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 Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?

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Caro
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PostSubject: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:49 pm

I am still typing up the letters of the soldier, killed in WWII.  In this most recent letter he has been to the movies, The King Steps Out, featuring Franchot Tone and Grace Moore, neither of whom I knew. He had seen it before but enjoyed it this second time.  When I looked up this movie on IMDB it was about Emperor Franz Joseph [mentions of Franz Joseph are of interest to NZers beause our main and accessible glacier is named after him] and his wife Elizabeth and their courtship.  One reviewer said it had flopped and he put that down to the fact that this light romance was seen by the audiences in the light of future events, where Elizabeth left him to continue on a life of gaiety and enjoyment, and had ended up assassinated. This had happened recently enough that people remembered it and therefore couldn't put this aside when they were considering the movie.

He said: I don't think the film flopped because it was so bad, it's dated, but other operettas and more well known ones date even more. However The King Steps Out made a mistake because too many people remembered Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary for good and for ill him dying exactly 20 years earlier. And about 20 years earlier his wife Empress Elizabeth also died and she was also remembered by a few.

What people remembered that beneath all this Viennese schmaltz, this was a story that did not have a happy ending. What we see in the film concerning Franz Josef and Elizabeth of Bavaria is true as far as it goes. It was a whirlwind courtship of sorts and the young Emperor did wind up marrying the younger sister after the Dowager Empress his mother arranged for the older sister.

In real life though after the honeymoon and Elizabeth presenting the Hapsburg Emperor with a son and seemingly settling the succession, the woman would not settle down. When you see the vivacious Elizabeth that Grace Moore gives us on the screen, that was the real Sissi. She would not settle down though and eventually the couple split and lived apart for the rest of their lives with Elizabeth leading a gay and carefree life at the various resorts and spas of 19th century Europe. She was assassinated by an anarchist. The reaction to her death was very much like that for Princess Diana, in fact there are a lot of parallels between Lady Diana Spencer and Elizabeth of Bavaria.

The image we have of Franz Joseph is that solemn man with the muttonchop whiskers and a stern countenance, the father of his people. Franz Joseph was always in fact a serious minded man. The character that Franchot Tone gives us just isn't the case, he was hardly that charming in real life. The Emperor certainly did get his battery plenty charged when Sissi was around and they were young and in love.

No happily ever after endings for Franz Joseph and Sissi and sad to say the audience knew it.


What they portrayed wasn't really inaccurate (though another reviewer mentioned that Elizabeth was known for her gorgeous long black hair and Grace Moore had "short curly locks".

Do you think that sort of reaction to real events is common in audiences, whether of movies or television or books? Or he is drawing too long a bow? And does it matter? We've discussed accuracy in movies and books before, but there didn't seem a specific thread for it, and this didn't seem to quite fit the Philippa Gregory thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:28 am

Lack of accuracy in movies is quite annoying to anyone with knowledge of some facts, sometimes it is best not to be aware to fully enjoy a film. Similarly for anyone who watches an adaptation that deviates from the original book, it is extremely irritating to those who have read the story. Those movies that are based on the history of another country or culture can be quite insulting to the indigenous to (or those with familiarity of) that place also, not only when the history and geography is wrong but also when characters fall into stereotypes with terrible faux accents.   

Does it matter? I think it does, films that are based on historical fact are a wonderful opportunity and medium in which to educate and when it fails to do that then the producers fail in their responsibility to their audience. Retreating into the it's only entertainment or the artistic liscence argument is a cop-out imo.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:17 am

I think ID has hit it on the head - sometimes it is best not to have read the book if you watch a screen adaptation.  It can work conversely - when I've seen a film or series I liked and gone on to read the book, sometimes I have preferred the screen version.  When a magnum opus is adapted for the screen I can forgive (reluctantly) some streamlining.  On the (40 years ago) TV adaptation of War and Peace they left out the bit where Pierre tied the policeman to the back of a bear but I could understand that for such a complex work to be adapted some cuts had to be made.  I admitted on another thread that I had been drawn in by "Game of Thrones" which is fantasy but has taken inspiration from history.  I started to read the books because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and discovered some changes had been made.  Some I liked, some I didn't.  I gave up watching "Camelot" (a Canadian re-imagination of the King Arthur myth which aired about 4 years ago) because it annoyed me by the changes to the myth (and bad casting imo of Arthur and Morgan Le Fay) though of course a myth is not true history.  There have been some "factual" films based on events in South Africa of late.  I would have thought this would have provided a superb opportunity to cast South African actors of all ethnic backgrounds and possibly give their careers a boost, but the leading roles seem to have been largely played by American or British actors.  I said on another thread recently that I did enjoy Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII.  I don't think anybody ever thought that was an accurate portrayal of said monarch (though Charles Laughton did look more like "Bluff King Hal" than the chap in The Tudors).  I can't judge the dramatic value of The Tudors as I never watched it but just looking at publicity stills, the thin actor is not exactly like the Holbein portraits of King Henry (which I suppose would have been flattering, so real King Henry was likely even fatter).

I'm not a fan of the "it's fiction" excuse either. If people know a story is a "romp" version then maybe less harm is done. Then I must confess I have enjoyed adaptations and also books (which I have later learned were not terribly accurate) on first watching if it has a subject matter I am not familiar with.  I quite enjoyed the old film Taras Bulba but a friend of Polish descent was fuming about the inaccuracies in it.  Oh crumbs, I have gone on a bit - hope I haven't scared anybody off reading this.

Edit: People making allegedly creative adaptations of history are less likely to get away with it if it pertains to (relatively) recent history.  I read on the Historum site that the makers of the film Titanic settled out of court with a living relation of a person who had been depicted in the film as having forced the poorer passengers to go somewhere on the ship at gun point. The living relation had been most displeased with this portrayal, which they considered to be inaccurate, of their dead relative and went down the legal route. Why the heck the film-makers didn't make up a fictional character if they wanted to use that plot point I'll never know.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:05 pm

I assume that to make a good film, directors must take liberties which warp truths or exclude material. I usually look up stuff - often straight after seeing a film and discussing it with anyone interested enough. Usually they are not because the film is accepted solely for what it is and why 'spoil a good yarn with the truth?' attitude. I  prefer to think that a good film whets the appetite for such truths  as one can glean. And to get at that several sources are needed. Occasionally one comes across blatant and deplorable falsehoods.  The fear is that many will accept the film as a truth but usually the film is also pretty awful. Anyone recall early Tony Curtis films with his flashing teeth and blue eyes, groomed to perfection mumbling rubbish in  Brooklyn-speak? 

Noted artists have been projecting untruths since forever so film makers should not be condemned out of hand for doing the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:45 pm

@Priscilla wrote:
Noted artists have been projecting untruths since forever so film makers should not be condemned out of hand for doing the same.


That is so true: Shakespeare especially comes to mind. It seems we are willing to forgive him anything, and certainly in his sequence of "history" plays there is much to forgive.

I wonder if we are tolerant of historical error when script and acting are superb? I am thinking particularly at the moment of the 1980s TV programme, Masada. A solid script delivered by superlative actors: Peter O'Toole. Timothy West, David Warner, Anthony Quale and others. The history - as mentioned on another thread - may be dubious, but this production has made me want to a) find out more (did the Roman engineers really manage to construct that amazing ramp with workers slaving away in temperatures exceeding forty degrees Fahrenheit?) and b) visit Masada.

Arousing such interest cannot, surely, be a bad thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:37 pm

Something came to mind after I made my earlier post on this thread.  Caro's post mentions the writer of the letters she is typing giving an opinion on the film "The King Steps Out".  I never saw that film, though I did see the film "Sissi" with Romy Schneider several years ago (with sub-titles).  I enjoyed it at the time though it did concentrate on the happy part of the love affair and never explained that Sissi and her handsome prince did not have a happy ever after (in fact I was unaware of that until I read Caro's post).  Romy was a redhead; she was lovely looking in her own right but not like black-haired Elizabeth.  Of course I appeared on this planet long enough after Franz Josef and Elizabeth had left it to be unaware of the discrepancy between truth and fiction (until now).  

I may have said something about this on another thread but I enjoyed the Maureen O'Hara and Charles Laughton version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" when I saw it on TV, either as a just pre-teenager or an early teenager but when I read the book it was completely different (the film had an unhappy ending for Quasimodo but Esmerelda was saved and married her handsome lover; in the book he turned aside from her to marry someone with more money and Esmerelda was hanged). I wasn't so much angry about the change as in a quandary wondering why the film-makers had changed it.  Maybe the film was made at a time when everyday life was grim for the masses and the film-makers felt they had to provide escapism and a happy ending. Of course that was a case of adapting a work of fiction rather than a real life event. 

Temperance, I am all in favour of interest being aroused but it's a terribly grey area.  Without saying where they get the idea (you can probably guess) I rather worry that a lot of people seem to think Margaret Beaufort was a religious loony and Anne Boleyn was mean to her sister....
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:26 am

Yes LIR, I rather think they do also. I used to agree with the anything is fine as long as it creates historical interest argument but now I've come to think that it is yet another justification put about by the makers of poor entertainment in the guise of history and art. Very few people will bother or are interested enough to read further, the majority will continue to believe anything that they see on the telly or read in a PG novel. 

I've never quite understood why history needs to be 'sexed-up' anyway, lord knows the real version  has enough sex, violence, betrayal and twists and turns in it without needing to venture into the realms of the ridiculous. It is a sad testament to us if it is thought that even more is needed in order to render it 'entertaining'. Oh and make a few bob, of course.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:08 am

LiR wrote:
Temperance, I am all in favour of interest being aroused but it's a terribly grey area.  Without saying where they get the idea (you can probably guess) I rather worry that a lot of people seem to think Margaret Beaufort was a religious loony and Anne Boleyn was mean to her sister....


Fair comment, LiR, and actually links to the point I was making about a really good writer getting away with historical murder. Margaret Beaufort may well have been unhinged (not surprising given what she had endured as a young girl), and presenting her as a fanatical woman who could always find a religious excuse for her behaviour is a very interesting approach to her character (for a novelist). Similarly, examining the relationships within the Boleyn family as the basis of a novel about Anne Boleyn - and "borrowing" Retha Warnicke's thesis about the reasons for her fall from power - should have made for a superb story. If I am honest, my complaint is actually not so much about the history as about the quality of the writing in Philippa Gregory's books. "The Red Queen" was especially poor: for me at least the writer made a fascinating subject tedious in the extreme. And of course, as has been said many times on another thread, it is infuriating that this particular writer presents herself as an expert historian (and an exceptional novelist) when she is not. Others, like Mantel, Plaidy and Irwin, are/were more modest; they are/were excellent writers and honest enough to say about their presentation of history: "I do not claim that this is how it was: I suggest only that this is how it may have been." That really is all a novelist can do. The film/TV programme about MB and AB were also disappointing - not even usually competent actors could make much of leaden scripts.


I have just find out that Ford Madox Ford wrote a novel about Katherine Howard: The Fifth Queen. I very much enjoyed Parade's End, so it will be interesting to see what he did with KH. The cover doesn't bode well - that's a picture of Mary Tudor they've got there.


http://supremacyandsurvival.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ford-madox-ford-rip.html


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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:32 am

I've just ordered it. One of the reviews on Amazon isn't terribly encouraging though - certainly as regards historical accuracy:

I suspect that 'The Fifth Queen' was written for an audience who knew little about Tudor history. Ford Madox Ford creates an image of Katherine Howard as a saint, a saint prepared to live and die (and suffer the advances of Henry VIII) in an attempt to set back the reformation and 'save' the established church. But she is not the only historical personage who is distorted in the FMF lens. Take Katherine's tutor, Nicholas Udall. What a remarkable life. Headmaster of Eton. Sentenced to death for buggery with the boys. Saved by the intervention of two of Cromwell's men. Intimate of Queen Mary and Katherine Parr. Author of 'Ralph Roister Doister' and as such now regarded as the father of English Comedy. And, though still not of the marrying kind, ending his life as Headmaster of Westminster. In Ford Madox Ford's novel, Udall is an unashamed womaniser prepared to risk all for a petticoat.
So, though brilliantly written, 'The Fifth Queen' cannot really be enjoyed as historical fiction. As historical fantasy, perhaps.


PS Amazon chirpily suggested to me that "I might like" the new Philippa Gregory offering of The King's Curse which was published last week. Groan.

PPS Caro - apologies - your OP is about films, not novels.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:37 pm

@Caro wrote:
Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?

Yes, sometimes, but not always for reasons related to a high-brow desire for absolute historical authenticity. As an example of what I mean I recall watching "Dead Poets Society" in a full cinema in Dublin after its release and the ripple of audible scorn that spread throughout the audience in the scene concerning the burial of the young student who had committed suicide. The problem was the bagpiper and the tune he played, a Pete St John (Dublin songwriter) piece composed in 1978. Up to that point the movie had been scrupulous in its depiction of 1960 period detail. The consenus afterwards for many was that this had "ruined" the film for them. On reflection afterwards however I reckoned this "ruination" was down to a particular kind of snobbery on the part of many of these people (myself included I must add). We knew Pete St John, we knew the piece played, and we associated it with a kind of local "something be proud of" sentiment as Dubliners. The audible ripple of scorn had been based more on a desire to advertise this very local knowledge and sentiment in the form of adopted disgust to any audience members who may not have been in the know. It was in effect a form of tribalism. Outside of our peculiar little context the same scene was playing to cinema audiences worldwide oblivious to this "inaccuracy" and who therefore presumedly left the cinema with an unblemished appreciation of the film they'd just seen. In Dublin our little bit of snobbery had actually deprived us of the same experience.

When it comes to historical accuracy in the story depicted then I don't think there is a hard and fast rule at all regarding how, when or why the screenwriter should "cheat". In some cases - like the blatant and unacknowledged distortions of the truth in "U-571" and "Braveheart" etc - departures from reality are less forgivable than, for example, in "Carry On Cleo" or even (to put "U-571" in perspective) the 2001 film "Enigma". The latter also misrepresented the personnel involved in cracking the Enigma Code as well as the salient events but did so in a way that suggested with an obvious respect for historical accuracy the actual context and circumstances in which the people really concerned worked at that particular time in Bletchley Park.

Like Priscilla, I do not expect to "learn" history from a film. I do however appreciate a good story well told and count it as a bonus (and a measure of appreciation for the film) if it spurs me to read up about the contents afterwards and get a better picture of what "really" happened.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:06 pm

Nordmann's reference to the "Dead Poets' Society reminds one of the recent sad demise of Robin William.  Well there are always genuine "bloopers".  I've never been able to spot the jeep in El Cid or the wristwatch in Ben Hur, no matter how hard I look.  And there have been times when eagle-eyed viewers have written to Points of View about anachronisms in period dramas.  Sometimes inaccuracy can come back to bite someone in a sensitive part of the anatomy, viz, the threat to sue when somebody felt somebody in their family had been maligned in Titanic.  Of course the law does not make provision for suing someone for allegations about what happened 500 years ago.  I have already stated that I have enjoyed films/books which I have later discovered to be somewhat dodgy.

Temperance, at school we were rather warned off Jean Plaidy.  Mind you I did attend a convent school and Ms Plaidy was considered racy (though she's pretty tame by present day standards I guess).  I recall one girl thinking she was doing something very daring reading Light on Lucrezia in the convent chapel...
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:26 pm

@LadyinRetirement wrote:


Temperance, at school we were rather warned off Jean Plaidy.  Mind you I did attend a convent school and Ms Plaidy was considered racy (though she's pretty tame by present day standards I guess).  I recall one girl thinking she was doing something very daring reading Light on Lucrezia in the convent chapel...


There used to be a lot of snobbery about dear old Jean Plaidy. It's true that her historical novels - all still in print, I believe -  are not in the same league as those of, say, Hilary Mantel or Robert Graves: Plaidy's characters lack psychological depth and her writing style is certainly very simple. That said,  her research was impeccable and she could certainly "a round, unvarnished tale deliver". I read just about everything she wrote when I was young.

But to return to the OP. I thought that the recent Spielberg film, Lincoln, was considered to be pretty accurate, but this Huffington Post article suggests not.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/how-historically-accurate_b_2198656.html


I know absolutely nothing about American history and politics, so I cannot comment. Accurate or not, I am ashamed to say that I found the film worthy, but terribly dull.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:02 am

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
 Well there are always genuine "bloopers".  I've never been able to spot the jeep in El Cid or the wristwatch in Ben Hur, no matter how hard I look.  And there have been times when eagle-eyed viewers have written to Points of View about anachronisms in period dramas.


From Braveheart, LiR, check the bottom left of the picture.


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:28 am

Downton Abbey has revealed some surprising historical oddities, for example that the enterprising residents of Bampton in Oxfordshire in 1912 anticipated John Logie Baird's contribution to their entertainment opportunities some two decades later.



And that the same villagers' appreciation of double glazed conservatories long predated the rest of the UK



Not to mention double yellow lines in effort to "curb" Bampton's obvious 1912 motorised traffic congestion ...



There must have been something in that 1912 Evian distilled water!
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:28 am

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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:35 am

Re the Evian bottle. The Downton cast have used the gaffe to raise awareness of the Water Aid charity;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28825576
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:00 pm

@Triceratops wrote:
@LadyinRetirement wrote:
 Well there are always genuine "bloopers".  I've never been able to spot the jeep in El Cid or the wristwatch in Ben Hur, no matter how hard I look.  And there have been times when eagle-eyed viewers have written to Points of View about anachronisms in period dramas.


From Braveheart, LiR, check the bottom left of the picture.


Oh, that's hilarious Trike.  Obviously the Scots were very advanced in those days.  Well done to Nordmann for spotting the Downton Abbey gaffes and to the person who posted the "top ten" bloopers.  (Edit - I see the top ten faux-pas video was posted by Trike again).
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:38 am

Ooops

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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:54 am

Here is one example of where historical inaccuracies in a movie don't matter, an article on what Braveheart did for Scottish independence. But there is also the reverse side of the same coin

Braveheart is also notoriously historically inaccurate, even for Hollywood standards: the Scots wearing kilts when that clothing wasn’t invented for another 300 years; the idea of Jus Primae Noctis; Wallace having an affair with Isabella of France, implying he was the father of Edward III. Moreover, the film demonizes the English and places the Scots as victims of their tyranny. Scottish historian Allan Massie was among those who criticized the movie: “Bad history is potentially dangerous. In this case, Braveheart can scarcely fail to feed the growing Anglophobia which is, to many Scotsmen, a pernicious feature of our country today. If it does so, it will be not only a bad film but a deplorable and damaging one.”

http://www.medievalists.net/2014/08/20/braveheart-scottish-independence/
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:53 am

I'll tell you what the lasting 'Braveheart' effect has been up here; if any comedian or comedy playwright is stuck for a gag, they mention it or wee Mel and they're sure of a big laugh. Not even Harry Lauder or the White Heather Club are as consistently ridiculed or so regarded as being an embarrassing travesty. That said, in all these there's something that fans a faint flicker of recognition, a slightly guilty acknowledgement that, amongst all the pap, there's  a teeny wee reflection of all that we love and hate about ourselves.
I've still never seen it though, apart from a couple of minutes which I happened to see, dubbed in Arabic, in Egypt.

And Alan Massie's not really a proper historian despite doing History at Cambridge, he's best known as a journalist and a moderately successful historical novelist, an old school Unionist of the New Town establishment, the kind who come through to Glasgow with much the same attitude as tourists visiting a tribal reservation, and writes for the 'Scotsman', Scotland's 'Telegraph'.

To get back to the topic, sometimes I feel that the more a film claims to be historically accurate, the more any slight inaccuracy spoils it by jarring so much that it interrupts the narrative and the viewer loses the flow, just sits there thinking 'That's wrong' and inwardly muttering rather than enjoying the total experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:24 pm

Decided to delete this as the post was completely off topic.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:28 pm

Perhaps/sometimes/it depends.
Surely one would expect rather different standards of accuracy from "Carry on Cleo", "Anthony and Cleopatra" and a film purporting to tell "The real story of Cleopatra" (actually, perhaps not - since I doubt if anyone even at the time knew the "real story".)
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:07 am

A really interesting read, why archaeologists hate Indiana Jones

http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2014/09/09/why-archeologists-hate-indiana-jones/
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:32 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Downton Abbey has revealed some surprising historical oddities

In one of the episodes of the BBC’s Poldark saga there is a scene filmed in the garden of a stately home. The viewer sees Dr Enys and his wife sitting on an elegant wrought iron bench. One might be tempted to think that maybe that’s a couple of decades too early. But no, the program makers have got it spot on, the 1790s did indeed mark the advent of wrought iron garden furniture.

So what’s the problem one might ask? Well it is to be found in the background. There, in the garden and evident in all its glory, is a mature monkey puzzle tree. Native to Chile, Auracaria auracana was only named by science in the 1780s and seedlings were first transported to the British Isles the following decade (i.e. the decade when Poldark is set). It's a slow-growing tree and takes over 5 years to establish its roots before then growing at about a foot a year. Those first saplings would still have only been adolescent trees even in the 1820s. So a fully mature specimen in a garden in Britain in the 1790s would simply not have been possible.

By coincidence the naming of the tree as ‘monkey puzzle’ did take place in Cornwall and indeed at Pencarrow (where part of the series is filmed) but that was not until the 1850s. That was when the owner Baronet Molesworth was showing off the Chilean Pine on his property to guest Charles Austin QC, a barrister who had made a fortune advocating on behalf of the railway companies. On seeing the tree’s unusual branches and spines Austin remarked “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that!” and thus the name was coined.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:45 pm

I think one's tolerance of a drama set in historical times depends on whether one has the knowledge to spot an anachronism.  I wouldn't have known about the 'monkey puzzle' tree date though I think there was one in the grounds of my old secondary school (not the part in which we mere schoolchildren were allowed to go though).  "The White Queen" what little I saw of it drove me potty.  Seasons 1 and 2 of "Versailles" (I've not seen season 3) rankled slightly although they were acted well because I had some knowledge, although not an expert's knowledge, of the time.  Cardinal Mazarin's nieces the Mancini sisters were not mentioned and there was something about the queen of France giving birth to a mixed race baby.  The official version is that the child, a daughter had a condition which made her appear purple in the face and maybe some people would say black.  The child died anyway but in the TV show she was sent away to grow up in a convent.  Of course a "send up" as nordmann remarked upthread is a whole different matter.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:22 am

As I said before, I'm a bit of a sucker for a historical (an historical?) film and watched a review today of the forthcoming Outlaw King about Robert the Bruce.  The trailer was quite short and the (Scots) reviewer said the actor playing the Bruce had a soft Edinburgh sort of accent which would probably not have been how Robert the Bruce spoke.  The actor playing the Bruce (Chris Pine) is American but I suppose they need someone who will put "bums on seats" when the film is released in the cinema.  I actually quite liked him in Wonder Woman which of course was something of an escapist film but a "feel good" film now and again is not so bad (not for me anyway).  In the comments somebody had pointed out inaccuracies (as to the type of armour worn etc - to be honest I wouldn't know so much about that).  I know something of the historical Robert the Bruce though I'm by no means an expert.  Would he have spoken Norman French in real life?  Of course, if so I'm not saying the film should have been made in Norman French, especially not medieval Norman French - I don't think the 1976 film Sebastiane made in Latin was a commercial success...

Mind you, when my class did a somewhat amateurish version of Julius Caesar for the rest of the school I don't think my wearing of an old bed sheet as a toga (would a slave/servant have worn a toga?) as Brutus' slave/servant was particularly accurate!
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:02 pm

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Seasons 1 and 2 of "Versailles" (I've not seen season 3) rankled slightly although they were acted well because I had some knowledge, although not an expert's knowledge, of the time.

I don’t think that the series was intended to be docudrama but the third season did go off kilter somewhat even so. I’ve mentioned the Man-in-the-Iron-Mask-being-Louis’-natural-father storyline on the Man in the Iron Mask thread and the Louis-suddenly-illuminating-Paris spectacle on the Lighting and Electricity thread to mention but 2 historically dodgy topics.

The final episode also telescoped the last decades of Louis’ reign into a quick roller-coaster ride without Louis dying or even managing to get any older. We did, however, get quite a lengthy scene involving the death of Jean-Baptiste Colbert (Louis’ First Minister) in which he was depicted as a great soul and a fount of wisdom in Louis’ court which was seemingly at odds with the previous scenes involving him in the series in which he had been very much a bit part player. There was also a chronological question mark here as Colbert’s death was shown as having taken place after Louis’ marriage to Madame de Maintenon and also after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes when in reality Colbert died before either event. There was also a bizarre (and almost certainly fictitious) finale in which Protestant resisters/terrorists (Camisards?) enacted a plot to attempt to assassinate Louis in a scene involving a shootout which looked like a cross between the Gunpowder Plot and the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

One got the impression that the program makers had been told that there was not going to be another season with regard to Louis XIV so they had decided to try to fit as much drama into season 3 as they possibly could regardless of historical merit. They did (conceivably) leave open the possibility of a Louis XV sequel although that seems unlikely. Overall, however, I’d say that the 3 seasons of the series taken as a whole were worthwhile viewing, if for nothing else because they threw light on a era of French history which (in the English-speaking world at least) we might have heard of but probably know little about.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:05 pm

Thank you Vizzer for this interesting comments.

"There was also a bizarre (and almost certainly fictitious) finale in which Protestant resisters/terrorists (Camisards?) enacted a plot to attempt to assassinate Louis in a scene involving a shootout which looked like a cross between the Gunpowder Plot and the Gunfight at the OK Corral."

Vizzer, you have really a "beeldrijke taal" (they translate it in my dictionary with "rich in imagery" (which is a bit poor for me, haven't they something better in English?) a rich image language?

And it is a pleasure to read you.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Some of original post was a bit rambling and off-topic   Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:50 pm

Thanks for the information, Vizzer.  I think I said elsewhere that I'd seen Alex Vlahos in some daytime BBC shows some years back and as Mordred in the last series of Merlin (one of my guilty pleasures).  The other actors in Versailles I didn't know about - well I had heard of George Blagden but I've never seen Vikings.  I got a nutty video tangentially about Versailles this morning but - well I can't help it if folk have odd ideas.

Getting back to Versailles could the uprising have been inspired by that in the Vendee (which of course didn't happen till 1793 or thereabouts when Louis XIV was dead and gone)?  The scenery of Versailles was spectacular (I know they filmed some of the interiors elsewhere).  Maybe I will give season 3 of the series a whirl.  I know some of my recent posts have been a bit lightweight so I will try and mention more serious things.  In the first series of Versailles (can't remember if I mentioned it here or not) there was a sub-plot about a French noble living a double life as a highwayman.  I'm sure there were French highwaymen but I don't know if any nobles of Louis XIV's court partook of highway robbery.  I was a little disappointed the dramatists left out M. de Montespan putting antlers on his carriage (to represent cuckold's horns because of course by then Mme. de Montespan was having her fling with the Sun King).
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:49 am

There has been a bit of drama recently concerning the adaptation of a fantasy series The Witcher.  The books were written by a Polish gentleman so based on Polish (well Eastern European anyway) folklore but it transpires that a casting call for one of the younger female characters (quite an important character) has gone out qualifying that candidates should be b-a-m-e (shorthand for black, asian, minority ethnic).  The character is white and a pale white at that in the books seemingly (I've listened to a little of an audio version of the first book and haven't come across the character as yet) but a lot of fans of the books (and games as there are also video games) are jumping up and down with ire that the character might not be white.

Sometimes these sort of changes can work.  Casting people of another ethnicity as a Europen can be something of a conundrum - at school my class saw the film of Othello with Laurence Olivier (and some of his make-up came off on Maggie Smith).  Nowadays a white person playing an iconic black African person such as the late Steve Beko might go down like a lead balloon.  Then I liked Angel Coulby (mixed race) as Guinevere in Merlin. That series didn't have much to do with Thomas Mallory's book about King Arthur but was fun in an innocent sort of way.  Gwyn does mean white in Welsh though.  Anyway, it now seems that the expression b-a-m-e may be a "catch all" phrase and the "minority ethnic" may be the important part and there are rumours of at least one Polish actress being auditioned so it may all be a storm in a teacup.  Still, I'm the one who moaned about Bathsheba in Far From The Madding Crowd being cast as a blonde in the 1960s film version of that story.

I've seen a few people remarking over the last few years that casting a person of colour as a Medieval European King or Queen is inaccurate.  Strictly speaking it is, but of course, Shakespeare's plays are not historical in the true sense - one enjoys them more for the language than for fidelity to what happened x-z centuries ago.  I know there have been bodies found and examined in the UK that revealed an ethnicity not totally of the pale, pink person type.  People of mixed race in the UK before Europeans started travelling to Africa (and on an unfortunate note took people from that continent as slaves) would have been fairly rare I suppose.  It's possible soldiers from northern Africa were stationed in what is now the UK in Roman times I surmise.  I don't know if it was ever known for Crusaders to bring back wives of other ethnicities in those times.  Probably it is not all that likely but not impossible.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:34 pm

As I understand it, quite a few Crusaders had children with local women, but how many of those were legitimate is a moot point! Auxiliary units in the Roman Army probably recruited locally so the nominal ethnicity of a cohort might not have actually reflected the reality. How many of the 'Mauretanians' in the Numerus Maurorum, based at Burgh-by-Sands, were actually Britons, for example?

Something I've noticed in ITV's new version of Vanity Fair, incidentally, is that I'm keeping a sharp eye on both the faithfulness of the adaptation *and* the historical accuracy. So on the one hand I'm, for example, saying that Becky needs to be nastier, and on the other I'm pointing out that instead of 'Brown Besses' the British soldiers heading off to Waterloo appear, somewhat ironically, to be armed with the Imperial Guard version of French 'Charleville' musket! That's perhaps a petty point, but it's annoying as it's such a silly and unnecessary mistake.

Casting the wrong ethnicity in theatre doesn't bother me, on the whole, but it could annoy me in history. Having said that, how many Biblical epics have Middle Eastern casts?
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:22 pm

Yes - at least it matters to me.

I returned from a Mary, Queen of Scots research trip last night. I have driven 2000 miles over the last week or so, and I think I have visited every castle connected with that unfortunate queen although, sadly, Loch Leven was closed after the terrible storm this week. (I hope I get my £6 ferry booking fee back.) Several months ago I recorded the Hal B. Wallis (!!!!) film about Mary and I watched it last night when I got home to the comparative calm and safety of Devon. Despite the excellent performances from Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson (Mary and Liz), this old (1971) film has left me fuming  - it was so inaccurate and terribly disappointing. Mary escaped to Dunbar after the death of Rizzio, and James VI was born in Edinburgh, not Hermitage, Castle! John Knox was pretty important to Mary's story - he had a brief cameo appearance at the beginning of the film when, standing on a rise overlooking the road to Edinburgh, he looked pretty annoyed, called Mary a Papist whore (like you do), then disappeared. And, of course, Mary and Elizabeth never met - Hal B. had them meeting twice. Oh - and the abduction of Mary by Bothwell apparently never happened??!!

New film of Mary's life is to be released in UK in January 2019 - David Tennant as Knox. Now that should be interesting. This new film is apparently based on Cambridge academic John Guy's 2004 biography Mary Queen of Scots - My Heart Is My Own : his thesis was that Cecil was the "spider" in London who masterminded Mary's fall. Mmm.

It's a fascinating story - if we stick to the "facts". Apparently the new film does not. But then, what are the "facts" about these people, apart from dates and known locations? No one really knows what really happened between Mary and Bothwell. John Guy or Jenny Wormald (Mary, Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure 1991)  - two very different interpretations of the same story  from two distinguished historians. I still think Knox, not Cecil, is the key to it all - he and Bothwell and Moray are all such interesting but difficult men tofathom. But was Mary herself really a "study in failure"? The Scottish Reformation - now there's a tricky subject - and she, a young, impulsive and passionate Catholic girl found herself living through that nightmare! Who could cope with Knox? I once had the privilege of speaking to a distinguished academic about all this, and asked him whether Elizabeth - at 18 - would have fared better than Mary in what was "a difficult situation". Would she have succeeded where Mary failed? I always remember his reply: " It was not a difficult situation - it was an impossible one."  

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-44951930

PS Spent ages in John Knox's house - especially the tiny study where the reformer is supposed to have died. Some very odd pictures in that house (including the strangely "bawdy" images on the ceiling of the main room). Poor Mary having to deal with such a man - a brilliant thinker and reformer of genius certainly, but one with a soul full of anger, resentment and hate.

PS Just been reading my guide book - rude ceiling pictures date from early part of the 17th century. I thought they were a bit risqué for JK. Still odd decorations to have in the rabidly Protestant world of Edinburgh though!



One of my favourite pictures - I think we had it on the Captions thread. If not, we should have had! I love Mary's face...





Last edited by Temperance on Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:20 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Dreadful punctuation etc. and also I wanted to include picture.)
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:41 am

I liked the 1971 Mary film, Temperance.  I saw it in the cinema - crumbs, that ages me. I know it wasn't totally true to what happened. I remember also going back yonks that I and a chap I was friendly with at the time walked out of the 1971 King Lear film - it was so boring, even Paul Schofield couldn't save it.  I see there is a broadcast of that play from the National Theatre, but viewable at my local theatre, on October 31st with Ian McKellan.  I find that play very depressing but sometimes good acting can lift a dire tale.  I'd heard of the new Mary film - apparently it has an Irish Mary and an Australian Elizabeth.  Folk seem to like Australians for Elizabeth - Cate Blanchett comes to mind, but I haven't seen either of the films with CB so can't really judge how well she pulled off being an English woman.

I don't think a casual viewer will be as dismayed by inaccuracy in a play/film as someone who has a clue.  The lady who does the blog "Partylike1660" wrote on her blog about the recent series Versailles that only the king would have been allowed to sit in an armchair then and she did notice several things which didn't ring true albeit she thought the actors did as well as they could with what they were given.

The type of medium may have a bearing on how acceptable a scenario is to Yours Sincerely.  I didn't see the whole shows (just clips on YouTube) but the same show runners are behind Miss Saigon and Les Miserables (as in the musical).  They had Eva Noblezada and Rachelle Ann Go from the former musical perform as Eponine and Fantine in the latter - well of course Eponine and Fantine are white caucasian in Victor Hugo's novel but I didn't mind Ms Noblezada and Ms Go being of a different ethnicity on account of their excellent singing voices.


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:41 am

Audiences who don't know any better are less likely to be bothered by inaccuracies, inevitably. I have been lambasted for pointing them out, in the past (not during the film, I hasten to add!) Technical inaccuracies - dress, etiquette, weapons etc - are annoyances but not such a problem. The real trouble is when the narrative is wrong, as a lot of people get their 'facts' from movies, and it can be very hard to convince otherwise. I recently read about a movie - I forget which, alas - where they were going to go for authenticity and avoid having the 'rasp' of swords being drawn. However, there was sufficient negative reaction to the sound effect's absence in previews that the makers felt compelled to add it in!

LadyinRetirement, is that an old production of Lear they're showing? Back in 2007 (IIRC) I saw Ian McKellen in a touring production of the play, which is excellent - though the sight of Gandalf with his todger hanging out was rather alarming!
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:01 am

I've looked on the National Theatre website and they say that it (King Lear) is a transfer from the Chichester Festival so it could be a revival though I'm not 100% sure.  I have occasionally looked at a YouTube channel called Costume Co where a lady (from Canada I think) gives her opinion on various TV and cinema shows and their accuracy from a costume point of view.  She was asked to review Reign (again about Mary Queen of Scots).  The lady running the channel has worked in theatrical costuming to my understanding so I presume she has some idea what she is talking about.  She criticised the costumes of Reign which were modern "prom" (what would have been called dresses for a "formal" dance in my youth) frocks.  Some fans of Reign reacted as though she had criticised them personally - not just expressed an opinion.  I saw a video fairly recently where someone was pointing out the inaccuracy of the helmets worn in Vikings, which is a show I haven't seen but I must be honest I wouldn't have picked up the dodgy helmets.  Sometimes where I can be pernickety it can be a personal preference of mine.  Some years ago Channel 4 showed a version of the King Arthur story (it was called Camelot) and the lady playing Morgan le Fay had a noticeable French accent which annoyed me.  Someone else said well, at that time Arthur and his knights of the Round Table (who are largely mythic anyway) wouldn't have spoken standard English, and I suppose they would be right.  I still didn't like Morgan having a French accent though.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:03 pm

Perhaps I was too critical about Hal B. Wallis's offering, LiR. The film was made nearly fifty years ago after all, and the acting was really good, apart from Timothy Dalton's totally over-the-top Lord Darnley that is - and the bunch of bearded, savage Lords of the Congregation who all seemed to growl in unison, "Aye!" to whatever the Earl of Moray said. Vanessa Redgrave was a superb Mary though - actually just how I imagine this unhappy woman; and Trevor Howard as Cecil and Ian Holm as Rizzio were both excellent.

Bothwell unfortunately was dire. He was portrayed as a simple soul -  a rough Scottish diamond with the obligatory beard, furry jerkin and a warm heart - but not the complex, driven man of history who ruined Mary - or by whom Mary allowed herself to be ruined.

I suppose I came home with my head full of the story and I wanted the film to live up to my own imagined version of history. Alas, that never works: one is always disappointed. To be fair, though, the costumes also were superb (pretty authentic as far as I know) and the photography of the beautiful Border area stunning. But it was really annoying having Mary go into labour with the future James VI at Hermitage Castle (lovely shots of this terrifying fortress) - that was just silly -  and the courtship of Mary by Darnley at Bamburgh Castle - which is actually a fair few miles into England (I was there in the storm last Wednesday - thought we would be spending the night trapped there - so I recognised the place instantly!) was also a bit irritating. But then it's a splendid castle with intact battlements from where Rizzio could observe the lovely sands below - perfect for Mary and Darnley to gallop along which they did. And who, unless a recent visitor, would know it was not a proper Scottish location? Filming at Dunbar would have been impossible as the place is in ruins - dramatic position overlooking the sea - the place where Bothwell took Mary for the "rape". I had to be dragged away from Dunbar - ruin or not, the atmosphere was terrific (I've got about twenty photos of a heap of old stone) - as was the atmosphere at Hermitage, but the latter a strangely frightening place. Would definitely not like to spend a night there alone...  

But I rabbit on.

PS King Lear it has to be admitted is a bit on the gloomy side: if you haven't got clinical depression when you start watching it you will have by the end. I don't think they've done WW writing this particular play yet in Upstart Crow. Shakespeare's family and friends were beastly to him about Hamlet - Lord knows what they'll say about Lear.


Here's the trailer for the film. Look out for Bamburgh Castle - I think it crops up in France as well!


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:40 pm

Well I think Timothy Dalton hasn't ever exactly reined in on the hamometer, Temperance. He was a beautiful man in his younger days though.  I gave up on a TV show he was on a few years ago Penny Dreadful.  He played an Alan Quatermain type.  The whole cast were a bit over the top on that though and the some of the accents were a bit off key - an American and a French person playing "English" and an English lady doing her best northern Irish.

Mary Q of Scots was arrested not too far from where I live in a place called Tixall* (a village).  Tixall Hall was burnt down many years ago and for many years it was a ruin - well just the gatehouse but some years ago some "mews" were built (for people not horses) and the gatehouse has been restored as holiday accommodation.  https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/.../tixall-gatehouse-12604

*Where Mary was arrested not where I live, though I'm not based all that far as the crow flies.


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:47 pm

I'm sure someone mentioned at one time the fact that there had been a Danish film version in Danish of Hamlet.  At one time on TV there were occasional showings of foreign films of renown and I remember a Japanese film based on MacBeth was shown only transferred to feudal Japan (with Japanese names I think). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throne_of_Blood
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:57 pm

Before my TV went bump I sometimes watched old films (really old films - not just old now but not old when I was young films).  One was The Master of Ballantrae based on a Robert Louis Stevenson novel and as such not particularly historically accurate but I thought it was good fun.  That surprised me because I struggled with Walter Scott's The Antiquary the first time I did English Literature A level (and got an O level pass).  I did it (E Lit) again at night school some time later and this time passed at A level fortunately.  I quite liked the 1995 version of Rob Roy with Liam Neeson which I don't think was particularly faithful to the novel or history (I'd never go into anything based on a Walter Scott novel expecting it to be historically accurate).

* I erroneously said the novel was written by Walter Scott.


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:19 pm

If'n I recall correctly, though, Lady, the novel 'The Master of Ballantrae' touches on the subject of indentured servitude?
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:05 pm

I've realised I made a faux-pas in that the Master of Ballantrae was written by Robert Louis Stevenson rather than Walter Scott.  The novel and the film were quite different:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_of_Ballantrae
The film was shorter and as it starred Errol Flynn was something of a tale of derring-do https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_of_Ballantrae_(1953_film)

There was a family retainer, McKellar, but I can't remember if he was indentured or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:38 pm

I've been out for a few errands and just re-logged into Res Hist for a while. Ha ha, I found the 1984 version of The Master of Ballantrae on YouTube.  Michael York is playing the elder brother (the one who went to fight with Bonnie Prince Charlie) and John-Boy from The Waltons (how I loathed that series) as the younger brother.  Sir John Gielgud plays the dad and hamster, Mr Dalton is somewhere in it (not got to him yet).
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:56 pm

I saw Hal B Wallis's 'Mary Queen of Scots' film when it was first released in 1971. My sister was doing A-level history (English political history 1485 to 16??) and we all trooped along en famille to see it, partly for her studies but also because of the film's locations ... as well as the history of course. My Dad was originally from Northumberland and Granny and Dad's brother were then both living in Wooler (not far from the 'bloody field o' Flodden') while his sister was just o'er the border at Kirk Yetholm. Accordingly we regularly, every other year, took holidays in North Northumberland - one of my earliest memories is being trundled up to Bamburgh Castle in my pushchair - and so we all knew the film locations very well. I was only eleven in 1971 but I liked the film - still do, for all its faults - but I do also remember my seventeen-year-old sister lecturing us all as we drove back from the cinema about all the historical errors and liberties that had been taken.

I've got the film on DVD and prompted by your comments Temp I watched it again last night. Bamburgh Castle might not be Dunbar but it is nevertheless a magnificent fortress isn't it? I noticed that they also filmed Mary's first landing in Scotland on the deserted sands and dunes next to the castle (you can't see the castle in the film at that point but I recognised the beach with Lindisfarne in the distance), whereas in reality of course she landed from France at the busy port of Leith. In addition to Bamburgh Castle I also noticed that the Percy's ancestral home of Alnwick Castle (aka Hogwarts) doubled as some chateau in France (supposedly where Bothwell first met Mary - only I'm pretty sure they met for the first time only once she'd arrived in Scotland).

By the way Temp, while you were in Bamburgh, was the Grace Darling Museum open by any chance? It was always a standing joke in our family that it was never, ever open. As I say we visited Bamburgh many times over the years and we always tried to visit the museum (Dad was keen on all things vaguely nautical) but always to no avail. We once turned up mid-morning to find a sign "gone for lunch" on the door, so we spent a few hours on the beach before returning in mid-afternoon. It was still closed but clearly someone had been there as they'd now changed the hand-written sign to something like "sorry closed early - open tomorrow". But it was always like that. We must have tried at least a dozen times over the years but never managed to find anyone there. So I've only ever seen Grace Darling's famous little boat (a 20ft long rowing-boat, in which she and her father single-handedly rescued the survivors of the SS Forfarshire when it was wrecked on the Farne islands in 1838) through the dusty windows of the perpetually "closed for lunch" museum.

Hermitage Castle is a very atmospheric place isn't it? Still largely intact (the outside at least), austere, forbidding and very imposing in its bleak and barren setting. Apparently it is still inhabited by a 'redcap' - that's not a military policeman but rather a particularly malevolent variety of goblin or boggart, the sort that are particularly drawn to places with a blood-thirsty or violent history. Understandably castle Hermitage seems to attract them - and so perhaps equally understandably the castle hasn't been restored (unlike Bamburgh and Alnwick) and, sauf les lutins, is no longer inhabited and so still stands stark, bleak, abandoned and forsaken.


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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:44 pm

@Temperance wrote:
Yes - at least it matters to me.

I returned from a Mary, Queen of Scots research trip last night. I have driven 2000 miles over the last week or so, and I think I have visited every castle connected with that unfortunate queen although, sadly, Loch Leven was closed after the terrible storm this week. (I hope I get my £6 ferry booking fee back.) Several months ago I recorded the Hal B. Wallis (!!!!) film about Mary and I watched it last night when I got home to the comparative calm and safety of Devon. Despite the excellent performances from Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson (Mary and Liz), this old (1971) film has left me fuming  - it was so inaccurate and terribly disappointing. Mary escaped to Dunbar after the death of Rizzio, and James VI was born in Edinburgh, not Hermitage, Castle! John Knox was pretty important to Mary's story - he had a brief cameo appearance at the beginning of the film when, standing on a rise overlooking the road to Edinburgh, he looked pretty annoyed, called Mary a Papist whore (like you do), then disappeared. And, of course, Mary and Elizabeth never met - Hal B. had them meeting twice. Oh - and the abduction of Mary by Bothwell apparently never happened??!!

Temperance,

you seems to stay busy. For me it is also worth to have a goal to have to do next morning and in my opinion is that a good thing...
That said I apologize even in advance about my poor knowledge of English history Embarassed ...
I said it already to MM in my "beer" thread about "Grendel" that I had never heard about him and although he appeared on Historum on an never ending thread I didn't read it because it seems to be a mythical figure (more heard about King Arthur, because that is more "international") and look to the picture of our Dutch "grendel" in the beer thread...

Also about Mary Queen of Scots...I mix them all up those Mary's as the Margarets, even in our Low Countries' Burgundian past and later about our Charles V: was Margaret of York now the aunt or the stepmother of Charles V (have to check)
No, unconsciously I thought about Bloody Mary...
But as ever the first line inquiry wiki says it all:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,_Queen_of_Scots
And indeed a sad history as I read it...
Mary I of England I know much better:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_England

When I first entered the BBC board in 2002, there was in a thread about Philip II a jingoist contributor, who nearly killed Philip II 500 years afterwards. How people can be, but we have completely the same over here...He nearly got berserk, when I said: what if Mary would have had a child from Philip...(in my opinion nothing would have changed the real history, because of the general trend of English society...I suppose)
And about the burning at the stake, mostly political opponents? and only some 300?
Unbelievable how old history still sow controversies even between professors...I still remember Geoffrey Parker's "Dutch Revolt", (Geoffrey staying a lot in the Netherlands (his daugther studying there)) when he said in his foreword that he received critique from his Dutch counterparts because he painted Philip II not as the bastard that he was pictured in the Dutch history writing...
BTW: Geoffrey stated that from his research there were no more than some 600 cases of death penalties from the Spanish authorities among the "Protestants"...a number not easely accepted by the Dutch side...in my opinion then they have to come up with other numbers backed by primary sources...

Kind regards from Paul.
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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:06 am

Thank you Paul, for this contribution, where I particularly notice the sentences on "... Geoffrey Parker's "Dutch Revolt", (Geoffrey staying a lot in the Netherlands (his daugther studying there)) when he said in his foreword that he received critique from his Dutch counterparts because he painted Philip II not as the bastard that he was pictured in the Dutch history writing... "

I think this part here highlights an important point, that what one part see as the "received truth" as perceived by generations of history - and fictional - writing on any subject may be seen differently when looking from the opposite side - or just as an innocent bystander.

What I am trying to say is, the importance of being able to read sources - at best primary ones - can hardly be over-estimated, and from yours above, the Dutch stories on Philip remain - history? 

Yet, the Netherlands anthem, "Het Wilhelmus", contain the line - here paraphrased - 'I've always held the Spanish King in esteem', the 'I' being Wilhelm I the Silent, and the Spanish king being 'Philip II' [in England the 'First' as being so named when marrying Mary, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII].
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:38 am

Oh my Latin and medieval French would need to be much better than they are for me to read the primary sources, Nielsen, and my medieval German, Italian and Spanish are nonexistent (as are my medieval - and modern - Dutch and Danish).  There are online translations sometimes but they tend to be very "dry".  I did have a look at some of the online information that I found recommended in the YouTube video about Charlemagne but it was a bit of a chore. I will go back to it though.

I've been watching the 1984 Master of Ballantrae in increments and have come across Timothy Dalton now.  The character he plays is Col. Francis Burke.  Brian Blessed is also in the cast as "Teach" and James Cosmo (this will only make sense to Temperance - Lord Commander Mormont of GoT is credited as "horseman")
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:37 pm

@Nielsen wrote:
Thank you Paul, for this contribution, where I particularly notice the sentences on "... Geoffrey Parker's "Dutch Revolt", (Geoffrey staying a lot in the Netherlands (his daugther studying there)) when he said in his foreword that he received critique from his Dutch counterparts because he painted Philip II not as the bastard that he was pictured in the Dutch history writing... "

I think this part here highlights an important point, that what one part see as the "received truth" as perceived by generations of history - and fictional - writing on any subject may be seen differently when looking from the opposite side - or just as an innocent bystander.

What I am trying to say is, the importance of being able to read sources - at best primary ones - can hardly be over-estimated, and from yours above, the Dutch stories on Philip remain - history? 

Yet, the Netherlands anthem, "Het Wilhelmus", contain the line - here paraphrased - 'I've always held the Spanish King in esteem', the 'I' being Wilhelm I the Silent, and the Spanish king being 'Philip II' [in England the 'First' as being so named when marrying Mary, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII].



Nielsen, yes I many times saw that "biased" ("parti pris" in French, "vooringenomenheid" in Dutch (I apologize for the word Wink) literally
(predisposition to)) rethoric was used even among professors...perhaps the best are the American historians about neutrality if they write about European!!! history...
And yes although Belgians we had to learn the Wilhelmus in the Dutch literature because it was from Marnix van Sint Aldegonde if I recall it well...and yes."Ben ik van Duitschen bloede, de koning van Hispanien heb ik altijd geëerd...and a whole explanation about "duitschen" if I recall it well it was a German prince from Nassau and it was not "van Dietschen bloede" as many "Grootnederlanders" said. And I see that it is still actual more than 70 years after WWII..Vlaams blok and Geert Wilders I see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Netherlands
But our former prime minister Yves Leterme said there is only one confederation and it is the one of the Benelux...
But our collaborator of WWII Léon Degrelle wanted also a Burgundian state from which the later Benelux was after the war the implementation, although I have to say with another purpose...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9on_Degrelle
But in the wiki nothing about Degrelle's Burgundian movement even with the Burgundian flag...you see Wiki is not always reliable...I did once all the research but tody too late to start all that difficult searches...
But now I learn here that Diets and Duits is the same and means as well from Dutch blood (from diut volk)
https://onzetaal.nl/taaladvies/ben-ik-van-dietsen-bloed/

But now we are far from the accuracy of films...but as said I am famous for my digressions...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:09 pm

I'm quite envious of Temperance's visit to Scotland.  I have been there a long time ago but I didn't have a vehicle and couldn't go just where I wanted.

People know that one of my weaknesses is a fondness for Game of Thrones.  It's a fantasy so of course it can introduce some factors that wouldn't be in real-life history (e.g. dragons) but a couple of the sub-plots stretch a point sometimes.  In the first season (I don't want to spoil for anybody who hasn't seen the show and might one day) there was an incident involving molten gold.  The gold melted in a matter of a few minutes; I'm not a chemist but I rather suspect real gold would take longer than that.  Then in the last season one character survived falling into some water with his armour on - I read that one of the medieval Holy Roman Emperors drowned when he fell into a river with his armour on.  Of course in a fantasy the "willing suspension of disbelief" comes into play.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:35 pm

MM being "trundled" (perfect word!) up to Bamburgh Castle in his pushchair - what a lovely image!

The Grace Darling Museum was still there, MM, and still shut. The notice last Wednesday informed us: "Closed due to weather conditions". To be fair, it was a bit blowy that day, with Storm Ali gusts of over 75mph...

Hermitage Castle is indeed a really frightening place. I have since read about the Redcap - and the "Wizard" Lord of Hermitage who consorted with him. I honestly think I would have died of fright had I been locked up alone within that fortress. It is a ruin inside, as you say,  but, yes, all the outer walls are intact and there is a door which the person at the ticket office locks at night. I hope he/she always checks that no one is still wandering about inside!

Primary sources - well yes - but the trouble is always the reader of the sources, however erudite and reliable he or she may seem to be. The postmodern dilemma. We all bring our own lives/ experiences/ cultural expectations to what we read and interpret historic events accordingly. I'm struggling at the moment to see John Knox's point of view - he was after all a truly great social reformer - but God, I bet Mary wanted to thump him - or worse laugh at him. Maybe she did - big mistake - never, ever laugh at men like Knox!
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:41 pm

Are you saying I need to learn medieval French, German and Italian etc (and revise Latin) to access the primary sources in person, Temp?  I don't know if the 60-something brain is up to it; though it is said that language studies help keep the brain active.   Of course even then I might bring MY preconceived ideas into the mix and think like a person who has lived in the 20th/21st centuries rather than in medieval times.
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