If you’ve ever checked out my page you can probably tell that I LOVE lists. You may not know that I’m also working toward becoming a history teacher. A history list. Perfect. What prompted this post in particular though isn’t so happy… I’m sad to say it was the new Ben-Hur. Groan… Disappointed sigh… Let’s just say I gasped aloud more than once at the historical inaccuracies this 100 million dollar budget blockbuster brought before my eyes on the massive silver screen I wasted 3 hours of my life staring at. Phew. Can anyone say Jewish woman with bare forearms, bare headed, wearing capris, and riding astride a horse? @#^$% I have some ‘beloved epic that was mangled’ aggression I need to get out… So “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
9) Desperate Journey
Did you know that all Nazi’s were either pigs, slack jawed idiots, or sadistic maniacs? On the other hand, American’s, especially Ronald Reagan, are always brave, resourceful, intelligent, and just overall swell guys.
–the superman view of American soldiers. Thumbs down.
8) Calamity Jane
I think this film is pretty accurate. I mean there was a woman nicknamed Calamity Jane who dressed like a guy, rode a horse, and shot guns. Sadly any similarity to historical fact ends there. But I definitely give it some slack since it’s a Doris Day MUSICAL… and I LOVE it.
7) Blossoms in the Dust
Based on the real-life story of Edna Gladney who’s life work it was to remove the stigma of “illegitimacy” from children’s birth certificates. You go girl! They got the absolute basics right but very little of the rest in actually Edna’s story.
6) Till the Clouds Roll By
Let’s see… Variety began its review of the film: “Why quibble about the story?” I think that may be telling us something. This is a super fictionalized composer biopic with great songs of course… But. Just. Not. Kern’s. Life. When originally approached by MGM about filming his life story Kern told the top brass that his life has been so boring that it’d be nearly impossible to make an interesting movie out of it. So the writers just decided to make up most of the key characters and add in all kinds of non-existent crisis scenarios.
5) Night and Day
Another super fictionalized composer biopic, this time the victim is the brilliant Cole Porter. However, this go round the studio had the exact opposite problem as with Kern. Cole Porter’s life had been far too spicy. No mention could be made of his alcohol and drug abuse, risqué wit, and certainly not the fact that he was gay. Heavens to Betsy.
4) Davy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier
Mostly awesome crazy legends wrapped around little kernels of fact.
3) The Adventures of Robin Hood
Everyone is always so dang clean. Plus contemporary scholars have failed to come up with concrete evidence there ever was such a man. Sorry Errol and Olivia. You’re still the cutest couple ever!
2) The Story of Seabiscuit
This telling of the exciting life of Seabiscuit, the world famous racehorse, takes GREAT liberty with history. Fast and loose in fact. Most of the characters, supposedly so involved with Seabiscuit, including the lead roles of Margaret and Ted, have no basis in reality. Just save the time and read Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Excellent. Even though I love Shirley Temple I’d honestly rather get a sunburn that watch this film.
1) They Died With Their Boots On
This is a highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer, ‘passionate defender of the Indian’. !?!? Highly Romantized. I mean it’s Errol Flynn for crying out loud! Of course Custer’s a hero?! Come on! On the other hand military analysts and historians have cast doubt on his decision making and heroism. Don’t get me started on the portrayal of Native Americans. “Crazy Horse war chief Sioux. My people want make peace.” Ugh! Warner Brothers speak with forked tongue!
Thank for visiting. I feel much better. : )
Click here to read about the history of the Hollywood star machine.
Click here for a review of Ben-Hur.