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War Horse - the movie


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#1 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 09:44 PM

Reluctant though I am to put any film by Steven Spielberg under the heading of "Culture", I felt this article in today's Tottygraph worthy of note:

http://www.telegraph...buzz-grows.html

I have yet to see a Speilberg movie that left me with anything but distaste: ET was mawkish claptrap, Close Encounters a befuddled fairy tale. Saving Private Ryan was so-so up to the last reel, at which point it descended into pure schmaltz, and Schindler's List was the worst kind of emotional string-pulling.

Now, I have never read War Horse, nor have I seen the play, so I am unqualified to comment on the primary source for this film, but I have to say that history would seem to indicate a wallow in the saccharine to the nth degree.

I have no idea if I'll go to see this film, but I suspect as an historical record it will beat Downton Abbey into a cocked-hat for anorak-itis. Just don't have a large meal before you go would be my advice.

#2 hesmond

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 10:21 PM

So have you ever made a film that won any Oscars ? Close encounters was a movie of its time ,ET is a kids Fairy Tale and never claimed to be any thing else ? Ryan with all due respect i watched with a group of British D Day vets and they thought it superb ,so i will take their praise rather that yours unless you are a WW2 veteran ? Shindler after watching more than once and visiting the sites in Eastern Europe is almost documentry the scenes of the getto clenseing are stunning ,as for War Horse i would rather have seen Speilberg go for a film version of John Harris Covenant with Death or even Storm of steel ,so untill its shown this side of the Atlantic whats your point ? and any way 1941 still has the best Jitterbug dance sequence ever performed apart from Hellsapoppin .

#3 Auditman

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 10:52 PM

Get the impression you don't like Mr Spielberg then? As a matter of interest why?

Frankly I can't wait to see War Horse, the trailer looks great and so it will be sugary, it was a childs book. I read a review about the film on IMBD the other day and that has just encouraged me more. It seems it is focussed on people and their relationship with the horse, no good guys / bad guys and no underlying jingoism. It has a good British Pedigree with Andy Robertshaw on the team advising

Whilst I know they were the wrong war for here and allowing for artistic licence I thought Band of Brothers and Pacific were two hugely TV powerful series from Mr Spielberg that showed war and its impact on people.

Jim

#4 IPT

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

I will await the GWF reviews on the performance of the costume department above all other considerations.

#5 hesmond

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 10:57 PM

Well said



#6 Chris CPGW

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:11 PM

I'll just go and see the film and make my own mind up . Until then I'll reserve judgement.

#7 George Armstrong Custer

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:07 AM

Here's an opinion from someone who has seen War Horse - Ed Caesar, writing in today's Sunday Times Magazine:

"Spielberg's take on War Horse is pure, exquisitely executed, schmaltz. Despite several moments of breathtaking film-making - including a memorable shot of horses riding through high fields of wheat - there is also an anaesthetic quality to the movie. We rarely see anything truly shocking from the most shocking conflict of all. The Great War has been tidied up for pony-loving tweens. The English countryside, meanwhile, is rendered as pretty as a chocolate box.

There's no doubt, however, that Spielberg knows how to push his audience's buttons. By the end of War Horse I felt as manipulated as one of the National's puppets. [....] But why War Horse, and why now? [....] What was it about this story that so affected him? He can't quite say. "Sometimes", he says, "themes that are familiar to my life grab my attention and pull me to them. With War Horse I wasn't looking to make a movie about the First World War, or about horses. It's just that when I went to see the play I was overcome with emotion....."

On this evidence, then, War Horse seems likely to be a great hit with those content to enjoy a movie which uses the Great War as a setting for a sugar coated fantasy. And why not? as Barry Norman apparently didn't say. Others, I'm sure, who are perhaps less enamoured with the vogue for 'kidult' culture, will take a more jaundiced view of the latest Spielberg offering as beautifully shot dumbed down pap.

George

#8 IPT

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:48 AM




Come on you old cynics, get your hankies out.

#9 ph0ebus

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:22 AM

I will await the GWF reviews on the performance of the costume department above all other considerations.

I am still awaiting the verdict from the GWF experts on the historical accuracy of the Great War-themed scenes from Sucker Punch.

:whistle:

-Daniel

#10 genef

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:41 AM

I have a problem,my girlfriend is an animal lover. When we watch movies I say "poor soldiers" she says
"poor horses". Can anyone tell me if the horse survives in this movie? I don't want to take her to see
the movie if the horse dies. It can be a long drive home.....

Thanks,

Gene

#11 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 06:54 AM

It can be a long drive home.....

Thanks,

Gene

Go on horseback.

#12 Pighills

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 07:00 AM

The horse lives Gene - there now I've spoilt the ending for everyone! :innocent:

I shall reserve judgement until I've seen the film. The trailer looked good. I just want to enjoy the thing, not pick it to pieces.

#13 MartinBennitt

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 07:18 AM

I shall probably wait until it's on television, unless I am stuck in a smallish town in the rain (I went to see the last Harry Potter in Lancaster). Most of the Spielberg movies I have seen I have enjoyed, but I've thought hard about what to see and what to miss (no Private Ryan, no ET, no Close Encounters), but his early efforts Duel and Sugarland Express were excellent, as was Schindlers List). War Horse the book I liked, but like others I will reserve judgement on the film. I think I'll probably have greater fun from the GWF debate on it.

cheers Martin B

#14 IanA

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 09:18 AM

so i will take their praise rather that yours unless you are a WW2 veteran ?

How very dare you? Mr Broomfield is a veteran (and I use the term in its archaeoethnopharmacological sense)of the Great Bore War and goes about on two sticks. We, who know about these things, sit at his feet (keeping a wary eye on those sticks) and hang upon his every word.

#15 Stephen Garnett

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:40 AM

Dear All,

This film will ensure the Great War is remembered by children. That is what matters.

We can all spend years in the archives but none of us will know what it was like to experience 1914-1919. We are all inacurate.

Enjoy the film and be grateful that Hollywood has taken an interest in WW1.

Kind regards,

Steve Garnett

#16 bmac

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:52 AM

I tend towards Steve's view. I saw the stage play and thought it technically brilliant and the story increasingly absurd. The audience at the theatre was of all ages and, though I might have wished for some greater historical accuracy, the enthusiasm of the younger elements there and the hope that it might lead some of them to further explore the over-arching subject made it worthwhile. I suspect I may have similar feelings about the film but will leave judgement until I see it (if I do). I will then form an opinion of its merits (or otherwise).

And, personally, I thought 'Ryan' and 'Schindler' both excellent films.

#17 truthergw

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:54 AM

How very dare you? Mr Broomfield is a veteran (and I use the term in its archaeoethnopharmacological sense)of the Great Bore War and goes about on two sticks. We, who know about these things, sit at his feet (keeping a wary eye on those sticks) and hang upon his every word.


Sitting at the feet of the master is not for the faint hearted. It implies being at eye level with The Knees. The aroma of White Horse Liniment can be overpowering. ( Is that really made by boiling white horses )? I may well be asked along to view this movie and I fear it will be on a par with Lassie Run for Great Distances and save the life of this Desperately Ill Child, a movie which was produced on many occasions with different names.

#18 anneca

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the trailer IPT - it looks good! I'm not a cynic but reckon I'll have to get the hankies out for this one. Wonder how many horses they used, seems a lot, or maybe they use modern technology to make it look they used hundreds - hope they were treated well. Waiting myself for the film to come out of 'Grey Wolf - The Escape of Adolf Hitler' which is still in production. The book has just been published so will have to get into that first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRf3SfeMRD4


Come on you old cynics, get your hankies out.



#19 keithfazzani

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:01 PM

I heard the play on the radio and indeed the story is a tear jerker. History it is not. As fiction I suppose it is a good, if unbelievable, yarn, but then much fiction is just that. As for a portrayal of the reality of the Great War, it is certainly not that. I would prefer that children in particular, learned about the Great War and other historical events by being taught history well at school and not via fiction.

#20 Kate Wills

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:06 PM

So would I Keith, but then again one of the stepping stones to my own fascination with the Great War was a children's TV series called Tom Grattan's War.

#21 GRUMPY

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:14 PM

How very dare you? Mr Broomfield is a veteran (and I use the term in its archaeoethnopharmacological sense)of the Great Bore War and goes about on two sticks. We, who know about these things, sit at his feet (keeping a wary eye on those sticks) and hang upon his every word.


Not TOO near the feet, the drool and dribble can be a bit much.

#22 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:27 PM

I suspect my views differ from many here: I am curently reading Anglesey's History of the British cavalry, Volume 4, which deals with the South African War, 1899-1902, and its ftermath. If anyone here wants to learn about appalling behaviour towards, and extremely unnecessary loss of, war horses, I suggest they seek out the book. They certainly then won't need to go to see an overblown Hollywood mawk-fest. Just facts, Mr Gradgrind. Facts.

And personally, I vaguely wish Hollywood would leave the Great War alone. Hollywood seems to have spent 60 years re-writing WW2; not sure I could stand them doing the same to the GW.

And in answer to the question - no, I have never made an Oscar-winning movie. I've never made a movie, full stop. were I to make movies, I'd hope to deal in moral exactitude, not using my skills to make peole emote. :thumbsup:

No, I don't like Spielberg, as the more perceptive might have noticed. Must be me - I know he's very popular, but then so is heroin, and that's another habit I've managed to avoid. B)

#23 David Filsell

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:29 PM

I've seen the play - the horses were amazing. The boy finds horse, looses horse, finds horse story is a total childish crock. It is and remains a childs/book story about as honest in its approach to war as Oh What a Luverly etc (with all of the author's honestly admited agenda upfront and in your chops in magnificent Todao. Darlings I hated it. The acting was loud and plocaimatry - but the black German Officer a wonderful unexpected surtprise. I had no idea that the German Army was so correct in its views.
However by son is a huge Speilburger and I will no doubt be taken - he reckons he will able to get me in free as my career since I am such an old Fahrt. I also great look forward to the nitpicker's picknic the film will be on the forum. I am reliably advised that there are superb shots of horses galloping down the trenches. Now that will be a first.

#24 keithfazzani

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:31 PM

So would I Keith, but then again one of the stepping stones to my own fascination with the Great War was a children's TV series called Tom Grattan's War.


Kate I am not familiar with that series and indeed there is fiction and fiction and many tv series for children have in the past been excellent. Fiction can be historically accurate or not, War Horse or at least the version I heard was not historically accurate, but then I don't think it set out to be. What I am trying to say is that there seems to be a mindset that believes that children and indeed adults can only be inspired by the high drama of the movie world, I don't think that is true. They can and should be inspired by good teachers who themselves are inspired, of whom I am sure there are many.

#25 truthergw

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:37 PM

I suspect my views differ from many here:

edit ...
No, I don't like Spielberg, as the more perceptive might have noticed. Must be me - I know he's very popular, but then so is heroin, and that's another habit I've managed to avoid. B)



During the inter-war years, heroin was known in American slang as " horse ". I expect you knew that.