alex maiolo wrote:Man, I have argued this many times. The guy they let go ("Betty Grable! Nice gams!") isn't the stabber ("go to sleep"), right? If that's correct, then the very foundation on which the essay is written is shot.
I also don't see what's the big deal that SPR is fictional. A writer took the Sullivan Brothers incident and transposed it to the ETO. While the mission is fictional, the depiction of the war in Europe, and the details I mentioned earlier, are historically correct, and impressive. I don't see it as some sort of jingoistic feel good crap, I see it as a movie about the futility of war. The massive loss of lives and materiel that happens in the blink of an eye, and the idea that a mission could be launched sacrificing many men just to save one.
I think that the essay still holds despite it resting on an apparent misreading (I am fairly sure the stabby chap is different because I wanted to work this out the second time I saw it, and to me he looked pretty different).
Regarding the point that it is fictional, I was more addressing the fact that I think that the film has an awful plot despite it sharing many of the same film-makers as the TV series. Several years ago, when I was a better or worse correspondent depending on the recipient's tolerance for ravings, I wrote two of my good friends called Andrew on this forum some words on this film. At the risk of making both slap their foreheads in frustration for a second time, I'll be lazy and copy and paste it here:
When I was even wordier I wrote:Essentially, I thought that the violence of the opening and ending of the film completely contradicts and negates the slushy, formulaic crap that forms the main part (and the coda). I am certain that Spielberg did not intend this, but the mannered dialogue, character history, and narrative forming the main part are destroyed by the violent parts. The probably unintended message of the latter sections is essentially that of senseless annihilation: no narrative, no morality, no chance in war, just chance death and injury. They make the by-the-numbers character construction and plot development hollow, inconsequential, fake and ultimately depressing. In a weird way, I see parallels with the way in which the shower murder of Psycho effectively murders the measured and well written (in fact, exceptionally well written) story that goes before it, and replaces it with the senseless, mindless world of brute image*. Which is, after all, where Spielberg is most effective: the spectacle. As usual, I am making this up as I go along, but extrapolating from this, you could see the saccharine sentimentality of Spielberg's films as being a subconscious apology for the sheer horror of his immersion in brute spectacle.
Regarding the accusation of glamourisation of violence, well, I feel there is truth to the accusation, but not necessarily in the obvious way ("Let's go to war! War is horrible but makes us manly"). I don't think at any point during the violence, a sane viewer (Zaf - be warned) would see this violence and think, wow, that looks cool, I'd like to do that. It shows men being broken down psychologically and physically, taken to pieces if you wish.
However, it is still titillating - the jerky camera, explosions, insanely intricate sound, wounds and death were, at least to me, pretty exhilarating to go through in the cinema. This is uncomfortable to admit, but the D-Day scene is definitely entertaining, at least to sickos like me. Maybe it is in that rubber-necking, Crash obsessed fashion, but essentially he has turned a real-life horror into an entertainment. Here is where we (and maybe Godard, though I think his Schindler's List argument was different) might say that this is unhealthy, immoral, all-in-all disgusting. But I'm not necessarily sure that this is true. My primary reaction to the scenes on first viewing were nausea and the shock of a rush of unencountered sensation, and I never felt that this was glamorous or appealing.
Besides which, if this potential titillation is the problem, why bother presenting horror at all? I am ignoring the issue of historic misrepresentation, of course.
I don't like the film, I think that it is a flawed film, perhaps even a bad film, but I think that it is interesting.
Remind me to tell you about the story of Joanna Lumley's plastic ass. By way of an apology for this ramble.
Fucking hell that's a lot of words. Whilst most narrative art involves a large degree of manipulation of the audience, Spielberg is particularly gifted in making this bleeding obvious. He's up there with Hitchcock on that front. Unfortunately, he does not have as great a dose of evil as Hitchcock to set off this elaborately obvious manipulation.
He is fucking terrible at symbolism and seems keen to prove it to me by walloping me over the head with dead girls in red dresses (Schindler's List
), multiplicative Privates (SPR
) and the Twin Towers (Munich