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Reference guides for Film and TV
#46
Mike wrote:

Quote:There was a historical epic of the English Civil War made a couple of
years ago called: To Kill A King. The musketeers were wearing
pikemen's helmets. The producers didn't think to ask the Cromwell
Association - we could have told them (and the authentic felt hats
would even have been cheaper to make than the helmets, too)!

Hi Mike

I am not sure about this instance but the producers may have actually asked but thought helmets looked better. For instance a British reenactment group (The Diehards) were involved in the production of the recent remake of 'The Four Feathers'. The classic 1930's version set the story during the Sudan campaign of 1898 but the new version correctly followed the narrative of the book which takes place during the Gordon relief expedition, a decade earlier.

One climatic scene depicts the battle of Abu Klea when the British camel corps were attacked. The expedition itself was one of the last times the redcoat was seen in action (General Gordon had actually requested that the relief force should wear red!) but the camel corps a specially created unit was fitted out with a distinctive Grey uniform and khaki trousers. While this uniform was correctly worn in the Charlton Heston film 'Khartoum' depicting the same event, the makers of 'The Four Feathers' choose to show the British in redcoats! Not only that but the camels were missing as well and the British are shown marching on foot. evidently film makers think the public are even less informed nowadays than audiences of forty years ago. However I think in this instance one can understand why the filmakers did what they did and the scene does look impressive. Nevertheless adding insult to injury in the new film the British lose the battle, when in fact historically they won!

An article on the making of the film by one of the re-enactors involved provided some interesting insights. Some of the costumes used were actually quite old and I have seen and heard of this before. At least one pith helmet had appeared in the sixties film 'Carry on up the Khyber' worn by the late Roy Castle! One wonders therefore what happened to the much more accurate uniforms from 'Khartoum'! The film company had also gone to some expense to build a fairly decent replica of one of the British artillery field pieces which had played a significant role in the real battle because they had a tendency to jam at critical moments, like when the enemy are about to break into your square! Having dispensed with Grey uniforms, camels and history it is no surprise to discover that even this accurate prop ended up on the cutting room floor!

It is not unusual even if re-enactors are involved and participate as extras that they will be asked not to wear their own kit but what is provided by the wardrobe department. This happened in 'Gladiator' when several groups were asked to provide 'bodies' but not armour. The re-enactors role in 'The Four Feathers' appeared to have consisted principally of drilling the Morrocan extras and providing period rifle and equipment sound effects and British faces in the front ranks!

There are occasions when this is not the case such as 'Glory' and 'Gettysburg', which both relied heavily on entire and fully equipped re-enactment societies.

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#47
Quote:There was a historical epic of the English Civil War made a couple of
years ago called: To Kill A King. The musketeers were wearing
pikemen's helmets. The producers didn't think to ask the Cromwell
Association - we could have told them (and the authentic felt hats
would even have been cheaper to make than the helmets, too)! 8)
That's one I worked on. All I'll say is that, in fact, it may have been the case that they simply couldn't afford to have the felt hats made, and it's quite amazing that the film was finished at all. To Kill a King was refused grant finance, which was quite startling given the subject matter and the pap that has received such before. The production design was very thoroughly researched (that's where I got my instructions from), and I'm sure, for the time and what was available, so were the costumes. To Kill a King is quite a deceptive film in one sense, in that what you see onscreen belies the paltry finance available to the makers, and is actually quite a credit to them. I'm really not joking when I say they might not have been able to afford the additional felt hats, and if they managed to get a costume deal that included helmets and not hats then that could be the reason.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#48
Jason wrote:

Quote:so what is the definitive work or works on arms and equipment for the legionaire thus far? i should like to order it very much. -gratis

I think we still have to wait for the definitive work. However it is clear that some research went into the equipment used into the following films 'The Robe', 'Cleopatra' (1963 version) and 'The Fall of the Roman Empire'. In most cases the equipment is based on sculpture however in 'The Robe' I have recognized the modern book illustration that was used for equipment and tunic colour used by the legionaries while in 'FOTRE' some of the helmets are based on archaeological examples from the right era.

On TV one of the better productions was 'AD-Anno Domini' the long forgotten sequel to 'Jesus of Nazareth'. Again some of the equipment was based on archaeological sources and includes coolus helmets and auxiliary helmets with inscribed hair decoration, archers with conical helmets and long robes, fairly accurate Praetorian helmets and uniforms and some pretty decent field fortifications based on Alesia. A large number of extras were equipped for the scene when Caligula launched his 'invasion' of Britain but sadly all of this gear sems to have vanished as it does appear in the more recent TV productions. If anyone hears of this series being released on DVD Please let me know!

Jim raises a good point that we do not realize what is actually involved in production. Not all films have mega budgets and some amazing effects are achieved which we so often take for granted. There are many other factors in film making that we do not appreciate. The script is not always the work of one person and can go through several rewrites before filming even begins. This can explain why it is often difficult to get an 'expert' on board from the very beginning. One rare instance of this happening in recent times is with the film 'Alexander' when Oliver Stone worked quite closely with Robin Lane Fox and look how that was received! The accurate costumes in that production hardly registered on any-ones scale.

Using reenactors is one solution for film companies, although the length of production time is obviously a limiting factor but it has also been pointed out that whatever the standard of their kit there are unfortunately many reenactors who do not look like or act like period soldiers. For example the American Civil War artist Don Troianai uses re-enactors as models for his paintings but always tries to get the emaciated looking ones!

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#49
Quote:If anyone hears of this series being released on DVD Please let me know!
Here you go (at least it says from JoN producers).
A. D. - The Trials & Triumph of the Early Church - DVD Set
You need a multi-region (region 1) player.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#50
Jim wrote:

Quote:Here you go (at least it says from JoN producers).
A. D. - The Trials & Triumph of the Early Church - DVD Set
You need a multi-region (region 1) player.

Thanks for that Jim, I am seriously tempted. However having read the reviews on IMDB it appears 3 hours of early Imperial Roman stuff has been edited out of this version so I am worried they have cut out the bits I would want it for. The original was over 9 hours and did include some decent scenes from Roman everyday life as well. Computer Luddite voice, can you play region 1's on your home PC?
Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#51
I had a live conversation more than one year ago with one of the costume designers of King Arthur (a member of the Oscar winning team for "Shakespeare in Love"). I expressed all my disappointing about basically everything in that movie and she said: "You didn't like it, ah? Mmm OK, you are right, we didn't spend much time in research so we invented something".
The same day I partecipate into a conference with some of the italian producers about the costume problems in the film making and something new came out (new for me). Well it seems that many costume designers basically don't care about history because they want to "create" Art. They are competing for an Oscar and not for a University doctorate, so they prefer to astonish people with fashion and spectacle by using just some historical elements that could also be completely wrong.
During that face-to-face meeting (reenactors vs producers) we all agreed that by telling history is also possible to create art.
After that meeting some producers accepted to use reenactors to make some movies in Italy and something is beginning to change, but NOT yet about roman period. :evil:
Luca Bonacina
Provincia Cisalpina - Mediolanum
http://www.cisalpina.net
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#52
Quote:Well it seems that many costume designers basically don't care about history because they want to "create" Art.

I suspected that the problem was not only the lack of money ... 8)
Well, this is the problem with those that believe themselves as "artists" and say such things, they are often simply stupid, and a stupid cannot be "artist". Please, someone give them some "mining" or "agriculture" work.

Quote:They are competing for an Oscar and not for a University doctorate, so they prefer to astonish people with fashion and spectacle by using just some historical elements that could also be completely wrong.

Their real face: their oversized ego. They are so stupid that don't realize that real History can look more astonishing than fantasy.

Quote:During that face-to-face meeting (reenactors vs producers) we all agreed that by telling history is also possible to create art.


That's good, but not with the people that speak of themself as "artists"

Quote:After that meeting some producers accepted to use reenactors to make some movies in Italy and something is beginning to change, but NOT yet about roman period.


Finally. For the roman period, let's wait a little bit.

Vale,
TITVS/Daniele Sabatini

... Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum
desinet ac toto surget Gens Aurea mundo,
casta faue Lucina; tuus iam regnat Apollo ...


Vergilius, Bucolicae, ecloga IV, 4-10
[Image: PRIMANI_ban2.gif]
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#53
Quote:don't realize that real History can look more astonishing than fantasy.
There's absolutely no need to use the word "can". "Does" is the only word to use. :wink:

Quote:can you play region 1's on your home PC?
Graham.
Graham, after a few times of playing a DVD the computer locks to the last region on the DVD you played (I think it's the third or fifth DVD played). But, you can buy downloadable software that unlocks your PC and enables multi-region playing.
Here's one example: http://www.dvdregionmaster.com/multi-region-dvd.htm
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#54
Quote:Here's one example: http://www.dvdregionmaster.com/multi-region-dvd.htm
_________________

Thanks for that Jim, does something like that work?

Khartoum has just been on British television. The uniforms of the camel corp look much like those in the relevant Osprey book on the Sudan campaigns, although the red camel saddle-cloths might be a bit too Hollywood. The uniforms do have a modern synthetic look much like those in 'Zulu Dawn' although not as obvious.

'The Passion' as also just been shown, well it was Easter. As entertainment I prefer ed 'King of Kings', shown on the Saturday but there was no denying Mel's film was powerful stuff. As for accuracy, the lack of authentic Roman uniforms and other costumes did not stop this film being the most successful Biblical epic of all time. As David Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) said on why he wore the Raccoon hat in 'The Alamo', "people expect things". That film too was more accurate than the John Wayne version and it was especially interesting to hear the DVD commentary by two historians which basically agreed with everything shown on the screen, but the film bombed probably because the audience wanted to see Crockett die with flaming torch in hand not killed by an execution squad, Travis breaking his sword across his knee in an heroic gesture defiance not shot early on in the battle and Bowie bedridden with his wounds not dying of consumption. 'People expect things'.

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#55
Quote:As for accuracy, the lack of authentic Roman uniforms and other costumes did not stop this film being the most successful Biblical epic of all time.
Absolutely nothing to do with the costume design, I'm 100% certain.

Quote:As David Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) said on why he wore the Raccoon hat in 'The Alamo', "people expect things". That film too was more accurate than the John Wayne version and it was especially interesting to hear the DVD commentary by two historians which basically agreed with everything shown on the screen, but the film bombed probably because the audience wanted to see Crockett die with flaming torch in hand not killed by an execution squad, Travis breaking his sword across his knee in an heroic gesture defiance not shot early on in the battle and Bowie bedridden with his wounds not dying of consumption. 'People expect things'.
I saw that film a while ago and thought it good, but not brilliant. 'People expect things' is a 'half' truth. Remember when Excalibur was first released? Everyone, including me, was blown away by the completely different vision of Arthur and his knights, in super-gleaming armour, etc. Forget the history, but it was a fresh take on the subject matter and did well for it. In fact Excalibur is one of the reasons I roll my eyes when I hear the reason filmmakers dislike shiny armour is because of reflections, thinking of that film and how it was handled so well. If films were made only with people expecting things in mind, then we'd have never seen Apocalypse Now, The French Connection, The Exorcist, Alien, Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Boston Strangler, Psycho or The Birds, Citizen Kane, Paths of Glory, Metropolis, Amadeus, Touch of Evil, Life of Brian, or even Die Hard; all those films that had everyone who'd seen one saying afterwards "I never expected that!" Big Grin

In a way, The Alamo seemed a safe bet, and perhaps that was the problem all along. The public only know what they don't like, but don't know what they like until they've seen it.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#56
Jim Wrote:

Quote:Remember when Excalibur was first released? Everyone, including me, was blown away by the completely different vision of Arthur and his knights, in super-gleaming armour, etc. Forget the history, but it was a fresh take on the subject matter and did well for it.

Maybe I am getting old but I remember all the previous films on Arthur before 'Excaliber' which also showed knights in armour even if not so shiny. So I think I myself would have been more blown away if 'Excaliber' had shown proper period warriors and had been set in the authentic dark ages, more 'Arthur of the Britons'' (remember that Jim?), rather than 'Camelot' (which also had some shiny armour). In a way the recent 'King Arthur' did what you say and did a fresh take on the subject but not many people on this forum seemed to like it.

Quote:'People expect things' is a 'half' truth.

Ah.... and what is the truth! :wink: If the legend fits, print the legend!

Quote:I roll my eyes when I hear the reason filmmakers dislike shiny armour is because of reflections, thinking of that film and how it was handled so well.

I remember when the rope on the ESG onager had to be painted because it was reflecting in the camera! When the centurio offered to paint it with the brush that lying nearby, he nearly caused the director to have a heart attack. Filming had to wait until a technician could be found to do the job!

Quote:The French Connection, The Exorcist, Alien, Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Boston Strangler, Psycho or The Birds, Citizen Kane, Paths of Glory, Metropolis, Amadeus, Touch of Evil, Life of Brian, or even Die Hard;

An impressive list and then....... Die Hard! Why not Titanic? Everyone was saying that would be a disaster! However apart from Paths of Glory I can not comment on the accuracy of the costumes in the others.

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#57
Quote:An impressive list and then....... Die Hard!
Don't knock Die Hard! It rewrote the book on action thrillers :wink:

And yes, I remember Arthur of the Britons Smile Great stuff... at the time. I also quite liked King Arthur, although I felt it sat on a fence. But then, budgets are limited.

Titanic? Got me where it was supposed to, but not a patch on Die Hard :wink:
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#58
Jim Wrote:

Quote:I also quite liked King Arthur

So do I, have you read my review on Robert's site? He hates it by the way, the film that is not my review but then again.....

Quote:although I felt it sat on a fence

Or indeed a wall. Big Grin

Quote:But then, budgets are limited.

However if they had used the Bucellarius wearing no armour from Roman military clothing 3 as reference for the villa guards, that would have saved them making and spending money on the awful armour they wore in the film. However the helmets looked suspiciously like some of those I saw in 'The Passion' I watched yesterday. Hired from the Pompeii costumers in Italy perhaps?

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#59
Quote:have you read my review on Robert's site? He hates it by the way, the film that is not my review but then again.....
I haven't. I'll take a peek.

Quote:Hired from the Pompeii costumers in Italy perhaps?
One thing that's vital to a film production is reliability. That influences a lot of decisions, as delays or non-delivery can really cause major problems. Perhaps the suppliers simply have a rep for being reliable.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#60
I can't find the post, but Luca mentioned he was told by a costume designer that a desire to get nominated overrides attention to historical accuracy. Take a look at the link to seee how many period dramas have been nominated and tell me 90% of the relevant nominations weren't helped by research and attention to historical detail. :roll:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Aw ... ume_Design

Don't include Troy in that 90%.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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