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Hollywood rewriting history, and promoting war culture.

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posted on Sep, 14 2006 @ 11:23 PM
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It happens again. The Independent reports that Tom Cruise's new movie "The Few" is going to have him play an american who turns the tide in the Battle of Britain, (World War 2). It's not the first hollywood film to have rewritten history either..


Objective, Burma! (1945)

Errol Flynn's paratroopers overcome the Japanese with barely a Brit in sight, although it was really they who won the battle. The press and public, some of whom had fought in Burma, were so outraged that the film had to be withdrawn.

The Great Escape (1963)

Steve McQueen played a leading part in a mass escape from a POW camp. In real life, 76 got out of Stalag Luft III, but only three made it alive; 50 were shot and 23 recaptured. No Americans among them.

Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson as a charming William Wallace - not the real man who wore the skin of an opposing general as his belt. Wallace fathers a son by the Princess of Wales who really gave birth seven years after his execution.

Titanic (1998)

First Officer William McMaster Murdoch is remembered as a hero in his Scottish home for saving passengers. He froze to death in the sea. The film shows him shooting passengers in a blind panic.

U-571 (2000)

Harvey Keitel and other plucky American seamen pull an Enigma code machine from a sinking German submarine and change the course of the war. Except that it was the crew of HMS Bulldog.

The Patriot (2000)

Gibson again as a pacifist provoked into joining the American War of Independence when sadistic Brits herd women and children into a church and set fire to it. Nothing like that happened.


The list goes on.

Let's face it. Rewriting history is just one part of a bigger issue. Hollywood is saturated wth movies that glorify american involvement in war, and movies that always make the US seem like the untouchable good guy. Our children grow up with action man figures, and endless similar influences.

I'm going off on a tangent here. I'd like to know how many of you agree/disagree with portraying America or Americans as a heroic force, fighting injustice for everyone around the world? Is this culture created to appease us into war, and make it seem normal and good to us, and our kids? Or is it nothing more than macho entertainment?

And ask yourself.. How do people of other countries feel seeing their history trodden on by Hollywood?

[edit on 14/9/06 by SteveR]




posted on Sep, 14 2006 @ 11:55 PM
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Given that the actual U571 was sunk by an Australian pilot...

I'm perfectly happy for the US to make such (brilliant) series as Band of Brothers and movies such as Blackhawk Down. There is even a rather good one set in the Hurtgen Forest.

But (some of) the examples you quote are just part of the US' guilt complex over their late entry into WW2. They need to constantly remind themselves that they saved the world, and erase the stain of their earlier cowardice.

Yes, there were Yanks in the BoB (but not Affleck or Cruise!) but the tide was actually turned by the Poles and one Czeck named Frantisek.

The worrying thing is that in an age when the US desperately needs to look outward and learn something about the rest of the world it is rapidly building a "Great Wall of Culture" and closing its ears to all other voices.

Instead of the facts of Tora Tora Tora we get the soap of Pearl Harbour.

It seems only HBO is "holding the line" of truth, and losing out to the big studios and their budgets.

But when Hollywood is run by lawyers who have never studied film, the questions go like this:

"We're spending $150 mil on this. We need to guarantee a return. Who can star?"

"Cruise has good box-office."

"Okay, get him. What about the story?"

"Well, American audiences don't want to see a bunch of effete Brits fighting the Germans..."

"Right, Cruise is a heroic American pilot fighting the Nazis. What about a love interest?"

"Well there was that English chick in Titanic."

"Great. Get her. Do we make her a Lord's daughter, or do we go for the blue collar angle, make her some kind of bar girl or something? What about back story?"

"We could say her sweetheart got shot down over France and she's still mourning him. She doesn't want to date another pilot, but Cruise draws her out. The chicks'll go for that."

"Great. That's it people, get a script."



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 12:01 AM
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The falsification of history has done more to impede human developement than any other one thing known to mankind.

--Jean Jacques Rousseau



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 12:03 AM
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There's a really good documentary about just this sort of thing, called "operation Hollywood".

From Amazon.com

Every year, Hollywood producers ask the Pentagon for help in making films, seeking everything from locations and technical advice to Blackhawk helicopters and nuclear-powered submarines. The military will happily oblige, it says in an army handbook, so long as the movie "aid[s] in the recruiting and retention of personnel." The producers want to make money; the Defense Department wants to make propaganda. Former Hollywood Reporter staffer Robb explores the conflicts resulting from these negotiations in this illuminating though sometimes tedious study of the military-entertainment complex over the last 50 years.
www.amazon.com...


you can also view the doco online.
www.informationclearinghouse.info...

As to l'il tom's new movie, well, in the doco I mentioned, the military p.r. guy couldn't say enough good things about top gun. Alas, platoon, thirteen days, apocalypse now got no cooperation.

I'd be interested to see how Hollywood would tackle a subject such as, the battle of brisbane

en.wikipedia.org...




And ask yourself.. How do people of other countries feel seeing their history trodden on by Hollywood?




posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 01:09 AM
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Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV
I'm perfectly happy for the US to make such (brilliant) series as Band of Brothers and movies such as Blackhawk Down. There is even a rather good one set in the Hurtgen Forest.


I agree. The US, ofcourse, has played pivotal roles. I have nothing against good movies that are made on the back of proud historical moments.


Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV
But (some of) the examples you quote are just part of the US' guilt complex over their late entry into WW2. They need to constantly remind themselves that they saved the world, and erase the stain of their earlier cowardice.


I'm not so sure. I don't sense any guilt but what I do sense though is alot of arrogance.. at least on these boards sometimes. I've lost count of the times I've been told I would be speaking german now if xxxxxx a country hadn't gotten involved (usually the posters).


Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV
Yes, there were Yanks in the BoB (but not Affleck or Cruise!) but the tide was actually turned by the Poles and one Czeck named Frantisek.





The RAF recognises [1] 2440 British and 510 overseas pilots who flew at least one authorised operational sortie with an eligible unit of the Royal Air Force or Fleet Air Arm during the period 10 July to 31 October 1940. 498 RAF pilots were killed during the battle. The Battle of Britain was the first major battle to be fought entirely in the air.
en.wikipedia.org...



Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV
But when Hollywood is run by lawyers who have never studied film, the questions go like this:


I am going to naively hope it's not that bad.



Originally posted by AnAbsoluteCreation
The falsification of history has done more to impede human developement than any other one thing known to mankind.

--Jean Jacques Rousseau


Fully agree, and all nations are guilty of it.


Originally posted by fingapointa
There's a really good documentary about just this sort of thing, called "operation Hollywood".


I'll check it out.

Thanks all for the great replies.

[edit on 15/9/06 by SteveR]



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 04:13 AM
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When white pioneers began scalping Native Americans, the Natives were so outraged that they did the same thing in retaliation. The media spun that so much that even most Native Americans don't know that it was the whites who started scalping. And regarding Braveheart, I also noticed that Robert the Bruce fought against the Scots? Huh? Thats not what I had read.
In recent years, the films about 9 11 seem to be doing the same thing, rewriting the story after the fact.
Just like the way Canada renamed its Japanese Concentration camps, and now call them internment camps. Thats fine, except thats not what they were called at the time.



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 06:11 AM
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Unfortunately Hollywood films are mostly made for US audiences and have only a certain set amount of time to get their message over. As a historian this infuriates me, but I understand where they're coming from.
That said, occasionally we get movies that are quite good and even-handed. I'm talking here about Tora Tora Tora, The Longest Day and so on. Saving Private Ryan was quite good, but the comments about Montgomery and Caen infuriated me.
On the other side of the coin we have Pearl Harbour, which was appallingly trivial, Braveheart, which was just wrong in soooo many places and U571, which was just terrible.
There are also films that straddle the middle ground. Patton is good in places but terrible in others, such as the bit when Montgomery ceremonially enters Messina to find Patton already there. That never happened. Patton's dialogue in the film about invading France via the Pas de Calais would have been suicide. And the anglophobic bits are terrible. We were allies, after all!
Speaking of George C Scott, I believe that he played Mussolini in a US mini-series about 20-odd years ago. Somehow it glossed over the loss of his fleet at Taranto and Matapan to the British, the humiliation of being bailed out in Libya by the Germans, the loss of Ethiopia, again to the British, the Greek humilation... and so on. It just mentioned the US bits a lot.



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 07:05 AM
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Originally posted by fingapointa


And ask yourself.. How do people of other countries feel seeing their history trodden on by Hollywood?



It's not like Hollywood's the only one. Ours tend to be much more obvious for us to figure out. (I prefer historically accurate films, anyway.) My God, you think the american people take it seriously when we had a white guy playing the last Samuari...the same white guy? Come on, we tend to think the man is a nutter.

It's a bit better than the whole country's denial of facts.
(Re: Frencn resistance movement during Nazi Germany subordination, aka: WWII.) Often, the lie is much more palletable than the truth.



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Originally posted by jlc163

Originally posted by fingapointa


And ask yourself.. How do people of other countries feel seeing their history trodden on by Hollywood?



It's not like Hollywood's the only one. Ours tend to be much more obvious for us to figure out. (I prefer historically accurate films, anyway.) My God, you think the american people take it seriously when we had a white guy playing the last Samuari...the same white guy? Come on, we tend to think the man is a nutter.

It's a bit better than the whole country's denial of facts.
(Re: Frencn resistance movement during Nazi Germany subordination, aka: WWII.) Often, the lie is much more palletable than the truth.


Which "ours" are you talking about? Aussie of Frenchy?
I was gonna bring up the Last Samurai, but I'm pretty satisfied that everyone but the pentagon thinks Tom Cruise is a nutter. I reckon, they think he's an effective propaganda delivery mechanism. What facts are the French denying? Are they about the resistance to, or the collaboration with the nazi's.

Most Australians could name more Native American tribes than indigineous Australian ones. Outside Australia, that number rapidly falls to zero. They're still called aboriginals, after all, the generic term for indigineous people. The enduring image of Australia is one of Croc' Dundee, Steve Irwin et. al., and that's cool, it's just not entirely accurate. Or valid for the majority of urban dwelling Australians.

I'm not saying every movie out of America is crap, it's that when the pentagon is involved in script approval, you're gonna wind up with pap glorifying war.
C'mon yourself, are we all supposed to just roll over and take it? Bend over backwards to allow the domination of Hollywood in foreign film markets. More like bending over forwards. . .



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 07:16 PM
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There are plenty of films that present the US military in a bad light that have come out of Hollywood.

A Few Good Men

Apocalypse Now!

Full Metal Jacket

The Deer Hunter

To name but a few.

Hollywood has never really cared much for historical accuracy. It's business is entertainment. Those who look to Hollywood for historical facts are only fooling themselves.



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 07:25 PM
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I beleive it goes beyond historical ignorance on Hollywood's part. The rewriting of history in other people's favor (mostly the US) seems very intentional.



posted on Sep, 15 2006 @ 07:38 PM
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It's theatrical license. Hollywood is in the business of entertainment. How else do you think Michael Moore could ever get an Oscar for best documentary?



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 03:04 AM
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Originally posted by fingapointa

Originally posted by jlc163

Originally posted by fingapointa


And ask yourself.. How do people of other countries feel seeing their history trodden on by Hollywood?



It's not like Hollywood's the only one. Ours tend to be much more obvious for us to figure out. (I prefer historically accurate films, anyway.) My God, you think the american people take it seriously when we had a white guy playing the last Samuari...the same white guy? Come on, we tend to think the man is a nutter.

It's a bit better than the whole country's denial of facts.
(Re: Frencn resistance movement during Nazi Germany subordination, aka: WWII.) Often, the lie is much more palletable than the truth.


Which "ours" are you talking about? Aussie of Frenchy?
I was gonna bring up the Last Samurai, but I'm pretty satisfied that everyone but the pentagon thinks Tom Cruise is a nutter. I reckon, they think he's an effective propaganda delivery mechanism. What facts are the French denying? Are they about the resistance to, or the collaboration with the nazi's.
Both concepts ont he French, actually. It came out a few years back, that whole mess.



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 09:13 AM
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Hollywood has been trying to back the troops. Because #1, IT SELLS! People will watch it, and talk about it. #2, It makes it more likely politicans will support the studios there. #3, American Culture has been like this ever since the American Revolution. American Cutlure likes to brag. Not to be mean, but it's just how Americans view their Military, Navy, and Air Force.

Therefor they use fictional based re-tellings of real life stories so youger consumers and younger generations can understand what their grand parents went through.



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 09:29 AM
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Jarhead (2005) is a recuiting film for the marines.
www.imdb.com...

In a time when the military is having a difficult time meeting recuiting goals, it looks like the hollywood spin machince is ramping up.

[edit on 16-9-2006 by In nothing we trust]



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 08:59 PM
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Funny, that actually reminds me of "The Simpsons" Episode about the Navy and how Bart's group is used to recurit people. So you see my point, it's even been parodied a couple of times on that show with respect to the troops.



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 09:09 PM
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Historical revisionism is okay for some to do for profit but not okay for others to do to provide the truth and to prevent profiteering. Just goes to show you who is running things and what they value.



posted on Sep, 16 2006 @ 09:19 PM
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Hey, I have nothing against the military. That's not to say they haven't used the Entertainment and Arts community throughout history from Paul Revere's woodcut of the Boston Massacure to Jarhead and the Troop movies coming out this fall to control recruitment. It's been happening through out history, I'm just admitting it's there.



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 03:23 PM
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Tom Cruise in the battle of Britain? ehh
I wonder how relative to history the plot and facts contained within it will be , my guess is not very accurate at all.
And i bet the kids who see it will believe it was fought by Americans and not in fact the English.
But there we have it another film glamorizing war and violence
i wonder what evil lurks behind the doors of Hollywood.



posted on Sep, 17 2006 @ 03:43 PM
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Check out Youtube, they got some messed up TV interview type stuff.



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