I'm just feeling this is timely.
I'm just feeling this is timely.
I created a simple mashup of a couple of videos on archive.org and an obscure Tom Waits track. I kinda dug the result.
What Makes a Battle? (1944) - video
Ant City (1951) - video [50% opacity]
Army Ants (2006) - audio
A couple of days late for Remembrance Day, but I was busy celebrating a birthday after a moment of silence at 11am. Every November 11th, I think of Pink Floyd for this three minute song: a stirring indictment of a young boy who blames the powerbrokers for taking his dad into the service during WWII.
"The song sets up the story premise for The Wall movie, set over footage recreating the British contribution to the Anzio campaign's Operation Shingle, where Allied forces landed on the beaches near Anzio, Italy with the goal of eventually liberating Rome from German control. These forces included C Company of the Royal Fusiliers, in which Waters' father Eric served. As Waters tells it, the forward commander had asked to withdraw his forces from a German Tiger I tank assault, but the generals refused, and "the Anzio bridgehead was held for the price / Of a few hundred ordinary lives" as the Tigers eventually broke through the British defence, killing all of C Company, including Eric Waters.
In the second verse of the song (which makes up the reprise later in The Wall film), Waters describes how he found a letter of condolence from the British government, described as a note from King George in the form of a gold leaf scroll which "His Majesty signed / In his own rubber stamp." Waters' resentment then explodes in the final line "And that's how the High Command took my Daddy from me". - Wikipedia
When the Tigers Broke Free
It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black 'forty four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.
And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall,
In the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf and all.
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp.
It was dark all around.
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead,
The rest of them dying.
And that's how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.
For those of you who have have seen Kenneth Branagh in other films like this year's Valkyrie, his first major film triumph was 20 years ago when, at age 29, he directed and starred in Henry V. Perhaps the most memorable scene from that film was done in a four minute long shot of the bloodied battlefield after the vastly outnumbered English defeated the French (it was Shakespeare after all).
With the strains of the hymn "Non nobis domine" echoing from beginning to end, the planning and execution of such a long tracking shot was incredible. Watch it once to see the main action, and then watch it again to look at everything going on in the background that you didn't see the first time.
This shot, in my mind, rivals the Goodfellas shot of Henry Hill's first date in terms of uncut brilliance in direction and execution.