7
   

Can History Spoil?

 
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 01:39 pm
Many people find spoilers to be crimes against cinemanity. But can you really spoil a feature film or documentary based on the lives of historical persons and events?

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls013925717/

Below are the four options for my poll suggestion. Any help in terms of rewriting these options for possible brevity and/or clarification would be lovely.

Quote:
1. Yes. Not everyone is an expert in history. Even professional historians can not know everything that happened in human history. Finding out what happens in history and a given story of historical events is actually part of the fun.

2. Feature length movies usually are made for entertainment purposes. Creative licenses have been taken by the filmmakers of said project.

Many historically flavored movies are far from historically accurate. Dialogue has to be created where dialogue has not been recorded from these past depicted events. Some parts of a given story are given more emphasis (lengthened/shortened, shown out of order, recreated with parties not initially involved in real life, etc...) in order to bring more drama or clarification to a complicated story.

Spoiling key point plots of a given movie doesn't mean one actually is learning what truly happened in real life.

Even documentaries have biases and historical flaws based on perspective and the motivations of the given filmmakers.

3. No. You can not intentionally or accidentally spoil feature films or documentaries based on past events and/or life stories of real life notable persons.

The plot points of a given history based documentary or feature film or biopic are technically public record. Ignorance of the events of a given historical period on which a feature film or documentary is based is no excuse for the being ahistorical in the first place.

4. Ugh! History is for losers! I never watch documentaries or works of historical fiction. Spoil away if you like. I ain't watching that stuff in the first place.


FOR DISCUSSION:
So? Can one actually spoil movies based on historical events that you haven't seen yet? Has anyone spoiled a film based on true story for you? Is it worse than when someone ruins a completely fictional movie about a story you aren't familiar with?
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  4  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 02:50 pm
Somebody spoiled the film "Lincoln" for me by saying "He gets shot".
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  5  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 02:57 pm
Titanic - the boat sinks, yo'.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 03:01 pm
@jespah,
#WAITWHAT?! Shocked
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 03:21 pm
one good thing, The Imitation Game didn't let history spoil it

rather they spoiled history by leaving out huge chunks of information concerning Gordon Welchman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Welchman
0 Replies
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  3  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 03:35 pm
@jespah,
Quote:
Titanic - the boat sinks

Thanks a bunch! I was going to see that next weekend.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 03:38 pm
It is my experience that cinematic history bears exactly the same relation to actual history as Christian Science does to actual science.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 04:43 pm
@tsarstepan,
I liked your wording of the four options.

najmelliw
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 07:06 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

Many people find spoilers to be crimes against cinemanity. But can you really spoil a feature film or documentary based on the lives of historical persons and events?


Hmm. The answer would be no. Case in point:
'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.'
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 07:13 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I liked your wording of the four options.



I was worried I might have muddled the question a bit with my options. Thanks for the good word of encouragement Osso.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2015 07:14 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

It is my experience that cinematic history bears exactly the same relation to actual history as Christian Science does to actual science.

If I made this a question, I'd be giving this post the red ribbon.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2016 04:28 am
@tsarstepan,
I once spoiled a movie for other people that way. It was that movie about the two master snipers hunting each other in the ruins of Stalingrad. I mentioned the Soviet sniper winning, just as a historical fact, and got a bunch of dirty looks.

I'd think people should have presumed an at least somewhat happy ending anyway though, because otherwise there probably wouldn't have been a movie made about it.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2016 06:55 am
I was thinking about this the other day, so i'm glad i saw this thread. In the 1950s, anticipating the Civil War centennial, at least many dozens, and probably hundreds of books were published. Among these was a very good tactical operations history of the battle of Gettysburg, which for sales purposes no doubt, was entitled Pickett's Charge. The other was a history of the 20th Maine Regiment of United States Volunteer Infantry. The latter was published as a part of a Readers' Digest Condensed Books volume, which i'm sure was a blessing to the author's bank account. About 20 years later, Micheal Shaara published The Killer Angels, an historical "novel" about the battle, which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for history. (How the hell does a novel rate a Pulitzer for history?) Shaara's novel was very obviously a pastiche of the two books i've mentioned above. The tactical operations history mentions subsidiary operations, as well it should. If you read Shaara's novel, you'd think that the attack of Pickett's division took place in an event vacuum. On the first day, Harry Heth's division of A.P. Hill's corps made the initial attack, and suffered for it. Heth was wounded, so his senior brigade commander, James Johnston Pettigrew commanded the division which was placed on the left of Pickett's division. Additionally, Isaac Trimble commanded the division of Dorey Pender of Hill's Corps, as Pender was then dying of wounds suffered on the first day. Shaara, who made a big deal of the spat between Trimble and Richard Stoddert Ewell on the first day of the battle, seems to have been blissfully unaware the advance of Pettigrew's and Trimble's divisions, which were crucial, as it tied up troops who might otherwise have reinforced Hancock. Two brigades from Anderson's division of Hill's corps also supported the assault on Pickett's right. In the event, due to officer casualties on the Confederate side and mismangement of the entire operation by a petulant Longstreet, such reinforcement did not prove necessary. But as Wellington said of Waterloo, it was a near run thing. Again, Shaara was either unaware of the scope of the operation, or just couldn't be bothered. It certainly was a successful novel, but it didn't deserve a prize for history.

The motion picture Gettysburg was based on Shaara's novel. It was also successful, and was even worse as history. Shaara had made a silly emphasis of the attack on Little Round Top on the second day--not that it wasn't crucial, but rather because he peddled a line of BS about Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine. That's a case in which simple historiography makes a monkey of the author. Chamberlain's regiment was a part of the brigade of Colonel Strong Vincent, who was fatally wounded during that attack on the second day. That helped Chamberlain claim credit for "saving the Union" during the battle. But Vincent's brigade had five regiments, including one regular army regiment. If any one of those five had broken, if any one of their commanders had faltered in the absence of Vincent, the entire position would have collapsed. Chamberlain's account is not just disputed by officers and men of his regiment, it is silly on the face of it. However, Chamberlain dined out on the story for the rest of his life, and used his claims when running for governor of Maine. That's when officers and men of the regiment came forward to say it wasn't like that at all--but by then, Chamberlain was a political force of nature, and newspapers went to great lengths to criticize his critics.

Shaara bought the entire Chamberlain story, hook, line and sinker. That's probably because it made for a dramatic narrative. But for the motion picture, it was blown even more out of proportion. Characters and protracted scenes were created for the hagiography of Chamberlain in the motion picture. They even managed to come up with some BS excuse to put Chamberlain behind Hancock's infantry line when the Virginians attacked.

Stirring drama i'm sure, and it all probably contributed to the success of the novel and the movie. History it ain't, and yet both will probably survive into the future as the popular version of an event far greater and more complex than either the novel or the motion picture portray.
0 Replies
 
 

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