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?
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.