The Oscars, fillums, Churchill, 1940, etc etc….

My taste in fillums is decidedly unsophisticated. Divert me for a couple of hours and don’t insult my intelligence are generally my main criteria. Oh, and I really don’t like anything that involves subtitles. Nothing to do with xenophobia, its just if I want to read I’ll pick up a book, and I find I miss too much else going on on the screen if I’m having to read.

But it was a neat-ish coincidence to be going to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri this week just as the Oscars were being announced.

Have to confess I don’t pay much attention to the Oscars, normally, but they swum into my consciousness this year a bit more.

It’s all hype and hooplar though, isn’t it? All a bit OTT and naff and just…colossally bloated with its own regard.

Unusually, this year, I’ve seen three fillums which featured.

The one which did least well at the Oscars was the one I enjoyed the most – Dunkirk. Worthy of the term ‘epic’ but without the overblown connotations which are associated with that.

Pretty historically accurate, from what I can gauge. I’m one of those sad war history buffs who watches for these things. In particular, anything 1940/battle of Britian era related. The only error I saw was those Spitfires were shown as having far more ammunition than they would ever have been able to shoot off in real life.

Even when the deliberate mythologising (and there is certainly no shortage of that) is stripped away from the 1940 story, it is still pretty stirring stuff.

The other feature associated with 1940 is of course the Winston Churchill saga Darkest Hour.

This had far more historic inaccuracies – the part in which Churchill goes onto the London Underground was completely made up, and at least one, I think two, peices of dialogue were from later periods of the war but which were included because, in one case, it gave the character of his wife a bit more to do and in the other case because it was funny.

From what I have seen and read, Clement Attlee did not, in the House of Commons, conducting himself like the stem-winding ranter depicted in the Darkest Hour. The Labour leader tended to be Mr Matter-of-Fact, rather than Mr OTT.

Gary Oldham’s performance?

Some have said it was over the top, but come on: this is Churchill. It takes a ham to play a ham, which is why the best portrayals of Churchill have often been by people like Robert Hardy or John Lithgow.

Or, now, Oldham.

Churchill was playing a role most of his life, it seems: at times it looked grandiloquent and verging on the ridiculous, but in 1940, the times matched the actor.

It’s kind of tangental, but also not: the Kinks, from their abandoned rock opera Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire – Mr Churchill Says. it’s a clip that’s not, all things considered, too badly put together.

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