The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-50 of 91 (91 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Apr 13, 2018 09:37AM) (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
This is a thread dedicated to discussion of all of those old and possibly new remade movies about World War I.

I found this fabulous site which list all of the movies and has links attached to them.

Take a look and let us talk about some of those that you have seen, what they are about, are they worth trying to get a copy of and what you liked about them or not.

Here is the link to get you started:

Just take a look and feel free to discuss them here.

The First World War by John Keegan by John Keegan John Keegan

message 2: by Angie (new)

Angie (anrich02) | 31 comments After a quick peak only a few of the films look familiar.

All Quiet on the Western Front is the movie I think of whenever I consider films of WWI. It follows German soldiers through training and onto the front. Its been years since I've seen it, but I've also seen it several times. There are two versions. One in 1979, but I like the 1930 B/W version better. The starkness adds to the overall effect of the film. The film link is:

Other films were:
Gallipoli - directed by Peter Weir and starring a very young looking Mel Gibson. ANZAC forces at Gallipoli in Turkey. Excellent film. Link:

The Red Baron - German film which I can remember seeing while I was in high school. I don't remember if I liked it or not, only that I was struggling to understand the German which I was only beginning to learn.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Angie, funny thing I was just reading more about the Gallipoli film because it looked interesting and I guess it is divided into three parts. It would be fun to see this one with the very young looking Mel Gibson.

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
World War I Films of the Silent Era (1916)

On Netflix as one you can instantly play

This rare collection of silent films from World War I provides a fascinating view of the American psyche during the tumultuous period. Highlights include a hard-to-find propaganda film in which Charlie Chaplin beats up the German kaiser; "The Log of the U-35," which used an actual submarine log to re-create a deadly cruise through the Mediterranean; and "The Secret Game," about Japanese spies teaming with U.S. agents against the Germans.

Play Length: 23 minutes
Fighting the War

The Log of the U-35
Play Length: 67 minutes

The Secret Game
Play Length: 50 minutes

The Moving Picture Boys in the Great War
Play Length: 50 minutes

The only one that I just watched is episode one: Fighting the War which has actual footage. Pretty amazing actually.

Some of the things that struck me were first of all the old dirt road they were bringing all of the troops into Verdun on which is now where their major thoroughfare is today (two lanes from what I can remember and of course it is a very good road).

Interesting highlights -

a) What they considered in the silent film as Big Guns going into action seems a little ludicrous by today's standards. I had to smile when I saw these.

b) Their aircraft guns were interesting and also not as expected. There was great footage of the weaponry used, actual use in battle shown, good shots of them walking in the trenches and bringing up the machine guns which must have been a big deal then.

c) I was amazed at all of the smoking going on around the guns and ammunition (lol). Oh dear.

d) It was interesting to see the technique the allies used to tunnel under the German trenches using compressed air. I never realized that this was the way it was done. It actually shows them doing it in their own trenches, shows an actual compression air station and all of the hoses utilized for this kind of project.

e) You see some great and awesome views of the trenches in use. When I was at Verdun, some of the trenches were still in full view but it is another thing having them captured in use as you see in this film. They are filled with men and set up as they had been at the time of battle.

f) One of the frames is titled all of the comforts of home..and I would have to disagree; but it does show a soldier sitting in a trench with sand bags above him propped up relaxing and smoking.

g) I found it remarkable as depicted in the footage that the Germans and the Allies trenches were sometimes only 40 feet apart!

h) I had not seen in any of my travels some of what they called the new reinforced concrete trenches which were over 40 feet deep! There was some good footage of one.

i) There was quite a procedure that they had to go through to clean out the gas from the trenches - donning gas masks etc. I imagine that the poison gas just remained in the trenches to a certain extent until actually cleaned out.

j) There was some great footage of an illuminating torch which was dropped from what they called an airplane (it honestly looked more primitive than the Wright Brothers plane at Kitty Hawk). These torches were dropped to observe the Germans' positions at night.

k) Some of the footage showed the soldiers dragging and pushing their horses literally into the conquered ground area which was absolutely now nothing but a destroyed and vast wasteland.

l) The French had over 20,000 of these airplanes that they called airships (the Kitty Hawk variety) and the film said that the French were known for their air supremacy!

m) Then there was one of the most astonishing pieces of footage showing what the French called their observation balloons which were equipped with what they deemed a safety first parachute.

It was an odd looking thing shaped like a blimp; but made out of some kind of cloth with a basket attached (much as you see a person using nowadays to go up in a hot air balloon).

They showed a man being strapped into the basket and then they would let it go up in the air somehow. I guess when he got done with his observation, it showed him using the parachute so he could come down to the ground. Astonishing really.

I have not watched the other episodes; but will give some feedback after I do. One thing for sure, these battles in World War I were not faceless battles; the enemy was in full view (all of the time).

message 5: by Angie (new)

Angie (anrich02) | 31 comments Bentley wrote: "Angie, funny thing I was just reading more about the Gallipoli film because it looked interesting and I guess it is divided into three parts. It would be fun to see this one with the very young lo..."

I saw it when it was first out, back when I myself was a sweet young thing. Kindled my interest in Turkey, which in turn kindled an interest in Byzantine history. Strange how these things work out.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Yes it is Angie...almost serendipitous.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 17, 2010 01:31AM) (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I just started watching the second silent film:

Synopsis: Quite a German propaganda piece for the U35 and Periere. It really looks like a U35 manual on how to successfully capture and destroy steamers. The damage that these U Boats did is astounding. Very worthwhile seeing if you are not familiar with the Uboats and what they did and how they did it. They were deadly.

The Log of the U-35
Play Length: 67 minutes

This was pretty interesting actually because it showed footage of the U-35 sinking quite a few boats. The date of this film was 1917. It is a true record of submarine warfare at that time and was footage taken during active engagement accompanied by intense gun and torpedo fire.

The film begins with the slide stating that on February 1st, 1917, the Kaiser gave instructions to begin unrestricted U boat warfare.

It then shows the German and Austrian Naval Base at Trieste.

Lieutenant Commander Arnauld-de-La-Periere arrived on board the U 35 and gives instructions to cast off. You see the boat going half speed ahead - passing the Austrian fleet lying in anchor.

Here is a write-up on the U boat commander:

He sank 194 vessels!!!

The U-boats had developed a reputation in the Atlantic for not caring whether they torpedoed a ship carrying troops, a hospital ship carrying wounded or a passenger liner. They were deadly and took out boats even when they were anchored off our coast.

Here is another write-up on the commander of the U-Boat:

1. The next frame of the footage shows the Admiralty Steamer S.S. Parkgate, 3,232 tons returning empty from Malta to Gibraltar. She had been badly hit on the waterline after a running fight lasting six hours. Now in the footage, you see the German Commander signaling the boat to come alongside. The ship's papers are demanded after a lengthy argument. And the surrender of the Parkgate is enforced. The crew is loaded in lifeboats.

This is the write-up on the Parkgate:

2. The next frame shows the captain being brought on board and being questioned by Lieutenant Commander Periere.

3. Then you see the German destruction party leaving in a small boat and opening all of the safety valves. They placed explosives in the hold with time fuses (they are lovely folks).

4. The hit had disabled the Parkgate. Her steering gear was completely shot away. The shot hole can be distinctly seen on the water-line on the stern.

5. Then the SS Parkgate is commencing to sink. The German captain gives instructions to fire on the boat to hasten its sinking.

6. The 3-inch guns which the Parkgate carried on the poop deck fall off and the boilers explode while she is sinking. These were considered the most remarkable pictures ever taken of a ship sinking at the time.

7. Then they now have footage of the next boat targeted...the S.S. Maplewood, 3.233 tons with a cargo of 5, 175 tons of iron ore due from Tunis to England.

8. The captain and crew once again put up a valiant fight and the ship was only abandoned after a four hour action.

9. They destroyed the Maplewood by torpedo which struck the ship abaft the funnel.

10. That was the last of the Maplewood and it sinks in 1.5 minutes.

11. Then the footage shows the Germans cleaning their guns (I guess getting ready for their next prey).

12. Then after a long engagement with the Italian steamer Stromboli, 5, 466 tons bound for Genoa from is forced to surrender.

13. You see in the footage dangling ropes as evidence of the departed crew on the lifeboats. There was allegedly a gun on the stern of the Stromboli and they took a picture of that in order to justify her destruction.

14. And just like out of the German U-boat manual, next comes the destruction crew to board the boat. They light the fuse.

15. Next they set their sites on the SS India, 2,933 tons with a cargo of 3,833 tons of coal from Cardiff to Oran. On the ship's side was painted the royal Coat of Arms of Greece. The destruction crew is set off to do its thing. It places explosives in the ships hold and down it goes.

14. Now they are on the lookout for their next prey. And along comes the Spanish steamer Asuarka which is sighted outside what they call the danger zone

15. They use a camoflaged periscope to send a message that says Send boat. The Asuarka has no contraband and is released after they checked her papers (still not sure why).

16. Next comes the sinking of the English steamer, the Patagonia, 3,832 tons of sugar bound for Cuba. It suffers the same fate.

17. Next prey is the SS Corfu 5,900 tons of iron and steel bound for Genoa is sunk on sight. Not sure if the crew got off of the boat.

18. Then they hit stormy weather on the Mediterranean.

19. Next is the S.S Nentmoor 5,678 tons of wheat bound from America to Genoa is sunk after a splendid fight. And the usual fate logged and photographed by the Germans.

20. Then you see Lieutenant Periere examining Lloyd's shipping register.

21. You can see them laughing and crossing off the ships that they have sunk like it is great sport. They are fixing the date alongside the name of the ship.

22. The Germans actually took a closeup shot of Periere crossing off ships like the Brisbane. Then you see the English captains that were taken prisoners having their morning walk on the deck. This picture was specially arranged for the cinematograph camera, it was known to the British government that no English prisoner on board German submarines were allowed above decks during their cruise.

23. Then there is the poor schooner Miss Morris which only has a cargo of turtles which they abandon and the destruction crew comes aboard.

24. Periere sends a wireless message to the German Austrian base.

24. The U35 returning from her expedition now meets the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Heligoland.

25. An Austrian officer comes on board to pilot the U35 into harbor. Decked with flags they welcome and cheer the U35 boat's arrival to the naval base of Trieste. Periere goes on shore to meet with the senior naval officer of the German submarine flotilla. Periere is promoted and given the command of the largest Uboat - the U.139. This was the largest and the most powerful German submarine ever built. This submarine however surrendered at Harwich in November 21st 1918. The footage shows a great photo of the U139.

message 8: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Feb 17, 2010 03:19AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) One thing that I never forgot about the movie 'Gallipoli' was the music they played prior to the charge at the Nek. I've loved that piece of music ever since. I think it was Adagio in G minor by Tomaso Albinoni (first introduced me to classical music). That part of the movie still brings tears to my eyes.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I will have to get ahold of that movie.

message 10: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Some movies I have enjoyed are:
"Joyeaux Noel", a French (English subtitled) movie about the 1914 Christmas Truce. It was nominated for a foreign film Oscar.

"Flyboys" about the Lafayette Escadrille. Based on my own research into aviation, I thought it very well done. Interestingly, comments from some "critics" pan it for things like smoke trails from machine gun bullets, but these were the "tracer" bullets used by aviators. Sometimes the more accurate details there are, the more the uninformed scoff. And yes, they did have a lion as a mascot - in fact, they had two, but the producers thought that that would really lead to disbelief!

"Passchendaele" is a very Canadian take on that battle and also gives an accurate look at the home front, including recruiting. Canadian troops served as extras in the film, and some of the actors had to be treated for hypothermia as they spent long days in the freezing wet trenches during filming! Here is a trailer for the movie -

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Thank you Gabriele...Flyboys sounds like a great film.

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
'Aussie Rick' wrote: "One thing that I never forgot about the movie 'Gallipoli' was the music they played prior to the charge at the Nek. I've loved that piece of music ever since. I think it was Adagio in G minor by To..."

I just listened to it Aussie Rick and the sound must have been perfect for the charge itself.

message 13: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bentley, the music fits perfectly for the scene and I remember when I saw the movie in a theatre when it was first released people were sobbing all around me, its hard not to shed a tear.

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Well then when I get to see the movie I should have a box of Kleenex ready...the music I think would have been perfect.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 17, 2010 09:03PM) (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
The third silent movie of the four was called The Secret Game.

This silent movie was directed by Cecille B. DeMille. It was about a WWI espionage tale in which the hero is a man who works for the Japanese secret service.

Sessue Hayakawa (who plays Nara Nara) is apparently the first Asian (Oriental) star in Hollywood.

The title shot is, in big letters: Sessue Hayakawa in The Secret Game In this movie Japan is a "sincere friend" of the United States and the Germans are the bad guys.

Nara Nara is referred to as a "Jap" once in the movie (talk about sensitivities and political correctness changing for the better), but of course he is called this by the German secret service villain.

There is even some romantic contact between Nara-Nara and Kitty (which would have been a little far fetched for that time period).

The background music is quite good for a silent film. It even includes sounds like a phone ringing when there is a phone supposed to be ringing in the movie.

Unlike some really old movies, this one keeps your attention. Its about an hour long and at the end the transports from California leave to assist the Russians on the Front and that is the most patriotic part of the film.

Interesting from the view of a silent film of this period.

This can be watched on Netflix.

message 16: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) It’s hard to beat "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Paths of Glory" but one of my favourites is still the TV mini-series "ANZACS". It may be a bit dated now but the scenes showing the fighting on the Western Front are still pretty good and have stood the test of time. I have previously posted this link at the WW1 thread but for those interested here is a clip showing an attack at Broodseinde Ridge on a German pillbox.

Broodseinde Ridge Pillbox Attack

This should put you in the right frame of mind to start reading John Keegan's book on the First World War!

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Thanks Aussie Rick...for those wanting to know more about Broodseinde Ridge is some info:

Battle of Broodseinde Ridge

04 October 1917 -

The battle of Broodseinde Ridge was the third operation launched by British general Herbert Plummer as part of the Ypres offensive of 1917. It was a large operation, involving twelve divisions, including those of both I and II ANZAC. The attack was planned on the same basis as its predecessors - the attacking troops' objectives were approximately 1,500 metres deep, the advance would be preceded by a massive artillery bombardment; and a creeping barrage would lead the troops on to their objectives and then protect them while they consolidated their positions.

The attack began before dawn on 4 October 1917. The Australian troops involved were shelled heavily on their start line and a seventh of their number became casualties even before the attack began. When it did, the attacking troops were confronted by a line of troops advancing towards them; the Germans had chosen the same morning to launch an attack of their own. The Australians forged on through the German assault waves and gained all their objectives along the ridge. It was not without cost, however. German pillboxes were characteristically difficult to subdue, and the Australian divisions suffered 6,500 casualties.

message 18: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Feb 18, 2010 02:21PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bentley, thanks for that great information on Broodseinde Ridge. I think that everyone involved in your group read of Keegan's book will have a really good time with lots of interesting discussions.

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
There is a lot to talk about for sure..have you read Keegan's book..if not grab a copy or if you have please join in on the discussion.

message 20: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I read his book in 1998 when it was first released in the UK. I might look at re-reading it but if not I am sure I will find myself sticking my nose in and having the odd comment during the dicussions.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Great, glad to have you.

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I just finished watching the Hallmark film version of All Quiet on the Western Front. This version was made in 1979 and starred Richard Thomas who I think did a great job in the Paul Baumer role, Ernest Borgnine (also fabulous), Donald Pleasance, Ian Holm (Himmelstoss - equally excellent in this role), Patricia Neal, Dai Bradley.

The conditions that the soldiers had to face were quite realistic and I would recommend others to view this film to gain a perspective of World War I.

This is the Wikipedia write-up:

The reviewer noticed the following: (of course I did not notice the difference and most probably wouldn't either)

This version has the soldiers using the Model 1888 Commission Rifle, later editions of which were infrequently used in World War I, while the Mauser Gewehr 98 was widely used by the German Army. The film was done in Czechoslovakia and it is mentioned that the 1930 film was even more realistic..hard to believe. In fact, I have heard that this year that there will be a remake coming out of the film.


A devastating story of war and a generation destroyed. In 1914 a group of German schoolboys, idealistic and inflamed with youthful patriotism, set off to fight in the "glorious" war. During their brutal basic training disenchantment begins; then, boarding a train for the front, they see the wounded being rushed back to hospitals. They begin to grasp the grim reality of war.

On their first night in action they come under heavy attack. In the trenches, they begin to fall. Their youth is stripped away by the violence and the boys become as sullen as veterans.

Whey Paul (Richard Thomas) shoots a Frenchman and watches him die, he realizes the futility of the war. Wounded, he returns home to a different world, a place where he cannot fit in. Sent back into battle; he meets destiny on a day when the German High Command Communique states simply, All Quiet on the Western Front.

message 23: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Another classic WW1 movie (that you must watch on a large screen TV) is "Lawrence of Arabia". I still captivated by this movie, the scenery, the music, and the action. I can never forget the scene where Lawrence yells out: ‘take no prisoners, take no prisoners’.

I am also a sucker for WW1 flying movies and Gabriele has already mentioned "Flyboys", I'd like to add "The Blue Max" and "Aces High". I have only just found out that apparently this movie was "...based on the 1930s play Journey's End by R. C. Sherriff and the memoir Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis".

message 24: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments I enjoyed "The Blue Max" as well, but haven't been able to get a copy of "Aces High". I'd love to see that!

I agree, Bentley, that "All Quiet on the Western Front" is a great film.

message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
It was very well done for that sort of film and time period and I honestly wonder how anybody survived the conditions that they were placed under. It really was long term torture for those folks assigned to those trenches...they were rotated out it seems but the horrors of being in the trenches themselves must have affected them tremendously for life (if they were fortunate enough to live).

message 26: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Troops spent relatively little time in the deadly front line trenches. One example I came across showed that an officer and his men spent a total of 65 days in front line trenches and 36 in nearby support trenches during 1916. They also moved to 80 different locations that year. So there were long periods when the men were safely (if not all that comfortably) behind the lines, working, training, resting, and playing games to keep fit and busy. Tennis and polo matches, soccer and baseball games, dances and entertainments were all part of the military experience in France.

But I think it would only take one day of being exposed to the various horrors of trench life, of watching friends being blown to bits, rats feasting on bloated bodies, of being forced to kill and so forth to psychologically maim anyone for life.

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I agree Gabrielle. And thank you so much for the additional details.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) A silent about the war that I've really enjoyed is "The Big Parade," a 1925 picture directed by King Vidor (who shot the black-and-white section of The Wizard of Oz) and starring John Gilbert and Renee Adoree. It was the picture that more or less "made" MGM.

message 29: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) A new movie is just about to be released here in Australia covering Australian miners on the Western Front:

Beneath hill 60

message 30: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Sounds really interesting, Aussie Rick!

message 31: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I think I will have to go see it:)
I am still on the look out for a copy of "Passchendaele" locally, but no luck so far.

message 32: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments I hope that movie eventually comes to Canada. Too bad you haven't found Passchendaele yet!

message 33: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) If I come to a dead-end there is always the Internet to save me!

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I just finished watching The Blue Max which I had seen before:

Here is the New York Times review printed in 1966 -

The Blue Max (1966)
Screen: 'Blue Max' Recreates an Era:World War I Air Battles Take on New Realism

Published: June 22, 1966
THERE is no era in the history of the motion-picture art more touched with the magic of nostalgia than the films of the aerial battles of World War I—"Hell's Angels," "Suzy," the earliest version of "The Dawn Patrol."

The boy now become a man will remember those days of glory with the hero climbing into his Spad, pulling his goggles over his eyes and, with scarf streaming behind him, guiding his plane as it charged into the sky.

And, of course, back down on the ground there was the fellowship of heroes, the popping of champagne corks, the toasting the honor of the squadron, the rivalry for the blondes, the devil-may-care spirit, the love of country, the love affair with the skies.

What is by far the best thing about "The Blue Max," which arrived last night at the Button Theater, is that this élan, this glory is captured on film once again. With the technological improvements of the years, the skies were never bluer or wider; the war in the air or on the ground never more realistic.

The chirping of the birds, the cry of a rooster, a breeze catching in the grass on the airstrip — the little things that bring a motion picture to life—are caught brilliantly by the director, John Guillermin. They blend to make substantial portions of this film remindful of the past glories of the screen and memorable in their own right.

The question each filmgoer will have to ask himself is how much of what is bad in "The Blue Max" is he willing to take in exchange for what is good.

Much of the earthbound drama of this lengthy film is tangled, confusing, clumsy. In part it is the viewer's fault. He has been conditioned to believe that the aerial hero is, indeed, a hero, a man of virtue, a man of honor.

When George Peppard, a German infantryman-turned-pilot reports to his first squadron, the assumption has to be that his character is sterling. The early wrongs he suffers at the hands of his cold, snobbish, high-born new companions of the skies confirm this view.

But, startlingly, bit by bit, we find that the bluebloods of the squadron are, indeed, the honorable eagles of the sky and our hero is no hero at all but a ruthless, ambitious liar who loves no one but himself—not even a beautiful, aristocratic wanton played by Ursula Andress.

Nor is the cause in whose service the tarnished hero unwittingly dies—the honor of the German officer corps—likely to concern Americans. As a result the film fails to evoke real emotion. People do not cry for heros who turn out to be scoundrels, nor for causes for which they have no sympathy.

James Mason is, as usual, professionally excellent in his role as the German air commander. Jeremy Kemp proves an exciting actor in his part as rival of Mr. Peppard in the skies and on the ground.

The exchanges of passion between Miss Andress and Mr. Peppard are of considerable intensity, a suitable complement to the aerial battles and in the classic tradition of the old films where devil-may care dogfights in the sky went hand in hand with the devil-may-care love affairs on the ground.

As for Miss Andress's ability as an actress, who can tell and who cares? Her beauty is blinding and is its own reward.

"The Blue Max" (the nickname for a German air medal) is an overlong film whose rewards are not to be found in its plot or its characterizations, but rather in its recapture of an earlier day of the motion pictures and its wonderful depiction of combat.

I thought the flying engagements were quite realistic for that time period as well as the trench warfare. Quite good considering it was 1966 - over 40 + years ago.

message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
This was the Blue Max (what the film was named for):

[image error]

message 36: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bentley, it was a well-made movie and fairly realistic given the constraints of the technology available at the time to make a decent movie. Nice medal as well the 'Pour le Merite'. And of course for those interested in reading up more on the winners of the 'Blue Max during WW1 can I suggest:

GERMAN KNIGHTS OF THE AIR The Holders of the Ordre Pour Le Merite 1914-18 by T Treadwell by T Treadwell
Publishers blurb:
"This is a history of the Ordre Pour Le Merite, or "Blue Max", as it is popularly known, and the 81 holders of the award. The 81 biographies of the holders are enhanced by photographs and, in some cases, multiple photographs of the recipients with their aircraft, and other individuals. The book gives an insight into the fragile world of Germany World War I pilots and observers. It brings to the fore the little-known holders of the Ordre Pour le Merite. The names of Richthofen, Udet, Immelmann, Goering and Boelcke are all well known. But aside from these famous pilots, there are men such as Peter Rieper (a balloon observer), von Groner (an aerial photographer) and Bernert, who wore glasses and was partially disabled, yet still managed to hide these facts from the doctors and his instructors, and ended the war with 28 victories to his credit."

message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I honestly was surprised at the realism in the film.

message 38: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I think it was very interesting in that it attempted to portray that it wasn't all chivalry and 'knights in the air' stuff that we read about in most books. The air war of WW1 was a very dirty business and I can understand the sentiment of George Peppard's character.

message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Yes, I could too. It was oddly for the most part a fraternity of upper class guys and a closed clique. Peppard's character was I think just trying to do what he was brought in to do. I think he ended up going on a bit of a detour later on. By the way, the book version was substantially different from this film.

message 40: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments This is what Wiki has to say about British Ace Mick Mannock - "At 40 Squadron, the reserved, working-class manner of Mannock did not fit in with the well-heeled upper-middle-class, ex-public-schoolboys who made up the majority of his comrades." I think that he did go on to earn their respect as he was awarded a chestful of medals, but from what I've read in other sources, I'm not sure that he ever felt that he fit in.

The fact that his hatred of the Germans caused him to be absolutely ruthless would not have sat well with with the code of chivalry that many regarded was part of aerial combat. "Once, he forced a German two-seater to crash. Most pilots would have been satisfied with that, but not Mick. He repeatedly machine-gunned the helpless crew. When his squadron mate questioned this behavior, Mannock explained "The swines are better dead - no prisoners.""

He was a brilliant pilot and tactician, and his "Rules" probably helped and saved countless pilots.

message 41: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Interesting Gabriele...that sounds so much like Peppard's character in the movie except; instead of being British he was a German.

message 42: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Yes - shows you how similar the enemies were!

message 43: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Gabriele, very interesting information on Mannock. I have also heard that he would never toast a fallen enemy in the mess, and that he hoped they would all be 'flamers'! He was a professional which was what they needed.

message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 05, 2010 08:39PM) (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Was just watching The Farewell to Arms (movie) - the Rock Hudson/Jennifer Jones 1957 version. I don't think Jones was a believable Catherine Barkley; I liked the guy who played Rinaldi (Vittorio De Sica)...he was pretty good and even though it was slapstick the ambulance scene getting Rock Hudson to the hospital did make me laugh. David O'Selznick was married to Jennifer Jones at the time so we can see why she got the part but I personally did not think she did a great job and/or was that believable in the role.

There were some stupendous shots of the Italian Alps which were quite terrific actually. And I guess a bit of a view of the Italian effort in that war...but I have to say that the movie was lacking.

Here is a review which was done in 1958 (New York Times)

message 45: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Another movie on my to-see list! Thanks for reminding me, Bentley.

message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
I love Hemingway of course..but like I said...Jennifer Jones played the role of Nurse Barkley as being more than a little touched and acted like she needed nursing herself at the beginning of the movie....of course you know the story at the end.

message 47: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Yes, indeed, and I may be disappointed anyway from how I envisioned things!

message 48: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is something a bit different, a new book about the filming of the Somme battle; "Ghosts on the Somme: Filming the Battle, June-July 1916" by Alastair H. Fraser.

Ghosts on the Somme by Alastair H. Fraser by Alastair H. Fraser
Publishers blurb:

The Battle of the Somme is one of the most famous, and earliest, films of war ever made. The film records the most disastrous day in the history of the British army - 1 July 1916 - and it had a huge impact when it was shown in Britain during the war. Since then images from it have been repeated so often in books and documentaries that it has profoundly influenced our view of the battle and of the Great War itself. Yet this book is the first in-depth study of this historic film, and it is the first to relate it to the surviving battleground of the Somme.

The authors explore the film and its history in fascinating detail. They investigate how much of it was faked and consider how much credit for it should go to Geoffrey Malins and how much to John MacDowell. And they use modern photographs of the locations to give us a telling insight into the landscape of the battle and into the way in which this pioneering film was created.

Their analysis of scenes in the film tells us so much about the way the British army operated in June and July 1916 - how the troops were dressed and equipped, how they were armed and how their weapons were used. In some cases it is even possible to discover what they were saying. This painstaking exercise in historical reconstruction will be compelling reading for everyone who is interested in the Great War and the Battle of the Somme.

message 49: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Sounds really interesting, Aussie Rick!

message 50: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) It certainly sounds a bit different, I will have to see how far I can stretch my budget!

« previous 1
back to top