Sunday, 26 August 2012

Film feel-good factor

In my recent 'My Twenty Questions' blog entry I stated that my five favourite films were:
  • Things to Come
  • Zulu
  • The African Queen
  • Gettysburg
  • Enemy At The Gates
I have been feeling somewhat under the weather for some time (my wife and I have Summer colds which we just cannot seem to shrug off) and I decided to watch a film ... and came to the conclusion that I should choose one of the one's featured on my list.

But which one to choose?

This question made me think about why I had chosen each film in the first place.

THINGS TO COME is there because of the profound effect it had upon me when I watched it as a child.

ZULU is on the list because even though I have watched it many, many times, it still makes my heart rate quicken and my spirits rise (it also has a wonderful cast of actors and some great lines!).

THE AFRICAN QUEEN is there because I love C S Forester's books, and this film was so well made and the acting was superb.

GETTYSBURG is on the list because it represents a pivotal point in the history of the United States and because the sheer size and spectacle of the film is unmatched by any other I have seen.

ENEMY AT THE GATES is included because the battle scenes have what I feel is a realistic grimness that captures what it must have been like to fight on the Eastern Front.

(Films that almost made it onto my list included SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE LONGEST DAY, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, ZULU DAWN, BREAKER MORANT, CARRY ON UP THE KHYBER, THE FOUR FEATHERS (the 1939 version by Alexander Korda), GUNGA DIN, KHARTOUM, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.)

In the end I did not manage to watch any of my chosen films … but I did watch edited highlights from three of them. They were:

The charge by the 20th Maine (GETTYSBURG)
The final Zulu attack of Rorke's Drift (ZULU)
The charge by the newly landed Soviet Riflemen (ENEMY AT THE GATES)
Watching these film clips did not make my cold go away ... but for a short while they did make me feel better!

6 comments:

  1. Back in 1998, I had a very rough root canal, and spent the afternoon watching "Zulu Dawn". I remember thinking "Well, I'm having a better day than Pulliene".

    Get better soon!

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  2. Steven Page,

    It sounds like your day did not go too well either ... but at least you survived the experience!

    Poor old Pulliene! He did not lack experience fighting in Africa ... just in fighting Zulus. He had raised and led a unit of irregular cavalry during the 9th Cape Frontier War, and he and they had performed quite well. He seems to have made the same mistake as a lot of his fellow British officers, and expected that the Zulus would fight like Xhosa.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Some great movies.

    My earliest cinematic memory is of the burning of Atlanta in 'Gone with the Wind' (at the Ritz cinema in Oxford). As a young child it seemed like the whole cinema was on fire. I still think it is one of the film's landmark sequences.

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  4. SoA Shows North,

    I agree that the scenes from GONE WITH THE WIND that deal with the burning of Atlanta are extremely well staged and very impressive, even by modern standards. It must have been even more so to a small child seeing it for the first time.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Possibly the best battle scene I ever saw was 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. No, not the 1970s version; the one made in the 1930s. Those light cavalry charged in lines, superb to see. And when the lances came down, you knew it was all on...

    The battle scenes in the second and third 'Lord of the Rings' movie were pretty good on the whole. Especially enlightening was the charge of the Rohirrim, with King Theoden leading the way. You can see why credulous modern minds think certain ancient troops fought 'in wedge', eh?

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  6. Archduke Piccolo,

    I know the scene you mention from THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE ... and agree that the sight of all those lancers (and the other cavalry) charging was indeed something that would quicken anybodies heart rate.

    I also agree that the charge of the Rohirrim – which starts off as a line of cavalry but that seems to quickly develop into a ‘wedge’ – was particularly spectacular when seen from above.

    Two more to add to my list of film clips!

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete