Episode 42: Catch Me If You Can. Our movie for this episode is 2002’s Catch Me If You Can. Steven Spielberg directs a great cast including Leonardo di Caprio as legendary con-artist Frank Abignale Jr who is pursued by dogged FBI Special Agent Carl Hanratty played by Tom Hanks. Christopher Walken and Josh Brolin add their considerable talents to the cast as we follow young Frank’s exploits as he impersonates an airline pilot, a doctor and lawyer all whilst in his teens. Is this a case of fact being stranger than fiction or has Frank’s story been Hollywoodised? We hope you join us to find out.
Episode 41: Erin Brockovich. This week’s movie is 2000’s Erin Brockovich. A powerful performance by Julia Roberts in the eponymous role is ably supported by Hollywood veteran Albert Finney as lawyer Ed Masry. Directed by Steven Sodeburgh, the movie tells the story of the unqualified legal assistant Erin digging up evidence against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a multi-billion energy company accused of poisoning water supplies in California then covering up the consequences. A classic tale of David vs Goliath, how much did the movie get right? Join us to find out.
Episode 40: Argo. A long, long time ago, HbH managed to put out an episode that ran under an hour. This week, we achieve this landmark of conciseness again as we examine 2012’s Argo, starring and directed by Ben Affleck the movie tells the incredible story of how the CIA along with Canadian Foreign Office staff spirited six American Embassy staffers out of Tehran in the aftermath of 1979’s Islamic Revolution. A real movie about a fake movie, how real or fake is the version of the story they tell? Join us to find out.
Episode 39: Darkest Hour. This week we are delighted to welcome back Ray Harris from the History of World War 2 podcast (amongst many others) and a bit of an expert on Churchill. The portrayal by Gary Oldman has received universal and well-deserved plaudits but how close does the movie come to the actual truth of Churchill’s early days in power during some of the darkest days in recent British history? We will try to find out.
Ray Harris History of World War 2 podcast:
Episode 37: Schindler’s List. Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson in the title role supported by Ben Kingsley as Itzak Stern and Ralph Fiennes as SS Officer Amon Goeth, this film redefined the arch-entertainer Spielberg as a director capable of great power, depth and sincerity. Hard hitting performances drive a story of salvation amongst unimaginable tragedy, cruelty and genocide. Considering the impact that this movie had on nearly everyone who has seen it, we were uneasy about examining its historical accuracy but as that is the whole basis of this podcast we do the best that we can. We hope that you listen and get something positive from the episode. Thank you.
Schindler’s List (or Ark)
Searching for Schindler
Searching for Schindler Audiobook link (highly recommended):
The Inheritance (Monika Hertwigg and Helen Jonas)
Two and a half hours with Poldek Pfefferberg:
Episode 36: What’s Love Got To Do With It
This week’s episode is 1993’s biopic of Tina Turner, through her early days singing with Ike Turner, their marriage, his abuse and her eventual redemption and emergence as the Tina Turner we know today. Both lead actors are superb; Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike. However, the movie is based on Tina’s own autobiography so our task is to determine whether the portrayal is biased or balanced.
Episode 35: Victoria and Abdul. This week we look at 2017’s movie about Queen Victoria and her Indian servant then teacher Abdul Karim and their deep friendship that lasted until her death. We found the movie charming and enjoyable though critics have given mixed reviews. Whether this is due to a lack of entertainment or a lack of historical accuracy is our task to discover. It’s a long show but we hope you enjoy it.
The TV documentary “Queen Victoria’s Last Love” can be found on YouTube via this link:
Shrabani Basu’s book is featured below. Clicking on the book’s image will take listeners to the Amazon.com site but it is available from all good bookshops and online stores.
Episode 8: Zulu. This episode is being reposted in the hope that it will be accessible via iTunes (the previous link had developed a problem).
Episode 34: The Battle of Britain
Released in 1969, directed by Guy Hamilton and starring nearly everyone who’s anyone in 1960’s British cinema, this epic war movie used mainly real aircraft and some of the most complex and intense aerial sequences seen on screen. Our task is to examine how accurately the battle and its legacy are portrayed; historical record or pro-British propaganda? Martin will also highlight the almost total eradication from the accepted narrative of WW2 of the contribution made by Poland and, hopefully, fill in some gaps whilst dispelling some myths. We hope you enjoy the show
For Your Freedom and For Ours: The Kosciuszko Squadron by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud
Also known as A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron by the same authors
The Trail of Hope: The Anders Army and an odyssey across Three Continents by Norman Davies
No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in WW2 by Kenneth Koskodan
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
Battle of Britain: The Making of a Movie by Leonard Mosley link and extracts, courtesy of listener Brian Willits:
Episode 32: Saving Mr Banks. We pick apart the charming drama of 2013’s movie, starring Emma Thompson as PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, enthusiastically pursuing the movie rights to the book and the conflicts that this deal brought. Juxtaposed with some pathos provided by scenes of PL Travers’ childhood, this humorous movie was made by the Disney Corporation so was it a PR exercise or did they get gritty with the truth?