Friday, August 12, 2016

Gold Medal History: 21 Hours At Munich (1976)

It sure is going to be hard to make jokes about this one!  Today's Film is 21 Hours At Munich, a 1976 Film about the 1972 Munich Massacre.  Well, at least I'm doing Olympic Films...right?  This, as I mentioned, is a Dramatization of the infamous events that took place during those Games.  They apparently just showed off a Monument honoring the fallen about a week ago- what luck.  It also happens to be the 40th Anniversary of this Film, so more luck.  The Film tells the tale that most people my age know from the Film Munich, even though there were 3 other Films about this same subject (counting this one).  For people older than me, it is a pretty famous tragedy.  Famous enough that you think that they wouldn't need a Film about it less than 5 years later.  Oh, it is also based on a Book.  Seems kind of redundant, but maybe he told the Story better.  The Film has some notable Cast Members that includes William Holden, Richard Basehart, Paul L. Smith and even a few people that are still alive.  Franco Nero steals the Show here in a Role that is far more enlightened about Arab Terrorists than most 80s Films.  Director William A. Graham Directed over 100 Films on TV and in Theaters, including 1977's The Amazing Howard Hughes and 1980's Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.  If you needed a tragic and recent event adapted onto Film, he was your man.  He also did 1991's Return to the Blue Lagoon, continuing the trend.  Obscure Film burn!  Is this once-topical Film actually good?  To find out, read on...
I appreciate your commitment to authenticity, but Filming the Movie there seems a little creepy.
Enjoy this shot of people doing Sports at the Olympics- you don't get much of it after this montage.
It is the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich- the first since WWII.  What could go wrong?
These guys- members of Black September- show up one night with a mission- take Israeli hostages!
They kill a few in the process of taking 9 hostages, including David Hess!
The Film does a good job of giving you real people's names and seemingly getting most of the details right.  To show that, here's a side-by-side comparison of real life to the Film.
While he's arguably the worst person in the Film, Nero (as the only Terrorist) with any real lines or backstory actually makes for a compelling Character.  Faster D'Jango- Act, Act!
If you don't know anything about the actual events, here's the Cliff Notes Version...

Hostages taken to Airport.
Plan goes awry.
Shooting in dark.
Chaos.
In the End, all of the Israeli Athletes die (ouch) and the surviving Terrorists are later released...until the stuff that happened after 1976.  The End.
Dark, well-made stuff.  I can't really complain much about the Film.  My only real issue was some odd issue with the Transfer.  Basically, when people move around in well-lit Scenes, it flickers like a slow strobe light is going off.  I have no idea what caused this, but I don't think it has anything to do with how it was shot.  As far as the actual Film goes, its biggest crime is that it can be a bit melodramatic.  All things considered, that's a pretty minor complaint.  After watching the Film, I checked up on some of the stuff that seemed a bit over dramatic and, well, it apparently happened.  Real Life- it can beat Fiction sometimes.  The Acting is good all around, from Holden's straight-forward demeanor to Nero's seriousness.  There really isn't a 'weak link' Acting-wise here, so kudos.  Nero really does shine here, showing his attention to detail, his twisted motivation and even his hesitance to kill.  You can almost make me care for the guy...to a point.  Considering how stuff like True Lies (yes, it was a Comedy) and others have treated the idea of Arab Terrorists (which these pretty much are), it is amazing to think that a Film which cast an Italian as Palestinian would be more progressive.  It still feels a little icky telling the Tale so soon, but it isn't like I have any personal connection to anyone involved.  21 Hours At Munich is a well-made, if speech-heavy Film.  I need to end on some sort of a joke, so...here's a Stunt Guy doing a silly death spin in the Climax.
Next up, I'm now going to get back on track.  Let's see if my random picks pay off.  Stay tuned...

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