Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > DVD Discussions > DVD Talk
Reload this Page >

Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

DVD Talk Talk about DVDs and Movies on DVD including Covers and Cases

Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Old 07-02-12, 11:39 AM
  #251  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 12,603
Received 269 Likes on 205 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts about what you actually watched this year. Did you find any new favorites? Learn anything about history that you'd actually like to know more about now? Would you recommend any of what you've watched? Doesn't have to be in the context of this challenge, but just in general?
MACARTHUR (1977), with Gregory Peck as Douglas MacArthur, had considerable flaws but it had a few very good scenes that made it worth seeing. MacArthur's return to the Philippines is very well handled and quite emotional. Also, the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 1, 1945, is beautifully filmed and staged and quite a powerful moment. I would have liked more material on MacArthur's presiding over the occupation of Japan, but the few scenes we see are quite interesting.

I watched two pairs of similarly-themed films about the war with Japan.
THREE CAME HOME (1950) and Steven Spielberg's EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) may be the only Hollywood films about life for noncombatants in Japanese prison camps during the war, and both are based on books by people who lived it. THREE CAME HOME was brutally honest--unusually so for a Hollywood film--about the cruelty of the Japanese captors at this camp for British civilians in Singapore. There's even an attempted rape of the protagonist (played by Claudette Colbert) by a guard and her attempts to seek justice lead to further torture and harassment of her. EMPIRE OF THE SUN tended to soften this aspect of life in the camp. I read the book by J.G. Ballard and it was all about the desperation and need to constantly negotiate with the Japanese and with each other to insure enough food to survive. The film made it seem, at times, like a grand adventure for the boy protagonist (Christian Bale). But 13-year-old Bale's performance is excellent and he carries the film on his shoulders. And it does offer excellent recreations of Shanghai at the time. It's a good film, but it's not really true to the tone of the book.

THE MOUNTAIN ROAD (1960) and CHINA DOLL (1958) were both about the war in China and dealt with relationships between American officers and Chinese women. In MOUNTAIN ROAD, the cultural divide is too deep and the romance never takes off. The whole thing is very thoughtfully and carefully handled and features excellent performances by James Stewart and Lisa Lu. CHINA DOLL allows the romance to reach the marriage-and-pregnancy stage, but it comes off as too much of a western fantasy about Asian women. It is a fascinating film, though, chiefly because of the central performance of Li Li Hua, a Hong Kong star making her only Hollywood appearance.

There aren't that many Hollywood films about the war in China. Anna May Wong made a couple during the war that were interesting but very low budget, which I watched for one of last year's challenges. There are others I want to seek out and see. I did watch FLYING TIGERS (1942) for this challenge, but it's more about the American pilots and has no significant Chinese characters. There are other related films, such as LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING and THE INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS, that I wish I'd found time for in this challenge. I did see some documentaries about it, including THE BATTLE OF CHINA, plus one about the war in Burma. I finally picked up a DVD of THE PURPLE PLAIN, with Gregory Peck as a flyer stranded in Burma, but I didn't get a chance to watch it yet.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 07-02-12 at 01:58 PM.
Old 07-02-12, 01:35 PM
  #252  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 392
Received 9 Likes on 6 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Due to too many late days at work there were too many gaps of several days between viewings so I didn't get to nearly as much as I had planned to. I spent most of my time on two television shows, season one of the HBO western Deadwood and the British documentary The World At War both of which I liked quit a bit. Deadwood is just full of great acting and writing and has one of the most multifaceted bad guys I've seen in a long time. It also got me to wondering just when many common swear words entered the English language. Its something I will have to check on some day. I was not able to get through all the episodes of The World At War but where I stopped, episodes 15 and 16, made for a good resting point. They cover the home fronts in England and Germany respectively and summarize the broad outlines of what has gone before. I liked the fact that areas of the war I was totally unfamiliar with were covered. For instance the action in Burma was given an entire episode and all of this was totally new to me.

I also watched two movies covering The Boxer Rebellion, the American made 55 Days in Peking and the Hong Kong based Shaw Brothers film Boxer Rebellion. The films complimented each other in terms of content. The American film was all about the siege of the legation area where the representatives from the western countries were housed while in the Hong Kong film this took place off screen with the main concern being before and after this happened. A little casual research showed that both films got the broad historical strokes correct but also a lot wrong. In 55 Days for instance the names of the commander of the American Marines and the head of the British legation were changed -- I guess that was done so they could both go on a commando raid to blow up an armory which as far as I could tell never really happened. In Boxer Rebellion they got the name of the commander of the occupying force correct (Waldersee) but I doubt if he had had an affair with a high ranking woman of Beijing or if he agreed to stop the looting when two trouble makers offered to turn themselves in. There were also apparently some issues with the uniforms of some of the foreign armies. In particular US soldiers looked like they were straight out of the Civil War. At least it was Union blue. In terms of getting the history right I think Boxer Rebellion was a bit better but both put action, drama and romance over what really happened. On the other hand, both movies were very entertaining.
Old 07-02-12, 02:06 PM
  #253  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 12,603
Received 269 Likes on 205 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by omike

I also watched two movies covering The Boxer Rebellion, the American made 55 Days in Peking and the Hong Kong based Shaw Brothers film Boxer Rebellion. The films complimented each other in terms of content. The American film was all about the siege of the legation area where the representatives from the western countries were housed while in the Hong Kong film this took place off screen with the main concern being before and after this happened. A little casual research showed that both films got the broad historical strokes correct but also a lot wrong. In 55 Days for instance the names of the commander of the American Marines and the head of the British legation were changed -- I guess that was done so they could both go on a commando raid to blow up an armory which as far as I could tell never really happened. In Boxer Rebellion they got the name of the commander of the occupying force correct (Waldersee) but I doubt if he had had an affair with a high ranking woman of Beijing or if he agreed to stop the looting when two trouble makers offered to turn themselves in. There were also apparently some issues with the uniforms of some of the foreign armies. In particular US soldiers looked like they were straight out of the Civil War. At least it was Union blue. In terms of getting the history right I think Boxer Rebellion was a bit better but both put action, drama and romance over what really happened. On the other hand, both movies were very entertaining.
Interestingly, Li Li Hua, the Chinese star of CHINA DOLL, which I discussed in the post just above yours, appears in BOXER REBELLION as the Empress Dowager. I watched both 55 DAYS and BOXER REBELLION back-to-back some years ago, after reading a book about the events. I found the Hollywood film egregiously off the mark about what really happened and rejected it out of hand. (And I'd liked it when I'd previously seen it.) I give the Shaw Bros. film some slack because it's mainly a wish-fulfillment kung fu movie rather than a historical drama and it gives American star Richard Harrison a role (as the German commander). He'd previously played the title role in MARCO POLO, another Shaw Bros. "epic." Both films used to play on local TV under different titles: BOXER REBELLION as BLOODY AVENGERS and MARCO POLO as FOUR ASSASSINS.

I had taped them off TV back in the 1980s and wound up taping over BLOODY AVENGERS but keeping FOUR ASSASSINS. Years later, when I got back into old-school kung fu, I decided I wanted to see BLOODY AVENGERS again, so I wound up buying a bootleg VHS copy of it only to learn it was a copy that someone had taped off TV back in the 1980s! Now, of course, both films are out on R3 DVD uncut and under their original titles. And Richard Harrison is dubbed in Mandarin.
Old 07-02-12, 03:18 PM
  #254  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 392
Received 9 Likes on 6 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
Interestingly, Li Li Hua, the Chinese star of CHINA DOLL, which I discussed in the post just above yours, appears in BOXER REBELLION as the Empress Dowager. I watched both 55 DAYS and BOXER REBELLION back-to-back some years ago, after reading a book about the events. I found the Hollywood film egregiously off the mark about what really happened and rejected it out of hand. (And I'd liked it when I'd previously seen it.) I give the Shaw Bros. film some slack because it's mainly a wish-fulfillment kung fu movie rather than a historical drama and it gives American star Richard Harrison a role (as the German commander). He'd previously played the title role in MARCO POLO, another Shaw Bros. "epic." Both films used to play on local TV under different titles: BOXER REBELLION as BLOODY AVENGERS and MARCO POLO as FOUR ASSASSINS.

I had taped them off TV back in the 1980s and wound up taping over BLOODY AVENGERS but keeping FOUR ASSASSINS. Years later, when I got back into old-school kung fu, I decided I wanted to see BLOODY AVENGERS again, so I wound up buying a bootleg VHS copy of it only to learn it was a copy that someone had taped off TV back in the 1980s! Now, of course, both films are out on R3 DVD uncut and under their original titles. And Richard Harrison is dubbed in Mandarin.
Ash I always find your knowledge of movies, especially actors and actresses quite amazing. I must admit to also liking 55 Days much better the first time I saw it which was in a theater and through eleven-year old eyes. When I did my research for this viewing I was surprised that Hollywood got anything right, now viewing life through sixty-year old more cynical eyes. But they did seem to get the major troop movements correct and I was really surprised that the Empress offered a clear statement of many of the conditions that lead to the trouble, which was ignored by any other characters in the movie of course but still.

For some reason I missed picking up Marco Polo during my several year long Show Brothers buying binge. The darn things were just coming out so fast it was hard to keep up and of course funds were not unlimited. Every once in while I think about trying to pick of some of the R3's I don't have and I don't think will ever be released in R1 (and there are a bunch) but time and money issues keep me from doing any serious checking.
Old 07-05-12, 12:17 PM
  #255  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
davidh777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Home of 2013 NFL champion Seahawks
Posts: 52,303
Received 969 Likes on 803 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

I always used to watch 1776 and The Music Man on the 4th of July. Too bad the holiday falls just outside of this challenge.
Old 07-05-12, 12:36 PM
  #256  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Travis McClain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Hemisphere
Posts: 7,758
Received 176 Likes on 116 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
While I did not get to Platoon (I started but it stressed me out too much), I did get to cross a couple of big films off my "To Watch" list such as Griffith's Intolerance, Grand Illusion, and Night and Fog. Griffith's epic was quite beautiful despite the lack of subtly, and I really enjoyed it, especially the modern and the Babylon story lines.
I saw Grand Illusion for the 2010 Criterion Challenge and quite liked it. I had the sense that I was seeing the origins of both Rick Blaine and Darth Vader. As for D.W. Griffith, I have reached the point of feeling outright shame at not having seen any of his work to this point - particularly as I'm from the same small town (LaGrange, KY). I can tell you that the small house his family once lived in now belongs to the locksmith. There's a little note etched into the sidewalk in front of the house. Also, the concession stand in our movie theater is called Cafe D.W., though the place has devolved so much that the word, "cafe" is has gone from playful to dreadful.

Favorite First Time Viewing: Ivan the Terrible, Part II, Eisenstein's look at the possibly insane tsar was engaging, narratively and stylistically. I understand Stalin's reluctance to have the second part released.
I'm pretty sure this is the first time someone has walked away from this challenge with a sense of identifying with Josef Stalin.

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
EMPIRE OF THE SUN [snip] The film made it seem, at times, like a grand adventure for the boy protagonist (Christian Bale).
On the flip side, I once heard George Takei say that as a Japanese-American child interred in the U.S. that he processed it all at the time as something of an adventure. I should like to think that at the very least, treatment was demonstrably more favorable here versus in Japan so I don't mean to imply that because Takei had fun as a kid here that it was some kind of lark everywhere across the world or anything asinine like that. Merely, you triggered the recollection and I thought I'd share.

Originally Posted by davidh777
I always used to watch 1776 and The Music Man on the 4th of July. Too bad the holiday falls just outside of this challenge.
Aye, and we fall outside Memorial Day, too. Perhaps we might consider again looking at expanding the scope of this challenge and overlapping with one of the adjacent challenges? I wouldn't expand it to run from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July, but I also wouldn't mind seeing us stretch out a few more days to one of the two ends. Those two holidays seem like the rightful time for this challenge, and if the Holiday Challenge can run Thanksgiving to New Year's, I don't see why we can't have at least one of those two.

The Fourth of July would tack on four days to the challenge, whereas Memorial Day would vary. Maybe consider something where we go with the lesser of the two? That is, in years where Memorial Day is more than four days away from 1 June, we would run through the Fourth of July but when Memorial Day falls within four days of 1 June, we would begin then.

Thoughts?
Old 07-05-12, 01:02 PM
  #257  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 12,603
Received 269 Likes on 205 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Since I'm guessing that a lot of participants in the Historical Challenge will also participate in the Criterion Challenge, I thought I'd mention that I heard that Barnes & Noble will be offering a 50% off sale on Criterion discs starting July 10. I took advantage of this sale last year and purchased a bunch of Kurosawa titles.
Old 07-05-12, 05:25 PM
  #258  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: DFW
Posts: 2,541
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Aye, and we fall outside Memorial Day, too. Perhaps we might consider again looking at expanding the scope of this challenge and overlapping with one of the adjacent challenges? I wouldn't expand it to run from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July, but I also wouldn't mind seeing us stretch out a few more days to one of the two ends. Those two holidays seem like the rightful time for this challenge, and if the Holiday Challenge can run Thanksgiving to New Year's, I don't see why we can't have at least one of those two.

The Fourth of July would tack on four days to the challenge, whereas Memorial Day would vary. Maybe consider something where we go with the lesser of the two? That is, in years where Memorial Day is more than four days away from 1 June, we would run through the Fourth of July but when Memorial Day falls within four days of 1 June, we would begin then.

Thoughts?
I remember the first year, we allowed Memorial Day and July 4th as "bonus days"; anything watched on those days could be added to your challenge totals. I'm all for expanding the challenge. I'd be fine with having it run from Memorial Day through July 4th, but would also welcome your alternate suggestion as a compromise.
Old 07-05-12, 09:40 PM
  #259  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
davidh777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Home of 2013 NFL champion Seahawks
Posts: 52,303
Received 969 Likes on 803 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by Doc Moonlight
I remember the first year, we allowed Memorial Day and July 4th as "bonus days"; anything watched on those days could be added to your challenge totals. I'm all for expanding the challenge. I'd be fine with having it run from Memorial Day through July 4th, but would also welcome your alternate suggestion as a compromise.
I'd be OK with just expanding it also. I guess there'd be a fear of people gaming the challenge for massive double counting? But since most of us don't usually hit our goals, a few extra days would be nice. These particular bookends are great for this challenge and would probably coincide with a number of watching events (I think Hatfields & McCoys started on Memorial Day this year, or pretty close at least--people were talking about recording or going On Demand to fit it into the window).
Old 07-11-12, 05:08 PM
  #260  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

I know we're beyond the cutoff and I watched one measly title that qualified during June, but since it's still pretty close still, I watched Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for the first time on my 10 hour flight yesterday.

I hate when this happens, but honestly I was pretty let down, considering many believe this to be one of the greatest films ever made. Sure the acting, cinematography, and story are all great, but holy crap did I get bored with how long this dragged one. I felt like the same story could have been told in a far more efficient manner. The last hour really dragged on for me and hampered my enjoyment of the film. By the ending, I was more happy it was over than actually feeling much emotion over what was going down in the storyline. I'm curious if this happened to anyone else during some of the longer films as part of the challenge.
Old 07-11-12, 05:41 PM
  #261  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
The Man with the Golden Doujinshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Mister Peepers
Posts: 7,882
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Does this challenge get a results thread?
Old 07-11-12, 06:37 PM
  #262  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Travis McClain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Hemisphere
Posts: 7,758
Received 176 Likes on 116 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by davidh777
I'd be OK with just expanding it also. I guess there'd be a fear of people gaming the challenge for massive double counting?
I don't see it as an issue. We'd be overlapping with either the end of the Make-Your-Own Challenge, in which case no one can really impose any rules on anyone else's viewing anyway, or the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge in which case there shouldn't be anything eligible for both. In any event, I've never had a problem with "dual citizenship" for viewing selections as participant or as host.

Originally Posted by gp1086
I know we're beyond the cutoff and I watched one measly title that qualified during June, but since it's still pretty close still, I watched Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for the first time on my 10 hour flight yesterday.

I hate when this happens, but honestly I was pretty let down, considering many believe this to be one of the greatest films ever made. Sure the acting, cinematography, and story are all great, but holy crap did I get bored with how long this dragged one. I felt like the same story could have been told in a far more efficient manner. The last hour really dragged on for me and hampered my enjoyment of the film.
You're dead to me. I could go on about how the real problem is that Act II is too rushed and not long enough, but I won't because you're dead to me.

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
Does this challenge get a results thread?
I suppose I can throw one together if it matters to anyone. Personally, I've never understood the idea of a standalone thread just for the "results." I've compiled the viewing totals into a Google Docs spreadsheet if anyone wants to see.

Short version: BobO'Link's view count of 75 was tops, and Doc Moonlight is the only one to complete the checklist (which many of us didn't even attempt).
Old 07-11-12, 07:09 PM
  #263  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
The Man with the Golden Doujinshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Mister Peepers
Posts: 7,882
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
or the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge in which case there shouldn't be anything eligible for both.
There's plenty of stuff that qualify for both, time travel and alternate history films for a couple of examples.

Were you/we all still going to work on new rules?
Old 07-11-12, 07:23 PM
  #264  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Travis McClain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Hemisphere
Posts: 7,758
Received 176 Likes on 116 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
There's plenty of stuff that qualify for both, time travel and alternate history films for a couple of examples.
Yeah, I tend to forget about that stuff because in my mind, they're really more Sci-Fi than Historical Appreciation, Connecticut Yankee notwithstanding. Time Bandits and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure really belong in the SF challenge, not ours.

Were you/we all still going to work on new rules?
Absolutely! We can go ahead and discuss all that now through the end of May as far as I'm concerned.
Old 07-13-12, 03:05 AM
  #265  
Senior Member
 
ororama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 612
Received 7 Likes on 7 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
Were you/we all still going to work on new rules?
Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Absolutely! We can go ahead and discuss all that now through the end of May as far as I'm concerned.
My opinion is that the best course is to leave the rules alone, for the most part. The zeitgeist rule potentially lets just about anything in, but otherwise, the basic rule that almost anything set in the past (from the perspective of the time that the movie/program was made) avoids a lot of questions and debate about eligibility.

The rules from prior years worked okay. I think that if you look at the lists, you will see that changes in the basic rules would be a solution in search of a problem.

On the other hand, if you want to tighten the rules to exclude things that aren't sufficiently documented by historians, you can look forward to a smaller, purer challenge next year.
Old 07-13-12, 09:13 AM
  #266  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 8,373
Received 159 Likes on 117 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Absolutely! We can go ahead and discuss all that now through the end of May as far as I'm concerned.
I agree with Ororama, my opinion is to leave the rules alone, with the possible exception of the Zeitgeist rule. I doubt I would participate much in the challenge under the new rules.
Old 07-13-12, 10:56 AM
  #267  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
The Man with the Golden Doujinshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Mister Peepers
Posts: 7,882
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Re: Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!

I disagree with the zeitgeist rule. Being able to come up with a reason so 99% of everything is eligible. We already have a make your own challenge to allow everything. The only way I could ever be cool with the all-inclusive zeitgeist rule is that if anyone wanted to watch something and use that as the qualifier, that they write a short essay on it's historical merits. At least then there's some effort on their part instead of someone watching Star Wars and saying it's historically significant because of the cult following or Hostel and saying it's significant as being one of the first wide releases to introduce torture porn to the masses.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.