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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 07:40   #41 (permalink)
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And the war probably wouldn't have happened at all if the Russians hadn't done a deal with Hitler to divide up Eastern Europe between them. If both then suffered appallingly as they turned on each other - tough.

"Uncle Joe" Stalin was an even worse butcher than Hitler, both before and after WWII, and the subsequent occupation of Eastern Europe during the Cold War was just as reprehensible.

If history is to be written then the discussion of Germany and Russia should be about the falling out between two unprovoked aggressors whose fight allowed the Allies to regroup and fight back. It just took 40 years longer to defeat and drive back Russia than Germany....

Last edited by ORAC; 22nd Jul 2017 at 09:48. Reason: Sp
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 08:48   #42 (permalink)
 
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ORAC. I speak only of Winston's version of events. A commercial publication written for an English speaking audience.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 09:24   #43 (permalink)
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So, what is the verdict? If you were brought up on the Battle of the River Plate, the Cruel Sea, Dunkirk, BoB, Longest Day, Dambusters, is it worth seeing the new film other than as a bit of modern block buster?

I admit to seeing U571 and dismissing historical accuracy and a bbc wholly improbable plot, I found it very entertaining - it was free on one of the Channels, Netflix or Amazon.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 10:08   #44 (permalink)

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I've done a three day organised tour of the beaches of Dunkirk and the inland areas where most of the actual fighting took place.

There are plenty of misconceptions about the place. The Mole was crucial of course, but where the little boats came in was ferrying men, perhaps 10 or 20 at a time -- from the beaches to ships waiting in deeper waters. That was their main role.

The 'beach' was actually a series of beaches stretching up to the Belgian border. I recall there were at least 10 different embarkation points.

Interestingly the destruction of the oil tanks just outside Dunkirk was important in helping keep many people safe from bombing/strafing. If you look at contemporary pictures you'll see the smoke drifting northwards along those beaches, providing some form of cover.

As I said, most of the fighting took place inland and we saw the series of rivers and canals that were used as defensive lines. So small, yet so crucial! Dunkirk would have been taken earlier without those water courses and the men (British and French) who defended them.

Also, people may forget the SS were there in strength. The Wormhoudt massacre was their worst atrocity (the rebuilt barn is still there and can be visited) but all over the battlefield there were examples of random executions, thuggery and suchlike.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormhoudt_massacre
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 10:13   #45 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
Some years ago I was lucky enough to be able to buy a very scarce group of medals headed by the Distinguished Service Medal and bar. The recipient was a Leading Seaman on one of the many naval warships sent to rescue the army from Dunkirk. He was put in charge of one of the ship's boats which made many return trips to the beach to transfer soldiers to the ship and he was awarded the DSM for this action. Two weeks later the same ship found itself at St Valery, near Dieppe, this time attempting to evacuate the 51st Highland Division. Once again our man was put in charge of one of the boats which rowed inshore to attempt to take off troops. St Valery was an entirely different proposition, however, and the boats came under fire from high ground, several were lost and the remainder were forced to withdraw. For this action he received a bar to his DSM, possibly the fastest double DSM of the war. The 51st Division were eventually forced to surrender and spent the whole war as POWs,
The surrender of 51 HD at St Valéry: St. Valery, June 1940 | 51st Highland Division

My late uncle was a Captain in the Gordon Highlanders and was captured there. Note the German General to whom they surrendered. The reformed 51 HD had further business with him in North Africa, of course. Meanwhile, my uncle languished as a POW in Silesia. He returned home to his job with Aberdeen Town Council, and to the best of my knowledge, never went abroad again.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 11:40   #46 (permalink)
 
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Cant say I blame him! My father soldiered through North Africa, Italy and Greece and came to the conclusion that all "foreigners" as he bracketed them were dirty, scruffy and untrustworthy. Yes, simple racist xenophobia by modern standards, but by no means uncommon among his generation.

He never went abroad again either!
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 14:07   #47 (permalink)
 
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As an aside, the tomb of the architect of Vichy France, Marshal Petain, was firebombed and its cross smashed in the early hours of this morning.

La tombe du maréchal Pétain vandalisée - Le Parisien
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 14:45   #48 (permalink)
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Not going abroad again seems to be a common feature.

One of my Uncles was in the BEF and took a stroll along the promenade at the location of the film, and a swim thereafter.

Once back, he decided, well the Army did, that warmer climes beckoned so he went to Burma. He never went further than the I.o.M when he returned.

Last edited by Krystal n chips; 23rd Jul 2017 at 04:37.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 17:10   #49 (permalink)
 
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So, what is the verdict? If you were brought up on the Battle of the River Plate, the Cruel Sea, Dunkirk, BoB, Longest Day, Dambusters, is it worth seeing the new film other than as a bit of modern block buster?
Save your money. Never before have so many paid so much to endure a film which sucked so hard. Nolan seems to think if you make a film loud enough it'll cover up the lack of character development and lack of storyline beyond an artistic, convoluted glimpse of an historic event.

The flying scenes, especially the dogfighting, were utterly woeful except for the Spitfire with a glide ratio of 1,000,000:1 which was truly amazing.

Len Deighton? Let's get Goodbye Mickey Mouse onto the big screen....
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 18:34   #50 (permalink)
 
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I gave it a 7/10. There are a couple of hair raising moments, the cinematography is quite good, and unlike Eclan I thoroughly enjoyed the flying scenes, especially the in-cockpit shots that were superbly shot and gave a real sense of just how hard combat flying must have been.

On the down side, there's essentially zero character development, you hardly learm a single characters name. The score gave a true sense of foreboding early on, but it became monotonous to the point of annoyance as the movie progressed. It was almost like they only had one piece of music for the entire production.

I watched it fully expecting it not to be a documentary, and it's not. It simpy follows three separate groups trying to survive. It's narrow focus revolves around a British Tommy and a French deserter trying to get off the beach and get home', the crew of one of the civilian boats that answered the call, a 3 aircraft flight from 609 SQN, and a handfull of other bit players. About the only major characters you actually get to know anything about is the boat crew, and even that is fleeting.

Perhaps in order to cover the thin storyline and lack of character development, the movie is not presented in chronological order, which caused me some confusion intially, and really does nothing to improve the story telling.

I still enjoyed it though, despite it's lack of depth. And yes, the ridiculous glide ratio of the Spit was a little silly. Given the amount of time it remained airborne after the light went out he could have essentially flown back to England
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 18:41   #51 (permalink)
 
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Saw it yesterday, and don't agree at all with the critics calling it 'one of the best war movies'. It lacked an engaging story line with well defined characters and was much, much, MUCH too loud. Noticed several people around me holding their ears and was, at times, tempted to do the same. In essence, you don't get to know any of the characters well enough, to give a shyte whether they make it or not and leave the theatre half-deaf.

The aerial sequences also leaves quite a lot to be desired, albeit there are some very nice footage indeed.

All in all, a rather loud disappointment.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:32   #52 (permalink)
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Thank you, I shall wait until I can control the volume myself.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:33   #53 (permalink)
 
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Seeing parade ground clean uniforms at Dunkirk - that is just nonsense. The actors should have been crawling around in the dirt in the same uniforms for weeks.

Want to see a realistic WW2 movie then watch "Theirs is The Glory".

Arnhem

Made 1946, on location, actual battle footage interwoven.

Majority of the actors were veterans from the real battle. Including the Dutch lady who treated wounded soldiers - she became known as the Angel of Arnhem.

Any war movie director needs to watch that and compare it to Dunkirk before making another war movie.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:44   #54 (permalink)
 
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Christopher Nolan was born in 1970. He's 46. A good director doesn't beget a good historian. It's show biz.
I think that these days, as we get further and further away from the times that were, films of this type get further away from the realities and get more "Hollywood" fuzzy vision meant to pander to younger audiences who have little interest in and understanding of what really was.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:45   #55 (permalink)
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One reason why many never went abroad again was the cost. There were no package holidays then, there was a cash limit of £5 out of the country, the working week was 5 1/2 or 6 days and 2 weeks holiday the norm.

I went to Holland around 1953 but then we were lucky as my father was a chief officer on a merchant ship so it was free. After my mother came back from India in 1942 this was the only time she left the country.

The first time I went abroad under my own arrangements was 1973 when I did a tour of Egypt followed by a grand tour when I drove home through Turkey.

In the 50s British holiday camps were the ambition for most with Blackpool, Skegness, Llandudno etc for the rest.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 20:09   #56 (permalink)
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.... was much, much, MUCH too loud. Noticed several people around me holding their ears and was, at times, tempted to do the same. In essence, you don't get to know any of the characters well enough, to give a shyte whether they make it or not and leave the theatre half-deaf.
....
The volume level is the responsibility of the cinema/theatre - all major films are mixed to standard levels these days.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 20:10   #57 (permalink)
 
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I want to see a really good and accurate screen presentation based on the book...."Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" about the fight between the Sammie B, the Johnston, and the rest of Taffy 3 against the Japanese Main Battle Fleet to include the Battleship Yamato, off the Philippines.

That is a story that really needs telling in a very dignified manner.

When the Japanese Navy mans the rail as they steam by....and salute survivors in the water.....that is pretty telling.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXDnC07j63Y

Last edited by SASless; 22nd Jul 2017 at 20:21.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 20:19   #58 (permalink)
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meadowrun, quite. A film I didn't mention was Cockleshell Heroes. It was on show in Birkenhead, Gaumont or some such, with a RM display including a cockleshell canoe. Now that brings it home to even a young audience. As it happens we went on a cruise last year and entered the Gironde and moored at Le Verdon-sur-mer. When we left the ship we saw the AA gun emplacements and the jetty that the canoeists had passed under with the German sentry on top. That was very moving and showed just how real the film had been.

I also read a book on the operation by Paddy Ashdown. His prose was deadly but the narrative was detailed and as much covered the escape by Blondie Hasler and Bill Sparks
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 20:19   #59 (permalink)
 
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I want to see a really good and accurate screen presentation based on the book...."Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" about the fight between the Sammie B, the Johnston, and the rest of Taffy 3 against the Japanese Main Battle Fleet to include the Battleship Yamato, off the Philippines.
SAS, I agree to a point - that battle is hugely significant yet largely unknown/unappreciated. Had Taffy 3 failed to deter the Japanese and they'd proceeded to the beachhead, the American losses would have been catastrophic - likely six figures - and could well have changed the entire conduct of the Pacific war.
However I have every faith that Hollywood would totally muck it up...
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 21:05   #60 (permalink)
 
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I took my wife and teenage children to see Dunkirk this afternoon.

In my opinion it was absolutely splendid and very thought provoking. It did dwell on the horrible way in which many of the men died and the extraordinary luck which saved some men and killed others. The flying sequences were, I thought, very realistic. I have never seen a war film which explained actual cockpit proceedures let alone one which made things so clear. A large part of the aerial plot centred on the limited endurance of the spitfires and the pressure to achieve a combat mission without running out of fuel.

Sure, to a trained eye there were some things which were not period. Dormer windows in houses for one.

An Uncle of mine was evacuated from Dunkirk and I wanted my children to have just a bit of the sense of what it was all about.

They were rivetted and I expect the questions will flow for a few days or so.
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