A film for Christmas

.Yesterday I watched one of “must view at Christmas” films: “Joyeux Noël”.  More about this film here, but beware spoilers in the synopsis.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyeux_Noël

I find this movie interesting from a historical viewpoint, schmalzy in places and unbelievable in a couple of plot concepts, but I will watch it, and be reduced to tears, every Christmas.  Each time I watch I see a little more into the main characters and gain a little more understanding of the (French) director’s idea.

The story is excellently portrayed by the director and all the actors.  It is in English, German and French (normally subtitled).  Naturally when the main protagonists interact the language switches to the one who understands least of the other two, so there is a lot of English with a strong clipped Scottish accent!  Daniel Brühl, as the German officer, acts a lot of his rôle in French or English.

What I take from this film is that if it were left to the front line troops the Great War would have been over by the first Christmas – or New Year at the latest, but those in command had no idea how to end it once it had been put in motion by those above them.

It is a film with realism, pathos, romance, occasional comedy, social criticism and above all humanity.  And recommended for Christmas viewing, expecially this year as we remember the end of the Great War.

 

A bit of TV nostalgia

Today I was relaxing and watching the 1970s BBC TV series “Wings”, which is based on the experiences of the Royal Flying Corps in 1915.

One of the BE2 crews was played by Michael Cochraine (pilot) and David Troughton (observer), clearly a well-established partnership and good friends.

The next time I saw these two together on TV was some 20 years later in the ITV “Sharpe” series, set in the Peninsular War, playing Sir Henry Simmerson and the Duke of Wellington, clearly the worst of enemies.


They also both have rôles in the long-running BBC radio series: “The Archers”, where David’s real son Will plays his son Tom Archer in the drama.

I spent a long time trying to remember where I had previously seen Tim Woodward (Sgt. Alan Farmer), until I spotted him in the next war as Squadron Leader Rex in Channel 4’s 1980s series “Piece of Cake” about the RAF in 1939-40. This series was based on one of Derek Robinson’s eminently readable books about the fictional “Hornet Squadron”.

(Incidentally, reverting to WW1, I can recommend “War Story” by Derek Robinson. He has an excellent command of black humour).

Spotting and cross-relating great British actors is not new to me. I remember years ago spotting Nigel Green as Colour-Sergeant Bourne in “Zulu” receiving rapid promotion to become General Wolsey in “Khartoum”.

A quick repainting

Ah, the perils of research!
I can’t find my original source for the sky blue coats for French infantry in 1914.
But now it seems clear that they were not available until 1915 at the earliest. So do I try to repaint the coats (probably sleeves and skirts only at this scale) or ignore it on the basis that these soldiers spend most of their little tin lives in an alternative history setting?

I have decided. To get the next game out of the way I will use them as they are, and then try to get them in their correct coats before the next battle. They are, after all, currently still in 1902. If they make it to 1915 they can have their old coats back. I am trying to resist buying more lead and starting afresh. I have already used half of next month’s wargaming budget.

General Whiskers' semi-historical wanderings

I have just finished repainting the bases of my 6mm 1914 French brigade to better match the grass they will be fighting over.

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