Sunday, 20 November 2016

Big screen liars

The other day found us talking about films and how dishonest they are when it comes to historical accuracy. As usual we had decided not to watch a particular film because it was bound to be historically inaccurate in various important respects. So no surprises there, we are always not watching films. It is one of our most inexpensive hobbies.

However, we recently broke our rule and watched an example of the genre - The Imitation Game supposedly depicting the life of Alan Turing.

The Imitation Game jumps around three time periods – Turing’s schooldays in 1928, his cryptographic work at Bletchley Park from 1939-45, and his arrest for gross indecency in Manchester in 1952. It isn’t accurate about any of them, but the least wrong bits are the 1928 ones

The film was crap and we regret watching it, but I am still unable to understand why any actor would take part in a factually dishonest film. Somehow many actors must be comfortable with dishonesty. It often shows too, especially if they resort to political posturing. Perhaps they see life itself as lines to be learned. An odd bunch who as far as I can see do not generally deserve the veneration they receive.

Film industry moguls sell drama to the masses, not education. It is much the same with newspaper and television moguls. Bums on seats, eyes on pages, clicks on ads. Whatever the high-minded claims, mass media including news media are in the entertainment business. We are seen as a market, but not a market thirsting for education. So we don't get the education.


Sam Vega said...

Somehow many actors must be comfortable with dishonesty.

Well, they make their living through pretending to be people they are not. I suspect they all go the same way, and the successful, national treasure types are the ones who are best at maintaining the pretence regarding their "real lives".

Sackerson said...

1. As long as the narrative* is right, the facts don't matter. We had a government that thought this way. *(A key word for Alistair Campbell,for one - but then he came from a background in journalism.)

2. Just reading John Masters' autobiography "Bugles and a tiger", about India in the later Thirties (he was in the 4th Gurkhas). He's very funny/scathing about the Hollywood version of India. Btw everybody should read this book! (and the next, about the war in Burma.)

Michael said...

This is very much on the lines of 'Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story'.

We hardly know any actors these days, and feel quite good about it!

" So no surprises there, we are always not watching films. It is one of our most inexpensive hobbies." Perfect description of a life well spent - and spending, one hopes!

Demetrius said...

As someone who has a liking for delving into detail, a lot of history, never mind the media or film is only as good as it might be given that historians of the past did not have access to all the detail or the unknowns. TV and film, with visuals required to keep the watcher watching will adjust what facts there are and tell what story fits in with their target audience. I have just made an interesting discovery that raises some interesting questions. BTW Thomas Hardy was closely acquainted once with the Assistant Chaplin to Wandsworth Prison.

A K Haart said...

Sam - some of them seem to lose sight of who they are and become creatures of their own drama, more so than the rest of us.

Sackers - you may tempt me to read the book although unfortunately there is no Kindle version.

Scrobs - it's surprising how often facts do get in the way of a good story. Still leading to good life although we finished the port this evening. Must get some more.

Demetrius - great minds eh? I'm currently reading some of Hardy's short stories.

James Higham said...

I'm thinking maybe many of the actors don't know their history.

A K Haart said...

James - and don't look it up probably.