Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

"Loosely based on a true story"


TopBilled
 Share

Recommended Posts

What exactly does this phrase mean to you?  I didn't get a chance to see THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN recently, so I went to the IMDB to see what I had missed.  There is a user comment (actually a whole thread) with this title.

 

Does this mean that it is not really a true story? Or that it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue...?  I am confused about this!

 

Any other films this ambiguous description might apply to...?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly does this phrase mean to you?  I didn't get a chance to see THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN recently, so I went to the IMDB to see what I had missed.  There is a user comment (actually a whole thread) with this title.

 

Does this mean that it is not really a true story? Or that it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue...?  I am confused about this!

 

Any other films this ambiguous description might apply to...?

 

I don't think your confused.   Instead I think you have it figured out very well:  it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue.

 

As for other films;  Well there are too many to mention (e.g. most war pictures),  but how about all the Wyatt Earp movies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think your confused.   Instead I think you have it figured out very well:  it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue.

 

As for other films;  Well there are too many to mention (e.g. most war pictures),  but how about all the Wyatt Earp movies.

Thanks james. I was wondering if THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN was true, in that it was based on a scientist who did work with dolphins, but it deviated from the truth in how the dolphins 'spoke' on film (using dubbing of human voices and other tricks/sound effects).

 

Did anyone see this film recently?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly does this phrase mean to you?  I didn't get a chance to see THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN recently, so I went to the IMDB to see what I had missed.  There is a user comment (actually a whole thread) with this title.

 

Does this mean that it is not really a true story? Or that it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue...?  I am confused about this!

 

Any other films this ambiguous description might apply to...?

 

Both the 1932 and 1983 versions of "Scarface" are loosely based on a 1929 novel which is in turn loosely based on the life of Al Capone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, "loosely based on a true story" means that the screenwriters (and other crew members) found a true story that inspired the story they wanted to write and then they took creative license with the real events that inspired their story.  They may change specific details to spice it up (or spice it down) for their audiences.  Since the story was based on a real person(s) they can't put the "any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental" disclaimer.  I imagine the "loosely based on a true story" is something they have to put for legal reasons so that they don't get sued by someone.   

 

Many biopics I imagine would qualify to have the "loosely based on a true story" disclaimer. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, "loosely based on a true story" means that the screenwriters (and other crew members) found a true story that inspired the story they wanted to write and then they took creative license with the real events that inspired their story.  They may change specific details to spice it up (or spice it down) for their audiences.  Since the story was based on a real person(s) they can't put the "any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental" disclaimer.  I imagine the "loosely based on a true story" is something they have to put for legal reasons so that they don't get sued by someone.   

 

Many biopics I imagine would qualify to have the "loosely based on a true story" disclaimer. 

Great post. I think you are correct. One thing I have noticed is that some films, though not technically biopics, are thinly veiled exposes or parodies of famous people (like CITIZEN KANE) and the 'resemblance to real persons' disclaimer is on the film, and it is obviously a lie, because the main character is deliberately meant to resemble a real person. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It turned out that THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN showed up as an On Demand title on my cable system, so I ended up watching it late last night.

 

I liked it though I think I agree with the producer's comments that Mike Nichols was probably not the best choice for director of this picture..imagine how much better it would have been if it had been made by someone like Robert Aldrich or Richard Brooks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me the disclaimer "loosely based on a true story" means that what will be

following is "quasi-factitious".

 

Now I just coined that term but it seems apt considering what "factitious" means and all the Lifetime movies formulated on this very concept.

 

Just for the record...I do not watch Lifetime Movies since I don't enjoy seeing Jaclyn Smith playing neurologists or attorneys.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly does this phrase mean to you?  I didn't get a chance to see THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN recently, so I went to the IMDB to see what I had missed.  There is a user comment (actually a whole thread) with this title.

 

Does this mean that it is not really a true story? Or that it is a true story with fictional elements, which would basically become a bit untrue...?  I am confused about this!

 

Years ago, back in the 1970s and 80s, there were investigative news reports that said the US military was training dolphins to carry magnetic mines on their backs so they could go and place them on the underside of enemy ships. This created a lot of controversy because the stories said the mines did not give the dolphins a chance to escape and they got blown up too.

 

Also, there have been many news and documentary reports about professors, doctors, and other scientists who have been trying for years to understand dolphin squeaks in terms of some kind of "language", and they have been trying to imitate those squeaks in an attempt to "talk" to dolphins.

 

That information is probably why this movie was made, since many people in the audience would already know about these news stories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me the disclaimer "loosely based on a true story" means that what will be

following is "quasi-factitious".

 

Now I just coined that term but it seems apt considering what "factitious" means and all the Lifetime movies formulated on this very concept.

 

 

 

LOL, that is funny! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It means that this is mostly a true story, but parts have been changed due to creative license and dramatic effect. I wish films nowadays would include that more. I saw The Iron Lady, and they took too much license over her life to make her out to be something she wasn't. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It means that this is mostly a true story, but parts have been changed due to creative license and dramatic effect. I wish films nowadays would include that more. I saw The Iron Lady, and they took too much license over her life to make her out to be something she wasn't. 

 

Well I just wish that films would stick to the truth more.   It appears you are ok that they take 'too much license' as long as they attach a disclaimer on the film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you ever see the movie "The Greek Tycoon"?  In it, Jaqueline Bisset plays the widow of an assassinated U.S. president named Cassidy.  She is romanced by a very wealthy Greek shipping tycoon played by Anthony Quinn.  At the end of the credits is the disclaimer, "Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental ".   Yeah, right!  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I just wish that films would stick to the truth more.   It appears you are ok that they take 'too much license' as long as they attach a disclaimer on the film.

A filmmaker has the right to tell any story they choose, so long as they stay true to the person whose story they are telling. In the case of The Iron Lady, the filmmaker wanted to show Margaret Thatcher's human side, but did so at the expense and exceptionalization of Thatcher in history, and tried to make her out to be feminist because of that history. Phyllida Lloyd did a good job respecting that Thatcher made a mark, but translating that into something that was untrue of Thatcher's person was why the film didn't work. There was so much deflection away from the psychology of Thatcher that could have explored, but Lloyd decided to use her then state of dementia to cheat details, and its not that Meryl didn't help much. Meryl was just a wandering accent looking for a scene to act in. Lloyd should have gotten a better actress to play Thatcher- someone like Emma Thompson. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me "Based on a true story" runs like this.

 

At a party a celebrity falls from the landing down a flight of stairs and dies.  Three persons write a script based on the incident using the following themes

1)  All evening she is seen with a glass of ice and liquid in her hand.  This writer paints her as lush who tripped and fell in a drunken stupor.

2)  She was seen various times that night in animated discussion with a certain person and an angry word or two was heard.  The person was standing next to her when she fell.  This writer claims that the adversary shoved her away in anger causing the fall.

3)  She was happy over an upcoming project that would give her a career a boost.  This writer uses the classic story of a comeback halted by tragedy often done on stage and screen; in her exuberance got too close to the edge and fell.

 

All three of the statements are true.  Each writer picked up on just one fact and used it to concoct his/her idea of what happened creating three different theories that are "Fact-based stories" but not necessarily true.  Was there liquor in any or all of her drinks?  Was the couple still quarrelling when the fall occurred? Could the third writer see what really happened?  Is the real reason one we might never know?   

 

I've learned to be skeptical of such stories and take them with a grain of salt.  Some I do find more believable than others but you never know.         

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...