Monday, July 14, 2014

I'll be back!


First off, I'd like to apologize for not being able to make the rounds on the blogosphere for about the last two weeks and comment on most of your great blogs.  July has been crazy.  Crazy and busy, with more and more real life challenges piling on everyday. 

I'm temporarily throwing in the towel until at least late July / early August.  Hopefully by then I'll have gotten the chance to hobby a bit so there will be a few more posts about projects, minis, and games to share.  Not just all history and movies posts.

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you all again soon!

Jason

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - The Guns of Navarone


This week War Movie Wednesday rolls out one of the "Big Guns" of war movie classics, The Guns of Navarone.  Directed by J. Lee Thompson and staring Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Stanley Baker and Anthony Quayle.  Truly one of the greats, it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning Best Effects, Special Effects. 

"Our Heroes", well maybe not that one on the right...

The movie pits a small Allied Commando team against the Germans of occupied Greece and the seemingly impregnable mountain fortress that houses the massive "Guns of Navarone."  These radar directed monsters control a key pass in the Aegean Sea that threatens destruction to any Allied ship that dares sail within range.

Meanwhile 2,000 British troops are stranded on the island of Keros with the Germans moving in for the kill.  The Good Guys must take out the "Big Guns" so that the Royal Navy has a chance to rescue the poor Tommies before it's too late, and also help prevent Turkey from being bullied into joining the Axis Powers.

The REAL stars of the show!

Commando raids make some of the best and most tense war movies.  They're also a great way to showcase a small collection of actors against an the epic backdrop like that of fictional island of Navarone.  The cast doesn't disappoint either with Peck doing his usual solid job, Quinn bringing his flare and emotion, and any war flick the includes Niven is almost guaranteed to be a good one.  Stanley Baker and Anthony Quayle could of both handled the lead themselves and add another level of quality to the group.

The most intense game of "Knock, knock.  Who's there?" of WWII.

The Guns of Navarone is a true epic that still manages to maintain an intimate feel to the plot.  The individual characters, tensions, and twists are not lost in a barrage of special effects and larger than life sets.  We are able to follow along with our heroes to the bitter end, sharing in their daring adventures, while also being aware of the thoughtful anti-war message woven into the story.  Whether you've seen it before or not, I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I have.


The Guns of Navarone (1961)


A few final thoughts...

I don't remember when I finally got to see The Guns of Navarone for the first time (probably a rental), but long before that I owned the playset (I still do actually, stored somewhere in the garage...).  Countless hours were spent setting up huge battle scenes down in the basement.  For years, I had to go on pure imagination as the TV listings were always far beyond my bedtime. 

The movie eluded me for years, and the closest I ever came as a kid was while I was in the hospital.  The movie was scheduled for 11:00 pm, and my Dad had gotten special permission (small town) to stay past visiting hours to stay up and watch it with me.  The great mystery behind the Guns of Navarone was about to be revealed, and I can still remember the anticipation and the excitement of spending some special time with my Dad.  Alas, my little eyelids failed me, and I fell fast asleep before the movie started. 

Still, every time I watch The Guns of Navarone, a little bit of that childood emotion reawakens.  :-)

Literally, hours of fun!

Bonus Links:

The Guns of Navarone Trailer

The Guns of Navarone Theme

The Guns Of Navarone Soundtrack Suite

The Guns of Navarone Theme Song

Up in the air Juinor Birdman!  Up in the air...

NOTE:  War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but films I've enjoyed for one reason or another.  Interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - North West Mounted Police

In TECHNICOLOR!

Little change of pace this week as we head to the Canadian frontier of the 1880's  In the days when the North West Mounted Police were an earlier version of today's Mounties and trouble was brewing among the Métis (Frenchy types) and the native Cree in the form North-West Rebellion with everyone else caught in between.

"Dusty Rivers? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?"

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the aptly named North West Mounted Police stars Gary Cooper and Madeleine Carroll.  The film also co-stars Paulette Goddard, Preston Foster, Robert Preston, Akim Tamiroff, and Lon Chaney, Jr..  Nominated for five Academy Awards (Won Best Film Editing), the movie is a mix of action, adventure, drama, love triangles, treachery, and tragedy with many lighthearted bits thrown in.

"So your answer is "NO" then?"

Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers (Cooper) has come north looking for the outlaw Jacques Corbeau, the same man Sergeant Jim Brett (Foster) is after.  An uneasy alliance is formed, but our heroes soon find themselves in the midst of a rebellion where friend or foe is not always determined by your accent!

Women, the real trouble makers!

For me this was an enjoyable movie for its unique period subject matter alone.  Used to seeing Cooper in serious no nonsense westerns, it was fun to see him in a more lighthearted humorous role.  Although modern audiences may find the obvious fake indoor filmed "outdoor" scenes and bright Technicolor uniforms a bit campy, I really find it part of the charm.  Back when movies had to create "the illusion" without the help of CGI.  I hope you will enjoy it too!  :-)

North West Mounted Police (1940)


NOTE:  War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but films I've enjoyed for one reason or another.  Interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.




FYI:  Today in Military History 7/2 was posted earlier today.
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Today in Military History 7/2

Death of Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg at Göllheim.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dracula Untold - Finally another epic Dracula movie?


There's lots of "vampire" movies/shows out there, but very few of them worth watching.  Even fewer still for a classic vampire/Dracula fan like me.  Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992 remains one of my all time favorite movies.  It's impact is seen throughout my gaming hobby and my Warhammer Vampire Counts Army.  It continues to influence a desire for future Gothic Horror projects and games.  Its soundtrack is still a mainstay every October.  Its imagery is now my default for the genre.  As far as Dracula and vampire films go, it is an epic, and there has never been another one since.


Cue Dracula Untold coming this October.  Starring Luke Evens of recent Hobbit/Bard fame, its cast includes a number of other notable actors as well.  The story mixes the historical Vlad Tepes and dark fantasy.  The trailer looks good, but that's not always a sure sign.  I admit to a bit of quiet excitement, but I've been burned too many times to get my hopes up just yet.  I'm hoping at least for an enjoyable movie, but I dream of finally seeing another inspirational epic!

Dracula Untold (2014)


I guess we'll see on October 17th, but until then... your reaction? thoughts? predictions? concerns?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  :-)





FYI:  Today in Military History 6/30 was posted earlier today.
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