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Old December 26th, 2017, 01:29 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
In the movie Tom Cruise would have nightmares of killing hapless Indians, whereas in Japan he was fighting against people who can and did fight back, there's a difference.
You realize that on the average - averaged across tribes and nations and across genders and ages - that American Indians were not particularly or especially helpless and more easily massacred compared to non Indians from around the world.

So when and where did the massacre(s) that Tom Cruise's character has nightmares about supposedly happen?

I am researching on writing a book about the western Indian Wars in the movies, and I can say that either the writers of cavalry and Indians films were very ignorant about the history of those wars or else they correctly assumed that audiences didn't know anything about the history of the western Indian Wars.

For many decades western movies have depicted Indian wars when and where there was peace, and peace when and where there were bloody Indian wars.

Have things got any better in recent years?

In 1990 Dances With Wolves, set in 1863 and 1864, had Lieutenant Dunbar/Dances With Wolves and his Sioux bride separate from the Sioux camp and go on the run to avoid attracting the US army to the Sioux. But in 1863-64 the US army had bigger fish to fry in the west than tracking down an officer who had deserted. Entire brigades and divisions of cavalry were sent to track down Teton Sioux camps because the Teton Sioux had given shelter to many Santee Sioux from Minnesota wanted for participating in the massacres of 1862. The only way for the Teton Sioux to avoid trouble was to turn over the Santee Sioux for punishment.

The plot of Dances With Wolves simply ignores some of the biggest and most spectacular Indian battles and campaigns ever.

The Lone Ranger (2013) has the transcontinental railroad completed and linked up in Texas, not in Utah, in 1869. Furthermore there is silver mining in Comanche territory in Texas close to the transcontinental railroad. Almost all the silver mining in Texas was in the Trans Pecos region. The Comanches lived in the Texas panhandle and neighboring regions, hundreds of miles from the silver mines in the Trans Pecos region.

Here is are plot descriptions of Hostiles a 2017 movie:

An Army captain agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to his tribal lands in 1892.

In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Hostiles (2017) - IMDb

Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche and vicious outliers that they encounter along the way.

So the plot has hostile Comanche warriors menacing the group in 1892. More than 15 years after the very last hostile Comanche raids, when most of the former Comanche warriors would be retired due to now being too old for that sort of thing and the Comanche men who were young enough to be warriors had grown up in times of peace and had got used to peace. On a much smaller scale that is like a movie showing a World war Two battle fought in 1960.

And would hostile Comanche, if any could have been found, attack a group in 1892 if members of that group identified themselves as Cheyenne, who had been allies of the Comanches for decades?

And if attacks by hostiles on the way from New Mexico to Montana were feared, why didn't the captain's boss simply buy railroad tickets for the group? In 1892 there were few places in the west that were more than 100 to 200 miles from the nearest railroad.

So I have a lot of skepticism about movies depicting the western Indian wars accurately. I have a strong suspicion that The Last Samurai doesn't depict massacres of Indians in any place or time where they would be likely to happen.

Last edited by MAGolding; December 26th, 2017 at 01:54 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 02:21 PM   #52

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I was speaking about whether Tom Cruise' mindset in the movie makes sense, not about what occurred in actual history.

In real history massacres went both ways. Some Indians were nice and got massacred, some Indians were mean and did the massacring. Just like everybody else. It's stereotype at best to depict all of them in the same brush.


Just look at the Gnadenhutten massacre. It was questionable if the militiamen retaliated against the right tribe, and even if they did, the children were blameless and shouldn't have been murdered. Apparently they fell under the temptation of painting all Indians under the same brush: if one tribe did it then they're all guilty! We live in a more enlightened time and should refrain from doing so.

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; December 26th, 2017 at 02:26 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 02:26 PM   #53

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There is a difference in the book "Dancing With Wolves" and the movie. The book had Comanches in it. It was held in Kansas. In the 1863-64 era the Comanche roamed the areas of the Southern Great Plains. This area included parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Texas and New Mexico. They could stage raids into Mexico and to the Gulf of Mexico. They had seen the American (Union) troops evacuate forts in West Texas. The Confederacy did not occupy all of these, and the ones they did, could be abandoned. Many older Comanche Warriors were well armed with firearms taken in raids and traded for. The Young Men had to go earn their own!

The Comanche were very familiar with the US Cavalry, even to the point of not respecting them much. The US Cavalry hardly ever caught Indian Raiding parties. They could and did find camps on Indian Treaty Grounds full of Women, Children and old folks. The Southern Cheyenne got hit at the Washita and Sand Creek. They were "Peace Villages" that just happened to have Hostile Warriors visiting kinfolk.

In "The Last Samurai" the Captain Brenolds character served in the 7th Cavalry with Custer. They did participate in the Battle of The Washita against the Southern Cheyenne. It was in Winter Quarters and was lead by Black Kettle, a known Peace Chief. It is significant that the Indians captured were only given as women and children. No men, young and old were captured. One report said that some women and children were killed.

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Old December 26th, 2017, 02:30 PM   #54

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Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
Although apparently, all the evil Imperials are Engiish...
The films are mainly filmed in English film studios, so with the exception of some main actors the majority of the extras and minor cast are British as well.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 02:38 PM   #55

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Originally Posted by Nostromo View Post
Personally, I don't care if they make black vikings or white samurai movies. Cultural appropriation is bs, and stifles creativity and "outside the box" thinking.
But cultural appropriation can't apply in Sc-fi movies where the culture is completely made up by the writers.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 05:06 PM   #56

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Can anyone spot what is wrong with the BBC's portrayal of a Greek soldier during the siege of Troy?

Click the image to open in full size.

Correct, the Iliad was set during the Archaic period when the helmet is clearly from the Hellenistic period.
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Old December 26th, 2017, 05:25 PM   #57

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What some people may have also overlooked is that one of Troy's Allies that sent troops was Ethiopia!

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Old December 26th, 2017, 07:18 PM   #58

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Can anyone spot what is wrong with the BBC's portrayal of a Greek soldier during the siege of Troy?

Click the image to open in full size.

Correct, the Iliad was set during the Archaic period when the helmet is clearly from the Hellenistic period.
The Greeks were the bad guys so of course they had to cast a black dude
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Old January 7th, 2018, 10:00 PM   #59

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Originally Posted by paranoid marvin View Post
Not many movies are historically accurate with no plot holes or flaws.

I saw Cruise in this movie as a man partially responsible for forcibly erradicating one ancient way of life for a more modern one in America, but being damned if he would be part of the same thing happening in Japan. I did not see it in any way as enforving Western views on an Eastern civilisation; quite the opposite in fact.

Personally I thought it was an okay film, far more watchable than some other films which are perhaps more realistic
Fictional works can ignite interests in a topic; taking them for facts is credulous.
For example, Da Vinci Code may ignite interests on the topics; it is unwise taking the narrations in a fictional works for facts.
Do historical fictions necessarily use historical settings with fictional characters?
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Old January 10th, 2018, 04:14 AM   #60
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I should mention at this point that I am by no means an expert on Japanese history and I'm sure it would aggravate those who are further but I actually enjoy the film the Last Samurai. It looks good, its got a good soundtrack it didn't feel poorly acted on the whole and I'm a sucker for epics involving swords. Despite that I'm painfully aware that the movies message is deeply problematic. I don't think the white saviour thing is as much of an issue here as in many films you may compare it too. Unlike in say the recent 47 Ronin film a white protagonist isn't being inserted into an iconic pre-existent story and at least Cruise's role as a western military advisor makes sense in the broad context of the setting and ties into both plot and theme's of the film. Sure it would make more sense if he were German or French probably but it's an American film and this helps him in his role as audience surrogate. He also doesn't actually save the Samurai, strictly speaking he fails and while the prominence given to him doesn't really make sense he is never really the prime mover.

However their are some deeply concerning things about this film to me. Firstly it definitly utilizes the whole exotic/noble savage complex heavily, a complex that is erroneous cliche and harmful. More insidious however is its spin on events, Samurai rebels good (despite the fact that they were fighting in part to maintain class privileges) and their enemies bad. I saw a deleted scene where a Samurai beheads a man for some minor act of disrespect and perhaps that should have been left in instead Katsumoto (ie. Saigo Takamori who was a very militant man as I understand it) is a martyr and the "victory" he, Cruise and the Samurai rebels achieve is to inspire the emperor to try and enthuse a martial "samurai ethos" into policy and the populace. As I understand it the government of Japan really did this and used their version of the Samurai and Saigo and his rebels to promote militant nationalisim, a cult of blind obediance to emperor and army and fanaticisim and deliberate savagery during wartime and to prisoners. Congratulations Cruise you won, your reward: Fascism.
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