13 April 2010

A Man's Movie: Culloden

The 1964 BBC Docudrama, 'Culloden' will burn into your mind like a piece slow match. The anniversary of the 1746 battle is this Friday though I doubt few will be celebrating. It was directed by Peter Watkins and includes a TV news crew reporting 'live' from the battle (it works). With a budget to match the directors experience (nil) , amateur actors and one cannon, this film packs an emotional punch stronger than most of what Hollywood has ever made.

I first saw this film at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The National Park Service had a 16mm print and used the film to train rangers in 18th Century warfare. That's how historically accurate it is. Ball versus grapeshot. Musket shot versus bayonet. Movement and flanking. And lastly, the arrogance and stupidity of leadership on both sides. Always a lesson to me.

You no longer have to work at Valley Forge to see it. It's on DVD and well worth adding to your collection if for no other reason to remind us all that incompetence and war usually go hand in hand.


Josh R said...

Enjoying your film programming, tintin. Definitely stuff I hadn't heard of before. I've got Electric Glide queued up in Netflix.

Speaking of Men's Movies... did you ever see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy? Beyond the Cold War stuff, it's pretty great for Trad-Brit fashion. Watch the first two minutes and you'll either be in or out:


tintin said...

Josh- You were not supposed to see EGIB yet but due to a technical difficulty it got out unfinished.

Big fan of Tinker Tailor. A. Guinness was a dead ringer for my journalism professor from 80-82.

W.Essex said...

VFMA 1992 lacrosse RULEZ!!

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Thank you for this. I'm a past student of 18th C. linear warfare, in particular the Seven Years' War, French & Indian War, and AWI.

brohammas said...

That movie gives me Rob Roy flash backs. And I thought all that time period gave us was the
Scarlet Pimpernell... I kid, I kid.

tintin said...

Essex- I knew you'd comment on VF. Did you guys ever play Wentworth M.A. in MO?

LBT - The tactics used were interesting. Especially some of the bayonet drills. Nasty stuff but very effective.

b'hammas- The movie or the cocktail?

notesandbeats said...

Just rented Culloden with another documentary by the same filmmaker on one DVD. Powerful viewing. Great choice.

tintin said...

notesandbeats- Great! You're now one of the few who ever saw it.

Anonymous said...

Late to this post, but have to comment. I saw this when I was a 8 or 9 year old kid--it must have been on PBS in Chicago in the 70s. I remember the scene in the clip where the teenager is screaming in pain after being hit with roundshot. Since every other war movie or tv show or comic book I'd seen showed soldiers dying quickly and quietly or stoically and heroically, I was surprised and asked my dad why the wounded man was crying--to me, it seemed cowardly and unmanly. My dad, who had known war, just answered something to the effect of "that's how men die in war." Always stuck with me.