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The Consensus Greatest 100 War Movies

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  • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post

    I would say, not just to the American public but to much of the World.
    I would also agree that this is probably due more to the movie than any other single factor.
    Quite possibly the best (and for a depressingly increasingly large number of people the only) known WW2 generals are Patton, Rommel and Montgomery. However I suspect that Patton was well known before the film as he had a flair for self publicity and an ego large enough to fill an Olympic stadium and seems to have actively courted coverage by the press corps. I believe that but for his early death he would have sought political office after the war.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

    Comment


    • Originally posted by MarkV View Post

      Quite possibly the best (and for a depressingly increasingly large number of people the only) known WW2 generals are Patton, Rommel and Montgomery. However I suspect that Patton was well known before the film as he had a flair for self publicity and an ego large enough to fill an Olympic stadium and seems to have actively courted coverage by the press corps. I believe that but for his early death he would have sought political office after the war.
      Fair points. I also thought of MacArthur. I know he was at a higher level than Patton but I get the impression he wasn't shy about his reputation either. He also benefits from reasonable movie coverage.
      "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

      Comment


      • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post

        Fair points. I also thought of MacArthur. I know he was at a higher level than Patton but I get the impression he wasn't shy about his reputation either. He also benefits from reasonable movie coverage.
        I suspect that as the older generations drop away there will be fewer and fewer (other than those who study the history of the period) who have any idea who MacArthur was. There was a poll not that long ago when many millennials on either side of the Atlantic weren't sure who Eisenhower was - a number thought he might have been a baseball player. However when British comedians like Kenny Everet, Peter Sellers etc sought to parody an arrogant and obnoxious OTT American general they came up with characters with many overtones of Patton.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • This discussion is failing to mention that the movie reminded Americans of Patton's reputation, but almost completely created the American view of Montgomery. It also made Bradley famous while overlooking his warts, unlike the balanced treatment of Patton. The movie definitely would have gotten the Ernie Pyle seal of approval.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post
            This discussion is failing to mention that the movie reminded Americans of Patton's reputation, but almost completely created the American view of Montgomery. It also made Bradley famous while overlooking his warts, unlike the balanced treatment of Patton. The movie definitely would have gotten the Ernie Pyle seal of approval.
            We didn't need to worry about all that.
            We just knew you'd have it covered.

            Edit - Two things:

            (1) My copy of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, restored on Blu-ray no less, arrived in the mail today. Will check it out some time over the coming week.

            (2) About a week ago I watched Night of the Fox on DVD (George Peppard). It was OK; kind of; but I don't think I'd be in any hurry to see it again. In particular, I thought it was tortuously long. I seem to recall, about 3+ hours? I understand it was made for TV (certainly looked as if it was, if you guys know what I mean), so originally may have been broken up into a few digestible episodes when broadcast?
            Last edited by panther3485; 23 Apr 19, 05:40.
            "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

            Comment


            • Lawrence_of_arabia_ver3_xxlg.jpg


              3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

              SYNOPSIS: This is the biopic about the famed T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole). Lawrence was a British officer in the Middle East during WWI. He took it upon himself to try to enlist the Bedouins into the British war effort against the Turks. He goes native and becomes determined to unify the Arabs and prevent the British from doing their usual colonial thing.

              BACK-STORY: "Lawrence of Arabia" is considered one of the great classic movies. It is #7 on AFI's latest list of the greatest movies. It is #1 on the Epics list. The film is considered to be the best of director David Lean's awesome resume (which includes "Bridge on the River Kwai"). It is loosely based on T.E. Lawrence's "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom". The screenplay was first written by Michael Wilson, then Robert Bolt was brought in and changed virtually all the dialogue and characterizations. Wilson was uncredited partly because he was blacklisted for communist sympathies. His contribution was not credited until 1995. The movie's desert scenes were filmed in Jordan and Morocco. King Hussein of Jordan provided a brigade of the Arab Legion as extras. The film was universally acclaimed. It won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Art Direction, Cinematography (Freddie Young), Score (Maurice Jarre), Editing, and Sound. It was nominated for Adapted Screenplay, Actor (O'Toole lost to Gregory Peck for "To Kill a Mockingbird"), and Supporting Actor (Sharif).

              TRIVIA:

              1. The screenplay was first written by Michael Wilson, then Robert Bolt was brought in. Wilson had focused on the political and historical issues of the Arab Revolt. The characters and scenes were mainly Wilson's. Bolt made the movie into more of a character study. He changed virtually all the dialogue and characterizations. Wilson was uncredited partly because he was blacklisted for communist sympathies. His contribution was not credited until 1995.

              2. The movie's desert scenes were filmed in Jordan and Morocco. King Hussein of Jordan provided a brigade of the Arab Legion as extras. The famous train scene was shot in Spain. Two and a half miles of track had to be laid down.

              3. ”. Peter O'Toole was not the first choice for Lawrence. Marlon Brando turned the role down. Anthony Perkins and Montgomery Clift were considered. Albert Finney went through extensive and costly screentests before he turned down the role because he did not want to sign a seven-year contract. O'Toole got an "introducing" screen credit even though it was not his first role.

              4. Jose Ferrer agreed to appear in it only after being guaranteed pay that ended up being more than what was paid to O'Toole and Sharif combined! He received $25,000 and a new Porsche.

              5. ”. The movie took over two years from start to finish. In one scene the O'Toole that finishes at the bottom of a staircase is two years older than he was at the top of the staircase.

              6. The desert shoots were difficult. There was the 130 degree temperatures and the sandstorms and the critters. O'Toole lost 28 pounds during the filming. Unlike Lawrence, he hated the desert. He was often drunk and obnoxious during his spare time.

              7. At one point, O'Toole was thrown from his camel and only was saved from being trampled by the camel standing protectively over him. He was drunk and lashed to his camel for the big Aqaba charge.

              8. Because his first attempts at sitting on a camel resulted in a bloody ass, O'Toole had to sit on a sponge pad to survive all the riding (the Arab extras called him "Lord of the Sponge").

              9. Sharif was given his iconic mustache to contrast to O'Toole's clean-shaven look. Previous to this movie he had never worn facial hair.

              10. Edmond O'Brien was playing Bentley until he suffered a heart attack early on. Kirk Douglas had been originally approached, but he insisted on second-billing and a large salary.

              11. To simulate a journey, Lean made sure almost all movement was left to right.

              12. No woman speaks in the movie. It is probably the longest movie to achieve that.

              Belle and Blade = N/A
              Brassey's = 5.0
              Video Hound = 5.0
              War Movies = 5.0
              Military History = #6
              Channel 4 = #40
              Film Site = yes
              101 War Movies = yes
              Rotten Tomatoes = #9

              HISTORICAL ACCURACY: This section is going to be a chore. I read "Setting the Desert on Fire" and the appropriate chapters of the new biography "Hero", watched the PBS documentary "The Battle for the Arab World", and visited several web sites, but there is a lot of contradictory information out there. Part of the problem is that the movie is based on Lawrence's memoirs, which have been called into question by historians. It is understandable that Wilson used the book as the outline for the screenplay since Lawrence's account of his adventures is compelling, but one has to wonder how much embellishment went into "Seven Pillars of Wisdom".

              First, the characters. The main characters are all based on real people or composites of real people. The composites are Ali (who is based on the actual Sharif Ali, but represents several Arab comrades of Lawrence's), Brighton (who stands in for all the British military advisers), and Dryden (who is typical of British politicians of the Arab Bureau). Feisal and Allenby are close to real. Murray is maligned a bit too much. Although a reluctant supporter of the Arab Revolt, he later became a strong believer in Lawrence. Auda gets a raw deal in the film. Depicted as mainly motivated by money, he in fact was a patriot. His depiction as a great warrior is accurate. Farraj and Daud had roles in Lawrence's life similar to the movie, but Daud actually died from freezing to death. Farraj was put out of his misery by Lawrence, but it was after he was shot by a Turk. Gasim was a real person and he was saved from the desert by Lawrence, but he went back for him due to the Bedouin tradition that one was responsible for his servants. The shooting incident was another person. Bentley was based on the American journalist Lowell Thomas who spent about a week with Lawrence and then wrote glowing tales after the war. He was not the cynic that Bentley is and did not witness any of the train attacks. Also, by the time he met Lawrence, the U.S. was already in the war.

              The portrayal of Lawrence has come under criticism. Some carp about Lawrence being much shorter than O'Toole, but this can not be a serious argument against O'Toole getting the role. No actor on Earth would have been a better choice. Other than height, he resembles Lawrence, including the blue eyes. The movie implies that Lawrence wanted the job of meeting Feisal because he wanted to experience the desert. In reality, Lawrence had been in the Middle East for some time at this point as an archeologist and had been coopted by the British Army to conduct a survey of the Negev Desert. The famous match-dousing scene alludes to Lawrence's masochistic tendencies which included going without food and sleep when he was growing up. The question of Lawrence's sexuality is merely hinted at in the film which is appropriate not just because the film was made in 1962, but because even today it is unclear. Lawrence's brother, who had sold producer Sam Speigel the rights to "Seven Pillars", disowned the film and refused the use of the book title for the film title.

              Most of the events depicted in the film are based on actual incidents, but there are some accuracy issues. Lawrence's death is well done. Lawrence was an intelligence officer with the Arab Bureau when the opportunity to encourage the Arab Revolt presented itself. He did not get along with his superiors. The incident at the well was pure Hollywood as no one was killed. When Lawrence arrives at Feisal's camp the air attack had already happened, but Feisal's force was disintegrating. Lawrence brought the gold, guns, and glory to revive it. Lawrence did establish a strong relationship with the prince, but the decision to attack Aqaba was more of a group decision including Auda (who met Lawrence at Feisal's camp). Auda was with Lawrence for the crossing of the Negev.

              The assault on Aqaba was not as much of a surprise as the movie depicts. In actuality, several Turkish outposts had already been captured and the surrender of the port had been negotiated. The filmed charge was true to form, but it occurred after Arab reinforcements arrived and insisted on it. Lawrence did cross the Sinai to report to Cairo, but he was accompanied by seven others and no one died. When Lawrence met with Allenby, the two got along fine and continued to do so through the rest of Lawrence's stay in the Middle East. The relationship with Lowel Thomas (Bentley in the film) was very inaccurate. He was an unabashed worshiper. It was Thomas who coined the term "Lawrence of Arabia".

              The train attacks actually began before the attack on Aqaba and were initiated by other British officers. Lawrence was never wounded in any of the incidents and no Arab was wounded by an explosive. As far as the arrest in Daraa, historians are divided on this one. Some do not believe he ever was in Daraa. It seems likely that he was taken prisoner and physically and sexually abused. This traumatic event apparently led to the flagellation disorder that Lawrence evidenced later in life.

              The atrocity at Tafas is pretty accurate. The town had been massacred by a Turkish force which was then caught retreating by Lawrence's men. There is some question about whether Lawrence ordered "no prisoners". Some historians argue that he took responsibility for something he could not stop. He did participate. It is ridiculous to make a big deal of this since it is hard to imagine it playing out differently than what happened.

              The closing events in Damascus are acceptable. Lawrence did enter the city ahead of the British with the Arab army and he did have high hopes that the city and the whole of Syria would have its independence. By this time Lawrence knew about British/French plans, but had kept his knowledge of them from Feisal. The Arab Council did have trouble administering the city and one of the problems was lack of electricity. However, the movie implies that the British were forced to take control fairly soon when actually Feisal was not deposed until 1920. The last straw incident at the hospital did occur.

              OPINION: "Lawrence of Arabia" is a guy epic. All the elements you associate with a movie of massive scope are there except the mushy romance. The scenery is awesome. Lean was influenced by John Ford's use of Monuments Valley and one-ups him here. I'm not much into scenery, but the desert vistas are incredible. If ever a movie was made to be watched on as big a screen as possible, this is it. The cinematography is equal to the locales. Lean contrasts the sere desert scenes with the cool marble of the British interiors. The outdoor shots could best be described as sweeping. The movie includes one of the iconic cinematographic scenes in which Ali appears mirage-like at the watering hole. Add to this the score which matches the scenes perfectly. No one has ever deserved the Oscar more than Jarre.

              The perfection carries over to the casting. It is hard to imagine any major role that could have been played better by another actor. Has any actor ever had a more auspicious start than O'Toole? You have to give the man credit for preparation as he read "Seven Pillars" almost to the point of memorization and interviewed as many people who knew Lawrence as he could find. He also learned to ride a camel (Guinness and Quinn only ride horses in the film.) And keep in mind that this was Sharif's first English speaking role. All of the actors acquit themselves well. There is not an average performance. Anthony Quinn is great as Auda and went to great lengths to look like him. Guinness delivers Feisal's political bon mots with aplomb. Quayle does a fine job as the officer who evolves into an admirer of Lawrence and a person who takes umbrage at the scheming that daggers the Arabs in the end.

              The movie's themes are efficiently developed. Lawrence is worn down from naïve optimism to disillusionment. His character arc is fascinating and something of a roller coaster ride, but with the inevitable realization that one man can not change the Middle East. Early in the film, Lawrence proclaims to Ali that "nothing is written", but by the end of the movie it is apparent to him and the viewer that European domination of the region was written (literally in the Sykes-Picot agreement). The movie controversially implies that the Arabs were incapable of governing themselves. Although one theme is clearly that the Arabs were shafted by the British, the movie also gives the impression that the Arabs were too factional and incompetent to rule themselves. This is reinforced by Lawrence going from believing that the Arabs can rise above being a "little people" to being frustrated with having to deal with them. It is interesting to note that Ali and Lawrence go on opposite arcs as Ali ends up the more optimistic and empathetic individual.

              The movie does have some weaknesses. It is a bit long with two lengthy desert passages. In fact, "Lawrence of Arabia" clocked in as the longest Best Picture winner (one minute longer than "Gone with the Wind"). In spite of the length, the combat scenes are too brief. The movie could have used a few maps and the time frame is hard to follow. This vagueness was a product of the decision to concentrate on Lawrence as opposed to the Arab Revolt. Still, the cinematography, acting, plot, and music stomp out any quibbles.

              In conclusion, "Lawrence of Arabia" is one of the truly great motion pictures. Everything about it is grandiose. It is a film that holds up to multiple viewings and it stands up well when compared to the more modern war films. It is interesting to compare it to a film like "Patton" and see that it is in the same league. I would have to say that "Patton" is the better war movie, but the lesser movie. The same could be said when comparing it to Lean's other war epic - "Bridge on the River Kwai". Thus the conundrum of the list of the Greatest 100. "Lawrence of Arabia" is firmly ensconced as one of the Top Ten movies of all time, but is definitely not one of the ten greatest war movies of all time. My opinion is partially based on my belief that it is not primarily in the war movie genre. I would place it first in the biography genre and then in the epic adventure category.
              Last edited by warmoviebuff; 23 Apr 19, 14:06.

              Comment


              • Lawrence of Arabia has acting that is infinitely better in comparison to Patton. Mind you, I thought Patton was not even in the league of Tora-Tora-Tora!
                ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                All human ills he can subdue,
                Or with a bauble or medal
                Can win mans heart for you;
                And many a blessing know to stew
                To make a megloamaniac bright;
                Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                The Pixie is a little shite.

                Comment


                • Noel Coward said that if O'Toole "had looked any prettier they'd have to have titled the film Florence of Arabia". Much of the time O'Toole is wearing an Arab bridegroom's wedding costume but whether the director was aware of this is unknown.
                  Some of Lawrence's exploits in Seven Pillars were lifted from the deeds of other men particularly Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard Leachman D.S.O. who had been active under cover before the war fomenting rebellion in Arabia and made some epic desert rides that Lawrence appropriated. Leachman had a fairly low opinion of Lawrence who he regarded as a self publicist who claimed rather more than he actually delivered. Fortunately for Lawrence's reputation, Leachman was ambushed and assassinated in Iraq before Seven Pillars was published
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • Omar Sharif makes, perhaps, one of the most spectacular and effective entrances to a career in films ever:dramatically trotting in alone from the unending desert .


                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il-CWVHDnvU


                    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                    Samuel Johnson.

                    Comment


                    • Schindler%27s_List_movie.jpg


                      2. Schindler's List (1993)

                      SYNOPSIS: "Schindler's List" is the true story of a German businessman named Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson). Schindler used his war plant to employ Jews who would have otherwise ended up in concentration camps. He starts off as simply greedy and ends up a humanitarian. The film, by Steven Spielberg, is the gold standard for Holocaust films and covers many of the horrific aspects of the Jewish experience including the cleansing of a ghetto, the train trip to the camp, the selection process, and the showers. All of this within the framework of a flawed man's attempt to save as many Jews as he can.

                      BACK-STORY: "Schindler's List" was released in 1993 and immediately took a position among the great movies of any genre. It was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. Modestly, he tried to convince Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, and Billy Wilder to direct the pic, but for various reasons they turned him down. The movie is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally. Keneally was inspired to write the book by one of the Schindlerjuden ("Schlinder Jews"). The movie was shot on location in Krakow, Poland. The film won numerous awards. It was awarded Oscars for Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Editing, and Original Score. Liam Neeson was nominated for Best Actor and Ralph Fiennes for Best Supporting Actor. It was the most expensive black and white film made up to then (topping "The Longest Day"). It had been 33 years since a black and white movie had won Best Picture ("The Apartment"). It is #8 on AFIs latest list of greatest American motion pictures.

                      TRIVIA:

                      1. In 1980, author Thomas Keneally stopped at a leather goods store in Los Angeles and the owner Leopold Page told him the story of Schindler and gave him some documents and a copy of the list. This inspired him to write Schindler's Ark. Page was a consultant for the film.

                      2. Spielberg learned of the book in 1982 when it was published and later the studio bought the rights, ahead of Billy Wilder who wanted it to be his last film. Spielberg met Page and promised him he would make the movie is the next ten years, but the project sat for over a decade because Spielberg was not ready for such a serious film.

                      3. Universal was cold toward the movie because it was skeptical of the box office potential. It agreed Speilberg could make the film if he made "Jurassic Park" first.

                      4. Originally, Warren Beatty was to play Schindler, but Spielberg decided he wanted someone with less clout.

                      5. Spielberg refused his salary, referring to it as "blood money". His profits went to establishing the USC Shoah Foundation in 1994. It collects memories and audio-visuals of interviews of Holocaust survivors.

                      6. Originally, Spielberg wanted Polish and German with subtitles, but then he decided it would take eyes away from the images.

                      7. The studio did not want black and white, but Spielberg wanted a more serious look and a documentary feel. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski was inspired by German expressionism and Italian neorealism.

                      8. Audrey Hepburn told Spielberg about an incident she witnessed as a child in Europe of a little girl with distinctive clothing getting loaded onto a train. Coincidentally, there was a little girl in a red coat that was well-known in the Krakow Ghetto. Roma Ligocka survived, however. She wrote a biography entitled The Girl in the Red Coat. The little girl in the movie was three-year old Olivia Dambrowska. She promised Spielberg not to watch the movie until she turned 18, but she snuck a watch at age 11 and was traumatized. Spielberg meant the girl to represent the U.S. government’s lack of concern for the Holocaust.

                      9. Ralph Fiennes gained 28 pounds to play Goth.

                      10. To cheer him up during the filming, Spielberg had Robin Williams call him and do routines. He also watched a lot of "Seinfeld".

                      11. It was the first movie shown on TV to get a TV-M (today TV-MA) rating.

                      12. Spielberg got permission to film in Auschwitz, but decided to just do outside filming out of respect. Most of the film was shot in Poland with the camp being built in an abandoned rock quarry. The filming took 72 days, four days less than scheduled.

                      Belle and Blade = N/A
                      Brassey’s = 5.0
                      Video Hound = 5.0
                      War Movies = N/A
                      Military History = #31
                      Channel 4 = #4
                      Film Site = yes
                      101 War Movies = yes
                      Rotten Tomatoes = #21

                      HISTORICAL ACCURACY: This is a difficult movie to analyze for historical accuracy. There is contradictory evidence on many of the incidents in the film. However, based on my research, it appears that the movie is factually accurate for the most part. Keneally is a reputable author and his novel was well researched. He understandably labeled the book a novel because he invented dialogue. This is not particularly unusual in the field of historical fiction. Also, the Schlinderjuden have verified the accuracy of the film.

                      Oskar Schindler's personality and modus vivendi are realistic. If anything, he was a bigger cad than Neeson portrays him as. Emilie was certainly a forgiving wife. He was not a one woman man. Neeson gets the charm right. What is downplayed a bit in the film is Schindler's voluntary involvement with the Nazis. The movie leads you to believe he was a Nazi just because it was good for business. This overlooks his more active role in the Abwehr (German espionage) before arriving in Krakow.

                      The role of Stern (Ben Kingsley) is apparently close to the real Stern. The "partnership" angle may be overplayed. There is evidence that the list was more the work of a Marcel Goldberg and may not have had a lot of input from Schindler. Goldberg was a loathsome figure who accepted bribes to get people on the list which resulted in people being removed from the list. The Schindlerjuden did not have fond memories of him and he would have made a poor character in this film. Some critics claim Schindler was in jail for bribing Goeth at the time the list was compiled and that Stern was not working for him any more at the time. I lean toward Spielberg's take on this issue.

                      Goeth is accurately portrayed. The essentials are there. He did snipe at inmates, but from a hill (his house did not have line of sight to the camp). The evil haunted mansion on the hill was justified in the film. When Goeth was executed after the war for war crimes, it was specifically for killing over 500 Jews personally. It could be argued that the real Goeth was more evil and without any redeeming qualities. It is highly unlikely that Schindler was able to even temporarily humanize him. As far as his creepy relationship with his Jewish housekeeper Helen, she appears to be a fictional character.

                      The depiction of the massacre in the Krakow ghetto is realistic. There even was a little girl in a red coat although the movie does not try to be accurate on her. She survived. Living conditions in the camp are well done. The scene in Auschwitz gives a good idea of what that camp must have been like.

                      The time line is admirably correct. The movie does not take events out of sequence. There is a simplifying of how quickly his first plant went from having a few Jewish workers to all Jewish workers, but this is cinematically excusable.

                      With regard to the anecdotal events in the film, they are a mixed lot. Several are obviously fictional: Schindler rescuing Stern from deportation, Schindler witnessing the ghetto evacuation from a hill, the Jewish engineer execution. The kissing of the Jewess at the birthday party is true, however.

                      The most problematical scene is the women being shipped to Auschwitz. It appears to be added to the film for emotional manipulation. It is based on an incident at the same time of some women being rerouted to a camp called Gross-Rosen. A name that doesn't quite have the impact of Auschwitz, does it? As to the women being shoved into what appears to be a gas chamber, that is almost surely bull crap. Highly effective bull crap.

                      Interestingly, the movie does not go far enough in the redemption area. Schindler's progression to sainthood may seem Hollywoodized, but it leaves out all the efforts he made for his workers beyond giving them the security of employment. He spent his own money providing them food, clothing, and medical care. The movie underplays his encouragement of their religious rituals which included Jewish burial rites. Most significantly, the screenwriter chose to leave out an incident where Schindler accepted shipment of two boxcars of literally frozen Jews and personally aided their recovery. One less justifiable omission is the role that Emilie played at the second plant. She achieved sainthood herself by cooking for the workers (who got 2,000 calories as opposed to the usual 900) and caring for the sick. The movie gives her nothing to do except stoically support her philandering husband.

                      Speaking of Hollywoodizing, the closing pushes the limits of realism. Not surprising for a Spielberg film. The bit about the ring (as someone sniffed, you can't melt gold the way they did) and the final speech are on the cheesy side. It might have been a good idea to tack on the actual survivor scene to leave that as the last image.

                      CRITIQUE: Is it possible to make a film about the Holocaust that shows its horrors and yet is inspirational and has a happy ending? This would seem undoable without hitting a hornet's nest worth of derision. Amazingly, Spielberg has pulled it off. The achievement is awe-inspiring. This is especially impressive because Spielberg stepped out of his comfort zone to make a movie that was not aimed at 14 year-old boys. It is really his first adult movie and he deserved to be rewarded for it.

                      The movie is technically top notch. The choice to go black and white was a daring gamble that pays off big time. It is now hard to imagine the movie in color. The cinematography was an easy choice for the Oscar. The lighting enhances the lensing. The look of the film is not ostentatious, however. You do not marvel at what you are seeing, you just register its proficiency. John Williams (who at first thought he was not up to the seriousness of the film) is nicely understated in his score and does not push emotional buttons like you hear in many epic movies (including some of Spielberg’s more recent films). His Oscar was deserved. It was his last victory.

                      The acting is fantastic. Neeson gives his best performance. He nails the complex personality of Schindler. Schindler’s redemption arc must not have been easy to play. The character is refreshingly multi-dimensional . Neeson even handles the final speech without marring the rest of his restrained work. Ralph Fiennes matches him. Fiennes gained almost thirty pounds by drinking a lot of beer to get ready for the role. He is the embodiment of malevolence. AFI placed Goeth at #15 on its list of Top 50 Villains (Goeth is the highest nonfiction character). Kingsley has a less flashy role, but his portrayal of the wary and wily Stern is perfect. The supporting cast is solid. Special note goes to Embeth Davidtz as Helen Hirsh who lives in constant fear of Goeth's mood swings. The scene where he soliloquys to a petrified, very vulnerable Helen and goes from positing that Jews are not subhuman vermin to ruthlessly beating her is a strong scene with great acting. There are several scenes in the movie that showcase the talents of the cast.

                      The plot is linear and traditional. There are surprises within the structure, but the general flow is toward your typical Spielberg positive ending. Thankfully, the ending is relatively true so it does not come off as contrived. Although there is no evidence for it, you would think Spielberg looked hard for a Holocaust script that had a happy ending. Those are pretty rare. ("Escape from Sobibor" had already been filmed.) The themes are fairly clear. Obviously, redemption is one of them. Some others are that evil exists and can't be cured. One man can make a difference is another. Lastly, the movie emphasizes the role of conscience in human behavior. Goeth's lack of conscience makes him, not Helen, subhuman. The film is thought-provoking. You can't watch the movie without wondering what you would have done in the situations presented in it.

                      CONCLUSION: "Schindler's List" is the best Holocaust movie. You can argue that it is not relentlessly bleak enough to truly replicate the horror, but that would have defeated the purpose of reaching a mass audience. As a retired high school history teacher I have no problem with this compromise. The movie has enough horror to teach fools that the Holocaust was horrific. There is nothing wrong with having positive role models in a Holocaust film. I personally would not have it as high as #2, but it clearly belongs in the top ten.

                      Comment


                      • Who wants to predict what is #1?

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by warmoviebuff View Post
                          Who wants to predict what is #1?
                          After Shitlers List it will probably be a bust.
                          My worst jump story:
                          My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                          As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                          No lie.

                          ~
                          "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                          -2 Commando Jumpmaster

                          Comment


                          • Gone with the Wind (1939)? (Even though I personally wouldn't classify it as a war movie per se.)
                            Just thinking outside the square here. Otherwise, my 2nd guess would be Kelly's Heroes (1970).
                            Quite likely wrong on both counts but thought I'd take a couple of punts at it anyway. No money riding on it.
                            "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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                            • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                              Gone with the Wind (1939)? (Even though I personally wouldn't classify it as a war movie per se.)
                              :
                              I hope it's not Gone with the Wind. That is a good movie not great. More of a period piece. And more of a soap opera than a real war movie.

                              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                              • Master and Commander is missing from the top ten. Then I remembered we are limiting it to post 2000 movies.



                                Okay corrected, PRE 2000 movies. Warmoviebuff did that because not all his sources coverd movies after 2000.
                                Last edited by 17thfabn; 26 Apr 19, 19:13. Reason: Correct an error.
                                "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                                Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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