Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Week IV: A Pitiful List of Movies

For a person who has two children who have studied film extensively in college, I’ve really seen remarkably few movies. I’m sure there were quite a few years where I may have only seen one or two. I’m trying to catch up via Netflix, but it’s a slow process when there are books to read and music to listen to as well.

My favorite World War I film so far is one I will blog about later on, in December, as it has a seasonal theme.

Lawrence of Arabia takes place during World War I and shows, at least from one point of view, how that conflict affected the Middle East in ways that continue to plague us today. I wish I had seen it on the big screen, but even on a television screen it is a stunning film.

I reviewed King of Hearts last year on my shamefully-dormant film blog, Queuing Up. It’s a rather ‘60s perspective on the war, but worth seeing.

My parents’ favorite movie was The African Queen, and it’s one of mine as well. I think perhaps my father saw himself as Humphrey Bogart and my mother as Katherine Hepburn. Set in German East Africa, the war at first takes a back seat to Bogart and Hepburn’s romance, but the scenes at the end where the African Queen engages a German warship are as tense and thrilling as any more traditional war movie.

I found several lists of World War I films, none of which seem to be definitive. So many books and films on World War I have come to my attention this week that I think I’ll take a couple of weeks and try to read and see as many as possible. I’ve already got Paul Gross’s film Passchendaele (I had to buy it as it wasn’t readily available otherwise) but haven’t yet watched it. A few others I’m planning to see, pending availability: A Farewell to Arms (I think I’ll go for Gary Cooper over Rock Hudson), All Quiet on the Western Front, Regeneration, Gallipoli, and All the King’s Men (not the Robert Penn Warren book, but a BBC production about the Sandringham Unit in WWI). I’m definitely going to read The Ghost Road and probably at least a couple more novels from the Guardian’s 1000 Novels list, as well as the John Keegan history when it arrives in the mail. Any suggestions for more?

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