War Movie Miscellany

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
A little off topic but the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan is based on a video games "Medal Of Honor"

When I played that section of the game the only thought going through my head, was how did any of these kids survive this. Where did they find the courage to do this.
The first Medal of Honor game was produced in 1999, so one of the games in the series couldn't have inspired Saving Private Ryan. The movie premiered on July 24th, 1998.

If one of the games in that series portrayed the landing at Omaha beach in a manner that was very similar to Saving Private Ryan, it is likely the film inspired the game, since the film came first.

EDIT: Looks like that was indeed the case.

"Author Jamie Russell writes, “Spielberg, who was then in post-production on Saving Private Ryan came into the Dreamworks Interactive offices and outlined his idea. He saw Saving Private Ryan as an educational experience as much as an entertainment property...He’d watched his teenage son and his friends play Goldeneye on Nintendo 64. Could Dreamworks build a World War II shooter, he wondered, that would let them learn about the conflict through playing?”

How Steven Spielberg Inspired Today's Top Shooters - IGN
 
May 2011
571
New Iberia, La.
BACK-STORY - Apocalypse Now

Oh my God, where to start? No other film on the list comes close to having the problems that this film had. It was originally to be produced by George Lucas, but he went on to make the first “Star Wars”. Francis Ford Coppola of “Godfather” fame inherited the endeavor and the script by John Milius. Milius was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness but envisioned the film as more of a standard action film than Coppola ended up with. In fact, Coppola made lots of adjustments to the script to make it closer to the novel and deeper. He also called in John Herr of Dispatches fame to add dialogue and write the narration by Willard (Martin Sheen). The film was filmed in the Philippines. This was partly because the Department of Defense took one look at the script and said not no, but **** no. Ferdinand Marcos agreed to give the support of the Filipino armed forces. Coppola got the helicopters he needed, but sometimes they had to leave a shoot to kill communist guerrillas. It took 238 days of shooting and a total of 16 months from start to finish. The length of time was due to several factors: it was way over budget, a typhoon wreaked havoc, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack, and Coppola was an obsessed perfectionist. It is absolutely amazing that the movie was not a colossal failure.

The movie was a critical success (although it does have its detractors). Coppola did make back his investment (thank goodness) and won the Palme D’Or at Cannes even though he previewed an incomplete version. Actually, it shared the top prize with “The Tin Drum” (I s*** you not!). It won Academy Awards for Cinematography and Sound. It was nominated for Picture (losing to “Kramer vs. Kramer”!!!), Director (Coppola lost to the awesome directing of “Kramer vs. Kramer”!!!) Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall - losing to Melvyn Douglas of “Being There”!!!), Art Direction, Editing, and Adapted Screenplay. The film is ranked #30 on AFIs list of greatest movies.


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Likes: Edratman
May 2011
571
New Iberia, La.
TRIVIA - They Died With Their Boots On

  • 1. Three died during the filming. One fell from his horse and broke his neck. A stuntman died of a heart attack. Actor Jack Budlong was thrown from his horse as he rode alongside Errol Flynn and was impaled by his sword.
  • 2. Only sixteen Sioux were available as extras and were used for the closeups. The rest of the more than 1,000 extras were Filipinos.
  • 3. Jim Thorpe was an extra and he got into a fight with Flynn during a break. Thorpe knocked him down with one punch while Flynn was in uniform.
  • 4. Louis Zamperini of “Unbroken” fame, was also an extra.
  • 5. This was the eighth and last pairing of Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. her sister Joan Fontaine was originally supposed to play Libby.
  • 6. One of the most historically inaccurate war movies ever made.
 
May 2011
571
New Iberia, La.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION - Master and Commander

Someone finally had the nerve to try to bring Patrick O’Brian to the screen. For you non-literary types, O’Brian was an acclaimed writer of nautical fiction. He wrote a series of novels set in the Napoleonic Wars. The main characters were a British captain named Jack Aubrey and a ship’s doctor/espionage agent named Stephen Maturin. They are best friends although of very different personalities. In the novels, their relationship takes precedence over traditional plotting. Peter Weir (“Gallipoli”) took on the task of adapting O’Brian. He wisely decided to start in the middle of the series with book 10 – “The Far Side of the World”. He also wisely decided to stick to a traditional narrative structure.

The effort that went into the film is truly incredible. Weir was able to convince the studios to invest $150 million in a movie that had a sketchy market. Much of the cost went into Weir’s obsession with making the movie as perfect a depiction of Napoleonic naval warfare as possible. Weir bought a replica ship called the “Rose” for $1.5 million and then had extensive changes made to it to portray the HMS Surprise. It was used for the sailing scenes. A full scale model on a gimbal in a giant water tank (the same one used for “Titanic”) was also used in the filming. 27 miles of rope were on the model. The costume department made 1,900 pairs of shoes, over 2,000 costumes, and around 2,000 hats. The prop department was fixated with getting even the tiniest details accurate, including items that would not even make it onto film. The efforts paid off as the movie was rewarded with ten Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. It won for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing.

Crowe was the perfect choice for Aubrey. He has the commanding presence of a captain. Aubrey is one of the great characters of literature and Crowe is up to it. Bettany is a match. Maturin is the more intriguing character as he is unique on board the ship. The man of science amongst the military men. The scenes in the officer’s mess are great for the banter of seamen, but also because Maturin squirms and sometimes makes cynical remarks about the military ethos. A subplot involves Aubrey and Maturin’s disagreement about the dictatorial nature of a captain’s power. The movie does take the time to provoke some thinking. As in the tradition of cinematic captains, is Aubrey too reckless? Bettany shines and gets some show-stopping scenes like when he traverses one of the Galapagos Island searching for specimens. (The movie was the first non-documentary to be allowed to film there.) He takes acting honors with his self-surgery for a bullet wound. (A scene that appears in the novel “HMS Surprise”.)

“Master and Commander” closes with one of the great combat scenes in war movie history. It is almost seven minutes of total mayhem. The exchange of cannonballs is followed by a boarding that results in a melee. The choreography must have taken weeks. It’s all very believable and graphic. This is followed by a twisty ending that left fans expecting a sequel which has sadly not materialized.

master-and-commander-cinema-quad-movie-poster-(2)[1].jpg
 
Nov 2011
8,889
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION - Master and Commander

Someone finally had the nerve to try to bring Patrick O’Brian to the screen. For you non-literary types, O’Brian was an acclaimed writer of nautical fiction. He wrote a series of novels set in the Napoleonic Wars. The main characters were a British captain named Jack Aubrey and a ship’s doctor/espionage agent named Stephen Maturin. They are best friends although of very different personalities. In the novels, their relationship takes precedence over traditional plotting. Peter Weir (“Gallipoli”) took on the task of adapting O’Brian. He wisely decided to start in the middle of the series with book 10 – “The Far Side of the World”. He also wisely decided to stick to a traditional narrative structure.

The effort that went into the film is truly incredible. Weir was able to convince the studios to invest $150 million in a movie that had a sketchy market. Much of the cost went into Weir’s obsession with making the movie as perfect a depiction of Napoleonic naval warfare as possible. Weir bought a replica ship called the “Rose” for $1.5 million and then had extensive changes made to it to portray the HMS Surprise. It was used for the sailing scenes. A full scale model on a gimbal in a giant water tank (the same one used for “Titanic”) was also used in the filming. 27 miles of rope were on the model. The costume department made 1,900 pairs of shoes, over 2,000 costumes, and around 2,000 hats. The prop department was fixated with getting even the tiniest details accurate, including items that would not even make it onto film. The efforts paid off as the movie was rewarded with ten Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. It won for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing.

Crowe was the perfect choice for Aubrey. He has the commanding presence of a captain. Aubrey is one of the great characters of literature and Crowe is up to it. Bettany is a match. Maturin is the more intriguing character as he is unique on board the ship. The man of science amongst the military men. The scenes in the officer’s mess are great for the banter of seamen, but also because Maturin squirms and sometimes makes cynical remarks about the military ethos. A subplot involves Aubrey and Maturin’s disagreement about the dictatorial nature of a captain’s power. The movie does take the time to provoke some thinking. As in the tradition of cinematic captains, is Aubrey too reckless? Bettany shines and gets some show-stopping scenes like when he traverses one of the Galapagos Island searching for specimens. (The movie was the first non-documentary to be allowed to film there.) He takes acting honors with his self-surgery for a bullet wound. (A scene that appears in the novel “HMS Surprise”.)

“Master and Commander” closes with one of the great combat scenes in war movie history. It is almost seven minutes of total mayhem. The exchange of cannonballs is followed by a boarding that results in a melee. The choreography must have taken weeks. It’s all very believable and graphic. This is followed by a twisty ending that left fans expecting a sequel which has sadly not materialized.

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I am so disappointed that that the studio didn't plan at least a three movie series--it is so rare that Hollywood captures the right actor/character and atmosphere of a well loved novel series. I suspect that it is now too late to re-assemble the cast and any new film will be half a generation away.
 
Likes: Scaeva
May 2011
571
New Iberia, La.
BACK-STORY - The Longest Day

“The Longest Day” is the granddaddy of the war movie epics. Its progeny include “A Bridge Too Far”, “The Battle of the Bulge”, “Battle of Britain”, etc. It was a labor of love for famed producer Darryl Zanuck who purchased the rights to Cornelius Ryan’s bestseller. Zanuck got multinational cooperation and brought in a international cast. At $10 million, it was the most expensive black and white film until “Schindler’s List”. Zanuck used several directors and was very hands-on. He insisted on shooting at the actual locations whenever possible which included Ste. Mere Eglise, Pointe du Hoc, and Pegasus Bridge. The Omaha landings were filmed on Corsica. The movie was a box office success and was the highest grossing black and white movie until “Schindler’s List”. It won Oscars for Cinematography and Special Effects. It was nominated for Picture (“Lawrence of Arabia” won), Art Direction, and Editing.

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