Episode 59: Supplementary 4 The Ones That Got Away Part Two. This week sees Martin flying solo as we bring you our second batch of movies that didn’t quite make the cut for a full episode. We are covering the following movies, each with their start time in case you want to skip ahead:
The Bridge on the River Kwai 13.45 The epic David Lean war movie about a group of Allied POWs in Japanese occupied Thailand building a bridge.
Mississippi Burning 35.00 Based on the 1960s FBI investigation into the murder of three civil rights volunteers, this powerful movie stars Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as the lead investigators.
The Greatest Showman 50.05 The musical biopic of PT Barnum and how his circus show was started. Beloved by audiences, less so by critics (or Martin!) we look at how much glitter has been spread over the real story.
The Lost City of Z 1hr 11.52 Colonel Percy Fawcett was a British explorer in the early 1900s, seeking evidence of a lost Amazonian civilization.
BAT-21 1hr 29.44 Gene Hackman makes his second appearance in today’s episode playing the role of Colonel Iceal Hambelton, shot down over Vietnam and trying to evade capture.
Gangs of New York 1hr 45.39 The first collaboration between Martin Scorcese and Leonardo di Caprio, this sprawling movie shows the lawless side of New York during the US Civil War. Daniel Day Lewis stands out as the movie’s villain with a typically brilliant performance.
Episode 58: Kingdom of Heaven. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Orlando Bloom, this story of a young Crusader trying to come to terms with religion, guilt and knightly aspirations promises much with some great cinematography, detailed battle scenes, a love interest plus court intrigue as our hero discovers that supposed friends can be a lot more scheming and devious than your supposed enemies. Our interest is in both the entertainment value of the movie and its historical accuracy as we attempt to sort myth from truth, Hollywood hype from gritty reality. More popular with audiences than critics, the version we are examining is the theatrical release one; there is a director’s cut which is said to be more coherent so if that’s the one you’ve seen, good choice and sorry if we don’t mention the extra bits. We hope you enjoy.
Episode 57: The Great Escape. 1963’s epic war movie has become a classic, loved by many viewers and remembered for some iconic moments, most of them involving Steve McQueen who is arguably one of the coolest actors ever to grace a screen. Based on a book by Paul Brickhill who was a POW in Stalag Luft III when the break-out occurred, we aim to find out how accurately the movie follows the reality of the breakout, the men involved and the details of their various experiences. It’s a big movie so this is a big episode with ups and downs and, no doubt, a few daredevil leaps across the fences of accepted reality (that one was inserted with help from the HbH literary crowbar).
Guy Walter’s book: The Real Great Escape which was our primary source for our research.
Sean Munger’s YouTube episode about Stalag Luft III:
Jens Muller’s account of the escape from one of the three men who made a ‘home run’:
Book about Squadron Leader Frank McKenna, Special Investigation Branch RAF and his hunt for the Great Escape Murderers. (This link is to the UK branch of Amazon but the title and ISBN number can be searched in any country)
Washington Post article about Bob Hoover, the only POW we could find who escaped by stealing an aircraft:
Episode 56: The Favourite. 2018’s period piece about Queen Anne and two of her female courtiers vying for preference in her favours was beloved by critics more than it was by audiences. Some very accomplished performances by the leading role actors led to an Oscar for Olivia Coleman and multiple other awards. Director Yorgos Lanthimos said all along that he was not making an historical documentary so our quest is to establish just how much he played with the known facts in his quest to make an entertaining story about friendship and the corrupting effects of power.
Episode 55 Bohemian Rhapsody. This episode takes a nostalgia trip for both hosts as we examine 2018’s musical biopic about Queen and Freddie Mercury. Critics didn’t much like it but audiences love it, as did the Academy Award committee as the movie won four Oscars including Best Actor for Rami Malek. We very much side with the audiences as we both thoroughly enjoyed what is a very entertaining and moving film. What we’ll try to do here is establish how close to the truth the movie managed to keep as it charts the rise of one of the world’s most successful rock bands.
The Show Must Go On: Queen and Adam Lambert documentary was shown on ABC on 29th April 2019. The usual streaming services haven’t yet picked it up but here are links to YouTube with the show split into two parts. It is highly recommended.
Episode 54: I, Tonya This 2017 movie details the rise and fall of Tonya Harding, an American figure skater who rose to prominence and then notoriety in the early 1990s. A gritty, darkly humorous movie with some superb performances, notably Margot Robbie in the title role and Alison Janney, who was to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Tonya’s mother. The movie manages to balance gripping entertainment and humour yet never loses sight of the underlying pathos of the real story. Our task is to determine how close to that real-life story the movie manages to remain. We hope you’ll join us.
Episode 54: I, Tonya This
2017 movie details the rise and fall of Tonya Harding, an American figure
skater who rose to prominence and then notoriety in the early 1990s. A gritty,
darkly humorous movie with some superb performances, notably Margot Robbie in
the title role and Alison Janney, who was to win a Best Supporting Actress
Oscar for her role as Tonya’s mother. The movie manages to balance gripping
entertainment and humour yet never loses sight of the underlying pathos of the
real story. Our task is to determine how close to that real-life story the
movie manages to remain. We hope you’ll join us.
Episode 53: Gallipoli. This episode sees the regular team reunited to examine 1981’s powerful WW1 drama, following the fortunes of two young Australian soldiers as they are pitched into the disastrous Dardanelles campaign on 1915. Starring Mark Lee and Mel Gibson in the lead roles, the movie has become something of a cult classic. Despite the main characters being fictional, we examine how close to the truth of the events and the experience of thousands of similar young men the movie manages to stay.