Posted by Tom on June 09, 1999 at 08:24:09:
In Reply to: Re: posted by Champ on June 08, 1999 at 23:50:02:
Hollywood fudging history? That is a "problem" that is going to exist forever. I believe Dinnerbell Mel with "Braveheart" was more interested in making an entertaining movie with an easy to follow storyline than in making a history lesson. If the Scots were dressed in armor similar to the English what casual movie goer would have been able to tell the two sides apart during those chaotic battle scenes? Dinnerbell Mel simplified the situation by dressing his Scots in plaid kilts and woad. Besides that is the romantic picture of the Scots. In away it models director John Ford's dressing his cavalry troopers in yellow bandanas and arming them with sabers- a romantic picture of the past the way people imagined it looked.
Yes, "Braveheart" contains alot of bad history- my personal pet peeve is the idiotic romance between Wallace and Princess Isabelle. Yet it is a very good movie. People love it! In that way I think it follows the old Hollywood maxim of "history be damned lets make a movie." Many of the great classic "period" films are horrendous history lessons such as: Errol Flynn's Charge of the Light Brigade, They Died with Their Boots On, the 1936 version of Last of the Mohicans, Fort Apache, and many, many more. Bad history, yes; but awesome movie making!
When a filmmaker forgets that he is trying to entertain and not inform then watch out. Steven Speilberg recently admitted that he believes that "Amistad" failed because it was too much of a history lesson rather than a compelling drama. This is why I think so many "epic" war movies fail to win a large audience. This is why "Waterloo" tanked at the box office. Why there is no great demand for "Zulu Dawn" videos.
I am willing to forgive a filmmaker for "fudging" the past as long as he does not offend or bore me. Bad history and bad moviemaking combine to bring out some true horrors. Anyone ever seen Al Pacino in "Revolution?"
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