woman who they are transporting back to her home tribe after she was taken by a competing tribe, or something. Another film was where he played an unscrupulous film director or producer interested only in himself and stepping on others on his path to stardom, or something. They must have devoted a day or so to his films.


The Big Sky
. I really like that film. I saw that it was going to be on and then forgot. But I've seen it so many times I know it by heart. Also includes Arthur Hunnicutt and that's always a good thing! That movie was released the year that I was born and happily Kirk Douglas is still with us.

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Quote:
For those with little kids (yes, I’m wandering way off war movies – sorry), the periodic Treasures from the Disney Vault night returns on December 21 – all animal movies this time, featuring Old Yeller…in my house, we might just watch Perri instead.


I saw Old Yeller in the theater when I was five. I don't know what was worse: Old Yeller dying or Bambi's mother being killed. Either way, Walt Disney always had me in tears!
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Andy Daglish
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scottgillispie wrote:
I heard Anthropoid was quite good – any first hand reports out there?

The film has a battle with the truth. Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague, was a very bad man because he shot lots of resistants. What the film doesn't say is that whacking Jews, communists, criminals, terrorists and other radicals was just fine by that majority of the population who had until recently formed a sunrise democracy. The reason why Heydrich was killed was because his more benevolent policies were increasing that majority, especially among the working class. Also the Czechoslovak government-in-exile needed to do something to put itself on the Allied map, and Heydrich was a clear and easy target. Instigators of particularly nasty political assassinations were so often British it became a trademark [cf. King Boris of Bulgaria] which clearly diminished their supposedly covert status. In this case it seems they wanted to foment Nazi reprisals in order to sour the nation's relationship with their Nazi masters. Not for nothing were the two assassins a Czech and a Slovak; similarly they were portrayed as creatures of the government-in-exile, and not Special Operations Executive. Heydrich died of somewhat unexpected wound infection -- many less fit men survived far worse physical injuries -- and so there is speculation that the bomb-makers had hardened it with biotoxins, and the bacteria that produced them.
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Scott Gillispie
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aforandy wrote:
scottgillispie wrote:
I heard Anthropoid was quite good – any first hand reports out there?

The film has a battle with the truth.


That was more explanation than I was expecting, Andy, and tells me I probably ought to go read a book about it (which would be a different thread). Thanks!
 
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Andy Daglish
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scottgillispie wrote:
That was more explanation than I was expecting, Andy

I found the film a tad boring after the assassination attempt, so I stopped watching. It was definitely goodbye and not au revoir for those highly motivated young men.



a couple more Czechs:-



I'm not sure whether the actual Spitfire pilot, inevitably Ray Hanna, was risking his life more than pilots would have in a real life, meeting light flak in this suicidal manner.
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Etien
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aforandy wrote:
scottgillispie wrote:
That was more explanation than I was expecting, Andy

I found the film a tad boring after the assassination attempt, so I stopped watching. It was definitely goodbye and not au revoir for those highly motivated young men.



a couple more Czechs:-



I'm not sure whether the actual Spitfire pilot, inevitably Ray Hanna, was risking his life more than pilots would have in a real life, meeting light flak in this suicidal manner.


Best to travel at night now.
 
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Bill Eldard
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scottgillispie wrote:
December 3, 8 pm – Hitler’s Madman (1943) Early Douglas Sirk, starring John Carradine as Rudolf Heydrich – a wartime take on the same story that Anthropoid told earlier this year (I heard Anthropoid was quite good – any first hand reports out there?)


Hitler's Madman is rather average for war films made during the war. It's worth a viewing for war film buffs, but don't set your expectations too high. A contemporary film on the same subject is Hangmen Also Die.

scottgillispie wrote:
December 15, 3:45 pm - The Fighting 69th (1940) – James Cagney in World War I. It's not a great movie, but it was my introduction to Cagney as a kid, so I have a soft spot. Part of WB's pre-Pearl Harbor "war's coming, we need to get ready" campaign, I suspect.


You're exactly right. The war films of the '20s and early/mid '30s were basically anti-war films, headlined by classics like All Quiet On the Western Front and Dawn Patrol. But as war clouds loomed over Europe, and then WW2 n Europe begins (1939), the trend in messaging of Hollywood war films changed from anti-war to "War Is Coming We Need to Be Ready," where battlefield heroism and sacrifice have moral meaning. The Fighting 69th is one of those films, with Cagney playing the self-absorbed street punk Jerry Plunkett who learns about teamwork, fraternity, and sacrifice under the guidance of the regimental chaplain played by (who else?) Pat O'Brien. These films culminate with 1941's Sergeant York, about the real life Medal of Honor winner who transitions from poor, devoutly religious farmer to conscientious objector/draftee to battlefield hero and back to farmer -- a metaphor for the US coming out its isolationist peace to fight and win against evil, then return to its its own business. Later that same year, Pearl Harbor would trigger just that.

scottgillispie wrote:
December 19, 3 am - Paisan (1946) – one of the movies Rosselini shot in the aftermath of the Allied invasion (along with Rome: Open City). I watched this in a college film class, so I’m authorized to say ‘neorealism’. Six different short stories about the aftermath of the war in Italy. If you’re not a subtitle-phobe, check it out.


I haven't seen this one, but I have seen other Italian WW2 films of the '50s and '60s, and they are pretty good. Two Women (starring Sophia Loren) is particularly stark, and a bit unsettling for American audiences of the day for its portrayal of GI behavior. Probably not as shocking today.

scottgillispie wrote:
Dec 27, 1 pm - Passage to Marseille (1944) – an attempt by WB to recreate the magic of Casablanca, with Bogart, Rains, Lorre, and Greenstreet – not as good, but what is?


That's right. Pretty average fare for a 1944 war film, but worth a viewing if you are a war film fan.
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