17 thoughts on “The Crimson Field (2014): Downton Abbey Meets M*A*S*H

  1. I confess I learned of the VADs only a few years ago from the Doctor Who audio series “Dark Eyes.” The female lead there, Molly O’Sullivan, is a VAD. After listening to the story (and its sequels!), I went out and researched what I could find about the VADs.There was so little, then.

    I’m so pleased to see these women finally getting their due!

  2. Reenactors get pretty wrought up over details, largely because they try to get them right for themselves, and the ‘authenticy Nazis’ can be REALLY PICKY. The most extreme example of this is the Brigade of the American Revolution, who get obsessed over thread count in Royal Army uniform cloth. And nothing quite rankles like the ‘farbies’ who will show up for an event in something ‘sort of close,’ but not really make an effort. Crimson Field is nowhere in my area of expertise, and I find some characters more involving than others, but put next to the recent History Channel series on WWI and it looks pretty decent. And yea, China Beach!

    1. LOL – we’re reenactors too, so I get the uproar, but then, I’d be thrilled to see the eras I reenact done this well. And I *was* thrilled to see Wolf Hall done so right, as that’s (almost) my favourite era (it’s a few decades early, but awfully close), & I nitpicked a few tiny things while praising the heck out of it constantly. The criticism I saw of Crimson Field was so unremittingly harsh, with layers of sexism & classism, that I just felt like, whoa, where do these ppl get off?

      1. Some people have no sense of proportion nor of the reality of production budgets, the constraints of time, etc. While I’m very much of the opinion that it’s usually as easy to do it right rather than wrong, I remember the frustrating search for trims and braids appropriate to a given period. When we started doing the 17th century in the late 70’s, there were few sources for almost anything. It got better once we found the English Civil Wars sutlers, but even so, it was all uphill. As to to some people’s sexism and classism, it’s an ironic reflection of the show.

  3. I watched this show thanks to this review, and thought it was alright. I did think that Anzac Girls (2014) did a better job in terms to both costumes (they had the right shade of red for the Scarlet Capes!), as well as the writing.

    Anzac Girls is pretty much Australia’s version of a TV show about WW1 nurses. It is also based around a number of actual people from Australian nursing history, rather than outright fictional drama. Well worth a watch, and would probably make a good comparison blog post.

    1. I’ve heard of Anzac Girls, but I’m afraid it won’t make the crossing to US screens :( We get BBC fare pretty steadily, but unless a company specifically makes a deal, the rest of the Commonwealth is hardly ever seen. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries first made it to America via Netflix & only very recently on PBS, & Canada’s Artful Detective is on cable w/Ovation.

      I want ’em all so I can see for myself!!! (& not just via sneaky illegal means, foo)

  4. Not too much seen about the Aussies in the big wars, at least not over here. “Gallipoli” was probably one of the biggest — and most depressing — effort. On the other hand, “Robin Hood” (2010) might well have been called “How the Aussies Saved England,” judging by the stars. Only 2 out of 11 leads were British-born, and one of those, Mark Strong. has European parents. Where did you see “ANZAC Girls”?

    1. It screened on the ABC (that is, the Australian Broadcasting Commission) last year to coincide with the Centenary of the outbreak of WWI, and again this April for the Centenary of the Anzac Landing. I wonder if the site owners might consider accepting the DVDs as a donation, in exchange for a review?

      Another amazing Australian WWI film that you might be able to get is Beneath Hill 60, about the underground tunnelers who served near Ypres, in Belgium. I particularly enjoyed this film as I grew up in a country mining town, there the Tunneling Corps. were recruited from. I also got to visit it site a couple of years ago on a visit to Belgium, which was pretty special.

      1. We seem to be getting more Aussie shows on PBS here. Now having one about a rather irascible doctor set in the mid-50’s; can’t recall the name at the moment. I’ll look for the Hill 60 film.

  5. Yes, Dr Blake. As far as women and war, I think I like the Bletchely Circle storylines and characters better.
    An interesting “B” movie about a woman in WWI was “Fraulein Doktor,” about a German female spy who gets assigned as a doctor in an Allied medical station. There is one scene of a gas attack with cavalry that is absolutely apocalyptic.

    1. I loved the Bletchely Circle (I have a review half-written!) — amazing characters & actors, such depth, plus a good mystery. Not exactly wartime re: in theater, but the post-war treatment of women’s lives was excellent.

  6. There was a BBC series of “Testament of Youth” back in (I think) the 80s, which had a lot of VAD material in it – and there’s a very recent film of it, which I haven’t seen.

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