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Anonymous

History Channel program on King Arthur was first shown this past Sunday on American TV (A British production). For the first time in any TV or movie (at least in my recollection), actual late Roman gear was used in the reeannactment sequences. While I am sure some errors were present (I defer to our late Roman folks), they did use ridge helmets and spangenhelms for the Romano-Britons as well as pillbox hats, mail armor and seemingly accurate tunics, trousers and footwear. An actual attempt was made to "get things right" for once. I wonder if any of our reeannactor friends in the UK were involved in this project? <p></p><i></i>
Hi Tom,<br>
I did not see it (I really hope they'll show it in Europe as well somehow) but from the trailer and descriptions by those who saw it I think some UK group(s) was indeed involved.<br>
Was there more than a few minutes of Late Roman re-eanacting in yopur opinion? The trailer gave but a few split seconds, the rest being high medieval stuff.<br>
<br>
See the trailer [url=http://www.historychannel.com/kingarthur/" target="top]HERE:[/url]<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I have it on DVR but haven't watched it yet. However, catching a few minutes while flipping through other channels, I noted a serious discussion about Vortigern, Ambrosius Aurelianus, and the merits of hiring Saxons as mercenaries -- my impression was that they were taking a serious crack at real historical context. Maybe there's hope yet for the History Channel.<br>
<br>
More later after I watch it.<br>
<br>
Rich <p></p><i></i>

John Maddox Roberts

I caught a couple of quick glimpses of the guy wearing the Dura Europos bronze scale cuirass and coif. It's in Sumner's "Roman Army Wars of Empire on pp. 50-51. Very superior effort for the History Channel, I just wish they had lingered more on the late Roman reenactments. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

The late Roman scenes were quickly realized but repeated throughout the program (probably for budgetary reasons); one could get a good enough feel by watching these repeated scenes. Its too bad Bruckheimer and his zillion dollar budget couldn't have done their homework equally as well, but he probably didn't use reenactment groups. Not to change eras, but the accuracy of the Germans in Speilberg's "Saving Private Ryan" was attributed to him using en masse Waffen SS reenactors and other groups! One caveat on Bruckeimer's movie: if he is telling a bastardized version of the story of Artorius and the Sarmations set in the 2nd Century, then he is a firmer footing with some of the albeit "stylized" armor and costuming. I would like to get other opnions on this when the movie is released. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Indeed, Spielberg did get the uniforms correct in Pvt. Ryan (a real change from his Indiana Jones work), however...<br>
<br>
The film was more authentic than accurate (in feel and look rather than historical fact). He went to great pains to name the Waffen-SS unit involved in the final battle butr that unit had not yet arrived at the front. This would be minor except that the screen writer got the units correct (and are so named in the book of the film). Spielberg changed it on purpose -- but why?<br>
<br>
This name change does not seem to serve any dramatic point. There are very few who would know the units and they are the very one's who would see the mistake.<br>
<br>
I have long been an advocate of getting the 'look' right, and using the reenactor community is a good move. But I do have to wonder, even if the look had been absolutely correct in Gladiator, would the story have made any more sense? Would we have accepted the death in combat of Commodus as correct? Or would that recent PBS offering about the British revolt in 60 have really been better had they used reenactors? Well, it would have been easier on the eye that is for certain, but the tactics used as shown in the film would have still been suspect.<br>
<br>
This is a minor point to be sure, but Spielberg stated many times that Pvt Ryan would be the most authentic film about WWII and the first to tell the truth about D-Day. He set himself up to be judged. Few other directors have made such statements because they know they are not on firm historical ground. Imagine the reaction on this site alone if Scott had made such a statement about Gladiator.<br>
<br>
But I digress...<br>
<br>
My appologies to the group for going so far off topic.<br>
<br>
As for this King Arthur movie -- as it is summer in LA if the air conditioning is cold, the popcorn hot, and the film in focus I will consider myself well served. <br>
<br>
Narukami <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

You're talking about two differerent things -- the OP was discussing the History Channel program on the 'real' King Arthur, not the upcoming movie.<br>
<br>
Mind you, certainly the History Channel program was timed to draft off of the movie, but I don't know that they have any relation (I probably ought to get around to watching it).<br>
<br>
Rich<br>
<br>
PS - and as for Bruckheimer, well, he was the one who went to all the trouble and expense to get *real* Japanese Zeros for Pearl Harbor -- <em>and then he painted them <strong>Green</strong> !!!</em> <p></p><i></i>
I should imagine that all you 4th century plus guys will see a lot of interest in your era because of this film. It happened to gladiators, is happening to greeks and will no doubt happen to you guys!<br>
<br>
Best of luck when you try to convince people that the films don't have things 'quite' right<br>
<br>
All the best<br>
<br>
Graham <p>Graham Ashford
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Avete!<br>
<br>
I haven't had a chance to see this Arthur special yet, but I understand that a major highlight is when it shows *ME*! Unloading the ship, it actually has my face--look for the gorgeous guy wearing the pinkish-red tunic.<br>
<br>
I think it was back in October when I spent a day with the Longship Company and their boat, Fyrdraca, getting filmed for this show. First we were Saxon invaders arriving in Britain. We rowed up and down a cove for a few hours. Then did a beach-the-boat scene half a dozen times. Then stormed ashore half a dozen times. Then put down the gangplank and unloaded the boat a couple times.<br>
<br>
A few of us had brought some late Roman stuff to portray the British defenders, but we never used it. Not enough of us, and no time, and they'd already shot the groups in England for that part.<br>
<br>
Later, we went out into the river and filmed the mortally-wounded Arthur being carried off into the sunset (literally) to Avalon. I was laid out on a plank across the boat (wondering when a good roll was going to slide me into the drink!), complete with mourning women, all of us trying not to crack up as the rest of the crew kept making jokes. I've heard some of those shots got into the show, very dramatic.<br>
<br>
It was all very educational and a lot of fun, and now I'm famous as well!<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
<br>
Matthew/Quintus/"Dead Arthur" <p></p><i></i>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>if he is telling a bastardized version of the story of Artorius and the Sarmations set in the 2nd Century, then he is a firmer footing with some of the albeit "stylized" armor and costuming. I would like to get other opnions on this when the movie is released.<hr><br>
<br>
Tom- just finished up <em>King Arthur</em>, the movie tie-in novel by Frank Thompson (based on the Franzoni screenplay) and if it is any indication of how the film will play out, then a greater amount of horsesh*t there could not possibly be. A "bastardized" version of Artorius and the Sarmatians is being very generous- it forms only the thinnest of backstory. Then again, with the extremely lame dialogue, weak plot and nearly nonexistent character development (not to mention a complete lack of historical accuracy- oh wait, people back then did have swords, so I guess there was some research...), it was difficult to keep my attention focused on the background.<br>
<br>
Given the fact that the author is by profession a film historian, I strongly believe that his historical research was composed of watching every bad sword-and-sandal flick available. BTW, the novel- and I assume, therefore, the film- is set in the mid to late 5th century.<br>
<p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=frankmiranda>Frank Miranda</A> at: 6/23/04 11:47 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

<br>
----------------------------------------------------<br>
PS - and as for Bruckheimer, well, he was the one who went to all the trouble and expense to get *real* Japanese Zeros for Pearl Harbor -- and then he painted them Green !!!<br>
<br>
-----------------------------------------------------<br>
<br>
Yes, but they were such a nice shade of green.<br>
<br>
To paraphrase (and badly) Louie B, "If you want to see art, go to the museum. If you want to send a messege, call Western Union. This is Show Business." - and boy is it.<br>
<br>
But at least Matt got some work on the History Channel project -- Congratulations Matt!<br>
<br>
Narukami <p></p><i></i>
Hi Graham,<br>
<br>
If this History Channel documentary would be shown everywhere, maybe. But the Bruckheimer movie shows fantasy 2nd-century armour, and claims to be set in the 5th. It has taken the Castus/Sarmatians theme but they pushed it forward into Arthurian time. And STILL they claim (backed up with experts!) that the whole thing is historical! The main Arthurian story they've used, btw, is from the 15th-c. writer Sir Thomas Malory.<br>
<br>
Yes, I assume the Arthurian groups will get a kick out of it, in the UK mostly. But since the movie shows no realistic Late Roman or Dark Age armour nor costume (or so I'm told) I doubt very much it will raise much interst in Late Roman groups.<br>
<br>
Apart from, possibly, the odd snide remark that we "got it all wrong and we should go see the new Arthur movie" ..<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Hi Narukami..great posts here...I agree with you on SPR. Speilberg got the unit wrong, in deed; he should have used the 17. SS PzGd. Div "Gotz von Berlichingen" as his antagonist. for it did engage the 101st and elements of the 82nd Airborne in the days following D-Day..I guess he thought the 2. SS Pz Division "Das Reich" was "sexier, but it was busy butchering Oradour-sur-Glane and generally having a bad time moving to the invasion front when Hanks and company were doing their heroics... <p></p><i></i>
Greetings,<br>
For those who didn't see the "Quest for King Arthur" the first time, it is being re-broadcast on the History Channel tonight (6/24/04) at 8 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time - in the USA. Check your local TV listings if you live elsewhere in the US.<br>
Hopefully it will be broadcast elsewhere, too - such as History International or others like it.<br>
You can look for Matt Amt in the program (see his post above).<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
<br>
Marcus Quintius Clavus/Quinton Johansen <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Thanks Tom.<br>
<br>
You underline my point perfectly.<br>
<br>
Perhaps Spielberg was just 'showing off' by mentioning the SS units by name, but he was doing so for the very people who would know he was wrong.<br>
<br>
In talking with people after the film, none were aware of the unit names or their meaning. (In fact many thought that Captian Miller was killed by the SS man who passed Corporal Opphem on the steps, and not the German Army Private that Miller spared at the radar site -- Hollywood irony.) Most Americans are unaware of the 2nd SS and its brutal march from southern France to the Normandy front. Nor of its 'exploits' on the Eastern Front. For the vast majority they were all just Germans.<br>
<br>
So the question remains, why use a unit name, loaded with meaning, and use it incorrectly?<br>
<br>
I think he must have had more in mind, trying to make a deeper point about the nature of perception, of the enemy, of individuals in a specific group (guilt by association), of war etc. However, that is a line of thought far to long to go into here.<br>
<br>
Perhaps when it comes to Hollywood and History we must take our pleasures where we can, in the little things they do get right, and the fact that anyone is interested at all. Despite all the errors in the recent Troy film, Ancient History classes are enjoing a new found popularity, as will, no doubt, classes dealing with Arthur and his Knights.<br>
<br>
It is when film makers make the bold claim to be telling the 'truth for the first time!' about an event, be it D-Day or King Arthur, that they set themselves up to be thrown to the lions, as it were.<br>
<br>
Spielberg should be given credit for using the re-enactor community as a resource, just as the History Channel has done with Matt and others from this site. If we can just get Hollywood to tap into the 'Group Mind' at this site more often I'm sure we would all be happier, at least with their efforts if not their final results.<br>
<br>
Again my appologies to the group for straying from the topic.<br>
<br>
Narukami<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>