On World War II Movie Night, host J. Byron delves into the countless movies made about the greatest conflict in human history. How much can we learn about World War II from how it's portrayed in film? Can movies render this infinite subject more manageable? Fun and stimulation mix in this engaging, thought-provoking podcast.
45. "Hacksaw Ridge" (2016)
How did a conscientious objector win a Medal of Honor? "Hacksaw Ridge" tells the story of Desmond Doss, a religious soldier who refused to carry a weapon, yet distinguished himself as a medic in the Battle of Okinawa. HR also represents a comeback for Mel Gibson, many years down-and-out when he redeemed himself with this acclaimed, successful World War II epic... Asides include more on Gibson's tomfoolery and downfall, and a new word I learned ("offal").
44. "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1972)
Tonight's the mostly forgotten movie adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's famous World War II novel. The book may be a quirky sci-fi hybrid, but it delves seriously into Vonnegut's real-life experiences as a POW during the Dresden firebombing. How successfully these experiences transfer to the screen is, well, arguable. Tonight's episode toggles between a serious approach to the subject matter and the realization that this movie ain't no lost classic... asides include the peaks and valleys of Vonnegut's catalogue, how what's considered "hot/sexy" changes from era to era, and mistaking freeway offramps for onramps.
43. "The Bridge at Remagen" (1969)
Bomb it? Blow it? Take it? Keep it? The options are dizzying as Germans and Americans decide what to do with the titular "The Bridge at Remagen." Reflecting a real event (supposedly pretty accurately), tonight's listener request gives both sides ample screentime, from the American Lt. put in charge of fighters as weary and cynical as himself, to the German Major (and his General friend) who hope that Hitler and the SS won't notice they're working some wiggle room into their orders... Asides include destroying one's childhood toys and the enduring legacy of the "Cape Fear" score.
42. "The Sound of Music" (1965)
World War II Movie Night tackles the sixth most popular movie ever made (which makes it by default the most popular World War II movie ever made), 1965's "The Sound of Music." Although it takes a while to get there, by its third act TSoM is primarily about the Anschluss - the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany, and how major WWII developments affected private lives... in this case hiding out in crypts and near-car chases (and damn that must've been some hike!). Also, RIP Christopher Plummer.
41. "Downfall" (2004)
Come upstairs for the party! World War II Movie Night delves into the defining movie re: Hitler's (and the Reich's) last days. Alongside this excellent German production we examine a recent Hitler biography, a 2002 documentary ("Blind Spot") and, yes, a classic "Simpsons". We also count the suicides and recoil from Goebbels' creepiness. So get on the dance floor and try to ignore the Russian shelling!
40. "The Devil's Brigade" (1968)
Tonight is a listener request from the Swiss Alps. The 1968 American movie "The Devil's Brigade" is regarded by its makers as suffering from bad timing, given that it came out shortly after "The Dirty Dozen." However, while TDB and TDD share some common tropes (e.g., grizzled older man assembles rag-tag group of misfits, has to convince skeptical highers-up of their skills, etc.), TDB has the added dynamic of a foil to the misfits: the highly competent Canadian troops. Witness bullying, rivalries, an epic bar-fight, and finally a more serious, daredevil mission. "The Devil's Brigade" movie is also BASED (big qualifier) on the real-life Devil's Brigade/First Special Service Force... asides include seeing movies at formative times in life, and s****y pressers (i.e., movie screenings for press).
Very interesting podcast discussing WWII movies among others conflicts.
I’d just listened to The Keep and already listening to Letters from Iwo Jima after Flags of Our Fathers. This is sort of unique since their only 45 minutes long. Hoping for a review of Terrence Mallick’s 1998 film The Thin Red Line.
I Recommend “Service on Celluloid” Podcast
This podcast consists of the host essentially reading (in a voice that I can only describe as extremely affected) what I assume are his notes made while watching the movie. What you get is the movie being read to you. There are occasional asides, and at the end of the narration some limited comments on the movie.
If one is interested in World War II movies, I think time would be better spent with the podcast, “Service on Celluloid,” a production of the World War II Museum located in New Orleans. The podcast no longer is being produced because the museum employee responsible has moved on to another museum. The episodes produced still are available.
That podcast consists of a panel of historians, and film experts, discussing the film with the purposes of evaluating its historical and military accuracy; saying whether or not the panelist liked the movie, and whether the panelist would recommend it. The podcast is not perfect, but it is head and shoulders above this one.
In addition to not wanting to hear a movie being read to me, and disliking the voice of the podcaster, I was out off by the podcaster’s seemingly limited knowledge of WW II and the time in which it took place. I probably am more knowledgeable than most about that War, and also have watched many movies, so maybe I am being overly critical.
Admittedly, I listened only to the introductory episode, and the first two full episodes describing two movies. I am afraid I could just not face (ear?) a third episode.
Cannot get past this kid's incredibly cringey voice.