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?
Episode 46: Goodfellas. Martin Scorsese directed this 1990 movie, starring Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, an Irish/Italian American gangster working in a New York mafia gang through the 1960s and 70s. With superb supporting roles featuring Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci amongst others, this movie has proved a hit for nearly thirty years despite its main character being an unrepentant criminal. Popularity though is no measure of accuracy so we will attempt to discover whether this is an accurate portrayal of events or if, in creating this masterpiece of cinema, Martin Scorsese has ladled on the dramatic license.
Episode 45: Braveheart. Directed by and starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace, a fiercely patriotic Scottish warrior in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries, Braveheart is the movie that inspired the whole HbH idea and, eventually, this podcast. It’s taken us 45 episodes to get to this much-loved but also often-derided movie so we hope you tune in to hear our take on its entertainment and historical accuracy. We think our conclusions may verge on the unexpected. Join us to find out.
Episode 44: Elizabeth. 1998 saw the release of this lavish movie, detailing the early years of the reign of Elizabeth First of England. With a strong cast, the movie launched Cate Blanchett into stardom with her portrayal of the young Queen Bess as she has to deal with court conspiracies, foreign interference and a host of suitors for the hand in marriage of the Queen of England. Elizabeth receives conflicting advice from powerful men, used to operating in an exclusively male world. We will examine how Elizabeth coped, both in the movie and in reality and how divergent those two accounts become. We hope you join us for the journey.
Episode 43: Spotlight. This 2015 movie is named for the team of journalists working for the Boston Globe who carry out in-depth investigations for the paper under the ‘Spotlight’ name. In 2001-2002 they revealed the widespread abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston diocese and the systematic cover-up that the Catholic church had undergone for decades to keep this disease hidden. Their article led to a global examination of similar abuses, something that carries on to this day. Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdam, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber lead a wonderful cast as this dark topic is brought to us in a gripping yet sensitive movie. Our investigation has been on how well the movie managed to portray these events accurately. We urge you to watch this powerful, relevant and moving film and we hope you take something from our conclusions of its message.
Episode 42: Catch Me If You Can. Our movie for this episode is 2002’s Catch Me If You Can. Steven Spielberg directs a great cast including Leonardo di Caprio as legendary con-artist Frank Abignale Jr who is pursued by dogged FBI Special Agent Carl Hanratty played by Tom Hanks. Christopher Walken and Josh Brolin add their considerable talents to the cast as we follow young Frank’s exploits as he impersonates an airline pilot, a doctor and lawyer all whilst in his teens. Is this a case of fact being stranger than fiction or has Frank’s story been Hollywoodised? We hope you join us to find out.
Episode 41: Erin Brockovich. This week’s movie is 2000’s Erin Brockovich. A powerful performance by Julia Roberts in the eponymous role is ably supported by Hollywood veteran Albert Finney as lawyer Ed Masry. Directed by Steven Sodeburgh, the movie tells the story of the unqualified legal assistant Erin digging up evidence against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a multi-billion energy company accused of poisoning water supplies in California then covering up the consequences. A classic tale of David vs Goliath, how much did the movie get right? Join us to find out.
Episode 40: Argo. A long, long time ago, HbH managed to put out an episode that ran under an hour. This week, we achieve this landmark of conciseness again as we examine 2012’s Argo, starring and directed by Ben Affleck the movie tells the incredible story of how the CIA along with Canadian Foreign Office staff spirited six American Embassy staffers out of Tehran in the aftermath of 1979’s Islamic Revolution. A real movie about a fake movie, how real or fake is the version of the story they tell? Join us to find out.
Episode 39: Darkest Hour. This week we are delighted to welcome back Ray Harris from the History of World War 2 podcast (amongst many others) and a bit of an expert on Churchill. The portrayal by Gary Oldman has received universal and well-deserved plaudits but how close does the movie come to the actual truth of Churchill’s early days in power during some of the darkest days in recent British history? We will try to find out.