Sunday, 27 July 2008

Heckler and Kochk: Two Views of WWII

Movie Night is sometimes referred to as "Hairy Belching Men Night" which is somewhat unfair to the swearing, drinking and physical comedy aspects of the evening. Last Thursday we packed up and went on the road, projector, big screen, whiteboards and all to Beretta's house for "Civilised Mixed Company Supper Party Night". Everyone was on their best behaviour, except possibly me who made slightly more mess than everyone else there combined (hardly any wine got on the ceiling). Watched: Wonder Woman: Judgement From Outer Space Part 2, and South Pacific.

So, two different views on World War 2. In Judgement From Outer Space, aliens, concerned at the development of rockets and atomics, take a look at 1942 Earth to see if we have the potential to grow into civilised, peaceful beings, or if we're violent barbarians who need to be wiped from the galaxy. Initially Andros, the alien can't see any difference from his point of view between the Allies and the Nazis. "Americans don't torture people or make arbitrary arrests" Wonder Woman points out[1]. Well, it's good to see America's moral superiority to the Nazis so clearly stated.

If I have a real problem with this two-parter it's that the US authorities are perfectly happy taking Wonder Woman and Andros' words on being a 3,000 year old superhero and an alien sent to sit in judgement on us respectively, while the Nazis insist that they can't be, and must be products of US Atom research. In the WWII I studied, it was the Nazis who liked ideas such as the Hollow Earth, and proposed the Star Aldebaran as the origin of the Aryan race; wouldn't they be more likely to accept such ideas? (Anyway, here's the theme tune: Stop a Bullet Cold, Make the Axis Fold)

South Pacific is a classic musical, and was chosen despite a stack of bad to moderate Sci-Fi a foot high being available. Sadly I didn't take notes from the Whiteboards, but here's the four most famous songs based on a non-representative sample:

Happy Talk
I'm Going to Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair
There Is Nothing Like A Dame
Some Enchanted Evening (disputed, until I pointed out that Mr S___, our RE teacher at school and something of a musical buff would sing this one, after which Heckler bowed down and worshiped the song)

And boy are there some unusual versions of some of those songs on Youtube.

Heckler noted that Nelly didn't actually do a lot of nursing (and in general, the various members of the US military in the cast had a lot of time to hang around singing). Of course, that is explained in the film; the male chorus are Seabees (Naval construction units), the female nurses. The base has been built, but they don't have the intelligence on the Japanese to commit to an offensive, so the hospital isn't full, and the Seabees can hang around doing laundry and running scams. See also the expression Hurry Up And Wait.

Anyway, it looks like we'll be back to being hairy, belching and watching some genuine bad Sci-Fi this week. Until then, all the youtube videos in one player can be found here:

[1] I suspect that Steve Trevor's USAAF Counter-Intelligence unit would be pretty happy making arbitrary arrests, and even torturing people if Wonder Woman wasn't there to act as their conscience

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