25 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Review Historical War Films?

  1. ANZAC Girls was the absolute best. Those were true stories of heroic women. Crimson Fields went soapy, unfortunately.

  2. Their Finest is a great companion to Dunkirk and came out just a few months before. A civilian’s perspective, during the blitz, and it’s about a female screenwriter making a film about Dunkirk! Not sure the costumes are anything jawdropping, but it does look accurate for the period.

      1. I did miss most of the dialogue in one of the final scenes because I was too busy admiring Gemma Arterton’s housecoat, but suspect that may just be me!

  3. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess that this is the reason you don’t review things like “The Godfather” and gangster movies in general either?

    1. I LOVED The Godfather trilogy, omg, ah-may-zing acting / directing! But very much male-centered stories, plus very recent costumes (only the 2nd movie was really “historical” by our terms), so yeah, not much for us to talk about.

    1. Actually, that’s a different kettle of worms — we don’t review fantasy films, & Gone With the Wind is a white supremacist fantasy of the Civil War & Reconstruction.

  4. I was just listening to a podcast about the White Rose Society in Germany during WWII. Now that is a war story that would make an amazing frock flick done correctly. the main protagonists are a bother and sister duo who printed anti Nazi pamphlets during the height of the war.

    1. Have you seen the German films on that subject: Sophie Scholl and Die Weisse Rose? I’ve seen Sophie Scholl and it’s got subtitles. It’s excellent.

  5. I too preferred ANZAC Girls to Crimson Fields and war movies are okay especially if they have more than the generic female ‘nurse’ Sorry Dunkirk I preferred Atonement. But I did love Glory and I wish Mercy Street had at least another season. Hannah James’ character was thought provoking and Patina Miller’s was one of the best things about the series.
    I believe the BBC or ITV did Wish Me Luck which was great. It’s about female spies dropped into France during WWII. It even had Shirley Henderson in it.

    So what I’m trying to say if it’s a war movie with strong female characters Luke Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman, ANZAC Fielders. I’m down with it.

  6. War movies/tv series don’t have to be male centered. It is typically, male really. Also there is now a division between war movies that centre on men and those about women. Why not films that feature both men and women that say a couple might enjoy. Atonement was the last war film I watched with my S/O though to be fair war films are more my thing than his. I get fed up with films where the director and or screenwriter appears to have forgotten that humans come in two genders. Back in the seventies when I was at school there was a BBC series about WWI fighter pilots. Half the story featured the issues faced by the family back home, with “Mum” taking on the work of the absent men and mastering blacksmithing. It was one of my favourite TV series at the time. Another favourite, War and Peace goes into the war and the impact upon society as a whole with plenty of strong female characters. (until the ending at least which Tolstoy botched completely) It often seems as though the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly sexist.

  7. Have you ever seen the British series Goodnight Sweetheart? The main character is a real dick but I’m curious about if /how accurate the costumes might be?

  8. Excellent points, all of them. However, I DID love the way the costumer designer in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN made modern men look like men from the 1940s by the way the uniforms were cut. Subtly, but it made the actors look shorter-coupled and not a modern body type.

    1. Saving Private Ryan was an unusual war story because it was a very humanistic based story — trying to prevent a mother losing all her boys like the Sullivans from Iowa did (my son went to a school on base in Japan named after the five Sullivan brothers that died in WWII). A lot of war stories do tell about battles and don’t focus a lot of the human beings involved. SPR was very different for that reason alone.

  9. Would you do an in-detail review of 2016 Korean film “The Handmaiden” by director Park Chan wook? Pretty please! It has a lot of amazing costumes, going from Korean to Japanes to European, being set in Japanese occupied Korea in the 1930. Besides, it’s a masterpiece and one of the rare lesbian costume movies out there. I thought the costuming felt really important for the story, not just decorative, which is a plus. For reference, watch this video ( WARNING, it contains some spoilers”

    Oh by the way it’s a twist adaptation of the “fingersmith” Novel.

    Please watch it and review it ladies, you won’t be disappointed!

  10. While I’d agree that it’s usually a question of research, sometimes “uniforms” are not quite so uniform and there’s a lot of interpretation involved. For example, during the Napoleonic Wars, de Marbot’s notes on the Battle of Aspern-Essling mention how voltigeurs (skirmishers) and even cuirassiers would have many improvised pieces to their uniforms. Civilian boots, overcoats looted from the enemy, and mismatched coats appropriated from the dead. To show them dressed “uniformly” would be incorrect, so how to show them correctly? Conversely, units such as the Young Guard were notorious for never having a single button or strap out of place.

    During the earlier French Revolutionary Wars, lax regulations and lack of official suppliers made French infantry look remarkably mismatched and disheveled. Third party observers would often comment on their baffling appearance.

    Just some examples I remember. On the subject of uniforms, I read once: “There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore!”

    1. One could make a similar ‘uniform’ argument for the English Civil War, which I’m researching for my novel; HistoryBuffs’ Nick Hodges is hilarious, right off the bat, in his assessment that the English didn’t have a ‘uniform’ of ‘redcoats’ ’til the 17th c (on the Parliamentarian side)- in fact, I’ve learnt that like most levied forces, people usually wore whatever they left home in, but occasionally got coats, or sashes/ batons (in the case of officers) from their commanders, but it was mostly a case of whose banner (what lord or noble) you were fighting under.
      A FrockFlicker could judge the material, colour, trim etc. according to whatever social rank, or unit the characters are purported to be/ be with.
      Naive nit that I was (I’m not English, we never studied the ECW in Australian schools), I once assumed the ‘Roundheads’/ Parliamentarians all must have been short-haired & that was one of the ways you could tell who was who, but that derisive name arose from an altercation between crop-headed apprentices and King’s supporters- few people wore their hair shorter than shoulder length at this time (shorn hair was a sign of poverty/ recent illness/ servitude) – ‘Cavaliers’ had also begun as a slur- to say that they were as ‘papist’ & foppish as the Spanish caballeros. However, they took up the nickname with pride.
      Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents!

  11. I’m happy to see the love for ‘ANZAC Girls’- it was a wonderful production.
    There was a docu-drama for one of the baddest bitches of WWII a couple of years ago, the indomitable Nancy Wake, a NZ-born/ Australian raised ex-pat, who took off for Europe as like a teenager/ early-20 something; she became a reporter, married a French industrialist & then went onto become a Resistance/ SOE member who was among the Gestapo’s ‘Most Wanted’: The White Mouse – one of her biographers called her ‘twice the man I’ll ever be’ & she was sexy & feminine, to boot.
    I read an account that one of her package drops was cosmetics… but she also made a legendary bike trip, to deliver vital radio parts- it was a 400 km, round trip- she ended up with blisters, & had to take her ‘bathroom break’ ‘in the seat’, as it were- but she said it was one of the things she was most proud of. She also killed a Nazi with her bare hands – Nancy was as tough as any man she served with (her radio operator, nicknamed Den-Den was also openly gay- or as open as you could be in the ’40’s, but the SOE had a unique talent for turning a blind eye to questionable elements in their agents… including criminal records).
    Why a story that exciting & varied isn’t ready-made blockbuster material I cannot understand.
    It’s a shame ‘they’ choose to repeat stories, along with their associated tropes & cliches- or just make them up shakes head sadly… there’s a reason the phrase ‘history is stranger than fiction’ exists, after all.

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