HOLLYWOOD VERSES HISTORY
June 17, 2000
One of the best ways to get used to a new language is
to watch TV and films in that language. English is
especially good for this, because of the vast numbers
of popular films coming out of Hollywood each year.
Forgetting, for the moment, the fact that these films are
invariable shot in American English and not in English
English, I have a warning for you: When you watch a
"true story" filmed in Hollywood, do not assume that
it has any basis in fact. In the last few weeks, there has
been much debate in England about a scandalous new film
called "U-571" being shot in Hollywood.
by Duncan - Great Britain, enjoys writing to penpals from all over the world
There is a growing catalogue of films in which history
has been re-written in Hollywood films. Here are a few
"The great escape". This was a film based upon the British
mass breakout from the German prisoner of war camp Stalag
Luft III, during the second world war. The film stars
Steve McQueen (an American) in an American lead break out.
Disney's recent "The hunchback of Notre Dame", admittedly
a fictional tale, shows the hunchback saving his girl at the
end of the film, and the two living happily ever after. In
the original tale, the ending is quite a bit sadder.
Disney's recent "Hercules" is also a gross distortion of the
original story - many of the amazing feats performed by Disney's
Hercules should actually be attributed to a host of lesser
known Greek Heroes.
In yet another Disney film, "Pocahontas", there is scant
regard to the truth of the matter. Pocahontas was in fact still
a very young girl when she died and was buried in England.
What about the film "Amadeus"? A film about a famous Austrian
composer, who just happens to have an American accent?
Going back to war films, next year we will see a new film called
"Colditz". Colditz was an "escape proof" castle used by the Germans
to hold Allied prisoners during the second world war. In the new
Hollywood film, I hear that we are going to see Tom Cruise (an
American) staring in the American led escape efforts. In reality,
there were only 8 Americans in Colditz, none of which ever managed
to escape. Many people did escape from Colditz, but these were
through British and French lead efforts.
Finally, I'll come back to the new film I mentioned at the start
of this article. This is a film called "U-571", about the American
navy's heroism in capturing a German U-boat (a submarine) early in
the war. The U-boat had a encryption machine on it called the
"Enigma" - an almost unbreakable code system. The film goes on
to show the brilliance of the American scientists in breaking this
code, thus enabling the battle of the Atlantic to be won. The fact
that it was the British navy that captured the U-boat (more than a
year before the USA entered the war) and British experts who broke
the code, doesn't seem to matter to Hollywood.
It seems that, in terms of reporting historical fact, Hollywood
is on a par with David Irving.
If you'd like me to write a particular topic, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
© June 2000 English on the Internet www.aj.cz