56 Movie Mistakes: The Longest Day

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Then there is this attempt to denigrate the movie The Longest Day recounting the Overlord operation to liberate Europe.

The Longest Day, which was made in black and white, features a large ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More,Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Bourvil, Curt Jürgens, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka and Arletty.

Many of these actors played roles that were virtually cameo appearances and several cast members such as Fonda, Genn, More, Steiger and Todd saw action as servicemen during the war, with Todd being among the first British officers to land in Normandy in Operation Overlord and participated in the assault on Pegasus Bridge. So just for some fun here are some of the movie mistakes – we expect you spotted most of them anyway 🙂

When the ships are about to begin bombarding the beaches you see a group of planes fly by the camera these are Douglas Sky Raiders which did not see service until the late 1940s.

The currency notes in Schultz’s winnings are of a later issue than was in circulation in 1944.

Features LCM-8s, which weren’t built until 1954.

German General Max Pemsel says: “Wir haben starke RADAR-störungen” (We have strong radar interference). The word “radar” was not used, perhaps even not known in Germany in 1944. They used a somewhat similar system, but called it “Funkmeßgeräte” (radio measuring equipment).

General Gavin is wearing a Senior Parachutist badge in 1944.The Parachutist Badge was formally approved on 10 March 1941. The senior and master parachutists badges were authorized by Headquarters, Department of the Army in 1949 and were announced by Change 4, Army Regulation 600-70, dated 24 January 1950.

During the go/no go sequence, a jet can be heard flying overhead as the naval representative is speaking.

During a very early scene in France, the back end of a Citroen 2CV can be seen parked at the side of the street as the German soldiers march down it.

via 56 Movie Mistakes: The Longest Day

And so on for three pages. Yes, it’s interesting and very likely true. But you know, it doesn’t matter a damn. Like the John Ford Trilogy, the story is the thing, and these warriors of America, Canada, Great Britain, France, Poland, and still others did something so heroic here, that all of these relatively picayune mistakes, while regrettable, just don’t matter. This is not a technical documentary, this is a commemoration of one of the greatest days in history, one of the first to try to be fair to all the participants.

I couldn’t find the whole movie on YouTube for you, but if you run the playlist in autoplay, it’ll be kind of like watching it on TV, which is where I fist saw it, long ago and far away.🙂

True Grit

Don’t know about you, but like our commenter Unit yesterday, I’m simply not gonna bother today. So, here you go! One of Jess’ and my favorites, the real one too.🙂

Enjoy!

Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years

w704Funny what gets out attention going on subjects sometimes. I fell in love with the American Civil War in elementary school, during the centennial celebration, especially the books by Bruce Catton. As someone said, you could feel the heat, the dust, the boredom, and the horrors of battle in his words. Those legendary armies still, all these years, later, march in my mind. That became an obsession with first military history and later history in general. If I’m troubled about most anything, you’re likely to find me with my nose in a book, and invariably it will be either history, or a historical novel, and some of them are very good.

Seems like I’m not the only one, either. My friend Dale, over at Command Performance Leadership, tells a similar tale about the opening of Top Gun a few days over thirty years ago. Well, OK, I admit it, I loved it then, and I still do today, as well. But like good history, Top Gun has some lessons to teach, and that’s Dale’s business, so listen up, we’re gonna sortie right into The Danger Zone.

One month before I left for boot camp, on May 16, 1986, the iconic movie, Top Gun, opened in theaters.  Starring Tom Cruise, playing the role of Lieutenant Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, Top Gun would become one of the most endearing military movies of all time.  From its opening scene (may I opine: The best opening scene to a movie ever!), to it victorious ending, this movie is jam-packed with great action and music.

If you don’t believe us, hook that video up to a good stereo, and crank it. This was the first movie I bought on videotape (Betamax stereo, in fact), and it’s hard to describe (in polite company) what my reaction was when I played it through my fairly adequate stereo.

In addition to its excellent music and its action-packed scenes, the movie’s dialogue is immortal.  Comical, hard-hitting and full of power and meaning, Top Gun is full of unforgettable lines, like these:

Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” ~ Captain Tom “Stinger” Jordan

“Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team.  They are not flexible, nor am I” ~ CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf (Commander, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School – Top Gun)

“A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what’s happened, so he can apply what he’s learned” ~ Viper

These, and many other lines, certainly capture the strict discipline and protocol that you would expect from the military.  And, then there arelines that you might use at work just to annoy your co-workers, such as the infamous, “I feel the need … the need for speed.”  Or, there are lines like the ones listed below that are suited for everyday use and have particular meaning (click on image to be taken to larger image via its web link ): [It won’t work here, but it will from CPL. Neo]

*Courtesy: The Further Adventures of Doctrine Man (Facebook), akaDoctrine Man (Twitter)*

Out of the movie also comes leadership wisdom.  Top Gun is referenced often when discussing leadership and team dynamics; a sort of leadership ethos.  This was extensively explored by Bob Jennings andJ. Israel Thompson in a series of posts that were written as fictional “interviews” with key characters from the movie.  Links to each of those posts are listed below:

Often in the movie, however, there are those times when a butt-chewingwas necessaryThe fine art of delivering corrective action is sometimes garnished with some colorful language.  As the movie evolves, you notice Viper’s style becomes the textbook example of how to deliver negative feedback.  There is, obviously, a right way and a wrong way.

Like Dale, I too learned a lot about leadership from, “Those Magnificient Men in their Flying Machines”, but I’m nearly a generation older, I learned from Gregory Peck, General Savage in 12 O’Clock High. But you know we learned the same lessons, B-17s going to Germany, or F-14s in the Indian Ocean, the lessons are essential and timeless. And just as true in the civilian world, as in the Navy, or the Air Force.

But Dale also brought some fun.

Which ‘Top Gun’ Character Are You?

Quiz #1          Quiz #2          Quiz #3          Quiz #4

______________________________________________________________

Call Sign Generator

via Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years | Command Performance Leadership

Which character am I? well, if you must know, Maverick twice, Jester, and Iceman, once each. I think that’ll do.🙂

And remember: “The plaque for alternates is down in the ladies room“!

The Real Wayne

2E49CEE500000578-3311130-image-m-32_1447128028102Every once in a while, and it’s rare, one of those articles comes along, that one simply wants to reprint. But one can’t both because we have respect for the author and the original publisher, and because of the copywrite laws, which protect us all. So we excerpt and we link, and we urge you to ‘read the whole thing’™. This is one of those times, from Ron Capshaw writing on www.libertylawsite.org.

On a movie set many years ago, actress Geraldine Page found herself seated between actor Ward Bond, an enforcer of the blacklist of communists then raging in Hollywood, and his friend, the conservative actor John Wayne. Page was only accustomed to being around her fellow show business liberals, so she listened to the two men’s conservative views with a sense of “horror.” But as the conversation went on, she developed a marginally more favorable view of Wayne, whom she called a “reactionary for all sorts of non-reactionary reasons.”

“I swear that if John Wayne ever got transplanted out of this circle of people that are around him all the time,” said Page, “he would be the most anti-reactionary force for . . . good.”

Such distinctions were not made by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento recently. The California legislature voted down a Republican lawmaker’s proposal for a “John Wayne Day” for the state of California, declaring Wayne beyond the pale because of his support for the House Un-American Activities Committee and the John Birch Society.

On the surface, they would seem to have a case. Wayne did support the blacklist against movie-industry communists, saying, for example, that he never regretted running screenwriter Carl Foreman out of the country. He did support Senator Joseph McCarthy’s (R-Wis.) sloppy and self-serving statements about communists in government. And he indeed was a member of the John Birch Society, a bookish (which is to say nonviolent) but undeniably zany group that entertained conspiracy theories about who controlled the levers of the U.S. government. He also supported the U.S. defense of South Vietnam, which was under siege by guerrillas supplied by the communist North Vietnamese.

The liberals in the California legislature also charged racism, citing a 1971 interview Wayne gave to Playboy magazine in which he said: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”

Well. A few other things also need to be considered…

– See more at: The Real Wayne

Sounds a lot like almost every American I’ve ever known and respected. Maybe why that’s after all these years, he’s still the favorite actor of many of us, as well as around the world. There wasn’t anything simple about him, and there isn’t about us either.

But also like many of us, including Jess, I rarely think of the Duke without thinking of Maureen O’Hara. Seems to me a strong character like Wayne, needs a strong co-star to play off, and that ginger Irish lass was about as strong as they come, and they worked so well together.

But when she died last fall, I missed something. Did you guys realize that she was buried next to her husband, Brigadier General Charles Blair, USAF, at Arlington Memorial Cemetary, the General and his Lady, still with the troops, as it should be? By the way, he died in an aircraft accident in 1978.

2E47407B00000578-3311130-She_was_buried_next_to_her_husband_U_S_Air_Force_Brig_Gen_Charle-a-33_1447113520697It is also reported that when she died, she was listening to the soundtrack of The Quiet Man. I like that, not least because it is one of my favorite movies, maybe my favorite. It’s also reported that amongst the mourners was Melinda Munoz, John Wayne’s daughter.

The Shannon Rovers from Chicago perform bagpipe music during the graveside service for Maureen O'Hara

The Shannon Rovers from Chicago perform bagpipe music during the graveside service for Maureen O’Hara

But she never forgot her Irish heritage either, saying, “My heritage has been my grounding, and it has brought me peace”. She also said, “Some people see me as a former screen siren while others remember me as the dame who gave as good as she got in movies with John Wayne, for example,’ she reflected.

‘Many women have written to me over the years and said I’ve been an inspiration to them, a woman who could hold her own against the world.’

And the Duke said this, “She’s a great guy. I’ve had many friends, and I prefer the company of men. Except for Maureen O’Hara.

From The Daily Mail

So it’s been a busy week, for me, for Jess, and for most of you, as well. So let’s sit back and remember the general’s lady when she was the colonel’s lady, in the last of the trilogy, Rio Grande.

Quiet men and quiet lives?

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Neo has, as my last post (and one of his comments) suggested, begun to weary of the political round. It could all get technically interesting at Convention time, but Clinton versus Trump looks a bit like LBJ versus Goldwater – but who can tell? In the meantime, we either go to ground and contemplate our navels (I’m quite happy with mine, how about you?) or we find other games to play.

As some of you know, I love what, to my generation, are old films. In particular, I love John Wayne – not least because he reminds me of my Daddy (I know, that’s my complex – what’s yours?). One of the other reasons I like him, and his films, is that you know where you are. I don’t know about you, but I go to the movies (when I do) for escapism. It no doubt makes me a shallow girl, but there’s plenty in my real life to make me think in shades of grey (can you even use that one any more after the dreadful film?) and I watch films to come away feeling better from the experience. I never came away from a John Wayne film without that feeling. I like clear lines, so, in the Quiet Man, John Wayne’s character, Sean Thornton, comes back to the home of his parents, plunging from the hurly-burly of the steel mills of Pittsburgh, to the most idyllic image of rural Ireland ever filmed (no wonder it won the Oscar for best cinematography), and he falls for Maureen O’Hara’s Mary Kate Danaher, a red-haired fiery beauty – who falls for him. But the course of true love never runs smooth, and although they are to be married, it falls apart when her brother, ‘Red Will’, played by the incomparable Victor McLaglen, refuses to release her dowry. As an American, Thornton can’t see why the money matters, but to Mary Kate it represents her rights and her independence, and his refusal to fight for it disgusts her. She does not know that Thornton is former champion boxer who killed a man in the ring. In the end, he does, indeed, fight for her and wins – and the whole film is an utter delight.

Why though? At one level it could be read as a very simple love story with some pretty obvious plotting devices. Part of the answer are the performances, it is not just that O’Hara and Wayne have real chemistry and are on top form, but the supporting cast is also wonderful – McLaglen is his usual great value, and Barry Fitzgerald almost steals it playing the matchmaker Michaeleen Oge Flynn. It works because the great John Ford conjures up the things which matter in real life including greed, pride and ambition – and he makes a good story out of them. We can identify with Sean as the outsider with a secret – and a heart as big as a city, and we can sympathise with his ignorance of the local customs. But we also see a humility there too – a willingness to try to learn and to fit in – without losing his integrity. Mary Kate is almost a Bronte heroine – fiercely proud and independent, but trapped by her sex and times into a place where the option open to her seems to have narrowed to being a house-keeper to her bullying brother – to whom she gives almost as good as she gets. But there’s a sense of life being wasted and yet, heavily as she falls for Sean Thornton, she, too, will not do so at the price of her integrity.

That word, integrity, seems to me at the heart of so many of Ford’s films. Men, and women. make choices, and often the rewards for a loss of integrity seem greater than those for retaining it – but Ford gets what we want from him – that his characters choose what is right. His worlds are complex reflections of reality, but he never loses us in relativism; men are men if they make the sacrifices necessary to sustain that identity, and Ford shows us them in many dimensions.

Yes, sure, it’s escapism, but into a dimension which feeds us and has us coming out of the film thinking the world’s a better place.

 

Lost causes

 

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It’s probably just the Romantic in me, but I’m a sucker for lost causes – I guess it’s the historical equivalent of wanting to look after lost puppies or stray cats, and I’m invoking my female privilege as an excuse for being a soppy thing here. We celebrate the victors, but what about the Romantic losers?

Over at my place today, I wrote about my favourite lost cause, Charles I, the only king of England to be executed in public, but I can get equally emotional about Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and Tsar Nicholas II and his family. As Shakespeare recognised in his great Richard II there is something about the fate of fallen royalty which stirs the emotions. That rise and fall on the wheel of fortune was a commonplace of medieval writing, and remains one to which novelists are attracted. I have always found the fallen Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More easier to sympathise with than when they were in the height of their pomp. Poor, supposedly mad Henry VI, is another who stirs my sympathy – and perhaps retreating into madness was actually a sane way of reacting to the horrors of the Wars of the Roses?

On this side of the Atlantic, I have a soft spot for the Loyalists in the American Revolution, whose loyalty was (as it has been so often) ill-requited by the English Crown, and the Confederate cause could hardly not have something romantic about its doomed course (yes, I know, politically incorrect, but if I can’t be that here, there’s no hope).

For this to work for me, there needs to be some high cause, perhaps one that seems doomed, but which demands a commitment and a sacrifice beyond the norm. It’s one of the things which makes Aragorn immediately attractive in Lord of the Rings. We first meet him as ‘Strider’ the ‘Ranger’, the ragged descendant of a race of noble kings long in exile. For anyone of my temperament, that’s the trigger for sympathy – the first time I read the book at the age of 10 I was away. Someone, when he becomes the King, he loses something for me – so I can switch my sympathy to Frodo, who seems to me in many ways the real loser in the trilogy. Yes, his cause wins, but it is Samwise and his family who will inherit all that might have been Frodo’s. It was one of my frustrations with the films, good though they were in many ways, they did not bring out the way the book does the self-sacrificing nature of Frodo’s actions.

Victory, they say, has many fathers, defeat is an orphan. Not while I am around. One of the things which makes The Man who Shot Liberty Vallance such a powerful film for me, and never ceases to have me in tears by the end, is that it is John Wayne’s character, Tom Doniphon, to whom Hallie is initially attracted, as he is to her, although he cannot find the way to say so. She begins to fall for Jimmy Stewart’s character, Ransom Stottard, whom she will marry, and it would have been easy enough for Tom to have let the villain of the piece, Liberty Vallance (Lee Marvin at his best) kill his rival, but instead, Tom does it and lets Ransom take the credit – which gives him the girl, his first steps on the road to success which will lead to the Senate and an ambassadorship. But at the end, Ransom and Hallie come back to town for Tom’s funeral: he may, in the eyes of the world, have been a forgotten man, but those for whom he had sacrificed his own future, came to celebrate his past. Gets me every time.

 

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