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June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

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View Poll Results: I intend to watch content from...
Westerns
22
81.48%
War
22
81.48%
Biopics
16
59.26%
Documentaries
18
66.67%
Sports-related
11
40.74%
Period Dramas
15
55.56%
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June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 05-04-10, 06:15 PM
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June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Poll
Please select all that apply. I don't expect that you'll only watch content from whatever choices you make, but it will give me an idea of how much interest there is in each category. That will influence the balancing of the checklist. I figure, since the checklist is going to be comprehensive, it should also reflect the aggregate's interest in each field.

First things first: I have never hosted a challenge before, and I will appreciate your patience. This is the first time for this particular challenge, and it arose from a discussion about holes in the Challenges that ought to be filled. War and Westerns were both favored subjects for the lone remaining Challenge month in the schedule, and it was agreed that both could be reasonably covered by a History Challenge.

Now, the questions to be discussed are: What are the parameters for War and Western, and what else ought to be included under the History umbrella? Tentatively, I'm thinking about including biopics and documentaries, and opening it up to include appropriate television mini-series and specials. (It seems a waste to exclude The History Channel's excellent works, or Band of Brothers.)

The emphasis here will be on content based upon real people and real events. We expect there to be fictionalizations, and disputed interpretations, of course. We'll be more tolerant of these liberties with Westerns, operating on the grounds that when it comes to the mythology of the Old West, "when legend becomes fact, print the legend."

I've got some other thoughts, but for right now I'm going to keep quiet and let those of you who are interested in participating kick it around for a bit. What kinds of things do you think should be included, what should be excluded, what should be essential?

Last edited by Travis McClain; 05-10-10 at 03:14 PM.
Old 05-04-10, 06:32 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Sounds interesting to me. I love the war and Western category.
How many people will you need to make this challenge a go?
Seems to me ( although I could be wrong ) that I don't expect a whole lot
of participation. Especially in the Western category.
It's hard enough just to locate enough Western DVD's let alone have a challenge
If you have seen my recent posts I've been crying for more Western's, especially
involving the American Indian wars, but
If there's enough people to do it, i'd be in.
So you're saying things like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly wouldn't count
because it's not about a real person?
Old 05-04-10, 06:38 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by JOE29 View Post
Sounds interesting to me. I love the war and Western category.
How many people will you need to make this challenge a go?
Seems to me ( although I could be wrong ) that I don't expect a whole lot
of participation. Especially in the Western category.
It's hard enough just to locate enough Western DVD's let alone have a challenge
If you have seen my recent posts I've been crying for more Western's, especially
involving the American Indian wars, but
If there's enough people to do it, i'd be in.
So you're saying things like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly wouldn't count
because it's not about a real person?
Trevor would say that even if it's just you and me, we've got enough for the challenge and I think his philosophy is right. Ideally, this would become the single most popular Challenge of all time. Every current member would participate and word of mouth online would be so overwhelming that this site's servers would crash from the number of people signing up just to participate. (I suspect the actual turnout will be somewhere between the two of us and a worldwide phenomenon.)

As for Westerns, I'm open to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is what I was trying to explain in the remarks about how we'll be more open to what counts for this genre. Westerns are as much a celebration of the mythology of the Old West as they are about history. As long as that mythology is being explored or portrayed--and history isn't blatantly violated--then I think a movie should have an easy time getting in here.

More simply, the kind of thing I would exclude would be, say, Wild Wild West. Is that more helpful?
Old 05-04-10, 06:53 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Just my initial thoughts...

I was happy when the war/western discussion expanded to become more of a historical challenge. Mainly because my focus is always on the massive unwatched pile at my home, and I have few war/western titles at my fingertips.

Expanding it allows me to include (in my opinion):

**The couple of sports sets I have with complete game broadcasts
**Films based on actual events (21 Hours at Munich, Schindler's List, United 93)
**Other "special interest" sets like the ones I picked up from Big Lots last summer...Larry King Live: Greatest Interviews, The History of Rock N Roll, etc.

Glad to see you take the ball and run with this MinLShaw.
Old 05-04-10, 07:15 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
Now, the questions to be discussed are: What are the parameters for War and Western, and what else ought to be included under the History umbrella?
Although I may stick with just War movies and Westerns myself, I think we'll get more participants if you open it up to any film or show set in the past.
Old 05-04-10, 07:30 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by cardsfan111 View Post
Just my initial thoughts...

I was happy when the war/western discussion expanded to become more of a historical challenge. Mainly because my focus is always on the massive unwatched pile at my home, and I have few war/western titles at my fingertips.

Expanding it allows me to include (in my opinion):

**The couple of sports sets I have with complete game broadcasts
**Films based on actual events (21 Hours at Munich, Schindler's List, United 93)
**Other "special interest" sets like the ones I picked up from Big Lots last summer...Larry King Live: Greatest Interviews, The History of Rock N Roll, etc.

Glad to see you take the ball and run with this MinLShaw.
Thanks for the kind words of encouragement! I brought up the idea of including sports pieces in the compendium thread, and it was met with a mixed response. Personally, I see no reason to exclude such features since sports have their own history and have had an impact on culture. Jackie Robinson's courageous breaking of the MLB color barrier, for instance, was much more than about the Dodgers bringing up a new second baseman (and yes, I'm aware that Robinson started playing at first when he debuted). I'm fine with sports, so long as they're based on real events (so no Rookie of the Year or Necessary Roughness).

Films based on actual events--and everything you gave as an example--seem reasonable to me. Can anyone articulate a plausible reason to exclude them? If not, they're in.

Special Interests stuff...my gut reaction says yes, given the nature of what you've cited. I'm sure there are all kinds of gray areas in this section, though, so I'm gonna wait and see if any of those emerge before stamping it with complete approval.

Originally Posted by Dimension X View Post
Although I may stick with just War movies and Westerns myself, I think we'll get more participants if you open it up to any film or show set in the past.
I'm fine with the spirit of what you're saying, but I want to be clear about the wording. For instance, I think time travel stories are best left to the science fiction/fantasy challenge. (I know; we were all wanting to watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for this challenge...) Does anyone want to try to help articulate the Period Pieces clause?
Old 05-04-10, 07:33 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I'm sticking with war movies that are based on a real war. How much real it is from there, doesn't matter to me. As for westerns, as long as there's no aliens or giant war machines, I think it should be fine.
Old 05-04-10, 07:47 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers View Post
I'm sticking with war movies that are based on a real war. How much real it is from there, doesn't matter to me. As for westerns, as long as there's no aliens or giant war machines, I think it should be fine.
Okay, let's consider the War side of things for a moment. I'm all for including propaganda films. By this, I mean those that were actually produced by the U.S. War Department.

As for fictionalized War features, where do you stand on comedies? For instance, No Time for Sergeants or 1941? Should a feature prominently focus on combat in order to qualify? What about something that focuses on prisoners of war, like The Bridge on the River Kwai? Or civilians caught up in things, like Doctor Zhivago? Thoughts?
Old 05-04-10, 07:58 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I would imagine that both The Bridge on the River Kwai and Doctor Zhivago would count on just by them being period dramas right? I would say that anything that occurs during a war period and war is the main aspect or the background should count.

are you doing what they do for the horror challenge, if IMDB and Allmovie.com have something listed as History in the genre it counts? I would imagine this would be the case if it has war, biography, western etc. as one of the main genres?

Meant to say, Cold War related comedies better count!
Old 05-04-10, 08:07 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BuddhaWake View Post
I would imagine that both The Bridge on the River Kwai and Doctor Zhivago would count on just by them being period dramas right? I would say that anything that occurs during a war period and war is the main aspect or the background should count.
I assumed they'd count because I'm the host and I love David Lean. Er, because, yeah, they're period dramas. No, my question was specifically in the context of War pictures. I'm trying to not only put together the guidelines for this challenge, but a checklist, too.

are you doing what they do for the horror challenge, if IMDB and Allmovie.com have something listed as History in the genre it counts? I would imagine this would be the case if it has war, biography, western etc. as one of the main genres?
I haven't decided. I'm kind of reluctant to farm out authority for this challenge. We'll see. Thoughts, anyone?

Meant to say, Cold War related comedies better count!
What've you got in mind?
Old 05-04-10, 08:15 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I was thinking stuff like the russians are coming and dr strangelove and One Two Three. As for the checklist, i never bother with them so I couldn't help you. How about a war theater that takes place in each continent, and all the major wars in modern times that have been turned into movies. how about something that takes place in every century similar to the horror checklist. I don't know, just throwing stuff out there.

Last edited by BuddhaWake; 05-04-10 at 08:19 PM.
Old 05-04-10, 09:03 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MinLShaw;10140521
As for fictionalized War features, where do you stand on comedies? For instance, [I
No Time for Sergeants[/I] or 1941? Should a feature prominently focus on combat in order to qualify? What about something that focuses on prisoners of war, like The Bridge on the River Kwai? Or civilians caught up in things, like Doctor Zhivago? Thoughts?
I think any of these would do. If you're going to include 1941 or No Time for Sergents ( which I just ordered this weekend ) Blazing Saddles should fit into that category too. It's not about combat, but it is a comedy Western. By the way, count me in. Just reading everyone's posts and the movies that are being tossed around is getting me excited about this. I'll just be sticking to the war / western category also.

Last edited by JOE29; 05-04-10 at 09:08 PM.
Old 05-04-10, 09:18 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I think you should just call it the War/Western challenge. The way history is being defined so far, it's just not sci-fi/fantasy. Maybe switch to the somewhat plausible, non-futuristic challenge.
Old 05-04-10, 10:12 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I'll just be viewing Westerns. I assume Deadwood counts, with two episodes equaling one film?
Old 05-04-10, 10:45 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Somebody in one of the threads suggesting the title should be Historical Challenge. I think that sounds a little bit more open than History.

Also, just so that people can know more by glancing at the title, maybe add something like (War/Western/Docs/Bio). I know thread titles are limited in length, but I think that would fit.

Not nitpicking, just ideas for debate. The more inclusive it seems from the thread title the more people will click on it.
Old 05-05-10, 12:04 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Yeah, I had suggested it should be an Historical Challenge and be more about the past rather than on what's true. That allows in Westerns and Period pieces, like Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Jane Austen adaptations, and even Blackadder. For a challenge such as this, you need to allow in TV and Documentaries. A great deal of the success of the Drive-in Challenge was that the genre was defined but had a nice bit of variety so it never got old.
Old 05-05-10, 04:55 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

So, would fictional historical stuff count? Like:

Rome (the series)
Carnivale
Band of Brothers


I'll participate in the challenge whatever the rules are, though. It'll give me a chance to watch From the Earth to the Moon.
Old 05-05-10, 06:34 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Fist of Doom View Post
So, would fictional historical stuff count? Like:

Rome (the series)
Carnivale
Band of Brothers


I'll participate in the challenge whatever the rules are, though. It'll give me a chance to watch From the Earth to the Moon.
I would say yes to all of them as Carnivale is set during a specific period in time, the dustbowl.
Old 05-05-10, 08:36 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
I haven't decided. I'm kind of reluctant to farm out authority for this challenge. We'll see. Thoughts, anyone?
Personally, I prefer having a source to look at to determine if a title counts or not. If it's a title I've never seen before and it sounds like it could be a gray area, I'm always a little hesitant to watch it and count it. Either way, I'll participate and I have more than enough unwatched titles that should easily qualify.
Old 05-05-10, 10:17 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
Okay, let's consider the War side of things for a moment. I'm all for including propaganda films. By this, I mean those that were actually produced by the U.S. War Department.

As for fictionalized War features, where do you stand on comedies? For instance, No Time for Sergeants or 1941? Should a feature prominently focus on combat in order to qualify? What about something that focuses on prisoners of war, like The Bridge on the River Kwai? Or civilians caught up in things, like Doctor Zhivago? Thoughts?
I also think those should all count. Even including things that are "what if" type deals, like what if Germany won the war?

It'd be nice if the title of the challenge could be tweaked some. When I see History Film Challenge, I think about having to pull this box set out http://www.amazon.com/Historic-Class...072747&sr=1-33

I also have this http://www.amazon.com/War-Classics-M...072747&sr=1-29 but I've already been through all the movies.

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Old 05-05-10, 11:38 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Given that this Challenge grew out of a desire to combine what would have been all-inclusive separate War and Western Challenges, I think we should go out of our way to be very forgiving of those two genres.

I'm thinking we should include everything of those two, except for future type films which are more sci-fi and can be watched in July for that Challenge.

The documentaries and bio pics are just gravy.

On period pieces, I'm still inclined to only count them if they are at least somewhat based in real life.

Just my random thoughts of the moment.
Old 05-05-10, 11:44 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
I'll just be viewing Westerns. I assume Deadwood counts, with two episodes equaling one film?
I'll be doing only westerns as well. Very anxious to open my Deadwood set.

Right now, my plans are to watch Deadwood, a few TV things like my old single discs of Have Gun, Will Travel and Gunsmoke, my 5 or so western blu-rays, and my Billy the Kid 20 film pack.
Old 05-05-10, 11:56 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I have a few biopics and a few more westerns to see but I will see a couple of historical based stuff some real and some fictional. Like Machuca is fictional but only the kid's story but what was happening at that time is a fact.
Old 05-05-10, 12:42 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

This is my sweetspot as I've taken to watching these kinds of movies lately and June is a pretty dead month on the networks. I'd recommend the following guideline for "ficitional history" films... If it is set in a historically accurate time with composite/fictional characters, it counts. Put another way, if it gives you significant "accurate" non-fictional knowledge of the past then it's history. Exclude sci-fi films such as Bill and Ted..., Manhatten Project, and comedies such as 1941. Include films such as The Young Victoria and The G/B/U.

I have a lot of sports events as well but that seems a bit of a stretch. Live Sports/MMA/Wrestling just seems like it should be some sort of specialty contest for those in the Sports forum. I think we should include MOVIES about sports events such as Eight Men Out or Cobb.
Old 05-05-10, 12:57 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Interesting thoughts so far. What kinds of things do participants think ought to be incorporated into a checklist? Should there be separate War, Western and Other checklists, since some members have already expressed that they intend to concentrate exclusively on one subject?

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