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  1. #41
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    name='Moor Larkin']I had hoped to because I often rather enjoy Dennis Quaid (when he's not being soppy). It was well-made enough but it just seemed so soulless. I was left with no idea of why the Texans were so determined or why the Mexicans didn't just reduce them to dust with artillery, as they appeared more than capable of doing.


    It's interesting to read these comments - it appears that the film makers didn't bother to make the basic facts clear. The Texans were fighting for independence from Mexcio and for control of the land allotment - they had enacted policies through local legislatures that would allow American settlers to move in under very liberal conditions, and the Mexican central government wouldn't allow it. Sanata Anna was head of the Mexican forces and also self-styled dictator: he had abolished the constitution and called himself the "Napoleon of the west" who would bring the Americans to heel - not a popular way of thinking in the American west at the time. It's interesting that the defenders at the Alamo were both anglos and Mexicans.



    As for reducing them to dust - well, the Mexican forces did utterly destroy the defenders. The Alamo was a glorious failure. If that was not made clear, then the movie failed even in its basic storyline. The Alamo is one of the great noble American disasters in the history of the 19th century. Virtually everyone was killed, but they managed to take down three times the number of Mexican troops before destruction.



    That was followed by the Goliad massacre, where the POW's captured by Santa Anna were slaughtered in the hundreds. The outrage produced by both the Alamo and Goliad provided plenty of energy and initiative - and new recruits - for Sam Houston, the "father of Texan independence", and at the Battle of San Jacinto a few weeks later, Santa Anna was defeated and Mexico declared independence.



    Every American child knew of The Alamo and Davy Crockett when I was a boy. He was the symbol of the tough backwoods American frontiersman who went down fighting. I have no idea if that is still as true as it was. But it certainly used to be.





    Davy Crockett was the only character that made any sort of sense to me. The relationship between Bowie and the h'Officer just seemed to be resolved in a terribly twee way and Sam Houston's epic marching around was glossed over like an addendum. The producers seemed to want to set up the plot at the start with all those unshaven men at political meetings in huts but it just didn't work to explain anything. They all postured a bit like 'Gangs of New York' out west but I had no more idea about what the battle over Texas was all about, than I'd had at the start.


    Ugh! That sort of nonsense is why I avoid movies like this now. The story itself is very basic. There is no excuse of the sort of confusion you are describing. It sounds like they made it much too fancy.





    Maybe it would have worked better if one really knew the subject and were able to enjoy the human spectacle, which I guess most Americans would.


    Well, yes - I suppose most of us would know the basics - but I think that even today many people are not thrilled about the revisionist history involved.



    Sam Houston and Davy Crockett were far from perfect, but today there is a tendency to make them smaller than life. That was even true in the boring 1960 version.



    I thought the same thing about Tony Richardson's "Charge of the Light Brigade". The film makers were so determined to portray the aristocrats as idiots and malicious fools that they reduced them to cartoons - far more offensive than sentimentalized heroics.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    name='TimR'] it appears that the film makers didn't bother to make the basic facts clear.
    Maybe I just wasn't paying attention....

    Most of what you say was kind of in there, on reflection. 'The Alamo' was very well-known to me as a kid. I did know they all died. I'm guessing the movie tried to do too much. ZULU didn't attempt to tell the story of the Zulu War or make any commentary upon its morals or justification, it just picked it's ground, stood fast, and told it's small story. Now I come to think of it, the later 'Zulu Dawn' felt a bit like this recent Alamo... muddled.

  3. #43
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I had read a fair bit about The Alamo before I watched the film the other night, so maybe I enjoyed it more than Moor because I didn't have to work too hard to understand what was going on. The narrative on the film was muddled as Moor says, and I think that was because IMHO the scriptwriter made trying to explain the facts more important than telling the story, a trap which the writers of Zulu Dawn also fell into. Zulu, as Moor also pointed out, told it's story with the minimum of background information. It gave us a brief idea of what was going on and then concentrated on telling the story of the men at Rorke's Drift. I think that was what Wayne intended with the original version of The Alamo, but failed because neither the writer nor director were up to the job.



    Bats.

  4. #44
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    The pro-British sympathies in 1939/40 Hollywood (The place rather than the industry) must be at least partly down to the huge ex-pat community working in film from the foundation of Nestor studios in 1913 Hollywood by two Scots....there were enough British comics in the silent era to make Hollywood seem like a department of Fred Karno's.....and once sound came, the need for British actors with impeccable diction and projection for the early sound recording made it a stampede...is Hollywood's cricket team still going, or are all the expats playing football with Robbie Williams now??

    Of course the highest-profile victim of this, yet generally excluded from these discussions, was Chaplin; The Great Dictator, begun in 1939 and personally financed by him, was opposed at every turn in Hollywood; he was bullied into dropping it, but he continued. He was actually booked to appear in front of a Congressional Committee to explain his effort at anti-nazi propaganda, but Pearl Harbor intervened. His reward was to be exiled from his home for forty years for the rest of his life (Bar that Oscars appearance in the 1980's) at the next available opportunity. His crime... to appear at pro-Soviet Relief fundraisers....during the war when they were all our allies.

  5. #45
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    name='Moor Larkin']Oh I agree, but it's rather like the English watching 'Braveheart'. Mel Gibson was really telling a story of the power of the individual but some found it a bit rude to the English at times, whilst some Scots seemed to see it as a paen to Independence.


    Some English found it a typical "colonial with a chip on his shoulder" rewriting history to make England look bad . There's no history of oppression of native people for Mel to tackle in Australia or the US, is there??

  6. #46
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    name='penfold']Some English found it a typical colonial with a chip on his shoulder rewriting history to make England look bad . There's no history of oppression of native people for Mel to tackle in Australia or the US, is there??


    He could have a crack at the genocide and mass injustices perpetrated against the Aboriginals.



    Bats.

  7. #47
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    name='batman']He could have a crack at the genocide and mass injustices perpetrated against the Aboriginals.



    Bats.


    Indeed, I was being sarcastic but couldn't find an appropriate smiley....the worse thing is, the oppression of the Aborigines in Australia isn't some dark shameful secret from the past but still actively happening out there.

  8. #48
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    name='penfold']Indeed, I was being sarcastic but couldn't find an appropriate smiley....the worse thing is, the oppression of the Aborigines in Australia isn't some dark shameful secret from the past but still actively happening out there.


    So I believe. I just couldn't believe some of the things that happened. Have you seen Rabbit Proof Fence? A very good example of that oppression.



    Bats.

  9. #49
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    Indeed....but even then they had to import a Brit to play the oppressor....

  10. #50
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    name='penfold']Indeed....but even then they had to import a Brit to play the oppressor....


    Although he is very good in it ..........



    Bats.

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