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Film-losophies I have found.


slaytonf
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I'm not talking about the philosophical positions promoted, or critiqued, by the way the stories in movies play out--and there's plenty of them.  I'm talking about observations, and conclusions I've made about the nature of movies from watching them.  I expect people will disagree with me, but I've realized the contrary nature of the human race will lead it to just not recognize my brilliance:

  • Movies can get worse, but they can't get better.  This stands to reason.  Creativity is no small feat.  It's easy to have a spark of an idea, but developing it, fleshing it out, making it sparkle and delight, is another matter.  I'm sorry to say most of the people involved in moviemaking just don't have it.  And the ones that do, well, even they aren't always successful.  I can already hear the objections.  How can I know it's true?  Can't a movie stumble at first, then start to hit on all cylinders.  Well, I've tested it.  I used to slog my way through the most horrible dreck.  Dutifully spending seventy, ninety minutes and more of the precious time I have here in deference to the movie gods, until I came to the realization that when I feel like I'm chewing on cardboard, or have this almost intolerable urge to leap up off the sofa and run heedlessly out of the house, that I might better change the channel, or dust mop my floors.  As a corollary, I will say that every movie has something good in it.  A bit of dialog, or action, or direction, or something.  But it is also true that it is not worth enduring all the other worthless minutes to find it.  And then to remember it, you will have to make a note, and catalog the notes to remember why you should watch it again.  Another demi-corollary  is that if a movie I'm not impressed by has an actor in it I like, but does not show up right away, I'll wait to see what sort of difference they make when they come on (usually none).  I'll also give a director I like the benefit of the doubt, for a while.  This maxim has saved me countless wasted hours.  If I'm not engaged, or I'm actively repelled by a movie in the first few minutes, I turn it off.   Sometimes I don't even get through the credits.
  • Don't get your history from movies.  I've said this often other places.  I wasn't the first to say it.  Others have said it many times.  The reason being, it's true.  Don't go to documentary movies, either.  Even cinema verité.  You want history, go to a library, go to the books, go to the sources.  Movies are entertainment.  And by that I don't mean just superficial diversion.  Powerful and moving stories are also entertainment.  They have to be, otherwise people wouldn't watch 'em.
  • Regardless of the time they depict, movies are always about the time they were made in.  The example that comes first to mind to illustrate this is M*A*S*H (1970).  Ostensibly about the Korean War, nobody doubts it's anti-war, anti-establishment message directly related to the Vietnam War and the rejection of the conventional american myth that grew out of the 60s.  You can have Marie Antoinette sip chocolate out of the finest china, you can have a centurion kicking up sand in the Levant, you can have intergalactic battles fought thousands of years in the future.  But it's all about when the movie was made.  The mores, the culture, the ideas and conventions that were around at the time will shape and color the movie.  You can also see this in movies that have had many remakes over time, like the A Star is Born movies.  And some often readapted literature, like The Three Musketeers.  This leads to the next observation, that:
  • The more things stay the same, the more they change.  This is a little harder to get a handle on.  Comparing production code movies with more recent ones highlights the changes in our culture,.  But it's surprising how persistent the conventions of storytelling are.  And they're not always what you would assume.  Of course, today movies are much more explicit in language, sex, and violence.  Things that were severely frowned on in the past now pass without comment, and things that used to be accepted uncritically are now anathema.  Everyone can make their own list.  And they don't all relate to race and abortion.  An example that comes to mind is from Shakespeare in Love  (1998).  Despite portraying the Bard in an adulterous affair without any scruple, the same old messages about the aristocracy are perpetuated.  Shakespeare and Viola's continued relationship is impossible because the obligations of her class force her into a loveless arranged marriage.  Think of The Swan (1956), and One Romantic Night (1930).
  • An actor can make the difference.  An otherwise uninteresting, or downright unwatchable movie can be made not only entertaining, but great by the performance of an actor.  It doesn't happen often, but it can.  For instance, Random Harvest (1942).  It's a romance movie, which I almost always loathe, being  even more formulaic than slasher movies.  It has a plot that requires a suspension of disbelief that could give someone a hernia.  And it's one of the favorite movies in my rotation.  Why?  Because of a performance.  In this case, two performances, Greer Garson and Ronald Colman.  It's been said that the mark of a great actor is the ability to read the entries of a phone book and make it engaging.  Well, these two top that by a mile.  They recite the lines of this script and make it painless to watch.  Even more.  They make it enjoyable.  Gene Wilder does the same in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  A movie entirely worthless (except for a decent song:  Pure Imagination), is brought to life by his performance.
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1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

 

  • Don't get your history from movies.  I've said this often other places.  I wasn't the first to say it.  Others have said it many times.  The reason being, it's true.  Don't go to documentary movies, either.  Even cinema verité.  You want history, go to a library, go to the books, go to the sources.  Movies are entertainment.  And by that I don't mean just superficial diversion.  Powerful and moving stories are also entertainment.  They have to be, otherwise people wouldn't watch 'em.

So you're telling me Jack and Rose WEREN'T on the Titanic??? All those years I've wasted hating that Cal guy! But the boat did sink, right? 

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3 hours ago, slaytonf said:

I'm not talking about the philosophical positions promoted, or critiqued, by the way the stories in movies play out--and there's plenty of them.  I'm talking about observations, and conclusions I've made about the nature of movies from watching them.  I expect people will disagree with me, but I've realized the contrary nature of the human race will lead it to just not recognize my brilliance:

  • Movies can get worse, but they can't get better.  This stands to reason.  Creativity is no small feat.  It's easy to have a spark of an idea, but developing it, fleshing it out, making it sparkle and delight, is another matter.  I'm sorry to say most of the people involved in moviemaking just don't have it.  And the ones that do, well, even they aren't always successful.  I can already hear the objections.  How can I know it's true?  Can't a movie stumble at first, then start to hit on all cylinders.  Well, I've tested it.  I used to slog my way through the most horrible dreck.  Dutifully spending seventy, ninety minutes and more of the precious time I have here in deference to the movie gods, until I came to the realization that when I feel like I'm chewing on cardboard, or have this almost intolerable urge to leap up off the sofa and run heedlessly out of the house, that I might better change the channel, or dust mop my floors.  As a corollary, I will say that every movie has something good in it.  A bit of dialog, or action, or direction, or something.  But it is also true that it is not worth enduring all the other worthless minutes to find it.  And then to remember it, you will have to make a note, and catalog the notes to remember why you should watch it again.  Another demi-corollary  is that if a movie I'm not impressed by has an actor in it I like, but does not show up right away, I'll wait to see what sort of difference they make when they come on (usually none).  I'll also give a director I like the benefit of the doubt, for a while.  This maxim has saved me countless wasted hours.  If I'm not engaged, or I'm actively repelled by a movie in the first few minutes, I turn it off.   Sometimes I don't even get through the credits.
  • Don't get your history from movies.  I've said this often other places.  I wasn't the first to say it.  Others have said it many times.  The reason being, it's true.  Don't go to documentary movies, either.  Even cinema verité.  You want history, go to a library, go to the books, go to the sources.  Movies are entertainment.  And by that I don't mean just superficial diversion.  Powerful and moving stories are also entertainment.  They have to be, otherwise people wouldn't watch 'em.
  • Regardless of the time they depict, movies are always about the time they were made in.  The example that comes first to mind to illustrate this is M*A*S*H (1970).  Ostensibly about the Korean War, nobody doubts it's anti-war, anti-establishment message directly related to the Vietnam War and the rejection of the conventional american myth that grew out of the 60s.  You can have Marie Antoinette sip chocolate out of the finest china, you can have a centurion kicking up sand in the Levant, you can have intergalactic battles fought thousands of years in the future.  But it's all about when the movie was made.  The mores, the culture, the ideas and conventions that were around at the time will shape and color the movie.  You can also see this in movies that have had many remakes over time, like the A Star is Born movies.  And some often readapted literature, like The Three Musketeers.  This leads to the next observation, that:
  • The more things stay the same, the more they change.  This is a little harder to get a handle on.  Comparing production code movies with more recent ones highlights the changes in our culture,.  But it's surprising how persistent the conventions of storytelling are.  And they're not always what you would assume.  Of course, today movies are much more explicit in language, sex, and violence.  Things that were severely frowned on in the past now pass without comment, and things that used to be accepted uncritically are now anathema.  Everyone can make their own list.  And they don't all relate to race and abortion.  An example that comes to mind is from Shakespeare in Love  (1998).  Despite portraying the Bard in an adulterous affair without any scruple, the same old messages about the aristocracy are perpetuated.  Shakespeare and Viola's continued relationship is impossible because the obligations of her class force her into a loveless arranged marriage.  Think of The Swan (1956), and One Romantic Night (1930).
  • An actor can make the difference.  An otherwise uninteresting, or downright unwatchable movie can be made not only entertaining, but great by the performance of an actor.  It doesn't happen often, but it can.  For instance, Random Harvest (1942).  It's a romance movie, which I almost always loathe, being  even more formulaic than slasher movies.  It has a plot that requires a suspension of disbelief that could give someone a hernia.  And it's one of the favorite movies in my rotation.  Why?  Because of a performance.  In this case, two performances, Greer Garson and Ronald Colman.  It's been said that the mark of a great actor is the ability to read the entries of a phone book and make it engaging.  Well, these two top that by a mile.  They recite the lines of this script and make it painless to watch.  Even more.  They make it enjoyable.  Gene Wilder does the same in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  A movie entirely worthless (except for a decent song:  Pure Imagination), is brought to life by his performance.

As Far As Your First Observation Goes..

 

   Let me but Recommend, a couple High Water Marks.. ...on the cinema scale, then.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Brand New Testament. Zoom (Alison Pil). Snowpiercer. Largo Winch (One and 2). Automata. The Congress. The Whistlers. A Lonely Place To Die,. And the Survivalist; then get back with me.

. ... ..

I,m Not At All Saying .. Nor even implying.. that You Dont Know Where to Look (for films ahead of their times, so to speak.),.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But There Are Some Insanely, Transcendentally Exquisite, Recent Stories Out There, that leaves the closes rivals way back on the previous continent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youre (Unfortunately) Missing Out on some (Fairly) Recent GEMS with such a mantra...

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Lots of food for thought. I'm a little puzzled why you'd advise against going to documentary movies for history, but to go to books and the library instead. I don't see why a book would automatically be more reliable than a good documentary, especially since a film can provide a fuller visual context. There are any number of history books which have had to be reevaluated over the years.

On the whole, I'm probably more susceptible to superficial diversion than you are. I can actually enjoy improbable historical scenarios, especially if they're done with total conviction. The best example I can think of is Douglas Sirk's Sign of the Pagan (1954), in which a Roman centurian shoulders the burden of saving the Roman Empire from Attila the Hun, including a mind-boggling scene in which Pope Leo crosses the river in a heavenly mist to dissuade the attackers from sacking Rome. I'm willing to lower my expectations for the pleasure a movie like that gives me.

I agree with you that films are generally a product of the time they were made in, regardless of the era they depict. You're going to think that I'm the airiest of airheads, but the first thing that came to mind was Harlow (1965), which had a palpable 1960's vibe in just about every aspect, including a score by Neal Hefti, famous for the TV Batman theme. There's a producer's Hollywood home which is totally the Playboy Mansion, complete with a rainforest in the bedroom. It's a complete desecration of one of the iconic actresses of the Twentieth Century. They barely even tried, except for the painted-on mole on her cheek. 

In terms of the persistent conventions of storytelling, I think we have to take into consideration the visual aspect too. Gone are the days when Fred Astaire could insist on a full-figure shot that featured his whole frame for the duration of a dance number. I think the assumption is that audiences no longer tolerate that kind of thing, but I wonder how much of that is really filmmakers trying to justify their own tendencies. It's generally (thankfully, not totally) slice-and-dice now, anchored by a frenetic music score. 

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3 hours ago, DougieB said:

I'm a little puzzled why you'd advise against going to documentary movies for history, but to go to books and the library instead

I say this mostly from a filmmaking perspective.  When you take a picture, you are also not taking a picture of what is not in the frame.  Even in the most detached cinema verité, someone is pointing the camera.  That means they are making a choice, and that is an opening for bias.  Though interpretation of history changes over time, a book lists sources.  Even if the sources are affected by the authors bias, it is still better opportunity to get at history than a film.

3 hours ago, DougieB said:

including a mind-boggling scene in which Pope Leo crosses the river in a heavenly mist to dissuade the attackers from sacking Rome.

I made the comment because occasionally someone will post about how a movie is historically inaccurate.  The recourse is not to work to make movies more accurate, because that will never happen, but to look elsewhere for your history.  Pope Leo did persuade Attila not to sack Rome.

3 hours ago, DougieB said:

It's generally (thankfully, not totally) slice-and-dice now, anchored by a frenetic music score. 

Some of that might also arise from the egotism of the director, thinking to enhance the performance with his singular abilities.  I run into this on some videos of ballets, with the camera jumping back and forth during the performance, evidently arising from the director's concern that the choreography would not be sufficient by itself.  All they end up doing is interrupting the flow of the performance, which seriously decreases the enjoyment.

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I take your point about books being a more in-depth way to get at history and that the sourcing for a documentary film can be less clear. My own preference would be a written source as well, though a good documentary film could be supplemental.

I'm old enough to remember biographical films being shown in my school and basically  being presented as "history", despite the fact that the "love interest" probably never even existed and it was filmed on soundstages and backlots.

I liked your example of Random Harvest, also a favorite of mine.

"Film-losophies" should have it's own sub-forum, for all the life lessons we've taken from watching films.

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On 6/13/2021 at 1:24 PM, slaytonf said:

Movies can get worse, but they can't get better.  This stands to reason.  Creativity is no small feat.  It's easy to have a spark of an idea, but developing it, fleshing it out, making it sparkle and delight, is another matter.  I'm sorry to say most of the people involved in moviemaking just don't have it. 

Interesting diatribe Slayton. I picked this sentiment out because I think there's a definite reason for this-

Think about Hollywood movie making as a whole since "Hollywood" is the dominant player, historically. The studio system was the original "Film School" where actors, writers, directors were given smaller assignments to learn & hone their talents in "B" pictures or "shorts".  They kind of worked their way up the ladder, proving their worth & most importantly, gaining experience.

Nowadays, every movie must be a block buster hit, bringing too much money/pressure into the equation. The only training ground these days is television work. Think of all the movie stars that got their start in soaps. Even Spielberg started by directing TV. Now "channels" are the studios, creating big productions. (Was Hallmark Channel movies one of the earliest?) 

Now that I'm older, it's easier to see how every work experience helps hone talent and therefore a better chance at success.

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There is a lot of good history in some non-documentary movies, you just need to know what's factual and what isn't. Best to check the facts. I'm watching Becket at the moment, a film I have not seen in years. There are many inaccuracies, the worst being making Becket a Saxon, and making that so important to the plot. Becket was pure Norman. In fact, it was Henry II who was of some Saxon lineage, through his grandmother, who was descended from the kings of Wessex. That's an egregious example of messing with history. However, many films do present, at least in part, real history as part of the plot. Henry II going to Becket's tomb to be whipped by monks is factual.

Documentaries are as reliable as books, which can also be fallible. 

Regarding Random Harvest (which I love), I think it's a great film on all counts, a perfect example of the magic of the old Hollywood. The performances are indeed great.  For me, Slayton's point does not apply: I could not enjoy a film with great performances if I did not like the film.

To another of Slayton's points: Movies are not alone in generally being (to some extent) about the time they were made. Albert Schweitzer wrote a classic book, The Search for the Historical Jesus. Schweitzer's point is that each culture and generation creates Jesus in their image, not as Jesus actually was, i.e. a Jewish man of the ancient Levant. A Scandinavian (or African) painting that makes Jesus look like the natives of those regions is doing what Slayton says that films do: making them about the time and image of the creators of the work. 

One of my favorite films, The Subject Was Roses, depicts a Bronx family at the end of World War II. It does that beautifully. Their apartment could have been my grandmother's apartment. The film really has the feel of the old New York of my grandparents' time, and my parents' youth. But Patricia Neal's hairstyle is pure 1960s.

There is also a brilliant location shot at the beginning of the film, when Patricia Neal walks in the Bronx neighborhood. That street conjures up the Bronx of old, because  they picked a street that hasn't changed. Except for the lamp post. It was of the style added to NYC streets at a later period than the 1940s. 

 

 

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As a classical music buff, I nevertheless did not like Amadeus the first time. Oh come on, Mozart didn't laugh like that? Now I love it. Did it suddenly get better? Or does it simply mean that the movie is still bad but I am the one who changed? And therefore does it even count? When I watch a movie do I half-create it (for better or worse) through the window of my perception? Can we say movies are not either good or bad but viewing makes it so? Can a movie be so objectively bad that it just stays that way forever?  Does the proposition that movies don't get better make any sense at all?

:ph34r:

 

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2 hours ago, laffite said:

As a classical music buff, I nevertheless did not like Amadeus the first time. Oh come on, Mozart didn't laugh like that? Now I love it. Did it suddenly get better? Or does it simply mean that the movie is still bad but I am the one who changed? And therefore does it even count? When I watch a movie do I half-create it (for better or worse) through the window of my perception? Can we say movies are not either good or bad but viewing makes it so? Can a movie be so objectively bad that it just stays that way forever?  Does the proposition that movies don't get better make any sense at all?

:ph34r:

 

I always liked the movie.  But going in,I knew the "rivalry" between Salieri  and Mozart was mostly legend and not fact.  And the movie was based on the stage play that was based mostly on that legend and highly fictionalized for entertainment purposes.  

And I disagree a bit with the OP about documentaries.  Take for example, the documentary WOODSTOCK.  Entertainment, sure.  But filmed as the festival was going on.  So of course it was as historically accurate as any book would be(if indeed there were any books about the festival).   So would any documentary that was filmed where and when any particular events were taking place.  

As the OP is a mixed bag of various thoughts and opinions, they are just that.  One person's perceptions of a variety of subjects, and not necessarily what everyone should think or feel about it all.  Or consider as fact.  Just as the perceived "brilliance" is just a personal perception and not a fact.  As is everything I just posted. And everyone else just posted.

Sepiatone

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14 hours ago, slaytonf said:

I say this mostly from a filmmaking perspective.  When you take a picture, you are also not taking a picture of what is not in the frame.  Even in the most detached cinema verité, someone is pointing the camera.  That means they are making a choice, and that is an opening for bias.  Though interpretation of history changes over time, a book lists sources.  Even if the sources are affected by the authors bias, it is still better opportunity to get at history than a film.

I made the comment because occasionally someone will post about how a movie is historically inaccurate.  The recourse is not to work to make movies more accurate, because that will never happen, but to look elsewhere for your history.  Pope Leo did persuade Attila not to sack Rome.

Some of that might also arise from the egotism of the director, thinking to enhance the performance with his singular abilities.  I run into this on some videos of ballets, with the camera jumping back and forth during the performance, evidently arising from the director's concern that the choreography would not be sufficient by itself.  All they end up doing is interrupting the flow of the performance, which seriously decreases the enjoyment.

I agree with that last statement. The modern trend is to start in the master and then quickly edit in coverage(close up, over the shoulder, etc.). I have noticed in older movies that the scene is played much longer in the master, or often, nothing but the master. I much prefer that choice, either from the era the movie is in or the director guiding the editing with the editor. I have noticed many movies from TCM recently where I now notice that choice and I am definitely a fan of letting a scene play out in the master as long as it can, even with a lot of dialogue. Of course there are times when close ups add to the emotion of the movie; however, I think the modern technique of having to show close ups of all the dialogue is a trend I don't care for.

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12 hours ago, laffite said:

Can we say movies are not either good or bad but viewing makes it so?

I've heard that before.  But  like your point.  At any one point in time, a movie that does not appeal at first, will not appeal at all.  But if your perspective changes, then the movie can appeal.  I'm sure there are movies I didn't like that I like now, and vice versa.  I can't think of any right now, but I'll let you know when I come up with any.

  The rest of your observation goes to places that are too deep for me.

10 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

always liked the movie.  But going in,I knew the "rivalry" between Salieri  and Mozart was mostly legend and not fact.  And the movie was based on the stage play that was based mostly on that legend and highly fictionalized for entertainment purposes.  

Excellent example of how you should not get your history from movies.

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I watched a good interview recently that featured Elodie Keene, a television director who began as an editor. She said when she worked as an editor, she often butted heads with the producers, because she was trying to "bend the film" to her vision of the story. The producers favored the director's interpretation, not hers as the editor, which probably explains why she moved into directing.

But I love that phrase of hers, bending the film. The biggest problem she had was with the longer takes that involved tracking shots. She wanted the camera to linger on certain actors' faces to register expression or the emotion of the scene, but some tracking shots are done in a way that the expressions get pushed into the periphery.

She also talked about how hand-held cameras have revolutionized the filming process. But if you get too experimental, it may detract from the story.

As for the flow of a story, sometimes the flow has to slow down, if the idea is to draw us into the moment as it might occur in real life. An audience will stay with a long(er) scene if the characters and their actions remain compelling enough to sustain interest.

The other thing I took from Elodie Keene's interview is that sometimes the editor is limited on the shots available, if the director had trouble getting the performer to deliver the lines adequately. A combatant performer is going to make things much more difficult on set, forcing certain artistic compromises in order to just get it done, get the scene over with and move on to the next part of production. The editor only has what the director gives them to put together.

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And if you are a director that is wise to the, shall we say, interference from studio executives who want to have their say concerning the final edit of the movies at their studio, you only give them enough footage that the movie can only be edited one way, or in a limited way. I think John Ford was notorious for this when he was shooting having the edit in his head as he went along.

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13 hours ago, slaytonf said:

 

Excellent example of how you should not get your history from movies.

I would have thought HOW THE WEST WAS WON drove home that point adequately.  ;)   At best, movies might make people aware of some historical matters in general, but of course, none of the details.  Like, we have no idea just what Lewis and Clark might have talked about on a day to day basis during their expedition, but Fred MacMurray and Charlton Heston did find plenty to talk about in THE FAR HORIZONS.

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I would have thought HOW THE WEST WAS WON drove home that point adequately.  ;)   At best, movies might make people aware of some historical matters in general, but of course, none of the details.  Like, we have no idea just what Lewis and Clark might have talked about on a day to day basis during their expedition, but Fred MacMurray and Charlton Heston did find plenty to talk about in THE FAR HORIZONS.

Sepiatone

I agree here. One glaring example of knowing historical facts in general, but few details, would be, to me, Douglas MacArthur. If I relied on movies alone, I would mainly see him as "returning" to the Philippines. He could seem to be quite the hero. His detailed story, to me, is very disappointing in finding out this "hero" was an egomaniac and probably got thousands of Americans needlessly killed in his "I shall return" stunt. Maybe movies caused me to know enough about him to dig deeper, and I am glad I did. 

A man portrayed as a hero in movies has become, to me, one of the most disappointing and frankly unlikeable guys in recent American history. I am sure that relying on movies too much to get our history is a big mistake. Even some of our movie "heroes" can either become grander or a disappointment once we start digging into the truth. This may seem like a very obvious and simplistic explanation, but I now become interested in those I see on the screen and truly enjoy researching and seeing what some of these actors are truly made of. And even though the tone of this can seem somewhat negative, I have certainly encountered some facts about actors that  have impressed me(Norman Lloyd as an example).

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I guess the only historical reference in McARTHUR('77)  that WAS actual fact was when ED FLANDERS, as president Harry Truman, called McArthur a "Prima Donna sonofab!tch."  ;) 

An American history teacher in high school told us about that.  Ten years before that movie came out.

Sepiatone

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23 hours ago, Stallion said:

I agree here. One glaring example of knowing historical facts in general, but few details, would be, to me, Douglas MacArthur. If I relied on movies alone, I would mainly see him as "returning" to the Philippines. He could seem to be quite the hero. His detailed story, to me, is very disappointing in finding out this "hero" was an egomaniac and probably got thousands of Americans needlessly killed in his "I shall return" stunt. Maybe movies caused me to know enough about him to dig deeper, and I am glad I did. 

A man portrayed as a hero in movies has become, to me, one of the most disappointing and frankly unlikeable guys in recent American history. I am sure that relying on movies too much to get our history is a big mistake. Even some of our movie "heroes" can either become grander or a disappointment once we start digging into the truth. This may seem like a very obvious and simplistic explanation, but I now become interested in those I see on the screen and truly enjoy researching and seeing what some of these actors are truly made of. And even though the tone of this can seem somewhat negative, I have certainly encountered some facts about actors that  have impressed me(Norman Lloyd as an example).

You think the defense of the Phillipines in the Pacific theater was a stunt that got thousands of Americans needlessly killed?

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17 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

You think the defense of the Phillipines in the Pacific theater was a stunt that got thousands of Americans needlessly killed?

From what I have gathered, both Nimitz and MacArthur put different plans in front of FDR for his ultimate decision in how the fighting in the Pacific would go. Per memory, Nimitz was going to do a swing through more of the central part of the Pacific region which would cut off the Philippines and block the Japanese supply routes from southeast Asia. I seem to recall that that plan would likely have many less casualties. MacArthur wanted a definite land invasion to take back the Philippines and wanted to "return" which would make him the hero(why else do more as many "takes" as he did landing while having the media be in just the right place for photos) with  thousands of American casualties likely(which is how it turned out).  Of course, Roosevelt, in the end, chose MacArthur's way, which I think was influenced greatly by MacArthur's persuasive talents. When you add the violent encounters with WWI vets protesting in Washington with MacArthur leading and his thrust north into North Korea, against the military leaders will and running into thousands of Chinese soldiers, and a staff of "yes" men afraid to challenge the powerful MacArthur, I find it mainly hard to admire him. I do think he did a good job in his leadership position in Japan after fighting there had ended.

My father who served in the Pacific in the navy and who described having his cruiser hit by a kamikaze, escaped harm but I just don't like the idea of a general or whatever military leader unnecessarily putting any American serviceman in harm's way to even hintingly satisfy an ego.

Granted, I am a novice in knowing a great deal of the ultimate historical truth of these matters. I have, however, put some time into studying the war in the Pacific and have benefitted from lengthy sit downs with my father who was in the navy from 1938-1945.

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