Episode 56: The Favourite. 2018’s period piece about Queen Anne and two of her female courtiers vying for preference in her favours was beloved by critics more than it was by audiences. Some very accomplished performances by the leading role actors led to an Oscar for Olivia Coleman and multiple other awards. Director Yorgos Lanthimos said all along that he was not making an historical documentary so our quest is to establish just how much he played with the known facts in his quest to make an entertaining story about friendship and the corrupting effects of power.
Episode 55 Bohemian Rhapsody. This episode takes a nostalgia trip for both hosts as we examine 2018’s musical biopic about Queen and Freddie Mercury. Critics didn’t much like it but audiences love it, as did the Academy Award committee as the movie won four Oscars including Best Actor for Rami Malek. We very much side with the audiences as we both thoroughly enjoyed what is a very entertaining and moving film. What we’ll try to do here is establish how close to the truth the movie managed to keep as it charts the rise of one of the world’s most successful rock bands.
Episode 54: I, Tonya This 2017 movie details the rise and fall of Tonya Harding, an American figure skater who rose to prominence and then notoriety in the early 1990s. A gritty, darkly humorous movie with some superb performances, notably Margot Robbie in the title role and Alison Janney, who was to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Tonya’s mother. The movie manages to balance gripping entertainment and humour yet never loses sight of the underlying pathos of the real story. Our task is to determine how close to that real-life story the movie manages to remain. We hope you’ll join us.
Episode 53: Gallipoli. This episode sees the regular team reunited to examine 1981’s powerful WW1 drama, following the fortunes of two young Australian soldiers as they are pitched into the disastrous Dardanelles campaign on 1915. Starring Mark Lee and Mel Gibson in the lead roles, the movie has become something of a cult classic. Despite the main characters being fictional, we examine how close to the truth of the events and the experience of thousands of similar young men the movie manages to stay.
Episode 52: The Right Stuff. This week we are delighted to be joined by Sean Munger, host of The Second Decade Podcast (link in the show notes on the website historybyhollywood dot com) who grew up on or near USAF bases and brings both historical expertise and a personal aspect to the show. The movie is big, bold and magnificent covering the American efforts to break the sound barrier then launch men into space. The episode is big and we’ll leave you, our dear listeners to choose any other appropriate adjectives. Over two hours but if you enjoy listening half as much as we enjoyed recording…. you know the rest.
Episode 51: Bonnie & Clyde. This week sees Andrew fly solo for an examination of 1967’s Bonnie & Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in the title roles as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow, almost mythical Depression-era criminals in the US. We will try to separate the legend from the facts and the Hollywood interpretation of both. We hope you’ll join us on the journey.
Episode 50: A Beautiful Mind. In this episode we examine the 2001 biopic of mathematics genius John Nash, following both his academic achievements and his struggle with schizophrenia. A multiple Oscar winner, hugely popular with audiences, we will look at how accurate the movie manages to stay to the real twists and turns of Nash’s professional and personal life.
Episode 49: The Big Short. A very entertaining movie, described in one review as an ‘angry, fiery movie disguised as a comedy’ it has a superb cast including Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrel and Brad Pitt. The period portrayed leads up to the 2008 financial crash and the movie does a great job of explaining how this was allowed to happen along with a warning that it could happen again. One of the most relevant and topical movies we have covered thus far, we hope you join us on our journey of discovery along the road to the facts. The audio is much improved from last time but still not perfect (some slight background noise) which we are working hard to eliminate from all future episodes. Please bear with us and we promise to be back to 20/20 clarity next time out.
Episode 48: Trumbo. Andrew is joined by Dr Fiona Radford of the Partial Historians Podcast and an expert on Dalton Trumbo, Spartacus and the Hollywood Ten (blacklisted screen writers suspected of having communist sympathies of which Dalton Trumbo was a prominent member). We have to apologise for the poor audio quality on Andrew’s side but we still hope that you enjoy the depth of knowledge that Dr Fiona displays, delivered in her customary light-hearted style. Brian Cranston plays the title role wonderfully as Andrew and Fiona examine whether the movie got things right.
Episode 47: The King’s Speech. Join us as we examine 2015’s Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as the reluctant King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his unconventional speech therapist Lionel Logue, an Australian with no formal qualifications but with a history of great success in the field of speech therapy. Ably supported by Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon, the movie was a great cinematic and financial success beloved by critics and audiences alike but did they get the facts right? Or is this a heartwarming tale sculpted into a plausible piece of history?