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by Bill Ward on August 7, 2009

in Black Gate,Film & TV

King-Arthur-KnightlyI've Bloggated a rather long post all about what belongs on a viking's head over at BG today entitled 'Getting It Right -- and Wrong -- on Film Discount Tindamax, .' Actually, I did manage to range a bit beyond the headware topic to include garments of other kinds:

The film spares no trick in getting the celebratory atmosphere just so — for the court is alive with news that an entire treasure fleet of the hated Spaniards has been captured, the funds diverted to her majesty’s treasury, the ships scuttled or pressed into privateering service for the Crown. Tindamax coupon, Elizabeth herself blushes in anticipation of receiving the hero of the hour, the man whose name is on every tongue (and has been for quite some time, 100mg Tindamax, Tindamax japan, truth be told), Vice Admiral Sir Francis Drake, Tindamax canada. Tindamax australia, The tension builds, the courtiers grow restless, Tindamax mexico, 150mg Tindamax, the lavish entertainments are ignored. All necks stretch, Tindamax uk, Tindamax ebay, even the alabaster column of the monarch’s herself, when the herald announces the great man’s arrival and the doors swing open, Tindamax paypal. Tindamax usa, Francis Drake strides confidently forward in ripped jeans, bowling t-shirt, 500mg Tindamax, 40mg Tindamax, and backwards pointing baseball cap.

OK, actually, Tindamax india, Tindamax overseas, the whole thing is about accuracies and inaccuracies -- deliberate or otherwise -- in the films we all take in with our mother's milk. Does it matter, Discount Tindamax. Are those critical of historical lapses just pedants and old prunes, Tindamax us. Tindamax craiglist, Should children really watch something as appallingly inaccurate as the Flintstones.
Is calling Amadeus inaccurate a criticism, 1000mg Tindamax, 250mg Tindamax, or compliment. Personally, 750mg Tindamax, 50mg Tindamax, I think it's a brilliant play and excellent movie that evokes history while subverting it. Are the absurdities of 10, 30mg Tindamax, 10mg Tindamax, 000 BC even deserving of criticism, when clearly they don't take themselves seriously enough for anyone else to think to do so, 200mg Tindamax. 20mg Tindamax, And what about the goofy costuming in The 13th Warrior -- should people really cringe at morions on vikings?

MorionHelmetIn one sense, I suppose we've seen progress -- a morion is less silly than a horned helmet, after all.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle August 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm

My husband and I argue this point all the time. What it breaks down to for us is whether it’s distracting to our enjoyment of the film. Certain wardrobe inaccuracies don’t bother me unless they are made simply for Hollywood sex appeal. Gross historical inaccuracies bother me more because I believe some moviegoers take the Hollywood version as fact.

Bill Ward August 7, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I agree that distraction is a big part of it — which in some senses means the more you know about something, the less you’re able to enjoy the average film about it. I think this is why I tend to object to inaccuracies of appearance more than the stretching of fact — because seeing someone wearing something that has yet to be invented, or something silly like Miss Knightly in the photo above, just draws attention to itself and dispells the illusion of the film.

And I notice you qualify the inaccuracies of fact that bother you as ‘gross,’ and I agree — minor stuff usually has to be changed for dramatic purposes. It’s when something really big is wrong or, even more importantly, a change alters the significance or message of an event, that you have a real problem. These are usually the thing that will bring a film down while other things can be overlooked — unless you really happen to love vikings and you chance to see them in . . .oh, never mind.

Kerstan August 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Bill,

Like the blog, enjoy reading you at Blackgate. I was moved to comment simply to say, I’m sure as heck glad you know what a morion is. Over the years I’ve had people who should know better tell me a morion was fully enclosed, face covering helm. I don’t even know where that idea comes from.

So many ‘historicals’ are flat out intended fantasies, I just wish the studios would explain that a bit more. 300 was actually driving me crazy until I slapped myself and said, ‘it’s a fantasy movie.’ Movies like The Last Legion, etc. I think tend more toward Howard’s historically inspired Hyboria then any heartfelt reality. The producers just need to say so.

Bill Ward August 7, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Thanks for posting Kerstan — and I’ve never heard a morion described as a closed helm, either. Weird.

Great point about historicals being fantasies (and 300 is a better example than even most, since it pretty clearly pushes right out there into it’s own territory), and it actually reminds me of one nuance I didn’t cover. I think one of the reasons I was so disappointed in the costuming for The 13th Warrior and King Arthur (well, I was disappointed in *everything* about King Arthur) is because those movies depend on history to sell their fantasy elements. The 13th Warrior is ostensibly a ‘real history’ retelling of Beowulf, and hence its extraordinary elements should really ‘pop’ in comparison with the rest of it — which is why they should have strove for absolute historical accuracy (even if mail and nasal helms are ‘boring’). King Arthur took the great idea of sticking Arthur back in the historical period that gave birth to him, then threw it away by making that period look every bit as fake as any of those silly Arthur movies where the knights wore cable-knit sweaters as stand-ins for mail.

So, while 300 was about hyper-reality and celebrating the legend of an event, The 13th Warrior was about the real world being rudely disturbed by a legend, which is something the book evokes beautifully– but the movie didn’t get the real world part right enough to make it believable. Outlander does the same thing, really, but still I liked both movies, just wish they’d been a bit better.

Bill Ward August 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

And I haven’t seen ‘The Last Legion’ yet. Worth checking out?

I like your mention of Hyboria, that’s actually a perfect example of ‘historo-fantasy’ that probably does make a good reference point for many Hollywood films. Of course, one big difference is the Hollywood historicals don’t take that final step of ‘admitting’ they are fantasy fusions.

Kerstan August 8, 2009 at 6:39 am

Last Legion – Eh, a poor man’s King Arthur. The cast is respectable and the conceit is interesting, but ….

Hollywood’s non-admission can really irritate. Even the historicals that change up, like your Braveheart example. So much of the movie and even tv docs that came out around it’s release talked up Wallace as a commoner. I was flat out stunned when I found out he wasn’t. Grrrr.

For me, the hardest part of The 13th Warrior to accept was making a scimitar out of a Viking sword by heating it and pounding it into a curve. Yeah, that’ll do that. (Although in the interest of full disclosure I have to say I liked the film too. What a great depiction of a dungeoncrawl!)

And on the subject of Hollywood and fantasy/historicals – can we get a moratorium on fire arrows? Please?

Bill Ward August 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Oh, fire arrows. Reminds me of an absolute howler of a scene from Timeline — maybe you’re familiar with it? These two forces are volleying flaming arrows back and forth at night and then one of the commanders, devious bastard, cries “Night arrows!” — and his side fires a volley of unignited, ie. regular, arrows. Well, the other side, who can’t see those particular ‘night arrows’ coming in the dark, is pretty shocked at the casualties they took from such an inspired strategy.

TV docs do like to take their talking points from popular movies. Reminds me of something else that irritates me, and that’s the History Channel borrowing the look of current, hot movies for their docs. One particularly galling and un-watchable (for me) show of there is Battles BC, which really thinks it’s 300, and is just full of silly, repetitious slo-mo battle scenes of whirling stuntmen fighting with two swords. The hero — Caesar, Ramses, Alexander, Hannibal — *always* wades into battle with a sword in each hand, be it a gladius or khopesh, and busts out some Hollywood moves. I likes the shows better when the montage shots were about a dozen knobby-kneed Romans in left-over cinecitta armor standing in for a legion.

The ‘do-it-yourself” scimitar conversion was pretty priceless.

Doesn’t sound like I should go out of my way to get The Last Legion, then.

Nate April 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I’m doing a little research on how history has “changed” in a :whisper down the lane” way. I am focusing on Vikings, and my search lead me to this blog. I was wondering if there were any suggestions of reading to do that may help me to verify my findings. I need a few secondary sources to round out my reading.

Bill Ward April 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Are you looking into how our perceptions of different historical periods has changed over time? Interesting idea.

If I think of any specific books I’ll mention them — certainly novels would be something you may want to look at for popular perception (ie. Haggard’s Eric Brighteyes vs. Chrichton’s Eater’s of the Dead). Certainly Victorian ideas about Vikings have undergone a radical re-imagining in recent years, but some fo that is still with us (ie. horned helmets).

If I think of something, I’ll put it here. You can email me through my Contact page as well, if you like.

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