Detailing one of the outstanding small actions of the Nineteenth Century, Zulu tells the story of the small band of British soldiers who defended the mission outpost of Rorke's Drift against up to 4000 Zulu warriors. Starring Stanley Baker, Michael Caine and Jack Hawkins, it's a timeless favourite - "with some guts behind it". Click the image below to listen to the podcast (27.5MB, 1 hour 16 mins).
Recorded Saturday 2 Apr 2016, edited by Garen Ewing.
Made by two teenagers in late 50s/early 60s Britain over 8 years on a minuscule budget, It Happened Here is both a remarkable achievement and a stark commentary on the nature of war and occupation with a relevance to both historical and modern times. Created and directed by Kevin Brownlow, and starring Pauline Jobson, Sebastian Shaw, and a fascinating cast of volunteers, extras, and members of the public (26.1MB, 1 hour 12 mins).
Recorded Saturday 16 January 2016, edited by Garen Ewing.
Richard Attenborough directs an all-star cast - including Robert Redford, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Dirk Bogarde and James Caan - in this factual and highly dramatic retelling of 1944's ill-fated Operation Market Garden, based on the 1974 book A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (32.9MB, 1 hour 30 mins).
Recorded Sunday 8 Feb 2015, edited by Garen Ewing (with apologies for the delay!)
Stanley Kubrick's third full-length film saw him team up with Kirk Douglas in a stark but stylish screen adaptation of Humphrey Cobb's 1935 WWI novel, Paths of Glory. The film also starred Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Richard Anderson and Ralph Meeker, and included a memorable and moving cameo by Kubrick's soon-to-be wife, Christiane Harlan. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (25.4MB, 1 hour 24 mins).
Recorded Monday 1 Dec 2014, edited by Garen Ewing. Purchase the DVD from Amazon UK: Paths of Glory (1957)
In 1986 Oliver Stone was at last able to turn his Vietnam experiences into a film - Platoon. The first in what would become his 'Vietnam trilogy', it starred Charlie Sheen, Willem Defoe and Tom Berenger, and went on to be nominated for eight Oscars, winning four. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (21.1MB, 1 hour 10 mins).
Recorded Sunday 19 Oct 2014, edited by Garen Ewing. Warning: mild language in one of the clip extracts.
After an introduction to the War Films Podcast idea, we discuss Carl Foreman's WWII adventure tour-de-force, The Guns of Navarone, based on the Alistair MacLean novel and starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn and Anthony Quayle. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (32.6MB, 1 hour 30 mins).
Recorded Friday 19 September 2014, edited by Garen Ewing.
Notes and Errata: Kurosawa's Seven Samurai was indeed 1954. Where Eagles Dare has a body count of 100 according to MovieBodyCounts.com, which places it at no. 62 in the Top 100, though well in the top 20 for its war film category. The ruins at the start of Navarone are indeed the Parthenon, while those used later in the film seem to be the temple ruins at Lindos on Rhodes.
Back in 2011 my brother Murray and I spent several months discussing ten favourite adventure films (you can still listen to them from this blog). Recently we decided to tackle another category, considering several and eventually settling on war films.
Here are the ten we'll be discussing ...
The Guns of Navarone (1961) : Platoon (1986)
Paths of Glory (1957) : A Bridge Too Far (1977)
It Happened Here (1964) : Zulu (1964)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976) : Downfall (2004)
Kagemusha (1980) : The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
Because I (Garen) chose the ten adventure films, I gave Murray preference over the category this time. I really thought he'd go for horror, SF or fantasy; I also suggested martial arts and war, and he surprised me by opting for war, partially because it's not something either of us have looked into that much - which is sort of why we're doing it.
Most of the films have come from my collection as I am something of war film fan. It was difficult to choose ten and leave out some other favourites (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Ill Met By Moonlight, Saving Private Ryan, The Four Feathers, The Great Escape, Tora Tora Tora!, Where Eagles Dare ...). We were quite strict with our definition of the genre, initially also considering films such as Casablanca and Starship Troopers but deciding a narrower definition would limit our already-numerous options.
As before there'll be no regular schedule for these - watch me on Twitter for announcements - but the first one should appear within two or three weeks, and then whenever we're able from then on. I hope you'll tune in!
Our quest to examine ten classic adventure films reaches its conclusion with The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), Ray Harryhausen's fantasy epic starring John Phillip Law, Tom Baker, Caroline Munro, and the six-armed goddess of death and destruction, Kali. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (25.6 MB, 1 hour 10 mins).
Recorded Monday 12 December 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.
Notes & Errata: Tom Baker's merchant seaman card is reproduced on page 341 of Tracing Your Ancestors in the Public Record Office (2002) by Amanda Bevan; he was discharged from service in 1958. Hammer's Rasputin film was Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966), starring Christopher Lee as Rasputin. The 'Sinbad vs. Dinosaurs' film Harryausen worked up the concept for was titled King of the Geniis (1970). The 1970s Thief of Baghdad was a made-for-TV production from 1978 (though we definitely saw it at the cinema!), it starred Roddy McDowall and also featured Terence Stamp, Ian Holm and Peter Ustinov. In his Film Fantasy Scrapbook (1989) Harryhausen describes the Kali statue as an eight-foot bronze statue (just thought I'd mention it :-))
The Adventure Film Podcast returns with Merian C. Cooper's stylish filmed version of H. Rider Haggard's She (1935), starring Helen Gahagan, Nigel Bruce, Randolph Scott and Helen Mack. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (24.3 MB, 1 hour 7 mins).
Recorded Sunday 20 November 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.
Notes & Errata: The Hammer version of She was 1965. She was indeed the first film to use the newly designed Hammond organ in its musical score (from an interview with composer John Morgan). Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines was published in 1885, two years before She. The dance director for She was Benjamin Zemach. In the book Kallikrates is married to Amenartas. A sabre-toothed tiger appeared in Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Kay Nielsen was Danish.
The definitive adventure film for a generation, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) spawned a prequel, two sequels and a television series. Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones alongside Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (26.2 MB, 1 hour 12 mins).
Recorded Monday 29 August 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.
Notes & Errata:Romancing the Stone was released in 1984. The Richard Chamberlain King Solomon's Mines was released in 1985 and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold was released in 1986.
"Let's hope we all find our Shangri-La" ... so goes the closing thought of Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937) – a beautifully shot adaptation of James Hilton's 1933 lost world novel starring Ronald Coleman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard, H. B. Warner, Edward Everett Horton and Thomas Mitchell. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (25.7 MB, 1 hour 10 mins).
Recorded Saturday 13 August 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.
Notes & Errata: The composer whose music is played on the ship and who Conway met a student of is Chopin (I said I thought it began with an 'o', recalling the dominant sound, I suppose). The book 'Stones of Enchantment' by Wyndham Martyn was published in 1948.
Terry Gilliam's family fantasy, Time Bandits (1981) – "intelligent enough for kids and exciting enough for adults" – provides the subject for our sixth Adventure Film Podcast. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (25.2 MB, 1 hour 9 mins).
Recorded Sunday 24 July 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.