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Thread: Darkest Hour

  1. #1
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    Default Darkest Hour

    Gary Oldman deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill during Britain's indeed darkest hours in the Dunkirk era.

    The cinematography is a bit overblown in spots ( the Correggio-like chiaroscuro scenes of the House are beautiful ), but is stellar, as is the acting. It even has Stannis Baratheon! :-)

    Highly recommended. I got teary in three places. Boffo ending.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I concur, after looking up "chiaroscuro". The interplay between Winnie and Clemmie is charming.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I thought the whole movie was superb. A thousand times better than Dunkirk.

    I've read a lot about WLSC and that time (Spring, 1940) in particular. And I think the script, and the director, got it exactly right. And I admire how they did that and still told a good story well!

    Churchill's "we shall never surrender" speech was aimed at his own class as much as Adolph H.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I question the historical accuracy of one episode in the movie. Churchill phoned FDR and asked for some destroyers. FDR turned him down. We did actually did give the British some destroyers in exchange for the use of some British navel bases in the Caribbean. It was called "Lend Lease".

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    I question the historical accuracy of one episode in the movie. Churchill phoned FDR and asked for some destroyers. FDR turned him down. We did actually did give the British some destroyers in exchange for the use of some British navel bases in the Caribbean. It was called "Lend Lease".
    I got into the same discussion. The lead-lease program was approved four months after the alleged phone conversation with FDR. The tone of the phone call seemed improbable.

    This tidbit provoked some research--it turns out that the US was shipping planes to airfields on the Canadian border, where they were moved across by civilians--a tactic that technically did not conflict with neutrality. A few were moved by horses, some pushed across. This preceded Dunkirk, however, and aircraft were shipped to Britain via an aircraft carrier during that conflict. The phone call was a tad misleading, but contains some truth.
    Last edited by Dan McCosh; 01-25-2018 at 12:35 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Not quite -- as I recall the 50 destroyers were not approved until England gave the US some military bases. This is what FDR needed to break the logjam, and of course WLSC needed to prepare his own people for the shock.

    I believe he asked for the destroyers early on, as per the movie.

    And the lasso-ing of aircraft in ND and tugging them across the grass border on remote airstrips is part of Canadian aviation folklore.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Not quite -- as I recall the 50 destroyers were not approved until England gave the US some military bases. This is what FDR needed to break the logjam, and of course WLSC needed to prepare his own people for the shock.

    I believe he asked for the destroyers early on, as per the movie.

    And the lasso-ing of aircraft in ND and tugging them across the grass border on remote airstrips is part of Canadian aviation folklore.
    The phone call in the movie is about planes, not destroyers.

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    The movie has yet to arrive in the boonies of Vermont. Very much looking forward to it.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I remember the phone call as being about destroyers at the beginning, and aircraft just before he hung up.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    ^ Yes, this.
    Gerard>
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I thought Oldman was great, but the overall movie was pretty weak. The scene of Churchill bonding with the people on the underground is completely ridiculous and totally fabricated, as is much of the scheming depicted between Chamberlain and Halifax.

    Jeff C

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    It's a movie fer gawd's sakes, not a historical documentary. Hollywood has to have its bit of fabricated drama and pathos. Suspension of disbelief, and all that, eh?
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I've not seen the film. Mean to break my current boycott of H'wood and find it, hopefully in the theater.

    An aside: what actor working right now is better than Oldman? His range, from his early days in "Sid and Nancy", through the "The Fifth Element" and the "Batman" films is extraordinary! I don't recall a stinker in any of his roles, and some of them have been great portrayals! Look forward to seeing him as Churchill.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Phone call?

    A coded cablegram, maybe, but I very much doubt if a telephone call would have been possible. It is a very long time since I read WSC's "History of the Second World War" (the textbook case of history being written by the winner!) but I recall that the correspondence was carried on by cable between "Former Naval Persons".
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    ^Agreed.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    His 6-volume set is always worth re-reading, especially the first 2: The Gathering Storm, and Their Finest Hour.

    The books are written very simply, and make good reading -- although I breeze past all the minutes-of-meetings, and memoranda, which is copied into the record for the sake of history.

    He dictated rather than wrote, which I think made the words flow well. And he supported himself as a journalist for most of the 30's, which gave him a great deal of practical experience in writing for the public.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    I've just reviewed the period of the movie in the book, Their Finest Hour. There are frequent telegrams, but no reference to phone calls.

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Gary Oldman's greatness
    He is one of the best ever. As a young man he did State of Grace with Sean Penn and Ed Harris and stole the film from them. He was also excellent in Dracula.

    More recently, he was nominated for an Oscar for his nearly perfect portrayal of George Smiley in the the excellent film adaptation of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

    I'm seeing Darkest Hour tomorrow night. Looking forward to it.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    His 6-volume set is always worth re-reading, especially the first 2: The Gathering Storm, and Their Finest Hour.

    The books are written very simply, and make good reading -- although I breeze past all the minutes-of-meetings, and memoranda, which is copied into the record for the sake of history.

    He dictated rather than wrote, which I think made the words flow well. And he supported himself as a journalist for most of the 30's, which gave him a great deal of practical experience in writing for the public.
    Might note that he won the Nobel prize for literature.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    In his WWII memoirs, he recounts meeting with the Cabinet after Operation Dynamo was completed, and the grim outlook of their ability to resist invasion. His spirit was unbowed : " Of course, I said, we shall fight on ". What a leader.
    Gerard>
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    this is an excellent and enjoyable recent book on some of churchill's exploits as a young man

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Might note that he won the Nobel prize for literature.
    Very true. But I understand he was disappointed -- he wanted the Nobel prize for History.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Always an ego: he said something to the effect that ' history will be kind to me, for I shall write it. '

    I have that Millard book, a very good read.
    Gerard>
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    Next election, vote against EVERY Republican, for EVERY office, at EVERY level. Be patriotic and stop the madness. Save the country.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Of course, he would have been tossed out of office by the MeToo movement, had it existed then.

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    this is an excellent and enjoyable recent book on some of churchill's exploits as a young man

    My grandfather was captured by the Boers and managed to escape by swimming across a crocodile infested river...so the story goes.
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Nailed it!

    Best Actor Oscar!

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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Of course, he would have been tossed out of office by the MeToo movement, had it existed then.
    Perhaps. Very different times.

    I'm going with some friends to see Black Panther in a couple days. I'll add this one to the Watch List. Sounds very good. I'm thinking I'll try and catch Shape of Water also.
    Last edited by David G; 03-05-2018 at 09:53 AM.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Nailed it!

    Best Actor Oscar!
    He certainly did nail it. I just saw the movie the other day. What a performance! The makeup was absolutely unbelievable.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Darkest Hour

    We watched it a couple nights ago. Some obvious Hollywood license taken but still a fine effort. May have to watch 'Churchill' next weekend. I also have not seen Dunkirk, but Mrs JimD has.
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