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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Into the Storm" 



I watched the HBO Films presentation of "Into the Storm" last night (using OnDemand), and highly recommend it. Winston Churchill is one of the towering historical figures of the last century, and this film does a wonderful job of depicting the most important 5-year segment of his nearly 50 years in politics. Brendan Gleeson is excellent as Churchill, and his delivery of some of the memorable speeches is inspiring.

UPDATE: As frequent commenter Christopher Chambers points out, Gleeson is an Irishman, as is director Thaddeus O'Sullivan. You can see a "behind the scenes" video here to listen to Gleeson in his natural accent. Being a small part Irish, the irony was not lost on me, but I think it speaks well of Churchill's importance to European and World history that Irishmen can play a significant role in this film.

The previous HBO Film with Albert Finney in the starring role was also excellent, and focused on the pre-war years.

The style used in this film of repeated flashbacks from the time of the post-V-E Day election can make it appear choppy to some viewers, but my 93 year-old father (who heard many of the Churchill speeches contemporaneously, and served in both convoy and combat duty alongside any number of Royal Navy ships) was able to follow the plot line of the entire movie.

Churchill switched parties twice, first in 1904 to the Liberal Party, then back to the Conservatives in 1925.

I think that Churchill would be quite surprised that 44 years after his death, the son of a native Kenyan bureaucrat would become POTUS. Judging a man born into the culture of the 1870s through a modern lens of the racial equality we take for granted is difficult indeed. The fact that he was a flawed man (as both movies make clear) and raised more by his nanny than his uninvolved parents does not in any way diminish his historical greatness. Think what the world might be like now if Britain had sued for peace after Dunkirk -- as Lord Halifax suggested -- or if it had fallen outright during the Battle of Britain.

23 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 02, 01:52:00 PM:

Actually Albert Finney's version of Churchill was better, richer, more natural. But Churchill movies are always good.

WW II is the last conflict on which left and right stood side by side. The left because Stalin gave them orders to, the right because Hitler was evil.

Stalin isn't around anymore but the left still hears his voice: Bush is Hitler, Bush is evil.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 02, 02:36:00 PM:

I'll check them both out; since the world seems headed for more conflict, it'll be good to have a guide to follow from history as clear thinking as Churchill.  

By Anonymous Hugh, at Tue Jun 02, 03:17:00 PM:

"Check them both out" ...yes , please do. Finney is magnificent as he catches the deep humanity 'neath Churchill's "bulldog" mein.The man saw much of history's turning pages- recall , he was involved in the last cavalry charge of the West at Omdurman, Sudan- post-Chinese Gordon's beheading at Khartoum( I may,in fact, be wrong as the French Zouaves may have charged last during the trenchwarfare of WWI??)but, the point is , Churchill's prescience re: Hitler/Fascism, et al was based on the simple fact that he could indentify "right from wrong". Doth President "Magic One" have such elemental moral grounding ...can't see that he does. Certainly, that value has not been demonstrated anywhere amoungst his "manuvering" thru the Chicago sewer, all these yrs.Exhibit A: Rev.Wright! anyone?We are in very deep trouble with the present fashion of PC denial and a willfull inability to define our values.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Tue Jun 02, 03:19:00 PM:

Silly. Don’t you know the era of Churchill is over? Now go return your bust of the old man back to Britain where it belongs, and embrace the era of Hopeandchange. (which coincidentally is also pay-per-view, whether you want to or not)

Standing up against evil is so Twentieth Century, in today’s short attention span world we need to pay more attention to great politicians like… Look! A squirrel!
/sarc  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 02, 03:41:00 PM:

The movie was so-so. Choppy, nothing really flowing, developed. And I bet ol Brendon caught hell from his irish compatriots for portraying Churchill. It'd like james Earl Jones painting on whiteface (with liverspots) and doing Dick Cheney...or Denzel doing the same for Jefferson Davis.

I'm glad they at least tried to do something about the domestic politics at the time. Nice to at least hint that was a brutal war in the Pacific going on simultaneously (the segment on that utter foot-in-ass campaign by the japanese culminating in the surrender of Singapore...now that was cool). Compelling too was the interchange at Teheran b/w Stalin and Churchill (fictionalized but the discussion topics were factual). Stalin had a point. We've turned the war in Europe and D-Day into this Lord of Rings mythic weirdness. There's no need to do so, as valor needs no P.R. But every day on the eastern Front was D-Day, comparable only to what was going on in the Pacific, China, Burma, etc. When Stalin said "The British don't want to fight, and my people are dying," it hit home.

Of course, Into the Storm didn't show you the Churchill that wanted to keep all we nasty wogs, coolies, coons, fuzzy wuzzies, mau maus, n**gers, khafirs, chinks, caribs, awaraks, etc. from independence. Who declared men like Gandhi and Kwame Nkrumah almost as dangerous as Stalin. That's an interesting comparison. Perhaps he was going through some Cheney-like senility thing (though Dick seems to be taking his Aricept and Celexa, as he know says Saddam Hussien had nothing to do with 9/11, and he's all for gay marriage lol).
Anyhow, Janet McTeer was brilliant as Clementine. McTeer, like Gleeson, often plays Americans, and does so seemlessly. A friend of mine has a thesis as to why they can imitate us without difficulty, while we sound like morons or Dick van Dyke in "Mary Poppins" when we try. It has to do with "up hill/down hill linguistics." Fascinating.  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 03:45:00 PM:

In response to,

"WW II is the last conflict on which left and right stood side by side. The left because Stalin gave them orders to, the right because Hitler was evil."
____________________

I think the reason US "left and right stood side by side" in WW2 was the country was finally attacked.

Let's be honest, both US and USSR tried very hard to sit out the war that started in 1939. USSR didn't enter the War until it was attacked by Nazi Germany in June 41 and US didn't enter the War until Pearl Harbor.

Also, "left-wing" FDR was doing a great deal to bring the US into the War sooner, against resistance of some "right-wing" types.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 02, 03:45:00 PM:

P.S.

Hugh said: C"ertainly, that value has not been demonstrated anywhere amoungst his "manuvering" thru the Chicago sewer, all these yrs.Exhibit A: Rev.Wright! anyone?We are in very deep trouble with the present fashion of PC denial and a willfull inability to define our values."

Wow, Hugh, I don't think the majority of thoughtful Americans has any trouble with values. They say you're a fool. I bet you just kinda shrugged when Dr. Tiller got killed, eh? No PC sentiment there..  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 03:53:00 PM:

"When Stalin said "The British don't want to fight, and my people are dying," it hit home."
__________________________

Chambers, you ignorant slut, Britain was at war since 1939 while Soviet Commies were drinking 'bruderschaft' toasts with the Nazis.

Your ignorance is a disgrace to the proud and mighty Negro race.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 02, 04:17:00 PM:

Moron..."Candide," I'm sorry (why can't you pussies use your real names? lol)...it home with CHURCHILL. Even tho they had been at war since '39, the comment stung him. Indeed that was presaged when he'd gone bat-sh*t when Percival surrendered Singapore. He gave very Stalinesque (or even Hitler-esque) orders that there was to be no retreat, no surrender--not even a thought entertained of pulling out and "saving the army" a la Dunkirk.

We're still proud, you're well, I dunno.
I just got some streaming vid of the White House residence South Lawn with Sasha and Malia rocking their plaits aka cornrows and braids this first day of real DC humidity. Aren't you proud of that scene, Candide? Churchill would've grunted at it, I'm sure.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 02, 04:24:00 PM:

Sorry typo. it [hit] home with CHURCHILL.


Clearly Stalin was messing with him, but there was some hot mess behind the comment, about fighting spirit and willingness take casualties. Note in 1939, it was the "Phony War."

Now, what would Stalin have said at Teheran in 43 to Churchill refuting him by pointing out that 1000 men literally disappeared when the Bismack jacked up HMS Hood? Or the bombing of London and other cities in 1940, etc? Or the hard campaigns in North Africa and the beginning of the fighting in Sicily? Probably nothing. But again, Stalin's comment stung. It hit home and pissed Churchill off accordingly. I would have been pissed too...but the anger belies a reasonable sensitivity.  

By Anonymous Hugh, at Tue Jun 02, 06:46:00 PM:

Ah Christopher- the old lazy bottom-feeder trolling with yer gorbals in the muck- again. Thanks so very much for taking the wee bit o' bait that I laid out for you...you know , your "boy" from the Chi-town sewer who was never going to get my vote 'cause he's a shill and a phony ...there are thousands of men and women of colour who could do a better job that this shallow man. Trouble is , who wants to disturb the peace of the mind when so many hysterics and shrill posuers( you know the type Prof. full of showy sophistry and contentless "passion"- like your sundry posts)fact is , your "boy" is a gormless twit and is getting schooled daily...you sir, are a declared racist. I was not sure but, this rather brief and simple exchange has confirmed same....anyway , answer my request left at your Nat Turner site- let's get a dialogue going and I look forward to teaching you the English method of discourse- and oh! Prof., loose the cheap, "angry" verbosity- you know- "douchebag", "moron"- and, do not presume to know how I feel about Sasha and Malia nor Dr.Tiller's murder- as the street saying goes.You don't KNOW me , buddy!As my grandfather's generation opined: swearing denotes a paucity of vocabulary...were you affirmative-action admitted to P'town?You are about the right age...just sayin'....Oh! right, I don't KNOW you- but, I appear to- from your scribbling. School's out buddy.  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 07:09:00 PM:

I bet Sasha and Malia know much more about world history than Chambers does.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jun 02, 07:20:00 PM:

"Of course, Into the Storm didn't show you the Churchill that wanted to keep all we nasty wogs, coolies, coons, fuzzy wuzzies, mau maus, n**gers, khafirs, chinks, caribs, awaraks, etc. from independence"

I guess that's why "The Big O" gave Churchill's bust back to England and bought the queen's diplomatic gift at the airport.

Either that, or it was because he is utterly clueless.

Choice: Intemperate...or...Clueless

Perhaps BOTH!  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 07:37:00 PM:

I seriously doubt Churchill would pay any attention to whatever propaganda Stalin tried to peddle.

Churchill must have remembered how Bolsheviks capitulated to Germans in WW1 and betrayed the Allies, because it suited them politically. Churchill must have not forgot how Bolsheviks signed Rapallo treaty with Germans, upsetting Allies post-WW1 plans. Churchill certainly remembered when Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed and how USSR supplied Nazi Germany with oil and grain during the Battle of Britain.

So Churchill must have known full well who was he dealing with.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 02, 09:29:00 PM:

Actually the better choice--especially on this blog--would be the HBO premier of "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay." It's on now if you want to check it out. Puts everything in perspective.  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Tue Jun 02, 10:10:00 PM:

Candide wrote: "Let's be honest, both US and USSR tried very hard to sit out the war that started in 1939. USSR didn't enter the War until it was attacked by Nazi Germany in June 41..."

Completely & totally wrong.

The USSR entered the war in 1939 -- as an ally of Germany. The USSR invaded Poland from the east while Germany invaded it from the west. See the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Not quite the same thing as sitting out the war.  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 10:34:00 PM:

"why can't you pussies use your real names?"

Hey, what's good enough for Snoop Doggy Dogg is good enough for me!  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 02, 11:08:00 PM:

Kinauchdrach,

Indeed, there was a secret agreement about division of Poland and Baltic states in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. However, I don't think that made USSR and Germany allies, at least not the same as Germany, Italy and Japan were allies.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Wed Jun 03, 01:24:00 AM:

Of course the real reason sissy Chrissy doesn't like Churchill is because Churchill actually stood up to Hitler and helped to keep him from killing all da Joooos in Europe much to Chrissy's regret.

"I just got some streaming vid of the White House residence South Lawn with Sasha and Malia rocking their plaits aka cornrows and braids this first day of real DC humidity. Aren't you proud of that scene"

And I'm sure Chrissy is proud that Daddy is giving away America's nuclear secrets:

http://tinyurl.com/qefo7m

"I bet you just kinda shrugged when Dr. Tiller got killed"

The way Chrissy shrugged when William Long got killed. Or maybe he danced a little victory jig ...

My prediction: Chrissy the sissy is still too gutless to answer me, at least without a sockpuppet the way he did on his blog lol.  

By Anonymous Davod, at Wed Jun 03, 08:55:00 AM:

"The USSR entered the war in 1939 -- as an ally of Germany."

The Democrats in the 30s and 40s could in no way be compared to the Democrats of today.

Roosevelt was a Democrat and it was the Republicans who dropped all partisanship to fight the common enemy.

The "left" of the 30s and 40s included American Communists and their sympathizers who only became allies against the common foe after Hitler attacked the U.S.S.R.  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Wed Jun 03, 09:56:00 AM:

Churchill was a grade A scoundrel. The man was a leftist and always was a leftist---much like the supposedly neo-conservatives think they are "conservative".

WWII was the continuation of WWI.

Who was at the center of both wars?

Winston Churchill.

I would burn effigies of this man and hope he is in hell.

The man was a Fabian socialist, was a member of it and held tightly to their doctrines. He was also a war monger who loved war. He wanted both WWI and WWII! He continued the naval blockade for many years against Germany thus creating starvation amongst the German people. The man was an evil.

He wanted War with Germany and sought all means to make it.

Laurence Vance has strenuously recommended Pat Buchanan's book, The Unnecessary War calling it the very necessary book.

Von Kuenhelt-Leddihn points out that it was Churchill who aided Tito and his communist partisans to the detriment of the royal/monarchical forces in Yugoslavia. Churchill's help to Tito guaranteed the defeat and annihilation of the royalist groups.

Here are two more links on Churchill:

Adam Young's The Real Churchill

and Ralph Raico's Rethinkging Churchill

Churchill was a scumbag. He was a Zionist who wanted war with Germany in order to further Marxist Globalization.

The real enemy is and will continue to be Ethno-Nationalism. That is why Hitler is demonized and hated---Hitler was an anti-marxist. Fabian socialism is a kissing cousin for Marxism. Political Correctness is Marxism with its race-mixing and deracination ideology. Hitler stood up to this. And the International socialists of FDR, Truman, Churchill and Stalin and other Zionists couldn't stomach that. Churchill was about furthering the New World Order. He is a scoundrel of the highest degree.  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Wed Jun 03, 12:24:00 PM:

Churchill as a conservative?

Raico provides a quote of Churchill:

Churchill claimed that "the cause of the Liberal Party is the cause of the left-out millions," while he attacked the Conservatives as "the Party of the rich against the poor, the classes and their dependents against the masses, of the lucky, the wealthy, the happy, and the strong, against the left-out and the shut-out millions of the weak and poor." Churchill became the perfect hustling political entrepreneur, eager to politicize one area of social life after the other. He berated the Conservatives for lacking even a "single plan of social reform or reconstruction," while boasting that he and his associates intended to propose "a wide, comprehensive, interdependent scheme of social organisation," incorporated in "a massive series of legislative proposals and administrative acts."

Does that sound like a conservative? He berates conservatives. The man is a jumble of inconsistency upon inconsistency. He is mixed up in the head.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu Jun 04, 04:27:00 AM:

Is Wheeler Chrissy's sockpuppet? Have they ever been seen at the same place at the same time outside a glory hole?  

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