The End of Cinema as We Know it: American Film in the Nineties
Films can now be consumed in a wide variety of ways - in high-tech cinemas and multiplexes, on high-resolution widescreen TVs, on computer terminals and laptops. But with these new ways, are we necessarily getting different, better movies?
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I read an excerpt and had to bury my face in disgust. I am ashamed to know that this is an individual with any level of accreditation and can influence anyone else around him with his works. He fails in fundamental steps that are key to be taken seriously, namely insuring that the information he is passing along is genuine. Therefore he establishes a premise on a faulty foundation and then proceeds to pass out his critique based on something that doesn't actually exist. He is collecting his chips proudly on his winning flush, without realizing they all have to be the same coat, not the same color.
Of particular note is his criticism founded upon the idea that in Saving Private Ryan the tables are turned and America is so "righteous" that it came back to haunt them, because Steamboat Willie, the captured Wehrmacht (pay attention to that word it's important), murdered two of their troops in cold blood. Make no mistake, the way it is passed along suggests this is murder, and you as a reader and a film viewer would not be wrong to make that mental association. With all the reason in the world to kill him, Captain Miller and Corporal Upham were the only too willing to intervene and risk disastrously violent mutiny to save his life. How does he repay them? He slowly kills Private "Fish" Mellish with a knife through the heart.
There is duplicitous irony in this, because it was the same Hitler Youth Knife he'd taken as a trophy from D-Day, that he'd promised was now going to be used as a Shabbat Chalah Cutter. In the ultimate morbid turn around he'd pulled it out to defend himself against the Third Reich and it was turned against him and pierced his heart while the German whispered something haunting into his ear. Surely in this moment could Steamboat Willie not have shown the same mercy that he had been given only days before?
And then he notices Captain Miller and declares "I know this man!" and shoots him dead. Not only was Captain Miller there days before, he was the only line between a bullet in Willie's head and his current state. And he identifies and shoots him dead.
Then Upham, like the big bad American, finally comes to and rights all the wrongs by killing Willie. Typical American triumph over the big bad Kraut, right?
Well the problem is the facts here are horribly skewed and mixed up.
For one Steamboat WIllie didn't kill Melish. This is a misinterpretation and while the close cropped hair of all the German soldiers in the film (an inaccuracy brought about because they used active reservists to play the German infantry) makes it difficult to identify them as individuals, if you are going to publish a major work then for the love of God go that extra mile. By very merit you ARE being held to a different standard because you ARE going that extra mile and ARE trying to influence the decisions of those around you and ARE trying to make a financial return on your opinions. So you DO have to make those extra little pieces of effort that no other audience member has to.
Watch the movie again. Look at Steamboat Willie both while he was captured and as he shoots Captain Miller. What do you notice about his uniform? You'll notice it's a dark greenish blue. It's very loose, a simple coat that's wrapped up in a belt. He perpetually wears no helmet (he lost it during the battle at the shelled out radar start) and has a distinctive enlisted rank insignia on his collar. What he's wearing is a pretty stock uniform for the Heer arm of the Wehrmacht.
Now take a look at the man who stabs Mellish. Is he wearing anything similar?
Not really no, let's take a look.
Perhaps the most telling thing is simply looking at his collar. Rather than the double panel of a Heer rank insignia he is, instead, wearing an indicator of what branch of the Wehrmacht he is in. The double, lightning SS of the, you guessed it, Waffen-SS. The Waffen-SS were the military arm of the legendary SS. While the 2nd SS Panzer Division's
Other editions - View all
The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology
Limited preview - 2005
Playing the Waves: Lars Von Trier's Game Cinema, Volume 3
Snippet view - 2007