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Not Buster Keaton

Here’s my movie review in Taki’s Magazine:

Call of Duty: ‘1917’
Steve Sailer

January 15, 2020

2019 turned out to be a good year for quality guy movies after all, as several veteran directors ignored the anti-male zeitgeist and just shot the films they’ve long wanted to make, such as Joker, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, The Irishman, and Ford v Ferrari. Sam Mendes, for example, delivers in 1917 an admirable if gimmicky videogame-style World War I movie inspired by his beloved grandfather’s stories of two years of fighting as a lance corporal in Flanders Fields. …

The Corporal Scofield character is portrayed by George MacKay, who looks like Buster Keaton in Dough Boys, with the kind of pale, immobile face that movies liked a century ago. In fact, much of the movie resembles an unfunny Buster Keaton movie in which Buster is constantly running past catastrophes.

Read the whole thing there.

For an example of Buster Keaton running:

 
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  1. WW1 is pure, unadulterated Steven Pinker bait. “Herr derr, look at WW1 then look at now. No comparison! World is getting so much better!”

    i wonder what we have now that no military had in 1918.

    herp, well, no ballistic missiles guys, so i guess we’re gonna have to send you out there with artillery and machineguns and let you slug it out in mud trenches.

    don’t get it mistaken. if there were no good missiles today, we’d still be slugging it out with 155m howitzers and 30 and 50 caliber machineguns with a few 120mm tank shells flying by periodically and a sortie of 2000 pound bombs landing on you a few times a day. ordnance is still how we’d be killing each other.

    what was the cold war? the advent of serious missiles. which was the end of major conflicts between serious opponents. humans didn’t learn anything and didn’t change. the technology did. even the argument that we did change is a nonsense argument – we spend all day in HBD world noting how humans CAN’T quickly change in 100 years what they were doing for 10,000 years. now we’re gonna make the opposite argument?

    but, but, but, Vietnam. really? how many missiles did the Viet Cong have that could hit Washington DC? like Korea in 1950 and the middle east today, it’s a proxy battle. that’s why that’s where all the action is.

    technology often, usually in fact i think, explains world history, much more so than any particular person or time period. humans got from Europe to the Americas en masse around 1500 because that’s when ship technology was about good enough to do it in volumes high enough to colonize. the particular people were less important. if Rome doesn’t go down, and maintains steady tech progress, it seems totally possible they get to the ship building necessary to cross the Atlantic in 500 or 1000 instead, 500 years ahead of Columbus and around the same time as Erikson.

  2. Anonymous[124] • Disclaimer says:

    several veteran directors ignored the anti-male zeitgeist

    A great heroic male movie could be made out of the Battle of Chosin and the Hungnam Evacuation:

    In December 1950, dramatic events unfolding in the rugged mountains of North Korea captivated the world’s attention. The Battle of Chosin, one of the fiercest engagements in U.S. history, was taking place in sub-zero temperatures and knee-deep snow. After days of horrific fighting, U.N. troops, surrounded by overwhelming Chinese forces and suffering heavy casualties, began an epic breakout to the sea.

    https://nedforney.com/index.php/2017/12/19/hungnam-evacuation-a-christmas-miracle/

    Regarding talking with relatives who were WW2 veterans about their experiences, I never did that. If it were not for a project they participated in to record their experiences for posterity, I would never have known anything. My grandmother, who was a Navy nurse and served on a hospital ship, wrote more than my grandfather, who wrote intensely about his earliest experiences as a naval aviator, but then seems to have lost interest. My grandmother wrote about the smells of different wards, how she could tell what type of boat or landing craft was approaching her ship by the engine sound, about slipping on blood repeatedly…. A great uncle who flew P-38s during the invasion of Italy wrote about only one incident: being shot down and captured, only to discover that the town mayor and school teacher had both lived in America for decades before retiring back to the old country. When paratroopers approached the town, they went out to meet them to negotiate a safe surrender, but the GIs thought all three were spies, and very clever ones, because they could answer all the questions about Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth.
    My father made an effort to get us kids to meet men he felt were important. Two that he introduced us to that I remember were Joe Moore, in December, 1941, a 2LT serving with the 20th Pursuit in the Philippine Islands. He led his squadron off Clark Field just as Japanese bombers walked hundreds of daisy-cutters across it. Only he and two others got airborne. Every other one of the squadron’s P-40Bs was destroyed and many of the pilots killed. Moore led those three in attacking nine Zeros, shooting down one. He survived the war, setting a world speed record in the F-105D in the early 1960s and commanding the 7th Air Force (if I’m remembering correctly) during the Viet Nam War. I had no idea of who he was when we had dinner with him and my mind wandered during the meal. Opportunity lost.
    The other I remember was the somewhat feisty Erik Shilling who taught me aerobatics. If he talked about his experiences during the war and after, I must not have been paying attention, doubtless concentrating on feeling the bump of intercepted prop wash to prove I had completed a vertical loop without sliding off to one side. Only later did I realize that he was that Erik Shilling, a real Flying Tiger, who also flew supplies to the French at Dien Bien Phu and flew for the CIA during the American war in Viet Nam.

  3. Tony Tea says:

    All the talk about the whizz bang film making techniques suggest that the makers know it’s not actually a particularly good film. All shots, no plots a la Dunkirk. Give me instead a cheap film with a good story and interesting characters.

  4. @prime noticer

    I have no idea what you’re saying, but I’m fairly sure it’s nonsense.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  5. The script explains that the telephones aren’t working, although no explanation is given why a Sopwith Camel couldn’t fly up to the front and drop a dispatch to the colonel.

    I actually can’t answer that question with a historian’s trained accuracy, but my guess is that it isn’t easy as it sounds because, of, uh, wind and stuff. (This is northwestern European weather, after all) In all seriousness, both sides used messengers in great numbers during the period of trench warfare, which indicates they were more reliable than a plane. Certainly whatever unit Hitler was in trusted messengers more than radio or plane. I imagine it was the same for the Brits.

    But I’m relatively ignorant of this aspect of WW1 and others should chime in.

    In fact, the script, which received a curious Best Original Screenplay nomination…

    (((Sam Mendes))) has lots of friends, apparently.

    I have never watched ‘American Beauty’ and probably never will.

    As far as 2019 movies go, hey, at least they gave us ‘Richard Jewell.’ It was a decent flick.

  6. Tony Tea says:

    Geez, Prime Noticer. No one’s getting out of that comment alive.

  7. anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    American Beauty is pure hate-filled petty homosexual projection. Sam Mendes and every straight man in the audience should have known better. It’s been better than twenty years and that movie still makes me angry. Alan Ball is clearly a delusional queer but apparently Mendes is an earnest heterosexual.

    • Agree: Abe
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  8. @Anonymous

    My late friend Jerry Pournelle was a teenage Army Officer at Chosin Reservoir in 1950. One million Chinese volunteers drove him hundreds of miles south until he finally came within the reach of the guns of US Navy battleships.

  9. LondonBob says:

    Unfortunately 1917 included the British offensives at Messines, Passchendaele and Cambrai. Earlier in 1917 there had been the Anglo-French Nivelle Offensive as well as the Battle of Arras. British generals were determined to win the war before any Yanks entered the war, such callous disregard for their men would be remembered by the junior officers who would then become the generals of the next war, like Monty. Truth be told it was really the naval blockade that won the war, by 1917 the German War effort was start to come apart, the US replacing the Russians on the battlefield certainly helped though.

    Never understood the appeal of American Beauty, I will make the effort to see this one though. Sounds a little like a more positive Gallipoli with the messenger angle.

  10. @Steve Sailer

    The epic disaster of the Chosin was only redeemed by the First Marine Division’s performance. Essentially, the army failed, in leadership by MacArthur, who categorically refused to believe that Chinese forces were massing and already across the Yalu (just as MacArthur’s hubris contributed to the disastrous Philippine Campaign that ended with the largest surrender of US troops in history), as well as in badly trained soldiers unprepared for war. But filming a movie about a white male Marine Corps with men like Chesty Puller, who legendarily said “ There are not enough chinamen in the world to stop a fully armed Marine regiment from going where ever they want to go” wouldn’t play too well…

    As for 1917, the Camel wasn’t introduced into front line service until June, and finding one battalion in a moonscape without any navigation equipment except a compass and no radio was a practical impossibility. My burning question as a former artilleryman is this- do the artillery shells explode like they’re full of napalm instead of high explosive?

  11. @Steve Sailer

    My late friend Jerry Pournelle…

    Just to be able to say that…

    And yet you get “Lefted” out of speaking engagements, even in Colorado Springs. Not right.

    … he finally came within the reach of the guns of US Navy battleships.

    My father told of his destroyer firing shells from off the coast.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  12. Anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    several veteran directors ignored the anti-male zeitgeist and just shot the films they’ve long wanted to make

    Did they ever care about it? (((Producers), and women may care to make feminist movies or whatever, but I doubt any male director cares too much one way or another.

    Well, Sam Mendes, who is Jewish, became famous for American Beauty, which is a heavy handed and cliched criticism of white suburban people. Then he made a couple of very boring James Bond movies which were inexplicably lauded by the critics. Actually in those movies M became a woman, and Miss Moneypenny a black girl, so maybe he does care about the “anti-male zeitgeist”.

    I agree with Commenter 3, if there’s too much talk about effects and whatnot, probably the film itself is not that great.

  13. I think the video game quality you discuss is there, but there, but I think one of the more successful/interesting aspects is it’s unmitigated Britishness.
    There are plenty of allusions that are immediately obvious to the (educated?) British audience that don’t have the same Reasonable with the increasingly financially important international audience and yet he put them in anyway. This is a British film to discuss the British Experience with Brits.
    A great example is when the scene where protagonist leaves the river, right near the end, and stumbles through a large forest before finding the unit he’s looking for by pure luck. For the (former) British School Boy, though, it was telegraphed well in advance that the character had “Found Home” because he entered into an Oak grove. Even before we found the singing Brits I was struck by how Druidic the scene felt. The Oak, and the homeliness of the Oak Grove, is a primary symbol of England. The British Navy’s song is “heart of Oak”, the one pound coin has an Oak emerging through The Royal Crown. Charles II his in an Oak after loosing a battle, etc. Using an Oak Grove to illustrate that the character was “home” was fantastic
    Also, it’s tough to understate Black Adder when discussing WW1 in the UK. The UK had a long running (and further syndicated) dark-comedy about the War that occupies the same mental space as SPR does in the US. In the US, any additional war movies will be seen through the frame of Saving Private Ryan, in the UK all WW1 cultural production is seen through the lens of Black Adder. And rather than run from that, there were some funny, cheeky allusions to it. The 1LT is done up to physically resemble the Black Adder officer

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  14. A very fascinating aspect was that, for a war movie, there was VERY little killing/dying. In this sense it’s very real, and gets a Vet Thumbs Up. Many movies show one single guy mowing down dozens of people etc. it was very UNvideo-game in that respect. The “disengage when facing unfavorable odds” part isn’t Hollywood Sexy but it’s actually how War is done

  15. I guess you did not know of the movie Journey’s End, Steve, or did you? It was a pretty depressing WWI movie, and upon looking it up, I see it was from 100 years later, 2017.

    I really don’t get excited, or even interested, as you do, about who makes the movies and how they are made, or even who is in them. I got Journey’s End from the library. It was basically an hour and something of suspense and then nothing but death in the trenches. (Hope I didn’t spoil it for you, haha.)

    Anyway, I thought of that movie as I read your review, and I will make an effort to see at least some of the movies from ’19 that you recommend.

    Also, I really didn’t have much of any advice to fix the problem of this post not showing up. I was indisposed when you wrote back, but I’d have recommended what you did, or get Ron Unz to pull out some plug somewheres and plug it back in. ;-}

    • Replies: @Kibernetika
  16. anon[414] • Disclaimer says:

    Buster became a beautiful epigenetic metaphor in The Fall, which I would recommend:

  17. Anon[174] • Disclaimer says:

    The script explains that the telephones aren’t working, although no explanation is given why a Sopwith Camel couldn’t fly up to the front and drop a dispatch to the colonel.

    One of the most surprising things to me, reading a WWI history, was how it was so close to England that you’d get sent home for a couple of weeks of decompression and then be right back in a trench. The war was so traumatizing that the contrast was really hard on the soldiers. Dinner with the extended family under a chandelier, then a couple of days later in a trench with severed limbs.

    My favorite one-shot film:

    No handhelds or steadicams, no drones, just giant video cameras with lots of long cables.

    Frank Sinatra is a lookalike impressionist. He’s listed in the IMDB listing for this episode.

  18. Altai says:

    On the subject of Sopwith camels, does their encounter with a crashing plane feel as stupid in a film shot in real time as it looks in the trailer? Or the fact that they went to the Prometheus school of running away from things?

  19. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    When I started my job, I got to know some of the recently retired guys who still came around for the Christmas party and Summer beer bash/picnic.
    One joined the RCAF in 1940, then the USAAF after we got into the war.
    He flew unarmed P38s doing bomb damage assessment over Europe. He went back for Korea and flew F80s there I believe.
    Another was in the 1st Marine Division and landed on Guadalcanal on the first day of the invasion.
    A third was an 18 year old Bosun’s Mate on the Franklin. He was on it for both the kamikaze strike and the later, much worse, bomb strikes in March 1945.
    Luckily, I was aware enough to talk with them seriously. Great, great guys.

  20. Gollios says:

    Unlike 1917, Alexander Sokuruv’s “Russian Ark” actually was filmed in a single continuous shot. Very good movie, and the ‘making of’ documentary included with the DVD is fascinating. How he managed going through 33 rooms of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg with thousands of extras and three orchestras boggles the mind.

  21. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Gallipoli in your review, which had a similar plot.

    Also, re American Beauty: perhaps it’s worth mentioning the irony that Kevin Spacey ended up being the closeted pederast in real life, not his all-American neighbor played by Chris Cooper.

    Michael Savage mentioned 1917 on his show on Monday. He didn’t like it. Then he went on a long, iSteve-y discourse on Aldous Huxley and the Huxley family.

  22. I don’t underestimate anyone’s effort & suffering, but I am strongly convinced that British & American WW1 role is way over-rated because of…. Hollywood & British casualties which were the first more or less serious blood-letting of that empire (although dwarfed by German, Austrian & Russian deaths).

    The real deal was & remains the German Army. Just look at them….

    [MORE]

    [MORE]

    http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/brussels.htm

    The German Army Marches Through Brussels, 1914

    The German juggernaut smashed its way into Belgium on August 5, initially targeting Belgium’s line of defensive fortresses. The Belgian army was forced to retreat and by August 20 the Germans entered Brussels on its way to France. The Belgians elected not to defend the city and the Germans marched through unhindered.

    Richard Harding Davis was an American newspaper reporter and witnessed the German army’s march through the city. We join his account as he sits at a boulevard cafe waiting for the German arrival:
    ………………………….

    At eleven o’clock, unobserved but by this official audience, down the Boulevard Waterloo came the advance-guard of the German army. It consisted of three men, a captain and two privates on bicycles. Their rifles were slung across their shoulders, they rode unwarily, with as little concern as the members of a touring-club out for a holiday. Behind them so close upon each other that to cross from one sidewalk to the other was not possible, came the Uhlans [cavalry], infantry, and the guns. For two hours I watched them, and then, bored with the monotony of it, returned to the hotel. After an hour, from beneath my window, I still could hear them; another hour and another went by. They still were passing.

    Boredom gave way to wonder. The thing fascinated you, against your will, dragged you back to the sidewalk and held you there open-eyed. No longer was it regiments of men marching, but something uncanny, inhuman, a force of nature like a landslide, a tidal wave, or lava sweeping down a mountain. It was not of this earth, but mysterious, ghostlike. It carried all the mystery and menace of a fog rolling toward you across the sea.

    The German army moved into Brussels as smoothly and as compactly as an Empire State express. There were no halts, no open places, no stragglers. For the gray automobiles and the gray motorcycles bearing messengers one side of the street always was kept clear; and so compact was the column, so rigid the vigilance of the file-closers, that at the rate of forty miles an hour a car could race the length of the column and need not stop – for never did a single horse or man once swerve from its course.
    ……
    This was a machine, endless, tireless, with the delicate organization of a watch and the brute power of a steam roller. And for three days and three nights through Brussels it roared and rumbled, a cataract of molten lead. The infantry marched singing, with their iron-shod boots beating out the time. They sang Fatherland, My Fatherland. Between each line of song they took three steps. At times 2000 men were singing together in absolute rhythm and beat. It was like blows from giant pile-drivers. When the melody gave way the silence was broken only by the stamp of iron-shod boots, and then again the song rose. When the singing ceased the bands played marches. They were followed by the rumble of the howitzers, the creaking of wheels and of chains clanking against the cobblestones, and the sharp, bell-like voices of the bugles.
    …………………………..
    For three days and three nights the column of gray, with hundreds of thousands of bayonets and hundreds of thousands of lances, with gray transport wagons, gray ammunition carts, gray ambulances, gray cannon, like a river of steel, cut Brussels in two.”

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  23. TWS says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s why I think he had to write, ‘There will be War” series. All the hippy-dippy we will all get along crap simply isn’t human nature.

  24. @Tony Tea

    I saw this movie last Saturday so it is still very fresh in my mind. The first five minutes is a simple McGuffin. They get an order that they have to save 1,600 men including his brother. There is no plot or intrigue. The rest is a chase movie. The Cinematography is excellent and the images are so powerful that it has stayed with me which is my barometer of how potent a movie is. Go see it in the theater.

  25. jim jones says:
    @LondonBob

    During the war more than 200 generals were killed, wounded or captured

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25776836

  26. 68W58 says:

    If you can accept the initial premise of “we just can’t get the message through any other way” the film is enjoyable (even allowing for all of the coincidences that the heroes encounter). The cinematography is outstanding and I think the film might well win for that at the Oscars. As far as the “stark realities” of war I think the film did a good job chronicling those and is probably the best movie I have ever seen showing the horrors of the trenches.

    It is hard to accept that a unit would find itself without communication and not make every effort to re-establish some sort of comms with higher, even more so that that unit would continue on the offensive. Imagine the battalion (regimental?) commander turning to his staff and saying, “well gentlemen, we’re cut off from higher and we can’t coordinate artillery support, supply or evacuation. We’re up against a force of unknown size and we have no idea what the units to our left and right are doing or when we might be reinforced, so we’re going to attack!” I really can’t imagine any circumstances where that would occur where they’d just nod and go along instead of having the XO take over on account of you being stark raving mad.

    As to whether or not the entry of the U.S. saved the Brits I’m not so sure. I used to hang out at lot at ARRSE-the (British) ARmy Rumour SErvice and the consensus there was that they had it won by 1917 and all they had to do was keep applying pressure. Like all proud nationalists I think they underestimate the extent to which they needed the help of the U.S. even before we entered the actual fighting as the British leadership came to us time and again for help and did everything they could to try to get us involved in the fighting, but I was ultimately convinced by their reasoning. Ultimately I agree with LondonBob that the naval blockade had weakened the Central Powers so much by 1917 that they were effectively done.

    Not only could a great feature film be made about Chosin, but one that was only about Task Force Faith would be awesome.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @Autochthon
  27. istevefan says:
    @LondonBob

    by 1917 the German War effort was start to come apart, the US replacing the Russians on the battlefield certainly helped though.

    1917 was the last window of opportunity for the Germans to end it with a knockout punch. Though we could provide a lot of material support, the US had no material army at that time and parts of the French army, unbeknownst to the Germans, had gone on strike because of the terrible way the soldiers felt their leadership had wasted lives with their tactics. Soldiers were needed more than supplies at that time.

    A lot of us assume the US jumped into the war in April 1917, and began to participate at full strength. In reality the US only had an active duty army of a little more than 100K total soldiers in April 1917. It was not unusual for a side during that conflict to take 100K casualties or more in a couple days during a major battle. So when we declared war we had no real army to send over to France.

    The US had to not only institute a draft, we had to create the bases that would be used to train these men. We first built roads to these would be bases, set up temporary tent cities, then put in railroad spurs and physical structures. We had to come up with a training program as well. At first we only had fake rifles to train the men until we had enough real ones. Even then the training wasn’t much. They just learned how to load, aim and fire and some simple maneuvers. Nothing like the 14 weeks or so some infantryman would expect today. (For anyone interested, see the James Cagney file, “The Fighting 69th”)

    But we were able to start churning out soldiers a lot faster than the Germans had expected. With all the Germans living in America the Germans would certainly have known about our predicament. But by the beginning of 1918, we had begun landing about 10K troops per day in France. By the summer of 1918, the US had a 2 million man army in France. By that time it was too late for Germany.

  28. The script explains that the telephones aren’t working, although no explanation is given why a Sopwith Camel couldn’t fly up to the front and drop a dispatch to the colonel.

    My spergy answer. The movie is set in April 1917. The first production contract for the Sopwith Camel was signed in May 1917.

  29. @Tony Tea

    I’m with you.

    Give me a movie like Hell is for Heroes

    The name alone! A good, cheap, interesting movie that doesn’t try to brainwash us into self-loathing like most WW2 movies nowadays.

    Plus you have to love McQueen’s crazy grease gun magazine set-up…

  30. I’ve read too many WW1 books, military as well as personal accounts to predict that this will be a weepy Brokeback Mountain type rip-off of Saving Private Ryan.

    I would bet that the true story aspect is an inflated rumour that his grandfather heard during or after the war. If there was a way to prove it I would bet that it is 100% bullshit. This ‘based on a true story’ angle is a way to get snowfalkes thinking that they saw a bit of real history. At least the Coen brothers make great fun of the term.

    Any movie made in the last 20 years is so full of SJW props that Stalinst era newsreels look like documentaries by comparison.

    My short list of favorites:

    *Black guy running the high tech end of a caper.

    * Judge in court is a black female.

    * Highest legal authority is jewish, wise and very sympathetic to both sides.

    * Little girl or black guy playing chess always wins against white guy.

    * Victoria’s Secret type leading lady kicks the crap out of (white) guys.

    * Homo is a beautiful soul and very intelligent.

    * Any racist comment made by a villain will be horrifically avenged.

    and of course every vile bad guy is……… whitey!

    If someone wants to read a relatively short book by a genuine intellectual about his WW1 experiences try Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves.

    Better yet Phillip Gibbs’ Now it Can be Told, a British official correspondent’s book written as soon as censorship no longer applied to him.

    Beating out Star Wars is all the clue I need.

    Cheers-

    • Agree: jim jones, BB753
    • Replies: @Anon
  31. @Dave Pinsen

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Gallipoli in your review, which had a similar plot

    They have similar plot devices, not similar plots. The plot device you’re thinking of comes in right at the end of Gallipoli’s plot.

    Gallipoli was a considerably better movie. In fact, I think Gallipoli is the best World War 1 movie made by the English-speaking world. The music takes some getting used to, of course.

    My favorite scene:

    I always liked Peter Weir’s other films as well, like the Amish crime thriller Witness.

  32. SFG says:
    @prime noticer

    Right, but technological advances mean fewer guys are slugging it out in the trenches, which actually does support Pinker’s argument.

    It’s about to take a huge nosedive with climate change, but nobody here believes me on that. 😉

  33. “American Beauty” is one those overrated movies like, say, “Brokeback Mountain”. It has a few funny & good moments, but it is, basically, a hateful cartoon of American suburban middle-class life. Gays are fancy & stylish good guys; the obnoxious & bigoted military father is, of course, a repressed homosexual (he kills the Spacey character because…. because he’s a bigoted bully unable to confront his homo drives).

    The whole movie is a display of TV tropes & is completely unconvincing: creepy & evidently psycho son of the tyrannical gung-ho fake macho is stalking Spacey’s daughter & she, of course, instead of calling cops -“falls in love” with him; the Spacey character leads an empty & pointless suburban life which he hates- and spiritual deliverance comes through his wish to bang his daughter’s faux-lascivious friend.

    So, enlightenment would come, at least in theory, in banging a Lolita.

    Spacey’s posthumous voice, which delivers the message that liberation from life’s baseness & callousness lies in recognition of inherent beauty of all existence has nothing to do with the content of the film.

  34. 68W58 says:

    BTW-the WWI podcast “The History of the Great War” is truly excellent. The series just concluded it’s entire run in December and it covers everything from the conditions leading up to the war to the after effects in Europe in the early 1920s. There are over 200 episodes and each is about a half an hour in length. Some events, such as Verdun, cover multiple episodes and go into great detail. I also recommend the “Hardcore History” episodes dealing with WWI on Youtube-those are all around two hours in length and there are about half a dozen of each.

  35. El Dato says:

    One day there will be a movie about the Great Spanish Flu.

    A lot more deal people than “The Great War” (the war of the fading colonialist-imperalist states, to be replaced by the Great Socialisms immediately thereafter)

  36. @Anonymous

    Hollywood is going to make a movie where Chinese Communists are the baddies?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  37. JMcG says:
    @istevefan

    The German Spring offensive in 1918 came kinda sorta close to splitting the BEF from the French. It’s pretty incredible just how good they were on the offensive after having stayed on defense for so long in the west.

  38. Jack D says:

    The script explains that the telephones aren’t working,

    How many movies depend on that plot device? The script writer’s job got 1,000 times harder after the invention of the cell phone. In Bridget Jones’s Baby (2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back) they had to arrange for BOTH leading characters to be separated from their cell phones in separate incidents in order to make a certain scene work.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  39. @PiltdownMan

    A sopwith Pup could have done the job. Or a SPAD 7. Or a FE-8. Or a FE-2. You get the idea.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  40. fenster says:

    I had righteous hate for American Beauty and that it won the Oscar. But the film that was unfairly overlooked that year in my book was Three Kings.

    • Replies: @Stebbing Heuer
  41. Alfa158 says:

    Imagine how many CGI designers would be used today to do that chase scene. All it took then was a bunch of papier-mâché boulders and an insanely athletic comic actor. That was more impressive than any action scene I’ve seen in a movie all year, largely because it was mostly real.
    Instead, what I saw last night on The Aeronauts was the Mary-Sue from Rogue One clawing her way up over the top of a balloon flying at 37,000 feet in 1861 England to unstick a frozen gas valve.
    As the opening of the movie proclaimed “based on true events”. Well OK, there was an England, there was a year 1861, this England place had air, and gas observation balloons had been invented. At least the 4K HDR graphics were absolutely stunning to look at.

  42. Carol says:

    Those old movie clips are fun just to see the LA basin or the Valley before the deluge of development.

    Carry on.

  43. @istevefan

    My grandfather was one of those drafted doughboys from America. I have a little, old photograph of him in his Army uniform, holding a bayoneted rifle in a fighting pose. On the back is a note he wrote to my grandmother, “Here is your soldier…” I don’t even know if they were married yet.

    On Monday 8 December 1941, my father, a freshman engineering student at Modesto Junior College, was helping his father, a sales representative for S&W Fine Foods, stack a display of cans at a grocery store. President Franklin Roosevelt came on the radio and gave his famous speech to Congress. It was amplified in that California grocery store from the radio, so everybody there could hear it. Pretty good propaganda!

    My grandfather, the WWI doughboy who never talked about his experiences in that war, told my father not to get drafted, so I don’t know if Dad joined the Navy out of patriotism or just so as not to be conscripted.

    My father’s comments over the years indicated he had a realist’s informed view of how the world works. Let’s remember: until Japan was forced to attack the United States, most Americans were against getting tangled up in foreign wars. They were right: Their country didn’t need to — and still doesn’t!

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  44. theMann says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Speaking of Jerry Pournelle, are they ever going to make a decent movie out if Lucifer’s Hammer ? Or Janissaries, The Mote in God’s Eye? Seriously, what is with Hollywood’s inability to do any decent SciFi? Ringworld has been aborted, what, three times already and Dune was a truly epic disaster of a film.

    1917 however, is a masterpiece precisely because it is a taut film free of Hollywood’s usual hit ’em in the head with a hammer moralizing, and phony emotionalism.

  45. @Jack D

    Note too, how there are no videos of UFOs since everyone has a high-definition video camera wherever he goes.

    What we have instead a lots of videos of Black-on-White crime, Blacks deserving arrest and getting arrested, and all-around non-White bad behavior. Yet, it still doesn’t make it into the mainstream media.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  46. nebulafox says:
    @istevefan

    That’s true, but by 1917, most participants involved was facing problems with internal revolt to some degree or another. Adolf Hitler described vividly just how potentially explosive the situation had gotten in Berlin by then in Mein Kampf. And in the case of Russia, of course, it’d explode that year into full-out revolution. Already by 1916 there were serious armed uprisings in the Islamic Central Asian parts of the Tsarist realm which would take until the mid-1920s to fully quash. By then, of course, the Bolsheviks would be in charge, and using more brutal methods than the Tsars ever contemplated.

    So, it isn’t shocking that people on both sides started to think of what kind of knockout blows could win the war decisively. In Germany’s case, the answer was a gamble on submarine warfare: they estimated that it’d take the US about a year to mobilize, and that when they did, their soldier quality would be far inferior to the British or French. They were correct on both counts, but it didn’t matter: the presence of American troops at all meant the gamble failed.

    Berlin’s leadership lacked imagination, though: stuck in a stubborn conservatism, they failed to appreciate that they were living in a new age, on the whole, one where more subtle measures in a war were required to win, including the power of ideas. As a result, they engaged in plenty of self-defeating behavior. The new eastern imperium that they got from the Russians turned out to be a quagmire, not a resource boon. It was even worse in terms of propaganda: had they listened to Max Hoffman rather than Ludendorff on how to deal with the defeated Russians, they could have decisively undercut British propaganda about being unable to negotiate with the lawless Hun. Instead, the Treaty of BL confirmed it.

    Then, of course, there was the sheer incompetence of allowing such a thing as the Zimmermann Telegram to go out, which doubtless had Bismarck rolling over in his grave. While Berlin’s guess that the White House and the American ruling classes were not at all neutral anyway was definitely true-and more cynically, it didn’t help that Wall Street would have been in serious trouble had the British been forced to negotiate with the Germans instead of going for victory given all their generous loans earlier-they didn’t understand the degree to which they would have needed a shift in public opinion around 1916 to get an American intervention. Pro-Entente propaganda fueled by self-righteous Christian religious imagery on the part of the ruling and intellectual classes was hot and influential, but it wasn’t omnipresent, so it wasn’t inevitable. It certainly wouldn’t have been had the Germans been willing to match London’s efforts to… influence world opinion favorably, which would not have been at all hard to do between moderating their own behavior and pointing out the hypocrisy of dressing up a mission for fighting for liberty and freedom with colonialism and an alliance with the Tsarists. But Berlin seemed to only pay attention to what the ruling classes in every country were doing. It goes back to what I said earlier: Berlin was out of touch with the times in a lot of ways. That was why their ruling class wouldn’t survive the times.

    (And our elites are making a similar mistake right now. I’m no grand-pattern-of-history guy, but I do believe you can only do so much to fight historical trends-the days of wholesale neoliberalism are over, and they haven’t gotten the memo. As a result, it’ll just be uglier when it ends.)

    • Replies: @istevefan
    , @Lurker
  47. …with the kind of pale, immobile face that movies liked a century ago.

    Not to mention draft boards.

    Has everybody here seen his grandfather’s or great-grandfather’s WWI draft registration card? I have copies for my grandfather and five of his six brothers.

    https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration

    They’re easily available. If you don’t have a subscription to any of the major genealogy sites, your public library likely does.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  48. nebulafox says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    My grandfather never talked it about much, though granted, he didn’t talk much in general. But according to my mother, there were a few (rare) times he’d briefly allude to the experience, and what he said was enough.

    The main impression she got, apart from the viciousness of the “Forgotten War” (which was more of a post-WWII total war style conflict than a proto-Vietnam guerilla war), was that 1950s Korea was a truly miserable place. The cold, the mud, and the sheer poverty beggared belief for someone coming from the developed world, and this was a guy who had also seen bombed out Europe. No wonder older Koreans are really tough people.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Jack D
    , @Dube
  49. By far the worst example of video game influence on movies that I’ve seen is ‘Tae Guk Gi’ (The Brotherhood of War), which is a South Korean film about the Korean War. It’s basically an 80s Nintendo game. Each battle scene is a level, complete with boss characters.

    It’s really bad.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  50. utu says:

    “…there aren’t many close-ups…”. – Consider watching Miklós Jancsó’s “The Red and the White” (1967).

    “More universally appreciated, however, is the film’s dramatic use of black-and-white Cinemascope, with stylized compositions and elegant camera movements, shot by cinematographer Tamás Somló.” – Wiki

    “For a while I was famous for my ‘long takes’, these sequence shots that last several minutes. At that time it was really special. Within these sequence shots there were close-ups and long shots – everything. Film-making is really over that now. With the influence of commercials and music, editing has become snappier. Unavoidably in a long shot you have empty moments, and it can be boring today. But, for example, Bela Tarr uses them to say something.” – Miklos Jancsó interviewed by Andrew James Horton

    Possibly Jancsó’s film influenced cinematography in Ritts’s Sounder (1972), Malick’s Badlands (1973) and Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975).

  51. Jack D says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    OTOH, we finally have video of tornadoes. In the film camera era, there was almost no footage of tornadoes – they pop up somewhere random and by the time you dispatch a film crew they are gone.

    Russia is in an even better situation in that almost everyone in Russia has a dashcam running every minute they are driving (otherwise the driver who hit you would lie about it 100% of the time) so the dashcams catch footage of meteorites and things that were never filmed before. Security cameras and doorbell cams are also a big help in catching ephemeral phenomena because they run 24/7 and there are millions of them pointing in every conceivable direction.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
  52. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Kubrick was renowned for his long tracking shots in PATHS OF GLORY.

    It seems Mendes took that element and ran with it.

    But Cuaron did it already with CHILDREN OF MEN.

    I think RUSSIAN ARK was really one take without trickery.

  53. Jack D says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Is the part of Mom played by George Washington in drag? Whenever I see Glenn Close, I picture George Washington in drag. Or nowadays, GW after his late in life sex change operation. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

  54. @nebulafox

    From his ship, my father saw Korean families from both sides, north and south, criss-crossing in the water to get to their loved ones on the other side. They were in whatever boats they had, and all they wanted was to be together. The border is artificial.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  55. Lurker says:
    @LondonBob

    Truth be told it was really the naval blockade that won the war

    I think that pretty much applies in WW2 as well.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  56. Jack D says:
    @nebulafox

    South Korea is an incredible story of development, having gone from Haiti with cold weather to 1st world status in 1 lifetime (while during the same period Haiti has gone from Haiti to Haiti). And the South was the more rural, less developed part of the country before the war (just as in the US – the heavy industry was mostly up north). As recently as the 1970s N. Korea was ahead of the South economically.

    The Y axis is 1990 USD.

    • Replies: @istevefan
    , @nebulafox
  57. nebulafox says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    From what I recall, Hyundai’s founder came from the North. Maybe explains why they’ve been such big investors in it.

    That’s not the case anymore. Most younger South Koreans don’t want reunification. They’ll say what they feel they should publicly, but they saw what happened with Germany, and East and West Germany were much less further apart than the two Koreas are. This is probably not helped by the fact that North Korean defectors in the South tend to end up in the underclass more often than not despite usually going through hell to get out. It’s really quite sad: they are shorter, the North Korean way of speaking is different, they visibly struggle to adapt to a society where they are expected to make their own decisions everyday. Many, of course, also have massive psychological issues from their time in the North.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  58. @Buzz Mohawk

    until Japan was forced to attack the United States, most Americans were against getting tangled up in foreign wars. They were right: Their country didn’t need to — and still doesn’t!

    Who forced them?

  59. @Jack D

    She’s not tall enough though.

  60. istevefan says:
    @nebulafox

    That’s true, but by 1917, most participants involved was facing problems with internal revolt to some degree or another.

    You are correct that most participants had domestic political turmoil. Even America had turmoil over the war , e.g. Eugene Debbs. But the French Army mutinies seemed unique. Outside of the Russians, did any other large group of soldiers refuse to fight or turn on their government?

    Note: In reading the wiki writeup on the French mutinies I came across these passages which make reference to the delayed arrival of the US Army:

    While the immediate cause was the extreme optimism and subsequent disappointment at the Nivelle Offensive in the spring of 1917, other causes were pacifism (stimulated by the Russian Revolution and the trade union movement) and disappointment at the non-arrival of American troops, whom French soldiers on the front had unrealistically been expecting to arrive within days of the U.S. declaration of war.

    Pétain offered two incentives: more regular and longer leave and an end to grand offensives “until the arrival of tanks and Americans on the front”

    They really wanted us in the meat grinder.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  61. Lurker says:
    @nebulafox

    it didn’t help that Wall Street would have been in serious trouble had the British been forced to negotiate with the Germans instead of going for victory given all their generous loans earlier

    But what would the short to medium term costs of Britain negotiating? After maybe only a year of western front stalemate the Germans would have been happy to negotiate and what would that cost Britain? No reparations, no territorial losses. A much better position to start servicing those loans.

    France could probably have done the same deal (but for Alsace-Lorraine being permanently lost to Germany).

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @LondonBob
  62. I don’t think I’ll be spending money on this. Never, ever trust the Brits to make an honest movie about the two world wars.

    • Agree: Pop Warner
  63. @nebulafox

    This reminds me somewhat of how younger citizens of Hungary now seem to look down a little bit on their own cousins in Transylvania. Time is a terrible thing that eventually separates and changes people who are prevented from being together.

  64. @kaganovitch

    Go find out yourself. I’m not getting into that. All I will say is that we seem to be pulling the same crap on Iran now, but our president is less eager this time.

  65. istevefan says:
    @Jack D

    South Korea is an incredible story of development,

    No doubt. Remember that in 1953, South Korea was completely leveled as the result of having hosted a 3 year war. Yet in about 20 years they were well on the way as one of the Asian Tiger economies.

    I can see that type of turnaround with Germany or Japan since both had an industrialized society prior to the destruction of WW2. But South Korea didn’t have anything like that in their history. Yet within 20 years of total destruction they were well on their way to being a modern industrial society.

  66. 1) 1917 plot seemed implausible. 1600 troops cut off from communication-why not use an airplane to drop a message? carrier pigeons ?

    2)% of soldiers who were of African descent seemed implausibly high.

    • Replies: @Paul Mendez
  67. syonredux says:
    @LondonBob

    Truth be told it was really the naval blockade that won the war, by 1917

    In Robert Graves’ Good-Bye to All That, the British Great War vets all state that “Fritz” was the finest fighting man in Europe and that it was the blockade that really beat the Germans.

    the German War effort was start to come apart, the US replacing the Russians on the battlefield certainly helped though.

    As John Keegan notes, the prospect of another major power entering the fight after years of grinding struggle was, to say the least, dispiriting…..

    • Replies: @utu
  68. @Buzz Mohawk

    Why not? You brought it up, maybe you can’t back it up.

    Unless directly attacked, no one “forces” an independent nation to do anything. Yes, nations will attempt to persuade, but ultimately a nation can do whatever they want. Much like Japan did throughout the ’30’s in most of Asia, by attempting to gobble up quite a bit of it. Remember: Japan wasn’t the innocent victim picked on by US for no apparent reason whatsoever. They definitely committed some atrocities (e.g. Rape of Nanking, Manchuria, etc.) in WW2. They were the aggressor. Because they’re not white, they get to avoid any major amount of blame for the War. And weren’t they allies with Germany during WW2?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  69. @Steve Sailer

    Your review suggests that “1917” is nearly the equal to the classic 1929 film “All Quiet on the Western Front”, which is still considered to be the best contemporary filmed viewpoint of WW1. As in, ‘was the endless fighting really all worth it in the end?’ Seems to be that whatever film tackles the complexities of WW1 must in fact deal with the large shadow cast by All Quiet on the Western Front, especially since it was written by an actual WW1 Vet who saw fighting on the front in real time, not Monday Morning QBing it a century after the fact.

    Regarding Buster Keaton. One of his schticks was that whatever character he played, he never smiles on screen. Things always appear to happen to him (and he must react to the circumstances) and he has less of an independent nature to decide things for himself. I think it was Andrew Sarris who rated Keaton as a better comedic genius than Chaplin.

  70. @Jack D

    Whenever I see Glenn Close, I picture George Washington in drag.

    Robin Williams once held up a dollar and said, “Barbara Bush!”

    Jackson on the 20 makes me think of Bette Davis.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @Anonymous
  71. syonredux says:

    On the other hand, there isn’t much specific interest these days in Great War movies, unlike with 1998’s Saving Private Ryan when many WWII vets were still alive. (My best friend took his father, who’d never spoken to his sons about his experiences landing on D-Day, to see Spielberg’s film. On the way out, the old man broke his half century of silence on the subject: “Yup, that’s what it was like.”) Mendes’ grandfather, for instance, died in his 90s in 1991; the number of moviegoers who can remember talking to a veteran of WWI is shrinking steadily.

    Yeah, I polled some of my friends on that point, and I’m definitely the odd man out. I was born in 1980, and my paternal grandfather (10 January 1900-3 November 199o) was a veteran of the US army in the Great War. He saw action in the Meuse–Argonne offensive (26 september 1918-11 November 1918, the largest battle ever fought by American troops) and was wounded. I’ve got his purple heart. Actually knowing a man who served in the First World War made me a bit of a WW1 buff in my youth, and I read a fair amount of stuff about people like Frank Luke (my favorite US fighter ace), the Meuse–Argonne offensive (natch), the Battle of Belleau Wood, etc

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Belleau_Wood

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luke

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meuse%E2%80%93Argonne_offensive

    • Replies: @istevefan
  72. syonredux says:
    @Jack D

    Washington had the Look of Command:

    Presidents should have aquiline noses.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  73. This movie also reminded me of RPG videogames in a detrimental way. Like missions where you are told to visit a distant town but it only takes you five minutes, the couriers in the movie are told the mission endpoint is an eight hour walk away yet the movie is nowhere close to eight hours. It makes it seem like it’s all just a block or two away.

    Also, did anyone notice the forced diversity? Was it realistic to have several black and one Indian guy in the 1917 British army?

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Paul Mendez
  74. @Gollios

    Very positively, it is also a very ethno-centric movie i.e. the survival of Russia and Russians. Notice at the end when it pans to the river Neva and says, ‘we are destined to sail forever, to live forever’

    A movie with those sentiments could not be made in the West today.

  75. nebulafox says:
    @Jack D

    When taking the subway in a Korean urban area, do a quick comparison of the bodies of the grandparents vs. the grandchildren. That tells you all you need to know about the difference between South Korea then and South Korea now.

  76. @68W58

    “It is hard to accept that a unit would find itself without communication and not make every effort to re-establish some sort of comms with higher, even more so that that unit would continue on the offensive.”

    Assessing the Reasons for Failure: 1st British Airborne Division Signal Communications during Operation ‘Market Garden’
    Major John W. Greenacre British Army

    Not since 1854, when Captain Lewis Nolan’s vague dispatch of Lord Raglan’s poorly conceived orders condemned Lord Cardigan and the Light Brigade to devastation, has the role of communications in a military defeat come under such scrutiny as it has at the Battle of Arnhem. An entire industry has grown around the literature of Arnhem, from contemporary accounts to modern analysis. Each author in turn has attempted to identify the seeds that grew into that heroic disaster. Many causes and contributing factors have been identified and many of the facts have become obscured by myth and hearsay during the intervening years. The issues surrounding the contribution of signals communications during the battle have not escaped that obscuration. Why does Arnhem provoke such emotion? Of the 8,969 men of the British 1st Airborne Division who took part in Operation ‘Market Garden’ between 17 and 26 September 1944 only 3,910 escaped to fight again.1 Although Field‐Marshal Lord Montgomery described the operation as being ‘90 per cent successful’,2 the Division was unable to take any further part in World War II.

    Much of the popular knowledge of the Battle of Arnhem is based on Richard Attenborough’s 1977 epic film A Bridge Too Far, based in turn on Cornelius Ryan’s 1974 book of the same name. On the screen, we see meek officers of the Royal Signals not wishing to ‘rock the boat’3 before the battle, despite being aware of the inadequacies of their radio equipment. Later, upon arrival at the drop zone, those same officers report to the divisional commander that the radios are all quite useless having been delivered with the wrong crystals. The divisional commander himself, Major‐General Robert Urquhart, instigated the commentary in 1958 with his book Arnhem. He describes the same moment on the drop zone when, finding his signallers were having difficult raising communications, he received ‘the first intimation of a snag that was to grow and bedevil us almost to the end’.4

    (Article for rest)
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1470243042000344777

    • Thanks: 68W58
    • Replies: @68W58
  77. nebulafox says:
    @Lurker

    From the American vantage point, by early 1917, London and Paris had both exhausted their financial reserves and were relying heavily on massive loans from NYC. That’s just the money: American supplies were also vital in keeping their war effort going. (Needless to say, the Germans were in an even worse state: that’s why they were so ready to gamble.) So there were a lot of powerful people in the US vested in an Entente victory, beyond the ideological views held by the intellgentsia of the day-and the intellectual in the White House. That didn’t mean support for intervention was uniform, or even normative prior to late 1916 at the earliest, because for every Lusitania or Leuven, there was a Dublin or a Tsarist pogrom the anti-war people could point to. I do think the Central Powers (particularly Berlin) were unable to advance a coherent “higher” view on the war beyond crass self-interest, though, and that cost them anything more than a successful defense in global opinion.

    Re, Britain: it is easy to say from 100 years later that everybody should have just followed young Kaiser Karl’s advice to drop everything, go home, and rebuild because we know what happened because they didn’t. But they didn’t know that then, and by 1916, both sides were psychologically committed to full victory. Sunk costs dynamic, in a way. Britain also had a traditional vested interest in preventing any clear hegemon from dominating the continent too much, and anything short of German defeat would have meant that. That was nothing new: the same calculus was at work with France during the Napoleonic era.

    However, a German dominated Europe is what we’ve got anyway now…

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  78. istevefan says:
    @syonredux

    Actually knowing a man who served in the First World War made me a bit of a WW1 buff in my youth, and I read a fair amount of stuff about people like Frank Luke (my favorite US fighter ace), the Meuse–Argonne offensive (natch), the Battle of Belleau Wood, etc

    I had never heard of Frank Luke before you wrote this. My image of Americans in WW1 is Sergeant York and Captain Eddie Rickenbacker.

  79. Anon[324] • Disclaimer says:

    I think Mendes’s main influence was the 1984 Soviet WWII film Come and See. George MacKay looks a lot like the terrified Belorussian boy running from one atrocity/adventure to the next in that film.

  80. utu says:
    @syonredux

    In Robert Graves’ Good-Bye to All That, the British Great War vets all state that “Fritz” was the finest fighting man in Europe and that it was the blockade that really beat the Germans.

    WWI stats of death sentences/executions for cowardice, desertions…

    UK 3000/351
    Canada 222/25
    France 2500/650
    Germany 150/48

    USA 145/35

    Austro-Hungary 1175/1148
    Italy 4000/750

    • Replies: @sb
  81. nebulafox says:
    @istevefan

    The German military’s mutiny in 1918 is comparable, but that was when the war was clearly lost. What they did share, however, was ideological inspiration from Russia. It would also seem that the Hapsburg military also caught the bug on the Isonzo, which is pretty impressive considering the higher level of coherence they had against the Italians than against the Russians for predictable ethnic reasons.

    The British were under significant strain at times, but they never risked mutiny for a host of reasons, ranging from cultural deference and coherence being wounded but not killed for them to the fact that they were a fully volunteer-based army for longer.

    >They really wanted us in the meat grinder.

    Oh, yes, they did. And I don’t blame them: it was in their interests. In the case of France, it was a matter of national security. I blame the useful idiots in the United States who wouldn’t have been out of place on FOX News in 2003 nearly a century later, who were helpfully aided along by Berlin’s foreign policy incompetence and greed.

  82. @Reg Cæsar

    On public radio I heard the Sacagawea coin described as “Minie Driver Dollars.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  83. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    NF on the Oscars.

  84. @Gollios

    I was surprised, very, that Steve did not mention it.
    Giddying to watch, in an often exhilarating way, it is never-the-less a bit of a bore after a time.
    A film, in other words, which fixates on itself and thus fails as a story.
    Once again: the utter beauty of each scene in Eisenstein’s great films from the ’30s add to the memorable tales they tell, rather than, as here, obscuring them.
    Once again, again: genius is not talent doubled, or even squared.

  85. @Bardon Kaldian

    Magnificent, thank you.

    Yet still, and alas, they did not win.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  86. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s interesting how popular WWI is in the anglosphere. In Europe, WWII dominates by far, Holocaust or not.

  87. MEH 0910 says:
    @theMann

    and Dune was a truly epic disaster of a film.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(2020_film)

    Dune is an upcoming 2020 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve with a screenplay by Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Villeneuve. It is the first of a planned two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, and will cover roughly the first half of the book. The film stars an ensemble cast including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem.

    Dune is scheduled to be released in the United States in IMAX and 3D on December 18, 2020, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

  88. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Notice that everything you described happened in Asia. Last I checked, we have never had any states in Asia — or anywhere near Germany for that matter.

    Unless directly attacked, no one “forces” an independent nation to do anything.

    LOL

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  89. @Steve Sailer

    I can’t say that Jerry Pournelle was a friend, but I had several lengthy email exchanges with him. I think of him often and miss reading “Chaos Manor.”
    His commentary is greatly missed.

  90. @Old Palo Altan

    Well- you can’t win a war against, basically, the whole world…

  91. Anon[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    “A great heroic male movie could be made out of the Battle of Chosin and the Hungnam Evacuation:”

    Ironically, the evacuees were probably saved from massive US bombing than atrocities by communists.

  92. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    American Beauty is pure hate-filled petty homosexual projection.

    Problem it tries to have it both ways. A funny biting satire of middle-age crisis and middle-class anxieties AND a brooding dark tale of repression. It has the hoariest trope of the ultra-right crypto-fascist wife-and-son-beater(yes, he beats both of them) really being a closet-fruit. (Ironically, it turns out Spacey in real life is the real fruit.. and pedo).

    Can a film be both funny and brooding? Yes, but it takes skill and luck. GRADUATE is one of the few exceptions. GHOST WORLD is another. But AMERICAN BEAUTY is at once too goofy and too dark to work. Also, its Lolita-esque elements are too close to celebration for comfort.

    In many ways, AMERICAN BEAUTY is a satire on Liberal decadent America. It’s very much a Clinton Era movie. It’s about vapid, shallow, hollow yuppies, much like in LOST IN AMERICA but without the endearing qualities of Brooks and Haggerty. The hubby and wife could be Bill and Hillary if they hadn’t gone into politics. Libs like to think of themselves as self-critical and self-deprecating, but still, they don’t want to feel like total shit. And so, there is the foil of the ultra-right father who beats up wife and son, the sort of creature that doesn’t exist in real life. That way, the movie can have it both ways: “You see, we libs laugh at ourselves and know of our faults… but THEM DEPLORABLES ARE SO MUCH WORSE.”

    Mendes has a good eye but his works are all eye. Also, he is superficially serious without being really serious. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD is a pretty empty work but made with arty solemnity. The scene at the end where the blood soaks through the clothes is fake poetics. Too pretty to convey tragedy. He’d do better as a photographer than story teller.

    • Replies: @Anon
  93. Tangentially on WW1 movies:

    The Lost Battalion is my favorite WW1-American-based true life stories, and the story was made into a couple of good movies. Cher Ami, the pigeon who saved them, who was shot, blinded, and missing its leg, is still on display at the Smithsonian (stuffed after it died).

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Lost_Battalion_(World_War_I)

  94. @Buzz Mohawk

    “Last I checked, we have never had any states in Asia”

    Last I checked, Japan was the aggressor in Asia during the 193o’s, early 40’s. So…how exactly are they victim because they attacked US base at Pearl Harbor? Which was a US territory at the time, by the way. They were the aggressors throughout most of WW2 and certainly before the war officially started. They’re not the victim. Also considering the fact that the US rebuilt their country after defeating them, and with their current role as one of Asia’s first rate economies, looks as though they’re doing quite well in 2020.

    Free state nations are free agents. They can choose to fight or not to. That’s on them, it’s their decision.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  95. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    I think the video game quality you discuss is there, but there, but I think one of the more successful/interesting aspects is it’s unmitigated Britishness.

    There was a certain fetish for long tracking shots, especially in big productions.

    Lots of cinema-verite documentaries had long continuous shots, but the movement was jerky and head-ache inducing.

    For major productions, tracking shots took a lot of care and effort. Tracks had to be laid down, a heavy camera had to be moved, and the scene had to be carefully choreographed so that everyone would be in the right place at the right time.
    But if done to perfection, it was more magisterial and impressive than what could be achieved with montage. Montage is more dynamic and exciting but lacks the trance-like wonderment of what a long tracking shot can achieve. Because such tracking shots were relatively rare in big productions, people like Andrew Sarris developed a special fetish for them. One reason why he loved Max Ophuls and Mizoguchi. It was like a special treat.

    But there was another reason, and it had to with Andre Bazin’s philosophy of cinema that favored mise-en-scene over montage. Montage, though effective, lacked wholeness. It was about the film-maker always telling the viewer what to see, how to feel, what connections to make. In contrast, mise-en-scene created a sense of organic whole, and it was up to the viewer to decide what to see and what connections to make. Tracking shots maintained that sense of continuity and unity.
    One reason why Sarris favored the more patient film-making of later Rossellini to DeSica’s more dramatic film-making. Rossellini creates a world before us to enter and share. DeSica always tells us what to see, what to feel.

    But that was then, this is now. First, the steadicam made tracking shots much easier. Kubrick used it to great effect in THE SHINING. And with lighter digicam(and no expensive film stock) and with computer manipulation, tracking shots(even the most elaborate ones) are dime-a-dozen. Just about anyone can do it, and it has become videogame like. So, its use in 1917 sounds totally gimmicky, a selling point as the movie sounds like just another war movie.

    Still, though gimmicky, the long continuous shot of the opening of GRAVITY was very impressive.

  96. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:
    @Gollios

    Unlike 1917, Alexander Sokuruv’s “Russian Ark” actually was filmed in a single continuous shot. Very good movie

    I respect it but found it a chore. And apart from the single-shot conceit, what is special about it?
    RUSSIAN ARK, like IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, is more interesting as concept than execution.

    Kauffmann raised a good point.

    “What is there intrinsically in the film that would grip us if it had been made–even excellently made–in the usual edited manner?

    https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/russian-ark-2003

    PS. Camera jammed in the single take in SACRIFICE. Ouch. House had to be rebuilt and burned down again.

  97. From the article, Steve:

    “But aerial recognizance reveals that rather than the long-awaited collapse of the Hun front…”

  98. Almost 30 years ago, I happened to meet a nice short grandfatherly man. We started talking and he told me his story.

    At 17, he was a senior in high school and in the Marine ROTC. Suddenly, the Korean War broke out and he was a platoon commander of tanks, leading 25 year olds to war in Korea. He landed at Inchon and helped push the North Koreans to the Yalu.

    He said it was very exciting and thrilling until winter came and they were not equipped for cold weather. And then in got worse when the Chinese attacked.

    Years later I found an webpage listing the Korean War medal of honor recipients and what they did to earn it. To say the descriptions were amazing and heroic would be an understatement.

    It would be nice to have a few movies from those events.

  99. @istevefan

    My Grandfather joined in May 1917, He arrived in France in September 1918 and first went into combat on at about 6AM on November 11, 1918.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @istevefan
  100. @theMann

    ” Seriously, what is with Hollywood’s inability to do any decent SciFi?”

    It’s the eevull joos, don’t you even get it?

    Anyway, I’m reading a good WWI novel right now:

  101. Geschrei says:
    @theMann

    Speaking of Jerry Pournelle, are they ever going to make a decent movie out if Lucifer’s Hammer ? Or Janissaries, The Mote in God’s Eye?

    I’m still waiting for a movie version of Inferno. Or better still, a miniseries.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  102. Anon[236] • Disclaimer says:
    @Timur The Lame

    Others things we know through Hollywood:
    – the wealthy suitor is bad/boring so the girl prefers the cool plumber
    – every heir to a family business feels trapped and wants to go away and be an artist
    – young women always have two suitors patiently waiting while she kisses first one, then the other then back to the first
    – the woman always initiates the kiss/embrace/ sex
    – a family is a dysfunctional thing, friends have your back in times of crisis
    – tiny women do one-on-one combat with guys and win
    – we all gather in the kitchen with a glass of red wine to chop red peppers
    – high school football player stars end up selling insurance
    – office work is full of zappy psychobabble one liners and sexual tension
    But it’s the silences which are more telling about the anti-human agenda been branded into the minds of the young.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  103. Lot says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    There was a great 2015 Gallipoli Australian miniseries.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_(miniseries)

    It says its budget was $14 million. Don’t know how they managed it so cheap, the production quality was excellent.

  104. Yngvar says:

    Does this movie measure up to Spielberg’s WW1 epic War Horse?

  105. Lot says:
    @Senator Brundlefly

    “ Was it realistic to have several black and one Indian guy in the 1917 British army?”

    No.

    Netflix’s new movie Rebel King about Robert the Bruce mercifully didn’t have Africans in either the English or Scotch army. But there were some black extras hanging around in Berwick upon Tweed.

    Good movie by the way, better than expected especially after reading published reviews.

  106. syonredux says:
    @Jack D

    Proving my point. She does not have the Look of Command; no woman does.

  107. anonymous[298] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome

    Yeah, that was my concern. The Chinese audience is huge, and Hollywood can’t afford to piss them off. The film’s director/writers would have to walk that fine line in which they can’t really villainize either side. Tough to do, although the older (70’s?) version of “Midway” did a pretty good job.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  108. anonymous[298] • Disclaimer says:
    @Geschrei

    I’d like to see any of those, but I am sure Inferno will never be filmed. Too Catholic and un-woke.

  109. Svevlad says:

    What amazes me is how the hell wasn’t Alita overfilled with globohomo propaganda. I mean, the protagonist is a literal nigh-invulnerable cyborg super-soldier, yet there’s zero “grrrl power” fake shit moments put in, no politics, no bullshit. (heck, there’s even a slight pro-gun message, as the people are literally forbidden to have firearms under penalty of death, to not threaten their overlords).

    Perhaps it’s why marketing was so abysmal and therefore the box office money. Not woke enough. Also might cause women to become jealous.

    Not a bad movie, though it could have been better

  110. I bet they say things like “focus” and “iconic.”

  111. Anonymous[105] • Disclaimer says:

    Even though war movies can be exciting and even powerful, they all begin to look alike regardless of which side we are watching. DAS BOOT or ENEMY BELOW, it’s about men who were trained not to think and just obey orders and kill or be killed. There is human element in the camaraderie, but this goes for all sides. Even the ‘bad guys’ have their share of honorable men. So, other than the thrill/tragedy of action, war movies don’t tell us much about anything, especially since soldiers fight because they’ve been told to. Nazis were bad, Americans were good, but German soldiers and American soldiers were alike in that they just followed orders. One could say soldiers are patriots, but who determines national interests? The elites, and their decisions are often more about economic interests, egotism, or narrow tribal interests than real national interests. Other than its great use of action, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is pure schmaltz. But even if we say the guys were heroes, wasn’t it purely an accident that they were on the good side? After all, if those German soldiers had been born in the US, they would have fought for the Good Guys, and if those American soldiers were born in Germany, they would have fought for Hitler. Though many regarded AMERICAN SNIPER as a patriotic movie, the only noble character is the guy who gets killed. He served and did his duty but he asked WHY the US is in Iraq. In contrast, the main character never asks such questions. He’s a good soldier but not a thinking soul. He only knows guns. And returning from the funeral, he seems put off by the revelation that the fallen comrade came to question the war.

    War movies can show the hellishness or thrill of the war but not much else, that is unless they have an angle. When they’re more about psychology than physical combat, and this is why some of the most interesting war movies happen away from the battlefield, usually in prison camps. GRAND ILLUSION is the most respected, but there’s also BRIDGE ON RIVER KWAI and MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE. In the absence of combat but with the great psychological tension between captors and captives — and sense of anxiety and/or shame of being prisoners than warriors –, there is something like the questioning of war and what it’s all about. Also, as captors and captives co-mingle and even become friendly at times, it adds another layer to the tension. The realization that, if not for the war, these men could actually be friends. A mini-version of this is HELL IN THE PACIFIC with only two characters. First, Marvin becomes captive of Mifune, then Mifune of Marvin, and despite being enemies, they learn to cooperate to escape from the island toward a world where they must be enemies once again.

    JOURNEY’S END was truly a superb film because it was less about combat — we’ve seen enough of that, to the point where we approve of TROPIC THUNDER’s lampooning of blood-and-guts gore — about the sheer psychological terror of war, which every British officer suppresses for honor and dignity but not without slowly going crazy in the process. Truly devastating to watch men remain so upright on the outside and so wound up tight inside.

    If soldiers just follow orders, then far more interesting are the men who give the orders. This is what made PATHS OF GLORY so interesting as it’s two movies in one. What happens among the soldiers who are sympathetic but hardly angels, and what happens at the top where the decisions are made. Menjou’s sinister role is especially memorable. Pawns, bishops, and kings. Cruise and Pollack in EYES WIDE SHUT. Of gods and men. Few films were as adept in conveying the relation between what transpires at the bottom and who is conspired at the top.

    Because commanders make the key decisions, it would be more interesting to watch them. There are movies like VICE, but it seems like BS, a misdirection from Neocons to Big Oil. DOWNFALL was about top commanders reduced to rubble along with rest of Germany. But most movies about Allied commanders tend to be hagiographic. PATTON is one helluva movie, but more fanfare than art. Also, Patton was more like a top soldier than a real commander as he didn’t decide policy.

    But even more interesting would be the relation between policy makers and the people who made them, those of the economic elites, special interest groups, and agents of Deep state. Perhaps, Oliver Stone’s W came closest to showing this side of war. The men around commander-in-chief Bush. Still, it didn’t go far enough.
    A work that probes deep would be too nosy for comfort. It’s like what Kurosawa said of BAD SLEEP WELL. He could make a movie about bad businessmen, but he couldn’t show to whom the villains was deferring to at the end. The man was on the other side of the line, much like the movie mogul in HAIL CAESAR, remains hidden. Democracy can tolerate criticism and dissent, but there are certain curtains you can’t lift if you want to remain in the game.

    We need more war movies about the Duty to Question than to blindly serve. I’d say it was damn stupid for UK to enter WWI. British soldiers should have asked “Why is this our war?” But Mendes isn’t interested in that question. Still, it’s about a time when Jews fought alongside in combat and did their share of dying. That was something.. unlike chickenhaws like Max Boot today who calls for forever wars without even getting near the battlefield that is only for goy war-horses.

    As a series about the rulers, FALL OF EAGLES was pretty good.

    • Agree: houston 1992
  112. @Lot

    Lot is absolutely incorrect to the point of idiocy. The British Indian Army all in had 1MM serve overseas. “Overseas” has a few meanings here, sure, but ~70k died in European fighting. If you ever are at the Mennin Gate (which is an absolute must) you’ll see the Sanjeevs mixed in with the Roberts etched in the walls of KIAs.
    France had ~0.5MM colonials in their fight (I’m less certain about their fielding/KIA #s, I’m a British Schoolboy after all). It was very common to have seen a Colonial. (NB-not that colonials were common, but just that over the course of an enlistment you’d likely have seen some).

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @JMcG
  113. Anon[713] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    American Beauty and Revolutionary Road: loathsome movies with utterly false characters.

  114. 1917, or, Brexit: The Movie

  115. @kaganovitch

    You are asking too many logical questions that appear to imply that some historic events can be independent from worldwide Jewry.

    This is Unz where every war in history is blamed on the Jews.

    Even Greek wars that predate Jewish expulsion from Rome.

    If a caveman hit another caveman on the head it was probably somehow caused by a Jewish financial conspiracy involving their monopoly on club sales and exports.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Lurker
  116. Anonymous[294] • Disclaimer says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Black Adder was just riffing off “Oh what a lovely war” from the 1960s.

  117. @Anonymous

    Yes, this is precisely correct. I went to school in the UK and the US and have a foot in both worlds and can emphatically tell you beyond doubt that WW1 is THE war in the UK. I have my thoughts as to why and how but it would distract from the emphasis I want to place on this point-WW1 and that’s it.
    Whereas in the US (and I’ve served in the US military, where you think preservation of War Memories runs deepest) WW1 is an afterthought. The US goes WW2>Civil War>’Nam>everything else as a hodgepodge

  118. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Maybe it was a brilliant, stream-of-consciousness satire of the movie.

    Or maybe not.

  119. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Certainly Japan was an aggressor in Asia. There is no argument about that. FDR manipulated it into attacking Pearl Harbor so that he could move the American public to war.

    You might like to read — this review — of Robert B. Stinnett’s book, Day of Deceit.

    The United States had a continent full of resources flanked by two oceans, as it does today. It did not need to avenge Japanese aggression in Asia or fight Germany and help Communists take half of Europe. It did not need to fight foreign wars and then invite extraordinary numbers of foreign people here — yet it did both, and it continues to do both.

    If you care to look, there is interesting reading about Pearl Harbor — right here — in the Unz Review.

  120. nebulafox says:
    @Anonymous

    A good series. One thing I wish they emphasized more in Episode V was that Tsar Alexander II had liberated the serfs, created semi-democratic councils, and was on the verge of getting a constitution through before his death, among reforms. His reward? To be-quite literally-blown apart by proto-Bolshevik terrorists who were afraid he’d succeed.

    In a sense, they got what they wished for: Alexander’s son and grandson (little Nicholas II) were both there in person the day he was assassinated. If the goal was for them to embrace harsh reactionary policies to long-term undermine the autocracy after witnessing that, it was a spectacular success. But how wretched the cost for the people of Russia.

    • Agree: Hibernian
  121. @Buzz Mohawk

    Go find out yourself. I’m not getting into that.

    OK then, so by “forced” you mean that Japan -mistakenly as it turns out -thought that it would serve her interests to escalate from embargoes to a shooting war. Do you likewise think the Palestinians “forced” the Zionists to send them packing? Or were the Americans wearing a particularly short skirt?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  122. 68W58 says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Thanks-that was actually a fairly interesting piece given that it was written for an advanced command and staff course. As I have been on a brigade staff I was able to follow most of it and I think I even understood some of the technical issues discussed since I have seen the six shop work to set up comms in a (simulated) remote environment.

    Of course Airborne operations are a little different from what I described earlier, given the presumed independent conditions such a unit would be expected to operate under. However, the next time I watch “A Bridge Too Far” I will pay closer attention to how it deals with these signals issues. I seem to recall that this is a recurring theme in the movie and it is interesting that the filmmakers took the time to address it.

  123. Lot says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Did I say there were no Indian regiments in WWI?

    The question was:

    “ Was it realistic to have several black and one Indian guy in the 1917 British army”

  124. Lot says:
    @John Johnson

    “ This is Unz where every war in history is blamed on the Jews.”

    My favorite is where Unz tells us that the Czechs and Slovaks had it coming when the Germans invaded.

  125. @kaganovitch

    A better word choice would have been “manipulated.”

    However, I do not find your example in Palestine comparable. Whether it is or not, it was not the responsibility of the American People to protect Asians from their Japanese neighbors. Likewise, it is not our job to protect either Palestinians or Zionists from one another, yet we have long been manipulated into taking a side in that conflict too.

    I realize my thoughts on these things are too simple, so I will just go suck my thumb now and take a nap while you adults solve the world’s problems. What the hell, we can just create more trillions in debt-based dollars to pay for it, and brainwash another generation of fine, young men into thinking they are “defending America.”

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  126. @Pickle Rick

    Saw 1917 last evening. The premise and story line of the movie, shaky to start with, fall to pieces as the film progresses. At least the artillery explosions, also one of my gripes about war movies, look like HE and not some miniature nuclear detonation.

  127. @Prof. Woland

    The “save the brother” plot device is tricky on this side of the pond because we have a different orientation in how we compose military units.
    The British way is highly regional. the unit he’s looking for is the Devons, which is a city. That might be missed by Americans. It’s leader would be one of the more prominent men about town, the NCOs drawn from the foremen/shift boss set and the junior enlisted were literally clumps of buddies put into squads together.
    The American model of WW1 had some of that characteristic but America decided that the Military had a good dual role as a “civilizing” organization and by putting men from different regions/classes/religions in the same company it would help form an “American” consciousness.
    So to American eyes, the “the guy you have to save is YOUR OWN BROTHER!!!” seems like a hoaky plot twist, but in the UK it is (rightly!) seen as a simple statement of fact. If you had a brother in the service, odds were very very high he’d be in your unit/company. And when Brits watch eg Saving Private Ryan and they see The Wise Cracking NuYawker become friends with the Southern Hayseed they see it as cheesy propaganda, where as the US audience (rightly!) sees it as an interesting byproduct of mass mobilization

  128. @John Johnson

    What is revealing is that YOU thought of “da Joos” when you read my comment. I never gave a thought to Jews when I wrote it.

    Project much?

    [MORE]

    Psychological Projection
    Psychological projection is a defence mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping.

  129. @Lot

    By that standard, I think the movie was absolutely correct. I think you are wrong.
    The Mennin Gate, perhaps the most famous war memorial in the world, is a tribute to those killed in Belgium fighting the Germans with no known grave. The names are thoroughly researched (itself an interesting story). The Government Of Belgium officially lists 54610 Soldiers, with 412 being Indian. My math gives that at 0.0075% of all those were Indian. This means that’s if there were 120 or so guys around (pretty standard company) one would be an Indian. Is that a massive number? No. But we’re they a rarity? No. I think it’s pretty likely that in the movie we see about 120 guys (we see more, but 120 we can discernibly see are not Indian) and one Indian guy. This is about as expected.
    *theres an argument that Indian soldiers are over/under represented in the #s of those killed who’s bodies were never found and Mennin is skewed, but for our purposes, it’s good enough

  130. @Anonymous

    A Month on the Country is another little gem of a film set in the aftermath of WWI.

    It was probably Colin Firth’s first starring role, and maybe still his best. Ken Branagh was the other lead.

    The original negatives were lost and only VHS copies survived. But a 35mm print turned up in an archive a few years ago and there is now a DVD.

  131. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Irving Kristol from New York went through basic training during WWII with a whole bunch of draftees from the mafia town of Cicero, IL. The experience raised doubts in his mind about whether Socialism would work.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  132. @Buzz Mohawk

    Whether it is or not, it was not the responsibility of the American People to protect Asians from their Japanese neighbors.

    So, do you think taking sides ,short of war (embargoing,boycotting etc)is always wrong , or just ill-advised/slippery slope? From your first comment I assumed you meant the USA got what it deserved. I now think you meant more they should have expected it deserved or not.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  133. @Achmed E. Newman

    In all seriousness, Journey’s End is a great film. Some damned fine acting.

    An aside: I’ve no confidence that today’s Western youth would be able to use the small arms of WW1. Today’s kids lift lattes, and don’t handle much heavier than laptops. Yeah, there are exceptions, I know.

    WW1 and WW2 rifles and ammo are heavy. How many kids today could handle an M1 Garand. Or a ’98 Mauser or Brit Enfield. While they had shorter lifespans, dudes back when/then were simply stronger physically. But technology marches on.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  134. Anon[174] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    There was a Chosin documentary about a decade ago. There was also a movie “in development” by a somewhat murky production company with, I believe, South Korean connections. It was to be titled “17 Days of Winter,” and the director of the documentary was signed on as military advisor. A screenwriter was attached, the antediluvian fellow who penned Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon. The attached director was a UCLA film school alumnus who has spent most of his career as a special effects producer — he won an Oscar for the liquid metal effects in Total Recall. He had directed the a couple of movies, including Journey to the Center of the Earth, as well as some wartime second unit for Pearl Harbor. He was planning on doing “

  135. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    400 is ~ 0.8% of 54k.

    ” This means that’s if there were 120 or so guys around (pretty standard company) one would be an Indian”

    The Indians were in the Indian Army – which consisted then of a mixture of (mostly) British officered Indian units, and few units with British other ranks.

    The numbers of Indian and Blacks in the British army itself was very small – a few hundred men, such as Walter Tull.

    • Agree: jim jones
  136. Anon[286] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    There was a Chosin documentary about a decade ago. There was also a movie “in development” by a somewhat murky production company with, I believe, South Korean connections. It was to be titled “17 Days of Winter,” and the director of the Chosin documentary was signed on as military advisor.

    A screenwriter was attached, the antediluvian fellow who penned Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon. The attached director was a UCLA film school alumnus who has spent most of his career as a special effects producer — he won an Oscar for the special effects in Total Recall. He had directed a couple of movies, including Journey to the Center of the Earth, as well as some wartime second unit for Pearl Harbor.

    He was planning on doing “17 Days” in 3D. He had worked in 3D ever since the Disney Captain EO project in the early 80s and had advised James Cameron, so it sounded like it would be subtle, atmospheric Avatar style 3D, not gimmicky stuff.

    Of course, movies “in development,” especially with no star attached, have a 99.9 percent chance of never seeing the light of day. But I think a special problem with a Chosin movie is that it’s not going to get shown in China, which is going to limit financing.

  137. istevefan says:
    @Hank Archer

    My grandfather was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad when we entered WW1. Because they deemed the railroads very important for the war effort, he was not drafted.

  138. syonredux says:
    @anonymous

    The film’s director/writers would have to walk that fine line in which they can’t really villainize either side. Tough to do, although the older (70’s?) version of “Midway” did a pretty good job.

    Tora!Tora!Tora! (1970) was very evenhanded and respectful in terms of the Japanese. Heck, the Japanese sequences were even directed by two Japanese directors. It’s also pretty historically accurate:

    • Agree: LondonBob
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  139. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Yes, there are the pals battalions and territorial recruitment. But the idea of a British general in 1917 (or at any other time) giving orders directly to two corporals is laughable. I haven’t seen the film yet, so correct me if I’m misstating the interaction between the general and the corporals.

    Private Ryan was, indeed, a cheesy propaganda flick, especially the nonsense about General Marshall ordering an ersatz squad commanded by a captain from the 2nd Ranger Battalion (!) to go off in search of a private from the 82nd Airborne Division. Spielberg’s notion that the “news” of one survivor brother among four somewhere in Normandy could be transmitted up to Marshall and an order to “find that man!” be immediately send back down, all in the midst of the chaos of Normandy’s early days, is beyond ludicrous. In that sense, it sounds to me as if the two films share a similar conceit. The general sense in western war films that there is a dramatic requirement for an Odyssey of low-ranking everymen certainly causes film makers to do strange things.

    “the unit he’s looking for is the Devons, which is a city.”

    I thought Devon (Devonshire) was a county.

  140. istevefan says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    The American model of WW1 had some of that characteristic but America decided that the Military had a good dual role as a “civilizing” organization and by putting men from different regions/classes/religions in the same company it would help form an “American” consciousness.

    In the James Cagney movie, The Fighting 69th, they covered this aspect of the American way of building the army. The 69th had been a New York national guard unit that had previously gotten fame as an Irish unit during the Civil War. As part of the mobilization, the 69th would be put into a new division with the 4th Alabama which was a guard unit too and had fought against the predecessors of the 69th during the Civil War.

    There was a good scene were the two units started a fistfight after exchanging insults. The colonel then lectured them on how the newly created 42nd Infantry Division, the Rainbow Division, was going to take men from all over and make them Americans. He said there was no room for sectionalism. He then told the 69th men that they had lost to the 4th Alabama during the Civil War. Then he reminded the Southerners that their grandfathers had cheered the heroic charge of the Irish New Yorkers and saluted them for their bravery.

    It’s a good movie that was made in 1940 and seems to be a little on the propaganda side. Perhaps the creators were trying to warm up Americans to the prospect of another war. Here is the trailer from 1940.

  141. syonredux says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    The American model of WW1 had some of that characteristic but America decided that the Military had a good dual role as a “civilizing” organization and by putting men from different regions/classes/religions in the same company it would help form an “American” consciousness.

    For example, the 42nd Infantry Division (“The Rainbow Division”) consisted of men recruited from 26 states and the District of Columbia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42nd_Infantry_Division_(United_States)

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    , @Jack D
  142. Anonymous[934] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I used to drive on the Kansas Turnpike all the time and at one of the stops there was an Indian looking cashier. Every twenty dollar bill that went through his hands got its portrait of Jackson defaced with devil horns and a goatee with a rubber stamp he had. Went on for a long while so no one apparently cared.

  143. Lot says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Still missing the point. PC requires these days putting random non-whites mixed into any historical group of Europeans.

    Indians certainly fought in WWI. They did so in Indian regiments, not randomly scattered in the main army of a nation that was at the time more than 99% white.

    For one thing, most Indians during WW1 didn’t speak English, and even less often fluently. And bilingual ones would have been more useful in Indian regiments. What share of Britain in 1914 was military-age, Indian ancestry, native fluency in English, no bilingual ability, and therefore would have been used in regular British units? Probably under 1 in 1000.

  144. istevefan says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    The American model of WW1 had some of that characteristic but America decided that the Military had a good dual role as a “civilizing” organization and by putting men from different regions/classes/religions in the same company it would help form an “American” consciousness.

    In the James Cagney movie, The Fighting 69th, they covered this aspect of the American way of building the army. The 69th had been a New York national guard unit that had previously gotten fame as an Irish unit during the Civil War. As part of the mobilization, the 69th would be put into a new division with the 4th Alabama which was a guard unit too and had fought against the predecessors of the 69th during the Civil War.

    There was a good scene were the two units started a fistfight after exchanging insults. The colonel then lectured them on how the newly created 42nd Infantry Division, the Rainbow Division, was going to take men from all over and make them Americans. He said there was no room for sectionalism. He then told the 69th men that they had lost to the 4th Alabama during the Civil War. Then he reminded the Southerners that their grandfathers had cheered the heroic charge of the Irish New Yorkers and saluted them for their bravery.

    It’s a good movie that was made in 1940 and seems to be a little on the propaganda side. Perhaps the creators were trying to warm up Americans to the prospect of another war. Here is the @utu

  • @Steve Sailer

    “The experience raised doubts in [Kristol’s] mind about whether Socialism would work.”

    What it really raised doubts in his mind about was whether socialism (and leftism in general) was actually “good for the Jews.”

    Norman Podhoretz’s seminal 1963 Commentary article, “My Negro Problem–and Ours,” covered similar ground.

  • Dube says:
    @nebulafox

    For those of a mind for combat engineering, here is an account of the improvisations for the aerial drop of a bridge that enabled withdrawal of the forces trapped at Chosin. For those of a mind for war movies, here’s a worthy challenge, to fill in the colors and sounds.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=C_rlY9Vr3aAC&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=rowny+drops+bailey+bridge+in+korea&source=bl&ots=I1NuCu9qQB&sig=ACfU3U2Pf7f6F2kW6YqfwwaennjRNde6fg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiUjd_hzobnAhVjHTQIHfuQB5YQ6AEwAHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=rowny%20drops%20bailey%20bridge%20in%20korea&f=false

    A salute for the quiet veterans of the frozen Chosin.

  • syonredux says:
    @Anonymous

    If soldiers just follow orders, then far more interesting are the men who give the orders. This is what made PATHS OF GLORY so interesting as it’s two movies in one. What happens among the soldiers who are sympathetic but hardly angels, and what happens at the top where the decisions are made. Menjou’s sinister role is especially memorable. Pawns, bishops, and kings. Cruise and Pollack in EYES WIDE SHUT. Of gods and men. Few films were as adept in conveying the relation between what transpires at the bottom and who is conspired at the top.

    Paths of Glory is a seriously underappreciated masterpiece. To my mind, it’s easily the best American film about WW1:

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  • East of Chosen, the Chinese 80th division has the easy mission. They were to overwhelm the five scattered companies of the 7th ID and march into Hagaru at dawn to surround two thirds of the 1st Marine division. The Chinese had 8 times as many soldiers. Three days later, the 7th marched over the ice of the reservoir to Hagaru. The 80th Division never made it. The 7th fought like demons. It is odd that the mighty Marine publicity machine never noticed this.
    When I was younger, a man who ran a local hobby shop was in the 7th ID. He told me that they refused to surrender or die.
    We need a nice mini series about the Chosin Reservoir campaign. There are many stories of valor. Just the defense and relief of Fox hill is an epic of valor in itself.

    • Replies: @68W58
  • @Pickle Rick

    It’s the movies: all ordnance explodes like it is full of napalm. Judges, not lawyers, question witnesses during trials. Liquid gasoline (not its vapour) is highly flammable. Always use your off-hand as an arrow-rest, because fletching absolutely will not slice your fingers to shreds that way. All explosives include LCD displays which count down the time to detonation in large, red numbers. Recruits in boot camp talk to each other (in conversational voices, openly – not furtive whispers) during meals and other lulls in training as their drill instructors take no notice. People in jail all mill about in a single, large cell with bars instead of walls, where visitors can come talk to them through those bars whilst the paperwork for bail is being sorted out.

    And so on….

  • @flyingtiger

    Of course. But if you’re willing to humor me further in my literal-mindedness, in 1917, it’s more likely they would have used a scout reconnaissance aircraft such as the SE-2 or the DH-2, rather than a fighter, such as the Sopwith Pup or a SPAD. Though I believe the Brits called all combat aircraft “scouts” in everyday parlance until after WW1.

    I’ve posted this, a precious gift from overseas from a traveling uncle when I was a schoolkid, here before, and am doing so again!

    • Replies: @syonredux
  • utu says:
    @istevefan

    In France, both active and retired personnel from the French military vehemently criticized the film—and its portrayal of the French Army—after it was released in Belgium. The French government placed enormous pressure on United Artists, (the European distributor) not to release the film in France. The film was eventually shown in France in 1975 when social attitudes had changed.[37]

    In Germany, the film was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival to avoid straining relations with France;[38] it was not shown until two years after its US release.

    In Spain, the right-wing government of Francisco Franco objected to the film. It was first shown in 1986, 11 years after Franco’s death.[39]

    The film was banned by Switzerland as “incontestably offensive” to France, her judicial system and her army, until 1970.[40]

    The film was banned in all United States military establishments, both at home and overseas, due to its content.[14]

  • Dube says:
    @Anonymous

    SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is pure schmaltz. But even if we say the guys were heroes, wasn’t it purely an accident that they were on the good side? After all, if those German soldiers had been born in the US, they would have fought for the Good Guys, and if those American soldiers were born in Germany, they would have fought for Hitler.

    Spielberg touches on the topic of combatants of German background fighting on both sides, when he has the US clerk/typist whose German speech is “clean, with a trace of Bavarian” impounded into the recon team, only to cringe in fear while a German soldier wrestles and kills the Jewish G.I. from Brooklyn. Later the same German soldier calls an appeal in German to the clerk, who responds by gunning him down, accompanied by “Yay’s!” from the movie house audience.

    Btw, when the German soldier subdues the Brooklyn kid and prepares to bayonet him, they have a verbal exchange, with the American saying, “Are you really going to do this?” and the German responds softly in German. Did anyone hear that well enough to report what those last words said?

  • syonredux says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Bah! G-8 was the greatest aviator of World War 1:

    • Replies: @Lurker
  • @kaganovitch

    I think we should always ask ourselves the question, “What would be best for Americans?” If the answer is to send 500,000 soldiers to Antarctica, then that is what we should do. I am just of the opinion that we would be better off actually defending our country and keeping it to ourselves.

    I am an old-fashioned, Lindberghist, America Firster, isolationist. A George Washintononian, opposed to foreign entanglements who thinks we have the best perch in the world right here.

    Of course, it may be impossible to extricate ourselves from our empire now, until it collapses and is replaced by China.

    What was the long-term result of our military adventures of the 20th century? Some Americans got rich, but most have seen their real incomes stagnated as our industries moved the the places where we fought the wars. Japan took a big share of our car industry, electronics, etc. Germany profited and has ended up dominating Europe anyway, and so on. What was it all for, from the perspective of an average American?

    BTW my father-in-law likes to say “There were two world wars to keep Germany from taking over Europe. Now Germany runs Europe anyway.” A retired Romanian army colonel, he said this to me as we were riding a beautiful, new German-made train across Transylvania.

  • @Buzz Mohawk

    To head off anyone who wants to say I’m ignoring the post WWII American boom: No, I’m not. Notice I am asking what the long term result has been. The boom has faded, and we are left with a failing empire in which our own people compete for low wages with the rest of the world.

  • @Buzz Mohawk

    I can’t say you’re wrong about most of that. I do wonder if a Washingtonian foreign policy would have been quite as cruelly neutral as all that, though. It seems likely that economic pressure would always be on the table, so to speak. As regards your f.i.l.’s point,it really brings out the sheer futility of the world wars. Germany could have earned her place in the sun – as indeed she ended up doing – without pushing Western civilization over the cliff together with the death of 100 million.

  • @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Point taken. Somewhere I heard that a big problem with the way American units are called up and demobilized is that each soldier goes through it alone rather than as a unit. This can lead to isolation and problems with depression, PTSD, etc. once the war is over. In Armies where the soldiers all know each prior to signing up or come from the same region and then they stay close friends with each other afterwards (the surviving ones that is) they have a life long comradery which helps them get through the mental health issues that follow the horrors of war. Of course by diversifying units, it helps keep entire villages from getting wiped out if things go wrong but that is a price that has to be paid. In Vietnam it was all based on birthdays and when someone’s time was up, they would frequently get pulled out of the middle of combat and get sent back home like it never happened.

  • syonredux says:
    @Dube

    Spielberg touches on the topic of combatants of German background fighting on both sides, when he has the US clerk/typist whose German speech is “clean, with a trace of Bavarian” impounded into the recon team, only to cringe in fear while a German soldier wrestles and kills the Jewish G.I. from Brooklyn. Later the same German soldier calls an appeal in German to the clerk, who responds by gunning him down, accompanied by “Yay’s!” from the movie house audience.

    The clerk/typist’s surname is Upham, which would seem to indicate that he’s a WASP.And the German that Upham kills is not the guy who stabbed Melish (the Jewish soldier):

    https://savingprivateryan.fandom.com/wiki/Steamboat_Willie

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  • syonredux says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    BTW my father-in-law likes to say “There were two world wars to keep Germany from taking over Europe. Now Germany runs Europe anyway.”

    ….Which indicates that the Germans should have avoided the military conquest strategy that they tried in 1914 and 1939 and simply concentrated on achieving continental hegemony via economic supremacy…..

  • @syonredux

    This is the film that Hollywood hired Kurosawa to work on (for the Japanese viewpoint), and then proceeded to replace him for some unexplainable reason.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  • @syonredux

    And Lewis Milestone’s 1929 masterpiece All Quiet on the Western Front, which set the standard for questioning the ethos of endless, senseless, and continuous war.

    UNDERappreciated? By whom? Not by film critics, nor by filmmakers themselves.

  • syonredux says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    This is the film that Hollywood hired Kurosawa to work on (for the Japanese viewpoint), and then proceeded to replace him for some unexplainable reason.

    They had their reasons:

    Production on Tora! Tora! Tora! took three years to plan and prepare for the eight months of principal photography.[8] The film was created in two separate productions, one based in the United States, directed by Richard Fleischer, and one based in Japan.[9] The Japanese side was initially to be directed by Akira Kurosawa, who worked on script development and pre-production for two years. But after two weeks of shooting, he was replaced by Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, who directed the Japanese sections.[9][10]

    Richard Fleischer said of Akira Kurosawa’s role in the project:

    Well, I always thought that even though Kurosawa was a genius at film-making and indeed he was, I sincerely believe that he was miscast for this film, this was not his type of film to make, he never made anything like it and it just wasn’t his style. I felt he was not only uncomfortable directing this kind of movie but also he wasn’t used to having somebody tell him how he should make his film. He always had complete autonomy, and nobody would dare make a suggestion to Kurosawa about the budget, or shooting schedule, or anything like that. And then here he was, with Darryl Zanuck on his back and Richard Zanuck on him and Elmo Williams and the production managers, and it was all stuff that he never had run into before, because he was always untouchable. I think he was getting more and more nervous and more insecure about how he was going to work on this film. And of course, the press got a hold of a lot of this unrest on the set and they made a lot out of that in Japan, and it was more pressure on him, and he wasn’t used to that kind of pressure.[11]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tora!_Tora!_Tora!#Production

  • @syonredux

    A better example was the 82nd (later called the 82nd Airborne), the All-American division, with men from all 48 states.

  • @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    In the 1930s, when the British built a new imperial capital, New Delhi, they built a memorial to the Indian Army dead from WW1, inscribed with about 50,000 names, iirc.

    About 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in WW1, almost all in the British Indian Army, and about 74,000 were killed.

  • @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    Sorry, I didn’t see that you had mentioned the statistics further up the thread.

  • Lurker says:
    @Jack D

    Glenn Too-Close-For-Comfort.

  • 68W58 says:
    @flyingtiger

    Task Force Faith fought like demons against two Chinese divisions until they were forced to fall back across the reservoir. A Navy Chaplain, who witnessed the piecemeal retreat, spread the lie that they had run from the enemy and MG Smith-1st MARDIV commander, who ought to have known better-did nothing to correct the misperception. 50 years later the Chinese archives were finally available and “East of Chosin” was written after which the men of Task Force Faith were finally honored with the Presidential Unit Citation.

  • @Kibernetika

    You’re right, and I doubt I could handle/carry one of those weapons for long either. I am thankful for the AR’s.

  • @syonredux

    The clerk/typist’s surname is Upham

    The scriptwriter’s nod to Charlie Upham, I’m guessing.
    He was the most highly decorated Commonwealth soldier of WWII.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Upham

  • Corn says:
    @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang

    “ And when Brits watch eg Saving Private Ryan and they see The Wise Cracking NuYawker become friends with the Southern Hayseed they see it as cheesy propaganda, where as the US audience (rightly!) sees it as an interesting byproduct of mass mobilization”

    The War Nerd was riffing on this once when he was writing back in the 00s. A filmmaker could practically call it the melting pot roll call.

    “OK men, we gotta dig in for the enemy’s counter attack! Turner, Smith, Jablonski, Santucci, you dig in here! O’Meara, you and the Big Swede dig in over there! Deacon and Goldstein, quit arguing and man the .50!”

  • Jack D says:
    @syonredux

    Rainbow means something else now.

  • @Dube

    only to cringe in fear while a German soldier wrestles and kills the Jewish G.I. from Brooklyn. Later the same German soldier calls an appeal in German to the clerk, who responds by gunning him down, accompanied by “Yay’s!” from the movie house audience.

    This is not correct. The German Upham shoots at the end is not the SS knifer. The German Upham shoots is the Wehrmacht man they captured near the radar station after their medic died after they assaulted the position with the MG42.

    After a heated argument about releasing THAT captured German or shooting him on the spot Captain Miller (Tom Hanks’ character) orders his men to let the German go on the condition he surrender himself to the first Allied patrol he runs into.

    Of course, that German later shows up in the final battle and manages to put at least one fatal rifle shot into Cpt Miller, which Upham somehow witnesses as he cowers in a nearby shell crater.

    After the P-51s and US reinforcements show up, Upham jumps out of the shell crater and captures the group of Germans that include the one who shot Cpt Miller.

    Upham begins unconvincingly ordering that group of Germans around, to which the German from the radar station makes a friendly gesture and says, “Upham!” in a friendly way, not knowing Upham saw him shoot Miller and believing he can talk his way out of captivity again.

    Upham, having developed a bond with Captain Miller during their adventure and feeling exploited about releasing that German, only to have him shoot Captain Miller, immediately executes the German in revenge and as a message to the others to follow his orders.

    The knife German is an SS guy with a totally different face and heavier build. He runs off with a look of relief on his face after knifing the Jewish private, never to be seen again.

    Watch the clips again on YouTube, what I state is all there in the film.

  • @Joe Stalin

    Movie using the Merideth Victory evacuation of North Korean civilians:

  • Peter Jackson’s documentary They Shall Not Grow Old is good.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Shall_Not_Grow_Old

  • Lurker says:
    @John Johnson

    This is Unz where every war in history is blamed on the Jews.

    Even Greek wars that predate Jewish expulsion from Rome.

    I’ve been reading the comments since Steve first opened up for them on Blogger and I’ve never seen those assertions.

  • Hibernian says:
    @Anon

    high school football player stars end up selling insurance

    That one seems realistic. Of course some of them become CEOs, and other, janitors.

  • @houston 1992

    I was waiting for someone to bring up the anachronism of racially integrated units in the BEF.

    While the British, French and Americans all deployed non-white soldiers, as far as I know they were always in separate, racially segregated units, usually with white officers. Am I mistaken?

  • @Senator Brundlefly

    There were a lot of Indians in the British army, given its status as a British colony. Gurkhas and Sikhs, especially, given their warrior traditions. But they fought in separate, units. The Indian in the truck could have been trying to rejoin his unit.

    The French had troops from their African and Asian colonies. Mostly as laborers. The French also fielded combat units of American blacks, since most of their officers had pre-war experience leading blacks in their African colonial armies. The British, however, took a pass on our offer to give them some of our negroes.

    WW1 was a meat grinder, and everyone was looking for more warm bodies by 1917.

  • @Anonymous

    One of the congregants at the CI church I worked with was a World War II maintenance officer on P-38s, who once saw-within a single morning-two men die in takeoff crashes when very heavily loaded P-38s experienced engine trouble on takeoff. The same engine failed on both airplanes. It turned out that because one of the engines turned clockwise and the other counterclockwise, there was a bad run of parts that only affected the engine that turned one way. Having two engines on the P-38 was a good thing in terms of being able to make it home on one engine if one was lost to battle damage, but the airplane could generally not succesfully take off on one engine. It was done as a stunt by test pilots in very lightly loaded aircraft to “reassure” pilots but with a normal combat load of external stores and full fuel it was beyond the laws of physics.

    He explained that the real problem was that the gear doors were extremely draggy when open and also that the airplane had electrically feathered and pitch-adjusted propellers, very slow to feather. The gear doors were also operated electrically and very slow.

    They knew of the problem early on but throughout its production run they never thought to change it, supposedly because the hydraulic propellers that would have been far faster to feather were needed for the Mustang. Also, Lockheed and Curtiss Electric had a long working relationship and not so much with Aeroproducts or Hamilton Standard.

    This old man, as he was even then (he’d probably be 110+ if still alive today: he was a ground officer and not a pilot in the war because he was “too old”, though he had a thousand-plus flying hours before Pearl Harbor: he’d worked on aircraft engines since the late 1920’s, for Fairchild on the now forgotten Caminez, Menasco, and on the Guiberson radial diesel, which he always said could have won the war in Europe a year earlier if they’d mass produced it) was NOT a fan of Clarence L. Kelly Johnson, not at all. He maintained Johnson was a “little kid fascinated with new shiny toys, and men’s lives be damned”. Johnson did not believe in extensive development of an existing design, but liked to build a whole new airplane because design was his overgrown hobby.

    The P-38 was a good example, he said, because properly developed it could have been a very useful airplane in Korea and even Vietnam. Unusable single engine takeoff performance and excessive reliance on the very heavy GE “turbosuperchargers” of the day were soluble, as were the airplane’s compressibility problems: had Johnson addressed those, he maintained, the airplane probably would have gone supersonic in a dive.

    Instead, the P-38 fleet was destroyed with a particular vengeance after WWII-probably less than fifty remained even by the start of Korean hostilities, unlike the Mustang, many of which were still in USAAC/USAF service and many more could be bought back from civilian owners to enable several squadrons’ worth to be utilized in Korea, and some ANG units flew them until the mid-50s. He figured this was because someone in a decisionmaking capacity had lost perhaps a son in a P-38 crash that he correctly figured unnecessary.

  • @donvonburg

    The West Germans had a similar opinion of Kelly Johnson’s F-104, which was kind of the opposite of the P-38. The P-38 was big and heavy, the F-104 small and light. My dad spent a lot of the 1960s trying to fix the F-104 so it would stop killing so many West German pilots. I can recall asking him to play with me, but he couldn’t because he was working on the F-104.

    He once asked an Italian Air Force general why, when the West Germans were always complaining about their pilots dying, the Italians never complained. What were they doing right? The Italian general replied, “Oh, we die. We just don’t complain about it.”

    The Italians flew the F-104 up through 2004, so think about that when people joke about Italian military bravery.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  • A small child would have told you the fix-a longer and thicker wing.

    Ironically, the U-2 concept started out as a rewinged F-104, and the highest flying air breathing aircraft in the world to this day is neither a U-2 nor the late (you’re more likely to see a B-36 fly again than a SR) Blackbird-but a Martin B-57 refitted with a super long wing and two much bigger main engines and two little ones. No Martin B-57 is still flying in the world (a couple of third world countries still fly the British version and one or two as warbirds) but NASA still flies these WB-57s, or did as of a couple of years ago.

    The Germans should have bought the Grumman F-11F Tiger or any of several European aircraft, but Lockheed bribed the Germans. I doubt Kelly had anything to do with it. I think the US had put the kibosh on their buying the F-105 for some now-ridiculous reason, which I can’t remember.

    I think the actual guilty parties got off scot-free.

    That said-the Germans were as guilty as Lockheed, because they chose to operate the Starfighter in an especially stupid fashion. Both the Italians and the Germans eventually were able to operate the type with somewhat fair results, though it was not in any way an ideal horse for the course.

    The Germans were still flying under ideas developed in the 1920s and 1930s and were able to get away with it in the subsonic jets, but the 104 was the extreme example of the airplane that could only be flown the modern way. The first such aircraft was probably the Martin B-26 Marauder. Most of the Century Series fighters (except for the Convairs) and the T-38 were that way too, but I think the Germans had mostly started in light aircraft or even gliders and came up through the thick wing jet era. USAF pilots who flew the 104 were mostly high time guys who had flown the F-100 and used to the idea of flying a brick.

    Probably the best era of USAF training was where everyone flew the T-38, which weeded out a lot of people that get through the current program okay.

  • LondonBob says:
    @Lurker

    Germany wanted to keep their land gains so peace negotiations never got past the first stage, afraid the German leadership really were loons, the Austro-Hungarians were very keen for peace as early as 1915, unsurprisingly given how the war went for them. The tragedy is that peace should have been signed by 1916, even if certain interests wanted to see it keep going.

    My great grandfather was designated a key worker and was sent to a munitions factory, he was well in to his thirties and had to retire early from professional football due to a knee injury, so that probably didn’t help, but his brothers all served and enjoyed the Western front. Their experience of war is supported by Peter Jackson’s film with its inclusion of BBC interviews with veterans expressing their pride and fond memories. I guess war really isn’t for the sort of people who write books and poetry though, for people who were coal miners in civilian life I guess being a soldier made a nice change.

  • LondonBob says:
    @Lurker

    The US Navy definitely won the American Civil War, or war of Northern Aggression if you prefer.

  • Anonymous[124] • Disclaimer says:
    @donvonburg

    The relative I mentioned was a graduate of Class 42-J, the same as the sculptor Frederic Arnold, but he was assigned to the 1st Fighter Group, a top-notch outfit, while Arnold was assigned to the 14th, a hard luck outfit that at one point when it was stationed in North Africa actually mutinied and refused to fly because the unit was taking so many casualties, more due to operational crashes than combat. The 1FG on the other hand had virtually no problems with the airplane. Leadership, training, personnel…all make a difference.
    Most military combat aircraft have serious problems of one sort or another. A more recent example was the McDonnell-Douglas F4, which had very severe stability and control problems. In particular, pilot-induced oscillation could almost instantly put 12Gs on the airframe, causing it to disintegrate before the pilot even knew what was happening. A pitch damper was installed to correct this, and it did, when it worked. Other improvements were made over the years till finally it was a pretty good airplane, all things considered. My father flew the J model during Linebacker I and II and it brought him home safe and sound, but he much preferred the F-14, which he flew during the Tanker War era, to it, and the F-18, which he flew in Gulf I, to the F-14. Progress, I guess.

  • OT: Saw the trailer today for the April release of the new James Bond movie. You will not be surprised to learn that JB has a new 00 agent who is a black woman. I can see the dialog now . . .

  • Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    A brief online search shows a max gross take off weight 0f 21,000 lbs for some (probably the final iteration) version of the P-38. One source lists 29,027 as max gross for the F-104G, and a little over that for the F-104s. However, I’m sure Lightnings typically operated a lot lighter than 21,000 lbs.

    Most WWII fighters had extremely low survival rates because after the war they needed the aluminum and it was believed that while piston transports were still useful, the jets had made the propeller fighter quite useless. That the prop fighters might be superior for ground attack duties, because early jets were fuel sluts especially down low and also because they were slower and had more loiter time wasn’t a consideration. Whether certain types with unsavory safety reputations were singled out for aggressive destruction so that they wouldn’t be re-inflicted on the troops if another round of hostilities broke out is a good question, but the likely answer was “no, they were not thinking that far ahead”.

    The P-51 Mustang has far and away the highest survival rate of any WWII fighter, at roughly one percent. That’s because it was considered the best of the piston fighters and survived in US and foreign service up until the time when people started thinking that these things would one day have value. Cavalier started “sporterizing” them with spiffy cockpits and paint schemes and they were the fastest airplane a civilian owner could legally fly solo for a long, long time. Eventually a few fighter/trainer jets started showing up on the civil register (although the 1970s fatal crash of a friend of Ronald Reagan into a packed Farrell’s ice cream parlor with a F-86 nearly put the kibosh on this) and some of the bizjets were certified for single pilot operations starting in the late 70s.

    The Mustang was in many ways an astonishingly successful design. The Rockwell T-2 Buckeye trainer jet used essentially a Mustang wing, and several companies came up with the idea of putting a turboprop in it to use as a counterinsurgency aircraft. It actually made a lot of sense-too much sense, the Air Force, which did not even want the A-10 and its ground attack role, got very upset indeed at the idea they might be stuck with a WWII propeller airplane with conventional gear as late as the 1980s. At least the A-10 had the virtue of being decently expensive to operate.

    The Mustang was the dominant airframe in Unlimited air racing, in frequently drastically modified form. One variant was the Learstang, where the wing and horizontal stab of a 23/24 Lear were mated to the Mustang fuselage. Some had the Rolls Royce Griffon engine and counterrotating propellers added, and all sorts of things were tried.

  • Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @donvonburg

    Kelly famously detested Bill Lear, who modified his Lodestar into an improved Learstar, which was also done by Dee Howard. He did leave a lot of performance on the table in many of his designs and preferred to move on to the next thing, rather than refining the old design. The P-80 became the T-33 and was very successful, but mostly once he got a taste of the black world and its money and secrecy that let him work in his little fiefdom with no outside knowledge, let alone interference, he did not want to work for anyone besides the CIA or the Air Force.

    He did not like working for the Navy and especially detested the Army, which caused Lockheed no end of grief over the genuinely radical and brilliant AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter program. It was a much better machine than the later AH-64 and would still be the best attack helo in the world today if built.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
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