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Darkest Hour

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  • Darkest Hour

    Opens on January 11.Hope it is better than Churchill.Wont ne difficult

  • #2
    Looking forward to this one. Oldman looks the part as Winnie and Ronnie Pickup is a remarkably look a like Neville Chamberlain!

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    • #3
      I live in hope, but the trailers I've seen don't inspire confidence.

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      • #4
        It does rewrite history.It makes it look as if Churchill submitted to the appeasers and agreed to ask Mussolini to negotiate with Hitler.This he did not.However I found it very engrossing,and I did not nod off despite the armchair seats.

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        • #5

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          • #6
            ^ Mr Kermode chose not to mention his distaste for Mr Churchill's politics.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jamal.nazreddin View Post
              ^ Mr Kermode chose not to mention his distaste for Mr Churchill's politics.

              Mr Kermode is a film critic, not a political commentator.

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              • #8
                It does rewrite history.It makes it look as if Churchill submitted to the appeasers and agreed to ask Mussolini to negotiate with Hitler.This he did not.However I found it very engrossing,and I did not nod off despite the armchair seats.
                There is evidence that while Churchill may not have been enthusiastic about Mussolini being involved in negotiations, and expected little, but certainly didn't stop Halifax, and some of the French government weren't adverse to such negotiations (until the Italians declared war on France to grab what they could). How realistic he thought the negotiations were is another matter, but there were discussions on what could be given up. I'd recommend 'Never Surrender' as a readable popular history of the end of Chamberlains premiership and Churchill becoming PM, and Lukas's 'Five Days in May' is on my reading list.

                Remember that Churchill was still in a relatively weak position in May 1940 - the Tories were mostly still followers of Chamberlain, Halifax was still powerful, the King was not fond of Churchill, and Lloyd George was sniffing around. And the situation was going from bad to worse. So even if he was just trying to play for time, the overtures to Mussolini was not something he objected to.

                Halifax guessed wrong (as in so many things) about Mussolini - Il Duce was a follower of Hitler, and had no leverage at all. And ultimately ended up being posted to Washington.

                The film looks good, and if it shows just how dangerous Britain's situation was in 1940, and how Churchill's rise wasn't inevitable, but actively blocked by many in his own party, then its done a service.

                I've just finished Colin Smith's 'Englands Last War Against France', which is fascinating, and gives some difference perspectives on 1940.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bonekicker View Post

                  I've just finished Colin Smith's 'Englands Last War Against France', which is fascinating, and gives some difference perspectives on 1940.
                  The French take on Churchill always makes intriguing reading and it's little wonder that many of them still demonise him just as many here still lionise him

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                  • #10
                    The French take on Churchill always makes intriguing reading and it's little wonder that many of them still demonise him just as many here still lionise him
                    If your French, Churchill is a complex figure, as is De Gaulle.

                    In 1940, Churchill was willing to in essence declare Britain and France one country to help keep it from surrendering, sent British troops to France as symbols, even though they were almost certainly going to be captured, sent even more Hurricanes to France, even though Dowding was continually warning that Fighter Command simply did not have enough aircraft as it was, and did his best to convince as many Frenchmen as possible to carry on the fight from Britain.

                    And yet, Britain also made sure (to French eyes) that its army was withdrawn, whilst French formations fought bravely to keep the Germans at bay. Parts of the French High Command and Cabinet were bitter that more fighter aircraft were not sent when they thought they might have helped, and then of course it is Churchill who orders the seizing of French vessels in UK harbours (with some loss of life), and the attack on Mel El Kebir.

                    If you think that in 1940, Vichy was the official government of France, then aiding De Gaulle was in essence aiding a renegade, especially after the Dakar attack, where Frenchmen were attacking Frenchmen, as well as the British, you can see the possible bitterness.

                    I did read a book many years ago that argued that the 1940-42 Vichy government and its relationships was as much a civil war as anything else, continuing from the turmoil and terrorism of the 30's, and even after 1942, there was war even between the various factions of the Resistance - Communist vs Gaullist vs Royalist, plus the matter of Vichy itself.

                    Strange fact. Although Vichy was officially in a state of hostilities with Britain, with fighting at Dakar, Madagascar, Syria, etc, the Canadian Government (which was part of the British Empire and of course supplied troops to the war) was allowed an official diplomatic presence in Vichy France. Bizarre. As is the recent information that there was a plan in 1942 to arm Vichy troops to fight in Southern France as part of an invasion plan, even though the invasion of Vichy North Africa was not far away.

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                    • #11
                      Very good film well worth seeing.

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                      • #12
                        Remember that until Hitler declared war on the USA the US still had an Ambassador at Vichy.

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                        • #13
                          I have to admit, I find all these comments really interesting. I have learned things I never thought about. Great posts. Thanks.

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                          • #14
                            I have to admit, I find all these comments really interesting. I have learned things I never thought about. Great posts. Thanks.
                            I havn't yet seen the film, but it does look quite stirring, and its time someone made a film about this period, because things were absolutely in the balance during that month or two (if you want to know what Britain might have looked like if things had gone differently, CJ Samson's Dominion is a sobering read).

                            However, as someone on the BBC Paper's review observed last night, its full of mistakes, 'because its a film'. Dramatic licence generally means that in historically based films, stuff about people gets changed, events mushed together, timelines tweaked, etc. Ironically, like a lot of films, this means that the small stuff (the model of car, cut of a dress, etc) might be totally accurate, while the story itself isn't quite how things happened. Darkest Hour is a bit like that - seemingly getting a lot of things right, but some liberties taken for the sake of drama.

                            I suspect the tube scene is the one that will probably grate the most with a lot of people. Churchill might have liked to wander off, and certainly didn't stick to a tight schedule, but he didn't ride the tube during the war - it a total fiction, and although we can see what the filmmaker was trying to do, it still does look like a false note.

                            I'd really like to see a film about the relationship between Churchill and De Gaulle, because that would be fascinating - De Gaulle was famously prickly about French national honour, as were the French generally, to the point where a senior SOE resistance leader (who was British) was given 48 hours to leave France after the Liberation, after apparently embarrassing De Gaulle by his presence. The British pretty much made De Gaulle, yet he had a terrible falling out with a trusted British officer who'd flown out with him on a British aircraft at the fall of France. He was as complex as Churchill.

                            And the relations between the UK and De Velera during the war would be very interesting - almost a thriller.

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                            • #15
                              Any mention of Churchill's affair as exposed last night in the Channel 4 documentary?

                              Steve

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