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Dunkirk - just seen it

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by CBI, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Well firstly, they shouldn't have run out of fuel as fast as they did. Rivetheads that I know said that the Spits effective range fully fueled and combined with the closeness of the Dunkirk to the coast means they should've been able to loiter over the battlefield for a much longer time than depicted. As for the planes glide characteristics, I've only flown her in sims but she was able to hang for quite a while. Glide time is also dependent on your altitude and speed when you lost power. The Spits had excellent aerodynamics which would have given her far better glide capabilities than say a P-47 which was essentially a flying brick with a big honking engine on the front. So of the two I say the effective range of the plane is a bigger error than any exaggerated glide characteristics.

  2. So, what everyone is suggesting is, that Dunkirk the film is ultimately a work of entertainment, and not necessarily a documentary on the minute by minute actual occurrences and technical aspects of aviation in 1940?
  3. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    From what I understand the Spitfire wing was absolutely cutting edge for the time, technology "stolen" from the Germans and based on their amazing glider work in the 1920s. If I remember correctly a young Canadian engineer learned the basics in Germany in the last moments before that sort of information became the equivalent of classified. Since Germany had already started putting earlier, more primitive, studies to use, and since the Brits added a dollop of their own magic, the Spit started the war as one of the most advanced planes in the air.

    If anyone knows different or knows more please step in and correct me.

    Dunkirk is really odd. It has documentary like qualities. It offers no backstory or context either for the situation or its characters. It uses narrative film techniques like using the possibility of running out of gas to heighten the tension but it's low on narrative film conventions in general. Like anything but the most scholarly work (and never in filmed entertainment) it is not an objective vision of what happened at Dunkirk or how to fly a plane, but it really is a whole step less subjective than many many movies. Fascinating interesting bizarre choices.
    MisterCairo likes this.
  4. I need to get out and see this on the big screen soon, it is disappearing quickly as its run progresses.

    I was being a bit sarcastic there. I enjoy reading the technical quibbles people have about historic/technical accuracy in films. I am more of a "hey, it's a movie, sit back and relax" kind of viewer.

    The odd thing makes me swallow vomit (in "Allied", Brad Pitt's Canadian officer salutes without headdress at one point (and, as an RCAF officer, INSIDE a building to boot!), and pronounces lieutenant as "loo-tenant" when it was (and is) in Canada LEF-tenant. But I still bought the blu-ray!)

    I recall a thread about anachronisms a while back. A member was aghast that, I think in an episode of Ripper Street, in a setting of the year 1889 or so, they showed either a typewriter or telegraph machine that wasn't introduced until 1893, and HOW COULD THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN THAT!!!!!

    Oh well!
  5. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    That's funny. In situations like that a film maker is often pretty happy to simply find something that doesn't look wrong. On the other hand I watched the Amazon series The Last Tycoon and amongst other things in this show set in the late 1930s there is a memorial service held on the studio lot for a woman who has died. A small pile of "offerings" and some candles has been set up on the spot where she passed away. Now, I could be wrong but I NEVER saw that sort of thing until the 1990s ... we saw it big time with the death of Princess Diana. I suspect that the practice started with highway-side death shrines that were first set up by Latino/Catholics in the American Southwest. But I never saw THAT before the late 1970s! I laughed out loud.

    As a writer you have to know what you don't know.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
    MisterCairo likes this.

    Saw it at the base theatre, CFB Borden. Quite a good crowd, too. Last night showing here, and only five bucks! CANADIAN.

    That is about $4 USD.

    Amazing film.

    Ironically, given my earlier comment above, I have one wee quibble.


    To this day, Commonwealth personnel, at least British and Canadians, do NOT salute with the hand if the sun is reaching the top of the head.

    You simply come to attention to pay or receive compliments.

    Other than that a bloody great film...
  7. ⇧ I'm stunned that you saw a first run movie for $4 - that hasn't happened to me in the States in over twenty five years. Granted, I live in NYC, but my mom lives in Arizona and she's good at finding a movie theater bargain, but even she pays more than $4.
    MisterCairo likes this.
  8. I did however pay $6 CAD for the extra large popcorn! The base theatre is run by PSP (Personnel Support Program), so the funds subsidize morale and welfare programs. It is a great deal none the less, so I will take in as many as I can while there.

    Next up is Atomic Blonde!
    Fading Fast likes this.
  9. ⇧ I don't remember the exact numbers anymore, but these are close. Growing up in the '70s, for $4 which bought a $2 earliest-showing-of-the-day matinee ticket, a soda and candy, I could kill a Saturday afternoon. Hence, even then, the food was as much as the discount ticket.

    And $4 was a lot of money then - a day like that required me to save up from my random jobs.
    MisterCairo and HanauMan like this.
  10. HanauMan

    HanauMan A-List Customer

    I was a kid in the 1970s as well; entered the 70s as a 5 year old and left them as a 14 year old. I was a regular movie watcher from the mid 70s onwards and I don't remember it costing that much. To begin with, it was the Saturday morning matinees showing kids' films. Later I moved onto Saturday afternoon matinees, these showed the old Japanese monster films or things like Silent Running. By the end of the 1970s my friends and I saw a film nearly every week, Soyent Green, Dark Star, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Superman, A Bridge To Far and many others. We also managed to see more adult subject films on Sunday afternoons sometimes. Back then it was like a $1 / $1.25 to get in, 25c - 35c for pop corn and 50c for a cup of coke. Heck, I remember that I used to spend $1 in total for a comic, bag of Crunchy Chettos and a soda. I'd then sit in the local baseball bunker readin' and eatin'! But we were army, probably subsidized by the government.
  11. That all sounds like a lot of fun. A few guesses, I might be a bit high on the food (but it absolutely wasn't as cheap as the prices you had) but I clearly remember the theater ticket being $2 (I turned 6 in '70, so about your age) and, by the end of the decade, they had gone up to $2.50. Also, I grew up in NJ which tends to be higher priced than some parts of the country.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  12. I also went to a lot of cheap movies in my 60s/70s youth. We had a couple of 99-cent theaters in Westchester that showed very late first-run and second-run films. Frequently double features too: I saw the earlier James Bond films and Woody Allen films that way. And I remember going with my dad in 1970 to see Patton and M*A*S*H!

    BTW, just a few months ago I saw Arrival at a rundown, seventies-vintage, four-screen, shopping center theater in Poughkeepsie for $5. I was shocked it was so cheap. Alas, the projection was really dark - but what do you expect for five bucks?!?
    Fading Fast likes this.
  13. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    A little slow but this movie was released yesterday in Japan.
    It's a well made film, and I enjoyed it but...
    I felt that it should have been even darker and apocalyptic based on what I've read. It comes across like Nolan really wanted to make a Battle of Britain movie, not a Dunkirk movie.

    Tom Hardy's glide time? Hmm...
    Tom Hardy's limitless ammunition? Hmm...
    And let's not forgets, for Brits, the Spitfire is endowed with almost religious significance. I'm pretty sure most Brits would be hard pressed to choose which is a greater symbol of the state; Queen Elizabeth II or a Spitfire?
    The modern narrative ignores deficiencies like low onboard ammo and that bubble cockpit's optically incorrect glass on BOB versions. It's a LEGEND!

    And really, with over 800 'little ships', over 330,000 British troops saved, and over 100 RAF pilots shot down at Dunkirk, Nolan couldn't find even one true story he liked? So now future generations are going to base their understanding of events on this soppy clap-trap twee narrative, or just forget the whole thing because they don't read?
    That's a shame.

    Edward and Lizzie made some good points about the representation of the Japanese in war films, but ultimately it all comes down to 'the reverse course', the fact that there is no peace treaty with N. Korea, and the fact that Japan (as our supposed 'ally') is on the front line of our continuing Asian cold-war with Russia and China; Japan gets a pass on WWII because we got them on the front line as an ally right now, basically.
  14. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I saw the film, too, a few weeks ago. I have mixed feelings about it. As others have mentioned, there's virtually no character development aside from those of the small boat that much drama is centered on. There is also no realistic feeling of the vast numbers of men involved, but I give them a pass on that. But the storyline involving one individual who is doing his best to escape, continually failing until he finally gets away quickly becomes tedious. One would not have seen such behavior, probably, in a wartime movie. As for real life, I couldn't guess.

    As far as lack of context, that's also forgiven. Perhaps fewer than I realize know anything about Dunkirk but they can read about it on Wikipedia after they've seen the film. As viewers, our idea of the war is colored by propaganda, both ours and theirs during the war. The Germans lost heavily in both the invasion of Poland and in the invasions of France and Norway. Their losses--killed or died of wounds--in the west in 1940 were greater than our losses in Vietnam but that took place less than two months. Obviously, they, the Germans, had a different view of acceptable casualties than we do. But they succeeded. Their losses in armor were also surprisingly high, given that everyone things they just rolled over the opposition in both Poland and France. They weren't really ready for war but no one ever really is. I've ready their master plan was that it would start a year or two later. But that would give the other side that much extra time to prepare.

    It has never been clear to me why Germany invaded France, something they have done with some frequency, if not regularity. But expanding German territory to the east made a little more sense. Hitler wanted a greater Germany and in fact, the land to the east was farmed for Germany's benefit while it was occupied. But why Japan invaded China is a better question. It is said there are only two rules of war: don't invade China and don't invade Russia.

    They invaded Russia anyway. I don't know that winter came early but the invasion was late, according to some sources. Anyway, you never know how things will work out. Saying you knew fifty years after the fact doesn't count.

    I think I liked the aerial sequences most of all, even though I'm in no way a flying enthusiast. My son-in-law's grandmother was in the RAF during the Blitz and is still living. She made it sound that people in London got used to it and didn't worry about it that much. That's what she said, anyway. And the father of one of our former employees here where I work was in France in 1940 as a Senegalese soldier. I have also met a man who served in the Polish army as a cavalry man in 1939 (and who rode in the 1936 Olympics). What a small world.
  15. Hello everyone (like the new London tube announcements ;-(

    Just a couple of grumpy thoughts about hat one: again I agree on large screen it is a very visceral experience, of scared soldiers and survival story... However there are much too many historical mistakes both in the sets, uniforms and equipments, or conduct of battle itself to ring true, and the "informed audience" would get upset by it. I would just mentioned briefly the modern city lamps and roof windows, modern destroyer, back of the greatcoat of Kenneth Branagh and so on...

    The beaches are quite empty, the soldiers few and without proper officers, no abandoned equipment everywhere... Just browse some 1940 period pictures and it is so far from the depiction unfortunately. The spitfire sequences were awesome, but too few aircrafts in the air, and no artillery shelling... For a much better and grandiose cinematic funny, bitter and tragic depiction Week-end at Dunkirk (1964) is my favorite, after a famous French novel (the author was on the beaches). Even if this trailer is in French, just watch the views of the overcrowded beaches and see the differences with Nolan's approach.

    And even if not filmed on-site like the 2 other movies the good old 1958 still remains an undisputable classic:

  16. An historical issue has sprung up in Canada regarding the film. While it is well known that Christopher Nolan deliberately fictionalized his "main" characters, as he wanted to tell the story of the event and how it was perceived, rather than dwell on particular characters' involvement, there was of course one character who had an historical equal - the Royal Navy commander at the mole. Kenneth Branagh played him in the film.

    The reality is that the commander at the mole was one Cdr J. Campbell Clouston, RN. From Montreal, Quebec. He has a fascinating story in his own right. He left Canada to join the RN as a naval cadet at 18, and quickly rose through the ranks. He was commanding officer of HMS Isis (!), and it was while his vessel was in dry dock for repairs he was sent to Dunkirk for Operation Dynamo.

    He led the evacuation of over 200,000 troops from the mole, and was ordered back to Dover for orders. He was returning to Dunkirk for the final push to evacuate more French troops, when his two vessels were bombed by the Germans.

    While Ken Branagh stood at the end of the mole smiling, Cdr Clouston, his vessel overturned, ordered the other boat back to the beach at Dunkirk, while he awaited rescue.

    He died of exposure, as did all but one of his last crew.

    For his efforts? 200,000 plus rescued, died trying to return...

    A posthumous Mention in Despatches.


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