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 Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?

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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 14:41

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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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 14:48

LadyinRetirement, I once asked an historian I know in passing for advice on where to look for information on a particular subject. He thought for a moment, and then opened his reply with, "How's your Medieval French?"
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 14:58

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
  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.

Of course you would - it's inevitable.

As for your other question - we are all dependent on the translators - and that of course is another can of worms.

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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 15:27

@Anglo-Norman wrote:
LadyinRetirement, I once asked an historian I know in passing for advice on where to look for information on a particular subject.  He thought for a moment, and then opened his reply with, "How's your Medieval French?"

AN, I did a couple of years at Birkbeck College well over 30 years ago and we studied some of Aucassin et Nicolette and Yvain then.  I didn't finish the course and have forgotten practically everything I learned.  Temp is also right that I would bring my own ideas into play even if I didn't want to.  This might be somewhere to start with the medieval French I suppose.  
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 15:31

On a lighter note, hopeless addict of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire that I am, I like them despite them being somewhat flawed.  I didn't notice it myself but someone else mentioned that in the first book/first season of the show a will was made and in both versions there were no witnesses.  The story is loosely based on the War of the Roses (and also took inspiration from Maurice Druon's The Accursed Kings plus some random inspiration from other periods of history).  I'm pretty sure that for a written will, especially for that of a noble, there would have been witnesses in both medieval France and England.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 21:22

@Temperance wrote:
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!

Temperance and LiR,

"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!"

Wise words (in excellent English) Temperance and indeed that is the essence of the matter. Interpretation...we discussed it on the BBC nearly to dead as on Historum as overhere with nordmann...for instance about the reactions on an event: one has to nearly transpose oneself in the thinking world of that particular period and therefore it is difficult to make a value judgement (spelling? "waardeoordeel" in Dutch). And in my opinion it is not the role of a historian to judge.

"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."

Wise reaction too, LiR (in my humble opinion, the same for Temperance),
And to your last sentence I answered already to Temperance.
Yes translations in nowadays English are available for most sources about "serious" events, but as Temperance, nordmann and you and me will say, translation is also a difficult work as we have seen here many times on this Res Historica as a word or a context of the concerned time can have quiite another connotation as the same in identical modern English, not to speak of translations from other languages, for instance first in modern German and then in English...not to speak from the medieval Japanese of the 17th or was it the 18th century...

Kind regards to both of you from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 21:26

Addendum.

Sorry, hadn't read the later messages.

Regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 29 Sep 2018, 22:26

A very quick reply, Paul; don't worry your input on primary sources was interesting.  Apart from a translation into modern English of a primary source possibly having something lost "in translation", I find that the translations (not that I've looked at many) tend to be written in a very boring style.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun 07 Oct 2018, 15:20

Not 100% sure if this is the right thread but Temperance did mention upthread that she had visited some  sites in Scotland associated with Mary Queen of Scots.  I mentioned there are a couple of places linked to her that I could visit but I'd have to catch a bus.  Here somebody has sent a drone overhead Chartley Castle.  It is very much a ruin though it has been restored as much as possible but is on private land and therefore not open to the public.  
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun 07 Oct 2018, 15:28

Again, a drone flying over Tixall Gatehouse.  I remember when it had no roof, but some people bought it and "did it up" and now it is a hotel.  Tixall Hall went a long time ago - in the 19th century I think.  The mews (the group of dwellings) I think are fairly new (1980s or 1990s though there may be some that were servants' quarters).  My understanding is that mews at one time was another word for stables.  I really should know more as the village of Tixall is not that far as the crow flies from where I live.  Mary was imprisoned here for a couple of weeks before being taken back to Chartley and then Fotheringay.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sun 07 Oct 2018, 16:09

Chartley Hall was the place where some of the most distressing and dramatic scenes of Mary's life unfolded. The Babington plot was uncovered there.

Chartley belonged to the young Earl of Essex who had inherited in 1576. Essex was most put out when he was informed  that his property was being considered as a suitable prison for the Scottish queen: it was most definitely not an honour to have Mary as a "house guest/prisoner". Chartley, ironically, had seen happier, more "chivalrous" days: Elizabeth had visited the place with Leicester, and had actually been a guest there after her famous stay  at Kenilworth in 1575. Her hostess at Chartley was the beautiful Lettice Knollys who was at that time Lady Essex. She was possibly already having an affair with Leicester right under the queen's nose. (Leicester and Lettice were secretly married in 1578.)

There had been real romance at Chartley; it was at Chartley that Philip Sidney first laid eyes on the teenage Penelope Devereux (later poor Penny Rich), "the inspiration of his muse" and the lovely Stella of his sonnets.

Chartley, however, held no romance for Mary. She was utterly miserable there. Her gaoler was Sir Amyas Paulet, a self-righteous and judgmental man who had no sympathy or understanding for a woman like the Queen of Scots. He was a fundamentalist Protestant, and in his attitude to her religious beliefs he showed the total incomprehension of the bigot, a humourless man of the type who can see nothing fine or sincere in the convictions of those with whom they do not agree. Mary's despairing description of him of him echoes down the centuries: "One of the strangest and most farouche men I have ever known."


* Farouche  - wild, savage, intimidating, sullen


Last edited by Temperance on Tue 09 Oct 2018, 07:55; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed 07 Nov 2018, 09:49

Belatedly, thank you to Temperance for the background information about Chartley, and to Paul for the information about primary sources.

People know that I am something of a Game of Thrones fan though I am trying to avoid "spoilers" about the next and final season at present.  Recently I have listened to a little of the first book of The Witcher series by Polish author Andrej Sapkowski but I can't really say I know the work.  Netflix is going to make a series based on the books and have recently announced their casting.  Some people weren't pleased because the casting included people of mixed race (who were in the minority to be honest).  But there have been claims about the stories being Slavic and that there aren't many people of colour in Poland an certainly weren't in medieval Poland.  It's a fantasy series so I don't really see the problem myself.  I looked on the internet to see what Poland's involvement in the Crusades was and it does appear to have been limited but then again in a fantasy series you can have a green sky or trees with blue leaves or whatever.  Some fans of the books (and a series of computer games based on the books) have said they are not going to watch the series.  I'm sure Netflix are quaking in their boots.  Some comments people who were against the castings made me think of a verse of the Sidney Carter song about knocking on the window on a Christmas Day

"Jesus Christ has gone to heaven and they say He's coming back sir
And we'll all be there to meet him, just as long as He's not black sir" 
(quoted from memory so could be a little inaccurate)
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed 07 Nov 2018, 10:24

aiui the "mews" was originally the place where the falcons and hawks were kept "mewed up" when moulting. Later used for a building with a carriage house below and living quarters above.
Here is a tale of a mews.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHuc_Nutv-s
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Wed 07 Nov 2018, 14:59

I didn't know that was the source of the terms "mews", G, but it makes sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri 09 Nov 2018, 13:00

I've yet to see this. Has anyone else seen it?

Director Peter Jackson talks to film critic Mark Kermode about his WW1 film, "They shall not grow old", made by altering the frame speeds and colourising the original footage;



It's on BBC 2 on Sunday night:

They shall not grow old
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Fri 09 Nov 2018, 19:50

Thanks Triceratops, will look at it on TV2 on 1 January and copy it on my hard disc of the TV distribution.

That's looks like really interesting "reportages" of one hundred years old.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon 12 Nov 2018, 14:13

In Tora Tora Tora there is a scene where a Japanese messenger delivers a telegram to the office of General Short.

I thought this scene was just a cinematic device to show racial tension after the attack, but it turns out Tadao Fuchikami was the messenger who delivered the telegram to General Short's headquarters on 7th December 1941.

It's in Gordon Prange's book At Dawn We Slept. Prange's earlier research forming much of the basis for Tora, Tora, Tora.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 16:16

Can we ever be sure of what is "accurate" in history? Perhaps not. But some things are definitely unlikely.

I have been watching this afternoon the very enjoyable Elizabeth - the film starring Cate Blanchett as the formidable Tudor - but gosh, the portrayal of Walsingham as a sexy bisexual (he has an affair with a pretty French boy earlier in the film) was utterly ridiculous - as was the presentation of Marie de Guise. Here Mary de Guise and Sir Francis are preparing to enjoy a night together in a four-poster somewhere in Edinburgh (presumably at Holyrood). According to the historical sources, the brave but unhappy mother of MQS was at the time badly swollen with the dropsy that eventually killed her and sex, especially with Sir Francis Walsingham of all people, was probably the last thing on her mind. Elizabeth's Puritan spymaster (a man who actually made John Knox look like an abandoned libertine) must be turning in his grave.

I have never read of any record of Elizabeth sending Francis Walsingham to Scotland.


PS Forgot to add that Walsingham apparently murders Marie de Guise in the four-poster - unless, of course, she simply expired of passion in the arms of the cunning English envoy.

Shocked




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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 20:20

I haven't seen that film and know that it has been praised but I seem to have missed the CB appreciation gene.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 21:13

As regards the Peter Jackson film of WWI, on another board someone wrote the following, which I think was pretty much what the critics were saying. I replied to her saying she was very lucky they put it on BBC2; we won't get it on free-to-air NZ television. (Anyway I would have to watch it on my own - my husband won't watch anything realistic about war - MASH was about his limit.)


"I also saw the Peter Jackson film when it was shown on BBC2 on Remembrance Day. It was totally mind blowing at the beginning, as the black and white slowly transformed into colour it looked so good it almost looked like a film, but as it went on and I saw the familiar footage and also still photographs which have been seen many times over the decades in many other WW1 documentaries in its original black and white form was shown, it went from compelling to uncomfortable viewing and then to totally shocking, no punches were pulled and the hell those men went though unfolds before your very eyes, as seeing dead soldiers and blood soaked body parts lying around was even more shocking when seeing it again in full colour and when it was also complete with the sound of buzzing flies – it was literally as those men experienced it. I never moved, I sat motionless and silent throughout the entire thing with my mouth hanging open! I think the fact it was done with such obvious care and consideration, made it all the more moving, the old grainy black and white images are now with the technology used crystal clear, sharp and colourised – and colourised very well so they looked as if they had always been that way, he also added sound it, apparently he also employed lip readers to figure out what was being said in some of the footage so we could actually hear what was happening at that point in the trenches, and he also added background sound, it was accompanied by interviews which had been done over the years with the men who, now long dead were there at the time. It was a fitting tribute to that entire generation who was lost."
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 22:36

@Temperance wrote:
Can we ever be sure of what is "accurate" in history? Perhaps not. But some things are definitely unlikely.

I have been watching this afternoon the very enjoyable Elizabeth - the film starring Cate Blanchett as the formidable Tudor - but gosh, the portrayal of Walsingham as a sexy bisexual (he has an affair with a pretty French boy earlier in the film) was utterly ridiculous - as was the presentation of Marie de Guise. Here Mary de Guise and Sir Francis are preparing to enjoy a night together in a four-poster somewhere in Edinburgh (presumably at Holyrood). According to the historical sources, the brave but unhappy mother of MQS was at the time badly swollen with the dropsy that eventually killed her and sex, especially with Sir Francis Walsingham of all people, was probably the last thing on her mind. Elizabeth's Puritan spymaster (a man who actually made John Knox look like an abandoned libertine) must be turning in his grave.

I have never read of any record of Elizabeth sending Francis Walsingham to Scotland.



Temperance,

you don't believe it and has nothing to do with the subject, but when I saw the picture in your message out of context I was guessing what the "thing" in the hands of the lady could be. As the picture on my computer was a bit "flou" (hazy). And I saw  a kind of a marble pin with a gold ring and ending in a reproduction (I guess in ivory) of a bunch of spagetti...when I later in the film saw the context: why is the haft not in the same line of the knife?

And now Temperance I have to search on the net for the whole history including Walsingham, a name that I saw for the first time on the French Passion Histoire as the nom de plume of a contributor...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 19:01

I'm wondering whether to give the new (I think made for TV) Outlaw King about Robert the Bruce a watch.  (It was on YouTube though I daresay it will be taken down pretty quickly).  Stephen Dillane is in it as Longshanks.  I've heard that there are some inaccuracies but less so than in Braveheart.
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PostSubject: Re: Does accuracy in films matter to audiences?   Yesterday at 13:32

Saw Saoirse Ronan interviewed last week about her new role as Mary Queen of Scots. She mentioned that nearly every drama/film about the unhappy Scottish lass has her meeting with Elizabeth - something that never happened, of course. Ronan blamed Schiller. For some reason I have never read Schiller's "Mary Stuart: A Tragedy" (1800) - got it off Amazon a couple of days ago. Only £3.99 - it's dead good, if wildly inaccurate. Nothing like a nice bit of blank verse to bring history to life.

Has anyone else read/seen this play?
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