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April 1999, Week 4


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Peter Warren <[log in to unmask]>
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Thu, 22 Apr 1999 14:02:04 -0400
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Re World War Two films, it's not my intention to get into a "best list"
situation,  but to offer some ideas. It's important to discriminate among
films made during the war, many of which were patriotic/propaganda pieces
for the home front, and those made after the war with hindsight and usually
with the box office in mind. THE LONGEST DAY is a good example of this.
These days there is a longer historical perspective, leading to German
movies such as STALINGRAD and DAS BOOT which show Nazi defeats rather than
victories. Re American films, it's also necessary to compare those made by
Hollywood between the start of the War in Europe and the bombing of Pearl
Harbour (eg: BUCK PRIVATES in 1941 versus GUADALCANAL DIARY in 1943). On a
personal note, I lived in London, England during World War Two, and I can
remember how important and influential the cinema was during that period.
This led to my setting up a course at Sheridan College in Oakville on The
Cinema of World War Two, and I'd be pleased to enter into a dialogue on
this subject if you so wish.

> From: American Cotton Museum <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: World War II Films
> Date: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 11:52 PM
> List members:
> A year or so ago, AFI came out with their list of the best 100 films of
> all time.  Earlier this year, Forbes American Heritage Magazine came out
> with a list of the ten best movies of World War II.  Recently, while
> some searching on the WOrld Wide Web, I located a site that listed at
> least 150 World War II films.
> I am curious as to what our list members think makes a good World War II
> film? Certianly, Saving Private Ryan and The THin Red Line are far
> advanced in many areas over their earlier counterparts like Sands of Iwo
> Jima, To Hell and Back, and The Naked and The Dead, but are they
> necessarily better?  Sure, Saving Private Ryan depicts scenes more like
> they should have been in To Hell and Back, (which Audie Murphy himself
> felt was too sanatized) but other modern war films such as Memphis Belle
> have actually taken history and changed it on screen.
> What part does an accurate depiction of violence in a World War II film
> play in how he film is viewed by the public.  Are "James Ryan" and the
> other characters in SPR more beliavible, heroic, or real than Audie
> (who played himself), characters played by John Wayne, etc. and other
> earlier WW II film stars/characters,  simply because
> their films were made in eras of great difference in technology and taste
> (with regards to violence, etc.?
> Thoughts?
> Vince Leibowitz,
> Executive Director
> American Cotton Museum
> "Where Cotton Is Still King"
> 600 Interstate 30 East
> P.O. Box 347
> Greenville, Texas 75403
> (903) 454-1990
> (903) 450-4502
> President
> Northeast Texas Museum Association
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