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American Movies Distort History?

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American Movies Distort History?

Old 08-05-04, 03:20 PM
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American Movies Distort History?

Interesting article in the Independent this week:

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/thi...p?story=546798

As mentioned in the article, I found U-571 and The Patriot to be the most egregious examples of this trend. Why can't these studios even try to get their facts straight? Or do they just think that the American public is so insecure that no one will watch unless the hero is an American?

Please note that the criticism here is being directed at movie studios, not Americans.
Old 08-05-04, 03:26 PM
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Convenient that the article doesn't mention the British film where a brit is shown breaking the sound barrier.

Not surprisingly, the article mentions Saving Private Ryan. The film is about soldiers who landed on Omaha beach...of course they're going to be Americans! Had it been about Juno, you would have seen Brits.

And U-571 is a complete work of fiction, it's not supposed to be a history lesson...it's an action movie. It even has disclaimers saying so, including a tribute to the actual captures of Enigma machines.

Tired old arguments, the article says nothing new.
Old 08-05-04, 03:35 PM
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U-571?

See Enigma a British film that openly distorts the facts of breaking the enigma code.
Old 08-05-04, 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
And U-571 is a complete work of fiction, it's not supposed to be a history lesson...it's an action movie. It even has disclaimers saying so, including a tribute to the actual captures of Enigma machines.
But it's not a work a fiction -- there really was a crew that captured an Enigma machine off a U-Boat. But that crew was British, not American.

The question remains: Why did the studio feel the need to change the story and make this an American crew?
Old 08-05-04, 03:46 PM
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Wait...movies like U-571 aren't a good place to learn history? Heavens to Mergatroid!

www.independent.co.uk

...that url says it all. They can't resist America bashing on any page. I swear, they're obsessed. Sometimes I read that paper and every single article (even on the sports page) include some small anti-American line. Lending credence to people who are outraged by Hollywood's insistence on trying to sell tickets is another ludicrous example of this.
Old 08-05-04, 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
But it's not a work a fiction -- there really was a crew that captured an Enigma machine off a U-Boat. But that crew was British, not American.

The question remains: Why did the studio feel the need to change the story and make this an American crew?
Because it's an American movie being marketed primarily to Americans...maybe that's it. Who gives a shit, it's just a fairly mediocre commercial action movie.

Side note: according the book "The Code Book" by Simon Singh (probably my favorite science history book), Enigma was broken by the Poles without mechanical computers in 1938. Turing's got nothin'.

Last edited by Hiro11; 08-05-04 at 03:50 PM.
Old 08-05-04, 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by Hiro11
Lending credence to people who are outraged by Hollywood's insistence on trying to sell tickets is another ludicrous example of this.
I don't understand. What if the movie was kept exactly the same in all respects except that they changed the crew's nationality. Would they not have sold as many tickets?
Old 08-05-04, 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by Hiro11
Because it's an American movie being marketed primarily to Americans...maybe that's it.
So Americans will only watch a movie with American heroes?
Old 08-05-04, 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by Hiro11
Side note: according the book "The Code Book" by Simon Singh (probably my favorite science history book), Enigma was broken by the Poles without mechanical computers in 1938. Turing's got nothin'.
No, the Poles got the ball rolling and cracked the Enigma concept (an early prototype). It was Turing's genius and his friends at Bletchley that cracked the far more sophisticated machines used during the war.
Old 08-05-04, 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
I don't understand. What if the movie was kept exactly the same in all respects except that they changed the crew's nationality. Would they not have sold as many tickets?
Doesn't that go without saying?
Old 08-05-04, 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by Hiro11
Doesn't that go without saying?
So why did they change the nationality?
Old 08-05-04, 04:03 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
So Americans will only watch a movie with American heroes?
No, but more Americans will watch a movie with American heros.
Old 08-05-04, 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
So why did they change the nationality?


Because, in general, Americans like to watch movies about Americans. Just like Brits, in general, like to watch movies about Brits.
Old 08-05-04, 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
No, the Poles got the ball rolling and cracked the Enigma concept (an early prototype). It was Turing's genius and his friends at Bletchley that cracked the far more sophisticated machines used during the war.
http://webhome.idirect.com/~jproc/crypto/enigs1.html

Sorry, the Poles broke the first Enigma version in 1933 (not 1938, that's when they mechanized the process on the naval 5 rotor version), they just didn't tell anyone.
Old 08-05-04, 04:10 PM
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English Heritage, the government body responsible for the historic environment, has accused Hollywood studios of destroying Britain's national identity with misleading and inaccurate portrayals of the country's past.
He singled out films such as Saving Private Ryan, U-571 and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as prime offenders
LOL, I wonder if they gave Robin Hood: Men in Tights high marks since unlike other Robin Hoods, he could speak with an English accent.
Old 08-05-04, 06:39 PM
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I hate this stupid argument.

"Destroying Britain's national identity" because they didn't get to save Pvt. Ryan?
Old 08-05-04, 06:47 PM
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Originally posted by Flave
So Americans will only watch a movie with American heroes?
No but there's no doubt they'd prefer to see American heroes.
Old 08-05-04, 07:00 PM
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A little off topic but...

Looks like them Brits have bigger fish to fry.

More than a fifth of 16 to 24-year-olds thought Britain had been conquered by the Germans, the Americans or the Spanish.

Back on topic I would say they shouldn't be complaining considering we saved their asses sixty years ago .
Old 08-05-04, 07:31 PM
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Y'know, Helm's Deep WAS an important victory and signaled the rise of Men as the true keepers of the land, but it's role in history HAS been over-exaggerated and overblown over the centuries. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Old 08-05-04, 08:40 PM
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If Britain doesn't like it, tell them to make their own movies.
Old 08-05-04, 10:58 PM
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I think that they could have made the crew British of course then the British would have been complaining about those American actors doing bad British accents.

I think Hollywood can never win
Old 08-06-04, 12:50 AM
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one of my friend's grandfather's told his wife that armaggedon was a true story. "don't you remember seeing it on the news a few years ago?" she would've believed it too but he couldn't keep a straight face when she started agreeing with him.
Old 08-06-04, 01:03 AM
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Originally posted by sundog
U-571?

See Enigma a British film that openly distorts the facts of breaking the enigma code.
Plus it's as boring as watching meat rot.
Old 08-06-04, 01:25 AM
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Well U-571 never claimed to be true. Sure the characters weren't real, but the rest of the story wasn't either.

And nobody seems to pay attention to the issue that while the Brits were the first to capture the Enigma, Americans did in fact capture Enigma also in 1944. So...since the film doesn't pretend it's the real thing, and since Americans did at one point capture the Enigma, who cares.

And if we're going to knock American movies for being historically accurate...why don't we knock ALL movies for being historically inaccurate. I mean...it's not like foreign countries are churning out starkly realistic historical movies that are 100% fact.

In the end movies are not good places for historical fact. They're a good place to inspire interest. But real history does not always make for compelling cinema. So changes are made. And The Patriot biggest problem certainly wasn't its history...even if it were historically accurate how does that fix the fact it was amazingly awful film anyway. I cheered when they burnt that church down those characters were so annoying.
Old 08-06-04, 04:33 AM
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Eddie Izzard has a bit about Saving Private Ryan and how Speilberg left out the Brits on his dvd CIRCLE


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